Can Humanity Change?
To say humanity is living unsustainably is a massive understatement. In the words of Oren Lyons, Faithkeeper of the Turtle Clan of the Onondaga Nation, humanity is like a jockey, whipping its horse faster and faster to get to the finish line, not realizing that the finish line is a brick wall.
The proliferation of nuclear weapons did not make us change. The ecological movement of the 60s and 70s, ushered in by Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring, helped awaken us, but not enough. After some modest improvements, the soil, air, and waters remained polluted. The rainforests continued to be cut down at an alarming rate. Temperatures continued to rise, along with the seas. It seemed we were beyond hope for change and now living in the Age of Consequences. Then, a tiny virus did what no social movement had done. It shut everything down. The incessant pressure of human economic activity ground to a halt. Amid the human death toll, the natural world was granted a reprieve.
In the midst of the pandemic, a police officer kept his foot on George Floyd’s neck, causing him to die, but giving birth to a renewed social justice movement. Social justice and ecological justice are invariably connected; the Floyd murder was a metaphor for what humanity had been doing to Mother Earth. We had been keeping our foot on her neck, paving over the natural world to pursue our short-sighted economic interests. It was Mother Earth that could not breathe. If we did not change, much of the natural world would die.
In this edition of Circle for Original Thinking, we explore how we might learn to live in a different way, renew our relationship with the more-than-human world, honor the wisdom of nature and of our ancestors, and reimagine education to be an agent of change rather than merely a reflection of the current society.
We have never lived through a time exactly like this. But we have lived through crises before. We know from experience that every crisis presents both danger and opportunity. The opportunity now seems clear. We must gather all our resources, the perennial wisdom of the past and the most brilliant minds of the present, to make a course correction. Our guests today are Jim Garrison, current president of Ubiquity University, and Will Taegel, former dean of Ubiquity. Join us as we address humanity in crisis on the next episode of Circle for Original Thinking.
Dr. Will Taegel walks in two dimensions. One reflects his lifelong connection with the Indigenous Mind/Heart and the other his psychological and scientific research. While both his doctorates concentrate on the synergy of ecopsychology and the matrix of field physics, he counts his shamanic training described in his book Walking With Bears as the most important of his life. Walking With Bears completes a trilogy of books that includes Wild Heart and Mother Tongue; all address a human return to Earth-based consciousness. Will is the former Dean for the Wisdom School of Graduate Studies, Ubiquity University, Austin, Texas. He is an experienced psychotherapist with a demonstrated history of working in the education management industry, and holds a Doctor of Ministry focused in Family Systems Therapy and Spirituality from University of California at Berkeley.
Dr. James Garrison is founder and president of Ubiquity University. He originally served as founding president of Wisdom University, which he led from 2005 – 2012, after which it transitioned into Ubiquity. He has spent his entire professional life in executive leadership, including as founder and president of both the Gorbachev Foundation/USA from 1992 – 1995 and State of the World Forum from1995 – 2004 with Mikhail Gorbachev serving as convening chairman. He attended University of Santa Clara for his B.A. in History, Harvard for his Masters in the History of Religion, and Cambridge for his PhD in philosophical theology. He has written seven books, beginning with The Plutonium Culture in 1979 to his current book in writing on Climate Change and the Primordial Mind. He taught regularly throughout his tenure at Wisdom University on Greek philosophy, world history, and the philosophical implications of global warming. He continues to teach at Ubiquity.