This book is a guide from the old story, through the empty space between stories, and into a new story. It addresses the reader as a subject of this transition personally, and as an agent of transition—for other people, for our society, and for our planet.
In America, the transition to this vision will involve a severe disruption of our present way of life. In other countries where people still practice small-scale farming akin to modern permaculture, the transition might be much smoother. They can leapfrog the 20th century directly into the 21st, without repeating our ecologically and socially devastating mistakes. People in other lands can adapt the principles of permaculture to their own specific environmental and social circumstances. This is not about clever white people inventing a new model and imposing it on someone else. (Indeed, many permaculture techniques have been adopted from indigenous farmers around the world.) It is about everyone learning from everyone else, all guided by the ideal of wedding agronomy to ecology and fostering bioregional food self-sufficiency.
Bronnie Ware is an Australian singer/songwriter who spent many years as a palliative care nurse. Her patients had gone home to die, but she was with them the last three to twelve weeks of their lives, and over the years, Ware noted the Top Five Regrets of The Dying which she compiled into a book. The regrets are striking because they reveal the factors that, regardless of one’s age or physical health, bring meaning and purpose to human lives, and those that do not. An examination of each regret may be useful as we consider our place in history and the collapse of industrial civilization in which we are now embroiled. Each regret has been seeded by the paradigm of civilization and reveals the ultimate fruits that are harvested as a result of allowing the paradigm to grow in our lives.
The Really Big Transition: Saying Goodbye To The Enlightenment, Saying Hello To Consciousness, By Carolyn Baker
In the twenty-first century, industrial civilization is crumbling around us, and we are compelled to notice that a number of Enlightenment assumptions no longer apply or at the very least, have outlived their utility in a world unraveling. One of these is the notion that the universe is rational and orderly. The word that perhaps best describes the current era is chaos. So does this mean that reason is dead, and chaos reigns? Does it mean that we must choose which of the two is actually true, despite what our instincts tell us?
As I spoke to the Sisters about the collapse of industrial civilization as a rite of passage for humanity—as a spiritual and emotional practice which we must begin now and continue going forward, they were overwhelmingly receptive. In fact, I was inundated with their resonance and gratitude. Of all the audiences to whom I have presented my work on the topic of collapse in the past five years, this one displayed the most unequivocal comprehension of any.
I suspect that in the throes of societies in chaos, involvement with men’s and women’s groups will be dramatically minimized by pre-occupation with survival, but regardless of how tumultuous the upheaval may be, the profound soul-making work that has occurred in these groups will not be extinguished. In fact, men and women may discover that groups focusing on the issues of their own gender are more relevant than ever because gender issues will become intensely germane as panic, rage, and scapegoating ensue
A paradigm shift is desperately needed. And it will not come from those who have created the crisis and who are looking for new ways to extend the life of the greed economy by commodifying and privatising all life on earth. They will come to Rio+20 to paint the “greed economy” green, and call it the “green economy”. And they will have powerful governments on their side. Movements for ecological sustainability, social justice and deep democracy will come to Rio+20 with another paradigm — one centred on the rights of mother earth, the rights of future generations, of women, indigenous communities and farmers
Defining wealth as the ability to buy things, we have largely lost the sense of “weal,” which means well-being (as in the word “commonweal”). To most people, wealth now refers less to shared well-being than to “gross national product” or “personal net worth.”
Traditional societies that have survived so long in natural TEOTWAWKI conditions – in Australia, Central Asia, South America, North America, Siberia, and many others right up to our day all share one thing in common with regard to the young: educating youth through stories that impart the values and character necessary to not only survival but constructive outlook and moral self-worth.