The Hilltop Post: A fresh voice for renegotiating a sustainable future
25 February 2021
The past seems infinitely present. The better future we were eagerly awaiting has passed by. We missed it. Or did we? The paradox of 2021 is that we are still battling serious global health challenges although the year has become a fulcrum of great hope for reimagining the future just when we were on the cusp of a dangerous precipice. These and many more leave so much space for further reflection. This is the second decade of the 21st century. For many, all hopes are deferred, dreams broken and plans shelved until who knows when. That’s enough trouble!
In this first editorial of The Hilltop Post, I will not repeat what we have already stated as the core values that shape our mission and vision from a blend of traditional wisdom, scientific knowledge and futurist perspectives guided by our aspirations. Rather, since the entire enterprise is a knowledge co-creation process for positive social action, I will spend the subsequent paragraphs on outlining what I strongly believe are the major reasons The Hilltop Post matters now and in the future.
What are the times like in 2021? Clearly, they are not banal versions of terrible seasons. COVID-19 is still here. A wind of right-wing populism is blowing across the world — with unrealistic but unflinching nostalgia for a repugnant past that no open-minded person aspires to revisit. The pernicious force of hate and divisiveness and domination are back to destroy what little cohesion we have built after the WWII.
Truth is under attack. Conspiracy theories are misleading far too many. However, some also use the phrase ‘conspiracy theories’ as a silencing tool. Critical thinking is sparingly applied. Climatic mutations, over-consumption and the destruction of biodiversity cannot be more frightening.
Greed, exploitation, and the search for supernormal profits are promoting corporate irresponsibility. This has contributed to many of the wicked problems. That brings us to the plight of indigenous people around the world; not forgetting the urban working poor and the millions trapped and forgotten in modern slavery. They all are affected by profound inequalities to varying degrees.
Black people still have to fight for their humanity to be recognized. Those who defined them as less than human now mask themselves as ‘angels of light’ enveloped in fake diplomacy and political correctness. Then there are many refuge seekers, stateless peoples, and victims of poverty and prison industrial complexes. They need no pity but justice. We need to restore their voices, agency and inherent dignity.
There are advances in artificial intelligence, molecular biology and genetics, space technologies, food and drug innovations. However, there is a worrying trend: the emergence of an Orwellian technocratic dystopia. There is a lack of transparency and a constant erosion of academic freedom. Firing of scientists and whistleblowers who dare to speak out is becoming a norm. International mega-corruption Inc. is also alarmingly undermining human progress.
The first step
I am not writing this out of luxury or the sheer enjoyment of academic freedom. I write because it is exhaustingly exasperating to see how human suffering and inequality have been allowed to fester on in such tragic fashion, all to the despair of many (99%) and to the amusement of a few (1%).
I write because it is the way to vent my qualms in protest and to upset the system. It is my way of rallying conscious allies around the burning but all-too-often neglected issues.
I write because many before me have done their part to get us what little peace and democracy we still have. I write as a sign of gratefulness to those who took various risks to speak for me before I even showed up. I have to pay it forward because I owe. I write so that I don’t become a free-rider of the graces and sacrifices of our predecessors.
I write because I am here and I am fully aware. I must change what little I can in chronicling this insupportable misery disguised as progress. I write to join forces with those who still nurture some hope about practically renegotiating a better future.
Perhaps this may not be the most effective remedy, but at least the persuasive elements will offer food for thought and provoke those in power. It will empower the left-behind and have-nots, encouraging them that they are not alone. It will awaken the indifferent to reformulate their views.
In these crucial times, this is non-trivial. This enterprise is burdensome, beautiful, troubling, exciting, but still a fulfilling endeavor because we will prevail. The time has come.
Why join us?
We at The Hilltop Post and our allies must shoulder the responsibility to create the future. We are no longer victims, but in our arsenal is the organised strength in unity. We will harness this to forge a future where all people can experience freedom, justice, and equal rights as stake owners in search of purposeful living. However, this change will not come organically. We need ‘creative destroyers’ with more innovative approaches to join the action.
Appropriating the words of the poet Amanda Gorman, “being a responsible global citizen is more than a pride we inherit, it’s the past we step into and how we repair it.” You must join in because we have an emergency and we are our own redeemers. Being docile and letting others think for us is equal to self-subjugation. It’s time to take responsibility for the things that affect us. This is because if we can make inequality a central problem but refuse to do that, we are as guilty as those who perpetuate it.
The time has come to see how our own actions and mindsets fit into the overall understanding of how we got here. The season calls for giving back to society—doing something that is bigger than our narrow personal aspirations. The current challenges cannot be wished away. We are neither anti-capitalist nor corporatist profiteers. Our role is to be the conscience of a process of reconstruction while serving as the guardians of the new bridges towards cohesion, since no group is an island.
Working together towards a brighter future
There is a litany of Blitz initiatives we are taking to bring about fundamental changes in education, science, environment and wellbeing for a just sustainability. We need The Hilltop Post brand evangelists and faithful enthusiasts with steel-will.
There is also the need to mercilessly weed out quislings, our real nemesis. Some of those who write about these big issues in other outlets end up gas-lighting us by reproducing the very institutions and systems that their research and writings are supposed to reform or make accountable. These toxic spin-doctors and projectors are coopted or captured to engage in domesticated criticism. Lacking intellectual honesty, what they say is mostly neither here nor there, but somehow they manage to blur our vision of reality.
There is power in theories; whether they are unreasonable assumptions and conjectures, junk science, pseudoscience or proper science that follows the scientific method. All our turmoil, from social injustice to climate change result from theories pushed forward by individuals and groups that convince the masses about the superiority of their version of the “manufactured truth”. These fellows make our outreach with genuine information more difficult. Therefore, we need a scientifically active society that is responsibilized and armed with critical thinking skills to deal with the barrage of theories which lead them astray.
Put together, listening to James Baldwin, it sometimes feels as if the world stopped and that we are still in the 60s, 70s, and 80s. Little seems to have changed. Nevertheless, “we ain’t seen nothing yet” with the emergence of surveillance capitalism and surveillance state along with technocracy. I am not a prophet of doom but when the trajectory seems to point to a likelihood of a tumultuous future, then Orwell’s final words after writing 1984 (George Orwell: A Life in Pictures released in 2003) still holds: “If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on the human face forever. The moral to be drawn from this dangerous nightmare situation is a simple one: don’t let it happen. It depends on you.”
There is a glimmer of hope. The Hilltop Post is the platform of influence for a renewed vision for a transformative change.