Thursday, January 12, 2012

Competing Narratives: Empire and Earth Community

I was flipping through an old book and found the following passage is way to applicable not to share. I highly recommend this book, as it was instrumental in shaping my understanding of the crisis we are in, as well as the transformation in which I believe we are now taking part.

“The Great Turning: From Empire to Earth Community, ” by David Korten

Competing Narratives

Empire and Earth Community flow from sharply contrasting worldviews. The narrative of Empire, which emphasizes the demonstrated human capacity for hatred, exclusion, competition, domination, and violence in the pursuit of domination, assumes humans are incapable of responsible self-direction and that social order must be imposed by coercive means. The narrative of Earth Community, which emphasizes the demonstrated human capacity for caring, compassion, cooperation, partnership, and community in the service of life, assumes a capacity for responsible self-direction and self-organization and thereby the possibility of creating radically democratic organizations and societies. These narratives represent two sides of a psychic tension that resides within each of us. One focuses on that which divides us and leads to ear and often violent competition. The other focuses on that which unites us and leads to trust and cooperation.

These competing tendencies are expressed in the tension between the feminine predisposition to bond for mutual protection in the face of danger and the masculine predisposition to fight or take flight. Yet while one tendency or the other may be more fully expressed ina given individual or sociey, both reside in each of us -- male or female-- which helps to account for the wide variety of the human experience. Healthy social function depends on maintaining a balance between these tendencies. Empire’s five thousand years of male domination demonstrate the tragic consequences of imbalance.

The competing narratives are also reflected int he range of qualities attributed to God in different cultures. At one extreme is the wrathful God of Empire who demands exclusive loyalty, favors one people over another, lives apart from his creation, rules through anointed earthly representatives, and extracts a terrible vengeance on his enemies and the unbelievers. At the other extreme is the universal loving God/dess of Earth Community, the intrinsic, omnipresent living Spirit beyond gender that manifests itself in every aspect of Creation.

Love and fear are both integral to our human nature and necessary for our full development. Love is a binding spiritual force that opens our minds and hearts to life’s creative possibilities. Fear alerts us to real dangers and focuses our attention to ensure that we do not neglect our own survival needs. However, when fear awakens our defenses, it also evokes our capacity for violence, including violence against those we love. How we resolve the tension between love and fear has major consequences for the course of our lives - and our politics. The deep democracy of egalitarian civic engagement that is integral to Earth Community necessarily depends on a mature sense of mutual trust, responsibility and caring.