Revolutionary Change

The Great Transformation and The New Story

Principles of the New Paradigm

Presencing the Future

The Feminine

Bearing Witness


































About Rabia

RabiaWhy there’s reason to hope
We are tumbling through a time of chaotic, disorienting change. Even our most powerful decision makers seem unable to turn our global civilization from its self-destructive course. There is, however, a new and powerful force—an alternative vision of the meaning of human life—that is gaining strength around the world and giving rise to entirely new and different ways of organizing the way we live.

The last 100 years has seen a powerful—and enormously creative—synergy between the new findings of Western science and the spiritual insights of the East. From this historic co-incidence a beautiful, optimistic and life-giving story has emerged with the capacity to guide us through this chaotic period in human history.

In the last 30 years more than 2 million people, working through both large and small grass roots projects around the world, have been helping to spread parts of this revolutionary new story about planetary life and our human role within it.* This is an astoundingly short period of time for such a profound shift in human consciousness to get seeded so widely. It is a sign of hope—and of how hungry we all are for a sense of purpose that is in tune with the health of the rest of Nature.

However, despite this remarkable trend, most politicians, the mass media, and even many people working sincerely for positive change seem blind to this monumental shift in consciousness—and to the extraordinary demands it will place on our familiar ways of organizing human life.

Visionaries such as Thomas Berry, Sr. Mariam McGillis, Brian Swimme, Joanna Macy, Mary Ellen Tucker, Peter Senge, and Meg Wheatly speak clearly about the magnitude and importance of this historical paradigm shift.

These men and women, and their students and colleagues, have begun to articulate its deeper meanings—including the far-reaching effects it will have for large corporations, global agriculture, educational systems, banking structures, religious beliefs, defense systems, and virtually every other way we structure our communal lives.

Fr. Thomas Berry called these revolutionary changes we are living through “The Great Work” of our time. Along with many other anthropologists, scientists and historians, he concluded that such a radical shift in human understanding last occurred approximately 9,000 years ago, when environmental and social changes required our ancestors to shift from hunting and gathering to an agrarian way of life, and a patriarchal value system.

The mechanistic world view
Another shift in global consciousness began in Europe about 400 years ago, when scientific thought collided head-on with the beliefs and authority of the Roman Catholic Church. The new cultural story that emerged from the European economic and religious powers of that era completely separated the material word from the spiritual domain.

Philosophical, scientific, and religious teachings implied that the Earth was no more than a dead rock floating in space—the non-living backdrop to the all-important human drama. Humans (or white males, at any rate) were thought to have a spark of spirit, a soul, which made us so different from the rest of the material world that there was no need to comply with its ecological principles.

As spirit and matter were separated, so were humans and nature. Over the last centuries, in the”civilized” world, the gods were banished from the groves so that land and trees, water and animals might be used for commercial enterprise.

After the medieval period, with the growth of modernity, the value of women and the Feminine Principle were devalued along with nature. This was well expressed in Francis Bacon’s infamous comment: “We shall rape nature and wrest her secrets from her.” This devaluation seems to have reached its zenith in the 17th and 18th centuries, when millions of girls and women were tortured and murdered across Europe, accused of being witches and whores of Satan.

Many of these women were crones and elder widows, who depended on the commons for their food supply. Others were midwives and healers—work associated with the feminine for millennia—who were now seen as competition to the growing scientific professionalism of new “male-only” fields such as surgery and medicine. Still other females, who were burned in town squares, were young girls whose looks were tempting or whose effect on males made them feel uncomfortable.

The domination over women and nature continued abreast, as mechanization slowly shifted daily life and devalued relationship in the name of efficiency and individualism. Henry Ford’s assembly line in 1913 was a final insult to human life, disconnecting both men and women from the natural satisfaction of making something whole.

Today, the mechanistic values and patriarchal structures of the past centuries have reached their end time. Not only are the old beliefs unable to explain reality or guide our decisions, they have brought us to the edge of catastrophic environmental breakdown.

The Great Work of our time
Fortunately, at this moment in time, while all is at risk, we are inspired by a breathtaking scientific and spiritual expansion in our understanding of the meaning of human life within a radiantly alive and spiritual universe. This new revelation of a totally interrelated and self-evolving planet comes at the very same moment that humanity must, for the first time, work together on a global scale to reframe how we organize human life.

Our challenge, our great work, during this inescapable and revolutionary time is to come to ever greater awareness about this life-giving New Story and what it means to be the human part of a totally interconnected living Earth.

Today as a species we are poised to become a conscious agent in the advance of evolution. We are at the chaos point—a crucial tipping point in the evolution of the whole Earth System. We cannot return to prior states and modes of behavior. Either we evolve to more cooperative and more sustainable states of life, or the human and the Earth system will breakdown and devolve together.

As more men and women realize the extent of the changes that must be made, we see different responses. Some people look for partners with whom they can work to meet these challenges. Others find the future simply too frightening and the options too unknown or unappetizing to change. They remain in denial or cling more and more tightly to distorted notions of the past. Many who can demonstrate remarkable greed, accumulating more and more wealth for themselves and their families.

However, no one person, no one religion, organization or political system can know how to turn this tide. What we do know is that any future vision will need to accommodate significant diversity throughout the planet, including a diversity of points of view within the human realm. The solutions are not to be found in a monoculture—something both conservatives and progressives would do well to remember.

What remains of ecological and cultural diversity must be protected while we gain greater insight into the meaning of the Great Transformation that is occurring. The New Story is a universal story, one that must hold our differences while guiding our collective decisions.

The work ahead for those of us who want to live to see a more sustainable and sensitive future will almost certainly look less like social advocacy—lobbying for our own righteous, but limited, points of view—and more like peacemaking with those who look and think very differently from ourselves.

Waking Up Together hopes to make this website into one of the “go to” places for understanding the New Story and the implications of this revolution for our lives and our children’s. We hope it will serve as a treasure of videos and writings and a network for others working in this area of the revolution.

*Paul Hawken, Blessed Unrest