The extreme focus on materialism is having a disastrous effect on the environment and biodiversity, but it is also affecting our communities with lower levels of trust and a general lack of concern of the well-being of others. Something seems to rotten at the core. Our values, at both the collective and personal levels, are maligned with a sustainable future. Greed, conquest, acquisition, power, control are values that not only are prevalent but are also rewarded and valued throughout Western society. These values are reinforced through the media and pop culture with programming that essentially tells us we aren’t good enough, leading to an epidemic of apathy, despair, and depression. This hardened world compels many us to erect walls and barriers to protect our hurt feelings, most of us at a subconscious level.
When 7 billion people are encouraged to take and consume as much as possible (it’s good for the economy, after all) rather than just what one needs, it leads to infinite material demands. When the planet is finite, we have a problem. The question we must ask if we are serious about creating a sustainable society is, “what are the sustainable values that form the foundation of a society that can sustain itself over millions of years?” It obviously cannot be a society that predicates well-being on exponential growth of the economy, natural resource use, and pollution. So just what are sustainable values?
This pillar explores the concept of sustainable values – values such as empathy, compassion, kindness, trust, integrity, transparency, love, gifting, honesty. The one thing sustainable values share in common is their abundance. To be greedy and self-interested generates a mentality of scarcity. It turns everything into a zero sum game. More for you is less for me. But sustainable values are different. If I offer love, it grows. When I empathize with another and they feel the courage to reciprocate, both are better off. Sustainable values embrace Nature’s natural tendency towards abundance.
Inside each of our hearts, there is a knowing of a world the way it is supposed to be. Can we develop the courage, personally and collectively, to dare to live according to the values we know to be true? This pillar explores this possibility…
Other Ways – Redefining Family
“You see so many people left alone. Why? Because of our concept of family.” – Guruji Sri Vast
Overview is a mini-documentary (~19 min) that chronicles the surprising transformation of the astronauts’ views upon seeing the Earth for the first time from space. They realized how precious and vulnerable our little “spaceship” is and how trivial our daily problems seem in that context.
Our Need For A Sense Of Unity
“The Earth is the kind of organism that grows human beings.” Alan Watts and Terence McKenna give a sobering talk about our need for a sense of unity. As our global problems are getting worse, we have at the same time become alienated from our planet and each other.
Life And Death Explained
Alan Watts describes the interconnected relationship between life, death, and energy and how we can all eliminate being afraid of fear in our lives. (~5min)
Compassionate Listening – Healing The World
Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Hanh says listening can help end the suffering of an individual, put an end to war and change the world for the better. Watch as he explains how to practice compassionate listening.
Sacred Economics traces the history of money from ancient gift economies to modern capitalism, revealing how the money system has contributed to alienation, competition, and scarcity, destroyed community, and necessitated endless growth.
Hieroglyphic Stairway (~2 min)
This heart wrenching and action inspiring poem by Drew Dellinger asks us what we did once we knew the earth was unraveling…
Transition Town Movement
Transition towns are a grassroots network of communities that are working to build resilience in response to peak oil, climate destruction, and economic instability.
What If Money Were No Object?
When we finally got down to something, which the individual says he really wants to do, I will say to him, you do that and forget the money, because, if you say that getting the money is the most important thing, you will spend your life completely wasting your time. You’ll be doing things you don’t like doing in order to go on living, that is to go on doing things you don’t like doing, which is stupid. Better to have a short life that is full of what you like doing than a long life spent in a miserable way.
The Real You
“What you do is what the whole Universe is doing at the place you call here and now.” ~ Alan Watts
Darwin, Newton, And Materialism
Dr. Amit Goswami and Dr. Bruce Lipton succinctly describe the story of materialism that pervades the dominant worldview today. “By pretending to be something, we are becoming that something. By pretending that we are mindless matter – we are just material and that’s it – we are excluding the finer aspects of life and our experience. This is very serious business.” ~ Dr. Amit Goswami, Ph.D.
The Empathic Civilization
Bestselling author, political adviser and social and ethical prophet Jeremy Rifkin investigates the evolution of empathy and the profound ways that it has shaped our development and our society.
Too often we go through life on autopilot, going through the motions and having each day pass like the one before it. That’s fine, and comfortable, until you have gone through another year without having done anything, without having really lived life. Th
We need to move beyond talking about the environment, as this leads people to experience themselves and Earth as two separate entities and to see the planet in terms only of what it can do for them. Change is possible only if there is a recognition that
“What happens when people open their hearts?”… “They get better.” ~ Haruki Murakami,
A new theory of human origins says cooperation—not competition—is instinctive.