“The true gravity of crisis we call modern life”

Joanna Macy Portrait by Robert Shetterly

Dahr Jamail writes in his article, ‘On Staying Sane in a Suicidal Culture’ of meeting Joanna Macy –  Buddhist scholar, Eco-Philosopher and activist. Over tea she opened a door that began a process that allowed him to express the emotions he was carrying from his work as a journalist covering the Iraq war. He later attended a workshop led my Macy during which she said,

“The most radical thing any of us can do at this time is to be fully present to what is happening in the world.”

He then related,

“For me, the price of admission into that present was allowing my heart to break. But then I saw how despair transforms, in the face of overwhelming social and ecological crises, into clarity of vision, then into constructive, collaborative action.”

Jamail’s article explores Joanna Macy’s ‘The Work that Reconnects’ and how her project allows one to see the world with clear eyes, walking the middle path between destruction and rebirth.

“Never before in history has humankind found itself amidst such a convergence of crises: runaway ACD [anthropogenic climate disruption], the global economy in chronic crisis, deepening militarism and surveillance, and a growing lack of food and water as the global population continues to explode.

While a great percentage of the population remains unaware that upward of 200 species are being made extinct each day, even greater numbers of people are ignorant to the very real possibility that humans may well be included in that number some day, whether it be from global thermonuclear war or runaway ACD.

Hence, Macy believes nothing short of a radical shift in consciousness is mandatory.

“What I’m witnessing is that this uncertainty is a great liberating gift to the psyche and the spirit,” she said. “It’s walking the razor’s edge of the sacred moment where you don’t know, you can’t count on, and comfort yourself with any sure hope. All you can know is your allegiance to life and your intention to serve it in this moment that we are given. In that sense, this radical uncertainty liberates your creativity and courage.”

Read Dahr Jamail’s  article here.


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