Disturbing disquiet plagues the country.
Political leadership is gridlocked: The rhetoric from the oval office is divisive, erratic even dangerous. The economy is exhibiting signs of trouble.
Climate change has caught up with us, presenting challenges that few seem ready or able to meet. We are now told that we have a mere 12 years to get it right, but the present danger — with its floods, hurricanes, wildfires and other natural disasters — has accelerated.
Poverty, drugs, race relations and gun violence challenge us. Too many of us feel helpless and hopeless amid such dilemmas. An undeniable unease exists. We have reason to despair. We struggle to find hope beyond paralysis.
What might transform this picture? Elections in 2020 are one critically important answer.
Another is the idea that turning to one another at the local level to create a better world, if multiplied across the nation, can make a difference. This second avenue is a distinctly viable one, but it is hard to see the overall results from our local and individual perspectives. There is a third possibility that depends upon these two.
This big idea is that “the people” might come forth, non-violently, to shift the world to a new level of consciousness, much like the Berlin Wall fell in 1989, ushering in a new era.
For 25 years I have been researching global transformation. In 1994, at a seminar in England, I heard futurist and eminent scientist, Willis Harman, discuss the prospect for a wholesale shift.
He suggested this could happen when the underlying worldview and the inner beliefs of people reached a critical mass to create a “new story” for civilization. He backed his ideas up with evidence. I believe we are at that tipping point.
Noted environmentalist Bill McKibben, in his 2019 book, “Falter,” suggests that our last chance to save ourselves is to use the “technology of mass movements.” He also says we need a “bulldozer” to transform the worldview.
I agree and see that a number of movements coming together, non-violently, in common cause could create such a global outpouring. They must first, however, see their underlying common values versus the silos that presently keep them apart. U.S. movements could play a major role in this collaboration.
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These common values are the Golden Rule, which is present in all religions, and the idea that all of life is sacred.
Paul Hawken, author of “Blessed Unrest” (2007) discerned these commonalities after studying “the largest social movement the world has ever seen and why no one saw it coming” as made up of millions who were working beneath the radar of mainstream society to save the world.
The way this major shift could work is for several movements to come together to choose a date and a theme, then invite all those working to heal the world to come to that “potluck” with their “individual dishes.”
This means that the environmentalists, the racial-social-gender justice folks and the gun-control advocates, plus others, do not have to give up their individual identities to shift the worldview.
It means that social media could spread the word quickly to support a minimum of organizing work. It means that youth would likely play a lead. Accomplishing a major shift would not banish opposition, but it would go a long way toward establishing an environment of renewal and rebirth. We need the inspiration of reinvention.
Just as the Women’s March of 2017 catalyzed an outbreak of democratic renewal and changed voting patterns, so too could a massive shift in consciousness inspire millions of follow-up societal healing efforts.
Let us hope that the non-violent actions of many movements of the day will recognize their commonality and realize that they already possess the “technology of mass movements” to lead us to a renaissance of healing and hope.
But wait; we cannot wait for “them.”
The future of the world depends upon electing new political leadership. This means becoming informed, supporting get-out-the-vote efforts. This means, in a non-political way, lending more helping hands to local causes and organizations.
It means conversations and encouragement to get involved now. It means knowing that we, individually and together, can move beyond paralysis to make a difference.
A new world awaits us, but acting with hope and positive intentions is up to each of us. We can be the transformation.