‘We have the power to change our perceptions’

Lucy Purdy

Positive News editor Lucy Purdy introduces the new issue of the magazine, which includes features about ageing, prisons and the co-operatives movement. Despite humanity’s destructive ability, we’re capable of greatness too, she says – if we choose where to look

From strong-minded relatives to newspaper editors, there are plenty who will craft our perception of reality for us, if we let them.

The cover feature for the new issue of Positive News magazine is about the joy to be found in ageing, but it also highlights the power we have to change our perceptions, and therefore what we experience. Meeting people who defy the cliches of later life, we find how older age, despite its challenges, can also bring wisdom, freedom and the confidence to take on new experiences. Could it be, in fact, the best time of our lives?


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The state of the prison system is a story that looks increasingly bleak each time it arises in the press. Prisons are struggling under the pressures of overcrowding, reduced resources, violence, and mental health and drugs issues. Progress might seem impossible.

Yet it’s not the whole picture. Notwithstanding the urgent need for systemic reform, some organisations are doing life-changing work to help inmates, to the benefit of all. From giving them a voice through prison elections, to nurturing crucial family bonds, and boosting self-esteem and employment prospects through the creative arts, these approaches show how making rehabilitation central, rather than punishment, could be transformative.

Meeting people who defy the cliches of later life, we find how older age, despite its challenges, can also bring wisdom, freedom and confidence

Bruce Parry, the explorer and TV presenter who has lived with indigenous communities around the world, told me how his new film project helped him see that despite humanity’s destructive ability, we’re capable of greatness too. This arises, he says, from a deep sense of connection, empathy with each other, and with nature – and people are searching for this again, he believes.

Could a sense of shared interest make economic sense too? Though they may sometimes be slower-growing than other forms of businesses, the survival rate for co-operatives in their first five years is double that of companies more widely. A special section in the new issue of Positive News magazine looks at the exciting ways that co-ops are rising in challenge to current economic logic and the inequality it increasingly creates.

We will always be exposed to messages that things will get worse. Whether we buy into them or not is, of course, up to us.

Get your copy of the new issue of Positive News magazine at www.positive.news/join


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