personal reflections

Giving Up on Changing the World

Tonight I read Marianne Knuth’s recent post “Reflections on our participation in a world gone wrong”. Having just heard Rob Stewart share his message about the impact humans are having on the planet (hint = not good) and then watching his documentary Sharkwater this weekend, this topic of our participation in a world gone wrong is circling in my mind.

Says Marianne:

So this is my question – what can we do? We are probably millions of us, perhaps even billions who want a different reality, who have begun to take the steps towards it in our respective locales, who often have found the need to unplug to varying degrees from the machine, and yet recognise that we are needed to support the fundamental change to its DNA. Charles Eisenstein’s work has helped me see how some of the basic workings of the monetary system perpetuate our situation, and has thus also helped me recognise that it can be different. I no longer think it is just the way it is, and human nature of greed and competition will always produce something like what we have today. No. We don’t need to have a system, a global system, which is devouring the earth, community, love and ultimately itself. It can be different – where money is in right relationship, where communities flourish, where creativity is alive, children cherished, natured revered, where a forest standing is worth more to most of us than a forest felled. Intellectually I can even see what the different components might be to enable this, and there are many books out there to read if you want to learn more. What I don’t see is the pathway that will take us there, and more importantly for me in this moment, I don’t see my role in helping make that shift. My work in Zimbabwe is important, and I will continue doing it, diligently, with great passion, joy and love. And, yet, still I have a sense of a need to connect the dots, to hook up across the planet, somehow…

And at the same time I have wisps of Margaret Wheatley’s latest book So Far from Home aslo dancing around in my head. On how we need to hold our work differently, “with the intention of doing our work with greater resolve and energy, with more delight and confidence, even as we understand that it won’t turn this world around.” (Emphasis mine.)

Margaret shared this quote from Vaclav Havel:

Hope is not the conviction that something will turn out well, but the certainty that something makes sense, regardless of how it turns out.

There is no neat and tidy end to this post – just an unfolding sense-making of Margaret’s invitation to replace hope of creating change with confidence that we’re doing the right work. And how everywhere all over the world, people who are doing their right work – like Marianne with the amazing learning village in Kufunda, are sitting in these big questions.

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