the movements that can shift the world
Part 2: The Larger Story
Click Here For Part 3: How The Document Came To Be Written.
Click Here For Part 1: A Call To Action.
Developed By Alice Holstein, Ed.D.
The future of the planet is at stake. The prospect of nuclear war is dangled before us daily. Democracy in the U.S. is at risk. Breakdown is everywhere evident. Intractable problems, too numerous to mention, include paralyzed institutions, massive inequality, injustices and environmental disasters. The question is whether we can survive as a species. My question, however, is whether breakdown can lead to breakthrough. I believe the latter is possible. But why? And how?
Protest Is Not Enough
There is evidence to suggest that there are sufficient millions to shift the balance of power on the planet. There are several hopeful elements involved. One is the millions already working on building a new civilization; they exist largely under the radar of mainstream thinking and media. The second element is the millions who have participated in more recent protests, many of them visibly active since 2016. A third element is the uncounted millions who make up a largely unrecognized spiritual revolution in the United States. A final key, perhaps the most important, is the burgeoning, hopeful women’s movement. If they enlarged their vision beyond protest and winning elections, they could lead the way to accomplishing the impossible, which is to shift the world to a higher consciousness. Together, these millions and millions represent the carriers of a new worldview. They constitute a new frontier that can jumpstart a global renaissance that redefines “power” as justice and compassion, not “power over” and hierarchical, outer-based authority. They are the pioneers who can help save the world.
What is missing from these elements of latent power is a futuristic vision and the focus to draw all the pieces together. Both the “underground” as well as the resistance forces are presently fragmented into a huge variety of causes, organizations and smaller movements. The protest movements are not without effectiveness, but they are limited by being largely “against” something rather than also being “for” a better world. We need a catalyzing global event, other than war, to transform a black-spotted earth into a shimmering orange-golden light. We need the 2018 U.S. elections as a testing point to help restore an endangered democracy. We need to return to the art of compromise and negotiation. And alongside that we need to transform capitalism to a system that values the common good as much as it does profit.
To create the base for such a world, we could marshal the forces to create a massive outpouring with an evolutionary purpose. Such an outpouring would be the beginning of a larger, longer-term process that would include more specific plans. Perhaps the dangers we face now, in multiple aspects, are enough to force us to create a “The Movements That Can Shift the World” that can take us beyond protest to global transformation and rebirth. The combination of all these forces coming out in strength is enough to tear down the walls of militarism, imperialism and greed. This massive shift is possible in the same way that the Berlin wall and Communism fell in 1989.
The possibility that a consciousness shift is occurring and can gather momentum has been my long-standing hope. Ever since I put up my first website in the late 90s, about organizational transformation, I have seen that there was a vast, largely unlinked network working beneath the mainstream to create a better world. As I linked organizations to my site (which was the way we leveraged our information in those days), I found others addressing spirituality, environmentalism, alternative economics, civil rights, social justice, business social responsibility, spirituality, women’s rights, peace, and many other social justice and environmental l issues. Knowing that this underground existed gave me hope for years. Now the writing and action feels urgent, for we are in danger of destroying ourselves as never before, whether through nuclear war, environmental destruction or the billions misappropriated to war-readiness instead of renewal, reinvention and rebirth. Senseless wars abound; poverty is rampant; addictions destroy our hearts and minds; injustices prevail and numerous systemic problems plague us. It is time for all these millions to coalesce, thereby establishing the base conditions for a global renaissance. And, they need not give up their individual identities in order to come together.
Naming the Movement
I am convinced that there are enough enlightened souls and organizations to accomplish the impossible, which is to catalyze a paradigm shift of such proportions that it initiates a new operating system for the earth. (“Operating system” is a term used by “The Shift Network,” a web-based organization intending to be instrumental in this effort.) Such a “system” would feature balanced feminine-masculine leadership along with an economic system that fosters equality, justice and compassion.
The essentials to catalyze this movement already exist; the work would be emboldened if it was named. The name is needed because what is unnamed remains invisible. What is invisible goes unrecognized as a beacon to uplift the masses. A name is needed, plus some characteristics of this movement defined, to unify and rally people around its live-saving purposes. We need an umbrella term, such as “The Movements That Can Shift the World”, to herald the positive nature of global transformation. We need a hopeful vision to inspire us. The concept of building a better world would guide us as we do the work. We need inspirational slogans, such as “Save the World,” or, “Open Our Hearts, Heal Our Wounds,” or “Vote for Justice and Compassion. The 2018 mid-term elections, could be the opportunity to rally our voting power, which could make a huge electoral difference in restoring our endangered democracy. Beyond that, the rise of the multi-dimensional Women’s Movement is a promising sign that there are millions enough to help create a massive shift, and there are other elements that comprise the necessary masses, such as the Black Lives Matter Movement and indigenous elements, the Resistance Movement, global NGO’s and more. 2020 could be a critical turning point.
The fact that a gigantic movement does already exist has been identified, in part, by Paul Hawken, environmentalist, entrepreneur and author. His 2007 book, Blessed Unrest: How The Largest Movement In the World Came Into Being and Why No One Saw It Coming, describes this enormously hopeful, mysterious phenomenon. Hawken’s awareness grew when he was giving talks internationally in response to the popularity of his other books. After his speeches, he received pockets full of business cards from people who were involved in creating an alternative or “new” world. He tallied the data that proved he was onto a gigantic, unnamed movement. It was emerging from the bottom up, eluding the purview of the mainstream culture but acting like the hidden elements of an immune system bent on healing the planet. Included in its informal “membership” were organizations and individuals working on a myriad of problems and projects, such as climate change, poverty, human rights, peace, solar technology, all kinds of education, sustainable agriculture, indigenous rights, spirituality, alternative health, women’s rights, and many more. The list is long and varied. His book contains no less than 100 pages of just some of the categories of organizations he identified.
The people involved in this movement come from all walks of life, all ages and all countries. But there are no formal leaders. (p. 40, ODE magazine) That lack of formal, hierarchal leaders is likely a key to its success. This is a grass roots phenomenon of enlightened leaders and causes working on all sorts of projects and levels. They are dispersed and cannot be toppled. There is no need for an institutionalized hierarchy. They function as a self-organizing system, moving like an amoeba, to address various problems and needs. A prime catalyst to providing the leadership needed to create a march and launch the creation of “The Movements That Can Shift The World” could be women, who do not need to “rule” afterwards. This is not a return to the matriarchy. We need intersectionality, coalitions, movements of movements. We also need “The Movements That Can Shift the World” to include “women and men as allies.”
Hawken researched this phenomenon for years, including creating a database of organizations. At first he estimated some 100,000 entities which he lumped into three categories of environmental, social justice and indigenous rights types. Eventually he concluded that there were an estimated 1-2 million around the world. And this was a 2007 book!
Expanding the Numbers
My research substantiates and expands his evidence by millions. Some of the numbers come from movements that would be considered “failed” by some, such as the Occupy movement of 2011-2012. While it no longer is very visible, the movement mounted demonstrations in 82 countries, 600 U.S. communities and 951 cities around the globe. (Wikipedia) The movement was against social and economic inequality and the lack of “real democracy,” but they were mainly a protest movement that failed to present a positive vision to engage the dream. They also were not broad enough or inclusive enough to create the umbrella, big-tent nature of “The Movements That Can Shift the World” that seems necessary for global transformation. But they were an important part of laying the groundwork for this moment in history. They identified the need to transform capitalism, correctly shedding a spotlight on a bankrupt economic system that needs to turn toward creating a society where rampant materialism and injustice do not rob us of our humanity. Nourishing the common good is essential.
In a more recent vein, the Women’s March on Washington on January 21, 2017, in response to the 2016 presidential election, was an awe-inspiring show of power and potential. It featured the wondrous, non-violent protest of women (plus men and children). Some 3.5 million came out in the U.S. and several more million joined from around the world. It was organized in a relatively short period of time and has been influential in inspiring me to proceed with the vision I write about here. Behind those individual women are millions more who were sympathetic, many of whom have been galvanized into still invisible grassroots advocacy and activism. I am one of them who asked, what can I do in my own small way to make a difference? I vowed to use the power of the pen.
There are some who would say that the march went nowhere, but the next chapter is being written in all kinds of still invisible ways, including a significant increase in women running for office. A TV network pundit recently noted that the number of women approaching Emily’s List for help in running for office has exploded since the marches. The current project of the Women’s March Network is to register new voters and make a dramatic difference at the polls in the 2018 elections. Another aspect of the revolution has emerged from the #MeToo movement as waves of women are publicly saying “No” to sexual assault and harassment. Their “no” strikes at the heart of a centuries-old view that women are both subservient and sexual objects. Time magazine boldly chose a number of women who went public as “Persons of the Year” in their December 18, 2017 issue. They represent millions of women around the world. Beyond this issue of abuse of power, the movement is an indication of an emboldened female leadership that is saying NO to patriarchal excess of greed and abuse of power in general. On many other issues women need to seize the initiative, with men beside them, who will say NO to such grievances and YES to ushering in a new era in history. The “Call to Action” in Part 1 of this manifesto can become another powerful chapter in the overall phenomenon of “the feminine rising” in order to heal the masculine-feminine imbalance that has harmed us all.
Beyond these four critical elements that can fuel a mass outpouring, there was the “Bernie Sanders Revolution” which ignited millions of millennials, mainly around economic issues. Then there are the unknown numbers engaged in the “Black Lives Matter” movement. They promise to help us work on the rampant racism that represents unfinished business from the Civil Rights movement. A powerful black national leader has emerged in North Carolina. Reverend William Barber II, organized what he calls “fusion coalitions” to tackle a range of issues affecting various causes and groups. Over the summer of 2013 he led more than a hundred thousand at rallies to protest restrictions to voting access and an extreme makeover of state government. These protests, called “Moral Monday’s” spawned similar efforts in five other states. (The Third Reconstruction). This model of collaborative activism must be replicated if a “New Civilization Movement” is to be effective.
In still another example of a substantive coalition, there was the recent controversy over the Dakota Access Pipeline at the Standing Rock Sioux reservation in 2016. The tribe argued that the pipeline would threaten sacred sites and their water supply. The protest drew representatives from 300 Native American tribes plus thousands of military veterans, Black Lives Matter activists, religious leaders, civil libertarians and citizens of different faiths, races and political beliefs. (Haynes, opinion column) In addition, all across the U.S., the 2016 election spawned more than 6,000 “Indivisible” groups that have organized to protest or support current legislation. A “how to” guide of a 25 page, downloadable document created a grassroots outpouring of newly inspired political activists. Then there was the Scientists’ March on Washington, which inspired 610 other global marches, the Climate Change lobby effort, and immigration groups protesting travel bans.
Moving backwards to the year 2000, there was considerable interest in the “Cultural Creatives,” identified by Paul Ray and Shirley Ruth Anderson in their book by the same name. They counted 40-50 million in the U.S. and a comparable number in Europe. These 90-100 million people were identified as holding a new worldview, whether oriented ecologically or spiritually or both. In Paul Ray’s June 19, 2012 blog, his updated figures indicated 2008 numbers of 80 million in the U.S. or 35% of the population! These people are on the forefront of cultural change, reflecting ecological, global and spiritual consciousness. They are distinct from the more skeptical individualistic, materialistic “moderns” and the more fundamentalist “traditionalists.” Well-known author and consciousness leader, Barbara Marx Hubbard, in an April, 2015 UTNE article, described these times as “The Awakening of Humanity,” a new worldview capable of transforming society. She terms this change a “conscious evolution.”She believes that we are moving from UNconscious evolution to Conscious Evolution, and “we can either destroy the world or participate in a future of immeasurable dimensions.”
Some other indications of revival and a new way of living include the movement back to the land. Amidst the decline of some rural communities, there are nonetheless regional efforts all over the country to reclaim smaller towns, promote sustainable agriculture and support new entrepreneurs. Farmer’s markets are proliferating in cities large and small.
Healing Our Wounds
Paul Hawken grouped his invisible movement into three categories of environmentalism, social justice and indigenous rights. He suggested that “the environmentalists expect the social-justice movement to get on the environmental bus, but it is the other way around; the only way we are going to put out the fire is to get on the social-justice bus and heal our wounds, because, in the end there is only one bus.” (See my website, www.aliceholstein.net and “Bold Solutions to Ending War” which proposes a massive healing initiative, a global event, to unleash forces of healing all over the world.) He goes on to say, about healing our wounds, that “armed with this realization, we can address all that is harmful externally. What will guide us is a living intelligence that creates miracles every second, carried forth by a movement with no name.” (p. 45, ODE magazine) Does Hawken’s prioritization need to exist or can we work on both social justice and environmental projects concurrently? What is missing is the umbrella idea and name, “The Movements That Can Shift the World” that morphs into a massive culture shift to inspire our efforts. A massive outpouring could be followed by even more visible grassroots organizing. Beyond that, we need many instances of collaboration and coalitions that allow individual entities to retain their identities while functioning as part of the whole.
A large part of healing “the social-justice bus” is the need to heal our wounds at deep levels. A large part of that is racism. Two years ago I didn’t know what “white privilege” meant. Today I have had my consciousness raised by studying a book, Waking Up White with a group seeking to examine how our own hidden racism prohibits understanding of people of color. I also participated in a “testimonial” church service where we shared our journeys of awakening. I know of churches that have conducted “teach-ins” to raise consciousness. We need such wound-healing work all over the country.
In addition, inner work is required because we all possess a “dark” side that must be transformed to achieve maturity, and all of us have been wounded by the untransformed forces of the patriarchy. Personal trauma is pervasive, but even those without major personal problems have been harmed by the culture. Addictive behavior is rooted, in part, in unhealed childhood wounds. We need massive transformation, a loving, healing, global shift, and we need it now. When the short-lived Gulf war ended in 1991, when I lived in Tucson, much of the therapeutic and faith community came out of the woodwork to offer healing and support to returning veterans and their families. (This was in bitter contrast to the negative treatment that we Vietnam veterans received.) The same healing phenomenon can happen on a global scale. Healers will step forward in masses when the need and opportunity become clear. A global healing symposium with extensive media coverage could trigger the outpouring. A foundation, or several, could sponsor and coordinate such an effort.
My radical hope is that it is time for a Hawken’s “movement without a name” to claim a name identity so that the world can participate in this amazing evolution. We need something tangible to help us focus on a world without war, a planet that is healing, a movement of movements that represents a new worldview to shift us to a new operating system. The leaders may be diverse, even unheralded and unidentified, and the functioning of the movements may remain a mysterious phenomenon that forms and reforms to meet the needs that arise. Indeed, it may be characterized by both small and large-scale successes and failures, perpetually changing, but it needs the unity umbrella of a visible, tangible name to describe the movements that continue to function from the bottom-up in service of saving the planet. My name is “The Movements That Can Shift the World.” As the shift occurs, we can focus in all kinds of ways on building a better world.
More Evidence But Fragmented
When E.F. Schumacher’s 1973 classic, Small Is Beautiful: Economics As If People Mattered was first reissued in 1999, Paul Hawken’s introduction identified something critical for today’s understanding of why these movements can succeed together, wildly, in unimaginable ways. He pointed out, “never before in history have independent groups from around the world derived frameworks and knowledge that are utterly consonant and in agreement. It is not that they are the same, it is that they do not conflict. This hasn’t happened in politics, not in religion, not in psychology and not in economics.” (Schumacher, Hawken Introduction, pp.xv, xvi.) The network already exists, but it remains fragmented into environmental justice, ecological literacy, political reform, human rights, nuclear disarmament, government watchdogs, conservation, women’s issues, organization transformation, spirituality, women’s rights, alternative healthcare, poverty, renewable energy, corporate reform, labor issues, trade agreements, tax reform, civil rights, “the new economics,” climate change, and more.
The existence of these presently beneath-the-radar organizations is miraculous, but too many operate in silos. We need an umbrella that allows the separate parts to function together without losing their identity. We need more fusion coalitions. We need more democracies that can overcome racism, nationalism, militarism, religious intolerance, bigotry and profit-centric capitalism. We need to link up the network that already exists! In the U.S. we can move toward 2018 and 2020 election victories to help restore American democracy.
Aiding that effort are such organizations as the “Resistance Party,” a newly formed organization vowing to “fight to defend constitutional rights, democratic norms and the rule of law in the U.S.” Their website includes a rich selection of information about their platform, background information and “Resources for the Fight.” In a 2017 The Nation article, Joshua Holland reported dozens of grassroots resistance groups. His article whittled down some 75 of these to about 14 of either the most interesting or the most promising. (Holland) In another site there were 39 anti-Trump organizations listed which they hoped to bring under an umbrella resistance effort.
There are even more people capable of participating than either Hawken or the resistance has imagined. Included in those functioning from an inner-directed personal framework are the people increasingly identified in the U.S. as “nones.” These are presently some 27% of the population who identify themselves as “spiritual, not religious”. (PEW Research Center.) This is an amazing one fourth of the population and they are growing exponentially although they do not usually assemble as an identifiable group or cause.
Studies of the “nones” indicate that they march to the tune of a different drummer. About two-thirds still proclaim to believe in God or some kind of “force” although others identify as agnostic or humanist. A smaller number is atheist. Preliminary evidence indicates they are more anti-authoritarian, independent and inner-directed than the general population. More of them lean left politically; who knows how many are independent? Many are interested in social justice causes but do not necessarily recognize that they are part of a larger “movements that have no name.”
The existence of the “nones” indicates a growing religious de-institutionalization of faith. They simply do not buy entrenched religious teachings. The studies also show that the majority do not lack moral values or “bad” behaviors. They are merely “spiritual, not religious,” with many pursuing personal transformation and meaning in life in alternative ways. They are often engaged in inner searches.
Most importantly for the purpose of understanding the potential power of “An Awakened Humanity,” there is an interesting similarity that unites both the spiritually oriented and those who work within the umbrella categories of environmentalism and social justice. That characteristic is that both populations are not beholden to the usual leaders and the cultural beliefs that still guide the mainstream population. They represent a new worldview, one that is intuitive, and either self-actualized or seeking that, rather than pursuing either a specific belief system or a savior leader. They may be similar to or some of the same people as the “Cultural Creatives.” They may be some of Bernie’s revolutionaries. There is undoubtedly much overlap. They are people on the forefront of change as opposed to those who fear change and want to turn back the clock. These pioneers add up to millions!
Despite the secularity of many of the “nones,” they herald an even more significant, mostly unidentified phenomenon. Noted religion author and theologically-trained Diana Butler Bass, says that there is a profound and positive spiritual revolution emerging. She believes it to be similar to the world-shaking but mostly invisible transformative nature of the Axial Age, written about by prolific religious author, Karen Armstrong. Armstrong wrote that most of our mainstream religions were spawned in the 8th to 3rd centuries, B.C. (Armstrong, p. xii) Says Bass, “theories of decline or growth are not really the point. Roiling around the planet is a shifting perception of God.” Instead of accepting expected religious beliefs and behavior from above, “the personal, mystical, immediate and intimate is emerging as the dominant way of engaging the divine.” Note that the authoritarian nature of religion is being rejected in favor of a personal, highly individualized, and inner-directed notion of God. Bass suggests that “what was once reserved for a few saints has now become the quest of millions around the planet, which is to be able to touch, feel, and know God for one’s self.” She also says that “contemporary people are finding God in otherwise strange places, such as with dirt, water and sky, as the fire of the spiritual illuminates the way throughout. This is the spiritual revolution.” (Bass, p. 125)
Bass’ 2015 book, Grounded: Finding God In the World. A Spiritual Revolution, chronicles how millions are finding spirituality in the ordinary, without theological belief or formal structure. She uses the words, “domestic revolution” to distinguish the new but old discovery of what counts in life. She cites the very secular example of Northampton, MA as a spiritual revolution, “taking place in farms and homes and small shops led by people growing organic crops, raising livestock, brewing beer, making jewelry, weaving cloth and making clothes.” (Bass, p.184) It is all part of a regional revival. Bass acknowledges Hawken’s research and suggests that the spiritual revolution she identifies exists in the midst of the largest social movement in history which is an organic movement to “restore grace, justice, and beauty to the world,” thus constituting a global spiritual revolution to save the earth. ( Bass, p. 117 and rephrased from Blessed Unrest.) The fact that these things are occurring is mostly obscured beneath the weight of the seemingly unsolvable problems that assail us. They are growing despite the consistent bad news of the mainstream media.
Another group contributing to the “movement that has had no name” is the huge, millions- strong LGBTQ movement that has defied the status quo and seized their rights. They have had to define themselves from the inside out; many have suffered. Ironically, however, it is often true that suffering creates a compassionate heart. Thus, they are ripe transformation agents. In fact, it is frequently people who have suffered and been oppressed who are then pushed to the maturity of a more egoless leadership. Adversity can kill or defeat you, but it can also yield valuable self-knowledge and a value system consonant with a new worldview. Many traditionalists remain upset by this gigantic shift, but the U.S. in general has shifted into ready acceptance of this movement. Young people are not uptight at all about same-sex marriage or the right to choose ones’ sex or how one relates to another.
Last but not least among the powerful forces supporting transformation are the women religious of the world. One of their strongest arms is the Leadership Conference of Women Religious, an association of the Catholic women religious in the U.S. Their some 1350 member organizations represent nearly 80% of the approximately 48,000 women religious in the country. Their website proclaims that their “scope is broad and includes collaborating in Catholic church and societal efforts that influence systemic change, studying significant trends and issues within the church and society, utilizing our corporate voice in solidarity with people who experience any form of violence or oppression---.” Note the focus on systemic, not just incremental, change. They have a history of liberal activism and remain an open system that adapts to change. They deliberately respond to the needs of our times through focus on such things as poverty and human trafficking. They also put their energy into inter-faith causes.
Being Inner-Directed Is Key
What is the commonality that unites these millions of individuals and groups, many of whom do not recognize they are part of a revolution-evolution? It has already been suggested. It is---that outer authority is bankrupt! Willis Harman, a now deceased esteemed scientist, futurist, and business leader, suggested at a workshop I attended in 1994 in England, that if you “changed the story of civilization,” then the whole system could shift. He believed this change in the “story” was the shift from external to internal authority in persons. The changes I have cited, and the characteristics of those who are part of an unacknowledged movement, very much reflect this external to internal shift. The potential for a massive culture shift to become visible and a driving force in transforming the planet is to recognize the underlying shift in worldview that typifies the inner-directed. Both their belief systems and their behavior are based upon a reappraisal of our core values. Many possess both the vision and the commitment to live in new ways on the planet, and they are manifesting these now. Further unity and action can tilt the world to massive reinvention and rebirth.
All of our intractable problems stem from a worldview badly in need of major revision. Jared Diamond, author of Collapse, says that only civilizations that reappraised their values survived. If these “new” underlying values and issues, especially a transformed capitalism, became the focus of a non-violent resistance, the shift could be rapid, similar to but far beyond how quickly or deeply Communism fell. The direction of evolution is toward inner direction and open systems, but it appears that the rigid, closed hierarchy is holding on for dear life, much like the ego holds on in the process of personal growth. Lots of backlash and hanging on are typical before people surrender to the letting-go required by psychological maturation. Many never do make the turn, so much danger still exists for the vulnerable and the pioneers. Tremendous environmental harm is being done by denying climate change solutions which are dogmatically being declared a hoax by those in power. Corporate America has successfully “bought” the politicians.
Breakdown is clearly evident all around us, signaling the need for defining and creating a new civilization, but those who carry protest signs can also be unprepared for power. Conflict resolution can be taught, however, and “active listening” is a skill that is readily teachable, producing inestimable understanding and healing. Practicing it may help us talk with those who disagree with our beliefs. Group process skills should be mandatory training for they are the foundation of a sound democracy. We must learn how to disagree productively, using such differences to produce creativity, not rancor and hatred. Violence begets violence.
Training Social Revolutionaries
Terrorists train their soldiers rigorously. We should look at what “rigor” means for those of us trying to build rather than tear down. In contrast to terrorism’s brutality and warped worldview, a social revolution still needs to master relationship-building skills, plus how to organize and manage in participative fashion. Conceptual clarity is not enough to pull off a revolution; technology and the internet may be a huge part of the way a movement coordinates, communicates, and educates, but deep and lasting social change will depend upon our state of consciousness and the people and process skills we possess. Inner work is essential and so are the more practical things, such as participative management, which has become well developed in the U.S., if not always practiced. Authoritarian mindsets and behaviors are unacceptable except in the military. Note that women are known for relationship and process expertise; they must become key leaders in building a new civilization. It is time for women to redefine power as justice and compassion, not dictatorial methods of “power over” as they claim leadership roles. The tendency for men to speak first in a group and thus seize formal leadership positions must be understood as unhelpful. Women must step forward faster, with conviction. We all must be willing to say NO to the patriarchy without blaming men.
We need massive training in participative organizational change processes. I know their effectiveness from my career as an organization development consultant. I also know that most people don’t know how to work with groups! Such lack is a tragedy, for we need democracy everywhere. There are thousands of people with change agent training skills, however, who would be ready to step forward if we but gave them the spotlight. This is critical, for resistance must be bloodless and non-violent! Radical protests that involve physical threats and action will only produce backlash. To be against something is not enough; we must be FOR a new civilization in order to engage the dream of a transformed world. Both the U.S. and war-torn countries need the skills of democracy. What about a “University of Democracy” that would include training in civil disobedience, non-violence and neighborhood organizing tactics? What about training in how to run effective meetings, achieve consensus and work with group dynamics? What about on-line courses and podcasts to teach these “unromantic” things quickly to a whole cadre of social revolutionaries? What about a much larger, more institutionalized approach to nation-building? How can we expect to encourage global democracy without the vision and skills to achieve it?
“The Movements That Can Shift the World” effort could position itself as an evolutionary happening, not merely against the status quo. This means holding a larger view than mere formal resistance while nonetheless promoting fundamental change. We must say NO to the existing power structures, withdrawing legitimacy from abusive forces. Trying to change those in power, however, is to waste precious resources. They have virtually everything, both psychological and material, invested in the existing worldview. It is futile to waste energy and precious resources on them. The greatest possibility for change is to define and work on what constitutes a massive culture shift and a transformed world. A small group technique called “Force Field Analysis,” developed years ago by Kurt Lewin, suggests that change is optimized when we work on the forces moving towards change, not on those opposing it. A non-violent resistance must contain a vision for the future, not merely protest. We need a world where every child will be loved and wanted . We need a world without war that can produce creativity and maturation for all. We need a world where we can heal our collective and individual wounds. We need to live with the idea and hope that love is the answer. Saying NO to the destructive forces is in order but doing it without violence. Working on the positive is what matters.
All of this is why “The Movements That Can Shift the World” needs to be named. It must define itself as a whole along with the myriad ways it can create this new civilization. It needs to be both visionary and practical. Hawken says that there are two values that unite the millions involved. One is the ethic,” do unto others as you would have them do unto you”, The Golden Rule. (The Golden Rule exists in one form or another in all the world’s religions. Just Google the subject.) The other bottom-line value is that all of life is sacred. That means human and non-human, including the earth itself. This is the key concept. One of the ways to do that rapidly is to recognize the models and experiments we already have to show us how to live creatively and sustainably. These need to be lifted up. They need to be replicated wherever possible. (See my website, www.aliceholstein.net) for the essay, “Connectionspedia: A Vision of Rapid Transformation.”)
Saving The World
What might be some catalyzing events that could unleash global transformation, the creation of my shimmering, orange-gold ball of the dream that replaces the one with the cancerous, spreading black dots? Dr. Helen Caldicott,, physician, Nobel Peace nominee and outspoken peace activist suggested on a Book TV (c-span) in-depth interview in 2005, that the proliferation of nuclear energy and weapons was “the” spiritual issue of our time. We are seeing this played in the saber rattling between North Korea and the United States. Will talking it through and negotiation solve the standoff, or will we destroy ourselves? The answer hangs in the balance. I see the possibility, however, that the present “underground” network, combined with the present resistance forces, combined with the spiritual revolution, the indigenous forces and enhanced by the women, all made visible and lifted up, is the “bus ticket” to global transformation. It can start with our voting power. One way or another, it is time to connect the network, to network the networks, to shift the world. The 2018 elections can be a foundational start. 2020 can be a momentous shift.
Unfortunately, there is an existing mindset that nuclear bombs can be used in a limited war; too many have accepted, consciously or unconsciously, the idea that war has always been with us and can never be eliminated. In the meantime, we have become what Eisenhower warned against, a monolithic, military-industrial society dependent upon the arms race for economic survival. Current leadership looks at our nuclear arsenal and concludes that it is outdated, needing to be increased. The administration asks for billions more. This is sheer madness; the strategy is bankrupting us economically, sacrificing the most vulnerable in the population and preventing us from evolving as a species. It cannot be allowed to continue. Supporting it is spiritual and physical suicide.
I thus suggest that THE spiritual issue of our time is to heal the underlying worldview of the present order. In fact, the rallying cry, “Save The World, Heal Our Wounds” applies to peoples, countries and the earth. We are all wounded in that we are capable of acting out of our “shadow” side. We all must understand that the inner work of personal transformation creates mature, healthy, loving humans. Otherwise all the resistance and revolutions and “winning” of the struggle will not last. The capacity to see “the other” as a bad person is not helpful or mature. Inner work helps us move beyond seeing the world as “us and them.” We must not lose respect for one another; otherwise we will tear ourselves apart.
The earth has been wounded by our failure to live in balance with it. To heal ourselves would mean transforming the black dots on the globe to the love and light that is still possible. Indeed, the spiritual and survival issue of our time may be in line with what Caldicott suggests. We are, right now, in 2018, being confronted as we watch the evening news, with the prospect of destroying ourselves. Barbara Marx Hubbard suggests, however, that we have the opportunity of becoming agents of conscious evolution. We need a global media event that would highlight healers, trauma and conflict resolution experts, plus non-political leaders such as the Dalai Lama and the Pope. This would set off a ripple effect of healing initiatives all over the world. We need positive images to counter the idea of war. See my “Bold Solutions for Ending War: Healing Our Wounds” at www.aliceholstein.net. As idealistic as it initially may sound, it would not be hard, with today’s technology and organizing ability, to create such an event. We would watch the presentations much the same way that the funeral of Princess Diana was a global phenomenon. It could be live-streamed like the Women’s March. It could unleash untold miracles of healing and conflict resolution. After massive outpouring that would constitute a major shift, this type of event would give a tremendous boost to permanently shifting the world! We must dream the impossible dream.
“WE THE PEOPLE” As Leaders
And who will lead this bloodless revolution? I submit that the answer is underneath our noses in the millions who constitute “the largest social movement the world has ever known” as identified by Hawken and expanded by my recognition of additional millions. A focus of these efforts could be regional transformation, whether in small villages or segments of mega-cities. This would give people a sense of “doable” ways to work on building a new civilization instead of being overwhelmed with global problems. Many present leaders will fight the wave of transformation because it means giving up rigid viewpoints and behavior. We nonetheless need global Marshall Plans like the one that spent billions rebuilding Western Europe after World War II. Millions will need help to re-imagine, reinvent, rebuild, renew, and revere life on the planet. “Go Local” could be a rallying cry.
“We The People,” all of us ordinary citizens, must assume some responsibility for sustainability, economic and political democracy, community-building, and a trans-denominational spirituality where peace and goodness reign supreme. If all of us, individually, looked honestly at the state of the world, and asked, “what do these crises mean to me and how can I personally make a difference,” the answers and action devised would create a “Lovefest.” The ripple effect would produce wonders. This is already happening, but we need to up the ante. When people are working on themselves to continually grow in goodness, contributing to the larger good, then small and large miracles happen. WE are the solution, no longer needing to seek “savior” leaders and no longer merely blaming others. We need to admit that “the emperor wears no clothes” while acknowledging that the enemy is not only out there but also within.
So how do we work on all of this besides unleashing global healing initiatives? Working on ourselves is part of it. Another is that regionalization is a concept that applies globally. Local communities have been destroyed all over the world by unfettered, free market capitalism. While the present form of capitalism and free trade has “lifted many boats,” it has also destroyed many and created immense problems. We can take advantage of the fact that global trade has created an interdependent, highly networked world which can be balanced with regional development and renewal. The trend to huge, mega-million populated cities cannot be easily reversed, but they too can develop “regional” projects and sustainability. The point is that it is “we” and us” who must assume considerable responsibility for healing and reinvention. Big government is still necessary, in part, because only it can do certain things, such as healthcare, but a true democracy must be fueled from the bottom up, just as is already happening. It is time to make the vision of a global renaissance, concrete and therefore achievable. This is a moon shot for the world, and it can be accomplished more rapidly than we imagine.
Such grandiose plans, however, must be accompanied by restoring and nurturing the concept of “the common good” in an economic sense. My vision takes for granted the idea that the general welfare of society must be served in any economic reorganization. It is not either/or, but rather, both in balance. Free market capitalism has done much for the world, but it is currently totally out of balance and must be transformed. There is even concrete evidence that such evolution is good for the bottom line. Right now, however, profit-centric capitalism runs rampant along with greed and abuses of power. The common good has been sacrificed, which is destructive to our psyches, our pocketbooks and our unhealthy lifestyles. Charting a new civilization requires transforming our economic system. That may be the sticking point, but unless we do that and quickly, we risk the possibility of collapse as a civilization. And lest we fear the collapse of a stock market based on greed and power, there is a strong argument that proves that entities which pursue profit as well as the common good are MORE successful financially than those that do not. The Holy Grail has been found! (Kelly)
It is time for the “The Movements That Can Shift the World” to become visible. A global renaissance is possible. The revolution is already at hand but still not visionary enough, still not linked enough, still not powerful enough to succeed and survive so that we can build a new civilization. There are MODELS all over the world of new ways to live. Putting out a “call” to these could form a database of “how to’s” in every conceivable arena. “Connectionspedia” (see my website) could accelerate reinvention through this rapid sharing of knowledge and applications. Wikipedia has led the way. In addition, technology could be unleashed to transform much of the military-industrial complex into organizations dedicated to working on environmental and infrastructure problems. Our tremendous educational resources could help retrain people left behind by these dislocations.
Have we forgotten what the U.S. accomplished when war engulfed us in the 1940s? Everyone and everything was put to work to accomplish the task of defeating an evil empire. We can do that again, only “winning” means that we rethink our values, reinvent and rebuild from there. The “underground network” is already doing that, so some of the spadework exists as foundation. If we can put people on the moon, we can save the earth. But this time we need to “win” in another way, one that will create conscious evolution for billions. We must remember that all of life is sacred. In smaller ways the millions of people who are currently in Non-Governmental-Organizations (NGO’s) or working on social justice and environmental causes can be recognized, copied, expanded and joined. This somewhat disconnected network needs to be lifted up so that it can catalyze global rebirth. Manifesting the healing and structural changes will take some time, but with a change in worldview and a gigantic shift in consciousness, the operating system of planet earth can be turned in new directions. Even the “old order” can be transformed if they stop fighting the inevitable shift to a new consciousness level. What awaits us is a non-violent manifestation of the vision and reality of a true democracy of WE THE PEOPLE. A new civilization, a global renaissance, bubbling up from the bottom, can transform life for billions. It’s time for love at last.
© Alice A. Holstein, 2018. Please feel free to share this document while acknowledging its authorship.
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