Collective Well-Being

A Paradigm Shift

Hey Baby Girl,

I posted this on my FB page today. It was something I wanted to share with you…I was greatly impacted emotionally and mentally when I read these two essays, and I’d love to know your thoughts on these ideas. 

Anthropocene Thinking of Homo Dilatus…

Two essays – one by Daniel Goleman and the other by Alun Anderson in the book edited by John Brockman.

They both really had an impact on me. I feel like my body is absorbing the information, trying to connect all the dots between the two essays and extract how I can apply the wisdom and information into my own life and endeavors.

Antrhopocene Thinking “views how human systems affect the global systems that sustain life.” Currently, there are nine global life-support systems “under attack by our daily habits.” These systems include fresh water, land use, and biodiversity, to name a few (also climate change – the most well-known).

The issues aren’t necessarily a given within the offending systems. Rather, the problem of correction really “lies in our neural architecture.”

Our brains are still reacting to immediate threats, like bears and spiders. 

Evolution has not caught up to the Anthropocene era, so our brains don’t register the dangers of today’s threats, which “are too macro or micro for our sensory apparatus.”

While science acknowledges and addresses the big picture to some degree, it doesn’t much touch upon “the root of the problem – human behavior.”

“With a focus on Anthropocene theory and practice, [relevant scientific fields (like economics, neuroscience, social psychology, and cognitive science)] might well contribute species saving insights.”

That is a REALLY BIG deal, my friends. Let the implications sink in.

To add a deeper level, we include Homo Dilatus, “the procrastinating ape.” AKA: you and me.

“Why act now, when the future is far off?” is the maxim for a species designed to deal with near-term problems and not long-term uncertainties.”

The pattern Alun Anderson is pointing out is that without a crisis (i.e. Titanic, Exxon Valdez, Hurricane Katrina, etc.) we do little to nothing. “Disaster first, regulations later.”

I’m sure you can think of plenty of examples of this not only on a grand scale, but in your own life.

With the idea of Homo Dilatus in mind, it seems we are doomed in the Antrhopocene era, since we won’t do anything to prevent the fall of our own species until we are real-time in a crisis.

How do we shift our paradigm to one where long-term is more important than short term? What language do we need to convince our brains that spiders are not the problem, but disappearing fresh water around the earth IS? Does that language already exist? Is it a matter of creating new associations in our collective mind? How do we do that? Is it a matter of Neuro-Linguistic Programming? Or is it something more complex? Would it change in [sufficient] time if we started raising our children to think of the long road, rather than just the short one directly in their field of vision?

What is one thing YOU think we can start doing today to generate this shift toward our collective well-being?

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