I heard Charles Eisenstein speak in Autumn 2013 in Berkeley, California. Eisenstein is a speaker-author-philosopher with many interesting things to say about the world that is coming our way. Here are quotes that particularly struck me in the course of this extraordinarily thought-provoking evening.
“We are in the middle of a transition of story. Our core story is no longer what it used to be.” (1)
“We sense that ‘normal’ isn’t coming back, that we are being born into a new normal: a new kind of society, a new relationship to the earth, a new experience of being human.” (5)
“The world is on fire! Why am I sitting in front of my computer? It is because I don’t have a fire extinguisher for the world, and there isn’t a global 911 to call.” (3)
“The present convergence of crises––in money, energy, education, health, water, soil, climate, politics, the environment, and more––is a birth crisis, expelling us from the old world into a new.” (5)
“We are all here to contribute our gifts toward something greater than ourselves, and will never be content unless we are.” (4)
“We all walk around in muted protest of the pervasive feeling of wrongness that fills too many of our waking moments… We need to consider deeply our crisis of separation, our loss of authenticity, our disconnection from many of our capacities as human beings.” (2)
“Deeply effective activism works at the level of story. In the long term, effective activism happens through changing the story.” (1)
“The New Story is actually the ancient story. The New Story is the story of reunion and inter-being. You are not separate. Who you are is a nexus of relationships, and actions of love counter the story of separation.” (1)
“There are tons of solutions out there for every single problem that we face. They aren’t actually that hard to implement theoretically. It is just a matter of our inertia of our perceptions and our habits, our ways of being and how do those change? Personally I don’t usually change anything in my life until there is some kind of crisis or disaster. It is actually not that I made any superhuman efforts to change. It is that I clung on to normal as long as I could until various events made that impossible. I think on a collective level we are going through that.” (4)
“I think that our capacities are kind of dormant right now, but when a crisis hits we will become capable. All the things that are politically impossible today, if we really turn our minds to it we could achieve them very quickly.” (4)
“All the technical solutions for living sustainably and harmoniously exist already, and indeed always have existed. What is required is a shift in consciousness, a re-conception of ourselves as individuals and as a species that will reverse the widening separation and deepening misery of the past millennia.” (4)
“My optimism is based on knowing that the definition of ‘practical’ and ‘possible’ will soon change as we collectively hit bottom. … Solutions that appear hopelessly radical today will become matters of common sense.” (4)
“Fundamentally, it is the story you are carrying, not the circumstances, that really dictate our experience of the time.” (4)
“Our true nature as connected beings … is really what mystics and spiritual teachers have been telling us for thousands of years: … as you do unto others, so you are doing unto yourself. You could say that the expansion of Self to include others is almost a definition of love. I think that any way that we can align ourselves with that truth will help us in the transition and help society through the transition too.” (4)
“Anything that we do that increases the amount of love in the world, makes the story of separation less compelling and eases the transition for the entire civilization. That is not to say that political action and various kinds of activism aren’t necessary too. What I am saying is that even these small, personal acts are also political acts. They are part of this transition into the connected Self and a civilization built on that Self.” (4)
“It is my purpose, dear reader, to give voice to your indignation and to reaffirm your intuitive knowledge that life is meant to be more.” (4)
“How beautiful can life be? We hardly dare imagine it.” (4)
To read more of Eisenstein, see his website and his three inspiring and informative books: Sacred Economics, The Ascent of Humanity, and The More Beautiful World our Hearts Know Is Possible.
1. From Charles Eisenstein’s talk at the Berkeley Ecology Center, 10/23/13.
2. From Charles Eisenstein, The Ascent of Humanity.
3. From Charles Eisenstein, The More Beautiful World Our Hearts Know Is Possible.
4. From a Charles Eisenstein interview, “It’s Time for A Better Narrative”, with Adam Taggart, 2/10/12.
5. From Charles Eisenstein, Sacred Economics.
6. Click here for more Eisenstein quotes from a June 2015 talk in Oakland.