I’m Dr Nicholas Beecroft, a Consultant Psychiatrist in London. I’m exploring the Future of Western Civilization through a series of interviews. I want us to rejuvenate our energy, direction and self-confidence as a civilization.
My mission is to create a positive, appreciative space in which leaders at the evolutionary edge of our civilization can share their experience and set out their vision for our future to inspire others. They are visionaries sewing the seeds of future transformation, all genuine, creative, courageous people who really care about who we are and where we’re going.
By “civilization”, I mean Western Civilization- the one I’ve lived in, the one that’s transformed the world over the last 500 years; the one that’s gone global; the one that faces enormous threats, challenges and has the unprecedented opportunity to evolve to a really amazing future. When there’s so much changing all at once, old structures failing and a huge array of emerging threats, that all generates a lot of anxiety, pessimism and fear which distract us from putting energy into creating new solutions, generating new ideas and envisioning a better future.
Western Civilization has been supremely successful in all kinds of ways of which we should be enormously proud. Science, technology, industrialisation, democracy, individual rights, personal freedom, property rights, the rule of law, Christianity, humanism, organization, capitalism, feminism, civil rights, philosophy, music, art, even Imperialism have all, on balance, transformed the world for the better and have created new life conditions with new challenges and problems. In some cases, these advances had nasty side effects and some have become imbalanced. In others, they have replaced older structures and beliefs and many babies have been lost with the bathwater.Behind the News Headlines, usually quietly, under the radar, there’s a lot of good stuff going on; the seeds of the future taking root in the present. There are lots of evolutionaries trying out new ideas, new technologies, new ways of organizing and more integrated, conscious & balanced ways of thinking and being.
Human civilization is made up of human beings who are conscious beings and physical animals, all interconnected like a shoal of fish or a flock of birds. I’ve interviewed a huge range of people across a variety roles, professions, beliefs, politics, status, nationalities, religions, social classes and backgrounds. What is crystal clear to me is that whilst the world we live in is hyper-complex, we operate in it using a kind of mini-map of our civilization in our minds which we used to navigate through the world, guided by our inner compass of intuition and rational thought. It is astonishing how similar these inner maps are and the patterns are clear. This is how we self-organise in what is a complex living system- just like a bee hive or wildebeest migration.
Now we are super-connected by the internet, media and travel. We carry in our pockets access to billions of people and to just about all the knowledge that ever existed. Turning inwards we have access to to our instinctive intuition, heart, wisdom, common sense and judgement. Put together, that represents vast human potential and the most amazing opportunity for personal and cultural evolution ever. Looked at like that, just about all of our shared challenges and threats are solvable and a much better world is highly realistic. We’re engaged in conscious evolution of ourselves and our civilization.
There are a huge range of threats and challenges to The West and to the whole World. People focus their attention on different ones depending on their situation, beliefs and emotional make-up. The list is pretty depressing and overwhelming- so I’ve turned it into a list of positive questions instead.