We are in the midst of one of the greatest crises humanity has ever experienced. Well, I concede – multiple of the greatest crises. It is becoming increasingly clear that we depend upon each other. That we need each other. And that we are all in this together. What has also become apparent is that we need a better world.
But what is unique about this crisis is that the calls for a better world are happening concurrently from around the globe. Throughout humanity’s millennia of existence, one thing that has remained constant is our search for this better world. And today, we look back and we see the effort, the hard work that has gone into achieving this vision. Why hasn’t it happened? Let’s be real: it’s the 2020s.
Well, for starters, it has happened to a great extent; humanity has progressed in many ways. So, let’s look back at all the progress we have made in the last few centuries. In terms of technology and innovation, progress has abounded. All three previous industrial revolutions have ushered in advancements by the hundreds – advancements that would have been unimaginable to generations before. And, with the arrival of the fourth industrial revolution, it seems like we are knocking on the door of a better world. Or so we would like to believe… The reality is that this is in no way guaranteed, and most definitely not for all. Yes, we are getting closer to our goals one foot at a time, but can we really say with a clear conscience that we are doing so collectively?
We all know the Covid-19 pandemic if left unchecked is on its way to deepening inequality around the globe. People are still suffering from a climate emergency, peace conflicts, gender inequality, poverty, and unequal access to education and health facilities to say the least. The world hasn’t gotten better for all people, so it’s clear that science and technology alone will not be enough to achieve our goals for a greater, smarter, and fairer world.
So what is it that we’re missing? Great leadership? Let’s consider British politician William Beveridge. In 1942, he put forth a now-famous report in which he presented solutions to what he called society’s “first giant evils.” These went on to make the United Kingdom a considerably greater country after WWII; in fact, his social insurance and allied service continue to save countless lives in the UK today. His example serves to show that we’ve had many great leaders who have pushed their own countries or businesses forward at critical moments in history. Many people have benefited from this, but many don’t. Communities worldwide continue to suffer. A sense of “us vs them” has come to prevail in mankind’s thinking, an intense polarity separates us. There is only one thing called humanity, there is no “us,” there is no “them.”
Today, we are, as a world, more connected than ever before through social media. And I think that in recent months, we have become collectively aware of how much we need one another. It’s time for us to consciously acknowledge this fact in order to be able to harness this power. The Covid-19 pandemic and ensuing crises have taught this generation of young people to recognize our shared humanity; it has impacted us more than any other age group. It has renewed our care for each other. It is this instinct of needing and caring for each other is going to enable us to get through this. There is an invisible force keeping us together; a force of friendship that bonds mankind; a force that can unite two individuals on opposite sides of the globe through a mutual humanity. And in fact, we have seen the seeds of true global friendship growing in the international community since the beginning of the pandemic. Friendship is what will propel us forward collectively and create an inclusive and sustainable world for all.