She attended her first global security lecture. It was the second one to run; the first she’d failed to attend because a) the timetabling system was inscrutable; and b) the virtual environment was in need of serious care and support!
The module seemed very well organised – pedagogically and delivery-wise, as well as from the point of view of the content itself.
However, she emerged from the lecture in a deep depression. In her other modules, under the Criminal Justice umbrella properly and rightly speaking, free and broad-ranging opinion was contemplated. The thought-experiment environment was well-, safely-, constructively- and professionally-embedded.
As long as it was respectful and could be evidenced, nothing was proscribed from such a context.
And so the organisers of these other modules were – without exception – creative and imaginative thinkers, aiming not to prevent crime by simply* stopping it in its tracks but, rather, prevent its presence by almost bewildering it ingeniously into wonderful absence!
Their ability to reimagine structures and environments was exactly their purpose. They were ten steps ahead of almost everything out there. And what’s more, and what so pleased her, ten of those such important evidenced steps.
However, global security, clearly – sincerely! – a pressingly important matter, left no space for creativity: no space for that reimagination she found so exhilarating in the rest of her learning.
Laws codified their every step.
Prison officers imprisoned.
Prisoners occupied cells.
And the police, over and over again, closed the whole goddamn circle in their rightful and obligatory defence of the realm.
And she could now understand better why it was that the two ways of seeing, thinking and doing never would meet.
Neither was wiser than the other.
But both were condemned to continue to weave their patterns of behaviour towards the retirement they all eventually earned.
And in the meantime, people would continue to blow up other people, kill other people, beat other people, abuse other people, terrify and twist the lives of other people …
And in the meantime, those whose job it was to put away criminals through the codes that shaped a societally necessary obedience would never contemplate speaking openly with those others who considered that too many of the same codes were simply serving to describe a practically abject need for the doffed cap to be … well … doffed.
And though her own ontology tended towards the latter perspective, something she was happy to admit in all honesty, she was also truly sympathetic to the points of view of both.
And so the depression she sensed on coming out of that lecture was born not of despising one side or the other but, instead, much more because she saw all too clearly that never – but never! – would even people on the same side be able to properly appreciate the other’s way of thinking stuff.
Both, in their own ways, had the vision which might one day carry civilisation over the finishing line – though (and here was the rub!) probably never on their lonesomes. But neither felt it entirely useful to view, nor indeed were entirely comfortable viewing, the world through the spectacles (always thought-through by each, never rose-tinted by either) of what should have been their partners in crime.
* Nothing was simple about preventing crime: in particular, crimes such as terrorism, and those other organised kinds, which escaped the control of more easily managed borders. So she accepted that most rigorously. But what she found far more difficult to run with was that the good guys couldn’t thought-experiment stuff without censorship. Civilisation’s future lay in thinking the unthinkable.
Mainly because only the unthought would now save us.
For everything else, after all, had been tried …