Skip to main content

Ten Tips on How to Save the World

photo from NASA/Wikimedia
I’ve used popular jargon for the title, because, as you’ll notice below, this is not political science, or any science at all. This is a riposte against the endless hours of brutal entertainment that suggests only might makes right. To save the world might be a heroic endeavour but I don’t believe it requires a Napoleonic campaign. It does, however, require the engagement of an alert mind and open heart. 

The instructions are simple. Learn from the bees, use your caring mind to gaze at the world, reclaim your power, reclaim your nature, hold onto curiosity, celebrate your creativity, give up blaming, live from a place of love, acknowledge your political self, and honour your spirit.

1. Learn from the bees.
Marilyn Hamilton, CEO of Integral City, told a children’s story not long ago, that is easy to remember.  Three key strategies enable bee hives to survive, which can teach us how to sustain the human hive  – take care of you, take care of others, take care of this place. Our ancestors learned how to do this but sophisticated social systems have alienated us from our own capacity to manage the hive. However, world crises shows we must re-engage in the process now.  

2. Use your caring mind to gaze at the world.
Look closely at the operating system, or the ‘apparatus’ as Simone Weil put it. Read ideas and opinions wherever you can find them. Ask yourself who benefits? Expand your gaze beyond your own immediate interests. Prepare to be disturbed but not defeated.

2. Reclaim power.
Power and all its parts: politics, wealth, language, science, economics, institutional religion, is not evil. What is evil is the way institutions have been corrupted from their original purpose – to serve civil society  into clubs of privilege. Good leadership is the conduit of responsible power which demonstrates humility, vulnerability, and serves the greater good.  Good leaders spend their powers to affirm and highlight the power in all. Infinite power is not a zero sum game, it is natural, inclusive and intelligent.

3. Reclaim our nature.
We are resourceful workers and stakeholders in our society. We are not a resource or a job description. We are not left, right, conservative or liberal – we are organic, politically mobile beings.  Labels are assigned to influence and control masses. We have courage, fear, anger, love and wisdom but they are not commodities, they are strengths that emerge and hide. The deadliest weapon of oppression is that which turns humanity and all of nature into a thing, a resource.
4. Hold onto Curiosity.
This is what keeps us exploring, examining, interrogating the conditions we live under or in. As long as curiosity is alive we shall never be content with serving an oppressive and corrupt social order.  

5. Celebrate your Creativity.
Music, theatre, farmers’ markets, poetry, gardens, maps, new political parties, conversations –  are the means of expressing and sharing our humanity.  Art is the what, where, how and who of our species as it yearns and evolves.

6. Give up blaming.
Blaming is not problem solving and the problem is not what other people do.  To solve problems we need to re-engage our power to care creatively, with curiosity and love.

8. Live from a place of Love
Love breaks apart the structures of false hierarchies. It demands attention to suffering and violence, and calls for healing. It insists on life as the source of knowledge.  Love is what drives great minds to take courageous stands outside of their particular disciplines for the greater good. Love is the openness to pain that makes injustice, corruption, cynicism and oppression unbearable.

9. Life is political.
You are an integral, intelligent, reflective part of a larger organism. Whether we survive as a species depends on protecting our earthly home from a system that enables a few egos to hold this planet ransom for the sake of temporary profit. There is no escape from politics. Its apparatus has been built on a grandiose delusion that refuses to see the natural world as sacred, and ourselves dependent upon its health. To be apolitical is to be a doctor standing at the bed of a dying patient, refusing to be involved because the disease is dirty. To dismiss the world stage and our part in it is to lobotomize the future.

10. Honour the spirit
The spirit is our energy. It imparts our intentions before we see them. It allows us to dream and care for the world beyond our own life span.  Imagination and love is the immortal  legacy we leave for our great-grandchildren.

These are just my thoughts.  What are yours?  What would you list as the top ten tips on saving the world?


Popular posts from this blog

About Humanity

"A chosen people is the opposite of a master race, first, because it is not a race but a covenant; second because it exists to serve God, not to master others. A master race worships itself, a chosen people worships something beyond itself. A master race believes it has rights; a chosen people knows only that it has responsibilities." Rabbi Jonathan Sacks, Not in God's Name, Schocken, New York. 2015.

As someone who does not identify as a chosen people or part of a master race, I ruminate about how to respond to the world, particularly that part of the world I cannot endorse. So I am comforted by the people who have taken on ministry and who feel responsible enough to care for community.

How do I act on a feeling of responsibility without assuming that I know what other people should do, or what we should do? It's very easy to slip into a political preaching that suggests I know, or that my being a good example means that others should follow it. Or worse yet, create…

Creating Chaos

A very important article in The Guardian analyses the rise of hyper-masculinity and the phenomenon of Angry White Men.  "Sociologist Michael Kimmel is one of the world’s foremost experts on the phenomenon. - His recent research has looked at topics including spree killers (who are overwhelmingly male and white), as well as the relationship between masculinity and political extremism."

In the article there is a report on a study on testosterone where 5 monkeys are observed. The one who rises to the top beats up number 2 and number 2 beats up number 3 - and so it goes down to number 5. 

"So the experiment is: he takes monkey three out of the cage and he shoots him up with testosterone, off the scale, and puts him back in. What do you think happens? When I tell this story my students always guess that he immediately becomes number-one monkey. But that’s not true. What happens is that when he goes back in the cage he still avoids monkeys number one and two – but he beats the …

Albert Camus: Our task