Attitudes and Processes in the Great Turning Movement

This article is based on my ideas about the Great Turning Movement. If you aren’t familiar with them, click here.

In the social movement for the Great Turning, we need to integrate the following two poles:

1. Each person and group will choose the actions they feel called to take based on their passion and their understanding of their life purpose.

2. The movement is coherent and works together for its larger goal.

The movement will need to have play, dancing, singing, art, storytelling, theater, meeting in nature, and other fun activities. so that we will love being part of it. I imagine that being in the movement will be joyful and deeply satisfying.

Spirituality

I believe that the movement must be spiritual. I see the widespread interest in experiential spirituality today as an indication that it will be part of the new culture that is emerging in this next era of social evolution. Up until recently, for most people, spirituality meant following a set of religious rules or ethics, while experiential spiritual practice was relegated to the few monks and nuns at the mystical core of each religion. Now spiritual development is becoming democratized, with large numbers of people participating.

Joanna Macy’s work is a great model for including spirituality in activism. Some indigenous groups have also shown us how this can be done, as happened at Standing Rock.

Spirituality often includes having some sense of a higher power or deep source where we are all interconnected in love. It means being open, caring, loving, conscious, and present, and not rigidly attached to your identity, at least some of the time. The movement won’t foist spirituality or religion on anyone. People will be free to relate to spirit in their own way or not, though some Great Turning groups may be based on a certain spiritual path or religion.

Some people sense an unseen force or flow, perhaps evolutionary, which is moving us toward the Great Turning. At times, we may open ourselves to this to guide us.

Ideally, we would be able to view a person who is doing harm as a human being who is struggling with life circumstances and being driven by unconscious pain. We could be open to them as people while not losing sight of destructive things they are doing that must be stopped. The same applies to people in the movement who may act in ways that harm it.

We want to avoid unnecessarily making other people into enemies in our minds. On the other hand, we need to recognize when someone is truly an enemy of the movement and life, where it would be foolish to try to cooperate with them.

Experimenting

Not only do we need to be open to experimenting with various proposed structures for a regenerative society, we also need to experiment with different ways for the movement to operate and strategies for reaching our goals. In this proposal, I am laying out my ideas for how this might work best, but I don’t imagine that these will be final. There will be much discussion within the movement aimed at coming up with the most effective approaches and structures for various situations. But even beyond discussion, we must try out different ideas to see what works.

For example, I have focused a lot on Great Turning groups and personal development of change agents, changing people’s worldviews and consciousness, and the creation of alternative social structures. One of my colleagues, Michael Goldstein, has focused more on political goals, local chapters, and the movement taking power. For a while, these differences were resolved by discussion, but now Michael has left the Great Turning Network. However, we continue to meet and discuss ideas. Unlike those old radical splinter groups that disdained each other, we will keep in touch, learn from each other, and see which approaches work best under which circumstances.