Photo: Fire Brolga http://bangarra.com.au
At the very core of every civilisation lies a theory of human nature and a cosmology — the foundation stories of who we are and where we came from. These stories are the ultimate source of the unifying narratives of our societies. They are explicitly or implicitly manifest in the cultural practices of society; its public ceremonies, its performing and visual arts, its literature, its music, its popular culture.
In today’s globalised world these stories typically reflect the values of a colonising, commercial monoculture — unending growth, competition, heroic individualism, and limitless consumption — that has swept away so many alternative ways of being.
A story of eco-mutuality
Upending centuries of cultural orthodoxy in the industrial world will involve a shift from the crippling conceit that we are the exception, standing outside and above nature, to a story of eco-mutuality – a mutually enhancing human-Earth relationship that restores our place as a co-creative partner within the planet's community of life.
Contemporary science has unfolded for us an origin story of breath-taking magnificence. This story shows us that our human journey on planet Earth has seen the emergence of a uniquely reflexive consciousness, embedded in our many cultures, and complementing the great diversity of non-human adaptive intelligences with which it has co-evolved.
The virtual habitat of human culture has become the primary vehicle of our continuing evolution. We are now both the subject and author of our part in a bigger evolutionary story.
Now, the Earth calls us to mobilise this consciousness to creatively refashion this medium of our own evolution by restoring values of eco-mutuality at the core of our shared human culture.
But there can be no guarantees. The fossil and genetic record tells us that species are transient and evolution's unfolding uncertain. There have been many failed experiments in life's story on Earth.
But there can be no guarantees. The fossil and genetic
record tells us that species are transient and evolution's unfolding uncertain. There have been many failed experiments in life's story on Earth.
Only by a conscious act of cultural transformation can we avoid evolution's verdict on the human experiment. We will consciously rejoin the mainstream of life's co-creative unfolding on Earth, or become an evolutionary dead-end.
This is the great story for our times. And, as North American performance poet Drew Dellinger reminds us, “the future belongs to the most compelling story”.
Creative expressions of Earth consciousness are limitless, as can be seen in the great diversity of its manifestations around the world involving the full spectrum of artistic forms — music, performance, dance, visual arts, ritual, digital and screen-based media.
In some cultures the emphasis is on artistic expression and celebration. In others more overtly spiritual forms are seen. All have a part to play in weaving the fabric of a renewed culture.
The border zones where cultures, ideologies, and religions clash, where communities and nations compete for advantage or survival, so often become the killing fields. But they can also be spaces of creative engagement, of renewal, where surprising new cultural syntheses emerge and evolutionary breakthroughs occur.
Finding new forms of co-creation
Creation is not a singular event, but an on-going universal process within which each one of us has a part to play. As the ancient stories tell us, we issued from a creative universe and can continue only as participants in its inexorable creativity.
There is no blueprint to guide us in this task of co-creation. It will be a learning journey along a path we must invent as we go. By its very nature, it is a collaborative undertaking. Finding ways to more fully manifest this collective creativity to serve the future of our species within planetary boundaries is the key challenge before us.
Be part of the evolution of this website
This page will showcase selected ways in which people and communities are co-creating new stories of humankind's place in the web of life. If you are involved in or know about such projects please use this form to share the details. Remember to provide links and/or contacts.