What’s true? Who knows?
Science? Does science know what’s true?
The heart, does it know?
What does truth mean, anyway? What could a truth-based human society on Earth look like? What would it be based in, practically speaking? What would be the parameters to measure truth? Who would be doing the measuring, and by what means? And so forth… and maybe most importantly: How can we start applying truth NOW, in order to heal ourselves and the planet, so that we may come to live together peacefully and fruitfully?
Let us venture to say that one thing is sure: the narrative underlying our current civilisation is not true. How can we know that? Because it does not work.
Through today’s converging crises, the current narrative is proving itself fundamentally incompatible with all life on Earth. Simply put, it is quite obviously not true to the nature-given planetary systems, including human psychological well-being. And for this very reason, it is falling apart. It’s collapse is entirely natural.
But, the question is: what will come (is coming) in its place? That depends on what we create.
In his recent essay Institutes for Technologies of Reunion, Charles Eisenstein outlines one of the central ways we need to start embodying the new narrative of who we are and what we are here for, namely a new way of organizing higher learning. He writes about the urgent need for ”establishing islands of the future in an ocean of the past”. Urgent because, in his words: “The central structures of our society are in a state of deep crisis. When they collapse, we will be grateful to have something wholesome that is ready to enter the ensuing vacuum.”
This “something wholesome”, the ”islands of the future”, Charles Eisenstein envisions, will be in the form of ”a worldwide archipelago of land-based institutions”: Institutes for Technologies of Reunion. In the following quote from the essay, the functions of these institutes are listed:
”For learners, especially young people who would otherwise go to college or graduate school, they are places:
- To obtain knowledge unavailable at conventional universities
- To acquire skills that will be useful and valued in a transformed world
- To acquire skills to help that transformation happen
- To deprogram from conventional education and have a sanctuary in which to develop a calling
- To bond with a cohort who share a common vision of what the world can be
For researchers, they are places:
- To develop knowledge in an environment where you aren’t thought to be crazy
- To collaborate with other cutting edge workers in unorthodox fields
- To clarify knowledge by teaching it
- To pass knowledge to the next generation and mentor its development
- To test, incubate, and develop technologies to prepare them for wider application”
Charles Eisenstein – drawing on an generalized definition of technology as ”a system of techniques for applying human will to alter the physical world” – writes: ”Programs like these exist all over the world, yet still they are scattered and lack a unifying narrative that might present them as a solid alternative to traditional higher education. Young people must luck into them or know enough to seek them out. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if this kind of education – education in what the planet needs most right now – were more easily accessible?”
Yes! We feel it would indeed be wonderful.
What particularly intrigues me in Eisenstein’s essay, however, is his observation that although places/programs that might qualify as (seeds of) “Institutes for Technologies of Reunion” exist all over the world, they ”lack a unifying narrative”.
What could such a narrative be? This question brings us back to the question about truth: what is true; how would a truth-based human society look like?
Let’s face it: we cannot tell. But we do have a good idea of how to move towards that which is truth-based…
The reason I am intrigued by the observation that the already existing (seeds of) Institutes for Technologies of Reunion lack a unifying narrative, is that such a narrative does – by definition – not exist yet. Such a narrative is widely referred to as “the New Story”. It is what our site is dedicated to nourish: the new, emerging narrative of ”living in the gift”. But… it is simply not in place yet. Or, is it?
Charles Eisenstein talks about the old narrative as the ”story of Separation”, while referring to the new as the ”story of Reunion” or ”story of Interbeing”. Studying his work, where the meaning of these terms are fleshed out, I fully resonate. I can feel, within me, how the new story – of Reunion/Interbeing – is, in some sense… already in place. Yet, the question remains: how do we live it, together, as humanity? In that sense, it is obviously not yet in place.
It seems to me (and I think to Charles Eisenstein too) that we won’t be able to define what the new story is and entails by any other means than by us, as individuals, starting/continuing to live (from within) it. In other words, we won’t be able to bless our emerging Institutes for Technologies of Reunion with a unifying narrative in any other way than by increasingly living (from within) that narrative. Regardless of not being able to tell exactly HOW to do that…
The unifying narrative of the Institutes for Technologies of Reunion, hence – as it is not readily extricable from its embodied expressions – will have to be developed in parallel with the institutes themselves. Contemplate that for a moment. That fact in itself, is quite r-LOVE-utionary – isn’t it? It implies that Truth Itself bears another meaning within the new, emerging narrative of who we are and what we are here for. In the old story of Separation, the narrative underlying the institutions exploring scientific truth could quite neatly be separated from these institutions themselves. No longer is it so. In the New Story that we are entering, Truth can no longer be found exclusively “out there”; it will simultaneously and inextricably always be “in here”.
What Charles Eisenstein’s work has to offer us, as I see it, is not the New Story per se (in the form of a “recipe” to be applied). It is rather an ongoing process of mapping out our path, and guiding our steps; it is light being shed on the path of humanity, as it unfolds. In his book The More Beautiful World Our Hearts Know Is Possible, he beautifully sheds light on the fact that the New Story cannot be separated from the institutions that embody it. “It is this story”, he says, “that unites us across so many areas of activism and healing.” And: “The more we act from it, the better able we are to create a world that reflects it. The more we act from Separation, the more we helplessly create more of that, too.”
In the very title of that book, he offers the key to that profound understanding in two words: “our hearts”.
When I go to my own heart, I do know that the more beautiful world is possible. No doubt. At heart, it seems to me, I have always known it. And listening to my heart, I feel a call for… action. I feel a deep urge to live the New Story, now; a deep urge to help it flourish here on Earth. And I know, at heart, that I can offer such help only in being and acting as an expression of it…
But… I do not know how to do that! 🙂 I have no ready-made narrative to guide my steps. Yet… I walk – into the new; the unknown. And I discover while walking, in listening to my heart, that the question becomes not so much ”how do we live (from within) the new story” as ”how do I live (from within) it”?
This… is how our website has come about. It reflects the steps I am taking… into the unknown. It is a fruit of my walking through life increasingly from within the new story, looking for concrete ways of giving it embodiment – such as this site.
This site is our (Maya’s and mine) way of interacting with anyone ”out there” who is just like us feeling called to live (from within) the new, emerging story… of interbeing. This site is one of our ways of contributing to ”establishing islands of the future in an ocean of the past”.
WE NEED YOUR HELP.
Are you with us? Your part of the new story that is unfolding under the soles of our feet, is most welcome to keep building our community of givers – for instance, in the form of a contribution to our blog. You will most certainly be heartfully thanked.
Elsewhere on this site, we write: “Do you want to share your experiences of, or thoughts about, Gift Culture, Gift Circles, Gift Economy, Sacred Economics, Living and Working in the Gift, the Restoration of the Commons (beautifully exemplified here), Right Livelihood/Right Investment, or related topics?” We would now like to specifically include Technologies of Reunion in “related topics”. I once had a conversation with someone interested in biomimicry. I invited her to write a story about it for our blog, saying that I would tag it as “TechnologiesOfTheGift”. Charles Eisenstein’s essay on Institutes for Technologies of Reunion, nicely mirrors & elaborates on what I had in mind at that time. Thus: we do welcome blog stories about any Technology of Reunion you are involved with.
To give you a taste of what might count as Technologies of Reunion, I quote from the essay: “A partial list might include: mycoremediation of toxic waste; composting toilets and graywater/blackwater recycling systems; herbal medicine; therapies using psychotropic plants; earth building techniques; sacred architecture; sound healing; hypnosis and mind/matter techniques; nonviolent communication; compassionate listening; sociocracy, holocracy and other group decision-making methods; council processes; restorative circles; family constellation work; tantric sexual practices; communication with other-than-human beings; nonviolent methods of political direct action; implosion motors; over-unity energy devices; worker-owned cooperatives and other forms of economic cooperation; biodynamic agriculture; silvopasture; perennial-based horticulture; wetlands restoration; Montessori education; Waldorf education; technologies of voice, dance, and mask; the use of trance and dream states…”
What would be especially valuable, in relation to the vision of this site would be that – if you submit a post about a Technology of Reunion – you include your thinking of how that particular technology might relate to living & working in the gift, and thereby the emergence of sacred economics. Perhaps you have own experience of it. Perhaps you can imagine how it could be introduced on the “market” of Money for the Good. If you feel unable to articulate a connection with the world of the Gift, we encourage you to use the content of our site, as well as Charles Eisenstein’s Sacred Economics, for your support and inspiration.
To connect the core topic of our site – our current, doomed money system & what may come to replace it – more directly with the vision of Institutes for Technologies of Reunion, I would like to add another quote from Charles Eisenstein’s essay [my added emphasis]:
”[T]echnologies that do not further the extraction of resources from the earth or their consumption are less easily monetizable in the current system. They are not likely to result in a positive return on investment capital; therefore, they require funding from people not seeking a profit.
There is tremendous support for the technologies that have brought us to our present situation, but little support for the kinds of technologies that are most necessary for our society to transition into an ecological age. The technologies of reunion need communities of practice, and they need patronage from visionary holders of financial wealth and other resources.”
It is in this vein we offer our new page/project Money for the Good.
There are only two projects listed on that page, so far. We think of both of them as fully aligned with the vision of Institutes for Technologies of Reunion, which, to Charles Eisenstein, comes down to a ”huge need for an alternative university system”, described in his essay as follows:
”It looks very different from today’s institutions. It is an organic, decentralized network of programs; a distributed university, organizationally diverse, united by a common purpose. . . . After a ritual of transition (i.e. graduation) the graduates may not bear credentials that are acceptable to mainstream institutions. However, the parallel society honors and values their training, accomplishments, and courage to follow this path. Graduates carry forward the Technologies of Reunion they have learned into careers that are marginal today but that a healing world will hold in high esteem. The parallel society I have mentioned will not stay ‘alternative’ for long. The central structures of our society are in a state of deep crisis. When they collapse, we will be grateful to have something wholesome that is ready to enter the ensuing vacuum.”
We feel that our own website (despite not being explicitly about higher learning and research) fits right into the general context of such a ”distributed university, organizationally diverse, united by a common purpose”. The role of our site (in its mature form) could be manifold. It is all up to you, the people who interact with it. It is up to you to decide (in conversation with us) what it develops into… Gift economics, which is at the heart of our site, is in itself – as mentioned in the essay – an example of a Technology of Reunion. As for now, however, maybe the most direct relation our site has to the development of Technologies of Reunion is the Money for the Good project.
Do you have a project, or work for a cause, that you’d like to see featured within the Money for the Good project; an enterprise aligned with one or more Technologies of Reunion; Technologies of the Gift? Welcome! Do you have money that you would like to see be made use of in particular ways for specific purposes – for the Good. Welcome! To be featured in the The Growing List of “Money-for-the-Good Enterprises”, we simply ask you to write a piece for our blog, outlining your thinking, wishes, and vision.
Maya and Shanto