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A Heartful New Conception of Progress

By Charles Eisenstein

"Now is the time to turn the technologies of control toward a new purpose: to serve life and beauty on earth. That starts with healing the damage we have done."

New Conception of Progress

Dear friends,

This thought-provoking essay by Charles Eisenstein – a great man with a big heart and a beautiful mind – powerfully reminds us of what matters most in life. At a time when there are so many distractions and concerns, it is both wise and healthy to remind ourselves that there is something much greater going on here.

With very best wishes for a transformed world,
Fred Burks for the PEERS empowerment websites

A Heartful New Conception of Progress
By Charles Eisenstein
March 18, 2022

Here's what a new story and new conception of progress might look like:

  • Real security comes not through control, but from relationship and belonging.

  • Nature has a fundamental tendency toward complexity and wholeness. Our destiny is to participate in the coming alive of the cosmos, to be part of the unfolding of complexity and beauty into new domains.

  • Now is the time to turn the technologies of control toward a new purpose: to serve life and beauty on earth. That starts with healing the damage we have done.

  • No technology is inevitable. We have the power to collectively choose how we will develop. We can choose technologies that conform to our emerging values of beauty and life.

  • More is not necessarily better, because reality will always escape the primal cognitive technologies of control called labeling and measuring. In the future, we learn the limits of quantitative reasoning, and turn our main energies toward qualitative enrichment.

  • Life and earth are sacred. When we reduce them to a finite value, we commit sacrilege. All resources of the earth are therefore meant for sacred use. When we use them, we always ask whether this will contribute to more beauty, more love, more wonder, and more life.

  • Labor is also sacred; meaningful labor is necessary for human well-being. Therefore, technology should seek not to replace it, but extend its creative powers.

  • Because we humans are not the sole possessors of intelligence, order, and purpose, we can achieve much more by allying ourselves with an intelligence larger than ourselves, than we can relying on our own power to control the world through force.

  • What was once marginalized as holistic and alternative will become the new reality. Most things that we chased with technologies of control will come to us. Seeing the body as intelligent, we unlock unforeseen healing powers. Asking, "What does the soil need?" we help it to heal and find that it returns our gifts to it many fold. Asking "What does my brother need?" we restore right relationship among all the tribes, races, and ethnicities of humanity. Coming into attentive relationship to forests, oceans, rivers, wetlands, and other ecosystems, we participate in their healing too. Exploring the relationship between matter and consciousness, we develop material technologies of energy, travel, construction, and more that were inconceivable in the paradigm of force.

  • Progress means progress in peace, beauty, life, connection, and wisdom. In the built environment, we replace the modern landscape of cheapness with the kind of architectural wonders still remaining from before the 20th century. We replace industrial farms with a mosaic of gardens, food forests, and small ecological farms. We open the floodgates of alternative medicine, vitalizing what has been long suppressed and returning medicine to the people. In governance, progress means moving toward transparency and decentralization. In economics progress takes us toward local, community-oriented, zero-waste economies in which money plays a much smaller role. We retool society with the goal of healing on every level, so that progress is to end the cycles of trauma and abuse that have kept humanity miserable. We develop all the forgotten sciences: of geometry, vibration, light, mind, energy, and ceremony, learning how powerful we are in cooperation with, not opposition to, the intelligence of nature.

To tell such a story is one thing; to hold it and act from it quite another. The waning program of control rests on a story of Separation (me from you, human from nature, matter from spirit), but it is not only a story. It is also a state of consciousness, and it is a phase of species evolution. Why is techno-utopia so appealing to some? Control is a substitute for what the soul really longs for: to restore its connections, to belong, to be whole.

The techno-scientific ambition for perfect knowledge and control is like trying to reach the horizon by running. It is like trying to build a tower all the way to the sky. No matter how fast and far you run, the horizon is no closer. No matter how high you build, the sky is no nearer. So now we slow the run to marvel at the wonders we ignored as we raced with eyes fixed on the horizon. And instead of building as high as possible, we build as beautifully as possible to add new wonders that enhance those already everywhere around us.

Note: This inspiring essay is taken from a longer article that is well worth reading in its entirety on this webpage. Charles Eisenstein has written a number of highly praised, paradigm changing books, including "Sacred Economics" and "The More Beuatiful World Our Hearts Know is Possible." Subscribe to his heart and mind opening writings on this webqpage.

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