Monday, March 30, 2015

the future... other people will pick up and go beyond

     "When I speak about a social goal, the goal of society...I don't say, 'This is exactly what it's going to be like.' I don't have a blueprint in mind. I'm thinking more of a vision, I'm thinking of direction and I'm thinking of steps. I'm thinking more in terms of signs pointing in the right direction than I am of the shape of future society because I don't know what that shape is going to be—I don't know of anybody who has predicted correctly...
     "I think it's important to understand that the quality of the process you use to get to a place determines the ends, so when you want to build a democratic society, you have to act democratically in every way. If you want love and brotherhood, you've got to incorporate them as you go along, because you can't just expect them to occur in the future without experiencing them before you get there.  I agree with Che Guevara: the true revolutionary is guided by great feelings of love. If that love isn't built in, you'll end up with a fascist society. 
     "A long-range goal to me is a direction that grows out of loving people, and caring for people, and believing in people's capacity to govern themselves. The way to know they have these capabilities is to see something work well on a small scale... I think your belief in people's capabilities is tied in with your belief in a goal that involves people being free and being able to govern themselves.
     "... A long range goal has to be something for everybody. It can't be a goal that helps some people but hurts others.
     "Goals are unattainable in the sense that they always grow. My goal for the tree I planted in front of my house is for it to get big enough to shade the house, but that tree is not going to stop growing once it shades my house. It's going to keep on growing bigger regardless of whether I want it to or not. The nature of my visions are to keep on growing beyond my conception. That is why I say it's never completed. I think there always needs to be struggle. In any situation there will always be something that's worse, and there will always be something that's better, so you continually strive to make it better. That will always be so, and that's good, because there ought to be growth. You die when you stop growing.
     "Your vision will grow, but you will never be able to achieve your goals as you envision them. My vision cannot be achieved by me. You may save the whales, but the dream must push beyond that. It's a dream which I can't even dream. Other people will pick it up and go beyond. To put it in a simple way, I once said that I was going to start out on a life's work. It had to be big enough to last all my life. And since I didn't want to have to rethink and start over again, I needed to have a goal that would at least take my lifetime. After making that decision, I never thought of doing anything else, because I knew that I could just hack away on it, and what little I could do would take my lifetime. And even if we had a revolution, the quality of that revolution wouldn't necessarily be satisfactory, so I'd have to try to make it better."

— Myles Horton, concluding chapter called "The Future" in The Long Haul (Doubleday, 1990) p226-8.