What Does it Mean to be Human? || Simon Anholt: How Good Should a Country Be?
- L19 Cube @ The Village, Brewery Green at The Tetley, Hunslet Road, Leeds, LS10 1JQ, Leeds
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Simon Anholt: How Good Should a Country Be?
Here’s a new question: instead of asking how well your country is doing, trying asking how much it is doing?
We believe that world leaders aren’t just responsible for their own people and their own slice of territory: today, their responsibility extends to the whole of humanity and the whole of the planet.
We live in an age of Grand Challenges: climate change, violent conflict, pandemics, nuclear proliferation, organised crime, human trafficking, mass migration, racism and intolerance, human rights abuses, and natural disasters, to name just a few. Each of these problems has been made more dangerous and pervasive by globalisation, and each of them is now too big and too complex for any individual nation to resolve on its own.
For millennia, people in positions of power and authority have been held responsible for their own people and their own territory, but in our interconnected and interdependent modern world this is no longer a sufficient principle: in the longer term, it’s disastrous. The next goal for humanity is simple: to change the culture of governance from one that is fundamentally competitive to one that is fundamentally collaborative.
What does it mean to be human?
The overarching theme is ‘What does it mean to be human?’ Such a fundamental question isn’t just answered with a biological definition. The very things that make us unique (if we are) can be considered from a philosophical, historical, innate, technological or future thinking perspective.
The world advances at such rapid pace, changes in society, commerce, lifestyles and environments, often driven by economic or technological stimuli, occur much more quickly than we as humans and societies can respond to them. This is generating turmoil as our presence and standing becomes ever associated not with who we are as people, but what we do, how we do it and who with. Are we losing sight of what it means to be human or did we never really understand that anyway. More than ever, people are questioning their own behaviour, unhappy or uncomfortable with where it has led them or where that leads humanity.
What does it mean to be human? We are unpredictable and that’s principally what makes us human after all - does modern life push us into a narrow conformist space dominated by technology or money and other influences…can or should that be resisted, or do we shape it for our own or society’s needs? We need to ask insightful questions about ourselves and our communities. For example, have we reached ‘peak tech’ now that we have digital detox, switch off and screen free days? Have we lost sight of the essence of what we want from our life?
Venue Address: L19 Cube @ The Village, Brewery Green at The Tetley, Hunslet Road, Leeds, LS10 1JQ, Brewery Green at The Tetley, Hunslet Road, Leeds, LS10 1JQ