Article from GEN-Japan EDE, July 2021
It’s true for everyone, but especially for those in their 20s and 30s, the future of society is a real issue.
Recently, more and more people have been heard to say, “If we, the common people, stop capitalism altogether,” or “The economic system of capitalism is causing global problems” (Capital, Nature, and the Unfinished Critique of Political Economy, Kohei Saitoh). But even so, people will only be lost if they are unclear about a realistic alternative vision of society.
In July, GEN Japan decided to take a step further and explore this issue in their EDE.
“In order to realize the society that I wish for, where everyone can live their own lives, I believe that by freeing ourselves from the frame of thinking of ourselves as having our own skills, our own homes, our own girlfriends, etc., we can greatly expand our possibilities for living.”Taichi. Participant, 24 years-old
” Such as a warm society without hierarchy. I want to think more about my future”Tamaki. Participant, 19 years-old
It was most gratifying for me to see the younger people begin to realize this.
“It is a great experience for me to feel that the community nurtures people.”Azusa. Participant, 34 years-old
The July GEN-Japan EDE was held from July 17 (Sat.) to 19 (Mon.) at As One Suzuka Community. To make it easier for the general public to participate, an innovative way has been devised and approved. That is programmed to meet the requirements for five months of three days and one month of four days residential learning, instead of a continuous four-week program.
Recently, humanity as a whole needs to be able to envision and visualize the image of the next society after capitalism. GEN, an international eco-village network, and Gaia Education have been working since 1995 with the aim of proposing a new vision of society in which people can live in reality with peace of mind in an easy-to-understand manner.
In order to realize the society of the future, the programs are designed to depict a comprehensive change in the four dimensions (worldview, society, economy, and environment).
In July, the focus was on the social area, “Building a community that respects each individual” and “New leadership and decision making“, and the economic area, “Transitioning from globalism to a sustainable economy“.
To avoid generalizations and slippage, the participants first looked back at their own footsteps to this point in their lives, and while facing themselves, they drew and listened to each other’s life maps to date.
Everyone in this room could feel that everyone wants to live a truly happy life.
As we listened to each other, there seemed to be something that came naturally to us when we talked about a society for people. Then, participants wondered what happiness truly meant, and their interest turned in the direction of their true wish, which they had never stepped into before.
‘A company for people, an organization for people, a society for people’
On the second day, we started exploring by listening to the actual operations of the As One Community, Takuya Kishigami from Suzuka Farm Co., Ltd., Shoichiro Yoshioka from Ofukuro-san Bento. On the final morning, Satomi Yoshioka of Oburo-san Bento, Takuki Okada, an academy student at the farm, and Masako Ogura, who plays the role of a “grandmother” at a voluntary childcare center, shared their lives and work in the community.
Society is alive, and there is a “place and place to go” for people who are just as they are.
I was glad to know that the words of one of the participants, that she hoped that each of us would be able to find our own place and place of work. This was a common wish in the hearts of every participant. It gave us hope that we have the potential to grow to any height as human beings depending on our environment. In the circle of EDE participants, as we talked and listened to each other, we seemed to notice the changes in each other and to realize that this is one society.
Impressions from EDE Participants
I was happy to feel that I could share some of the elements that have influenced the “now” of the person sitting in front of me, such as their memories, experiences, and emotions.Tamaki. Participant, 19 years old
It was interesting to see how the image of each participant in my mind changed. (Atsuko 60s)Atsuko. Participant, 60 years old
It was great to hear directly from the people who actually live there. Their stories and the way they talk are not always clear and crisp. But there are so many things I can feel from them.Unamed. Participant
This time, I participated while thinking a little about my future. A society without hierarchy, a society connected to oneself and to others. I thought I should think about it slowly and positively.Risako. Participant, 24 years old
The theme that was interesting to me this time was “ownership”. By liberating the scope of “my” possessions, we can use more things, meet more people, and be of service to more people. I felt that there are many things that I feel like I own, such as my own things, my own skills, and my own partner. I strongly felt it is impossible that a society as a whole should not be a collection of “someone else’s things,” but something that we can all work together to create. I want to be in a state of “shared” rather than “give and take”.Taichi. Participant, 24 years old
About the Author
Hiroko Katayama, GEN-Japan Executive Director
Hiroko Katayama is the Executive Director of GEN-Japan, an established non-profit organization since 2016. She has been actively working in building trust and network among people and organizations that have purpose along the line of social and environmental regeneration for five years. Sensing into the current context and wishing for a clear vision to a regenerative future, she and her team have been planning and facilitating this online event since last fall, and achieving it with a lot of support.