Mike Dines

The defining of a ‘fair society’ is obviously bound up in the limitations and complexities of the present. For our understanding of concepts such as ‘fairness,’ ‘equality’ or ‘justice’ often becomes entangled in an axiological debate that merely draws upon the limitations of the ‘now,’ of how fairness might fit into our current society, and not how fairness might shape that society. It could be argued, then, that ‘fairness’ is often delineated by a hankering or yearning – of a negotiation and compromise – instead of a real aspiration. In its place, perhaps, might be a discussion concerning the process of moving towards a new ‘just’ and ‘fair’ society in which to live.

From this standpoint, the notion of process – and how fairness itself becomes embedded into our thinking and aspiration – becomes central rather than a mere inconsequence. As Paulo Freire notes in Pedagogy of the Oppressed (1970) ‘true generosity consists precisely in fighting to destroy the causes which nourish false charity. False charity constrains the fearful and subdued, the “rejects of life,” to extend their trembling hands.’ He concludes, ‘true generosity lies in striving so that these hands – whether of individuals or entire peoples – need be extended less and less in supplication, so that more and more they become human hands which work and, working, transform the world.’

Mike Dines, The Institute of Contemporary Music Performance