Having Larger Conversations: Beyond Meaningful to Transcendent

Have you ever wondered if the debate, discussion and general conversations that occupy our collective consciousness most of the time – climate change, population growth, terrorism, sustainability, etc. – are all essentially “small talk” when it comes to what’s really important? Have you had a nagging feeling that these issues – as serious as they are – are simply symptoms of some larger crisis?

To put it into popular colloquialism, are we all passengers on the Titanic arguing over the deck chairs? 

Each one of these crises is the result of human behavior driven by an immature consciousness  – a consciousness that once was sufficient for us but we have now outgrown. The consciousness that created all these problems has been either uncaring or lacking in awareness of the long -term impact we will have on future generations. This consciousness is adolescent and, like modern day teenagers, we often pretend to be mature.

And like most unchecked adolescent behavior there are consequences, often showing up as surprises to the unaware or uncaring. The crises we face today are the consequences we didn’t think about before. It is time to grow up, clean up our messes and start having “the larger conversations” about consciously evolving to a level of collective maturity that is capable of generating a sustainable, just and fulfilling human presence on this planet.

It isn’t just about solving problems, although many problems still need to be solved. It’s about generating a future we can bring into being consciously – a future we actually want for our descendants instead of a default future that will devolve from the wreckage of our past actions and inactions.

Peter Drucker, the father of modern management theory, once said that the best way to predict the future was to create it. So let’s create it!

But how? you may ask.

That’s a fair question but does it come from a place of hopelessness, powerlessness and victimhood? Does the future occur to you as unchangeable, set on a course of degeneration? Or does it seem to you as something to be created – on a course of generation and renewal?

Larger conversations require people who see real possibility for a better future – not incrementally improved but one generated from an entirely different worldview or paradigm. They see a possibility even if they don’t see exactly how to bring it about. They have a deep intuitive knowing that the reality in which we all find ourselves is not the ultimate destiny for human beings. They know something very different is within our grasp if we can shift our consciousness from one that generates scarcity, hyper-consumption and fear to a consciousness grounded in connection, sufficiency and caring for all.

Those of us who are engaging in the larger conversations – who see possibility where others may not, who feel hope rather than despair, interconnectedness instead of separation and isolation – are risking being seen as “the crazy ones.” Cynics may see us as a bunch Pollyannas, idealists just wasting everyone’s  time. They once tried idealism and really got burned. So they pulled the blanket of cynicism over their heads and swore never again to dream, to aspire for higher ideals. They are hardly going to be attracted to these larger conversations any time soon.

But those of us in the larger conversations can evoke possibility for a world we dream of, a reality based on what we want, not on the past. Future-based language will replace past-based thinking and the language which follows.

Would you like to be part of one of these larger conversations? The cost of entry is low – simply a willingness to see a world that works for everyone, a world that is environmentally sustainable, socially just and spiritually fulfilling for al human beings. Conversations of this kind are going on all over the world, maybe not in the mainstream, but they do exist. They begin whenever two or more people are willing to engage in such unfettered explorations. They are going on in small coffee houses, retreat centers, people’s homes and certainly on the Internet.

Are you engaged in one of these larger conversations? If not, locate one and introduce yourself. You may be surprised by the welcome you receive! Once you are engaged in the exploration set aside all the reasons your “rational” mind might dismiss as pure folly. Tell your mind to leave you be, with strong emphasis if necessary. Disengage the egoic rationale that tells you such a conversation is a waste of time. Instead, allow yourself to dream without restraint about what is truly possible for an awakened human society having transcended the crises and circumstances we are facing today.

What better conversation is worth having at this time?

 

To put it into popular colloquialism, are we all passengers on the Titanic arguing over the deck chairs? 

Each one of these crises is the result of human behavior driven by an immature consciousness  – a consciousness that once was sufficient for us but we have now outgrown. The consciousness that created all these problems has been either uncaring or lacking in awareness of the long -term impact we will have on future generations. This consciousness is adolescent and, like modern day teenagers, we often pretend to be mature.

And like most unchecked adolescent behavior there are consequences, often showing up as surprises to the unaware or uncaring. The crises we face today are the consequences we didn’t think about before. It is time to grow up, clean up our messes and start having “the larger conversations” about consciously evolving to a level of collective maturity that is capable of generating a sustainable, just and fulfilling human presence on this planet.

It isn’t just about solving problems, although many problems still need to be solved. It’s about generating a future we can bring into being consciously – a future we actually want for our descendants instead of a default future that will devolve from the wreckage of our past actions and inactions.

Peter Drucker, the father of modern management theory, once said that the best way to predict the future was to create it. So let’s create it!

But how? you may ask.

That’s a fair question but does it come from a place of hopelessness, powerlessness and victimhood? Does the future occur to you as unchangeable, set on a course of degeneration? Or does it seem to you as something to be created – on a course of generation and renewal?

Larger conversations require people who see real possibility for a better future – not incrementally improved but one generated from an entirely different worldview or paradigm. They see a possibility even if they don’t see exactly how to bring it about. They have a deep intuitive knowing that the reality in which we all find ourselves is not the ultimate destiny for human beings. They know something very different is within our grasp if we can shift our consciousness from one that generates scarcity, hyper-consumption and fear to a consciousness grounded in connection, sufficiency and caring for all.

Those of us who are engaging in the larger conversations – who see possibility where others may not, who feel hope rather than despair, interconnectedness instead of separation and isolation – are risking being seen as “the crazy ones.” Cynics may see us as a bunch Pollyannas, idealists just wasting everyone’s  time. They once tried idealism and really got burned. So they pulled the blanket of cynicism over their heads and swore never again to dream, to aspire for higher ideals. They are hardly going to be attracted to these larger conversations any time soon.

But those of us in the larger conversations can evoke possibility for a world we dream of, a reality based on what we want, not on the past. Future-based language will replace past-based thinking and the language which follows.

Would you like to be part of one of these larger conversations? The cost of entry is low – simply a willingness to see a world that works for everyone, a world that is environmentally sustainable, socially just and spiritually fulfilling for al human beings. Conversations of this kind are going on all over the world, maybe not in the mainstream, but they do exist. They begin whenever two or more people are willing to engage in such unfettered explorations. They are going on in small coffee houses, retreat centers, people’s homes and certainly on the Internet.

Are you engaged in one of these larger conversations? If not, locate one and introduce yourself. You may be surprised by the welcome you receive! Once you are engaged in the exploration set aside all the reasons your “rational” mind might dismiss as pure folly. Tell your mind to leave you be, with strong emphasis if necessary. Disengage the egoic rationale that tells you such a conversation is a waste of time. Instead, allow yourself to dream without restraint about what is truly possible for an awakened human society having transcended the crises and circumstances we are facing today.

What better conversation is worth having at this time?

This post first appeared on the Global Dialogue Center‘s blog, Exploring the Better Future with Futurist John Renesch on November 1, 2011.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *