Ways to Contribute to Social Transformation

social transformation

Social Transformation: The Great Turning

Our society is in the midst of a major historical transformation, often called the Great Turning. In this time of breakdown and transition, in this time of ferment and hope, you may feel concern, even passion and want to help, but you may not know what you can do.

This is because we have too narrow a view of what it means to contribute to social transformation. We tend to think that it has to be done through “political” channels—through canvassing, demonstrating, or writing letters, through working for candidates or activist groups. We think that our ordinary lives have little to do with social change. We can’t imagine other ways of aiding the transformation.

Limited Model of Social Change

This is a limited model of social change. If you want incremental change, you work for reform through established political channels. If you want large scale change, you organize and demonstrate as an activist. But we need whole-system transformation. It isn’t just certain governmental policies that need to change; it isn’t even just our political and economic system as a whole that needs to change, though it does. Far more than that is obsolete at this time. All our institutions and social structures must transform–our schools, our businesses, our gender roles, our ways of relating to each other, the way we treat our bodies and emotions, the way we relate to the natural
world, and ultimately our view of the nature of reality.

Social Change is Broad and Deep

Since the level of social change is broad and deep, the ways of contributing to change are many. The social structures and ways of being that are changing as part of the ferment of our times are highly interconnected, and everything we do in our lives contributes to and affects the larger direction of society. Everything we do that promotes a new, more appropriate way of being is a contribution to social change—from the way we relate to our kids to the products we buy, from the investments we make to the vacations we take, from the work we do to the way we care for your health, and much, much more.

How to Contribute to Social Transformation

We can contribute to social transformation by transforming our worldview and changing our lifestyle to one that promotes the new transformed society that is being born. We can contribute by helping to create healthy alternatives on a small scale—democratic organizations, inclusive communities, alternative monetary systems, technologies that are aligned with the earth, and many other possibilities. And of course, we can contribute by working to transform existing institutions.

Upcoming Seminar

This will be discussed in my upcoming seminar:How to Change the World without (Necessarily) Being an Activist, Tuesday, Sept. 27,4:30-6:30 pm pacific time (7:30-9:30 pm eastern).