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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