Imagine that you are one of a number of extraterrestrial beings observing the Earth. Your ancient civilization has long ago resolved its conflicts and managed to create a peaceful well-functioning world. It appears that humanity is destructive, disturbed, and sadly, even deluded. You are compassionate, yet quite cautious to make contact until further evolution occurs.
David Korten's book The Great Turning: From Empire to Earth Community argues that the development of empires about 5,000 years ago created a paradigm of unequal distribution of power and social benefits to the small portion of the population that controlled them. He also argues that corporations are modern versions of empire, both being social organizations based on hierarchies, chauvinism, and domination through violence.
Duane Elgin states that after tens of thousands of years of development, humanity has begun to move into a time of "great transition." Our human community is already confronting an historic backlog of crises, although governments and the media continue to ignore and minimize them.
Edgar Morin has named this a poly-crisis, which includes oceans over-filled with plastic, exponentially expanding extinction of plants and animals, increasing climate disruption, water scarcity and decreasing agricultural productivity, continued population growth, advancing inequality of wealth, and mendacious government agendas - turned against their own citizens.
Nevertheless, it is becoming clear to many people that, if we are to have a promising future, we must choose an alternate path for living on Earth. Because this shift will not happen automatically, we will, together, need to choose a regenerative way of life, or continue our rush toward a gravely imperiled and uninhabitable planet.
Another phrase for "choosing together" is a team effort, and this will not be possible if we are profoundly divided as a human community. Difficult as this may be - without deep and authentic reconciliation across barriers of division and suffering, our collective future amounts to a rush to ruin. A world divided against itself is a recipe for global collapse.
Regarding racial, gender, sexual reconciliation we need to build a global culture of mutual respect that enables us to work together as equals for our common future.
There are currently enormous economic disparities between rich and poor. Reconciliation requires us to narrow these differences and establish a minimum standard for economic well-being, freeing people to realize their potentials.
Generational Reconciliation - Because many industrial nations are using up vital nonrenewable resources in the short term, they are severely limiting the options of future generations to meet their needs. This situation must move to the center of our awareness.
Ecological reconciliation - Restoration of the Biosphere is vital, since our common future depends on a broad diversity of plants and animals. To move from indifference and exploitation to reverential stewardship will require reconciliation with the larger community of life on Earth. Humans are an inseparable part of the Earth and what happens to the Earth happens to us.
Religious/spiritual reconciliation - Religious intolerance has led to some of the most devastating wars the world has known. As the world's traditions become more accessible through the Internet and other media, we need to learn to appreciate the core insights of these traditions and see each as a facet in the common jewel of human wisdom traditions.
Growth in Awareness
While many external solutions are being proposed, we, as a species, are facing conditions which will only be solved by a radical maturation of the human consciousness.
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