I was at a meeting the other day in London, just off Kensington highstreet. It was raining and cold in the late afternoon. On the pavement there was a young girl crouching, holding a paper cup with the rim chewed up in front of her. If you looked closer at her, she seemed quite out of it, very red around her eyes, looking like she was not even capable of asking for help. Very, very sad, simply.
Lots of people were walking by, including me; busy, used to seeing beggars. She was probably around twenty, not that much older than my own daughter.
For some reason I was very disturbed by this, but I didn’t know what to do, apart from giving her a couple of pounds. I don’t live in London, I feel like a stranger who doesn’t really know what the rules are, and besides, like everyone else, I had an important meeting waiting.
It seemed she ought to be able to contact someone – a police man – and say, I give up, I’m freezing, I’m crying, I’m sick, I’m sitting on the street in an insane world of people that see me, that care for a moment, who don’t want to harm me – but on the hand, never stop and offer a bit of their precious time to help.
The weird thing was that the meeting was with the author of a book describing how business needs to keep creative, changing and adapting in order to stay fit in the evolutionary game of the market place.
And it makes me wonder, if we are entering a paradigm where each of us is supposed to be more responsible and self determining, co-creating and participating in shaping our circumstances – and if evolution culls those that are less fit... where does that leave those that are not creative and able to assume responsibility. The sick, the weaker minds, those in crisis of some sort.
Once the old ideologies of the industrial mass society are discarded – what mechanisms are left to take care of the weakest? Particularly given that the distance between rich and poor in most countries is growing. How far will polarization go this round?