“How do we believe in the way we live if it doesn’t seem to be working? Here’s a theory: Maybe we could stop pretending that we know how to fix it. I know for me, that might bring some peace of mind.”
— Ian Brown, feature writer at The Globe and Mail
If anyone claims to be able to solve society’s most pressing problems, run the other way. Those solutions have no solution. Healthy societies will exist, in the future, if and when they’re co-created by everyone working together — and that’s much more interesting.
Why is the world falling apart? Because our ways of life are no longer appropriate to the needs of the times. We’re not the first to observe that the very foundations of our society are simply outdated and decaying. Like everything that lives, they are born, they live, they die. And in the long life of a civilization, the foundations are periodically renewed. When that renewal stalls, there is a fight to uphold the failing structures and norms, even while they crumble. In our time, this looks like violence to end violence; extremism to end extremism; capitalism to rein in capitalism. We bake in the problems to our “solutions” because we actually don’t know anything else. Most leaders are mindless, unthinking puppets obeying their impulses, not their moral imaginations.
The salient and sobering fact is: humanity is up against a threshold that it must cross but is unwilling to cross. And therein lies, methinks, the central challenge of our time.
So what’s the answer? No “answer” — but there is a path. The path is: become a creative force. Because renewal and change, everything positive now and in the future, will come from the creative efforts of outstanding individuals. People who make it their first priority and life’s work to become a force of nature and act in service to humanity and the earth. Nothing less.
The path begins with this idea: society is co-created. This is a concept: first, we need to learn and orient. Later, we’ll become active.
Next, we locate the source of creativity: it is within. So, society is co-created from within. It’s just that most of the time, we do it unconsciously, like robots repeating a program. But theoretically, we could co-create different society. This is a second concept.
Third, we locate the source of our own creativity, and we work like hell to purify, ripen, grow, strengthen, and intensify it. Here’s where we become increasingly active. This is not a concept; this is an activity. And it’s is a huge step. It is very difficult. One would rather be given a gift — but in that case, one is just another puppet. Real leadership, the kind of leadership we need in our time, leadership with a head on its shoulders, has to be grown from within. So, the third step goes inward.
The fourth step and the next level of activity is to develop and work with what we find when we go inward. This work has two aspects: the transformation of the worst in ourselves and the strengthening of the best in ourselves. As simplistic as this sounds, there is a “first person science” that can be inwardly, intensively cultivated — until we get to the point of seeing, objectively even though it’s within us, the clear distinction between the very different modalities of inner freedom and inner compulsion or habit. With inner freedom comes creativity; with inner compulsion and habit comes routine and repetition.
The last step and the activity from this point forward is to apply this capacity for inner freedom and creativity to everything in life. Application differs in every context, of course. Different people have different circles, different spheres of influence. But everything, everything can become a creative act as we are increasingly aware, practicing, present, and inwardly capable.
YOU. Awake, alive, here, working, living, figuring it out. Be fearless and shining, selfless and relentless, well honed, creative and loving.
Work on yourself so that you can make things right to the best of your ability. Become a creative force in a darkening time!