What is the nature of the Anthropocene transition?
What challenges will humanity face through this transition — this generation and for several more to come?
What must we do to prepare to meet these challenges creatively?
These are the questions that this website/blog and the associated Linkedin discussion group were created to explore.
Such is the scale and complexity of the transition we face it seems clear to me that there is not, and indeed there cannot be, “one best way”. Surely we need to approach this transition with an attitude of open inquiry and collaboration.
New ways of doing, knowing, making meaning, and participating in life on Earth are needed if our species is to cease pitching ourselves in opposition to the life support systems of the planet. Our on-going viability requires a deep cultural transformation that has technological, social, cognitive, and spiritual dimensions to it. No techno-fix, no policy formulation, no ideological position, no political movement will of itself be adequate to the challenges we face.
I’d suggest that there are three levels of response, all of which are essential and complementary. All can be inclusive of the others.
Some forms of action are urgent and absolutely necessary. These are the activisms that aim to mitigate the most egregious abuses of the biosphere, of eco-systems, of other species, and of our own kind. Everyone with any degree of awareness of what is happening in the world around us must do their best to support these campaigns in whatever way the circumstances of their lives permit. There is no lack of campaigns and movements deserving of support.
Others will focus on creating models for sustainable ways of living and doing — new models of community, of commerce, of food production, of governance, of technologies, etc. And embedded in these models must be new ways of learning and knowing the world so that we can adapt creatively to the abrupt and unforeseen changes we will encounter along the way. This work is happening in countless communities, organisations, and institutions around the world. Its praxis is driven by innovation, experimentation, and the development of communities of practice and learning networks.
Drawing from and informing both mitigation and adaptation is a meta dialogue about the processes of reframing the core cultural values of our human societies — of shifting from anthropocentric to eco-mutual values. Ultimately this is the fundamental shift we must make to survive the Anthropocene. The focus of this dialogue is on cultural transformation.
Four Domains of Cultural Transformation
At the start of this dialogue I offered a framework to help us think about the various domains of human endeavour that we must address in order to effect this shift.
Psyche / Being
The domain of our shared experience of connection to the Earth – or Earth consciousness – and of deep cultural memory.
What social practices must we create to cultivate, share, and celebrate Earth consciousness?
How can we stimulate critical reflection in key cultural institutions that might lead to a reframing of our core values?
Mythos / Meaning
The domain of the stories that give meaning to our lives, of the creative arts, of new cultural syntheses, and of new forms of creative collaboration.
What are the new stories of eco-mutuality and how do we make them compelling in a context of unending distraction and confusion?
What are the new cultural syntheses emerging at the cultural borderlands that can so easily become the killing fields?
Episteme / Knowing
The domain of inquiry and learning, of holistic science, complexity thinking, catagenesis, and adaptive social learning.
How can we help propagate a wider understanding of the dynamics of change in complex systems and embed new forms of social learning in our everyday social practice?
Techne / Doing
The domain of closed-loop economics, holistic technologies, eco-social resilience, and deep democracy — of technical, social and institutional innovation.
What new economic, technological, social, and political models are emerging consistent with the life support systems of the Earth?
How can we enhance our collective capabilities to deal creatively with complexity and upheaval, rather than retreating into denial and reaction?
Please join this dialogue here on this website/blog or at the Linkedin discussion group