That which is not good for the bee-hive cannot be good for the bees.
Marcus Aurelius, in –Meditations–
The guy lived -and ruled large part of Europe- nearly 2000 years ago.
What is interesting is that this quote was used in multiple occasions by the mind behind one of the European oldest populist parties -Gianroberto Casaleggio of the italian 5 stars movement- and that it symbolizes in more than a way the founding principle of many other populist values.
I wrote extensively about the conflict between individualism and rationalism in past, and how the risk of pursuing an excessively rational strategy, may be evocative of the authoritarian regimes of the last century.
I also wrote about how Neoliberalism concentrated wealth in fewer hands at expense of the remaining 95% of the population or more.
Populism is born on these premises, but there are aspects of it that can and probably will bring a positive contribution to our world.
For one, non-individualistic values, will naturally comport a degree of selflessness, and decrease of narcissism.
It is surely hard to see now, in a climate of increased nationalism, and empathy towards migrants reaching the lowest point, but to be fair I am not imagining an utopian world of universal brotherhood here… just an increased sense of community would do, and nationalism is actually very compatible with that.
Shifting focus towards the “people”, the majority, is a populist mantra that involves the departure from individualistic values. What I am picturing is that this focus-shift will not easily be contained, and will spread to all the communicating vessels of culture.
To be clear: when someone invokes the analogy of a bee in a beehive, it is then very hard for them to push for selfishness within the same framework.
We cannot realistically think we can go back in time to how happy we all were once upon a time. Brexit, populism and deglobalization are just some of the signs that we started to get angry at how things are going, and when something makes us angry, it is our instinct to bring it down and replace it with something different.
The hope is that Different and Better will work out to be in the same direction, but that we will only find out when the drawing is completed.