Tagged: Charles Eisenstein

WHAT IS IT LIKE TO BE YOU?

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BRUSHES WITH THE MAINSTREAM

Last week I had two brushes with the mainstream of American culture and politics. The first was an appearance on a PBS television show, the Tavis Smiley show. As far as I can remember, this was only the second time I’ve been on a national TV program. The other time was in South Africa on a business program. On that occasion, I said something like, “The wealthy neighborhoods I’ve seen in South Africa are not truly wealthy. Real wealth is not razor wire fences and security walls and surveillance systems. Real wealth is to feel safe and free. It is to belong in the place you live. Real wealth is to feel at home in the world. Therefore it is impossible to be truly wealthy in an unequal society.” Continue reading

STORYTELLER CONSCIOUSNESS

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Let us call this approach storyteller consciousness. Instead of seeking to describe a reality already out there, we will be aware that we create reality through our story about it. In science, storyteller consciousness means being aware of the creative nature of theories and experiments, whose very language encodes deep assumptions about self and universe. In technology, it is to see our choices as a way to define our relationship with each other and the rest of life. It asks the question, “Who are we creating ourselves as?” The forms and institutions of politics and government will change most radically of all, as we begin to disbelieve in our labels, categories, and abstractions, and come into contact with human reality. All of these forms and institutions are themselves stories. America is a story. France is a story. The law is a story. Words and symbols, that is all, with no more meaning than what we agree upon. Our mistake has been not in telling stories, only in thinking they are real. When we let go of that, we will be able to play with them consciously and let them go when they no longer serve us. I think there are stories that will serve the world much better than the ones we have right now. But I leave it to others to tell the story of a future politics and government aligned with what I have already described of the Age of Reunion.

Over thousands of years, the creative play of story-telling has come to enslave us, and we have lost the storyteller’s consciousness. Finally we are awakening, as the effort to maintain the pretense overwhelms us. We cannot maintain the story any more. The story of linearity, the story of separation, the lonely story of a discrete self marooned in a world of other. The story that we are not storytellers, not authors but mere reporters, describing what is, reacting, managing, controlling. We are awakening from that story now, the story that we are not the authors of our world and of our lives.

Indeed it is in our personal lives that the enslavement to unconscious stories has been the most devastating. We live in a fabricated world of interpretation that we mistake for reality. We live in a world of judgments and imposed meanings. Maybe Dad shouted at me a lot, and since I was three I made it mean that I am bad. She left you, and you interpreted it as a betrayal, and made it mean you are unworthy of love, and so you find yourself holding on, manipulating, controlling. We live in our stories, which then create events to justify themselves and strengthen our enslavement.

The origins and multitudinous variations of these stories are beyond the scope of this book; often they are extremely subtle and, because they conform to larger cultural stories of self, wholly invisible. Like the broader, cultural stories, they enslave us only to the extent that they are unconscious. I am advocating the enlightenment and not the abolition of our stories. Yes, we can come back to the present moment, the present experience, and release all judgment if we so choose, just as we can return if we choose to the lingua adamica. However, we are not meant to stay there. We are meant to foray into three-dimensional reality, space and linear time, and to create beauty with their tools. We are meant to create meaning and create stories. I am not advocating that we surrender our existence as time-bound material beings, just as I do not propose that we abdicate the gifts of culture and technology that make us human. No longer, though, need we be enslaved to those meanings, to those stories, or to our technology. To enter the Age of Reunion is to awaken to our power as conscious creators.

Although I do not claim to have mastered them, I would like to share with you some principles that have been personally useful to me in becoming the conscious creator of my stories. After all, the collective transformation I speak of will only come through a coalescence of many personal transformations. In this book I have mentioned three cultural stories that many of us have deeply internalized. The first is the Newtonian world of force and mass, which manifests in our personal lives as a feeling of compulsion and powerlessness. In language it appears in words like, “have to”, “can’t”, “must”, “should”, “I will try”, and “you made me”. The second is the Cartesian split of ourselves into body and soul, a good part and a bad part. It manifests in life as a constant struggle of self-denial and perpetual sacrifice of the present for the future, producing a battle against desire and the imposition of the civilized and conditioned over the natural and the wild. In language, it again manifests as “should” and “shouldn’t”. The third story is that of separation and scarcity. Manifesting in phrases like “can afford to”, it disbelieves in our connection to the universe and all life that brings our gifts inevitably back to ourselves, which would make control and domination are unnecessary.

Even naming these stories and observing them in operation already makes them less powerful. However, I have found it useful to deliberately undo them through the way I speak to myself and others. We can use words in ways that deny the stories that enslave us, and thus accelerate our freedom. For example, Marshall Rosenberg suggests rephrasing every “have to” sentence as “I choose to… because…” Here is a personal example. I used to say, “Even though I hate it, I have to give grades.” When I rephrased it as “I choose to give grades because I am afraid I will lose my job if I don’t,” everything became much clearer. I realized that my job was much less important to me than my sense of integrity, which for me personally was violated by giving grades, and so I decided to leave academia. By thinking in terms of “have to” we surrender our power. The very words carry within them an assumption of powerlessness. Another substitution I’ve been making is to replace “you should” with “you could”, and “I should” with “I can” or “I want to”. You can also experiment by abolishing “I will try…” from your lexicon, especially the lexicon of your internal dialog, and replace it simply with “I will…” If you are true to your word, you will think very carefully before agreeing to anything. “I will try” can be a cop-out, a polite way of saying you won’t actually do it. It also encodes an assumption of helplessness, a world of external forces that thwart our creativity. All of this deserves a much more thorough discussion than I am giving it, but that will have to await a future book. For now, simply observe that a wholly different way of thinking underlies “I can”, “I choose to”, and “I want to”. The story of powerlessness cannot be told with them.

Here is another kind of empowerment, relating to the second internalized story I mentioned. In contrast to my personal age of reason that I described in Chapter Three, I no longer attempt to justify with reasons everything I do. Instead I say, “I did it because I wanted to.” What! That’s not allowed, is it? We can’t follow desire, can we? That resistance to desire is another manifestation of the body-soul division. The good part, the higher part, the spiritual part—the mind and the will—must master the bad part, the fleshly desires. Sacrifice now for a future reward. It is just another variation of the mentality of agriculture, channeled through religion and education, that still dominates us today. Yet Heaven remains forever just around the corner.

Traditional cultures recognized an importance to stories beyond mere reportage or children’s entertainment. Story-telling was also a sacred function that carried the spirit of the people and created their world. It is not only the sounds of the lingua adamica that have a sacred generative power; our stories do as well. Today we wield that power unconsciously, thus creating unintended effects. We do not know our own power, the power of word. In a way, all speech is a story, because all speech creates a new addition to the world of representation. All speech therefore bears a generative power, just as the Native Americans believed, because we enact that world of representation. We live our story, we stamp it onto the world. Why, then, do our words seem so impotent today? It is because, just as our great immersive cultural stories and ideologies are invisible to us, we use words unconsciously too. It is not conscious lying that is weak, it is unconscious lying. A deliberate lie is still a conscious act of world-creation. Many if not all of the disempowering forms of speech described above are unconscious lies. If you would like to restore to your words their generative power, you must treat them as golden. One weakening form of speech is swearing. “Fuck.” What are we really saying when we make a sacred life-creating pleasure into a vulgar term of deprecation? “Damn.” Do we really wish eternal torment on someone? No, we are speaking unconsciously. Other weakening forms of speech include gossip, small talk, and various forms of negativity. I won’t go into detail here, but I invite you to consider: what world-creating story are we telling when we speak like that? For words to truly be powerful, we must align them with our creative intention. Only then can we create the stories of our lives.

Unconscious lying sabotages our credibility to ourselves and others. If we cultivate the habit of speaking truthfully and treating our word as golden, then when we declare great things, they will come to pass. The more we realize the power of our words, the more mindful our speech becomes; the more mindful our speech, the greater the power of our words. We condition ourselves to our words always coming true, and foster a deep confidence in the magical creative power of our speech.

Whether on the collective or personal level, storyteller consciousness is inseparable from the new sense of self that defines the Age of Reunion. It depends on a blurring of the defining distinction of the Age of Separation, between the observer in here and the objective world out there. It will emerge spontaneously, in tandem with the crisis-induced disintegration of the illusion of separation. The story of powerlessness and separation simply won’t be captivating anymore! In its place we will have a story of connectedness, of interbeing, of participation in the all-encompassing circle of the gift. And part of this story is actually a meta-story, a story about stories that invests all of our stories with creative power and motivates us to be conscious in their telling.

If I have been vague about what this will actually look like in the future, it is probably because the society that may be built around storyteller consciousness centuries hence is so unlike what we have today that I hardly dare describe it on paper. Instead of the present demarcation between drama and real life, future society will consist of stories within stories within stories, plays within plays within plays without any sense that one is “for real” and one is not. Life will be all play, and all play will be in earnest. We might commit to some of these stories as deeply as a human being can commit to anything, as passionately as the greatest artist cares about his greatest masterpiece. Each life will be a masterpiece, and some of our collective projects will span generations and alter the fabric of (what we call) reality. This will be the eventual fulfillment of the Age of Reunion, when we come into full, conscious co-creative partnership with the universe itself. In the meantime, in the next century or so, great storytellers will emerge to inspire us with beautiful and believable stories of what life can be, visions of the world we can create. Those stories will have roles for each of us that draw upon our gifts and develop our potential. It is happening already. Have you heard the casting call? A beautiful life is being offered, if we can only find the courage.

Charles Eisenstein, The Ascent of Humanity.
Read the whole book here.

A FROG IN A WELL

The Crisis of Capital

A revolution that leaves our conceptualization of self and world intact cannot bring other than temporary, superficial change. Only a much deeper revolution, a reconceiving of who we are, can reverse the crises of our age. Fortunately, to use the language of Marx, this deepest of all possible revolutions is inevitable, and it is inevitable for precisely the reasons Marx foresaw. The conversion of all other capital into money is unsustainable. Someday it will run out. As it does, our impoverishment will deepen. Misery and desperation will overcome whatever measures can be invented to suppress or narcotize them. When at last the futility of controlling reality becomes apparent, when at last the burden of maintaining an artificial self separate from nature becomes too heavy to bear any longer, when at last we realize that our wealth has bankrupted us of life, then a million tiny revolutions will converge into a vast planetary shift, a rapid phase-transition into a new mode of being.

It will happen—must happen—perhaps sooner than we think. Indeed it is already happening. Our social, natural, cultural and spiritual capital is almost exhausted. Their depletion is generating crises in all realms of modern life, crises which are seemingly unconnected except that they all arise from the monetization of life or, underneath that, from our fundamental confusion as to who we are, our separation from nature, ourselves, and each other. This is the link that connects such disparate phenomena as peak oil,[49] the autoimmune disease epidemic, global warming, forest death, fishery depletion, the crisis in education, and the impending food crisis. Both monetization and separation are nearing their maxima, their greatest possible extremes. The former is in the completion of the conversion of common wealth into private wealth that I have described in this chapter; the latter is in the complete sense of isolation and alienation implicit in the world of Darwin and Descartes: the naked material self in a world forged by chance and determinism, where purpose, meaning, and God are, by the nature of reality, nothing more than self-delusory figments of the imagination.

Paradoxically, it is in the fulfillment of these extremes (each of which is a cause and an aspect of the other) that their opposites are born. Yang, having reached its extreme, gives birth to Yin. The depletion of social capital launches the revolution that will reclaim it. The agony of separation births the surrender that opens us to a larger version of the self, to nature and to life. But the extremum must be reached.

As any environmental scientist knows, it is certain that things will get much much worse for the bulk of humanity before they get any better. Certain forces must play themselves out. The momentous rise in spiritual, humanitarian, and ecological awareness will not save us, not because it is too late (though it is), but because the course of separation has not yet reached its finale.

Like an alcoholic whose resources of goodwill, money, pawnable assets, friends, and credibility are almost exhausted, our way of life is on the verge of collapse. We continue to scramble, applying new technological fixes at greater and greater cost to alleviate the problems caused by the last fix. The addict will keep on using until life becomes completely unmanageable. Ecological awareness, localism, green design, herbalism, community currencies, ecology-based economics are all like the drunk’s moments of clarity on the way down. They will not so much save us as serve as the seeds for a new way of living and being that we will adopt after the collapse. Indeed they will all come naturally, as a matter of course—if there is anything left at all.

The Winners and The Losers

Under the sway of dualism, we have essentially sought to divide the world into two parts, one infinite and the other finite, and then to live wholly in the latter which, because it is finite, is amenable to control. We are like the frog who jumped into a well and, unable to see anything else or remember the vast world beyond, declared himself suzerain of all the universe. Our lordship over nature is at heart an egregious self-deception, because its first step is to attempt nature’s precipitous reduction, which is equally a reduction of life, a reduction of experience, a reduction of feeling, and a reduction of being: a true Faustian exchange of the infinite for the finite.

This reduction comes in many guises and goes by many names. It is the domestication of the wild; it is the measuring and quantification of nature; it is the conversion of cultural, natural, social, and spiritual wealth into money. Because it is a reduction of life, violence is its inevitable accompaniment (actually I can think of no better definition of violence than the reduction of life); hence the rising crescendo of violence that has bled our civilization for thousands of years and approaches its feverish apogee as we conclude the present wholesale destruction of entire species, oceans, ecosystems, languages, cultures, and peoples.

Charles Eisenstein, The Ascent of Humanity.
Read the whole book here.

PLAYTIME

Then, of course, there is school, which plays a crucial role in the loss of all forms of capital: social, cultural, and spiritual. Here again, children progress through a more-or-less preset sequence of steps (the curriculum), their natural desire to explore and create confined to specified times, places, and subjects. They read about the world without experiencing it, reinforcing the notion that knowledge comes from the absorption of information, facts, and data provided by authority, and belittling all the while the very idea that they are competent to really learn for themselves through first-hand observation.

The restrictions we place on children arise out of two related concerns: safety and practicality, both of which boil down to some version of control. It is not as safe to let your children roam the neighborhood or the forest as it is to keep them at home. Prefabricated, programmed “experiences” are safer than real experiences in the world, which is beyond the human realm of predictability and control. Similarly, the education we foist upon our children so that they can learn the skills and gain the credentials necessary for a secure position as a paid specialist also attempts to avoid the inherent uncertainty of life. It makes nature provide instead of trusting nature to provide. It is the old distinction between the agriculturalist working to coax food from the land, and the hunter-gatherer accepting nature’s gifts. In this case, “trusting nature” refers to trusting that the natural fecundity of the child as a creative being will result in survival and even abundance. But there is more, because creativity is risky, as is unfettered exploration of the world. It is safer to keep Junior at home. But why has safety and security seemingly become our society’s highest priority? Just as “homeland security” can and is being used to justify any repressive measure, so also can child safety justify any limitation on children’s freedom to create, explore, and direct their own lives. Really, the emphasis on safety can be seen as a manifestation of survival anxiety, and the assumption that the purpose of life is to survive. From this assumption springs our entire preoccupation with safety as well as the entire technological program to control reality.

How do we keep our children safe? By confining them to a controlled environment where every possible danger has been eliminated. But this essentially takes away the possibility of real experiences, those that haven’t been set up and planned out for them. An experience that is programmed, laid out, all its parameters known by another, is somehow phony, like a public relations pseudo-event. It would seem that we are bent on eliminating risk from life and particularly from childhood. What is risk? It comes from the unknown. Testing the boundaries of our world, which are by definition unknown until we explore them, is inherently a risky activity. Since this is how we learn who we are in relation to the world, the regime of safety, confinement, and supervision in effect prevents children from discovering who they are; it keeps them, that is, from self-realization.

Our controlling of children reflects in two ways the technological program to control nature. First, it implements upon our children the program of security through control, which stems from the survival anxiety implicit in our scientific paradigms and underlying our social structures. Second, and more striking, is this: Our children are nature; they represent the very thing we are trying to bring under control. Their spontaneity, creativity, and playfulness, their unruly nature, is the wild that we seek to conquer or, to use less inflammatory language, that we seek to mold into the “responsible”, “mature” domesticated adult, someone whose behavior rarely sacrifices the rational self-interest of safety, comfort, and security (embodied to a large degree in money) for the creative risks of the unknown. In precise parallel, we use science to subordinate the unknown universe to human understanding, and we use technology to domesticate the world. The motivations for doing so are identical to those we try to foster in the mature adult: safety, security, and predictability.

The subjugation of children to a safe, controlled, programmed semblance of life does not end with high school graduation. By the time we reach adulthood we have become so conditioned to be consumers of a life prepared for us by anonymous others, and so helpless and fearful of creating our own, that we remain forever dependent on fabricated experiences. Another word for experiences fabricated by others is entertainment. In the absence of these, having lost or never developed the capacity for autonomous creativity, we experience the discomfort we call boredom.

In my earlier discussion of anxiety theory, I related boredom to Stephen Buhner’s “interior wound” of separation from nature, a hole in the heart so painful that we constantly crave distraction, entertainment, something to take us away from the pain. At the same time, we try to fill in the hole by acquiring more and more possessions, whether tangible or intangible: a futile attempt to fill up the void inside by adding more to the outside. In the context of the loss of spiritual capital, this hole in the heart is nothing less than life itself, our own life, the life we could create for ourselves but that has been sold off to the demands of technological society.

Charles Eisenstein, Chapter 4.7 Spiritual Capital from The Ascent of Humanity.
Read the whole book here.

THE MENU IS NOT THE MEAL

From Affluence to Anxiety

As in economics, biology posits discrete individual actors, i.e. Genes, behaving to maximize their self-interest, the means to survive and reproduce. Our very understanding of biology, i.e. of life, and in particular of progress in biology, i.e. of evolution, rests on a foundation of competition for survival. It is no wonder that we see human life and human progress in the same terms. The anxiety that defines so much of modern life is built into our conception of what it is to be alive and what it is to be human.

The view of life as a struggle for survival is woven into our world-view on a much deeper level than Darwinism. In fact, our guiding scientific paradigms can admit no alternative. Competition is implicit in our culture’s very conception of the self as an independent entity, distinct and separate from the environment and from other beings. This conception reached its fully developed form with Descartes, who identified the self as a discrete point of conscious awareness, a non-material soul separate from material reality, and with Francis Bacon, who enunciated the ideal of objectivity in science and the independence of the observer from factual reality. The foundations of science entail separation. When the definition of the self (and more generally, of an organism) is exclusive and discrete, any interdependency is therefore contingent on circumstances and can in principle be eliminated. This is known as “independence” or “security”—not to depend on others. Beings are naturally set in competition with one another, because more for me is less for you.

Anxiety and boredom flow from a common confluence of sources. Technology has separated us from each other, from nature, and from ourselves, inflicting the interior wound of separation. Secondly, the definition of the self as a discrete entity, fundamentally separate from other beings and the environment, contributes to our psychological loneliness. Thirdly, the competitive view of the world that is inseparable from the edifice of science weaves anxiety into the very fabric of life, which becomes a competition for survival. Finally, the belief that the universe at its most fundamental level consists of atomic particles interacting according to impersonal forces creates an existential insecurity, an alienation from the living, enspirited world and selves we intuitively sense.

Our society is based upon competition and anxiety in part because these are implicit in our basic understanding of the universe. To forge a new psychology—and, collectively, a new society—that is not underpinned by anxiety, will therefore require a new conception of self and life, and therefore of science and the universe. Other societies, fast disappearing under the deluge of Western culture, were remarkably free from the ambient anxiety we know today. It is no coincidence that their social systems were based on cooperation and that their self-definitions were not atomistic like ours are, but relativistic: defined in relationship to a greater whole such as family, village, forest, nature.

Labeling the World

The destructive potential of language is contained within the very nature of representation. Words, particularly nouns, force an infinity of unique objects and processes into a finite number of categories. Words deny the uniqueness of each moment and each experience, reducing it to a “this” or a “that”. They grant us the power to manipulate and control (with logic) the things they refer to, but at the price of immediacy. Something is lost, the essence of a thing. By generalizing particulars into categories, words render invisible the differences among them. By labeling both A and B a tree, and conditioning ourselves to that label, we become blind to the differences between A and B. The label affects our perception of reality and the way we interact with it.

Occasionally one may be fortunate enough to catch a momentary glimpse of perception unmediated by language and other representational systems. The world vibrates with an unspeakable richness of sound and color. As soon as we try to explain, interpret, or exploit that state, we distance ourselves from immediate reality and the experience vanishes. Habitually interpreting the world second-hand through symbolic representations keeps us distanced from the glory of reality all the time.

The realization that language can distance us from reality goes back thousands of years, at least to the time of Lao-tze, who opened the Tao Te Ching with the words, “The Tao that can be spoken is not the true Tao; the name that can be named is not the true name.” The very first line of one of the world’s greatest classics of spiritual scripture is a disclaimer, an admonition about the insufficiency of language to represent truth.

The fallacy of objective meaning is widely recognized, from Lao Tze to the post-modern deconstructionists; Thoreau said, “It takes two to speak the truth: one to speak, and another to hear.” Only recently, however, has this fallacy begun to enter the general consciousness, resulting in a generalized breakdown in linguistic meaning. Increasingly, words don’t mean anything anymore. In politics, campaigning candidates can increasingly get away with saying words that flatly contradict their actions and policies, and no one seems to object or even care. It is not the routine dissembling of political figures that is striking, but rather our nearly complete indifference to it. We are as well almost completely inured to the vacuity of advertising copy, the words of which increasingly mean nothing at all to the reader. From brand names to PR slogans to political codewords, the language of the media that inundates modern life consists almost wholly of subtle lies, misdirection, and manipulation. No wonder we thirst so much for “authenticity”.

Like all our other technologies, language is not working so well any more. It has failed to live up to the promise, echoed in the Technological Program to control nature, of providing a fully rational, objective, logical system of representation, the rigorous use of which will bring us to accurate knowledge of reality. Just as any technological fix always neglects some variable that generates unexpected outcomes and new problems, so also is any language, any system of signs, a distortion of reality riddled with blind spots that unavoidably generates error and misunderstanding. The attempt to control the world is futile. For too long now, we have sought to remedy the consequences of failed control by imposing even more control, more technological solutions; in language this equates to more rigor, more definitions, more names, an ever-finer categorization of reality. In our era, we are finally witnessing the collapse of the technological program of language.

Images of Images

A small but for some people significant way to reduce the alienation of modern life is to put down the camera and participate fully in the moment, rather than trying, futilely, to preserve the moment on film. The compulsion to record everything bespeaks the underlying anxiety of modern life, the conviction, stemming from measured time, that our lives are slipping away from us day by day, hour by hour, moment by moment. Perhaps if I photograph them, those precious moments of my children’s childhood will always be there, preserved for eternity. I have noticed, though, that when I look at my sons’ baby pictures my main emotion is wistfulness, a regret that I did not truly and fully appreciate those precious, unique times. I can seldom look at my most treasured photographs without feeling sadness and regret. The very effort to possess and preserve those moments diminishes them, just as technology in general leaves us alienated from and more afraid of the very world it attempts to control.

It is much better to enjoy each beautiful moment in the serene knowledge that an infinity of equally yet differently beautiful moments await. At the same time, the awareness of each moment’s transience helps us appreciate it all the more, if only we don’t succumb to the illusion, offered for example by photography, that it can be made permanent. That illusion robs life of its urgency and intensity, substituting for it an insipid complacency that conceals our buried unmet hunger for real experience. And that unmet hunger, in turn, fuels an endless appetite for the vicarious imitation experiences to be found in television, movies, amusement parks, spectator sports, and—the last gasp—reality TV.

Buddhism (and, I could argue, the esoteric teachings of all religions) recognizes the suffering implicit in the attempt to make permanent that which is intrinsically impermanent. The beautiful sand paintings made by Tibetan monks and Navajo Indians, which by the nature of their medium last a very short time (even when they aren’t purposefully destroyed the next day), demonstrate an important principle: the value of beauty does not depend on its preservation. The modern mind tends to think of their creation as a waste of time—creating something beautiful only to destroy it again—and wants to preserve it in a museum, derive some “benefit” from it. This way of thinking, in which we mortgage the present moment to future moments, is precisely the mentality of agriculture, in which we must sow in order to reap, in which the future motivates and justifies the labor of the present. When we photograph, record, and archive the present, we are driven by the same anxiety as the agriculturalist who knows that unless he stores up grain now, there will be scarcity in the future. Just as the agriculturalist no longer trusts (as hunter-gatherers do) in Providence, the easy bounty of nature, so also are we compelled to save up beautiful moments as if their supply were limited.

Further perfections of the image only reinforced the disappointment. Photography, then motion pictures, then holography, similarly failed to produce magical results; that is, actual control of reality via control over its representation. Yet, unwilling to admit defeat, we press on with “virtual reality,” a fitting metaphor for the dead end to which our separation of self has brought us. The separate human realm that originated with the circle of the campfire is nearly complete now—a wholly artificial reality. We have arrived, only to find ourselves feeling more lost than ever before.

Charles Eisenstein, The Ascent of Humanity
Read the whole book here.

TWENTY SIXTEEN: IN REVIEW

TEETH, FEET & FINGERS

Author’s Note: The provenance of the phrase history is written by the victorious is disputed.  But what can attribution achieve in this instance?  The sentence (or sentiment) must surely have been uttered or thought by many prior to the origin we seek, and also ex post facto by many unaware of their plagiarism.  The point remains that the marginalised have, historically, been denied a voice.  When you are dead or imprisoned, uneducated or denied access, putting forward your version of events becomes problematic.  Once something has been destroyed, only those left standing can rebuild, and do so with the only tools available to them: theirvision.

It could be said that, to some extent, in the real-time networked world we have awoken in this side of the millennium, more people than ever have the ability to make themselves heard.  But what do we find now that the curtain has…

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