[ This was a homework assignment from an ongoing Socratus Workshop on Imagining India’s Future in the Era of Climate Change ]
Dear younger Hari!
Greetings from approximately 3,650 days in the future! I am happy that you and your generation made it through relatively unscathed, despite climate chaos, fascist authoritarianism, the near-collapse of social and ecological systems, and the failures of late stage capitalism.
The world is different now. The almost-mad wannabe-dictators who insisted on screwing up the world “their way or the highway” are now dead and gone. But not forgotten, no. They remain frozen in time on the Internet tubes for us to study and criticize and learn from – learn how not to be, that is. You did well by biding your time.
Business is different too. The “social responsibility of business” is no longer “to increase its profits”. We dance on the grave of that idea. The Invisible Hand turned out to be more or less immaterial when it came to rolling up our sleeves, solving climate change, air pollution, water security, energy access, the eradication of poverty, etc etc etc etc. Business leaders shuffled around in an uncomfortable tango for several years before finally embracing the truth – they were responsible, they would pay, they would change, they must change, or die.
Work is therefore different, as well as play. Culture has changed. A man’s worth is no longer measured by his purse, and it’s no longer a Man’s World. Material Girls no longer program our consumption habits with their Fair and Lovely skin, and Biblical imperatives to “go forth and multiply” are replaced by suggestions to “make love, not babies”. It is a time of healing, learning, loving, trying, experimenting, succeeding, falling flat on our faces, undertaking the generally heroic, mundane task of living simply and quietly in harmony with the world.
We figured it out, we’re figuring it out, we were too clever by half, we will learn, we are learning, we have turned the corner, we will face this and every challenge, we have pivoted, we survived. Still alive, seeking harmony in a connected system of systems of systems.
Onward the human enterprise!
Nov 5, 2030.