The Wholeness of Life: Beyond Three Eras of Techno-Scrambling

18 Mar

In 1976 the economist Fritz Schumacher spoke at Findhorn in Northern Scotland in an address as relevant today as it was then for everyone [1]. It shapes the foundations of Transition Party USA.

Historically he noted that we are at the end of three distinct but overlapped eras:

  • 300 years of a Descartian worldview which valued mind over matter, established mind/body dualism (mind good/body bad) and advocated humans controlling Nature;
  • 200 years of a socio-economic-political system shaped by the industrial revolution’s division of labor which led to the devaluation of the whole human being; and
  • 100 years of technocratic and money idolatry, driven by a belief in infinite resources and quick technological fixes — resulting in a ravaged eco-system. [2]

As these old eras draw to a close, bankrupt, we need to regain a traditional understanding of what is good, true, and beautiful and so inform our actions to build a new era that acknowledges the wholeness of life. It is not a single-issue crisis that we face — not just an energy crisis, not just a nuclear crisis, not just an ecological crisis or sociological or political or cultural or economic crisis — our whole “way of life” has become a death-trip: species diversity and cultural diversity are both disappearing faster and faster. Solutions must be nurtured and implemented simultaneously at many levels. Schumacher calls on the audience to first work to foster a new world view in themselves, diagnose what can be done, see if others are already engaged in that rebuilding work and support them, and then act themselves, if even in a small way.

doing a few minutes or an hour each day

communicating for Transition Party USA

circulating insights that show the Path or a Local Way

encourage each child to play, play! PLAY!!!

1. “Exhibiting his characteristic charm and humor, an historic breadth of thinking, the integrity of his own example, a belief in his audience and the capacity of the human spirit to seek solutions and bring about change — this Findhorn address shows E.F. Schumacher at his best.” The New Economics Institute has posted the audio online.

2. See Lewis Mumford’s books, e.g. Technics and Civilization, The Pentagon of Power: The Myth of the Machine, Vol. II. See also Gregory Bateson’s great trilogy of books, starting with Steps to an Ecology of Mind.

3. Mumford, Bateson, Rachel Carson, Hazel Henderson, L. Kohr, John Ruskin’s Unto this Last, Morris Berman’s Reenchantment of the World, Marilyn French’s Beyond Power, and so many holistics thinkers have pointed us toward this necessary transformation, this paradigm shift. Why doesn’t it catch on? Spread rapidly? It needs to become a Life-affirming religion of local shrines and festivals — soon!

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