|Shared concern as a global paradigm
A global insight has emerged amongst the people in the world: global pollution and increase of temperature are consequences of human misuse of the recourses of our common planet. Development of rescuing techniques is little and comes to late to catch up with over consumption brought about by increased population.
The commonest everyday reaction is "Why should I restrict my flights and the use of car if the others don’t?" The first ways to a shared solution is restrictive legislation. If laws are imposed, culprits can be punished. This procedure follows the model that we at the micro level (dealing with bullying in the school) have entitled the first paradigm.
But the greatest of the environmental culprits turn out to be so self-righteous that they do not acknowledge restrictions agreed by the smaller states. But even in the common people in small and considerate states the endeavours of the people to obtain a material standard of living thwart effective restrictions aiming at environmental protection. We hear the argument that "we must produce more in order to afford reaching environmental goals". This means: "We must increase the garbage mountain in order to diminish the garbage mountain".
Alongside the attempts to establish legislation there are responsible individuals and groups exerting voluntary restrictions of wastefulness of natural resources. The driving force is a spontaneous consciousness that results into the power of good example. This approach resembles with SCm-tackling bullying in schools, called the second paradigm.
The result is, in principle, the same as at the micro level: people/pupils who have a sensitive consciousness are inspired of good examples. But, like the ego-centered bullies in the schools, neither the bonus-eager managers nor wage-avaricious unions care about such altruism. The first paradigm, made for the evidently guilty ones, can be an abhorrent means for greed.
What says now the third paradigm we cherished at both micro and macro levels? SCm is based on finding shared solution for a shared concern. If the people on the planet have the over-consumption of the resources as a major shared concern, then everybody ought, sooner or later, find ways to achieve a shared solution? Those who carry international negotiations for restrictions are already guided by the ideas of shared concern. The difference to the third paradigm is that on the international level there is no therapeutic mediator that has the same position as a teacher in the school.
At the macro level, there is, however, a hidden motivation. It builds on an ominous prognosis. It is so frightening that I have hesitated to bring it up. Therefore I would begin by a conceptual distinction. It is the division between “prophecy of calamity” and “self-defeating prophecy”. The last expression indicates that a person who displays an ominous prognosis also shows the way to avoid it.
The following terrifying prognosis is: Our planet cannot manage the growing number of people with a resource-demanding style of life. Even if we may diminish our standard of living to the lowest possible, the great number of inhabitants becomes in itself the big, shared problem. Expectations that if people get good standard of living they want less children is not valid for all peoples on the Earth. The conclusion for a decent survival for humankind is that their very number is the shared problem. Hopes that the prognosis “if human beings get a good standard of living, they also want less children” is not valid for all people on the Earth. The problem is that if the standard of living increases for the poorest people the result is a population increment beyond the sustainability of the resources of the planet. Even if the richest share their resources with the poorest, the obstacle for a decent survival for us all is the number of people in itself.
There are two principal ways of reducing of world population. One is that all societies should promote birth control through voluntary agreements or legislation. The other is to resign themselves to the deadly processes.
To my knowledge, birth control at a big scale has been used only in China. The other course of events is as old as humankind. We know that population stress has occurred in the history when people in an island have consumed all the resources of nature. Unrest and conflicts increase, those who can, emigrate. Those who cannot start regard killing as a way of reducing competition and improving their chances of survival.
But if population stress becomes global… Then a nuclear war comes as an unavoidable event. Everybody likes to hope that it will occur elsewhere and not in the near future. But the possession of the Bomb is spreading. The probability that those groups which today practice suicidal bombing increases. Calculations of first strike as well. There exist no guarantees that you or your children can escape. Perhaps will it be delayed until our grandchildren grow up? Perhaps, but the risks are growing all the time.
People dare to mention the above scenario only in intimate groups. Others would consider it as a hellfire sermon. A politician mentioning such a subject would be stigmatized as a cynical doomsday prophet and hence politically incorrect. Mainly by faint hints behind his or her back.
I am presenting the utmost shared concern as a self-defeating prophecy. My proposition for a way out is global peace education that builds upon a shared concern paradigm. A younger generation that experiences conflict resolution by learning-by-doing in school could possess an instrument of great value in a world that solves shared problems by agreement. Our common world has no therapeutic mediator that has a position of a teacher in the school. But the world can provide itself with a generation that in the school has experienced mediation based on shared concern and elects politicians who are imprinted by the experience how shared concern can be lead to shared solution.