Social transformation

I’m back to the blog after spending the entire month of March researching, rethinking and revising Chapter 8 of Turning Signs (and welcoming the spring of 2021). The chapter isn’t completely done yet, but in the meantime i want to share this excerpt from Free, Fair, and Alive (pp. 204-205), a book on Commoning by David Bollier and Silke Helfrich (New Society Publishers, 2019):

Geographer Dina Hestad of the University of Oxford has studied what characteristics must be present for actions and strategies to be socially transformative. She has provisionally identified the following criteria:

  • Work towards a vision which reflects the need to live in balance with the carrying capacity of the earth
  • Consider that change in a complex system cannot be controlled due to uncertainty
  • Avoid displacing problems to other locations or times, which could prevent wider system change
  • Tackle the root causes of acceleration and growth — the feedback loops that cause most of today’s ecological and social crises
  • Work towards systems that avoid unchecked imbalances of power and help avoid triggering humans’ (destructive) ancient tribal circuits
  • Promote understanding that humans are part of a much larger whole, and create possibilities for resonance and meaningful, affective relationships between people and nature
  • Develop healthy human agency at individual and collective levels for transforming and co-creating our future
  • Open up new possibilities for acting rather than shrinking our opportunities to act
  • Communicate a compelling and inspiring story of system change that names the problems and identifies commensurate leverage points and resonates with people from all walks of life and across ideologies
  • Promote social cohesion and a sense of togetherness at different levels, which includes trust, a sense of belonging, and a willingness to participate and help
  • Promote critical thinking, generosity of spirit, and openness to learn from diverse ideas and perspectives

Commoning has a rich potential to meet all of these criteria. Of course, implementation is critical! That is to say, strengthening and expanding commoning from within a market/state polity will be really difficult. But it is entirely feasible.

True love

He who sees all beings in the Self, and the Self in all beings, hates none and fears nothing.

Isha Upanishad (Mascaró/Prabhavananda)

You shall love your neighbor as yourself.

Matthew 19:19 (RSV)

Love the world as your own self; then you can truly care for all things.

Tao Te Ching 13 (Feng/English)

Eternity is in love with the productions of time.

— Blake, The Marriage of Heaven and Hell

He who wants to do good knocks at the gate; he who loves finds the gate open.

— Tagore, Stray Birds

Unless our love is made of understanding, it is not true love.

— Thich Nhat Hanh (1998, 83)

Let every one speak the truth with his neighbor, for we are members one of another.

Ephesians 4:25 (RSV)

Perfect signature

Forget this moment and grow into the next. That is the only way.… So the point on each moment is to forget the point and extend your practice.

— S. Suzuki (2002, 18)

So why, pray, sign anything as long as every word, letter, penstroke, paperspace is a perfect signature of its own?

Leave the letter that never begins to go, find the latter that ever comes to end, written in smoke and blurred by mist and signed of solitude, sealed at night.

The Restored Finnegans Wake, 260

— Dream. On a nonday I sleep. I dreamt of a somday. On a wonday I shall wake.

The Restored Finnegans Wake, 373

— As you sing it it’s a study. That letter selfpenned to one’s other, that neverperfect everplanned!
— This nonday diary, this allnights newseryreel.

The Restored Finnegans Wake, 380

Ring the bells that still can ring.
Forget your perfect offering.
There is a crack          a crack          in everything.
That’s how the light gets in.

— Leonard Cohen, ‘Anthem’