Commented on my Larry/nuet July 12, 2016
What a global communication initiative
about the Great Transition might look like
when it is in full flower
Marketers and demagogues have long recognized the critical importance of shaping public consciousness in their favour, and they devote time, money and imagination to this endeavour, even if at times they do it crudely. Rupert Murdoch has the largest media empire in the world, and it is not just about money. He shapes public opinion.
Likewise we in the environment and progressive movement should activate our imagination to shape public opinion, not just about specific issues, but about the visionary transformative changes that are necessary to reverse global warming and transition to an equitable society. We have vast resources for this that we have not even recognised.
I agree. But what we need to develop has a totally different intent and process that those used by elites to indoctrinate and control – to intentionally keep each person’s actualization of their potentials – and the potentials of social systems. What we need is much more difficult. It involve empowering, not powering over.
Our proper goal at this time is to accelerate the Great Transition to a life-sustaining society. We should aim to win. Getting a critical mass of mainstream people on side is critical for a successful transition.
“win” IMA is the wrong metaphor.
Why “mainstream people”?
How do you determine “critical mass”?
Let’s consider what a global communication initiative to accelerate the transition to a life-sustaining society might look like when it is in full flower.
At a local level, we will see millions of personal conversations. These conversations will be unusual, because their purpose is to help people think better. Kitchen Table Conversations, a kit of modules for thinking through systemic change, shows one possibility.
There are many different types of conversations. The internet if full of conversations, many on relevant topics; but little is emergent from these conversations. John Kellmen has an active FaceBook group called CONVERSATION, with many good exchanges.
You propose different types of conversations. I agree, but I don’t know at this time what will work and for whom. A major research component is needed.
People will also use other excellent tools for communicating about the Great Transition to a life-sustaining society including Annie Leonard’s Story of Stuff video series and Paul Raskin’s Great Transition: the promise and Lure of the Times Ahead.
If you were to ask activists which books and texts of the many available, they would recommend, we would have a very long list.
Simple reading seldom is sufficient to change a person. Many will interpret the same texts quite differently and gain different insights.
I personally had not been aware of the books you recommend.
Thought leaders such as Richard Heinberg, Johan Rockström and Naomi Klein will all talk about transitioning to a life-sustaining society, and our intention to win – to actually succeed in becoming sustainable.
I know only of Klein, have read some of her books, and she calls for much more than “transformation”. Although Naomi uses the dangers of climate change to motivate her call for the End of Capitalism, how this can be realistically accomplished requires changing ALL our societal subsystems and how they relate. This is a domain actually quite independent of the sci/tech related to stopping global heating and recovery. There are TWO WHOLE systems involved, and their interaction: Gaia and Humankind. To significantly change the interaction patterns between Humankind and Gaia we must significantly change the structures/processes of human systems of all kinds and levels in Humankind. For this, our Sci/Tech is antique, at best.
We will be false and dishonest if we claim that by discovering workable ways to harness and recover from Climate Change (and other rapes of Gaia) we will be well on our way to success. Getting existing societal systems or different populations to radically change their practices is a challenge vastly greater than Climate Change itself.
They will encourage their audience to use the Kitchen Table Conversation modules and other tools to communicate with people in their networks about what is involved in successfully transitioning to a life-sustaining society.
I will comment on these tools when I read Kitchen Table Conversations. Aside: At the UofMinn I (with 3 friends) created the Minnesota Peace Cooperative. Members were to be assisted in organized and coordinated ARM CHAIR ACTIONS. We innovated the Chain-Growth-Recruitment-Process (CGRP) to rapidly build membership. Funded by selling Peace Stamps for mailing. I turned our growing mailing list to Clergy & Lay Against Vietnam War when leaving Minnesota.
Likewise, large online protest groups such as Avaaz, MoveOn and GetUp will be encouraging their members to act as citizen educators. Speakers and panel members at conferences will encourage their audiences to step up and become citizen educators.
I APPLAUD you on identifying “education” of the public as a vital and necessary enterprise. I have the same motivation and intent with UPLIFT. However, as a radical educator and critic of our “best” educational theories, policies, and practices I conclude that we need radically nu “education” – which involves as a first stage, among others, the re-education of educators and a movement to make everyone learner/educator. See LQE – Learners for Quality Education.)
Newspapers such as The Guardian will carry articles on the whole system changes needed to solve global warming, and they will offer Kitchen
Table Conversations training to their membership.
Renewable energy and solar power companies will frame their work not only as value for money and a solution to climate change, but also as a contribution to the transition to a life-sustaining society. This will help get the meme ‘transitioning a life-sustaining society’ into public consciousness.
Outdoor clothing brands such as Paddy Pallin and Patagonia will promote the need for whole system change to preserve the wilderness.
Professional offices will have plaques affirming their support for the transition to a life-sustaining society on their walls, as well as flyers that refer people to the Inspiring Transition website. Some will show short videos in their waiting rooms.
Millions of people will be talking about the Great Transition through social media.
You have cited a few “forums” where the TGT meme will be introduced. “Meme” is a cute metaphor, but has not contributed much to the Sci/Tech of propagating memes. Providing learning materials to each forum is only the easy first step in manifesting the forums eeree. At my stage of comprehension, this is still a vision and not yet a strategic mission.
In 2007 I attended the most exciting single event ever, The Story Field Conference, well organized by Tom Atlee and his very competent team. This event had the most well organized intention to move forward and have an impact AFTER the conference, than I have ever experienced. There was considerable detailed online planning and pre-conference dialog, and a team of compter/comm techies for both at conference technologies and for interaction on into the years. It was very enjoyable, enlightening, rewarding, and uplifting. Everyone expressed great enthusiasm for next year. A team to plan and organize next year was chosen, and eventually selected a great site for 2008, Asilamor. The conference had to be cancelled because of insufficient enrollment! Everyone who attended the first conference were very busy activists, and didn’t have time to attend the second.
There were a great many different activist projects and proposal present at the conference. There was much sharing, but – from what I saw – not much planning for collaboration (but I would not have witnessed most if it did occur.) Michael Dowd had just published Thank God for Evolution! and proposed a strategy somewhat similar to yours that would emerge from an organized promotion of the book and its meme.
I have learned that the euphoria and great learning at realtime gatherings are no measure of the impact of the gathering after, even when planned for. All my attempts to organize groups where meetings had the intention of future activity (more than an event) failed.
As a result people everywhere will be hearing and learning about the Great Transition to a life-sustaining society. In time this meme will replace the mantra economic growth as the defining goal of our time.
Econo-centrism [economics first and trickle down for all other societal services] remains dominant even among radical activists. Contemporary activism seem divided into two camps – new type economic development or magical awakening of all to knowing exactly what to do. This is not a moral or intellectual failing, not accounting fully for who humans are, in their diversity, results in this behavior. You can’t teach a mouse to fly if it doesn’t have wings – evolve a bat.
People will feel a sense of inspiration that we are creating a humane, ecologically sustainable society, and they will see many ways that they can contribute to it.
YES, YES, YES. But the journey will be long and requiring many to make basic changes in their life-styles. This cannot be a hobby or avocation. They may not initially be asked to more or change employment, but if The Great Transition is to succeed, EVERYONE WILL CHANGE.
I am not sure “contribute” is the right word. It connotes to me giving to an effort that is not really “mine”. Even “participate” is a bit weak. Indeed, TGT will involve the emergence of a new language; not only vocabulary, but the “nature of meaning” in relation to words.
This shift in consciousness will provide the political will to support large-scale reforms in economic policy, campaign finance and trade agreements. We will see massive public will for breaking up the big media and financial conglomerates, restoring democracy as a vehicle for fostering community well-being, and redesigning every aspect of society to promote emotional and environmental well-being. People will want to scale back the military-industrial complex.
I wish I could agree that this is possible, especially in the time we have, and accounting for the rapid rate of collapse and dysfunction everywhere, and the epidemic of hysteria building everywhere. This dream, IMA, is based on an over simplest view of the power and intent of the elites, and their willingness to do anything to retain power.
I feel that a reform today violates the laws of human behavior we have (as inadequate as they are). The “rights achievements” in our past were permitted to occur when there was benefit for the elite.
Here is where there is a fundamental disagreement between both the goals and methods of Larry/nuet’s UPLIFT and Andrew Gaines’ The Great Transition.
In UPLIFT, the learning/organizing goes on initially without attempting to major reforms of established systems and practices, until the Uplift-Movement is of sufficient “strength and nature” to resist attempts at repression. Even by helping slow collapse giving time for transition. There could be many exceptions, but no attempt to transform as the process of transition.
However, life will be better (not perfect) immediately for those who join UpMov. UpMov attempts no mass requitement. Each new member is welcomed as a valuable person with a personalized program for emergent involvement. UPLIFT includes the Chain-Growth-Recruitment-Process that insures exponential growth (the validity of this claim needs demonstration).
In time, political leaders will campaign on the basis of how they can contribute to transitioning to a life-sustaining future. And the public will hold them acutely accountable for this. Certain forms of protest will become a thing of the past, because leaders will be elected who understand the need for transitioning to a life-sustaining society, and who make policy consistent with that vision.
At the same time on the ground we will see increased local manufacturing and food production, along with renewable energy.
I claim, and could present a good scientific argument for, that the local-2-global societal system is long past the point of no return. Collapse is inevitable, bar miracles.
I don’t really know what is happening at the societal levels; all I have are many, often contradictory, reports. These reports, compared over time, demonstrates with extreme rewriting of history by every society. By looking at as much “evidence” as I can access, I believe that “high conspiracy” is the best hypothesis for the 9/11 phenomenon and the assassination of major USA leaders. If so, these forces remain highly influential, and have been influential for decades.
They are not omnipotent, as they have deep flaws, and they compete among themselves. These systems attract and advance the 2% of the human population who are psycho/sociopaths. This type of human had value in tribal times (when persons had to be sacrificed for tribal survival), but is a time-bomb today.
Electoral/Representative Democracy has been and is a propagandized fraud as a means for each person to have an appropriate say and responsibility in how social/societal systems are organized, function, and change. The vote count can be hacked. There is no good reason to believe that the trends towards oligarchy won’t continue. This is a force of resistance to any efforts The Great Transition attempts – until it is so strong. When some TGT projects are oppressed, continued recruitment and growth will be difficult.
UPLIFT is designed to achieve success in the self organization of UpMov, that doesn’t depend on acceptance by or resources donated by elites. The societal environment within which UpMov interacts and emerges will be very threatening and unstable. But UpMove can experiment with mixing of all the alternative social and societal subsystems currently being researched, without having to face competition from established systems.
People – especially young people – will have an exciting feeling that they are participating in a society that is dramatically changing for the better.
Medical centres, which currently show commercial TV in their waiting rooms, will instead show videos about the Great Transition along with videos on different aspects of cultivating personal well-being.
Poets and musicians will sing about the Great Transition to a life-sustaining society, and there will be inspirational videos on YouTube.
Local groups will put on events to get people excited about the Great Transition. Flyers advertising talks about the Great Transition will be posted in shops and libraries, with links to the Inspiring Transition website as well. The process will be contentious, of course. Those of us who choose to become active communicators will become more and more adept and imaginative in our ability to communicate with people who think differently than we do. We will find ways to help people move past their despair and apathy, and connect with the parts of them that care about life, nature, and the well-being of coming generations.
We will be dealing with people’s fears and disinformation, and at times with active disparagement and hatred from vested interests. Our ability to remain centered, compassionate and effective as communicators will be tested. At times we will not succeed, but we will get better with practice.
ALL the above can occur within UpMov; I forecast with much greater eeree. I dream of this, even though I will not witness it. I do hope to witness the launch and a few early stages of UpMov’s emergence. (long jump to next comment)
The news, especially from public broadcasters such as the BBC and Australia’s ABC, will highlight constructive change, instead of providing the usual depressing dose of murders, wars, accidents and scandals.
People who are accustomed to saying grace may dedicate the energy of their meal to contributing to the evolution of a life-sustaining society.
We will see week-long think tanks in which business, government, academia and civil society nut out how to make the transition work while taking care of people and maintaining a well-functioning (albeit slower) economy.
As the initiative continues, more and more businesses will train their staff in The Natural Step principles of ecological sustainability, and they will reengineer their operations to vastly reduce energy and material throughput, drawing on design approaches such as those outlined in Amory Lovins’ Natural Capitalism.
Thousands of companies will offer Kitchen Table Conversation Training to their staff, equipping them to conduct conversations about transitioning to a life-sustaining society with family, friends and neighbours. Some of the companies that do this will be transnationals such as Unilever and Interflor Carpets, both of which have long championed ecological sustainability, as well as consulting companies such as Kinsey, KPMG, and Forum for the Future. These companies will mention the Great Transition on their websites and marketing materials, and refer people to the Inspiring Transition website to become citizen educators. Staff will urge senior management to take such measures.
In parallel, companies will invest extensively in programs to cultivate emotional well-being, drawing on approaches such as Mindful Self Compassion, Non-Violent Communication, Conflict Resolution and EFT (Emotional Freedom Techniques). In conjunction, the trend towards non-hierarchical organisations will accelerate.
Organisations will recognise that embodying the values of cultivating emotional well-being and collaborative workplaces contributes to the evolution of a sustainable society. It also makes good business sense. Training in skills of self-awareness and resolving emotional disturbances will greatly reduce interpersonal fiction, thus allowing the organisation as a whole to become far more efficient without great effort.
Talented younger people will choose to work for these companies, rather than for their competitors, because of their commitment to a life-sustaining future. And they will work enthusiastically, because the organisational climate feels good, and their work is meaningful.
We will see a renaissance of informal learning and self-development. Individuals will choose to invest time and energy in resolving their own emotional issues, in opening up their creativity, and in learning to think more comprehensively. People with skills in these areas will act as mentors to help other people get started. Mentors will come from millions of people who have undergone psychotherapy, practiced meditation and the like, or who are skilled in facilitation, non-violent communication, or conflict resolution, as well as mental health professionals who choose to run introductory self-help courses on a voluntary basis. Learning skills to cultivate emotional resilience will not be confined to professional offices and ashrams; it will also occur in people’s lounge rooms or in local venues.
As people’s inner well-being and systemic understanding increases they will be less prone to compulsive shopping to fill emotional voids or avoid pain. They will have richer relationships with family and friends, and they will deeply appreciate the need for materially modest lifestyles. Their increased emotional resilience will make them less prone to responding thoughtlessly to the blandishments of advertisers or demagogues, or even to the realities of terrorist attacks. They will not be easily led into war.
The Great Transition is already underway
The good news is that the transition to a life-sustaining society is already underway. Research shows that 35% or more of the population in America and probably Australia are cultural creatives with life positive values. Paul Hawken shows in Blessed Unrest that there are millions of groups working on different aspects of environmental sustainability and social well-being. Business leaders such as Amory Lovins and Elton Musk are pioneering the large-scale technological changes that are part of the Great Transition to a life-sustaining society. There is a lot going on.
Volunteers who participated in the Sydney Olympics in 2000 were awed by the collective positive energy throughout the games. When the Great Transition is in full flower people will feel inspired by a deep sense of purpose: we are transitioning to a life-sustaining society! We will feel proud to be part of something much greater than ourselves.
TGT and UPLIFT both highly value the potential of all humans to function well in nu social/societal systems. Let your imagination run with how these might emerge, develop, and inter-related within an UpMov, where they are not competing with trying to fit into a sick, collapsing society – but are part of an emergent, nu system.
There are a near infinite variations and variables to be considered. In mu unpublished 1975 manuscript (150 mimeographed copies that I personally copied and collated) Mission_2000, I made a distinction (in the intro) between factors and distracters.
Americans used the following form of argument in the 1970s. Given
proposal A. Arguments would follow citing distractors AB and AC,
“demonstrating” that proposal A was impossible. End of argument.
The Mission 2000 Movement treated the same situation as follows:
Given proposal A. Given factors AB and AC, which made proposal A
appear impossible. Search for a solution. Find proposals AB and AC
which negate the effects of factors AB and AC. But, factors ABR, ABS,
ACT and ACU made proposals AB and AC appear impossible. Search for a
solution. Find proposals ABR, ABS, ACT and ACU which negate the
effects of these factors. Follow this chain back until there is a set
of proposals which are immediately possible to implement. Then
proposal A is also quite possible.
Of course, this method works only if new proposals can be found which
do negate the effects of the factors in the chain. But, in the 1970s,
no one ever tried. One piddling distractor was sufficient to
demolish a good proposal. This was because we had lost hope, we had
given up trying.
The Mission 2000 Movement gave us hope, and with this hope we found
the will and energy to try. Some proposals had to be modified, but we
were able to actualize the impossible.
Mission_2000 was on my old COMCAST website, and was lost to online access when COMCAST surprised us all by ceasing to support websites. I do have access to the text files and need to bring that doc back into cyberspace.
The code labeled paragraphs came from my use of hypertext (before computers) in composing. On a typewriter I typed each paragraph on a half sheet of scrap paper and then assembled them to compose the whole. Later, with my first computer I quickly learned to use outliners for composing. I remain frustrated that I can’t send others compressible/expandable outlines online. Most of my compositions would best be read multiple times, each time with the next level expanded. We greatly need composition apps that facilitate both nested and networked, outliners and hypertext. We also need new visual text language display designed to make use of the power of computers – creating 2D arrangements of symbols (words usually), but are not to be read aloud. To share complex ideas we need to liberate ourselves from the spoken language, and not be constrained to the linear sequence of symbols as I am typing now – which has it utility only to conserve paper and pages – no longer a concern with digital computers. This is an example of a multitude of tools and techniques we will need to share our complex ideas.