rn: “Returning” -> the “Great Turning”


Jan Slakov

Dear RN list,

The "Great Turning" posting I will send in my next message features an
interview with Joanna Macy and fits in quite well with recent discussion on
"Returning to the Garden". 

It speaks of the spiritual dimension in a way I find helpful. It also
addresses beautifully the sterility of debate over which types of actions
are most important. As people in the Deep Ecology movement have long argued,
"the front is long"; i.e. there is need for many different actions. Richard
made essentially the same point too in yesterday's posting:

"Dear Mark,

Thanks for joining in.

You say the banking system is the problem.  John St. John
insists it's 'the corporation as machine-out-of-control'. 
Others say it is the corporate-dominated media. Others say
it is the corrupt political system.  Others refuse to
discuss anything but the population problem, while Marxists
say it's capitalism.

What purpose is served by these kinds of debates?  Isn't it
clear that all of these things are part of a single system? 
Don't we need to change the whole system?"

I would reply that, yes, we want to change the whole system and to do that,
we will need people working on monetary reform, population control,
capitalism, etc.

We need people doing what the "Great Turning" article calls "holding
actions" (protecting what we have not yet destroyed from destruction),
people changing their consciousness, people creating alternative structures.
Some of us will focus our energies quite narrowly while others of us will be
all over the map!

As the "Great Turning" article points out, the struggle we are engaged in is
as messy and uncertain and vibrant as life, as birth itself:

"You know, I often imagine that future generations will look back at us and
say, "Oh, bless 'em. Those ancestors were right there in the Great Turning! 
There was so much they had to change, and they didn't even know if they
could pull it off."
And we might not pull it off. There's no guarantee that this tremendous
shift will kick in before our life support systems unravel irretrievably.
Actually, the very fact that there's no guarantee of success is what will
draw forth our greatest courage and creativity. If I could give you a pill
or potion to convince you that everything is going to be okay, that would
hardly elicit your purest creativity and chutzpah.
We could wait around forever before we act, trying to compute our chances
of success. But our time to come alive is right now, on this edge of
>From our own life experience, we know there's never a guarantee - whether
we're falling in love, or going into labor to birth a baby, or devoting
ourselves to a piece of land, turning the soil and watching for rain. We
don't ask for proof that we'll succeed and that everything will turn out as 
we want. We just go ahead, because life wants to live through us!
Sarah: In social movements of the past, it seems to me that people looked
to a leader or to some doctrine to lead them forward. Now, people seem to
take the responsibility upon themselves; they seem to want to know in their 
bones what needs to be done and how they can, authentically, be a part of

I urge you to read the posting, even though it is long. The very last bit
has deep meaning for me as it addresses Israel/Palestine violence, and the
violence of fundamentalisms the world over. In the face of so much grim
news, the vision there brings the balm of hope.

all the best, Jan