— Don (Four Arrows) Jacob coined this phrase1
This is a short rant about my personal commitment to human betterment. My log line is:
“An old-soul Yoda confronts the forces of hate, greed, and delusion to help create the next awakening of consciousness by overcoming the energies. trying to hold onto the past.”
Some triggering event will most likely presage the systemic changes that are coming. Whatever this triggering event is. It will have a few identifiable characteristics: It will …
1. be global in impact
2. appear to be outside the control of current social/economic/political structures and processes.
3. appear and take hold suddenly.
The COVID19 pandemic will be seen historically as a ‘warm-up pitch’ or, in military terms, a ‘fire for effect.’ This was the first shock, but more are coming as our societal level system’s fragility are stretched to their limits. In the era of incremental industrial society, we labeled these shifts ‘changes’. Change management was the logical response and found its way to the front pages of popular literature. What’s coming is more than that.
Change → Transformation → Metamorphosis2
The crossroads now is an intentional, conscious, and evolutionary shift. Is what’s coming a ‘transformation’ or something much deeper -a change in society’s primary form?
Futuring and Causal Layered Analysis
I am a futurist. That is a person who looks forward and tries to help people prepare for different scenarios which will impact them personally, their businesses, and their lifestyles. When I apply that lens to the coming systemic changes, my repertoire’s most potent tool is ‘causal layered analysis (CLA).
CLA aims to look beyond the hype of media, ordinary, everyday narratives, and get to the causal trends and the worldviews and beliefs that underlie all that. All well and good, but I want to dig even deeper. That takes us down to the level of myth and metaphor: a society’s core stories, the province of artists and visionaries.
Using this diagram lets us look back in time to explore if our past can inform our future. There have been many times of transitions in human evolution. For example, the Native American Hopi believe we are entering what they call the “fifth world.” We are in the fourth world. The previous three were destroyed by the disrespect of the Earth, wars, and destructive practices.3
The social and cultural systems which have supported, encouraged, and made possible several centuries of industrialization, colonization, and now globalization have become dysfunctional to affirming human life and a sustainable future on this planet.
My hypothesis is that these cultural systems (i.e., core stories) are on the cusp of a change in form and structure. What is coming will be modeled on what humankind found to be resilient and necessary for continuous consciousness evolution in the pre-industrial past. We will be ‘walking backward into the future if we so choose.
The shift is from: ME to WE
Key Metaphor of OLD Beliefs
What are the OLD beliefs, myths, and metaphors which are driving human behavior today? I am confining my analysis to the developed Western world. Looking at parallels to the East such as Hinduism and Buddhist practices is an exciting topic that I will leave for a later date in the interests of brevity.
The current dominant belief systems follow the Abrahamic religions, commonly seen as Christianity, Judaism, and Islam (although there are many lesser traditions). They share a belief in man’s dominion over the Earth, monotheism, patriarchy, with power and status primacy as societal organizing principles.
Commercial profit is the prime driver.
At first blush, examples like the parable of Jesus throwing out the moneychangers from the temple might seem to prevent Christianity from a capitalistic bias., the theology on which those parables are are based has morphed (or changed) into something entirely different. For example, “Christianity,” as practiced by Joel Osteen or Jerry Falwell, is far removed from the original. Today’s Abrahamic ethos experience has led directly to the capitalist, authoritarian world we see now. 4
Key Metaphor of NEW Beliefs
Some authors such as Don (Four Arrows) Jacobs have done extensive research and categorize ‘common indigenous’ worldviews as opposed to ‘common dominant’ worldviews. Given my hypothesis, the NEW beliefs, metaphors, and stories fall in the indigenous category.
They are dominated by a non-hierarchical view of social control, socially purposeful living, reverence of and protection of the Earth, gender equality, and emphasis on persistent community welfare. There are many other sub-dimensions, but these capture the essence of it.
Community over the individual as a prime driver.
As with any significant shift in ontology, some individuals find themselves on either side of the change. Over the years of teaching, I’ve found three basic questions which can be posed to identify whether people are operating in the OLD paradigm or from the NEW, emergent one.
- Do you have faith in your own potential?
- Is essential human nature good or bad?
- Does knowledge come from internal or external sources?
Roughly speaking, the OLD groups into little to no faith in individual potential; human nature is flawed, and knowledge (or truthiness in today’s jargon) comes from external sources.
NEW Beliefs are composed of high faith in individual potential; human nature is good, and knowledge comes from internal reflection and examination.
When these systems come into conflict in day-to-day life, polarization occurs. People perceive those with different beliefs as ‘the other’ and demonize them. In extreme cases (i.e., 16th Century Inquisition, colonialization of the “New World” and Europe in the 1930s), violence and genocide occur. I ask, are we on this cusp again today?
Indeed, we are walking backwards into the future. I look to indigenous tribes such as the Lakota in North America or the Musica in South America for examples of large social groups. The ancient worldview where fear is replaced with hope, inner truths are valued above all, community wellness and resiliency is a prime driver, and equality of the masculine and feminine will dominate our social relations.
It’s challenging to identify the source of our anxiety, our levels of stress, and cognitive discomfort. A social psychological perspective tells us that the ‘messy middle’ of change will have us experience:
- a temporary loss of identity
- a change of social status
- a shift in old power relationships
The loss of identity can be dealt with by being consciously focused on defining who we are.
The change in status, which can be dealt with a reflective approach to assessing self-worth.
I see a letting loss of power, which can be dealt with by seeking a purpose greater than oneself.
I won’t be bold enough to suggest specific ways for people to change their core beliefs and adopt a new story to orient themselves. There are a myriad of traditions, creeds, and beliefs. I encourage you to build your own theology in times of change. The question is, are YOU ready?
Listen to the ancients. The last Inca
David, Gary, The Orion Dimension: Hopi Cosmology, Earth Enigmas & Celestial Secrets, 2020, Island Hill Books (https://azorion.tripod.com/)
Grantham, C. The Spiritual Dimension of Organizational Change, Community Design Institute White Paper, 2010.
Iron, Osita (2008). A Day in the Life of God. Dover, Delaware: Enlil Institute.
1Don (Four Arrows) Jacob “Sitting Bull’s Words: For a World in Crisis, (2021) firstname.lastname@example.org
2“a change of the form or nature of a thing or person into a completely different one, by natural or supernatural means.”
3Hopi mythology shares a great deal with other Mesoamerican nations. I choose this as an example because it directly reflects my own heritage.