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Trying to change the unchangeable?

It was during the period that we were busy founding the Summer Foundation. At that time we wanted to ensure that our foundation would be eligible for the Dutch "ANBI" status, which means that donations made to the foundation in The Netherlands will be tax deductible. Although eventually we received the ANBI status, it took quite some effort to make this happen. And so, even before we had started our activities, we were already confronted with aspects of our present society we so drastically would like to change.

In a conversation with a few employees of the Dutch Tax Authorities, we attempted to clarify our objectives and explain that our activities are aimed at the benefit of all.


While we explained the main aspects of our ideas, we discussed the importance of the free development of man and the enormous impact this could have on society as a whole. Imagine the human talents and skills that would flourish when people all over the world could develop themselves in freedom! And consider the consequences this could have for the issues and problems that humanity has to deal with!


And think about what we could all build up in an atmosphere of co-operation between people when we achieve a truly contemporary interpretation of the principles of democracy, when we can all exercise our empowerment by participating actively and equaly in all decisions made about laws and regulations, rights and obligations that concern us and all others?


This way we will for sure make some further steps, so we thought then (and we still do now, four years later), towards a positive future, and not just for a small privileged group of people, but for everyone on earth.


"…and in the economy, so our conversation with the officials of the Tax Authorities went on, progress towards a positive future could start by ‘simply’ implementing the ideal of fraternity in two steps: step one is working together in the global economy so that everyone's needs can be met; step two is by sharing the results of this work in solidarity."


Somewhere at this point in the conversation, that by now had already gone on for an hour, one of our interlocutors was grasping for air.
"But," he stammered, "... but, you want something that cannot be done! You want people to share things and stop acting out of selfishness. That is impossible!"

He was visibly prey to great confusion.
"Don’t you know mankind?" he exclaimed. "Even in prehistoric times when a man was walking around and saw a woman somewhere, he just grabbed her by her hair and dragged her home! That is the way mankind is, and you want to change that?"


The confusion of this poor tax official was almost palpable, it was like he were a caveman who on his daily stroll saw not just one but two or more women and did not know how he could grab them all.


After this memorable conversation two things became clear to us. In the first place we realized that working on our objectives is a serious and urgent matter. Secondly, this would take a lot of courage, strength, patience and perseverance.


John Hogervorst
April 2015

Image obtained from (P&G website)

John  |  2015 04 13  |  Permalink  |  Share

2 reactions

John Hogervorst  |  2015 12 08

It is where we live and work that we can change the world, albeit in small steps. So I don't want to skip community, and all that's possible there. However: global economy to me is a very real thing too, see my post 'Working for others' on this website. Even on a global scale we are cooperating (in production and distribution), though not (yet?) sharing. "Think global, act local" - seems fine to me!

Clint Summer  |  2015 12 04

"working together in the global economy so that everyone's needs can be met;" Replace the words "in the global economy" with "in the community" and you'll have a good start at stating the purpose of a cooperative society. The global economy doesn't seem like a real thing we can work together in. True, the community may need to be built, but it's something real we can do, especially if we know why (for what purpose) we're doing it and what our true intention is (what we can do to fulfill our purpose).


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