I am currently about half way through Charles Eisenstein's wonderfully thought-provoking book, Sacred Economics.  We have, of course engaged on this terrain in other places within the Cafe, including this discussion thread tied to the Cafe Call last December on which Charles was our guest "conversation starter."  I felt called to start a new conversation however, given that I am feeling so inspired not only to read but also to share this book.  

If you are not familiar with Sacred Economics, you can still join the conversation based on your response to this brief and compelling video.  You can also read the book online here (please consider a contribution back to Charles if you take advantage of this gift!).  

I also am feeling called to explore further this idea of a "hosted" conversation.  Here's what I wrote many months ago when this idea was first proposed:

Please note that this is a hosted discussion.  We want to focus on dialogue and collective/creative thinking, not debate or the promotion of personal agendas.  If the activity gets heavy, we will periodically ask people to step back or step up, to make sure the dialogue is balanced and there is space for all voices to be heard.  We will also ask that side conversations that emerge be taken onto new discussion threads so that this core conversation remains focused and readable.  Thank you in advance for your help with this, and if you are interested in hosting a discussion yourself, please email connect@occupycafe.org.

I would like to resume our experiment in this terrain, and perhaps stretch ourselves a bit more than the  framing above implied.  I want to try this in three ways, all of which might be serve to give this conversation that special and sacred quality of "aliveness:"

  1. Explore our willingness to collectively pursue a particular intention for a conversation
  2. Invite all participants to think of themselves as "hosts"
  3. Invite the possibility that connecting emotionally, showing compassion and being in relationship can be just as much a part of what we engage in here as the intellectual exchange of ideas

So... here goes!

My intention in convening this conversation is to see to what degree the ideas in this book can inspire and help us articulate a "Story of Now" and a "Story of Us" for the Cafe.  Marshall Ganz describes the former as a story that can inform "the challenge this community now faces, the choices it must make, and the hope to which 'we' can aspire."  And the "Story of Us" illuminates "what your constituency, community, organization has been called to: its shared purposes, goals and vision."

Some basic questions that we can explore are:

  • In what ways, if any, does Eisenstein's diagnosis of our current situation resonate for you?  In what ways, if any, does it challenge you?
  • Is the invitation Eisenstein issues for co-creating "the more beautiful world our hearts tell us is possible" compelling and inspiring to you and if so, in what ways?

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Gary, in looking at the landscape of our lives within this culture, I suggest that World 5.0 has the power to be such a black swan. The term grounds us in the reality of Life, suggests that our perceptions are based on our perspective which is based on our paradigm which is malleable to our intent, and that we have within ourselves the power to 'remake our world anew.' If some number of us 'get it' in time for the 12/21/12 transition, who knows what might happen. If we don't have the numbers or energy, at least we are individually in a much better place to be and to cope with whatever comes down the pike.

"We will not be able to reverse the commodification of relationships unless we can at least entertain the possibility that our future depends on a return to something like an indigenous consciousness that finds us nested within successive ecologies."

The work I propose involves attention to the intrapersonal, the interpersonal, the interspecies and the interelemental.  Conscious step by conscious step, attended relationships of all types improve and/or begin.

We reverse the commodification of relationships one by one, via the power of our intent. It's implicit in the effort here at the Occupy Cafe, and in the awakening of so many of us these days.

So David, I hope you're planning to be on our 10/8 Cafe Call, when we continue our Occupy a New Story series with "Integrating Indigenous Wisdom."

That looks possible...

Rereading your post this morning, Gary... Appreciating your eloquence as always, my friend.  The closing sentence seems to capture a theme running through this thread as well as our Cafe conversation overall:

 This is a process of learning how to "be there" while "getting there," how to put attention on the inner process while we build the outer structures, being both the chicken and the egg.

I also quoted from this post over on the discussion for our new Vital Conversation on Indigenous Wisdom.

I do have one "quibble," regarding your interpretation of the butterfly metamorphosis metaphor.  In fact, the imaginal cells start appearing shortly after the caterpillar enters the cocoon, but well before it "collapses." Its still-functioning immune system attacks the imaginal cells as foreign invaders (their DNA is different from the capterpillar's!).  So the collapse and the emergence of something new are contemporaneous, not sequential.  The caterpillar/butterfly has mastered "being here and getting there."

Bruce Lipton suggests we are in "late caterpillar stage" already:

I am inspired by the idea that we can begin right now to build "the more beautiful world our hearts tell us is possible," and that indeed, such a process is already well under way, if perhaps largely below the radar. There is a day long workshop coming up on 10/18 in SF on Catalyzing a Resilient Communities Network that I plan to attend (see pdf link below) that is one sign of such an emergence.  

Still haven't finished Sacred Economics, so I'm waiting for the part where Charles outlines practical steps we can take right now to make the Transition towards this world that works for all. The notion of a network of on-the-ground communities that are lining into various dimensions of this world seems like a great place to start.  I can imagine people participating in many different ways, including not only new living arrangements, social entrepreneurship and activism but also support from around and beyond the local area of a network of people who share this vision but are not ready or able to pick up and move.


Since it’s been several months since I read SE and I lost my notes when I had to reinstall my computer’s OS, I decided to take some time review SE.  I was struck by how the changes Charles outlined seemed more doable on my second reading.  Also, I am more accepting that the changes are inevitable, and those of us who want these changes may have little control over events. 

More doable and inevitable, eh?  Interesting... It seems like that reading is both inspiring and reassuring.  Like it gives us permission to relax into the transformation, rather than feeling like it must be a fight.

“permission to relax into the transformation” sounds inviting, but that’s not for me.  Even if the change we seek is inevitable,   I want to speed the process along.    The possibility of making a difference is what, I think, attracted me to this conversation.  I want to make a difference within my own limited sphere of influence.  I hope to learn from this conversation so that I can be more effective at crafting a msssage.

For example, I would like to write a letter to our local newspaper about Romney’s comments relating to the 47% who don’t pay taxes.  He has provided us with an opportunity to educate the public.  I wish some national leaders were more knowledgable about the concepts explored in SE.  If you were a national leader, what would you say about Romney's comment?    Anybody?


In chapter 13 Charles writes about how marginal costs of production have fallen so that we could experience an increase in wealth while, at the same time, our money economy shrinks.  (Recessions aren’t necessarily bad.)  One area where I thought this would never apply would be in the petroleum industry (where I worked for over 20 years).

In reading “The New New Deal” by Michael Grunwald, I learned about the Department of Energy initiatives that seem likely to change the energy landscape.  New ways of creating feedstock could make today’s petroleum industry obsolete.  No more drilling.  No more fracking.  Motor fuel that can be produced locally and that burns cleanly.  Google “electrofuels.”  See especially:


If you’ve read any of the articles on electrofuels, notice how some of them appear to satisfy the “Law of Return” discussed in Chapter 10.  The law states: “....every substance produced through industrial processes or other human activities is either used in some other human activity or, ultimately, returned to the ecology in a form, and at a rate, that other beings can process.”

One of the processes described uses wastewater as a feedstock.  I don’t know enough about the other processes to know whether they satisfy the law.



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