It is my understanding that global humanity presently stands on the verge of an unprecedented shift toward drastic social change. And this sudden change may come about amid a melting pot of social vulnerabilities and breakdown points. In fact, we only need to look at some of the evidence around us to know that all is not well.
On one hand, we are nearing a cusp in how we have abused our natural environment through a combination of deliberate human interventions (e.g., climatic and environmental pollution, depletion of natural resources, unsustainable population growth, accelerated urban expansion).
On the other hand, there is a growing feeling within many people that something is seriously out of balance with the present human condition. It may manifest in how people interact within their everyday social life and how their bodies feel drained of energy or increasingly “out of sync,” or there may be a rise in instinctual, gut feelings without a clear knowing of why.
In all of these cases, there is a considerable recognition that human progress has become disharmonious. At such moments, we feel our vulnerability more clearly, and wheN Our Human, Social, And Environmental Systems Are Vulnerable, They Are Wide Open To Be Shifted through even the smallest of impacts. Like a mountain of sand that we used to build as children on the beach, that one final grain placed at the top could be enough to topple the whole mountain.
Global Social Systems: Stressed to the Max
Increasingly, we are reading headlines about extreme weather and geological events: droughts in China and North America, drastic flooding in Australia, erratic snowfall in Europe, increased cyclone activity, seismic shakes across many regions, increased volcanic activity, and devastating hurricanes hitting tropical coastlines. On top of this, we hear about impending oil shortages and peak-oil arguments, avian flu and novel swine flu, acts of international aggression, domestic security incidents, and the list goes on.
It is not surprising, then, that many of us feel instinctively that things are out of control and that our societies are facing a very possible collapse. Our global social systems are stressed to the max already, and what differentiates a minor crisis from a major one is when vulnerable social systems are hit by multiple shocks simultaneously. We are, in two words, stressed out. Already, some social commentators are making parallels between ancient Rome and our modern global civilization. And Armageddon scenarios are rife with supporters and missionaries.
The Positive Transformation of a System Collapse
The climate of change that I wish to highlight throughout this book is one of positive transformation. That there will be system collapse is, to some degree, inevitable. This is the nature of evolutionary change. Yet if sufficient numbers of people can awaken to the changes (to wake up from the magician’s hypnosis), then the change need not be so traumatic. It is a question of preparation, adaptation, and resilience. Yet why am I so sure that dramatic change is upon us?
Leading sociologists have shown that societies are far more likely to break down when they’re overloaded by converging stresses — for example, rapid population growth, resources depletion, and economic decline. The breakdown, however, may also be the catalyst required in order to make the breakthrough.
Beginning The Shift to Another Kind of Societal Model
Often, the shifts between different kinds of epochs require disruptive energy, if only at times to clear away the brushwood, to sweep the house clean for new occupancy. This may, however, sound somewhat flippant when involving the lives of thousands — if not millions — of people.
Evolution, though, tends to operate at a much larger macroscale, which we must acknowledge. We do, after all, have our own house to get in order before we can rightly throw stones. It is likely that the upcoming years will mark the beginning of a shift from our present, modern (largely Western) global industrial project toward another kind of societal model.
Just exactly what type of civilization will emerge remains to be seen because it will require that we allow our own new mind to be a part of the process. First, however, we need to discern what are the converging crises on the horizon.
Converging Crises: Evolutionary Mechanisms for Growth
Some very powerful forces around the world are beginning to impact simultaneously on environmental, social, and cultural planetary systems. When I say “beginning to,” I speak in broader terms, for these forces have been brewing for a number of decades and are, in fact, the culmination of the long, drawn-out process of the history of human progress.
For those people who prefer to assess the data before making their conclusions, the evidence is already out there, and it is culminating faster as each day passes. However, it is the premise of this book that such changes are evolutionary mechanisms for growth. Regardless of whether we agree that the changes have their origins in physical or metaphysical sources (or a combination of both), the outcome is largely shared by both parties.
Breakthrough: Using Disruptions as Opportunities for Growth
What is of paramount importance is how we, as a collective species, react, respond, and adapt to these changes that are thrust upon us. To react in fear and anxiety will serve to increase the chaos around us, whereas the breakthrough scenario requires us to be positive about using the disruptions as opportunities for growth. For too long, we have allowed our own perceptions, beliefs, and mental patterns to be our greatest enemy. To all effects and purposes, we have long been fighting ourselves. As Alexander King and Bertrand Schneider write in The First Global Revolution,
“It would seem that humans need a common motivation, namely a common adversary, to organize and act together in the vacuum; such a motivation must be found to bring the divided nations together to face an outside enemy, either a real one or else one invented for the purpose. . . . The common enemy of humanity is man.”
Reprinted with permission of the publisher,
Inner Traditions, Inc. ©2011. www.innertraditions.com
New Consciousness For A New World: How to Thrive in Transitional Times and Participate in the Coming Spiritual Renaissance
by Kingsley L. Dennis (foreword by Ervin Laszlo).
About the Author
Kingsley L. Dennis, PhD, is a sociologist, researcher, and writer. He co-authored 'After the Car' which examines post-peak oil societies and mobility. He is also the author of 'The Struggle for Your Mind: Conscious Evolution & The Battle to Control How We Think' (2012). Kingsley is also the co-editor of 'The New Science & Spirituality Reader'(2012). He is a co-initiator of the Worldshift Movement and a co-founder of WorldShift International. Kingsley L. Dennis is the author of numerous articles on complexity theory, social technologies, new media communications, and conscious evolution. Visit his blog at: http://betweenbothworlds.blogspot.com/ He can be contacted at his personal website: www.kingsleydennis.com
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