Charles Eisenstein is, in my view, one of the most exciting thinkers on the planet today. In his 2007 book, ‘The Ascent of Humanity’, he brilliantly lays out the accumulating effects of the ‘consciousness of separation’ that lies at the root of the present dysfunctional state of human civilisation, showing how progressive stages of our intellectual, social and economic evolution have each exacerbated the tendency to ‘cut up’ (literal rendition of ‘analyse’) the world, increasing our separation from Nature, one another and ourselves, reaching an extreme condition which can now only herald a profound transformative shift back to an integrative consciousness that is our only hope of restoring balance, harmony and love to our damaged world.
Eisenstein’s vision takes us beyond conventional concepts of ‘optimism’ and ‘pessimism’; he is unflinching in acknowledging the comprehensive breakdown of the present world order, and the fact that the transition to a different order may involve tremendous destruction. But he argues cogently and convincingly that this transition is nevertheless inevitable, and that efforts to construct a society and an economy based on cooperation, compassion, connection to nature and an appreciation of the importance of beauty are vitally important and cannot be neutralised by the continuing efforts of the old order to reassert its exclusive dominance.
In ‘Sacred Economics’, he develops the implications of this new paradigm in the economic sphere, setting out practical proposals for a revolutionary transformation of economic relations that will restore ancient values of gift and economic justice that have been annihilated by the prevailing Darwinian economic paradigm.
His current work, to be outlined in his forthcoming book on ‘The More Beautiful World Our Hearts Know Is Possible’, travels further into the territory of ‘How do we make this real?’ by exploring the possibility that small acts of courage, kindness and self-trust, grounded in an inclusive sense of Self as connected to all others (Thich Nhat Hanh’s concept of Interbeing), can have undreamed of transformative power. Eisenstein is on a mission to set out a blueprint for how we can actually turn around the ‘Ship of Fools’ that is currently headed towards to icebergs of climate change, economic and social collapse and spiritual emptiness and turn it towards the creation of a truly beautiful world – read him!
STOP PRESS – CHARLES EISENSTEIN IN YORK AND LEEDS
Charles Eisenstein has agreed to deliver a Schumacher Lecture in York on Friday November 22nd, and a day workshop on The More Beautiful World Our Hearts Know Is Possible on Saturday November 23rd. Full details soon!
Click the link below to hear a previously unpublished talk by Charles Eisenstein: