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Fri Apr 27, 2012, 07:29 PM


How do we stop ruling the world?

This is an except from a talk given last year by Timothy Scott Bennett, a writer, movie-maker, thinker, and very good friend. He's the guy I disguised as "Bobby Wan Kenobi" in my thread on Doomers™. The excerpt is from the second of three talks he gave at The 2011 International Conference on Sustainability, Transition & Culture Change in Bellaire, MI, on 11/11/11. I'm outing him because I believe his response to What's Happening™ is authentic, heartfelt and even important.


What Quinn said about vision and timing and readiness for change resonates inside me. We need a new defining vision of who we are and why we are here. And we need it by yesterday at the latest. But defining visions, Quinn said, grow out of long periods of experience, and shift “one meme at a time.” If we’re staring at a 9% oil depletion rate and 6% CO2 increases, it doesn’t look to me like we HAVE long periods of time. When I look at the world through Quinn’s eyes, I see lots of programs, lots of sticks in the river, but very few new minds. I see bootstrapping and problem solving and yes-we-can-ing and get-‘er-done-ing. But it feels to me that if the world is telling us anything right now, it’s telling us that THAT STRATEGY IS NOT WORKING. If “no paradigm is ever able to imagine the next one,” and “if the time isn’t right for a new idea, no power on Earth can make it catch on,” then what are we supposed to do?

A new vision? How ARE we going to get from here to there? Or are we? Even though ruling the world appears to have come at the cost of catastrophe, I don’t know how we STOP ruling the world. How do we free ourselves from ten thousand years of cultural conditioning? How do we let go of the idea that the world was made for us? The dominant culture, an operating system that has been installed in our hearts and minds does not wish to be uninstalled. That urge to control will fight us and fool us at every turn. Even were we to manage to break free of that programming, what else IS there besides ruling the world?

At this point, it feels like the truest thing I can say to you is this: I don’t have the answers to these questions. I don’t know where we’re headed, or how we’ll get there. I don’t know how to create a new vision that will spread like wildfire, and some days I’m pretty despairing that such a thing is even possible.

I know that my personal attempts to uninstall the dominant culture from my own being are not yet finished. I still get caught in my own identity as a tall, White, American male who knows the one right way. It happened yesterday. It will happen today. Just because this thing called “saving the world” may require both new minds and a new vision, it does not necessarily follow that my work is to go around trying to change minds and invent a new vision. I question my own work of “waking people up,” – the blogs I’ve written, the articles and essays I’ve posted, the documentary we made, all the convincing and explaining and persuading and even frightening people into consciousness and action. While it was all done with the heartfelt intention and desire to contribute something good to the world, it has also carried a strong whiff of covert domination and control and one right way. My right way. Despite my good intentions, I wonder if trying to solve the problem of creating a new vision has actually kept me trapped in the old one. Clearly, confronting one’s own cultural programming is not for the faint of heart. This can be challenging and subtle work. But it’s my experience that the work is worth doing.

The video of the talk:

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