Humanity’s ability to continually achieve progress is nearing a point of crisis. Truth and perception are widening their gap. Patience is no longer considered a virtue. Citizens are screaming that the platform is burning and that our extinction is imminent. There is a pervasive belief that the time for debate is over because our situation is too desperate. Emotions are clearly running high and tolerance for difference is low. There are no heroes anymore, only villains. The country, and perhaps the world, needs leadership with the fortitude to emerge from this madness. A calming force with both wisdom and humility. Here, the intention is to create such a space for that leadership to emerge.
“If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster, and treat those two impostors just the same.” – Rudyard Kipling
Our Purpose Statement
The Enlightened Citizenry Party of Canada is a medium to inject wisdom into the political landscape. Our beliefs are relative instead of absolute and our policies are founded on a complete acceptance of who Canadians are right now. We are not handicapped by unrelenting ideologies, nor motivated by power. We are not dreamers nor cynics. We are realists. We are curious. We are optimistic. We are resilient. We are the necessary next step towards becoming a better nation.
The Path Home
Progress is traditionally defined as the support for, or advocacy of, improvement of society by reform. As a philosophy, progress asserts that advancements in science, technology, economic development and social organization are vital to the improvement of the human condition. Progress requires surgical precision, patience, and a separation from the needs of the ego driven self. Right progress, as we define it, is evolving and emerges from the unique needs of today’s world. To be specific we aim to reorient society towards right progress in 3 primary ways.
- First, progress is achieved when we learn how to interact with each other in a more productive way. Individually, this manifests as growth in humility, forgiveness and empathy. At a larger scale it is expressed as democracy, freedom, and justice.
- Second, progress is felt through technological advancements and in the expansion of scientific understanding. Individually this is achieved through living longer, in more comfort, and with more joy. Broadly, this is a greater understanding of the universe around us and how our actions influence it.
- Finally progress is inclusive. This is the degree to which members of society can participate in the fruits of humanity. Among other things this may be measured through poverty, employment, health care, and accessibility.
Enlightenment and the Rising Tide of Emotion
The enlightenment period (1685 – 1815) included a range of ideas centered on reason as the primary source of authority and legitimacy and came to advance ideals like liberty, progress, tolerance, fraternity, constitutional government and separation of church and state. On the infinite path of continuous improvement this giant leap exponentially increased the possibilities of what we could become. However, its’ achievements are now under threat.
The sheer volume of information now readily available, which in it’s infancy helped trigger this age of reason, has now also effectively armed every point of view with the necessary “facts” to support their cause. This has resulted in a politicization of all perspectives and a growing distrust of science and research, the very foundation of the first enlightenment period.
In this absence of universally accepted facts, some of our greatest sociological tools have been undermined. As such, many have turned to emotion as the weapon of choice in debate, as well as the primary tactic in the influence of policy. Emotion, in contrast to facts, is personal. It fuels the ego and creates extreme positions and division. It is immune to debate and it brings progress to a screeching halt.
The Social Media Impact
A substantial hindrance to human progress is emerging as a result of our new social media reality. The pattern is simple. As human beings our attention is naturally drawn towards negativity, be it events or opinions that are in strong opposition to our rigid moral values. And today, more often than not, we discover and react to this negativity online. This subsequently generates an outrage response that demands immediate, and perfect, condemnation from our leadership. In fear of a social media backlash our leaders rush to respond, often in the absence of all of the facts.
This entire process is driven primarily by emotion and creates an overemphasized visibility of the worst segments of society. Racist commentary, bullying, and prejudicial opinions may make up a small percentage of the online conversation but through the process above they are driving a much larger portion of the narrative. As the pattern repeats itself it creates a false impression about who we are as a people. A feeling emerges that our way of life is under immediate attack. Yes, there are problems that need attention, but the magnitude is often greatly exaggerated. If we allow ourselves to govern based on false narratives we leave the real issues unaddressed.
The Role of Wisdom
“Knowing yourself is the beginning of all wisdom” – Aristotle
The remedy for this conundrum is a renewed adherence to the tenets of wisdom. In many ways the growing mental health crisis in the west is laying the foundation for this new phase. The maelstrom of external influences that is the modern world is forcing us to look inward for truth and guidance. And as a result of our reluctance to choose it ourselves we are being force fed our own awakening. We are taking our first steps in our evolution towards a dominant emphasis on wisdom. Wisdom will help us take a more humble approach to progress. Wisdom will widen our gaze and help us keep our heads.
- We believe progress happens here and now – Our path to becoming a greater country starts from totally accepting where we are right now, not where we wish we would be or where we think we should be. There’s a considerable difference between designing the perfect country from scratch or shaping the imperfect one we’re in. Progress begins with acceptance.
- We believe humanity is the greatest resource – We believe in the human race. Streamlining human progress is the greatest strategy for building a better future. As a governing party this means setting the stage for continuous improvement in the areas of education, better access to leading edge technology, a holistic approach to better physical and mental health, and improved safety & security for all of our citizens. Finally, this means allowing Canadians increasing flexibility in the shaping of their own destiny.
- We believe that the universe does not make mistakes – The implications of believing that something in the world is not as it should be is an underlying arrogance that the intention of the universe is known, or even knowable. Yes, there is incredible suffering that we should aim to reduce. Yes, there are incomprehensible acts of hatred that can not be tolerated. But who’s to say what should have been. This belief is vital because it allows us to stop thinking of ourselves as victims of an improper unfolding of time. Let us refrain from the belief that the past has wronged us, and instead focus on understanding the now so that we can shape the future.
- We believe that there should always be a path forward – We believe that in a healthy society there is always a path to a better life. An homeless person should have access to a shower, a bed, a meal, and clean clothes. A drug addict needs access to rehabilitation. But it also means a path for blue collar to become white collar, middle management to become upper, and for the wealthy, a path to even more wealth. Opportunity must be the chain that holds society together.
- We believe in the power of wise action – When we act with wisdom we believe the whole universe conspires to help bring it to fruition. There is immense power in the simplest of actions when chosen wisely. Enlightened decisions cascade through the entire natural world in ways we never could have predicted. Importantly to note is that wise decisions aren’t immune to contention. Even wise progress is going to be offensive to somebody.
- We believe in the strength of our communities – The most effective strategies often occur at the grassroots level. In the right circumstances our citizens can act like an army of allies with a deep understanding of what’s happening on every level of society. Empowering our citizens to act to resolve these issues is the most efficient means of governing.
The Four Pillars
“I slept and dreamt that life was joy. I awoke and saw that life was service. I acted and behold, service was joy.” – Rabindranath Tagore
The role of our government is to empower citizens for enlightened participation in our democracy. In order to facilitate this expectation we have organized our approach into 4 pillars of responsible leadership : Personal Safety & Security; A Fair & Just Society; Advancing Prosperity; Physical & Mental Health.
- First, it is leaderships responsibility to ensure that every Canadian is safe and secure. This is the foundation for any enlightened action. If a citizen lives in conditions that are perpetually unsafe to the extent that exposure to harm is imminent, then it is only the search for safety that matters. From a larger perspective, if the environment is becoming increasingly volatile through climate change, it is the responsibility of leadership to understand the causes and implement practicable action.
- Second, we must ensure our society is fair and just. In an unjust society an underlying feeling of insecurity will permeate throughout the entire country. There will be a simmering volatility which may erupt at any point. Therefore it is imperative that the rules of engagement are applied equally across all citizens. Discrimination and prejudice will be strongly resisted in all it’s forms. Areas of contradictory moral authority must be addressed and resolved.
- Third, every citizen must have reasonable access to advancing their prosperity. If a citizen is unable to put a roof over their head, or food on the table, then this also serves as a barrier for an enlightened participation in our society. We will ensure that our public education system is continuously improving and that every citizen has reasonable access to post secondary education regardless of their economic status. At a larger scale this is ensuring the economy is healthy and growing steadily. As well, this pillar touches on trade, immigration, job growth, and our first nations peoples.
- Fourth, we must address the physical and mental health crisis head on. This crisis is dramatically affecting all Canadians within all demographics. We must utilize our extensive resources and influence to cultivate an environment where physical and mental health issues are addressed and solutions are incorporated into our way of life. Our unhealthiness is making us miserable, and our misery is making us unhealthy. The pattern stops now.
To reiterate, the primary purpose of this post is to create a framework for a new approach to politics. In observing our political landscape I saw a need that I believed I could leverage my personal experience to fill. I wanted to present a different perspective of politics and leadership that I truly believed could help make the world a better place. The world needs an environment where new ideas can be presented and discussed in a non-divisive manner. There’s no denying that it’s quite a mess out there right now. But we can do better. We have to.