Connectedness and its Discontents – Thoughts on Brexit (with apologies to Sigmund Freud)


He drew a circle that shut me out–
        Heretic, a rebel, a thing to flout.
But Love and I had the wit to win:
        We drew a circle that took him in!
Edwin Markham, Outwitted

So let us not be blind to our differences, but let us also direct attention to our common interests and the means by which those differences can be resolved. And if we cannot end now our differences, at least we can help make the world safe for diversity. For in the final analysis, our most basic common link is that we all inhabit this small planet. We all breathe the same air. We all cherish our children’s futures. And we are all mortal.
John F. Kennedy, American University Commencement Address, 10 June 1963

———————

EU referendum

For some reason, this morning, on the news of Great Britain leaving the European Union, I thought of the title of the classic book by Sigmund Freud, Civilization and its Discontents.

We are increasingly connected. And, we need to be connected. But sometimes, the connections don’t work out to the advantage of all. And sometimes, the idea is that we could be better off with fewer connections; even severing such connections. Call it an era of Connectedness and its Discontents

And this morning, we are all watching the reactions across the will-it-remain-United Kingdom.

All connections are ultimately connections between people, and between peoples. And we are having to decide just how much connectedness we want. We are all citizens of this planet, President Kennedy said. We’ll have to wait and see what this vote means for other connections across this planet of ours.

It’s an uncertain time…

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