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Future Proof Kilkenny

At the end of our Transition Town meeting on 3rd October we finished with a reading of extracts from Joanna Macy’s book “Coming Back To Life”. Many were inspired by her insights and have asked for the text to be posted here.

The Work that Connects Us by Joanna Macy

In the Great Turning to a sustainable civilization, we become aware of how thoroughly we of the Industrial Growth Society have set ourselves apart from the natural world. With our snowballing technologies, with our race for money and the goods we’ve learned to crave, we have forgotten what the ancients knew. That we are earth of this earth, bone of its bone. We seem to think that we could survive without the soil, the trees and waters, the intricate web of life. This delusion is reflected in the very term ‘environment’: the word suggests a backdrop to our lives – rather than the stuff of our very bodies, igniting every sensation and perception, renewing us with every breath.

We act as if we can know and control the world from the outside, as if we are separate from it. We think of ourselves as made of better stuff than the animals and plants and rocks and water around us. Our technologies of the last century have amplified disastrously the ecological effects of this assumption.

No one is immune to doubt, denial or disbelief about the severity of our present situation. Yet of all the dangers we face none is so great as the deadening of our response. This numbing of mind and heart is already upon us – in the diversions we create for ourselves as individuals and nations, in the fights we pick, the aims we pursue and the stuff we buy. So let us look at it. Let us see what this deadening is and honor our pain for the world. Then, reconnected with earth and community, we will be able to take part in the great turning. We will choose to take part in the healing of our world.

You can also watch Joanna Macy talk about eco-spirituality here.

You can find out more about Joanna Macy’s books and workshops here.

One Comment to “Joanna Macy’s “The Work That Reconnects””

  1. on 23 Oct 2008 at 6:34 pmpat fleming

    Making Space for the Process of Deep Dialogue –leading from the Future as it Emerges
    The core area of changing the culture or turning it away from its current trajectory of ‘business as usual’ is ultimately the real challenge of Transition. And it’s not just a government vested interest thing that has to tackled ,we the public [the main body of the bell curve] in many ways drive the agenda. I am really fascinated with the backlash to the recent Budget -first it’s the older folks gathering in great numbers, followed by the students, next will be the teachers, farmers, builders,small business people,parents, tax payers,mortgage holders, etc etc all fanned up by the media. We will eventually get back to the sub-classification of human beings!!

    I am no apologist for governments,corporate culture etc but when we have someone to blame we fail to take responsibility ,we have passed our power over to these people and we are once again waiting on them to fix it! .

    “They must find it difficult

    Those who have taken authority

    as the truth,

    rather than truth as the authority.”

    All of which is part of ‘ old cultural thinking’ which is clearly beginning to dissolve. All of us have been part of this process, to a greater or lesser degree. The mess were in is part of the culture that we are embedded in and the difficulty is that it is the very lens in which we have been acculturated to see the world,it is our very own thinking,and you can only see this when you have moved on or pulled yourself up to see it from the next stage in the ongoing spiral of cultural value development.

    Integral Philosophy/Thinking rightly points to the fact that all the problems of humanity can be solved by the raising of consciousness. Einsteins now much quoted ” problems cannot be solved by the same consciousness [thinking] from which they were created” is warning us of this.

    This is where the real work is for Transition, changing or evolving our consciousness, our thinking, our acculturation through the birth of new values of Truth,Beauty and Goodness, and through seeing that the current life conditions no longer serve us.

    And that’s why the power of story and dialogue will be so important to this process.It is here that we come together in the shared space of listening ,learning to connect and think from the whole .It is a practice of leading from the future as it emerges.
    Pat Fleming
    Process Facilitator & Integral Mentor
    & Clonmel Transition Town Initiative

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