Visions, Values and Actions Create our Common Future


The Values Caucus present ERVIN LASZLO

In association with the Club of Budabest, USA and the Hague Appeal for Peace

Visions, Values and Actions Create our Common Future
Action Imperatives of Peace and Sustainability

This is a time for breakdown or breakthrough. New ways of thinking and acting are urgently required. Dr. Laszlo addressed personal, political, and economic transformations needed to create a sustainable future. Sharing insights from his new book Mactoshift, Dr. Laszlo described how quickly things are changing and how our response will determine our common future.

December 6, 2001.

Carl Murrell opened the meeting with a moment of silence. Monica Willard introduced Ervin Laszlo, author of 60 books, preeminent scholar of The Budapest Society.

Laszlo’s opening remarks set the tone. “Ask not for victory but for peace….There is no cause for war . . . it is time to step back . . .” You don’t solve a problem with the same kind of thinking that created it. The atomic bomb has changed everything except our way of thinking. Macroshift is a process occurring everywhere. It’s a process occurring faster than at any other time.

In the body of his talk, which represented a distillation from his book Evolution: The Grand Synthesis, Laszlo began with the notion that globalization leaves a great number of people left out. Violence, therefore, is a symptom not a cause. In his systems theory, he noted that a system results from its own equilibrium. With enough flux, you can create enough stress to cause bifurcation. At this point the system breaks down. Either is reorganizes itself or it dies. He offered the example of pollution which he stated, can collapse our present experience with weather conditions. This system variation presently is hardest on the very poor.

He then expanded on a description of our present state of affairs noting again the four stages of systemic change:

  • accumulation – eg. technology changes our relationships, expands our resources and influences population growth; this stage requires mastery of our resources.
  • impact – outcome of above, which segregates, concentrates; traditional ways become less effective
  • transformation – a period full of surprises
  • destabilization

We have two choices: breakdown (collective suicide) or breakthrough. If we persist in traditional morality, destabilization increases. We are on razor’s edge. Some ominous signs of today. Ecologically, the world can probably sustain about 3 billion people at present US standards. Yet, there seems to be no accounting for our unsustainable practices, our ecological footprint (the ecological cost of maintaining something) Furthermore, the US, the biggest cosumer dropped out of UNITAR at the point when there was an attempt to develop a dialogue around a new economic order. This has led to greater bifurcation.

In the past we have had long periods of stability with short periods of change. These periods are getting shorter which is reducing our adaptive time. Man has had 10,000 years of some elemental recorded history. In the last 200, human beings have sought to master the biosphere. Military might and political power, so-called hard factors, have determined historical development. Somehwere around l860, we changed the balance in the biosphere. The process whereby dominance held sway can be called extensive evolution. In this trend, economics imposes its way of living. We are overshooting and will reach collapse sooner than expected. We have only a couple of years to change our social/eco system.

What is needed is intensive evolution, a process that goes deeper into our social system. It evolves society rather than conquers society by means of connection, communication, comprehension. The soft factors of values, ethics, people thinking in more truthful ways is required. As we take actions for rights, we bind these rights with responsibilities. How can we bring about a higher culture of responsibility? Live in a way that others may live. Shift from the shareholder perspective to the stakeholder one.

Some hopeful signs may be noted in the sharp increase in the “cultural creatives” in the US, from 5 million in l965 to 50 million in 2000. Can we move into a planetary ethic? To do so will require moving beyond the liberal ethic of live and let live. We must agree to subject ourselves to a more universal morality. We can no longer equate material input with quality of life. Our discourse for everyday living will come neither from the academy or the church . . . It will come from a common sense of the heart. Corporations will shift from maximizing profit to manging profit structure.

NB. Steve Grof’s book, Consciousness Revolution, especially the last chapter.

Over 60 people were in attendance, coffee, cookies, and light refreshments were served which added warmth and a sense of community in celebration of the holiday season.

The Club of Budapest organised a signing and sale of Dr. Laszlo’s latest book.