Great Transition Stories: Visions of Promise
Humanity has entered a time of profound change. We are pushed by necessity and pulled by opportunity. The push is a growing systems crisis, evident in the breakdown of financial institutions, climate disruption, resource depletion, unsustainable populations, and more. These powerful Trends are presented here. The pull is the opportunity to rise to a new level of human maturity, partnership, and freedom. The combined push and pull at a global scale make this truly a time of profound turning and transformation for humanity. Many of the other names used to describe this time of Great Transition are explored here.
Collectively, we have been on a long journey of development, differentiation, and separation. We are now approaching an 'evolutionary wall' where we are running into ourselves and our choices for the long-term future. If we pull together in cooperation, we can build new relationships with one another and the Earth. The Great Transition diagram below depicts very simply the 'great turning' or transition required for the human journey.
It is vital that the human community come together and consciously co-create visions and stories of a sustainable and thriving relationship with the Earth and one another. Great Transition Stories is taking an important step in that direction by: 1) gathering leading-edge scholarship and wisdom that presents stories of great turning and transition and, 2) by making that wisdom available widely to educators, the general public, green businesses, storytellers, and more.
As an organization and community, our intention is to be of service to a world in transition; therefore, Great Transition Stories is an open-source collaboration. The text on this wiki is available via the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-ShareAlike License. See Project Copyrights for information regarding use of non-text media.
The stories we tell shape our view of ourselves and the path we take through this time of collective awakening and global turning. We have the ability to consciously choose narratives that offer realistic beacons of hope to guide our way through the Great Transition. The following stories are drawn from many sources--biology, psychology, cosmology, mythology, and more--and offer a wide menu to choose from in crafting guiding narratives, whether personal or organizational.
FEATURED STORIES OF GREAT TRANSITION
Clarity and coherence are priceless in our times of increasing breakdown and overwhelm. Although we are gathering a number of great transition stories, we will feature core narratives that are universally understandable and highly useful for navigating through these unprecedented times. In that spirit, here are narratives that offer deep insight into changes underway in our world.
WEAVING STORIES TOGETHER
These are not singular stories. They do not stand alone. Although these narratives derive from sources ranging from psychology and biology to cosmology and mythology, they share a common understanding of the universe as a living and evolving system in which we all participate. In turn, these transition stories weave together like strands in a rope. Woven together, their intricate intertwining creates a powerful narrative of possibility -- a Beacon of Hope that is based upon the integrity of deep narratives drawn from diverse sources.
By simply drawing together the titles of these stories of great transition, it reveals larger narratives. Here is just one of many possible ways of weaving these transition stories together into a promising narrative for the future.
- Since our awakening as hunter-gatherers roughly 45,000 years ago, we have been maturing and developing our various capacities. As an overall human community, we have reached our adolescence as a species and this is reflected in our unsustainable relationship with the Earth and one another. Increasingly, we recognize it is time to move into our early adulthood with a new relationship with the Earth, one another, and the universe.
- A global revolution in communications is supporting our global awakening. With the global Internet and communications revolution, the world is becoming transparent to itself and the collective consciousness of the species is coming alive. We are taking a leap forward in global communication and becoming co-creative and co-evolving participants in birthing humanity as an integrated and healthy organism.
- Our collective awakening is vital as we now face the supreme test as a species of overcoming our historical divisions and differences of gender, race, religion, ethnicity, and more. Only a profound fire of initiation will burn through these ancient divisions to create a new human alloy strong enough to take us into a future of cooperation.
- Essential to that heroic transformation will be a holistic economics that is truly concerned with the long-term stewardship of the entire Earth-human system in a way that preserves the integrity of life for future generations. Globalization will be balanced with intense localization focused on building sustainable and satisfying lives. New zoning allows people to collaborate in creating thriving eco-villages, pocket neighborhoods, and co-housing communities at the local scale that support the development of transition towns and green cities at the metropolitan scale and beyond.
- The foundation for this new economy and society will be the higher 'self-interest' of compassionate concern and trust in the power of love. In these difficult times, we will not choose love blindly as a human family; instead it will be our conscious choice to step beyond ruin and trust the power of love as a basis for co-creating the future. A core expression of the emerging compassion is the reconciliation and healing of the wounds between women and men and building sacred partnerships. As human attention shifts from an emphasis on ‘things’ to ‘relationships,’ a new culture and atmosphere of connectedness and community infuses the world. The scope of human identity is now of both global and local scale—a conscious regard for the well-being of the Earth is balanced by intense engagement with the local ecology of place where people live.
- To deepen our reverence for the Earth and regard for future generations, we draw insight and wisdom from Indigenous cultures from around the world and their communion with nature. Further, all of the world's wisdom traditions regard the universe as a unique, living system and this insight expands the human journey profoundly: We are learning to live in a living universe.
- These narratives describe such a deep change in the human journey that the process can be symbolized by the radical transformation of a caterpillar into a butterfly. After nearly going extinct roughly 72,000 years ago, humanity is encircling the Earth as a single, superorganism and we are now making pivotal choices that will forever impact the Earth's future.
- Importantly, humanity's choices for the future are being made in the context of a growing, popular appreciation of the non-dual wisdom which affirms that we all share and participate in a cosmic unity, recognized in both science and the world’s wisdom traditions, that is so deep that it transcends religious dogma and political differences. Overall, we are members of the same universe, Earth, and human ancestry on a similar journey of learning and discovery, expressed in many different ways.
SELECTED ARTICLES AND REPORTS
There is a growing literature focusing on the dynamics of our world in transition. Listed here are a few of the most important and insightful articles that we have found. Check back in regularly as this is an ever changing and expanding list.
- Mona Zhang, National Geographic's Aaron Huey on Digital Collaboration and Community Storytelling (August 2012)
- Kevin J. Coyle, JD & Lise Van Susteren, MD, The Psychological Effects of Global Warming (And Why the U.S. Mental Health Care System Is not Adequately Prepared) (March 2012)
- Co-Chairs of the Planet Under Pressure conference, Dr Lidia Brito and Dr Mark Stafford Smith, State of the Planet Declaration (March 2012)
- Joe Brewer, Toward the Global Transition — 2012 and Beyond (January 2012)
- Anthony C. Revkin, Disruption on the Path to Transformation (October 2011)
- Four Degrees Hotter (February, 2011)
- Gus Speth, American Prospect: Decline and Rebirth (July 2011)
- Paul Gilding, The Great Disruption Has Arrived (February 2011)
- Conditions for Survival (April, 2010)
- Anthony C. Revkin, Puberty on the Scale of a Planet (August 2009)
- Edmund Bourne, A World In Transition (2008)
- Global Trends 2025: The National Intelligence Council's 2025 Project (2008)
- Ervin Laszlo, WorldShift: The Quest for a Quantum Leap in Human Affairs (January 2008)
- Duncan Taylor and Graeme Taylor, The Collapse and Transformation of Our World (2007)
- Joanna Macy, The Great Turning as Compass and Lens (May 2006)
- Paul Raskin, et al., The Great Transition: The Promise and Lure of the Times Ahead (2002)
- Duane Elgin, Turning Tide Report (2001)
- Duane Elgin, Collective Consciousness and Cultural Healing (1997)
- Duane Elgin with Coleen LeDrew, Global Consciousness Change: Indicators of an Emerging Pardigm (1997)
- Duane Elgin, Limits to the Management of Large, Complex Systems (1977)
DEEPER LEARNING ABOUT TRANSITION STORIES
There are a number of ways to learn about – and learn how to use – these Great Transition Stories; including:
- Courses: We are exploring possible course offerings related to Great Transition stories and storytelling.
- Online Communities: This area is in development; however, one important community now emerging is on our Facebook Page.
- Study Groups: We are excited about the potential for study groups for exploring these stories, both face-to-face and online.
- Story Consulting: We are developing a network of Great Transition storytellers and facilitators to support people and organizations in their re-storying process.
- Core Assumptions: There are a number of core assumptions that underlie these stories of great transition.
STORIES IN DEVELOPMENT
Distilling and synthesizing these stories takes time and collaboration. If you would like to contribute to this open-source, co-creative process, please contact us.
- Global Citizens Arise
- A New Story of Business
- From Punitive to Unitive Justice
- Opening the Global Heart
- Awakening of the Sacred (and Cosmic) Feminine
- Inter-Faith Reconciliation & Awakening Consciousness
- Inter-Species Reconciliation and Renewal
- Collective Reconciliation with Future Generations
- Global Youth Waking Up
- The Emergence of Transpartisan Politics