Have We Colonised The Future?

‘We treat the future like a distant colonial outpost devoid of people, where we can freely dump ecological degradation, technological risk, nuclear waste and public debt.’

This is a quote from an article I’ve just published on the BBC Futures website called Why We Need To Reinvent Democracy for the Long-Term.

I’d hugely appreciate if you had a chance to read it, share it, and post any thoughts you have in the comments section below. It contains some of the ideas I’ve been developing for a new book I’m writing on the power of long-term thinking (which explains why I haven’t written a blog post for eight months). At the centre of the book is a simple – yet I believe vital – question: How can we be good ancestors?

For those of you who subscribed to this blog due an interest in the subject of empathy, the book explores the great challenge of how we can empathise with future generations. It’s a tough one – any answers, please let me know!

Got 3 minutes to think about death?

One of the great tragedies of modern culture is death denial. The advertising industry tells us that we are forever young. Death is a topic as taboo as sex was in the Victorian era.

Yet engaging with death is one of the best ways we know to seize the day: it helps us recognise that life is short and the clock is ticking. If you’ve got 3 minutes up your sleeve, have a read of my new ‘click essay’ Dancing With Death, where I explore the issue.

The click essay, based on my new book Carpe Diem Regained: The Vanishing Art of Seizing the Day, is a new digital format for exploring philosophical ideas. Try it out!

And if you’re in London, I’d love to invite you to a book talk I’m doing on Tuesday 2nd May in Brick Lane for the London Talks @ Night series.

 

Two Days Left: Support the World’s First Empathy Museum

‘Sewerman’ Gari Pattison tells his story at the Empathy Museum

We’ve got just two days left to fund the launch of the Empathy Museum. If you’ve been pondering giving support, or haven’t yet got around to it, now is the time! We’ve nearly hit £10,000 – just a little more and we’ll be there.

PLEASE DONATE HERE

Our launch exhibit, A Mile in My Shoes, is going to be fabulous. You’ll step into the shoes of people like ‘sewerman’ Gari Pattison, as well as others including a refugee, a sea captain, a drag queen and a dog walker. I’ve just been listening to one extraordinary contribution from a man sentenced to 14 years in prison for a crime he didn’t commit. Just imagine having the chance to walk in his actual shoes as you listen to his story.

I realise that there are a lot of good causes out there that you could be contributing to, so why give to the Empathy Museum?

  • It’s absolutely unique. It’s the world’s first exhibition dedicated specifically to promoting empathic understanding, and based on the latest neuroscience and psychology research.
  • This is an urgent issue. Empathy is on the decline: we see the spectre of rising racism around immigration issues, an escalation of online abuse, and a plague of hyperindividualism fuelled by an overdose of consumer culture.
  • Be part of a global movement. We’re taking the Empathy Museum around the world, starting with the UK and Australia, and we’ve had invitations to bring it to cities including Paris, Beirut and Calgary. This is going to be big.
  • Your contribution will make a tangible difference. All donations will go directly to fund our exhibit – helping us collect more stories and shoes for our shoe shop and take the Empathy Museum into communities where it’s really needed.

Most crowd-funding campaigns receive the majority of their donations in the last 48 hours. So please prove the statistics right by making your donation here.

Thank you, and I hope you can make it to our opening exhibit in September.

Roman

Roman Krznaric, Founder, Empathy Museum

 

Photo of Gari Pattison by Rachel Simpson

Time to swap introspection for outrospection

Thomas Cook, the lay Baptist preacher who was the unlikely inventor of the package holiday.

Here’s an an opinion piece I wrote for The Scotsman newspaper last week.

Walk into a travel agency today and you will be offered the usual array of bargain trips to beach resorts, luxury cruise vacations and weekend getaways to romantic cities. But the founder of the most successful travel company of the nineteenth century had a very different idea of what a holiday should be all about. He was a lay Baptist preacher named Thomas Cook, who organised his first package tour in 1841, taking five hundred working people on a twenty-two mile train trip from Leicester to Loughborough to attend a temperance meeting, where pious ministers called on them to abstain from the demon drink.

Although this may not be your idea of the perfect holiday break, Cook believed that travel should not just offer leisurely respite from a routine job, but give you a chance to question your values and how you live. ‘To travel is to dispel the mists of fable and clear the mind of prejudice taught from babyhood, and facilitate perfectness of seeing eye to eye,’ he said.

If we want to embrace Cook’s original vision, we need to invent a new kind of travel which provides an adventurous and inspiring approach to the art of living…

Read the rest of the article here.