What could possibly go wrong?

By Pete Jennings    Copyright 2018

“What could possibly go wrong?” is not a very re-assuring question. It is invariably followed by a catastrophic and violent disaster. Maybe we should be more pessimistic and ask “What could possibly go right?” and expect a positive outcome to arise from the inevitable cataclysm like a flower from a rubbish dump.

The older UK generation used to talk of ‘the Dunkirk spirit’ as camaraderie and a sense of community cohesion arising from the darker periods of World War 2. We have our modern equivalents: people showing their humanity, courage and neighbourliness during disasters as wide ranging as terrorist attacks, fire or flood that are not evident in everyday life. It seems a shame that it takes something bad happening for a community or individuals to work together for a common good.

Maybe people do good things all the time, but are only reported by the media in the context of some terrible incident. Good news seldom makes news headlines, but I am sure that there are people being kind to each other every day, and I say that as a fairly cynical pessimist.

Maybe part of the problem is increasing secularism in the West: there is a perception by some not to expect good deeds from a person without a spiritual path, (or of one that they disapprove of) although good works are not the monopoly of religious people of any persuasion. They can just as well be done by a money orientated atheist as a devoutly religious priest.

As greater minds have pointed out, you can rarely change the whole world by yourself, but you can sometimes alter your small part of it. If everyone did that, the small parts may join up and create a better place more organically than some central decree. Pagans are quite used to having an uphill struggle to obtain equality with other religious paths, although progress has been made in the last three decades. Inevitably on a local basis they tend to try to look after ‘their corner.’ Hence there have been environmental campaigning, interfaith discussions and public events that often change not just a situation but others perception of us. It inevitably means that we have to ‘go public’ at times, which not everyone relishes but there are many who work behind the scenes who make just as valid a contribution. We have the ability to be ‘what could possibly go right?’

Pete Jennings




















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