Speaker, writer, and activist Charles Eisenstein explores the history and potential future of civilization, tracing the converging crises of our age to the illusion of the separate self
Our disconnection from one another and the natural world has mislaid the foundations of science, religion, money, technology, economics, medicine, and education as we know them. It has fired our near-pathological pursuit of technological Utopias even as we push ourselves and our planet to the brink of collapse.
Fortunately, an Age of Reunion is emerging out of the birth pangs of an earth in crisis. Our journey of separation hasn't been a terrible mistake but an evolutionary process and an adventure in self-discovery.
Even in our darkest hour, Eisenstein sees the possibility of a more beautiful world--not through the extension of millennia-old methods of management and control but by fundamentally reimagining ourselves and our systems. We must shift away from our Babelian efforts to build ever-higher towers to heaven and instead turn out attention to creating a new kind of civilization—one designed for beauty rather than height.
The Ascent of Humanity
Charles Einstein offers a sweeping synthesis of all that is wrong with the world. In particular his opening salvo in chapter 7, The Age of Reunion, is stupendous. You MUST read those four pages even if you have to borrow a book! He proposes a straightforward and profound cause: Ego. That is the idea that I am me and you are you. The parts of the book that describe the impending cataclysm of human structures built upon this axiom of individual identity would make any doomsdayer's day. He writes clearly. He teaches. And he Introduces the reader to myriad authors whose ideas support his thesis. The tone of this part of the book is refreshingly apolitical. To paraphrase a humorous line in this regard: the conservatives on the Titanic deny the iceberg of global warming, while the liberals urge the captain to change course just one to two degrees so as not to spill their martinis on the upper decks.
Unfortunately, his solutions to the problem are incredibly naive. Somehow out of the rubble of civilization's collapse, a simultaneous and universal shift in consciousness will occur: "I am you and you are me" will apply not only to other humans but all of the Universe. Magically, the spirit of Kumbaya will overtake us all and peace and harmony and equality of all creatures and inanimate objects both great and small will rule supreme on the New Earth.
But uh-oh we have to have currency albeit of a clever anti- interest type. We still need laws to tax the polluters for the hidden costs they dump onto all of us, especially Gaia. Wait, why do we still need money or industry? These two examples belie the authors attempt to sell a universal shift of consciousness which would be MANDATORY for this to work. If there is even one remaining "ego encapsulated" human left, he will run roughshod over the sweet ones with predictable results. There is a sneaky smarmy ultra Marxist underpinning to this "New Earth". I can just imagine the thought police ( he even suggested implanting chips in the brain that would make us all know each others thoughts in an attempt to dissolve interpersonal boundaries). As I see it next would come the levellers, the book burners, the word forbidders ( "I", the primeval word for identity, must be banished with extreme predjudice) and most importantly the forced liquidation of any dissenters. Ultimately this feels like another New Age book that posits man as the measure of man, if we can just get it really right this time and not stop at Stalin, Mao etc, but agree to their premise with such universal fervor that we wont need the heavy hands of yore, just the nudges of the new age rulers to keep us happily in line.
This book helped unmask a lot ofthe feelings I’ve felt for a long time but didn’t necessarily have the words to express them through. Thank you for this enlightening piece of art.