a bright idea
In the crowded veggi resto, I faced two types of confidence. We had shuffled down the long table to make room for four young people to settle next to us. The elderly couple we now sat beside engaged us in stilted conversation. Loaded with confident formality and statements defining their status, they defined the country I grew up in without any interest in my views or history, but they couldn’t recall names from their two week Kenyan holiday.
Bored of the entitled classes invading this area, my eyes kept shifting to the young people in casual, arty clothes and I found myself comparing England to a country I love dearly. Over there, I thrived in dinner conversations which were frequently a lively emotional battle fought with rhetorical thrust and bluster. It was candid, brutal, but afterwards we’d metaphorically (and sometimes actually) dance on the tables. A dear local French friend, a feisty thinker, a fervent feminist, surprised me upon stating she preferred English expat dinners for the agreeable debate which allowed each person to state their point fully.
In that resto, between stilted, opinionated oldies and bright folk in their mid thirties, I wished to join their crisp, respectful discussion, but felt it would be an invasion. Their food arrived, they smiled with glee. They were each vital with the drive perfect health grants. When they’d finished eating, we began talking with those magnetic, open personalities whose eyes shone with the surety of self understanding, this was confidence underwritten by exploratory thinking and empathy, not morals from a rigid societal vantage.
We talked of Brexit. In common with the elderly, business members of Rotary, these four with small arty companies said the uncertainty affected their work and they too were perplexed, baffled, stated inept leaders were taking us into the gloom.
It was suggested our political system was to blame. Politicians are shortsighted, more concerned with reelection than the long term effects of their decisions. What we needed was a new politics driven by artificial intelligence, a system which would enable us to respond on our smart-phones to a range of important issues which could then be acted upon by accountable bureaucrats. It would never happen. Politicians, like the elderly couple, are terrified of true democracy, it would annihilate their parasitical breed. I’ve mistrusted politicians since Tony Blair took us, against the country’s will, into war with Iraq, with Afghanistan, and look what that’s done!
Concerned we were intruding, I stood up, we shook hands. All day, charged by their positivity and unbiased intelligence, we thought of those magnetic individuals. They are more aware than most of us were of Global issues, more concerned for the greater good. Such exceptional people abound across the world, it is they who have the minds to find solutions to the problems we before them have created, we need to scrap the status quo and use new technology to allow real democracy to lead us. Suddenly, the future feels a little brighter.