What are the stories that are emerging that are pointing in a life-affirming direction?
The first step in co-creating a promising future for humanity is to visualize it together. Although many people can visualize a future of catastrophe and ruin, far fewer can imagine a future of opportunity and renewal. This is understandable as daily we are fed news reports of global climate disruption, species extinction, the spread of weapons of mass destruction, individual acts of terrorism and more. Not surprisingly, a future of conflict and suffering is easy to imagine while a future of harmony and health is still a vague and unformed possibility in our collective imagination. In a self-fulfilling prophecy, we tend to actualize what we can vividly imagine.
We face big challenges and it will take an equally big vision to transform conflict into cooperation and draw us into a promising future. To engage in the unprecedented task of envisioning a workable and meaningful future for humanity, we require tools of imagination and collective communication that enable us to stand back from current crises and see the human journey in a larger perspective. The images and stories that we hold of ourselves act as a magnet to draw us into the future. Perhaps the most difficult challenge facing humanity is not devising solutions to the energy crisis or climate crisis or species extinction; rather, it is bringing images of what’s working to the forefront of our awareness.
The same way an organic farmer builds her soil so that the future is more abundant than the past, permaculture builds systems that improve the land’s ability to sustain life and culture. Taking off from examples in nature, it is possible recirculate energy and resources and provide for future generations instead of stealing from them.
Biomimicry is an approach to innovation that seeks sustainable solutions to human challenges by emulating nature’s time-tested patterns and strategies. The goal is to create products, processes, and policies—new ways of living—that are well-adapted to life on earth over the long haul.
The old stories had women as helpless damsels in distress. Characters like Katniss Everdeen, Buffy Summers, Imperator Furiosa, and Selina Meyer are reflective of women’s changing roles in our society. You need to look no further than the US Senate to see how women are making their voices heard and their power felt.
Gender Equity and Reconciliation
D.H. Lawrence once remarked that “the future of humanity will be decided not by relations between nations, but by relations between women and men.” Gender reconciliation recognizes the profound wound in the human family constellated around cultural conditioning relating to gender, sexuality, and relational intimacy.
In the journey into modernity, many have forgotten our deep communion with all of creation. Indigenous wisdom offers pathways of re-connection. Indigenous stories tell us about our Oneness with the Earth; our Oneness with the animals and plants; and our Oneness with the Universe, our cosmic home from which we emerge and into which we transition.
A shallow and limited view of ‘economics’ has produced a view of the Earth as a place filled with resources to be exploited in a process of never-ending growth leading to unsustainable levels of consumption and growing disparity in wealth and economic opportunity between the rich and the poor. Reconciliation requires a ‘holistic economics’ or economics of the whole world system.
Interfaith / Interspiritual
While so many are focused on underscoring the differences between different cultures and peoples around the world, it may be surprising how many people are learning to embrace similarities in the world’s major religions. There are now thousands of events held worldwide organized by interfaith groups with the common goal of recognizing that their common values far outweigh the differences they have.
Global Brain Awakens
The “Global Brain” is a metaphor for the worldwide network formed by people coming together with communication technologies that connect them into an organic whole. As the Internet becomes faster, more intelligent, more ubiquitous, and more encompassing, it increasingly ties us together in a single communications system that functions like a “brain” for the planet Earth.
A compassionate or loving consciousness has ancient roots, but it is taking on a new importance as our world becomes integrated ecologically, economically, and culturally. Because we now share one another’s fate, it is increasingly clear that promoting the well-being of others directly promotes our own. We have reached the point where the Golden Rule is becoming essential to humanity’s survival.