What if we survive – Charles Eisenstein

What if we survive – Charles Eisenstein


The dominant narrative I’m hearing today,
again and again through the youth climate strikes and all this kind of
stuff, is that we have to change or we’re not going to survive. We’ve already overshot the ability of the Earth’s ecosystems to support human
civilization and we better do something about that right away or we’re going to
have catastrophe – massive population collapse maybe even human extinction. I would like for the conversation to
turn away from can we survive. How will we survive. That’s not the goal of life. The goal of life is not to survive it imagine a future where the entire planet
has been converted essentially into one big strip mine and waste dump. Where the
dying of the trees continues. The dying of the whales, of the fish, of one species
after another after another. Of one ecosystem. Of the insects. And we continue to survive, on a concrete world. Substituting for all that’s lost with
technological substitutes. Making oxygen maybe with vats of algae
or something like that. Drawing down the carbon to maintain atmospheric equilibrium with machines. In-closing our cities in bubbles. Like what if we could
survive in a totally poisoned world if we have the right filters. What if we could do that? What’s gonna stop us? This is a more
important question. Because in fact, we have been walking down that path for a
very long time. Seeing the world as an instrument of
some narrow conception of human well-being If we hold the story of the world is
this dead thing, a source of resources, a dump for our wastes, we create a world
that is dead Our stories are our most powerful
creative tool. They tell us who we
are and why we are here. And maybe we need to replace the rhetoric of: “we
better change or we’re not gonna survive”, because what if that’s not true and what if
people sense that that’s not true. I mean you can read all the science you want.
You can read about the methane feedback loop all you want but do you really
believe that we’re going to be extinct in 20 years? Most people do not really
believe it. If they really believed it, for real, they wouldn’t be acting the way
that they do now. So the important question then, is not:
“what do we need to do to survive?”, but: “what world do we want to live in?” To
recognize the power of our choices, the power of our stories. the power of the
story of, the world is alive. If we hold that story we invite the world to be
more and more alive. It’s not good enough just to make a living and to survive. The young man or the young woman wants to know why they’re here.

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