Who is preventing the future? Part 1.

There is no doubt that we can with an open society stop poverty, famine and opression. But if it is so easy in theory, why hasn’t this happened already? The answer is of course that there are people preventing this from happening. There are people who fear or despise the open society and thus help keeping the world in the current state of misery and war.

The open society can be scary. No poverty and no oppression sounds great, whoever could fear that? But the open society means that people share knowledge and information, and has the freedom to act on this knowledge. But freedom to act comes with the responsibility for your actions. And responsibility is a scary thing, especially if you think you can’t handle it.

Many people think they are failures. We all grow up with grand ideas of what we will do when we grow up. We read stories about heroes and princesses, we learn about inventors and explorers, and we dream about being a rock stars or presidents. But only a few can ever be famous, becoming rich usually means giving up friends and family in a never ending quest for more riches, and the time of the inventors and explorers are long since over. So many people harbour this nagging suspicion that they are losers, and that the choices they did was the incorrect ones. And if you don’t trust your ability to choose, then you will fear responsibility. If you don’t trust your own choices, the fact that others made other choices than you did makes you worried. Maybe your choice wasn’t the right one? It’s easier if a higher authority, be it the party, the church or the state, tells you that the other choices are wrong. If you don’t trust your own ability to choose, you will look for a higher authority to choose for you, and you will claim that these choices are the correct choices for everyone, so that you no longer have to doubt that you did the right choice. Thus, the desire to control others life often comes from a deep seated fear that you are not living your own life correctly.

This fear of your own choices and the desire to impose controls on others is one of the forces that prevent the open society, as these people will tend to fear and desire control over all that to them is unknown and unusual. So these people will want to stop immigration from cultures they are not familiar with, outlaw any new technologies they do not understand and generally stop the openness of a society as it will lead to complexity and new choices. Choices they think they are incapable of making. They may be wrong or they may be right about this (they are usually wrong), but the result is the same: A strong force against the open society.

On the other hand, people who are confident in their choices, people who know they are on the right path, will on the other hand welcome the open society, the new choices and challanges that it brings, secure in the knowledge that they can handle it. They may also be wrong or right, but they are of cours eusually right. Most people can handle their choices in life. Humanity consists of people quite capable of choosing their lifes path. But we are not always willing to do so.

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