We believe a deeper understanding of human experience and potential can inspire a transformational political agenda.
This is new territory and we’re building a collective picture of it together. For this we need to gather the people and organisations who are pioneering these ideas.
Find out more about our research strands and suggest people at the forefront of this important work:
Strand one: PSYCHOLOGICAL DEVELOPMENT and Spiritual Growth AS a societal Concern
We all go through crucial phases of psychological development throughout life that make us wiser, more empathic and socially more adept. This level of personal development determines how well we manage to tackle complex social problems.
Personal and interpersonal development is a societal concern that’s too important to solely remain a private responsibility. It must become one of the most central issues in public life.
In this strand, we will explore the way that individuals and groups can increase their capacity for psychological / spiritual depth and intellectual complexity, and how this in turn can transform society.
We are especially interested in:
- thinking that focuses on the importance of emotional, psychological, and spiritual growth in society
- practical changes in areas like media, education, and healthcare that might orient us towards a deliberately developmental society, from media that challenge our biases to mindfulness as part of the school curriculum
- policies that emphasise our social, emotional and psychological needs
- forms of infrastructure (whether digital, physical, social or otherwise) that influence how we see ourselves and relate to others--and how these forms of infrastructure can be reimagined
- ways of making psychological, social and spiritual concerns accessible and appealing to society at large
We are inspired by Metamoderna’s vision of Welfare State 2.0in ‘The Listening Society’ and the RSA's report on Revitalising Spirituality to Address 21st Century Challenges; and are following a new movement of secular-sacred organisations that are helping non-religious millennials meet their emotional and spiritual needs.
STRAND tWO: Renewing OUR POLITICAL IMAGINATION
The reach of our imagination makes a huge difference in politics, framing the debate and determining what we will tolerate and what we will pursue. We believe there’s currently an imagination deficit in politics and that in order to choose our next move we first need a wider and more varied collective political imagination.
The challenge is that vested-interest backed media and other institutions and social norms are hugely powerful in shaping our perception of normal. We believe that to break through this we need a deeper engagement with the fundamentals of individual experience- the primacy of love, the inevitability of death, the vulnerability of being a human, and for the silent majority, the presence of the divine. These deep experiences are a signal amidst the noise, inspiring us beyond the divisive and belittling story we are told.
In this strand, we will explore the role of deep experience in renewing collective priorities and how to develop and communicate new political ideas in a hostile media environment.
We are especially interested in works that focus on:
- ways of making new political and societal aims credible and compelling
- strategies to expose and disrupt dominant media narratives
- the role of participatory culture in helping us transition assume post-consumer values
- examples of deep experience at a mass cultural level
- visionary leaders, particularly those from underprivileged backgrounds
We were moved by the inclusive national story told by the London Olympics Open Ceremony, wish to see more accessible forms of participatory culture inspired by Burning Man, and like how the next era project makes a new vision for society credible for policy makers.
STRAND Three: emotionally intelligent politics
We have come to a major political impasse, where those on both right and left find themselves unable to productively communicate with adversaries, allies, or voters. Politics has become a mindless slagging match, appealing to our fears and self righteousness but offering no long-term approach to political life in a complex world.
Far right politicians and authoritarian rulers are capitalising on this moment of uncertainty. But we believe that there are better ways to address our fundamental needs for security and belonging, and would like to see these types of emotional needs addressed from a truly progressive perspective, acknowledging our fears but ultimately moving beyond them.
In order to go beyond a politics of fear and heal divisions within our own movement we also need to develop and embody much greater emotional nuance, moving away from positions of antagonism, policing, skepticism, and sarcasm and instead leading from a place of vulnerability, openness and compassion. We believe this more sincere form of engagement disarms our skeptics, supposed enemies and critical friends and models the kind of world we wish to create. Modelling this type of politics ultimately allows others to believe in it and join us.
In this strand, we will explore how we might meet the psychological needs and desires at the heart of politics from a truly progressive perspective and model a more emotionally intelligent politics.
We are especially interested in:
- ways of navigating, incorporating, and transcending reactive, angry, fearful forces in politics
- progressive appeals to security and strength
- the potential of fallibility and vulnerability in political life
- media campaigns that reveal our common humanity
- public spaces that help bridge our political differences
- new conceptions of belonging and other ways of thinking that transcend individualism, tribalism and nationalism
- emerging political systems that favour encourage human psychological development
We love how The Danish Alternative finds the good in their opponents, respect the Swedish MP Johanna Jönsson for modelling vulnerability and admire how Russell Brand speaks openly about his experience with addiction as both a spiritual and political problem.