If there is a nobility within the capitalist project, it is that the whole edifice is built on aspiration. It teaches that the aspirations of the individual will benefit the majority; the greatest benefit arises from everyone striving for themselves. Yet it teaches us nothing about hope. In fact, hope seems incompatible with this model – it is a pale flicker on its own. Hope is not aspiration, nor is it optimism. Optimism deals with possible realities; it is the light of our everyday. Hope, by contrast, exceeds all rationale, it is buoyant in the face of history or circumstance, it enables us to see into the future and to envision the impossible. Other than this loss of long-term vision, there is another problem with aspiration being the underpinning human driver of our economies. If we become focused on the achievement of short-term advances in our material or social status, we also become subservient to their counterpoints – having something taken away, being reduced.
This is why so many political fear tactics relate to having something stolen; jobs, culture, your hard-earned taxes.
The transformative power of hope so rarely bares its head in out polity anymore – the election of Obama, and before that Kevin ’07 being among the rare examples. And, as so many people wake up to the illusion that aspiration does not automatically equal success and happiness, this attendant lack of hope leads to disenchantment with the political system, and social systems at large…
This is a very forward-focused AQ. We look at how we can restore hope and refresh trust in the systems we rely on, whether it’s the media, the government or the education system. Leading the charge, Louise Tarrant asks the question, ‘If you woke up in the Australia of your dreams, what would it look like?’ – and finds that hope doesn’t lie too far below the surface. We also look at modern civics education and the issues around lowering the voting age, and how we can best prepare young Australians to engage with their democracy.
We explore the setting of ethical frameworks around the technologies of the future, the effect of media concentration on our lives, and the need for evidence-based decisions in education reform.
I hope you enjoy.