Building the Global Community
01 October 2003

The late British comedian and broadcaster Harry Secombe achieved a hit with the song, ‘If I ruled the world’:
If I ruled the world, ev’ry man would be as free as a bird,
Ev’ry voice would be a voice to be heard...

If only it were that simple!

There are plenty of well intentioned heads of government, and any number of enlightened statutes. But creating the perfect world cannot be imposed from on top.

It depends not just on a few men and women but on all of us. Society needs the right frameworks in which to flourish–and the evidence suggests that people perform to their best when they are not too tightly regulated–but a good framework is not a sufficient condition for success.

Human nature is always the joker in the pack. As William Golding illustrated in his novel, Lord of the Flies, if you put a bunch of ‘innocent’ children into idyllic surroundings they are more than capable of creating murder and mayhem. Conversely, as epitomized by Mother Teresa, Aung San Suu Kyi and a host of others, the greatest triumphs of the human spirit are often revealed amidst oppression, degradation and suffering.

Mountain House, the Initiatives of Change conference centre in Caux, near Montreux, Switzerland, stands for the belief that the good society will only be built as we recognize our need as individual human beings to choose between good and evil. We can decide to live in ways that are relevant to a world that is tired of division and greed, that yearns for reconciliation and justice. What is more, as we make personal decisions on a basis of ‘what is right’, we can attune ourselves to the higher wisdom that the Creator makes available to anyone who humbly seeks it.

In this issue of For A Change we report many of the stories of hope that emerged during this summer’s conferences in Caux. The theme was ‘From conflict to community in the global home’, and many of those taking part had practical experience of building community by applying IC’s challenging yet simple precepts.

None of us can ‘rule the world’ but we can make a decision to serve it, and to equip ourselves to do so to our maximum potential.