European School of Governance, position paper #139 by Julia Hayden.
Climate change is not the crisis, it’s a symptom. The three crises of the 21st century are the loss of our resonance to the living world, to each other and to ourselves.
The loss of resonance started long ago with the Neolithic Revolution. It had been growing slowly. Yet, today it endangers at least the survival of humankind on the planet if not the life on earth as such. Nevertheless, the process is reversible, and it starts with us.
It is time to reconcile. First with ourselves, then with the others around us, and after that with things, nature and our planet. It is by the time to allow our inner voice to speak again. It is time to encourage it together with all the other voices, in resonance, to become part of – and to tune in with – the choir of the Planet, once again.
Crisis number one: losing the world.
The Anthropocene came about with a mind-shift. We understood that our human survival would be easier, when we stayed in one place rather than going on an ongoing journey hunting and gathering. Searching for food out in the wild, was dangerous and finding food was often uncertain. Farming was the method, our ancestors found. It was a milestone for a reliable food source and changed the whole way of how we would live from then on.
This first milestone into the Anthropocene is what we call the Neolithic Revolution, with its outcomes such as
– the emerging of hierarchy and inequality due to domestication of animals like cattle and dogs or due to slave labour,
– the distinction in human beings, concerning the clear difference in knowledge and skills, the specialization of labour or the personal development of each individual,
– the need of rules in order to cope with the new development of society as the result of settling in places, permanent housing and the building of larger growing cities and
– bartering and trading systems such as giving property value, accumulating possessions and gaining social status by what we owned.
What happened in the Neolithic Revolution was the emerging conception of ownership. Owning cattle, dogs or slaves. Owning knowledge and skills. Owning a wife and children and a house. Owning social status.
This changed the lives not only of our ancestors and us to follow, but rather of our planet, nature and the things. Because before this societal transformation, all things and beings were treated equal. They all had voices. They all could communicate and interact with each other in a balanced way. Due to the Neolithic Revolution, we forgot about the magic of talking trees, the myths of communicating animals, the tales of singing rivers. They resigned for a humankind who wanted only one thing. To own more.
Based on the new idea of how society works, our ancestors took over nature and treated it as something “unfinished” that only waits upon us to leave our mark, to put our stamp upon it and to create something out of it. Human consciousness became a reaction to the past and the anticipation of the future. We forgot about humility and gratefulness and found a reason to prey. We developed individual desires. We exploited our world. We started to lose connection with the things, with nature and the planet on which we live.
Crisis number two: losing each other.
As our needs were easier met than before, because our farming ancestors realized, that they actually owned an abundance of food and other resources, they became used to what we call a surplus.
The next step into the Anthropocene was not to be prevented and it was what we call the Industrial Revolution. Humans all of a sudden had a lot of spare time, because it needed fewer farmers to grow food for many than it used to be, when humankind still had been hunter and gatherer. Our ancestors became merchants, craftsmen or blacksmiths and they started to invent new things, to develop technology, to specialize in their fields. They invented all kinds of more or less useful things. Not everyone focused in their creativity on food supply and survival anymore, humans rather invented many things, we started to use all kinds of rare resources of nature for inventions which shaped our world into the environment, which we find nowadays. In these means, we let imbalance and scaresity happen. All of a sudden, there was a race for rare goods.
Triggered by that development, we went further on into concurrence, imbalance and striving and consequently started to tune in with our individual needs and our own well-being. We forgot about friendship and found a reason to be competitive. We created envy. We changed. We grew. We compared. We exploited the others. We created conflict. We strove for power. We lost compassion and in these means, we lost the connection towards one another.
Crisis number three: losing ourselves.
Today, due to the major changes in our lives until now, we have a huge pile of tasks ahead of us and we realize what the result of the actions might be for ourselves and for the future generations to come. There seems to be no other choice but to act. Act fast. We believe that we have no more time to be patient. No more time to sit and reflect. To sense. To resonate. To think. We tend to become part of Do-Tanks rather than Think-Tanks. We believe that activity must be high and that any activity – even the unfocused behaviour that leads to nothing – is better than waiting for the profound direction. We prefer to throw all our individual energy, time, money and other resources into just another social Start-Up, than finding and supporting those, who had the same idea before us and might need our help. We strive for super-heroism. We crave for our own purpose. We blame our ancestors for what they have done with our beautiful planet. We are angry on those, who still do not understand the urge. We are afraid of the future to come. We are ashamed, when we hold a piece of plastic in our hands.
We are not able to listen to our own voice any longer and there is no resonance inside of us. We are not able to perceive ourselves in the present moment. The present moment, which lives and thrives from love, collaboration, joy, friendship and trust, from the nurturing of relationships, is being replaced by negative thinking, by reaction on the past and fear of the future.
So, what happens next? How is our human life today? Who are we, after changing, growing, comparing, after losing connection? Are we really who we are or are we rather who we believe we could be, should be or want to become one day? When we are born, we are very much welcomed on this place called earth. Just as naked and new born as we are, without any achievement for life whatsoever. What changes afterwards? What makes us craving? Why is our upbringing led by striving for purpose, identity, achievements, love and rewards? Why do we believe, that each of us needs to earn our living, to earn being seen, to earn being someone special? Why have we unlearned to just be? Why is falling in love with our inner selves this difficult? How can we allow us to be just us? How can we fall in love with ourselves again?
While striving for a better world, craving to become the better us, we are losing the connection to our inner selves.
The Planet`s choir.
We need new thinking and new acting. We need new stories, meaningful stories, which encourage to serve rather than to exploit our Planet, our resources and human work. We need to engage beyond thinking and doing. But what exactly is “new”, what does “beyond” mean and how can we leave boxes behind, cross borders of seemingly safe spaces, how can we possibly become courageous to look, sense or even walk the path beyond any imagination? Maybe we need new stories. Maybe these stories come without words. Maybe the new stories come with sound. Nada Brahma. All is sound.
It starts with us. Finding our voice. Listening to our voice. Not mistakenly taking our Ego as our voice. Our voice is not the self-assertion of the Ego. It rather is the primary resonance of us towards our living body and our conscious mind. It is the primary resonance to what we feel and what we think. We need to listen without judging! In addition, we need to be patient, not expecting anything. Since we lost the connection to our inner voice a while ago, we are all beginner. We will make mistakes. We will learn from them. Our skill to listen to ourselves will grow. Our voice will thrive. We will be able to resonate again.
If we do not find our voice, we will be mere echoes, passives objects.
Let us reconcile with our own sound. Let us re-connect us with our insides. Let our own voice create its song and get in tune with the other voices. Let us then listen carefully into the environment, into world around us. Let us hear the planet. And let us enable and allow our voice to become an active part of the choir of the world.
We can all be part of the Planet’s choir.