The New Story

The Transition To

Radical Interdependence

Unfolding The World’s Story Through A New Mindfulness
Seven Paths Towards A Shared Moral Imagination

A growing proportion of the population is ready for a leap forward to a new harmonious way of being that supports us all in creating ‘Right Relationship’ with each other and with the world. The basis of this New Harmony is a deep conviction that there is more that unites us than divides us.

Integrity in our institutions will only follow a renewal of awareness of the values that underpin Civil Society which requires a new level of personal accountability of us all.

Our hope is that the many generalized calls for change that are currently taking place both in the UK and elsewhere, might become more focused through a clarification of the values of the new paradigm, of which we offer one version here.

We argue that Radical Interdependence is the organising principle for both a sustainable world and for Civil Society and that these are no longer congruent with the existing unconscious materialist philosophies of either liberalism or conservatism. Neither ‘Freedom from’ nor ‘Freedom to’ are sufficient in the 21st century. The third freedom – ‘Freedom Not To’ – or ‘the Gift of Self Restraint’, is essential to protect all our freedoms. The clarification and application of holistic values that re-connect thought and action, which have been separated from feelings, the feminine and Spirit, is a significant task in nurturing the transition to Radical Interdependence.

To be the change we want to see in the world requires a new level of individual and collective ethical imagination and societal awareness that involves taking personal responsibility, nurturing conscience and integrity as well as developing compassion for others.

We discuss the importance of values in diverse sectors and offer seven paths or domains out of which values for creating a shared moral compass can arise that potentially lead towards Interdependence, Civil Society and a new maturity for being human in the 21st century – a century which will likely bring some of the greatest challenges we have ever faced as a species.

PROLOGUE – PERHAPS THE MOST IMPORTANT CHOICE WE HAVE

Secular liberal democracies have lost touch with inner values and outer value because they have allowed a “warrior” form of capitalism to undermine the Feminine principle of Civil Society through what has been described both as unsustainable indulgent consumerism and counter productive dog-eat-dog competition(i).

In considering the above statement, our starting point is an important but little recognized moment in the history of the United States that took place during the drafting of the American Declaration of Independence. The significant influence of Native American culture on the American Declaration of Independence is not widely known in the UK. Less so the fact that the founding fathers could not take on board the Iroquois principle that only those elders who had borne children, and therefore understood the value of life at a visceral level, namely the Grandmothers, should form the ruling upper house of governance which appointed the Chiefs – as was the case with the Iroquois Federation of Nations.

The reason why this visionary principle of the Iroquois, of having the Grandmothers appoint their leaders was significant, was that it enabled the integrative social gesture of both the mother and the father (which is concerned with the well being of the children and the whole tribe) rather than that of the autonomous, self-interested warrior, to have sway in decision making that affected everyone.

Despite the idealism of the founding fathers – who were of course all European, by their leaving the Grandmothers out of the US Constitution and therefore excluding the mediating influence of the feminine over their warriors, the Declaration of Independence was subsequently unable to sustain its uplifting integrative vision and was later used by diverse warrior elements in the U.S.A. to justify a voracious, mercenary, “warrior” style of capitalism and a culture of separatist, individualist autonomy that has infected a globalized, technological world.(ii)

This has resulted in a socio-pathic global economic system based upon warrior values in which conquest, selfishness and avarice are enshrined as normal and ‘strong’ whilst moral imagination is seen as ‘weak’ and superfluous to the bottom line

In his book ” Engaging the Powers: Discernment and Resistance in a World of Domination”, the radical  philosopher Walter Wink suggests that every new increment of violence simply extends the domination system and deepens a mistaken faith in self interested violence as a redemptive force. Violence however can take many forms not just physical force and this is especially true in the economic realm. As John Ralston Saul has suggested,”Unregulated competition is simply a naive metaphor for anarchy”. If our social values allow nature and markets to remain totally unprotected,  if they are seen as ‘free” for exploitation and conquest, then the most powerful warrior capitalists will continue to have sway and continue to argue that this constitutes “freedom” irrespective of the consequences for nature, children or the world .

Such unconscious values of warrior mentality that feed unregulated competition, whether within corporate boardrooms or in the media, come from the same gesture in the world as the separatist urge for conquest in the military and political arena. In other words for the warrior, war is the normal state of affairs between people, the strongest wins and the weakest go to the wall. Such attitudes, which are seen in the capitalist world as ‘normal’ economic behaviour, in our view can legitimately be designated as fundamentalist whether they are American or Islamicist warrior attitudes. Neither clearly distinguish between the warrior and the Knight archetypes and frequently, like a wolf in sheep’s clothing, the warrior attempts to camouflage and colonize the Knight archetype for his own ends.

Consequently the real battle of the 21st century is not between Western and Islamic cultural values but within each of them, and within each of us, between the values of the warrior and the values of the Knight.

The mentality of the warrior archetype pits us not only against nature but against each other. Ultimately the warrior archetype has to use power or force and not surprisingly he is tempted to worship and create an idolatry of the means of power – whether this is the glorification of weapons, money, charismatic leaders or whatever form of force serves conquest. In searching for justification of the use of force the warrior mentality will always attempt to colonize the archetype of the Knight whose motivation is always Love but not always rescuing. The Knight archetype is present in many traditions not only Christian, Islamic and Sufi. In the Buddhist and Jewish traditions the Knight archetype is represented by the Bhodisatva and the Mensch  –  on our page about inner Values we discuss the Knight archetype within other cultural and faith traditions.

Whatever form we choose to culturally characterize the Knight archetype, essentially the choice between the warrior and the Knight comes down to a choice between power or Love.

If it is not mediated through Love, power will always seduce or control, whatever form it is allowed to take.  The implication of Rudolf Steiner’s esoteric version of Christian philosophy is that one does not literally have to be a Christian to be committed to the Christ gesture in the world i.e. to the gesture of Love. However to be unconscious of the difference between power and Love allows power a hold on the world – in Walter Wink’s words to support the system of domination.

Our essential task is to develop a moral imagination that is part of an evolution of human consciousness that can develop a personal and communitarian culture of Love. Within a Christian iconography this is about putting the child and the mother at the centre of our decision making.

Mac Macartney has asked,

“What kind of society puts it’s children at the heart of all decisions?” – Surely one answer is a society based on love not power and that recognizes the extraordinary gift and responsibility of being human.

What this really means can be made clear by asking the obverse of the same question. “What kind of society does NOT put it’s children at the heart of it’s decisions?” One answer is a society that puts power before Love, money before value, profits before nature, technology before humans, weapons before bread, sex before love, and indulgence and entertainment before human responsibilities.

In this context the question is, what constitutes freedom and what constitutes legitimate authority?

The significant distinction is that the Knight archetype aims to become an exemplar of the truly human and contains the integrative and supportive gesture of both the mother and the father – which importantly is not gender limited – and can also be interpreted in terms of faith and Spirit or in secular terms. The archetype of the Knight also allows the inauthentic masculine ( an immature form of the masculine as warrior) to transform to become the authentic mature masculine that serves the feminine and the whole Human Family – including Nature and Spirit.  Until we transform warrior capitalist culture into a culture of Chivalry little will change. Interdependence can only exist in a culture in which the predominant social gesture is parental, holistic and integrative rather than teenage, materialist and separatist.

The dark shadow of Chivalry is the warrior – whether economic or military – and its transformation within each of us individually to the archetype of the Knight is an evolution of consciousness and moral development that is required to create a sustainable world.

( For more on Chivalry click on the Culture page of this website or click the link titled Spiritual Chivalry on the right of this page)

SUMMARY

A new perspective is arising for new forms of society, culture, economy and politics. Science can tell us how things work but not what they mean. As we become more and more aware of ecological processes, we see the interconnectedness of all things and all beings and this ecological awareness gives new meaning to our thinking, connecting us with perennial wisdom of different forms of trans-denominational spirituality.

As an organizing principle of Civil Society that holds a place for both the sacred and the secular, Interdependence is both the process and the purpose of this new perspective

Although existing institutions are not aligned with this new perspective, at this time, the veils that have covered over the shortcomings of warrior capitalism have been lifting. This has exposed the self-interest of the corporate, elite and professional classes whose actions and lack of commitment to moral values continue in many ways to put the eco-sphere and humanity in danger. Moral legitimacy has been lost and many citizens no longer feel represented through our limited form of Parliamentary Democracy which is unrepresentative of all aspects of society (let alone the World – as is the case with creative, inclusive democratic cultures such as those of the Iroquois and other Native American peoples).

We argue that the concept of the Commons is paramount for Interdependence to flourish environmentally, economically, socially, culturally and politically.(iii)

This requires a renaissance of congruent moral values based upon personal responsibility, honour, integrity, mutuality and social justice.

Without a clear understanding of the Commons, any calls for a more moral form of capitalism are merely an empty wish. It is not more charity ( or crumbs of corporate responsibility) that will create the necessary re-balancing that is called for, but a practical implementation of the new paradigm based upon Interdependence. This requires a renaissance of congruent moral values . It requires a personal and collective commitment to a moral imagination through a covenant between those who are in positions of power and the rest of us, which is built upon an integrative gesture imbued with such values. Such a covenant will largely redefine the grounds upon which power is wielded and by whom. This will likely require the reinvention of traditionalism within a contemporary, radical framework. Without such a re-orientation, both liberalism and conservatism will continue to remain dead ends in terms of the evolution of conscious and sustainable social and economic systems.

The unconscious, contemporary political philosophies of liberalism and conservatism both undervalue and evade the individual mindfulness and moral responsibility necessitated by the gift of self-restraint which is essential to maintaining individual freedoms and common wealth capital

Their out-dated commitment on the one hand to a fundamentalist, individualist interpretation of freedom and on the other to a warrior form of capitalism undermines the well being of millions around the world, the biosphere and ultimately the survival and destiny of humankind. Ironically, liberalism continues to see itself as a progressive and liberating force whilst it supports a culture of secular, individualist separatism which combines with neo-conservatism to promote warrior capitalist values of “freedom” to exploit others and undermine the environmental, economic and cultural Commons. Such liberalist or conservatist rationalisations reflect an individualistic, survivalist strategy that has long since outlived its usefulness in the context of complex social and economic systems.

To re-create legitimate authority, which has been lost in western societies, Interdependence requires a new form of economic democracy and politics underpinned by clear inner values.

We discuss seven paths towards a shared moral compass within which the values of both the Authentic Feminine and Authentic Masculine are particularly significant.

We argue that whilst it may be simplistic, the most appropriate and universally understood metaphor for society is that of a family – which requires both a maternal and paternal concern for the well being of the whole.

At an archetypal level, the Feminine principle of Civil Society needs to overcome the Warrior or Inauthentic Masculine whose protection –  whether in the guise of the mafia, war mongering governments, theocracies, corporations, self serving professions, exploitative business, passive profit maximizing shareholders, financial speculators, hedge investment funds or bankers – comes at a price the world and humanity can no longer afford.

This presents a leadership challenge for the Feminine. Rather than being coerced or seduced by the Warrior archetype (whose values, are above all about individualist or tribalist conquest) the Feminine principle of Civil Society needs to ally herself with the energy of the Father or Authentic Masculine.

At this time, at an individual level, we need the input and leadership of women who are committed to the Authentic Feminine rather than becoming more like men and competing to become yet more warrior professionals or warrior capitalists eager to tell us that ‘reality’ and morality are incompatible. To suggest that commerce and business do not need to be synonymous with amoral gravy trains at the expense of the common good is not an idealist attack on either business or commerce but an authorative maternal requirement for congruence that is desperately needed. No wonder the conservative party is terrified of the Nanny state.

Of the three archetypal social gestures of the Mother, the Warrior and the Father, although the latter is the weakest, the energy of the Father ( the Authentic Masculine) is essential – in the service of the Feminine (Spirit or higher purpose) – to achieve a compassionate, balanced and sustainable society. Without it liberalism can only attain teenage oppositional rebellion or indulgence and conservatism can only achieve self-serving warrior patriarchy. At an individual level, this presents an inner challenge for men to embody the masculine and to contain the warrior within themselves until called upon to serve the Feminine principle of Civil Society. At the same time they need to draw out a gesture in the world of Interdependence that connects them with their heart and their Authentic Masculine.

Interdependence is central to the new holistic paradigm that is emerging. It represents a re-balancing so that love, imagination, empathy, compassion and hope can have a central place in political economy and human progress once again. Interdependence is both the process and the purpose of the new paradigm.

Interdependence is the necessary foundation for both a new traditionalism and a new radicalism based upon inner values of personal honour and individual responsibility. This new paradigm is nothing less than a narrative of higher purpose for humanity and the Universe that requires individual congruence through an opening of our hearts and minds so that value and values which have been separated from reality, feelings, the Feminine and Spirit can be re-connected in the spheres of economic, political and cultural democracy.

Interdependence thus redefines and re-integrates the philosophical and political gestures of liberalism and conservatism by reconciling individual and collective purpose within a shared moral compass. It is only by consciously clarifying and applying holistic values in everyday contexts that we can create a practical moral imagination that aligns ourselves with ‘The New Paradigm’. The perspective of Interdependence enables us to avoid reactive, self-righteous, separatist or oppositional positions and actions that unintentionally or otherwise serve the warrior interests of those who continue to protect their economic and political advantages in the face of demands around the world for much needed change..

To create a context and a consensus around inner values that is neither exclusive nor self-righteous is a significant challenge to the green movement and is fundamental to any social or political leadership that can engage the majority to commit to sustainability.

Interdependence is central to the new holistic paradigm that is emerging. It is the common ground in which values of personal integrity, honour and individual responsibility can flourish in a way that is consistent with spirituality, traditional faith and secular humanism.

We propose discussion of seven paths or domains out of which values for creating a shared moral compass can arise that potentially lead towards Interdependence.

1. Our Shared Inheritance – Being Human, Earth, Nature & The Commons

2. Our Shared Creation – Holistic Scientific & Cultural Perspectives

3. Our Interconnectedness – The Cosmology and Democratic Cultures of Indigenous Peoples

4. Our Inner Values – Inclusive, Trans-Denominational Spirituality, Faith and Mindfulness Perspectives

5. Values that Nourish Life – The Re-Empowerment of The Feminine and Mothering

6. Values that Protect and Nurture Life – The Supportive Family and the Significance of the Constant Father

7. Values of Sharing Life – The Development of Shared Value through Economic Democracy, the Gift Economy & Common Wealth Capital

OVERVIEW FOR A NEW HARMONY

A number of writers seem to have their finger on the pulse of the transformation which is to come. In his book “Cosmos and Psyche”, the philosopher and cultural historian Richard Tarnas (i) has suggested that western civilization is characterized by a ‘heroic ascent to autonomy coupled with a tragic fall from unity. The problem is that the success of modernity and progress has undermined the inter-connectedness of Nature, Humanity and Spirit to a degree that threatens our survival. He suggests that these contrary trajectories have been unfolding in an evolutionary drama for thousands of years, and now appear to be reaching a critical moment of transformation in our own and our children’s lifetimes.

He argues that:

The urgent contemporary project of our time is to be able to see both of these gestures of autonomy and unity simultaneously and thereby find some way to integrate, reconcile and heal the western mind’s separation from oneness and from nature, which has resulted in a de-sacralization of the world.

In a similar vein, in his recent book, ‘Harmony, A Vision for Our Future’ (ii), H.R.H. The Prince of Wales suggests that the fundamental problems of our modern world, such as the environmental, financial and other crises, are the consequence of a failure of perception: that our inability to recognise and honour our interconnectedness with each other and with Nature stems from an inner spiritual crisis. “It is the way we see the world that is ultimately at fault. If we simply concentrate on fixing the outward problems, without paying attention to the central inner problem, then the deeper problem remains.”

In his recent essay “Enlivenment” Andreas Webber argues that that “the biggest obstacle to vexing questions of sustainability … is the fact that science, society and politics have for the last 200 years lost their interest in understanding actual, lived and felt human existence… one could say that rational thinking is an ideology that focuses on dead matter. Its premises have no way of comprehending the reality of lived experience.”

Rudolf Steiner suggests there are three forces in the world that impact on lived and felt human experience –  Power, Intelligence and Love. Without a clear inner moral compass we are unable to align Power and Intelligence with Love through thinking or will. Truth, goodness and beauty cannot arise merely from clarity of thought and actions –  they require intention and openness, a willingness to be present in some way to the ineffable or unknown. Put another way, unless we are clear about our inner values, attempts to solve our outer problems which are not connected to our deepest values and therefore in someway to what we might call Spirit, will be pragmatic, piecemeal and in the end become part of the problem rather than the solution. Such ideas are perhaps less difficult to take on board for those who have a relationship with Faith or trans-denominational Spirituality. For those who come from a humanist secular tradition and might be fearful of such expressions , this does not require more of us than a true sincerity and willingness to be open, reflective, quiet and mindful so that inspiration, intuition and feeling can support our ‘rational’ responses.

In the not too distant future every continent will reach the unsustainable level of modernity of the West. So the most pressing outer problem we face today is surely the inexorable approach of a tipping point towards a disastrous environmental future in terms of biodiversity, climate change and depletion of natural resources which if not reversed is likely to result in our own extinction. It is stating the obvious to suggest that there is no one solution to such issues because there is not one problem, but this is probably also true within each of them. So even where we might have the technological capability to deal with some of these problems, creating the political will to tackle multiple factor environmental change is itself a complex challenge.

Although perhaps not enough is written and debated in the media about the outer actions required to create a sustainable world, even less is debated about the moral imagination that is needed to achieve it.

Like His Royal Highness, we suggest that an empirical approach that is not underpinned by a shared and explicit moral compass will be ineffective and unable to deliver a sustainable and fair society.

No matter how it might be framed, a transition towards Interdependence with each other and with Nature will surely need an inner dimension of some kind to succeed.

A Political Economy of Love

 

Click on the book image for Free download of  the full text of “An Overview of the New Paradigm”

( The first chapter of our forthcoming publication “Radical Interdependence : A Political Economy of Love “

Saul J. Annenberg & J.P.Malkin

© New Harmony www.newharmony.org.uk 2012

 

Notes
(i) Noreena Hertz – Cooperative Capitalism

(ii) Some people take issue with our use of the warrior archetype in a negative individualistic sense. Whilst the warrior archetype is indeed necessary and even helpful at times, particularly in engaging with deep challenges, our view is that western culture confuses the Warrior with the Knight archetype which seeks to be to be an exemplar of the truly human. (To  see more about this please visit the page headed Culture on this website by clicking here)  By definition the warrior archetype is about developing and using power for winning through competition – what we would call “the Idol of Winning “and is open to seducing himself and being seduced by the means of production – by the means of of winning and conquest. “What is needed today is not heroic conquest but reverand embrace”. To serve the highest motives requires the input of something different from the warrior alone, namely a different archetype associated with cooperation, mutuality and ultimately the well being of the whole human family. Warrior capitalism has none of these positive motives.

(iii) Robert Hamilton, in his book ‘Earthdream: The Marriage of Reason and Intuition’ refers to Douglas Hofstadter’s view of “the Commons” – originally described conceptually through the example of an area of common land which loses its real value if allowed to be over grazed by sheep or goats belonging to a group of herdsmen. The concept has since been extended to refer to any example or area of shared value or common wealth not regulated or owned by government or the corporate sector – environmental, social, economic or cultural.

to next page
The material on this website is the result of conversations with many people who are longing for change and is a response to the various recent financial and other crises that undermine the legitimacy of our political, religious, business and financial institutions.