Saturday, October 14, 2006

The Great Unraveling vs. The Great Turning

Some of you may remember me posting about The Great Turning in the past couple years, and linking to Joanna Macy's web site. Today, as I mentioned here, I attended an Earth Charter Summit, where the featured speaker, David Korten was discussing his recent book entitled The Great Turning: from Empire to Earth Community. (He is also the author of When Corporations Rule the World.)

The event took place at an SGI Community Center, which is worship center for people who practice Nichiren Buddhism in the Columbus area. I didn't know that before I got there--figured it was just another community rec center when I first walked in. But all the bowls and cushions tipped me off that there might be some Buddhist practice going on there.

It will probably take me a while to get this written up, but I can at least give some highlights now. We started by watching two films, A Quiet Revolution and Another Way of Seeing Things.

Before the David Korten spoke, awards were given--they called them "Recognition with Gratitude". Cindy and Art Strauss, who attend my church, were recognized for their work with Simply Living. I don't see Art at church much because he has had various health problems, but he was a regular at peace rallies a couple years ago, and always brought handouts to help educate people about various issues. I think it was Art who first introduced me to Jim Hightower's writing via the Hightower Lowdown. Art is now in a wheel chair, having broken his hip--I wasn't aware of that until today. So Cindy wheeled him up to the front of the room, and he accepted the plaque with tears in his eyes and a catch in his voice, saying that he didn't deserve it, but that it belonged to everyone who had worked with them.

Art and Cindy are some of the people whose example reminds me that I have no business being "too tired" to keep plugging along, trying to help make the world a better place. Another such person would be Granny D. She was there today as well--attending the event because she was in town to speak at the Voting Rights Revival Conference this evening. And since she is currently reading David Korten's book, she wanted to hear him speak.

I will have to write up David's talk a little later, but much of the basic premise can be found in this article in Yes Magazine.

By what name will future generations know our time?

Will they speak in anger and frustration of the time of the Great Unraveling, when profligate consumption exceeded Earth’s capacity to sustain and led to an accelerating wave of collapsing environmental systems, violent competition for what remained of the planet’s resources, and a dramatic dieback of the human population? Or will they look back in joyful celebration on the time of the Great Turning, when their forebears embraced the higher-order potential of their human nature, turned crisis into opportunity, and learned to live in creative partnership with one another and Earth?

Click here to read more.

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