The Planetary Crisis and the Great Turning

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The world and the U.S. are in trouble. You may say, “Yeah, that’s obvious. Look at what Trump and the right wing are trying to do.” And, yes. That thrust toward fascism is an immediate threat to our democracy and society, and Trump and the Republicans must be stopped at all costs. However, we are facing even larger problems that this, though they may not be quite so obvious. In the long term, they are even more dangerous than Trump.

We are in the midst of a planetary crisis and historical transformation. By this I mean that the degree of change will be system-wide—all-encompassing. The severity of problems we are confronting is staggering--climate change, terrorism, racism, mass shootings, homelessness, extinction of species, massive migrations, and the takeover of our governments by corporations and the rich. The list goes on and on. But it is not chance that all these things are happening at this time in history. We have come to the end of a historical era, and our old ways of doing business are no longer working.

For the last 3 or 4 hundred years, those of us in the developed nations have lived mostly in what is called the Industrial Era or the Modern Era. We have adopted a worldview based on science, rational thought, technology, and competition for power. We have treated the natural world as a machine to be analyzed and controlled. We have treated other people and other nations this way. We have even treated ourselves this way. This approach has brought us tremendous gains in knowledge, individuality, freedom, and comfort, but its very success has now spawned problems that it can’t deal with. For example, social media are supposed to help connect us, but there is evidence that shows that they lead to greater alienation.

The tremendous explosion of our technical power, our population, and our ability to exploit the earth brings a whole new set of issues which our industrial worldview can't comprehend. The industrial worldview can't think in terms of limits or being part of a whole. It doesn't understand feelings or intuition or cooperation. It has outlived its usefulness, and our continued attempts to apply it to our current problems are only making matters worse.

Our current lifestyle of material consumption and personal ambition has also outlived its day. This lifestyle, which once made so much sense in fueling our drive toward freedom and mastery of our environment, is now contributing to the problems and dangers we face. Capitalism has gotten out of control leading to massive inequality and corporate dominance of the political process.

Our society is in crisis; it is breaking down, and the current Republican craziness in Washington is one symptom of that. This crisis is producing tremendous dangers and stresses, but it also is pushing us toward the changes we need. It is leading toward a different worldview and an entirely new set of social structure that are appropriate to the current historical situation.

Our collective psyche is erupting with signs and portents of this new way of being. We don't know what it will finally be, but we have hints that it will be built on a foundation of cooperation, interconnectedness, and an interest in the inner life, and that it will involve cultural diversity, social justice, human scale institutions, and reverence for the earth. Wouldn’t this be a beautiful world to live in! And we can begin to live it now, by creating loving community within the movement and by initiating small scale changes in our social structures which move us toward this beautiful world that our hearts know is possible.

This transformation has been called the Great Turning, and it is the most important thing that is happening on the planet, though it is invisible to most people. That is the way it always happens with transformations; they aren’t apparent until they have progressed far enough to penetrate into mass consciousness. So, even though you won’t hear about the Great Turning in the news, it is well underway, as has been documented by many of our thought leaders.

In this seminar, we will work to understand the Planetary Crisis and the potential for the Great Turning, and you will get a chance to explore your contribution to it.

The seminar will be recorded, so once you are enrolled, you will receive an email afterwards with a link to the recording.

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