A Holistic Masterpiece

A Holistic Masterpiece

A tour de force by Asoka Bandarage, Sustainability and Well-Being: The Middle Path to Environment, Society and the Economy is more in sync with my thinking than any book I’ve read. This excellent, well-written work presents a holistic framework that addresses both the whole person and the whole world. Published in 2013 with 68 pages of text and 17 pages of notes, this comprehensive essay, as described by its publisher, Palgrave Macmillan UK, offers:

An integrated analysis of the twin challenges of environmental sustainability and human well-being by investigating them as interconnected phenomena requiring a paradigmatic psychosocial transformation. She presents an incisive social science analysis and an alternative philosophical perspective on the needed transition from a worldview of domination to one of partnership.

The chapters are titled:

  • Environmental, Social, and Economic Collapse

  • Evolution of the Domination Paradigm

  • Ecological and Social Justice Movements

  • Ethical Path to Sustainability and Well-Being.

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Possible Mutual Support Methods

On the site, under Proposals there's a new page title "Group Methods." It begins: 

Possible Mutual Support Methods

Members of existing organizations -- such as activist organizations, human service agencies, book clubs, and other similar groups -- might use the following methods to support each other with their self-development. New groups, both informal and informal, might also form and use these methods.

That list will occasionally be updated. Suggested additions (or deletions!) can be posted on that page or as a comment here.

Change Myself, Change the World

Change Myself, Change the World

Change Myself, Change the World:
A Commitment

(Draft)

I commit to:

  • Pay attention to, control, and strive to change thoughts and feelings that can lead to oppressive or counterproductive behavior.  

  • Acknowledge my mistakes and resolve to avoid them in the future.

  • Become a better human being.

  • Talk about my efforts with close friends and listen to them talk about their efforts.

  • Support the development of social structures that nurture personal and community empowerment.

  • Help transform my nation into a compassionate community dedicated to the common good of all humanity, our own people, the environment, and life itself.

  • Help improve my nation’s public policies….

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Books in Resources

On the site, I recently created a Books section under Resources and added to it 64 books that advance systemic transformation. They are listed in reverse chronological order based on the date of publication.

Tailspin

Tailspin

Last Sunday on “Meet the Press” Chuck Todd interviewed Steven Brill, author of Tailspin: The People and Forces Behind America's 50-Year Fall -- and Those Fighting To Reverse It. As reported in the transcript, Brill’s book is a critique of “meritocracy” and the “knowledge economy.” Brill argues that in recent decades we’ve had “liberal lawyers who were coming out of liberal law schools going to liberal law firms and doing the legal engineering” that caused many of the problems we face today.

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Transform the System News - May 2018

Transform the System News - May 2018

Still Looking for Holistic Community

I seek a community whose members promote comprehensive transformation, aim to become better human beings, and set aside time to support each other with those efforts.

That’s it -- the essential ingredients of a holistic community that involves the whole person and helps change the whole world. It seems straightforward and sensible. From time to time,…

My primary motivation is that I believe holistic communities could help relieve suffering. As I address in Transform the System: A Work in Progress, it seems to me that most social change efforts specialize in ways that undermine their effectiveness. Most focus on either the outer world or the inner world. 

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Nurturing Community, Countering Individualism

…A recent essay by Stanley Fish, “‘Transparency’ Is the Mother of Fake News,” is a critique of the claim that the unfettered, free flow of information on the Internet will benefit society. Fish’s argument applies to other realms as well, such as education, personal growth, creativity, and spirituality. …

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Intimate Mutual Support

New Power: How Power Works in Our Hyperconnected World -- and How to Make It Work for You by Jeremy Heimans and Henry Timms describes new approaches to social change. In the second chapter, the authors highlight a key issue: identity. When an individual’s sense of self is based on top-down “old power,” it’s hard to engage in collaborative “new power.”.......

Subjective gut reactions, emotions, beliefs, norms and values shape behavior. Habitual thoughts and feelings call for careful self-examination. We can strengthen our effectiveness by undoing some of our conditioning. If we change ourselves, we can better change the world.

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Why Systems Thinking

A systemic worldview exposes root causes, clarifies how issues are interconnected, avoids divisive scapegoating, and affirms that the primary problem is the self-perpetuating system, not particular individuals. While acknowledging individual responsibility for reinforcing the system, systems thinking cultivates humility, respect, and mutual understanding.

A holistic approach encourages the development of communities whose members support one another in their efforts to both become better human beings and help transform the system. It acknowledges that the subjective world changes the objective world and the objective world changes the subjective world. It encourages us to integrate personal, social, cultural, and political growth. By overcoming counter-productive thoughts and feelings, we become more effective.  

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Transforming the System

Personal, social, cultural, and political changes headed in the same direction are contributing to social transformation. Self-empowerment, community support, cultural shifts, and political action are reinforcing each other. No one predicted legislatures would adopt gay marriage so quickly, the Florida legislature would pass a gun control bill, or the West Virginia teachers would win their strike. Evolutionary revolution is underway.

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How to Transform the System

If the American people unite, we can transform this country into a compassionate community dedicated to the common good of all humanity, our own people, the environment, and life itselfThe following measures can help us achieve that goal -- step-by-step, with evolutionary revolution:

  • Build massive movements focused on proposals backed by strong majorities of the American people.
  • Encourage inactive individuals to become active by learning how to treat people with more respect.
  • Support one another to become better human beings.
  • Clarify connections between the issues we face by developing a systemic worldview that will hold us together over time.
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