Everybody Needs to Wake Up The World
Existing systems are falling apart and it’s up to all of us to start building a new world
The old order is well and truly crumbling.
Everywhere you look there are signs of collapse: ever-increasing inequality; civil unrest; war in Europe; mass immigration; uncontrollable pandemics spreading through the global population; an impending global food crisis; fuel shortages and price hikes; rising inflation and interest rates; unsustainable national debt; extreme volatility in global financial markets; seemingly indiscriminate quantitive easing to bale us out of each successive crisis; more and more countries descending into societal collapse; increasingly authoritarian government policies to try and crack down on ‘problems’. And that’s before we even get to the apocalyptic spectre of climate change and environmental collapse that’s already all too present and real in some parts of the planet.
The world can seem like a very depressing and scary place right now.
And yet, something remarkable is happening to humanity. Something is changing in our collective consciousness that is leading to a wide-scale, radical transformation in our mindsets, values and behaviours. People are losing confidence in the state and turning their backs on the old hierarchical systems that were supposed to look after us but are now breaking down and falling apart. Everywhere you look there are signs of individuals and communities starting to build their own parallel infrastructures that serve their needs where the state is failing.
This is what we must all do now. The future will be more local, more community-based, more cooperative. These attributes are antithetical to the existing centralised, controlling, hierarchical structures that govern most societies in the world. Consequently the governments, companies and organisations that are rooted in the old system are unable to deliver the change that we now need. This is something we must do ourselves at a grass roots level, as individuals and local communities.
Parallel Local Infrastructures
But what can we do? We’re all so reliant on the system and so embedded within it that it can seem like we’re powerless to bring about any change. Sometimes it feels like all we can do is shout at those in charge whilst they laugh at us, ignore what we’re saying and then get on with pursuing an agenda that’s in the interests of a small minority of already-privileged oligarchs. But the existing situation only perpetuates if we subscribe to it. If we all start to opt out of the system and turn our attention to creating the world that we want to live in then the old order will finally have to give way to the new. And when that happens, we need to have begun to build parallel local infrastructures so we can ride the chaos of societal breakdown and birth the new system out of the ashes of the old. Plus, the more prepared we are, the more we can help those who are not ready for it when the time comes.
So where on earth do we start? My feeling is that we need to start small and begin by reaching out to those around us, both online and in our local community. Start growing your own food; find pieces of unused land where you can do so with others; connect with your neighbours, set up a group messaging service and start helping each other out — sharing resources, recycling unwanted possessions, looking out for each other; perhaps this could then become a forum for car sharing, caring for each other’s needs and even developing more extensive local infrastructure projects like autonomous energy systems or the larger scale production of food; get together to home educate your children; bring the community together through social events that get us out of our isolated boxes, away from our controlling technical devices and interacting with each other in person; reignite a shared sense of community and even spirituality through rediscovering a meaningful relationship with the natural world, group activities like storytelling and music-making, enjoying homemade food together, working on positive projects that bring personal fulfilment and a benefit for the community as a whole; generally start initiating actions that encourage you to turn your back on the existing centralised, controlling system and put the control back in your hands and the hands of your local community.
The list of possibilities is endless, and that’s partly the point. For too long, we have been controlled by a top-down, centralised structure that dictates what can and can’t happen. But the future is looking like it will be decentralised, cooperative and local. This means that the new world is going to emerge organically, not by design and enforcement. We need to be open to what develops rather than expectant of a specific outcome. It’s certainly healthy to come up with a vision of how a different world might look, especially when we’ve been so steeped in a very controlling world view for such a long time. Projects like Moral Imaginations and Thrutopia and activists like Rob Hopkins and Manda Scott are creating a wonderful ground swell of imaginative possibilities that are profoundly necessary to fire our collective inspiration. But at the same time, we need to let go of our need to control every aspect of lives and open up to the idea that we don’t have to know exactly how things are going to pan out. We need to re-immerse ourselves in the flow of life and trust that the universe will facilitate a prosperous future for our greatest good if we allow it to. This seems to me to be the biggest lesson that we all need to learn from the current climate and environmental crisis.
Let’s stop competing, controlling and struggling. Now we have the chance to start collaborating, trusting and thriving. Exciting times!