This post (and the sub-title of this blog) shares a title with the book of the same name by Charles Eisenstein. I first encountered these words in another book of his, The Ascent of Humanity, and immediately loved them. If you are at all interested in the themes of this blog, I cannot recommend these books, and Eisenstein in general, enough.
This term, The More Beautiful World Our Hearts Know is Possible, is his. And I am unabashedly hopping on its bandwagon. He has written quite a bit about what it means to him, and I have found his doing so to be inspiring, enlightening, and affirming. So much so that I want to share what it means to me.
At its simplest level, it is my knowledge that the world could be a so much better place than it is. If we were so motivated, we have the capability to completely reinvent the human condition as it is now as well as heal the biosphere. Almost all of the problems facing the world today are human caused. Can we even begin to imagine what the world might be like if we stopped causing them? Or began to instead seek to make life as amazing as possible for each other? I have a hint of an intuition, but I know the realization of this possibility is so incredible that I cannot begin to grasp what it might look like.
The world is the way it now for very good reasons, and in no way am I suggesting that we abandon our hard won gifts of hand and mind. What I am saying is that if we take an honest look around us we find that there are many large problems facing us that are only getting worse. What has worked for us ever since the advent of agriculture is no longer helping us, it is hurting us and our planet.
For me at least, whenever I witness injustice or hear about some avoidable tragedy, I can’t help but think there could be another way. A better way. A more beautiful way. That is what Eisenstein’s phrase means to me: there is a better way than what we are currently collectively doing. And I want to do everything I can to help bring this more beautiful world into being.
This is not just about feeding the hungry and saving the rainforest, it is also about restoring our happiness. I think we all feel it, a nagging sense that life is supposed to be more than what is offered to us. We all have those rare moments when the humdrumness of life stops for a bit and we experience a pure joy just for being alive. But for me at least, those moments don’t come that often. But I think they could.
What I have found is the structure of our socioeconomic systems actively works against my more noble aspirations. It makes me more self-centered, and more afraid that I won’t be able to get by or be happy.
When we submit to lesser lives, we cannot avoid a sense of self betrayal: that we are complicit in the plunder of our most precious possession. The roles society offers do not befit the divine beings that we are. It is not merely that a career as a retail clerk is beneath my dignity; it is beneath anyone’s dignity.
-Charles Eisenstein, The Ascent of Humanity
While I have no idea what shape it will take, I KNOW, to the core of my being, that there exists a world in which no one has to wash dishes for 8 hours a day, or cut down rainforest to provide for their family, or have children starving to death daily.
There exists a world that recognizes the inherent worth and dignity of all people, rooted in the knowledge that we are connected to all things, and what we do to others and the planet we also do unto ourselves. That humans – all of us – are meant for so much more than just to get by and survive.
So I ask you: what do you think would make the world a more beautiful place? And what are you doing to make that a reality?