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In Kafka’s The Castle, officials from the 'castle' go to extraordinary lengths to conceal their presence in the village, where those who rely on their administration live. Meetings with petitioners are held in the middle of the night, and so sensitive are the officials to the possibility of being confronted by a villager that they hide in their rooms at the village’s inn until the right moment to dash out to their carriage and depart.
Ebola, war, terrorism, injustice, inequality, squalid government, torture. Sometimes the inventory of cruelty and suffering seems overwhelming. The temptation to spiral into despair and the cynicism born of helplessness can assail us all. But sometimes a glimmer comes in the darkness and smallness no longer seems to equal futility.
“Imagine...it's easy if you try”. It's a good lyric but John Lennon was not entirely accurate. What might pejoratively be described as airy-fairy and perhaps slightly wishful supposition is not particularly difficult. More is asked of us by the kind of creative, imaginative thinking which has the power to transform.
The Roman Catholic Church should focus less on preaching against abortion, contraception and homosexuality and more on its ministry of mercy, Pope Francis has said.
Change is about structures, policies and politics, for sure. As a thinktank looking specifically at how belief and values can impact the arena of hard choices, we are the first to recognise that.
Those with a vision of a better society often find the vested interests against a more just, peaceful and sustainable world immensely dispiriting.