“We are the ones we’ve been waiting for.”
The Hopi Elders
The creation of a collective narrative to promote and accelerate the deep transformation we must bring about to heal the pressing environmental and social crises and create a future of hope and possibility for all.
The mission is to create a myth for our times: a weaving together of the many generative stories that are being spun by thinkers, mystics, artists and activists the world over into a single, rich tapestry to help portray, fortify and usher forth the emerging era.
Joseph Campbell once described myths as “energy evoking and directing images” whose task (one of four main functions) is to bring forth in individuals “a sense of grateful, affirmative awe before the mons trous Mystery that is existence”.
These images have guided humankind through many a dark night. But the hegemony of linear thinking and banishment of mythopoetic language and imagination has driven myth from its rightful place as nourishment for the soul, and left it languishing as a historical artifact, or even as another name for “untruth”.
This information already exists, but the story is being told in fragments. How much more powerful would it be to create a unified fabric with social, biological, artistic, spiritual and environmental strands, that could reach the mainstream population and promote the tidal wave of changes we so urgently need?
“Earthrise” is the name given to a photograph of planet Earth and some of the Moon’s surface that was taken from lunar orbit by astronaut William Anders on December 24th, 1968, during the Apollo 8 mission. Nature photographer Galen Rowell described it as “the most influential environmental photograph ever taken”.
Joseph Campbell predicted that this striking image of the blue-green dot floating in infinite space, without a single border in sight, would be the inspiration for a new, global myth for mankind. Although this has not come to be in the way he envisioned, the symbol remains as potent today as the day the photograph was taken.
“Earthrise” could speak of the need to transcend individual stories and cultural and ideological narratives, to prioritize the story of a unified Earth (with its human and non-human inhabitants), rising from the ashes of environmental destruction and social and economic polarization, to an era of collaboration, integration and collective intelligence.
To bring together a group of writers, poets, scientists, activists, environmentalists, artists– who are already expressing important fragments of the new story, for a series of working sessions, to help put together the outline of a guiding story.
The story would offer a vision of the world we are ushering into being, in its many different dimensions, such as:
- Restored intimacy with Nature, in a planet recognized as wholly alive and conscious.
- Compassionate, just and inclusive social relations and dynamics.
- Purpose-centered economies, where experiences and right livelihood are valued over consumption.
- Access to a dignified living for all.
- Shift to renewable resources and wise use of them.
- Invigorated democracies, local decision-making, decentralized governance.
- Verdant cities that promote and facilitate healthful living.
- Community hubs connected through interlocking networks of exchange and support.
- So much more!
With the help of seasoned writers, the story would then be edited for clarity, precision and evocative power. The text version of the story would be seeded with hyperlinks to invite people to dig deeper in areas of personal interest (providing further education and opportunities to join existing initiatives and contribute).
The next step would be to create an audiovisual telling of the story, and a set of practices, rituals and activities to help embed the myth into daily life.
Jane Benyus, creator of Biomimicry (one of these vital strands) states that Life creates conditions conducive to life. This is an invitation to join forces in order to create the Story to feed all stories, the Life to feed all lives.
For the Children
The rising hills, the slopes,
lie before us.
the steep climb
of everything, going up,
up, as we all
In the next century
or the one beyond that,
are valleys, pastures,
we can meet there in peace
if we make it.
To climb these coming crests
one word to you, to
you and your children:
learn the flowers