In the face of huge challenges such as climate change, resource depletion, financial melt-down, globalisation, falling living standards, rising inequality and mental health problems, it is becoming increasingly clear that western societies will have to make huge changes. In short, we cannot go on in the same vein: we need to envision and enact a radically different future.
Scotland is well-placed in some respects to make a significant contribution to this new thinking: we played a major part in the 18th century Enlightenment and many of the factors which facilitated Scotland's leading role are still in place. Namely, we are a small, networked society with high levels of education and commitment to social improvement where it is easy to have conversations across subject disciplines.
In the Enlightenment period Scotland had 'settled politics' thus allowing energy to be channelled into non-constitutional issues. This is not true today. The case for and against Independence may absorb a lot of the country's intellectual energy. But then again it may release it - giving Scots the first opportunity to really consider what we want Scotland to become independent for. In short, the independence debate may encourage us to consider what kind of society we want to be.
This juncture in western culture and Scottish political culture requires outlets for new ideas across a whole range of topics – environmental, social, organisational, political, cultural, psychological, economic and spiritual – as well as new frameworks and ways of conceptualising.
Postcards from Scotland aims to help develop this new thinking in a readable and accessible format and publicise, to a much greater audience, some of the projects in Scotland which are already aiming to help bring about a new way of living.