Birthing a New Society
That we live in a time of apparent fracture, disruption, and dissent is now very obvious to most people everywhere: that we seem to be at a utter loss as to how to heal our brokenness and savagery is also increasingly obvious. Justifications abound for oppression, greed, and violence. Likewise, "religious" fundamentalism is also profoundly addictive in the narrowest sense of both "religious" and "addiction": Jewish, Christian, Islamic, Hindu and even Buddhist fanatics are flaming remnants of a truly deep and transformative spirituality... And yet, and yet: we are still alive on a precious blue Planet (itself in distress -- but still alive): we are still twirling in a vast Universe of unlimited possibilities: and a "subterranean homesick blues" is offering a Way into Love.
The Key Question Absolutely No One Wants To Ask: What is to be done with all the people superfluous to monopoly techno-capitalism? Or as former Secretary of Labor Robert Reich put it: "What do we owe one another as members of the same society who no longer inhabit the same economy?" And yet another voice on this theme, Nathan Gardels, editor of New Perspectives Quarterly: "From the standpoint of the market, the ever-swelling ranks of the unemployed face a fate worse than colonialism: economic irrelevance." Gardels argues, "we don't need what they have and they can't buy what we sell." Yet, probing deeper, Paul L. Wachtel in his book "The Poverty of Affluence" succinctly states: "Our entire economic system is based on human desire's being inexhaustible, on there being a potential market for almost anything we can produce... we have established a pattern in which we continually create discontent..." If we are to successfully wade the turbulent waters of our rEvolutionary times, we need to know where we are, how we got there, and which way forward...
The "Occupy Wall Street" movement -- which continues, though now, spearheaded by "Occupy Spirituality" -- began to nudge us in the direction of an honest social conversation. "Holding Wall Street and the Big Banks accountable" is an idea whose value lies in provoking serious thought -- but we need to hold ourselves, each of us and one another, accountable because very nearly all of us "want a future" that will unlock our door to personal success... But are we willing to no longer kneel before the "holy altar of unrestrained economic growth and unlimited wealth"? You know, the "god" of free market predatory capitalism... And who among us wouldn't sell out, or sell our souls, if we could only "ascend" to the sacred realm of the 1 percent for the rest of our life? But let's assume that we are honest, that our life experiences and our social critique, are merging within us to inspire a personal transformation and a rEvolutionary commitment to assist in the birthing of a new society...
We can't legitimately believe (can we?) that "more of the same" or endless economic expansion -- in this "casino capitalism" -- and consumption (in a finite environment) will, as a matter of course, lead us to anywhere worth getting to: not if we entertain any hope of saving our precious blue Planet: or have even a smidgeon of concern for the world's poor. The trend of the last one hundred years, which picked up incredible speed during the Presidency of Ronald Reagan, is towards the concentration of both real wealth and power into fewer and fewer hands. The 1 percent are not going to turn over the keys to their kingdom! We might be able to "modify" the trends through a vigorous progressive presence at the ballot-box by electing legislators who might be inclined to "raise taxes" on the 1 percent and to hold the line, if not increase, social investing (infrastructure, social security, health care, environmental protections, education, etc.). But they and we will still be beholden to the "god" of free market predatory capitalism which defines our human "value" solely in relation to our "service-ability" in production and consumption, and their power to control and dominate. It must be said: there is nothing rEvolutionary about wanting or demanding a bigger share of the pie! More of the same, or shuffling the deck, will only get us -- or those who follow after us -- more of the same (less and less of the pie). We need a brand new recipe for something other than the "pie" of predatory capitalism!
"We must begin now to work, urgently... to shape a new world." (Martin Luther King, Jr.) There are fundamental changes that need to be made, beginning with an acknowledgment that our Planet is at risk. Global climate change, and all the inter-related environmental issues such as pollution, deforestation, and overpopulation are linked head and heart with predatory capitalism, (with the dominator paradigm) -- and our cultural inability to believe that there can ever be enough! rEvolution requires the rapid re-creation of an economics suitable and sufficient for our Planet: a green cooperativism based upon Core Personalist Principles. Our humanity must come to be defined by our ability to love one another, to serve one another, and to save this Planet! Greed -- the worship of wealth and power -- will never be satisfied with "enough". Tinkering around the edges of Greed is the work of liberals... Seducing the innocent into service of the dominator paradigm is the work of conservatives and religious fundamentalists... But our rEvolutionary times, on the other hand, calls us to the prophetic witness and work of building a world-wide movement for justice and beauty, for "bread and roses" (as the Wobblies used to say).
A New Society (an Easy Essay by Peter Maurin, co-founder with Dorothy Day of the Catholic Worker Movement)
To be radically right
is to go to the roots
by fostering a society
based on creed,
and gentle personalism.
To foster a society
based on creed
instead of greed,
on systematic unselfishness
instead of systematic selfishness,
on gentle personalism
instead of rugged individualism,
is to create a new society
within the shell of the old.
Neither our modern technocracy nor the remnants of 20th century industrialism are "enough" to envision a way into a truly human future. While the apologists for the billionaires and the technocrats continue with their shell-games-dressed-as-politicians, the burdens of a deeply flawed political and economic system continue to weigh upon the poorest among us and around the world: with increasing numbers of folks being pushed off the ragged edge of the remnant of a middle-class cliff: or are living in the daily terror that their slide is inevitable: and so become prey to both religious fundamentalism and right-wing political extremism with potentially catastrophic consequences to civil society. One sees the rise of a neo-fascism in many European nations somewhat paralleling the fanaticism of the Tea Party in America: combined with the rampant religious literalism already entrenched in many places around the world, and one can't help but ponder when disaster will strike and to whom -- yet, in this age of "one city" over nearly all the Earth, how will anyone escape the possible fury? So for the mystic-activist, the question is not how to escape, but rather, how to channel these fermenting forces into a brand New Wine and the New Creation alive among us!
While every age is unique, perhaps no age better reveals the truth of the ancient prophet who stated simply that "the people perish without a vision." This is the task of the mystic-activist! From the very margins of world society there are hundreds -- thousands! -- of small cells of transformation: interfaith sacred circles, women's circles, work co-operatives, seed exchanges, small back-to-the-land organic farms, climate activists, community gardens, alternative schools and free Universities, free art, coffee shop / bookstore building-the-revolution headquarters, free restaurants, indie music-poetry readings, neighborhood lending libraries, street papers, e and self publishing, resurgent union organizing, and many, many other rEvolutionary happenings: actively building -- now -- the new society within the shell of the old! Right under the belly of the Beast, mystic-activists are already about building an economics of, by, and for the people and the Planet and re-creating culture to reflect our values of justice, equality, nonviolence, compassion, and beauty for all. From these thousands of Centers of Light, there is a convergence upon this core truth: each and every one of us is worth the very best! We declare it! We are building it! (And we're not wearing the three-cornered hats of the 1700's -- our vision points forward to the future!)
We need to begin wrapping our collective minds around a new vision of what it means to be human. Books such as Occupy Spirituality by Adam Bucko and Matthew Fox, The Chalice & The Blade by Riane Eisler, The Great Turning by David C. Korten, Urgent Message from Mother by Jean Shinoda Bolen, Deep Economy by Bill McKibben, Hoodwinked by John Perkins, Economic Democracy by Vandana Shiva, and The Hope by Andrew Harvey are essential reading for the world-wide conversations necessary for both a new vision and the means to new relationships and deep social change on a planetary scale. Evo Morales, Wangari Maathai, Aung San Suu Kyi, Thich Nhat Hahn, Arundhati Roy, Alice Walker, Amy Goodman, Van Jones, Frances Moore Lappe, Alisa Gravitz, Nelson Mandela, and Naomi Klein, are others heartedly recommended as primary sources. In addition, the film "Capitalism: A Love Story" by Michael Moore is a "must see!"
Finally, the book by Adam Bucko and Matthew Fox, Occupy Spirituality, is essential reading for the mystic-activist! Written in a conversational style, the reader is as if invited to a warm room to sit upon a sofa and listen to two deeply spiritual activists unveil their hearts, passions, and visions: this is a book to read with a pen in hand to underline and otherwise mark-up, for it is a working manual for creating a life of intense meaning and purpose...
From the bottom up, from the inside out, we can create a movement for dramatic and lasting social change -- for the rEvolution our times are demanding of us -- for the children, for the future, for the Earth! This website is just one more link to the Way: it is up to you to place your feet and your life upon the path and move us all forward!