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"That - in a society which betrays basic human needs - insanity might not be an aberration, but the norm."
Social psychologist Erich Fromm, The Sane Society
The actual problem we are facing is a natural and predictable result of our way of viewing the world: the stories we tell ourselves, our disconnection from the natural world, and our insistence on quick external fixes to crises that we ourselves have created.
This is not a secret. Indigenous cultures and "enlightened ones" have been offering us vital, life-giving information for some 7,000 years, but we have plugged our ears to their message. Here it is:
"Return to the honest ways in which humans participated in the web of life on the earth, seeing yourselves and all beings as sacred and interconnected."
In recent articles I highlighted the positive, life-affirming potential for our future as a species. Such a future could occur as - forced by circumstances - we pass through a poignant period of realizing the damage we have caused, grieving for what we have lost, reconciling the many divisions within our species, and uniting to save and rebuild the Earth.
The bottom line:
We cannot avoid the urgency and importance of the collective effort of imagining and building a global "eco-civilization" - one that recognizes that we all inhabit the same Earth and want the ecosystem to be strong and resilient to sustain a global civilization into the distant future.
I want to emphasize that the larger background of these reflections is the maturation of our species. Therefore, we will be taking a decades-long look at a few of the pitfalls that could deflect our development into an evolutionary detour or even a dead end. There are no guarantees of success and it remains an open question whether we will develop the deep wisdom needed to survive in an increasingly compressed world.
It is common for human beings not to make significant changes in our lives until our "backs are against the wall." Likewise, it is unrealistic to imagine that we will shift our habitual behaviors, paradigms, and overall worldview without understanding what may occur if we do not change.
But, to put it simply, we are running out of time to unite and deal with problems that will devastate the planet. The reality appears to be that humanity is about to hit an "ecological wall" and an "evolutionary wall." The first emerges when we run into the physical limits of nature to sustain humanity; the second is when we run into ourselves - the limits of our adolescent behavior - and are pushed to turn toward more mature, adult ways of being re- living on the planet.
Given this assumption, I want to share an overview - one that is admittedly dystopian - of the negative consequences that can befall us if we fail to make the necessary changes leading to a life-enhancing, sustainable culture.
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