Spain at the dawn of 2018
Report of a Listening Post held in Madrid on 13
January 2018


In this part, the Listening Post participants were invited to identify, contribute, and explore their experiences in their various social roles, be they: in work, unemployed or retired; as members of religious, political, neighbourhood, voluntary or leisure organisations; or as members of families and communities. This part was largely concerned with what might be called, ‘the stuff of people’s everyday lives’: the ‘socio’ or ‘external’ world of participants.

Personal contributions of the attendees of concerns, satisfactions and experiences during the year 2017.

Approach to experiences of loneliness and social isolation that is projected on social networks where you want to be connected, but quality relationships are not generated.

The recurring theme in this first space is the concern for the education of young people in the face of their future. It seems that there is great concern on the part of grandparents and parents of what will happen in the future of their children and grandchildren before a society that does not perceive or face the future clearly.

The crisis situation generated an atmosphere of solidarity and collaboration, but it seems that it is being lost, that we go more to the individual and to the save who can. Inequality begins to grow in society and this is alarming. It is much more concerned to be able to have “three meals a day”, to satisfy the basic needs since an important part of the population is not getting it.

We are in a society where individual success is more important than the collective, which makes us careless about others and from education to the world of work is fought more for individual than collective successes.

It also seems that there is a disaffection of young people by politics, they do not get involved in the public and the whole social structure suffers. The young people present were not disaffected, they were unhappy. They think that there is involvement, but also frustration because of the absence of results from it.

Culture is affected by this crisis and spending restriction policies, as well as health and education, basic pillars of the society that was intended to be built in the past.

There are unprotected layers at the level of job opportunities, those over 50 and a generation between 25 and 35 that are being marginalized.

These situations have led to an increasingly less humanized society in which values have changed, but we do not really know what the new values are that support it.

Power directs and manipulates, politicians try to control and manipulate, on the other hand, there are hidden powers that control but can not be unbanked.

Violence has rebounded on many levels and is being seen mostly in children and women, or at least it comes out more.

Technological advances have their lights and shadows. On the one hand, they can generate more comforts, but also great communication problems. People isolate themselves in their phones and computers generating a tremendous lack of communication.

It may be that we are living in a bubble in which it is very difficult to glimpse the reality of what is really happening. Everything is going very fast and we are very stressed by the day to day, which leads to no longer looking at people face to face, especially in the relationship with children, where a listening space would be very important , but we demand them instead of sharing with them.

We do not seek to provide solutions to the social dilemmas we encounter, we withdraw in our world and we seek to survive without further ado.

On the other hand, a world of new opportunities is glimpsed. It seems that we are in a tremendous transition difficult to understand, but where you can see spectacular changes that are to come.

Our politicians are anchored in old thoughts and ways of doing that no longer serve socially, more concerned in macroeconomics than in social needs which leads to that inequality. Deep down they think they are a reflection of society. The fact that society is inhibited from problems means that providing solutions is not a priority.

There is a lack of individual responsibility towards the collective.

Societies like China or Japan are more of a collective mentality, societies that will be world powers in a few years and seek more social growth than the individual.

We are in a social transition of tremendous magnitude. Technology on the one hand and family structures on the other, are changing our social landscape. Current economic models are gradually collapsing, entering a phase of collaborative economy, of sharing possession, which can bring light and integrating changes.

Climate change is a great concern, on the one hand, there is the feeling that this planet no longer has salvation, but on the other hand there is a disruptive change in the energies that can allow control of the environment in a few years.

Fear is something that has been expressed in a recurrent way in dialogues. Fear of the future, fear of technology and robots, fear of being totally controlled by machines and losing our identity.

The issue of identity also arose in situations such as Catalonia, Brexit, Europe and even the Donald Trump issue where the anecdotal was that nobody knew anyone who had voted, but had been elected as president of the United States. And nobody knew anyone who voted for Brexit and was also approved. With Catalonia it was different, many people were known in favour of independence, there is talk of the confrontation of flags that had arisen before the political movement of the independence and the amount of flags that emerged about it. One side agreed with that confrontation of flags that marked identities and another party expressed sadness for the same.


In Part 2, the aim collectively was to identify the major themes emerging from Part 1.

The group was divided into three subgroups to try to identify the issues that had attracted the most attention.

Main themes that the groups identified and grouped in these four:

1.- Future of the Youth and concern for how they are educated and how they communicate, the management of social networks and violence.

2.- Identity and responsibility of the individual in society.

3.- Political leadership and powers in the shade.

4.- Concern for lack of interest in culture


In Part 3, the participants were working with the information resulting from Parts 1 & 2, with a view to collectively identifying the underlying dynamics both conscious and unconscious that may be predominant at the time; and developing hypotheses as to why they might be occurring at that moment. Here, participants were working more with what might be called their ‘psycho’ or ‘internal’ world: their collective ideas and ways of thinking that both determine how they perceive the external realities and shape their actions towards them.

Hypothesis 1

If we are concerned about youth and education, it may be because the future of a new highly technological society is not clear but it does not have to be worse, which leads us to look for solutions in a past that seems better but that in the end it belongs to a society that will no longer exist in the near future.

When trying to construct the hypothesis, a certain debate arose that joined Zygmunt Bauman’s thinking, of the change from a solid society to a liquid society, before uncertain and complex environments that are difficult to understand and that lead us to look for situations of satisfaction fast and reject everything that generates fear.

There was also talk that everything is not so bad, that deep down education is also in the process of transformation, trying to include multiple intelligences not based only on knowledge and generate more collective work that allows more prominence to children and Young. No longer only the knowledge prevails, it begins to value learning from experience.

But one could also glimpse feelings of loss of a clear established order and that at this moment it looked so chaotic that it generated fear.

The concept of happiness was also discussed and it makes me think about what Bauman said about two essential values: freedom and security. Security without freedom is slavery, but freedom without security is total chaos. We all need both dimensions to find a balance in our lives. At this moment we do not have feelings of freedom and security has been lost, which leads us to be lost in the midst of a social and technological transition.

Hypothesis 2

It seems that there is a clear lack of social responsibility that leads us to individualism, this may be due to a society that had an education based on personal success and consumerism, which means that at this moment it has been greatly reduced. population the self-esteem of the people and their capacity to face the new social and labour challenges.

On the issue of individual responsibility towards society there was some debate about our responsibility, as citizens, to provide not only diagnoses, but also solutions. The fact of becoming irresponsible implies that we expect others to contribute them.

In this space also arose, curiously, reflections that deep down the education we have had in the past was more to memorize than to think, that we have been in dependent cultures where responsibility was little promoted, as clear and defined authority systems, difficult to face them.

This contrasts with current needs, where young people do not move by authority concepts and more collaborative spaces are being created where status is less important and sharing is valued more.

Change from a world of protectionism to the creation of value, centred on people with a mentality of abundance, collaboration and evolution. Where the new business model must be designed to maximize individual contributions and optimize collective efforts in order to maximize the value created by all and for all.

Hypothesis 3

We have a certain aversion to political leadership and fear of certain powers in the shade, perhaps because of very high expectations in those institutions, which has led us to a very large disappointment, away from a more active participation in them, promoting distance between the political class and citizenship.

Here we analysed certain movements such as the 15M in which the social group wanted to provide many proposals for change, but in the end it was the feeling that the established powers stopped the movement or that the new political parties did not know how to channel the new ideas into political structures more modern and are being diluted in operations similar to the previous ones.

In the background it was seen that they had emerged from more emotional movements, in that moment of crisis, they created expectations that went from despair to hope, but the bad internal management, in this case of “Podemos” as a political party, has been able to generate a lot of disappointment as you are now seeing in the polls of intention to vote.

This has generated a fragmentation in the political landscape, where we have gone from bipartisanship to multiparty, but where dialogue and political consensus is seen as impossible, given the amount of resentment and confrontation that exists between the different tendencies, adorned by corruption and lack of ethics. Although in any case a certain regeneration in the political class can be glimpsed

It seems that these movements have been more emotional than realistic, where more is fought for power than for citizen welfare. For the self-interest of certain formations that for the collective interest.

The aforementioned theme of Brexit, Trump and Catalonia also emerged again, where, curiously, in all three cases, those votes that give them the victory are mostly from rural areas. What also allows to see that there is a contrast of vision of the world, divided into systems based more on traditional values ​​such as rural areas, and on a more liquid and more integrated movement that emerges more from large cities. This may reflect that feeling of social transition that is very difficult for politicians to manage, where populism is victorious and sometimes the rigid and protectionist parts of the system get more votes. the fractures are actually two: urban-rural, on the one hand, but also generational. Those over 55 and those under 35 vote in an absolutely antagonistic way.

As far as the powers were concerned, it was talked about the strength that big companies that move around the network have today, say Facebook, Amazon, Google etc. The algorithms that lead to Big Data and that gives the feeling that at a given moment will control all our desires, needs. They appear as the new powers in the “shadow”, a shadow that is glimpsed but which is feared because it can not be easily understood, where the media (for example, the Russian movements of false and manipulated information) and banking are still there.

Convenor: Manuel Ignacio Seijo Diaz