A larger us, a longer future, a different good life

If you had just ten words to summarise the change in values that would unlock a fairer and greener future, what would they be?

Alex Evans suggests the three part formula in the title:

  • A larger us
  • a longer future
  • a different good life.

The ideas are explored in Tearfund‘s Restorative Economy work, Evan’s book The Myth Gap, and now through his organisation Collective Psychology.

A larger us refers to “the expansion over time of the size of the ‘we’ with whom we emphasize.” It’s something that we can observe in recent history, a move from families to tribes to nations. Today we have a growing global awareness, and are able to recognise our responsibilities to people we have never met. This is very positive, but that new awareness is under threat from extreme politics that profits by dividing us instead. We need to widen the scope of our empathy, says Evans. “What affects one directly, affects all indirectly”. A larger we is a move towards a planet-wide common good.

A longer now calls us to think on a broader time frame, to see beyond electoral cycles, and beyond our own lifetimes. This perspective is vital to solving multi-generational problems such as the climate or biodiversity crises, or inequality and poverty.

The third element, a better good life, challenges common assumptions about progress and wellbeing. Too often these are defined in monetary terms, GDP growth or personal wealth, which tell us little about what makes life most worthwhile. A better good life would be one that prioritised shared wellbeing over material consumption.

The opposite of these three would be individualist, short term, materialism – and that’s a pretty neat summary of what we’re trying to address at Joy in Enough.

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