‘”The true meaning of life is to plant trees, under whose shade you do not expect to sit’ -Nelson Henderson
The point of course, is that the way we live now is creating the future of tomorrow. If things are not put in place for the future generation in the present, then they will suffer. Our actions now are shaping the ways in which the next sweep of people will be able to live. If we don’t plant seeds in the present then when there is a sunny heat drenched day in the future, there will be no trees creating shade for our children’s children to sit under.
To think of ourselves as an isolated moment in time, our actions consequential only to ourselves is plainly speaking selfish and wrong. We are all connected through time and space, no man is an island. We need to think about who we are voting for, the decisions these people will make based on what they promised to us the voter in their manifesto. Such decisions are going to impact lives now but they will also be setting into motion a pathway into the future, taking our country and society in an irreversible direction.
The point really hits if you work backwards from it….today if I’m ill I can take myself off to the doctors or the hospital and not have to worry if I have enough money set aside to afford care and treatment. Terrifyingly, this hasn’t always been the case, if I’d lived 100 years ago, it was every person for themselves. Perhaps I would’ve got treated if I had money, as a person low down in the social hierarchy there may not have even been anyone willing to treat me. My only possibility of ‘care’ would’ve been if a charitable doctor felt like bestowing treatment. It blew my young mind when I realised that the UK is different, that other countries work differently and you do have to pay for healthcare in others places. I’d always assumed that free healthcare was a given right that needed no second thought. So where does the NHS come from, why does it even exist? Really, every time I use the NHS I should be thanking all those people seventy years ago who voted in favour of Clement Atlee and his government who introduced the NHS a few years later.
When you think of the future what do you care about, how would the world of the future look for you? For me, there will still be beautiful parts of it, lush green natural environments that have not been turned into grey and concrete. Animals will be treated better and appreciated (all of their lives worth something and valued), people will be able to think and speak freely the world over, the imbalance between the worlds’ rich and poor narrowed and I hope we will have worked out a way to take pressure off ourselves. The more we have of the basic things we need to survive, the more we seem to create unnecessary pressure and stress on ourselves instead of just enjoying life. How I, you, we, live now is creating a certain kind of future, the people who we vote for and who will then be governing us as a result of our vote, will be creating a certain kind of future for this country. In 1933, 44% of the German people voted for the Nazi party and in so doing, changed the course of history for the world. The ball was released at the top of a particularly slippery ethical slope, that would end in the censorship of free speech and the killing of millions of innocent people.
This is taking this line of thought to the extreme, but it happened and it could happen again. Plato said ‘your silence gives consent’. By not voting you are remaining silent and giving your consent to whatever kind of future the next government will forge.
What do you think? Do you plan to vote? Have you always voted? What would your future world be like?