Letter to Middle England is a letter to the middle classes. It is an analysis of the evolution of middle class aspirations; as it is an assessment of the potential of the middle classes to change the rules for thinking that currently govern our world.
The author also examines the impact of these rules on the mental and emotional health of British young people who were described in a recent Unicef report as the most unhappy in the industrialised world, followed by young Americans. She reiterates that this unhappiness stems from outdated belief systems which go against everything young people are experiencing as true.
Again, the author explores her cultural conditioning and the rules that taught her to value the strong, wealthy and powerful and despise the vulnerable, weak and different. Inevitably, the vulnerable become prone to breakdown, crime and violence leaving us all afraid and insecure as the vicious cycle of natural inequality goes round and round. In the end, it is our willingness to choose to reason, and to assess, analyse and examine our values that ultimately dictates the quality of life we experience. We can choose to stay on the current unsustainable course which will lead to a grim end or we can choose to break the cycle, to change, to grow, to love, to open our hearts. The warm impulses of the human heart do not respond to anything less than true love for the self and others; and this love begins with the desire to change: When we change, our world changes.
Tribute to Middle England
When I was born, my ancestors, for reasons of history and karma, left me a legacy which meant I had to work hard at making sense of the world. Although my birthplace was in England, I had the good fortune to spend my formative years in Africa, the land of my parents. I grew up in relative privilege and lived within the cultural parameters of an Anglo-Saxon belief system. At the time I was growing up in Freetown, Sierra Leone, long before the civil war which ravaged the country, we had access to many modern facilities. Electricity, running water, good roads, good transportation, good quality medical care, good education, electrical goods, up to the minute technologies and a whole range of commodities made our lives very comfortable and rich. There is no doubt that the choices I grew up with because of the circumstances of my birth equipped me to access many opportunities including the ability to write this letter to you, at this time and place.
Because of the dynamism of your ancestors, ships were designed and built that connected worlds that we could never have imagined existed. As a result my parents and my grandparents before them were able to travel to England to study and have experiences which opened up our lives to ways of being, seeing, thinking and feeling that might not otherwise have been possible. The invention of the aeroplane provided unprecedented opportunities for people the world over to discover, explore, meet and enjoy different cultures, cuisines and values. Access to books and new technologies such as the television strengthened this connection to the wider world further. We were able to learn even more about people from distant countries and distant lands; of history, of politics, of sociology, geography, psychology not to mention the constant stream of scientific discoveries, medical miracles and the paradoxes of life. Civil society made us feel that we mattered as individuals and that we had rights as well as responsibilities. The religion of the Protestants taught us the value of hard work, enterprise and charity. Although I was an ambiguous consumer of some of the ideas, values and aspirations that your ancestors peddled, I have for the most part of my life embraced and enjoyed them.
Living in England for over half of my life, I had experiences and opportunities for which I will always be grateful. For the most part of my life there, I felt valued as a member of society and was a direct beneficiary of a liberal system which strived at least in principle to be even handed in the way it treated its citizens...
In Chapter One: Tribute to Middle England, the author reviews the emergence of Middle England during the Victorian era. She examines the values and aspirations that were promoted to men and women at home and abroad, the landmark contributions of Middle England to the modern world and its impact on her life. She proposes that the unimaginable consequences – a potent concoction of liberalism, national and international activism blended with materialism and individualism - have brought the world perfectly to where it must be, face to face with the choices that it must now make.
Continue reading on the Feel the Change project web site.
Letter to Middle England will soon be available in the book store.