Reworking Success is the text of a set of lectures designed to help people achieve the mindquakes required to focus on the radically new world in which they are already living. If you prefer off-line media you can also order this material in book or tape form.
There is a growing gap between the public and the private rhetorics in Canada and, indeed, throughout the world. In public, communication gatekeepers are arguing that the increasingly obvious problems in socioeconomic systems can be resolved within current thinking. In private, leaders share a growing sense of dismay about the rising levels of unemployment, particularly among the young, and the increasing gap between the rich and the poor.
There are two blocks which prevent this existing concern from becoming obvious. First, the inertia of current systems is today so great that few people have been willing to challenge the current conventional wisdom. Even though it has only been put in place in the last twenty years, it seems so strong that challenging it appears unlikely to make a difference. Those who put forward a different message are largely ignored rather than attacked: they are seen as essentially irrelevant. This has remained the norm until very recently despite the growing evidence that the public -- as opposed to opinion-makers -- do not agree with current public rhetorics.
Fortunately the blocks to new thinking are now crumbling. The work of pollsters and other observers suggests that a continuation of current trends will result in massive dangers. A recent book by Angus Reid showed that current levels of unemployment threaten a collapse of demand and a slump. Even business journals are concerned about the ever-growing gap between top-level salaries and average wages. The sense of discontent is palpable around the world as we fail to deliver on old patterns of success.
We are moving rapidly into highly-threatening economic, moral, social, ecological and spiritual crises. Their threat is fully visible once we deny the validity of the economic language which has narrowed our vision and destroyed our compassion. It is time to create language and images which can enable us to create community, and communities, that enable us to live well in the twenty-first century.
The second block to communication is more subtle. There is a widespread belief that everybody with wealth and power is unable, and unwilling, to see the need for fundamental change. Even a cursory reading of history shows how innacurate this model is. Many people with power feel as trapped by the ironclad rules of the current system as those who have none.
Two breakthroughs are necessary if anything significant is to happen, therefore. First, we must look for the people in every system and walk of life who are willing to work together to remove the blocks to an already emerging future. We must not be discouraged by the fact that it will take time for people to mesh their language and their understandings for this is inevitable. We must persist so that we can come to understand that most people have a remarkably similar vision of a just and equitable society.
Second we must recognize that the success criteria and goals within which we currently operate can no longer satisfy people and communities. Strategies based on maximum economic growth and international competitiveness are the cause of our problems today, not their cure. Further developments in technology will make unemployment and income gaps worse rather than better.
If we are to break out of our dependence on compulsive consumption, we need a new set of goals. The core survival need is ecological integrity but this is only possible with effective decision-making. This, in turn, requires social cohesion achieved through a commitment to equity and justice. Our personal, community, national and global behaviors would obviously be strarkly different if we adopted such a commitment.
We can only find out what these changes imply if we provide people with safe spaces for conversation and dialogue. It is always difficult to understand the implications of mindquakes, for they require the rethinking of the ideas through which one has previously structured reality. Few individuals, or organizations, will take the risk of striding out into the unknown if they are not supported in the change process.
Efforts to support this type of thinking are now developing rapidly. Their style is quite different from those of the past for they encourage people to discuss the fundamental questions of our time rather than to provide the answers of experts. Greater personal commitment as well as financial support would enable them to move forward more rapidly.
|This material is copyrighted since it will be published shortly. It can be freely downloaded but it cannot be quoted or printed without specific permission.|
Copyright © 1997 Robert Theobald and Transformational Learning Community and Everything Web
Revised Sun, Jun 29, 1997