senior lecturer in risk and security at Cranfield University
I work in the field of security. Almost two years ago I was quoted in The Guardian newspaper saying ‘insecurity is the key driving concept of our times’. I am happy to stick to that. We can see this operating right across the board from fears about crime and international terrorism, to concerns about global warming or avian flu.
But we need to learn to distinguish between perceptions and realities. The world is not a more insecure place to be today than ever before. Rather, our sense of its being so stems from a broader loss of purpose and engagement with broader social processes.
Nothing can be resolved without first addressing the profound sense of cynicism and misanthropy within contemporary society. This shapes our attitude towards others and the possibility of changing things for the better.
Only then might it make sense to consider other policy issues such as war, economics, transport, and the environment. This is because if we start analysing these from a framework that assumes there is little we can do, or that human-beings are a problem, then the solutions we derive will reflect this and limit what we can achieve.
Bill Durodié is a contributor to The Changing Role of the Public Intellectual (buy this book from Amazon (UK) or Amazon (USA)), and Science: Can We Trust the Experts? (buy this book from Amazon (UK) or Amazon (USA)). See his website