Be the Change You Want to See in the World
photo by Leo Cumings from stock exchange
“What does it mean, change your thinking? To begin with, it means getting rid of old thinking, including the powerful but often unexamined beliefs that support it. There are many now obsolete beliefs about ourselves, others, and nature. Here is a short checklist.
- Everyone is separate and rightfully pursues his or her own self-interest.
- When one serves one’s own interest he or she benefits also others: after all, the market distributes the benefits.
- Life is a struggle for existence; only the fittest survives.
- In the ruthless competition for “fitness” (meaning power, wealth, and success) the ends justify the means.
- The more money you have, the better you are.
- You owe allegiance to one nation and government, and one business alone.
- If you want peace, prepare for war.
- More technology and more efficiency are the answer, no matter what the question.
- The environment can be engineered like a bridge or a dam to fit our needs.
- For all intents and purposes nature is an inexhaustible source of resources and an infinite sink of wastes.
Two things hallmark the new thinking. One is the realization that the ancient saying “we are all one” is not mere fiction. As William James has said, we are like islands in the sea—separate on the surface but connected in the deep.
When you shed obsolete beliefs and adopt new thinking, you change yourself. In these chaotic times that change can be the “butterfly” that triggers a storm. It can spread far and wide, and in the end it can change the world.
At the dawn of the modern age Western civilization… was shaped above all by the belief in the power of reason inherited from the Greeks. It developed a mechanistic worldview inspired by pioneers of modern science, Galileo, Newton, and Copernicus. This allowed classical physics to join hands with handicrafts and produced enormous technological breakthroughs.
But today, in an age of global information, communication, interdependence and environmental degradation, this kind of worldview doesn’t work any more. The technologies and behaviors it generates produce more heat than light—more negative side-effects than real benefits.
Modern civilization is no longer sustainable: it either breaks down, or it transforms. The challenge is to transform it into a civilization where six-and-a-half billion or more people can live in dignity, and harmony with each other and nature. This civilization must be diverse yet unified. It must be an organic whole, the same as nature and the universe…
It is in our own best interest to make sure that this much-prophesied watershed in human affairs is not a prelude to breakdown, but the springboard to an age of peace and sustainability.”
excerpt from article, GLOBALSHIFT!: Why, How, and When, by Ervin Laszlo
found at shift in action