Creating A Movement Of Letting Movements Be Created, Naturally
How One Man’s Approach To Creating Natural Movements, Acknowledging Each Other’s Humanity And Co-Existing With Our Planet And Society, May Change The World.
Known for his thought provoking essays and unique perspective on our culture, Charles Eisenstein is challenging us to rethink the anger and dissent present between so many Americans. The author, scholar, and speaker focuses on themes of civilization, consciousness, money and human cultural evolution. Putting a different spin on large scale global issues, Eisenstein refocuses us to the real point; that we care for the things we love, and we should love our planet, our home, and each other.
This concept should be enough to refocus our mindset back to what it means to live cohesively on this planet; however, we’re not there yet. In an episode of Oprah Winfrey’s Super Soul Conversations, he describes the current state of the nation as “not yet” being broken, but anticipates it. Even more so, he hopes to see our nation broken open. While that may sound like the opposite of patriotism and unison, he makes a great point. When a person is broken open by a traumatic event, they grieve and they begin to see the world in a new perspective. They begin to heal and ultimately change. Perhaps that’s what we, as a society, need.
You often hear people shouting about creating a movement – we’ve got to start a movement – be it for feminism, patriotism or religion. Eisenstein presents an interesting theory that creating a large movement may not be the best way to heal our society.
WHAT IS A MOVEMENT?
The technical definition of a social movement is “broad alliances of people connected through a shared interest in either stopping or instigating social change,” and there are multiple types of social movements; redemptive, reformative, revolutionary, and alternative. All have a purpose and a place, but it’s pretty much agreed on by the public that movements begin with people who hold high power or influence. However, that isn’t always true. Eisenstein believes real movements aren’t created by us, they create us.
THE BIGGEST MOVEMENTS START WITH THE INDIVIDUAL
Imagine a small neighborhood – it’s not the most desirable in town – most of the residents are low income or struggle to feed their families with fresh produce. But one resident plants a garden that begins to flourish. Then another plants a few things and another. And soon we have a neighborhood rich in greenery, agriculture, and community. It’s amazing what one individual can do to a group.
HOW EXACTLY DOES AN INDIVIDUAL START A MOVEMENT?
Question the status quo
Movements are naturally created when an individual decides to make a statement about the kind of world they want to live in, like the garden example above. Removing the bystander effect and taking action into your own is something we all can do. Without the intention of “going viral” or becoming known for it, we can all make an impactful change.
Eisenstein explains that we’re under the impression that this is how it is.
He says, “You’re supposed to be happy here, in the life that has been given to you.” However, that doesn’t mean it’s necessarily the best. It’s important to ask questions, understand why something happens the way it does and change it if it doesn’t seem just or right.
ACKNOWLEDGE YOUR ENEMY’S HUMANITY
Our society has morphed into an individualistic game of he said, she said. Even when talking about issues like climate change and environmental destruction that are obviously harming our planet, there are some people who are right. And there are people who are wrong. We often get so lost in ourselves that we forget that, ultimately, our enemies are human beings—just like us.
Eisenstein insists that instead of casting our enemies out immediately, we need to take a step back, look them in the eye, and remember humanity—theirs and our own. Though we feel like individuals, we are affected by everything that happens around us. When we become upset that wildlife habitats are diminishing, ice is melting, or people are fighting, that means we are fighting a similar battle within ourselves. This individualism disconnects us from the environment and other people, but we are all connected.
Before you fight back, ask yourself “Who is this person?” and “Why are they this way?” or “How is it affecting me?” And remember, they are human.
While interconnectivity can be learned, the real waves are going to be made when the concept is taught. Our parents, families, and teachers teach us from the day we arrive into this world. They help shape who we are, how we think, and what we hold as values and moral standards.
Most of us will serve as an influence at some point in our lives and it’s important to remember that any time we have a chance to alter the field for the future, it is a chance needing to be taken.