This is taken from Beak’s blog post about an interview with Joanna Macy – eco-philosopher and scholar of Buddhism, deep ecology, and systems theory.
Joanna began by describing how our civilization, the industrial growth society, is beginning to unravel — financially, environmentally, politically, psychologically. She said that most people are reacting to this destruction out of fear and obedience or by going numb, but she believes the spiritual challenge is to be present, to truly take in and see what is happening to our world, allow ourselves to open up and feel the pain, mourn the dishonor and destruction and loss, so we are then better able to take action based on the natural compassion that arises in us when we tap into our humanity and connection to the earth. She calls this time period The Great Turning.
There are 3 Dimensions of The Great Turning:
- Actions to slow down the destruction being wrought by industrial growth society. These actions are what we generally think of as “activism”. This is a call to protect life and to save as much as you can, but this alone, is not enough.
- Planting the seeds for new structures after the old ones fall away, such as alternative fuel, alternative ways of growing and distributing food, alternative health, alternative currency. But, this is also not enough.
- A revolutionary shift in consciousness is needed. A sense of awe, gratitude, wonder and devotion to this planet, life, and each other needs to arise from the heart.
Joanna told us there were 3 revolutions in human history:
- Agricultural Revolution
- Industrial Revolution
- This one. While the first two did not require an immense amount of consciousness and had the luxury of time, this Third revolution must be conscious and is happening fast….
In this new consciousness, there is no room for fear or self-criticism. Joanna commented on how we’ve internalized the idea that we’re somehow lacking or not good enough, that we need to buy more, look better, work harder to compete with life. It’s a distraction and false. And yes, sometimes, when we do begin to wake up, we get so overwhelmed by the negative state of the world and how we’ve dishonored this planet and each other that we want to run back to Bloomingdales, our mac and cheese, and Desperate Housewives.
More about the interview, and one with author Tom Robbins, in this archive.
These are exciting times, folks, whether we want it like that or not.