Joanna Macy: “We are living through a third revolution which will be more radical than the previous ones. »

- through Henry Oudin

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Taking part in the change of direction, in the transition from a society of self-destructive industrial growth to a society compatible with life, means recognizing, above all, our pain for the earth, instead of repressing it, insists Joanna Macy, the initiator Work that connects, in the interview she gave us.

Could you give us an overview of the methods and process of the Work that connects?

It's about empowering people to feel and share with others their deepest feelings about the dangers that threaten our planet. Far from destroying us, only this feeling allows us to discover and experience the innate connections that link us with the systemic self-healing forces of the web of life. We provide people with methods that enable them to experience this interdependence and their responsibility to past and future generations and to other forms of life.

When we open ourselves to the existence of the future and the past, the deep connection with our ancestors and with future generations is a source of power. Our true nature is much older and more inclusive than our isolated person. We are intrinsic to our living world like trees and rivers, woven from the same complex flows of matter-energy and spirit. This work bears witness to the fact that we can suffer with our world. “To suffer with” being the translation of compassion. It allows us to free ourselves from the erroneous belief of separation and to identify with the ecological self, according to the vocabulary of deep ecology. It generates creativity, releases our inner strength and creates human solidarity to work on the Change of course.

What is this Change of course that you mention? Is this an ecological transition?

The Shift is the name we have given to evoke the transition from a society of self-destructive industrial growth to a society that sustains life. This is a crucial moment. While the agricultural revolution, which occurred 10 years ago, took place over several centuries, and the industrial revolution took place over several generations, this ecological revolution must occur in the space of a few years.

“As depressing as the reality may seem, you only truly lock yourself into depression if you refuse to act, if you tie yourself up. »

We are currently experiencing this third revolution which will be more radical than the previous ones, because it does not only concern economic policy, but also the habits and values ​​that support it. Something very significant for our future is happening. This revolution comes at a time when a gradual destruction of life is taking place on our planet – what I call the great unraveling – which is happening unnoticed.

Is this transition already well advanced in your eyes?

Yes, but it is not perceived by the man in the street because the media controlled by the big companies does not report it. It results in the emergence of new ways of thinking, doing and relating to others and to the world.

In the spring of 2012, you published a book entitled active hope, which has just been translated into French. What do you mean by active hope? How is active expectation different from hope?

Active expectation does not refer to something that you own, but to something that you achieve, that you build. It is quite possible to take part in the change of course even when we have no more hope and are brooding. American culture, which is mine, places a lot of importance on optimism seen as a sign of good mental health and as a recipe for success. Hope and despair are just feelings. We must not allow them to bully us and prevent us from acting. One can act perfectly for the survival of life, even when one experiences a feeling of despair or great pessimism. We are living beings on a living earth. We are nourished by life, by this living system which is our larger body. As depressing as the reality may seem, you only truly lock yourself into depression if you refuse to act, if you tie yourself up.

In your book, you mention the need for contemplation and wonder. Why are they so important to act for the maintenance of life?

It's about turning despair into "empowerment" according to the English word, or "empowerment" in Quebec. The journey that we propose takes place in four stages: from wonder to the recognition of suffering which allows you to change your outlook, then to engage. Recognition and wonder is an essential process common to all religions and wisdom traditions. Anthropologists have pointed out that the first movement of the human spirit is that of questioning and wonder. We can see with our eyes and hear with our hearing. Unfortunately, in the current capitalist system, these senses are atrophied. The engine of capitalism is dissatisfaction. This one only works as much as men feel dissatisfied and incomplete. And to compensate for this dissatisfaction, they keep buying. The whole edifice rests on advertising which makes us believe that we never have enough, that we always need more to exist. Wonder is a truly revolutionary and politically subversive act; it allows us to awaken to the essential and to watch over the essential, so that we never lose contact with the unspeakable.

Is it about letting the world act through us?

When, in the second phase of the Work which connects, we recognize the sorrow and the anguish which we feel in front of the degradation of our environment, if we choose not to repress this one, but to come to terms with it by looking at it face, this feeling becomes distinct from the ego. With this new sensitivity, having regained our personal power, we are ready for the right action that needs to be done here and now. Commitment allows us to experience the feeling that something is acting through us. And the more we put ourselves at the service of the Earth and of humanity, the more we become ourselves.

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Henry Oudin

Henry Oudin is a Buddhist scholar, spiritual adventurer and journalist. He is a passionate seeker of the depths of Buddhist wisdom, and travels regularly to learn more about Buddhism and spiritual cultures. By sharing his knowledge and life experiences on Buddhist News, Henry hopes to inspire others to embrace more spiritual and mindful ways of living.

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