The relentless pursuit of profit and economic growth above all else has propelled human civilization onto a terrifying trajectory. The uncontrolled climate crisis is the most obvious danger: The world’s current policies have us on track for more than 3° increase by the end of this century, and climate scientists publish dire warnings that amplifying feedbacks could make things far worse than even these projections, and thus place at risk the very continuation of our civilization.
~Jeremy Lent, Coronavirus spells the end of the neoliberal era. What’s next?
I had intended to start this article differently, but couldn’t without acknowledging what is happening in India today. India is in the grip of the second wave of Covid 19; and as someone aptly pointed out — it is not a wave; it is a wall. A tsunami hitting the country every day; the daily numbers have crossed a mindboggling 400,000 and is continuing to increase. The prediction is that India will cross a caseload of 800,000 daily with more than half a million deaths. The hospitals have run out of beds, ventilators, oxygen, and medicines. Crematoriums have run out…
This is an extraordinary time full of vital, transformative movements that could not be foreseen. It’s also a nightmarish time. Full engagement requires the ability to perceive both. ~Rebecca Solnit quoted in Brainpickings
We live in a profoundly damaged world, a wounded and a bleeding planet. The ‘great acceleration’ of the Anthropocene founded on the human hubris of controlling and subduing nature, infinite growth driven by endless extraction and ecocide, and a deeply colonial and racist mindset has brought us to this cusp of simultaneous systems collapse — of economies, polities, societies, communities, ethics, values, and religions.
Polarization, fracture, and…
The end of the human race will be that it will eventually die of civilization.
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson
Emerson’s line couldn’t have been truer as we enter the third decade of the 21st century. The world is literally and metaphorically dying from ‘civilization’ and its ramifications. If we dig deeper, we can see that underlying the visible are stories — intangible, invisible, and pervasive; all the more powerful because of that. They are scaffoldings propping up entire civilizations. Hence, the stories we tell and live by have power beyond imagination to shape and direct civilizational trajectories. The stories become…
MATURITY is the ability to live fully and equally in multiple contexts; most especially, the ability, despite our grief and losses, to courageously inhabit the past, the present and the future all at once. The wisdom that comes from maturity is recognized through a disciplined refusal to choose between or isolate three powerful dynamics that form human identity: what has happened, what is happening now and what is about to occur.
~Anais Nin (quoted in brainpickings; italics mine)
Never has there been the need to inhabit multiple contexts more than now — “to courageously inhabit the past, the present and…
When the Stranger says: “What is the meaning of this city?
Do you huddle close together because you love each other?”
What will you answer? “We all dwell together
To make money from each other”? or “This is a community”?
Oh my soul, be prepared for the coming of the Stranger.
Be prepared for him who knows how to ask questions.
~ T.S. Eliot, The Rock
The reckless and rapacious excesses of the politicians, the converging crises — from the pandemic to natural disasters to socio-political collapses, the years of systemic and structural inequities and imbalances, and failing economies have…
A tiny, invisible, and obscure virus has thrown the world into chaos. It has flummoxed and baffled nations, countries, politicians, scientists, doctors, presidents, principals, parents, students, in short, everyone. The gears of the post-Industrial world have ground to a juddering halt for the first time in history. A great pause button has been pressed. What multiple calamities over the last decade couldn’t achieve has been done by an invisible virus.
Do we see this as Armageddon or a chance to re-imagine a “world that works for all”? Can we appreciate the grand design?
If we can change the basis of our global civilization from one that is wealth-affirming to one that is life-affirming, then we have a chance to create a flourishing future for humanity and the living Earth. ~Jeremy Lent
The ecological and social crises we face are caused by an economic system dependent on accelerating growth. This self-destructing political economy sets its goals and measures its performance in terms of ever-increasing corporate profits — in other words by how fast materials can be extracted from Earth and turned into consumer products, weapons, and waste. ~Joanna Macy
Lauren Berlant described the ‘State of Impasse’ as “ a moment where existing social imaginaries and practices no longer produce the outcomes they once did, but no new imaginaries or practices have yet been created.”
In the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, we have reached such a state of impasse, of gridlock where our old stories, metaphors, norms, patterns, structures, and ways of being no longer serve us.
Things fall apart; the center cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
Thus wrote W.B. Yeats in The Second Coming.
Is it a coincidence that the poem was published in…
David Bohm, in his book On Dialogue, writes:
You may not even have known that you had an assumption. It was only because he came up with the opposite one that you find out that you have one. You may uncover other assumptions, but we are all suspending them and looking at them all, seeing what they mean.
It is assumptions, biases, and beliefs that make and break our world. Rising upheaval and turmoil on all fronts are leading to individuals, communities, and societies taking up extremes of stances, positions, and policies, and closing down rather than opening up. Biases…