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PodcastPart Four: Future Tense Politics

Part Four: Future Tense Politics

Often, it feels like our leaders are stuck in the short-term, motivated by getting re-elected every four or five years. In this episode, we meet people from in the government and outside it who are changing this with their innovative approaches to politics and law. We hear from teenagers suing their governments, ministers creating laws to care for future generations, and indigenous wisdom-keepers whose oldest-living democracy shows us what a system that cares for future earth-dwellers looks like.

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(gentle music) Headspace Studio. Hello again, how are you? For part four of your time at The Academy, we're going to begin by taking a trip to ancient Greece. We're going to hear a familiar voice. Hey Roman. How you doing Ella? I am good. Roman Krznaric, the public philosopher and fellow longtime thinker, who we talked with in part one, when he spoke to us about the tyranny of now. It's a beautiful day here in ancient Greece. The skies are blue over the Acropolis. What year is it roughly? We're in the middle of the fifth century, during the period of the rule of Pericles. I can see a lot of men gathering, what is going on? Well, of course it's men, and of course it isn't women, and it isn't slaves, and isn't metics or immigrants, and they are gathering because they are there to talk and not just to talk, but to do politics. And one of the great things about ancient Athens at this time, as we look around in this sunny day with the insects around us, is that democracy was being born and it was being born through people participating in it, those who counted as citizens. And if we compare that to where we are today, it was very different because it was about direct democracy. It wasn't about having representatives who were there to espouse your interests for you. You were doing it yourself. Okay, well, let's find somewhere to sit. I guess it's gonna have to be on a rock. On a rock, in the shade, under a tree, let's do that. (upbeat music) Welcome back to The Long Time Academy. It's great to be together again. So if we travel back from ancient Greece and the birth of democracy to today, right now, it feels like our politics is buckling under the pressure of the almighty challenges we're facing, through things like climate change, the pandemic, inequality, systemic racism, it's like our politics and politicians who are supposed to represent us, can't handle the world that's hurtling towards us. And not surprisingly, discontent with democracy is at an all time high. When you see them clustered together at global political events, it's like most of our leaders are not able to act like good ancestors, even when the stakes are at their highest. To me, it feels like our politics is mired in the present tense, and what we need is for it to have a future tense. The question is how? To start answering this question, let's return back to Roman, who, before he became a public philosopher, did something a little different. My own work history is as an academic back in the 1990s, I was actually officially a political scientist. And at that time I was, according to other people, an expert on democratic governance. But in retrospect, I think that there was something missing in my vision of what democracy was all about, because at...


Duration60 min

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