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Birth of an Idea

About ten years ago, I fought a court case against a former client who owed me a life-changing amount of money. They lied, cheated and delayed their way through two-and-a-half years of heavy legal process, before finally being forced to pay up with expenses. Of course, by then they’d shut the original company and hidden the funds; although I got some money owed, it was way south of their debt.

Rather than dwell on the incident, I determined to make something positive of it and started writing. About ethics. Not so much as an idea, but how critically important it is to our everyday lives.

Two years later, the side-effects of a medicine nearly killed my wife and left her severely disabled. It is still bizarre to think of this gentle person and extremely talented artist, who created works of such touching beauty, being ‘removed’ from society by the negligence of a drug company. Whilst providing practical care for her, I wrote more about the perverse behaviour of certain companies and governments, and the impact on those that depend on them. 

Gradually it became clear: we’re all in this together. We feel it in every community that we belong to, whether it’s a village, sports team or workplace. Failure to honour this bond results in tension, unhappiness, poor communication and inefficiency. Organizations that deny or ignore this truth are destined to fail, because they neglect the one thing on which they depend: interdependent human beings. Us.

When the 2015 UK general election wheeled around, I felt impelled to stand as a candidate to turn my words into action. It was already obvious that democratically elected leaders, to whom we look for wise decisions, were struggling to fulfil their contract to serve the people. Further complications with my wife’s health caused me to stand down before the vote, and she entered a very difficult, bedridden year of pain.

More writing followed, and the first fruit of this is now seeing the light of day as ‘espresso’, which examines the world through the prism of secular ethics applied in five domains: our relationship to ourself (‘Self’), one-to-another (our ‘Culture’), one-to-many (both ‘Work’ and ‘Society’), and many-to-many (‘Politics’).

I believe that if we want to live as a healthy, contented people on a thriving planet, we’re going to have to meet the call, both individually and collectively, of caring for one and all. The global aftershocks of 2008, the damage wrought by our response to CoViD, and climate change make that challenge even more urgent.

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