Friday, January 12, 2007

Hope ++

In our history we have had many protests (from Wat Tyler to the Jarrow marchers to the Chartists). Few have succeeded, most have failed - all have struggled for their cause.

However, other than the anti-war march, I can't think of any examples of two million people turning up in London to protest and then going home after nothing happens.

Had Wat Tyler led a march of two million peasants, do you think things would have turned out as they did?

Why do we accept this?

How many people do you need on a march before you are listened to? 10 million? 20 million?

Why do we allow ourselves to be ignored?

Is it that we have too much to lose? So to demonstrate is ok and if we are all ignored well c'est la vie; there is always the election!

The problem with waiting for the election is the declining turnout and that both parties are identical. I've even heard talk of boycotting the next election in order to make some sort of statement - I presume that statement is "please ignore us".

So what is behind this political emasculation of the populace?

I have an idea.

I've noticed a growing culture not just of fear but of vulnerability and powerlessness.

So, have you heard any of these:-

  • one person can't make a difference
  • what's the point in voting
  • they don't listen anyway
  • I'm worried about .... job, home, debt, children ...
  • we're under the threat of terrorist attack
  • the environment is collapsing

I'm hearing a surprising number of statements about human frailty recently and everyone seems to be a potential victim. (Where did that term come from anyway?)

In a spirit of inquiry, and to shed some light on the current zeitgeist, I've been running my mood map on Zimki which tracks photos and blogs tagged with certain emotional words. It's a simple demo app which took about an hour+ to write (this is for someone who didn't know JavaScript or HTML)

The result (obviously impacted by seasonal variation):-

Well since Nov '06,

Sadness has increased over Happiness (+2%)


Hope has increased over Fear (+7%)

So we're more miserable, but at least we're hopeful.

Of course this is all anecdotal, but the worrying thing is that we may be hoping for someone else to create a better future because we feel powerless to do so ourselves.