Becoming an Optimistic Possibilist
Posted by Mike Kaaks10 February 2019
I’ve just spent an hour or so watching documentaries about Maori culture. I started from the question “how is it that Maori culture is so visible in the way NZ works”. That question interested me because I’m jealous of what New Zealand has when compared to Australia. We seem to stand for little more than one or the other of two political ideologies. The New Zealand culture reflects Maori values in many ways. You should seek out this topic. There’s something for all of us there.
As so often happens these days my viewing drifted from there to other docos, in this case featuring Rutger Bergman. He said at the end of one of his interviews “there’s nothing natural about the way we structure our societies”. When I heard these words I was struck that synchronicity had come by again. The Maori / NZ experience was in one sense about boundaries, or the lack thereof. Another phrase Bregman used that resonated was in describing himself this way - “I’m not an optimist, I’m not a pessimist, I’m a possibilist.”
So what if we become Possibilists for Australia. For me that means we stop being driven by what might go wrong and be become driven by what is possible, by what is better. Achieving that means I can’t live with the neutrality of the Possibilist. When action is required you have to come down on one side or the other. You have to be optimistic or pessimistic in your actions.
As I’ve said many times I am a supreme optimist. I am now also an optimistic possbilist. As such here is my shopping list for Australia….
1. a flag that represents our true history not just the last 200 years.
2. Universal Basic Income in Australia - it has been proven to work for the betterment of the whole society where it has been implemented. We can afford it. We should do it. Like Infrastructure spending it has many multiplier effects.
3. all our politicians testing decisions they are about to make with the question “is this good for my country” rather than is this good for my ideology or my party.
4. Spend more on infrastructure. The flow-on effects of this are overwhelmingly positive as has been proven again and a again.
5. don’t buy fighter jets that ultimately only get used to train pilots for a career with a commercial airline.
6. Stop cutting taxes in the hope that somehow it will end up as a benefit to the middle and lower classes rather than in the pockets of the 1%.
7. Put a brake on privatisation. I don’t think we are better off with huge monopolies such as airports in private hands.
I’ve declared my hand. I wish I had done it when I was younger, but that’s no reason to hold back now. As Margaret Mead said “Never believe that a few caring people can't change the world. For, indeed, that's all who ever have.”