#8 - Changing History: The Next Big Shift (April 2008)
The theme of this newsletter is PARADIGM SHIFT! Legions of men and women on this planet are weary of war, alarmed by violence tearing into their communities, sad that too many of their children have no hope for a better future, and increasingly frightened that the blowback that the environmental destruction we've wreaked on Mother Nature is finally going to overwhelm civilization as we've known it.Anyone reading this newsletter can cite long lists of these ills. Major cultural upheavals are examples of what are called "paradigm shifts:" fundamental changes in the underlying assumptions under which humans run their endeavors. We've had many such shifts before, three of the largest being the agricultural revolution, the industrial revolution, and the digital revolution. It's the view of A Future Without War that we're now living in another great one:
The Egalitarian Revolution
The newsletter showcases projects launched by a tiny handful of the multitudes of individuals and organizations working, even as you read, to shape and accelerate a radical, cultural shift to a less violent, more just, more environmentally stable, and more egalitarian future.
The Shift Movie
Producer Rochelle Marmorstein is creating, with Lighthouse Films, Inc., a movie called simply The Shift Movie. It will highlight scores of agents of this change or people calling for it, including luminaries such as Desmond Tutu, Al Gore, Deepak Chopra, Benazir Bhutto, Bono, Richard Branson, Jimmy Carter and others who are largely unknown but hard at work.Although apolitical and unaffiliated with any particular religion, there is a strong underlying philosophical base to the film project, perhaps best represented by two of the agents interviewed who have extensive writings, Deepak Chopra and Mary Ann Williamson. The extremely well-done, six minute trailer is available online and is worth viewing for perspective on the scope of the change and the people calling for it. The trailer will also just give you a positive, emotional pick-me-up for your day. Let's hope a full length film will be as effective ... more, however, is not always better. View the trailer.
Alliance for a New Humanity
On March 11-13, AFWW was represented in San Jose, Costa Rica, at the "Human Forum 2008: A Symphony of Transformation." This meeting is one of two this year that will be sponsored by The Alliance for a New Humanity (ANH), the second conference to occur November 7-9 in Barcelona, Spain.The mission of ANH is to "connect people who are determined to build a more just, pacific, and sustainable world through personal and social transformation." It's "open to every person, group or organization with this goal in mind." Its operating budget for 2007 was slightly over 1 million dollars. The overall spirit at this meeting was positive and determined.
More than 500 people, only slightly more women than men, came to the five-star Hotel Intercontinental Real in San Jose from as far away as Libya, Norway, Chili, and Australia. Luminaries were there-the principle ones being Costa Rica's President, Nobel Prize Winner, and one of the founders of the ANH, Oscar Arias and motivational speaker and prolific writer and thinker, Deepak Chopra. But the AFWW representative also talked to a college student from Aurora, Colorado who, after meeting Deepak Chopra on My Space, paid her own air fare and didn't even have a room reservation (yes, another good soul took her in).
For a report on the meeting, including some background on the founding of the group, its objectives, and the nature of Costa Rica meeting and its participants, see our site. ANH Conference report
Dee Dee Myers on How to Change the World
In her new book, Dee Dee Myers, ex-presidential press spokeswoman for Former President Bill Clinton, suggests that we use women. See our site for AFWW's take on Myer's book, including a listing of the characteristics women would bring to leadership positions,. Read our review. About "Why Women Should Rule the World"
Marie Wilson and the Big Shift
Yet Another Woman Suggests that Women May be the Key to a Big Shift
Marie C. Wilson is founder and President of The White House Project, co-creator of Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day, and former President of the MS. Foundation for Women. She has re-released her 2004 book in 2008 with a new epilogue. Closing the Leadership Gap explores many of the same points made by Dee Dee Myers and many other writers about the innate talents of women.An important earlier book, published in 1999, suggesting that women have biological proclivities that, if harnessed in leadership positions, can and will bring positive change was The First Sex: The Natural Talents of Women and how They are Changing the World by the anthropologist Helen Fisher. The book Women, Power, and the Biology of Peace by biologist and AFWW essayist, Judith Hand, explains why women's input is critical to limiting or even ending the practice of war.
Despite possessing these many documented pluses that women, as a group, embody more characteristically than men, the United States still has not had a woman president. Only one of nine U.S. Supreme Court judges is a woman. The powerful Senate of the U.S. Congress has 100 members, only 16 of which are women. The United States, like much of the rest of the world, is a long, long way from utilizing the biological natures of women as a powerful agent of paradigm shift toward less violence and more equality. FREE download "Women, Power, and the Biology of Peace"
AFWW is About Paradigm Shft
Paradigm Shift is what AFWW is all about. AFWW argues in How Far We've Already Come that we are in a unique moment in history, a time in which sufficient elements are in place to reach a tipping point to the massive, positive shift people of good will in all places and times have longed for but which in past millennia they were never able to achieve. We can have hope because our time in history is different.It's also our conviction that if we want a less violent world, a world where there is justice and equality and environmental stability, we'll ultimately have to bite the bullet and abolish war-and the sooner we take on this enormous challenge, the better. War is a 1,000 pound gorilla in our house. Wars devour resources urgently needed for better things and they foster a culture of violence. Ending war will be extraordinarily difficult, but there is no alternative if the goal is real change for the better.
The AFWW website essays about producing change focus on 9 cornerstones (See The Nine Cornerstones). ANH's strong focus, beyond their overarching emphasis on personal growth and change, is on one of AFWW's cornerstones: "fostering connectedness" (See "Fostering Connectedness). Wilson and Myers's books are highlighting AFWW's need to "empower women" cornerstone (See Secret Ingredient).
A series of essays on the AFWW website outline briefly each of the 9 AFWW cornerstones. AFWW takes the position that we must address them all simultaneously to ensure that the next great human cultural SHIFT produces the positive results we dream of ... that we don't just stumble blindly into nightmare alternatives so many of us see looming ahead.
"The people have always some champion whom they set over them and nurse into greatness ... This and no other is the root from which a tyrant springs; when he first appears he is a protector."
-Plato - The Republic, Bk. VIII
A Good Book
Sanday, Peggy Reeves. 1981. Female Power and Male Dominance: On the Origins of Sexual Inequality. NY: Cambridge University Press.
The developing countries do care. They are not blind to the problems linking energy use and Global Warming. Commissioned by governments of Brazil and China, the report "Lighting The Way" identifies a scientific consensus framework for directing global energy development while securing climate protection and global development goals. The work of 15 world-renowned energy experts, co-chaired by Nobel Laureate Steven Chu, Director of the Lawrence Berkeley National Lab in the United States, and Jose Goldemberg, former Secretary of State for the Environment for the State of Sao Paulo, Brazil. Addresses sustainability, mitigation, the Kyoto Protocol, unequal access to energy, and more.