Charles Eisenstein: The Ascent of Humanity

Charles Eisenstein is someone who, whether by fate or design, has remained under the radar and this set of videos is a good introduction to his writings. Though he has his own website, and writes regularly on economics and philosophical subjects for the alternative online publication, Reality Sandwich, he doesn’t even have a Wikipedia entry, which is, well, a bit strange in the modern world of mass communication.

Yet of all the alternative writers on economics, society and the environment, he is, in my opinion, by far the most insightful. His book, The Ascent of Humanity, available for free online, is a meticulous examination of the development of human civilisation, how we have come to our present state of crisis and how we are going to evolve from it into a better society, despite the sense of fear currently gripping public life. It does not shy away from that fact that our situation is perilous, but his words are not those of despair but of inspiration and he sees a future where our relationship with each other and with our environment is set to go through a transformation.

He details many changes in our attitude to money and has also written at length about a Sacred Economics, and this collection of videos speaks at greater length about how our financial system is crumbling, why it is crumbling and why what comes next will be a an ascent to a new way of being, rather than a descent into destruction and calamity.

His description in this video, of how we are in the process of changing our relationship to the planet from one of “Mother Earth, to Lover Earth, where instead of just taking, we give back, is sublime.

On his website, he describes his book, The Ascent of Humanity, thus:

The Ascent of Humanity is about the history and future of civilization from a unique perspective: the evolution of the human sense of self. This book describes how all the expressions of our civilization—its miraculous technology as well as the pillage of earth, culture, goodness, and beauty—arise from our identity, our way of being, “the discrete and separate self”. The gathering crises of our age demonstrate that this way of being is on the verge of collapse. And this collapse is setting the stage for a revolution in human beingness whose stirrings we already begin to feel.

His books and words are replete with deep spiritual insights, but this is no flaky hippie as he is a Yale graduate in Mathematics and Philosophy. He explains how the crises of our age is as much to do with how we see ourselves, our attachment to the idea of the separate self, which is as common in activists as it is in the object of activists’ anger, be they CEOs of corporations and banks, political leaders or vacuous film and television celebrities. He envisages a birthing process of consciousness, where we recognise the interconnectedness of being. It is no accident that he spent time in Taiwan studying eastern philosophies, because there is an element of Buddhist and Taoist thought in his writings. I have no doubt that The Ascent of Humanity, Sacred Economics and his other works will gain in popularity, since they are alternative without being full of despair and negativity. They offer hope and solutions and the solutions are not technological fixes, but psychological and philosophical solutions. Would that politicians could think and say such things.

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