Eisenstein’s grounded hope, great mind, big heart, and gritty vision all conspire to inspire.
Below are 20 ideas I was particularly struck by from his Oakland remarks. If these quotes speak to you, follow the links in the endnotes for abundant ideas and inspiration.
1. We are witnessing the death process of the story that has been part of humanity for thousands of years… the story of separation.
2. Racism, sexism, ecocide are all the fruits of a world view rooted in domination. The ideological core of our society is hollowing out. We don’t believe the old story any more.
3. In the space between stories, our own understanding of causality has become suspect. How do we navigate in such a moment?
4. People chase after connection through greed, through acquiring things. But this doesn’t take the place of true connection.
5. Synchronicities tend to come at times when we are most at a loss.
6. Rupert Sheldrake’s theory of morphic resonance suggests that a change in one place makes other change more possible. It contributes to a shift in the field of change.
A questioner asks Charles how to deal with the strong sense of urgency that she feels, coupled with impatience at the lost opportunities that pile up day after day as the signs of climate disruption mount. She struggles to balance this alongside the assertion, “Everything is fundamentally okay.” Charles replies:
7. The perception that things have gone terribly wrong and there is tremendous urgency is part of the overall “everything is okay”-ness. It’s part of authentically meeting the moment that we find ourselves in.
8. A Mali elder said, “Urgency is not something that we have here.” It’s not about “making the most of scarce time.” There’s some other state of being that we are looking for.
9. What happens when you start to notice that your urgent actions may actually be part of the problem? Urgent action can be an escape from the feeling, “We’ve got to do something,” when the truth of it may be, “Maybe you should just stop.”
10. To try to “destroy the bad guy” is not the solution. To blame bad guys diverts us from the real work: changing the story.
11. My well-being and your well-being are not separate.”How could I be happy if my friends are not happy?” We are interdependent, inter-existent. Assuming the preeminence of “maximizing self-interest” comes from a different perception.
12. The concept of “evil” was invented at the same time that “othering” came into play.
13. Once you let go of the conquest of nature and the conquest of others, so much becomes possible.
14. When we are fully in touch with how connected we are with the forest, why would we want to dominate and exploit it?
15. Sacred activism is working for change, coming from a place of love, soul, and connection. From the sea turtle activist to the restorative justice activist, we are all in service to the same being that wants to be born.
16. We need a new logic for the mind that no longer conflicts with the language of the heart…we need a logic of both heart and mind.
17. The water table of hope is being filled by many springs.
18. Practice seeing and hearing other people as “bringers of gifts.”
19. What music do we follow, in this territory without a map?
20. In the end, the music had always been there, but he had been moving too fast to hear it.
1. Check out Charles’ Eisenstein’s three inspiring and informative books: Sacred Economics, The Ascent of Humanity, and The More Beautiful World Our Hearts Know Is Possible.
2. I find much inspiration in Eisenstein’s ideas as food for the soul in a turbulent time of transition. Here are more quotes from his website and his 2013 Berkeley talk.
3. Additional information and resources can be found at his website.