…The title chosen by Hans TenDam is a profession of faith, and his book is a model of lucidity, without illusions, yet also not prophesying catastrophe.
The world is in a sorry state. As it makes its way with difficulty through the great transition, it seems to be assailed by natural disasters, geopolitical upheavals, by the great challenges of poverty, hunger, unemployment and pollution. We are leaving behind a society in which we knew and understood the nature, pace and rules, and now without realizing it we are being thrust into a global society, characterized by immense complexity and uncertainty.
As we make our way into the unknown, we have to attempt a fresh analysis, identify the new struggles ahead, and become actors in this planetary theatre without having learned our lines. TenDam stresses that understanding and action must be the key words. We must be able to adapt to change if we are to cope with this latest phase in the human adventure.
We must learn our way into this new era. As we stumble through the intertwined complex of contemporary problems, it is important for everyone to be involved. Every individual is more or less directly concerned with the problems of the world and the changes in store, even if it is easier to perceive the symptoms than the causes. The best hope for the survival of society thus lies in thousands of small, wise decisions by millions of ordinary people as they realize what is happening, rather than in reliance on leaders of governments to propose dramatic solutions. We must recognize that the possibilities of positive change reside in the motivations and the values that determine our behavior as individuals – the behavior of nations and societies ultimately reflects that of their citizens.
…In the face of the new global situation two very different attitudes are possible. One is to give up the struggle, overwhelmed by a sense of gloom and doom, and turn inward, away from the mind-boggling complexities and difficulties. The other attitude is the exact opposite: instead of feeling a helpless victim, to opt for action and try to create a new society. The current instability of the world is too often perceived as a threat, whereas it could open up new horizons and give people fresh opportunities to become Peace Builders and World Makers.