“The Great Turning” Is Here
By Chia Cheri
Are you feeling a deep thirst for truth, a hunger for humane direction? Are stresses, anger, fear, anxiety and uncertainty battling to overwhelm your innate sense of love, peace and community? Perhaps, even if you hadn’t put it into words, you are craving an egalitarian democratic ordering of human relationships based on the principle of partnerships, rather than the hierarchical domination and fighting that has ruled on Earth for the past 5,000 years, and now, more blatantly than ever, feels like a divisive path to death and destruction of life as we’ve hoped for.
Take comfort that you are not alone and many are coming together to help you turn this around. Apathy won’t help, acting as a victim won’t either, and trying to ignore the causes of these feelings certainly won’t get you anywhere positive. Extended exposure to stress can add up to a state of extreme exhaustion, and disease.
One oasis ready to nourish you can be found in the pages of “The Great Turning: From Empire to Earth Community.” Author David Korten inspires readers to another way of thinking, and being, as he describes what many are already doing to shift our economy, culture and political systems away from domination and life-denying stories to partnerships and life-affirming stories, with actual examples. He outlines three dimensions:
- Actions to slow the damage to Earth and its inhabitants: These activities include all the political, legislative, and legal work required to reduce the destruction, as well as direct actions–blockades, boycotts, civil disobedience, and other forms of refusal.
- Analysis of structural causes, and creation of alternatives: Understand the dynamics of the Industrial Growth Society (IGS) that create obscene wealth for a few, while impoverishing the rest. What causes us to use our Earth as supply house and sewer? When we see how this system operates, we can see its fragility, and engage in new social and economic arrangements.
- Shift in Consciousness: To sustain us, we need deeply ingrained values on how we relate to Earth and each other, which is requiring a profound shift in the common perception of reality. It is happening now–arising as grief for our world and refuting the lie of rugged individualism. It’s in the resurgence of wisdom traditions. This will save us from panic, paralysis, and turning on others as scapegoats.
Personal Guidelines by Joanna Macy:
- Be Grateful: Gratitude for the gift of life is the core of all religions. It is a privilege to be alive in this time when we can choose to take part in the self-healing of our world.
- Be Brave: It is natural that we feel the trauma around us; these responses arise from the depth of our caring. To suffer with–is the literal meaning of compassion.
- Imagine: Out of this darkness a new world is emerging from our dreams and hearts. We can’t see how it’s going to turn out, and it’s likely to get worse before better, we are called to let the future into our imagination.
- Resolve: All aspects of the current crisis reflect the same mistake—that of setting ourselves apart and using others for our gain. To heal one aspect helps the others to heal as well. Find what you love to do and take joy in that. Linking up with others sparks our ideas and sustains our energy.
- Act your Age: Every particle in our bodies is as old as the universe. Know that whatever you choose to do, is not out of some personal whim, but in the full authority of your 15 billion years.
It is the greatness of our American resilience and resolve that will light up the world and this desert of darkness.
References: The Great Turning by David Korten; book review by Sue L.T. Mcgregor; Joanna Macy.net; A Clarifying Moment in American History by Eliot A. Cohen.