Discovering folks like Asoka Bandarage who affirm holistic, systemic transformation is heartening (see “A Holistic Masterpiece”). It’s even more rewarding to find the Great Transition Initiative (GTI), a large network whose members engage in thoughtful online dialog. These efforts counter the divisiveness that’s spreading like a plague throughout society.Read More
personal, social, cultural and political transformation
Aiming to help transform the United States into a compassionate community dedicated to the common good of all humanity, our own people, the environment, and life itself.
Positive words benefit the brain. As reported by Andrew Newberg, M.D. and Mark Waldman,” thinking, hearing, speaking, and reading positive messages lowers stress and helps people respond quickly, deal with problems, live longer, develop satisfying relationships, be flexible, and become more caring.
An intuitive awareness of those recent scientific discoveries may have contributed to these historical events.Read More
The word civil has many meanings. Trump critics who recommend civility don’t counsel patience, deny righteous anger, or oppose all disruption. To say they do is to attack a straw man.
But they do reject demonizing. One synonym for civility is respect. That’s what they mean. They recommend respecting opponents’ essential humanity.
Critics of civility who call on the moral authority of Dr. King usually do so selectively, while neglecting key elements of his philosophy. According to the King Center:
The civility controversy is disheartening. Name-calling may lead to a Republican victory in 2018, and help re-elect Trump in 2020.
On June 28, Thomas B. Edsall posted “Don’t Feed the Troll in the Oval Office,” an extremely important piece. According to Edsall, Trump’s provocations are calculated and could work, aided by liberals who take the bait.
Edsall reports that most Democrats believe opposition to immigration is racist, whereas “Trump’s tactics are based on the conviction of many of his voters that opposition to immigration is not a form of racism. They deeply resent being called racist for anti-immigrant views they consider patriotic and, indeed, principled.” Those supporters do not consider non-Europeans essentially inferior, which they acknowledge would be racist. Rather, they merely prefer to preserve the nation’s character, as other communities have sought to preserve their character, which they do not consider racist.Read More
Americans are self-centered and fragmented. Until an overwhelming majority of Americans commit to the common good, unite, and stay united, we face a terrible future.
What’s in it for me. You can be whatever you want to be. Someone must always be in charge. Winning is everything. My people, we have the answer. Those are key beliefs in the American credo.
Until Americans set aside those beliefs, drop their abstract ideologies, and push for concrete improvements in unison, we face a terrible future.
Change agents must change themselves as well as the world. If we learn to avoid divisive behaviors, we’ll be able to transform this nation into a compassionate community dedicated to the common good of all humanity, ourselves, the environment, and life itself.Read More
The world is being torn apart by a struggle between love and hate. If hate prevails, life as we know it will perish. If love wins, humanity can transform the world into a compassionate community. This draft strategy offers a way to move in that direction.
As proposed here, the first step toward global transformation is to develop widespread agreement on the nature of our situation, based on an honest evaluation of our personal and collective strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats.
At present, hateful tribes -- driven by deep fear, grounded in arrogance and rigid ideologies, focused on winner-take-all competition, led by autocratic “saviors,” convinced they’re right and unable or unwilling to understand opponents, refusing to compromise, and inclined toward selfish individualism -- are trying to defeat “enemies” by any means necessary, regardless of consequences.
Fear and anger have their place. Awareness of danger and outrage at injustice are valuable. But when fear and anger are inflamed and distorted, they become counter-productive.
At the same time, compassionate communities are working with pragmatic idealism to improve lives and protect the environment with new policies, structures, and procedures. …Read More
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.
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:
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….
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.
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.Read More
…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. …Read More
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.Read More
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.Read More
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.Read More
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 itself. The 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.