What’s so bad about being a radical?

2

July 14, 2018 by Cláudia

We live in radical times. Inequalities are poignant, resources have been used and abused, biodiversity is being lost at such a high rate that scientists have been talking about a mass extinction, amounts of non-biodegradable waste are growing overwhelmingly… And Humanity has not managed to organize and define strategies for what is going to be the biggest challenge in the near time – climate change.

Harmful chemicals are present in everyday items, such as clothes, cosmetics, hygiene products and food, which leads to an increase in chronic diseases such as cancer. We are quite literally constantly being poisoned. Our competitive, labour-focused way of life is making average people’s anxiety levels increase. Our focus on materialistic and superficial values, the growth of individualism and loss of the sense of a community leads to an increase in feelings of loneliness, despair, inadequacy and, ultimately, to depression.

Our socio-political-economic system is failing us in every way possible – our capitalist corporative economic system is creating more and more precarious jobs, our value-system is not prioritizing what actually makes us feel happy and we keep living in the delusional idea that we can infinitely live like we are today without any regard for the ecossystems that provide us with the resources we need to survive. We live in a world where people don’t get medical treatment if they don’t have enough money, where people can work as hard as they can and still can’t afford a life with dignity, where people are denied basic living conditions such as housing, food and healthcare. This is pretty radical.

When I look at how our world works, I can’t help to think that we need radical change – we need to actually change the system that underpins our way of living, not make small superficial reforms while the actual system keeps by and large the same. If we want to solve the root cause of all of our social, political, economic and environmental problems – a system that systematically puts money and private interests in front of people and the environment – then we need to be brave enough to realize we need radical change.

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Radical is a clearly loaded expression because it gets unfairly associated with violence and lack of rationality. But violence, ignorance and irrationality are not what being radical means at all. Radical just means completely different. In our current system, we already face enough violence, ignorance and irrationality. Peace, equality and respect for each other and for the planet we live in are the truly radical ideas.

When I say I am radical, I mean I want radical change. Because when I look at Humanity’s potential and what our society currently looks like, I see that we could do so much better. And that we deserve so much better.

We are at a crucial time in human History – the world has never changed at such a fast pace and we are faced with significant questions that need defining answers which will shape our future. We need to be brave enough to imagine and conceptualize what kind of world we want to build. 

What kind of values do we want steering our lives? Money? Greed? Individualism? Consumerism? Materialism?

Or well being, community and respect?

Are we brave enough to demand a new paradigm that actually benefits everyone both right now and in future generations?

The word radical instills fear because it transports us to a possible world that we know nothing about. We may not be happy about the current state of things but at least we know them. And there is nothing scarier than the unknown. But we need to be brave and demand the world we deserve – a world where people are prioritized over money and private interests. 

Now is the time to do it.

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2 thoughts on “What’s so bad about being a radical?

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