Tuesday, April 29, 2008

The Next Paradigm

About 10 years ago, a friend gave me copy of Ishmael and insisted that I read it. I did, and I'm glad I did. The author Daniel Quinn, who is from Houston, has a great story telling style.

One of his newer books is called Beyond Civilization, Humanity's next great adventure. The Austin Chronicle calls it "As suspenseful, inventive, and socially urgent as any fiction or nonfiction you are likely to read this or any other year."

Here is a synopsis from Powell's Books:

"If a team of Martian anthropologists were to study our culture, their initial findings might read something like this: These people have the strange idea that the thing they call civilization is some sort of final, unsurpassable invention.

Even though vast numbers of them suffer in this oppressively hierarchical system, and even though it appears to be plunging them toward a global catastrophe, they cling to it as if it were the most wonderful thing (as they quaintly say) since sliced bread. That a more agreeable (and less catastrophic) system exists BEYOND civilization, seems to be entirely unthinkable to them.

In Beyond Civilization, Daniel Quinn has made it his task to think the unthinkable. We all know there's no one right way to build a bicycle, no one right way to design an automobile, no one right way to construct a pair of shoes, but we're convinced there must be only one right way for people to live--and the one we have is it, no matter what. Even if we hate it, we must cling to it. Even if it drags us to the brink of extinction, we must not let it go.

Many other peoples have built civilizations--and then walked away from them. Quinn examines the Maya, the Olmec, the people of Teotihuacán, and others, who did just that. But they all walked away moving backward--to an earlier lifestyle. Quinn's goal in this book is to show how we can walk away moving forward, to a new lifestyle, one which encourages diversity instead of suppressing it.

Not a "New World Order," but rather a New Personal Order.

Not legislative change at the governmental level, but rather incremental change at the human level.This is a guidebook for people who want to assert control over their destiny and recover the freedom to live at a scale and in a style of their own choosing--and starting now, today, not in some distant utopian future."

From the book, Quinn says:

"Because we don't expect to overthrow governments, abolish world capitalism, make civilization vanish, turn everyone in the world into walking Buddhas, or cure all social and economic ills, we don't have to wait for anything.

If ten people walk beyond civilization and build a new sort of life for themselves, then those ten are already living in the next paradigm, from the first day. They don't need the support of an organization. They don't need to belong to a party or a movement. They don't need new laws to be passed. They don't need a constitution. They don't need tax-exempt status.

For those ten, the revolution will have already succeeded.”

In my book, The Day of the Heart, there are the People of the Sun. They represent a civilization that is as advanced as I could imagine at the time. Their houses are in tune with the seasons, their clothes provide warmth as they provide energy. They nurture the environment they live in adopting care ranges where each stone, each tree, each meadow is developed to its full potential. Their food comes from the land and the waters and it his harvested by sophisticated cybersoids. Yet as perfect as their world is, there are others who would invade their sanctity.

Quinn is right I think about the need for a new personal order.

But I think we should not underestimate the present world order and its penchant for mining and taking resources, be it clean air, silver in the ground, the labor of the undeveloped nations, or the unsatiable demand of the consumer junkies who have taken the cool aid.

Much of the world's peoples are eager to partake of this punch....Even as it leaves a wake of oppression in the workplace, devastating climate change, and the stratification of society.

We must each find our own enlightenment,

and then we must bring this light together.

We need only ourselves.

As the mission/vision statement of this site says:

With the advent of advanced global communication,new forms of social contract can be created which transcend the geographic state. These new cybercoops or cyberstates will bring humankind to higher levels of cooperation and understanding.

Beyond Civilization.

Earthfamily Principles
Earthfamilyalpha Content IV
Earthfamilyalpha Content III
Earthfamilyalpha Content II
Earthfamilyalpha Content



Anonymous Anonymous said...

April29, 2004

Jim Hansen, the world's foremost climate scientist, is circulating a draft paper arguing that the climate "tipping point" must be reset at 350 ppm of atmospheric carbon, a point we passed two years ago. We are racing toward the end of the world and have no plan of escape, but it is considered impolite to acknowledge that fact in public. In private, though, we are more and more terrified - especially those of us who are parents or grandparents. To watch the evening news pass seamlessly from stories about an ice free arctic to nightly business reports enthusiastic about an upturn in oil sector stocks is to enter a rabbit hole where ordinary rules of logic, common sense, and cause and effect are overturned. It is a clash between the best and worst in our natures, a reality that has been obscured in the measured, moderate, negotiated outcomes of our representative democracy. To save our world and our skins, we must cut through the gray fog of collective irresponsibility, planned obfuscation, and policy relativity and cast things in black and white. As a practical matter, no global solution is possible without the leadership of the U.S., the world's sole superpower. The current U.S. climate agenda of advocates and activists is entirely focused on reducing U.S. carbon emissions, but that objective is too small. Our goal must be to bring the full weight of American power, capital, ingenuity, technical acumen and, yes, military might, to bear in a desperate, last-minute drive to avert cataclysm

These excerpts are from Earth Day preachin' in today's Grist publication. Frankly I don't think we are winning yet.

8:30 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home