You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.
The purpose of this document is to introduce a project to help move us from the current planetary paradigm to one more friendly to the Earth and most its inhabitants.
By paradigm, I mean the system of living as a whole. The current paradigm brought to you by The “Federal” Reserve, Monsanto, General Electric, Bechtel, Haliburton, WalMart, BP, etc, is not peaceful, not sustainable, not earth-friendly, not harmonious, not socially just or responsible, destructive. The paradigm I think most of us would prefer would be peaceful, sustainable, earth friendly, harmonious, just, responsible and constructive.
The thesis: It is unlikely that we can convince those currently entrenched in the power positions of the dominant paradigm to significantly alter their course; while at the same time, it is within our power to create a new paradigm: alternative economic, social and political systems that are much more in tune with harmony and sustainability.
If we can demonstrate our capability to create this new paradigm, then will we gain an effective voice in shaping the form of global existence and, with it, gain significant impact on the condition of Mother Earth. I hesitate to say never, but I doubt that we will gain that real, significant, and long-term impact without creating it ourselves. If we build it, they will come. If we don’t, it likely won’t happen. “The viability of idealism depends a lot upon how realistically we pursue it”. -- Jack
More specifically, what is this project about? Perhaps the best way to answer that is to consider the Earth in terms of what it could be like if there existed a concerted effort on the part of its inhabitants to (re)create paradise. Almost all with whom I have spoken agree that humans possess the skills & resources necessary to do this if it were our over-riding focus. There are ways for all -- though 7 billion people do increase the degree of difficulty and so do the “bad” guys -- to live comfortably on the planet without making such a mess. The mechanics of doing this are not so complicated. Even defining paradise is not so difficult. Although the many value systems existing on the planet differ in detail, there is overwhelming consistency concerning the basics, such as peace, love, harmony, a healthy environment, justice, equality, etc. And there is enough room to accommodate space for most differences. With a little organization we could certainly provide substantially more varieties of paradise for more beings than currently exist.
So the question seems to be: If we are capable of living in paradise, then why aren’t we? The short answer is that it is all in the head, our genetics, conditioning, personality, our psychology -- what I refer to as the psychodynamics of our existence. Contrary to popular opinion, being “all in the head” does not simplify matters. It is indeed the crux of the problems which have plagued humanity and defied solution for millennia, and which continue to deprive the majority of earth’s creatures the high quality of life that would otherwise be attainable.
Perhaps the centerpiece to this puzzle is why those of us who “preach” cooperation are less able to cooperate than those who “preach” competition; whose collusive practices have captured control of the planet. Why is it that we have been so dysfunctional in our attempts to create self-sufficient, sustainable communities of the type and scope that could have significant impact on the health of the planet & its inhabitants?
This project attempts to add some clarity to these dynamics and offer plausible solutions. A realistic plan to live sustainably, in peace & harmony, with each other and the planet.
This treatise is based on the notion that if you look at the “Planet Earth” as Mother Earth, or think of it as some Gaia-like living organism with perhaps some level of consciousness/intelligence, or even as just some “small” thing like your home upon which you depend for the resources to sustain you; if you believe in a high level of inter-connectedness, that all creatures, including human beings, deserve to be treated in a good way, then you might want to at least entertain the notion of pursuing a holistically integrated plan focused on the entire planet to bring about a “good” result. Kind of like most of us preferring a holistic approach to our health. “Think Globally, Act Locally”
Although I present what I see as a simple logic supporting my thesis, you could support the project as a whole or in part for a variety of other reasons. The idea is to include as many people as possible for as many reasons as possible given the nature of the paradigm we are attempting to create.
A basic premise to this treatise is that we are trying to move toward an harmonious and healthy planet. Once that is agreed upon, then my logic tells me there are human behaviours that seem to move us in that direction and other behaviours that move us in another, often antagonistic, direction.
Plants and animals, including humans, appear to flourish better in some environments than others, duh. Since the current planetary environment, dominated by industrial ravaging, pillaging, and pollution, etc., is heavily skewed in the less-flourishing direction, I suggest it makes sense to focus considerable energy on altering that environment. I further suggest that the current system is very powerfully resistant to the kind of altering we would be interested in. I might even further suggest that the current prevailing paradigm is beyond rational repair; like a house so dilapidated that repair would be more effort than building a new one. The new home being analogous to creating a new paradigm.
If you are still with me, then who is going to create this new reality/paradigm? Shell, Westinghouse, Monsanto, Haliburton, Bechtel, Goldman Sachs ...? Who? Protest, litigate, legislate, coerce, cajole those with agendas quite different from ours to do it “our way”? Good Luck! Oh?.... We will have to do it ourselves?! What a novel idea! That’s my solution, and I think many others have similar feelings.
I firmly believe that building an alternative economic system largely independent of, but not separate from, the existing one is not only possible, but may well be the quickest, most effective path to the new paradigm. We already have all the resources, the skills, everything needed to build a new paradigm. It is just a matter of having the appropriate attitude, of having the necessary focus and commitment for implementation. Yes, paradise may be just an attitude away.
This might be a good time to argue the case for creating a new economic paradigm tied to the community over the more pervasive rhetoric for legislating/regulating/litigating/protesting the current global mess into green compliance. Of course we would not do all of one strategy and none of the other. It is a matter of emphasis, priorities and balance.
When comparing methods of change, many would say that to create a new paradigm will take considerably more time and require a larger change in consciousness. How long do you think it will take to summon the consciousness and majority will required to pass effective legislation and pursue appropriate litigation? How much longer would it take to restructure and retool current industry before you would feel significant results? How much delay could be added by simple foot dragging? Would it be done as well by non-believers (Monsanto etc?) as we would do it? What would be the cost to protect against cheating and maximizing profits whenever they could get away with it? How would you ensure that the laws and regs would not be reversed? Do we really want Mansanto, GE, British Petroleum, Haliburton etc in charge of creating the "New Paradigm"? Remember, we have been consciously trying to convince the corporate empire to change their ways for over 50 years (I realize that similar struggles have been happening forever, however, I know, having lived through the 50’s, that the 60’s and 70’s brought a whole new perspective and consciousness to the struggle) and, despite some progress in some areas and a lot of valid and commendable effort, we are arguably worse off now than when we started (WTO, NAFTA, World Bank, IMF, Monsanto, president Bush/Obama, etc). The point here is not to blame, but to point out that our current course and pace is unlikely to result in the manifestation of a healthy, harmonious Earth; perhaps even the survival of a planet capable of supporting human life (for those not so concerned with human life, if humans go down we will almost certainly take all but maybe some very basic life forms with us).
The fundamental premise of this treatise is that real power resides substantially in economics.
Even if we could significantly influence the prevailing systems and structures through protest, litigation, etc., what real control would we have when the means of production continues to be controlled by people with much different agendas, whose heart is not in it? If you are dependent on someone else for your food and shelter, healthcare, your job, etc, then it’s hard to be in charge of your life. Doing it ourselves we empower ourselves, thus increasing our freedom and our ability to influence both local and global events. If done well, we will have built a model large enough to convince many that it can be done and offer those interested an option
Offering a choice rather than an ultimatum is seen as less confrontational, less threatening, and thus less likely to draw a rabid response and less likely to attract bad public relations. Most people would rather live sustainably and harmoniously if given the option. That option simply is not realistically available for most people in the current paradigm. As more people join, fewer resources are available to feed the “old paradigm” and it begins to have less power over our lives.
Another advantage to this path is that even if our primary goal proves more elusive and long-term than expected, we would have been able to provide many of our needs and desires in environmental and people friendly ways and ensured practical control over a lot of resources with minimal need for regulatory enforcement. At minimum, we would have created the means to provide ourselves a lifestyle we could feel good about and more comfortably and effectively continue the struggle from.
With protest and litigation etc, if you don’t win consistently (victories are often temporary, losses often permanent), you have little to show for it. Economic viability, and the skills and resources so attained, are much more difficult to take away, as many have said about knowledge and education.
It is much easier (for “them”) to change laws and regulations, sometimes just the perspective of the person in charge, that can literally wipe out an enormous amount of effort virtually over-night. This is not to suggest that we abandon these efforts. Slowing the destruction of the planet while the new paradigm is under construction is seen as very important; and any wheel that can be saved means one less to reinvent down the path. The argument put forth here is that protest, litigation, etc. should not be the primary strategies or use of resources.
But is all this just an idyll pipedream? Probably, but it doesn’t have to be. It’s up to "us", not “them”. The next section takes a look at some reasons why.
Ed Note: Altho I support those adverse to the concept of "Us & Them", there seems a sense in which it is very real.