2011 #2 - Birth Pangs of a New Consciousness
We live in a time of rapid change – change which includes shifts in consciousness, with corresponding new trends and influences. Two important energies which are becoming more available are that of organization and of synthesis. Partly because they are relatively unfamiliar, humanity is still learning to apply these energies, and sometimes the results are less than ideal. So for example, synthesis is a unifying force, but can be used as a regimenting, standardising force, and this can work out in creating rather rigid bureaucracies which are unable to cope with common sense exceptions. This idea is explored further in Fluid Bureaucracies for a Creative Age.
Another important dimension of the growth in human consciousness is the capacity to understand events and their underlying causes more clearly. Not only is the reach of the media increasing, but public consciousness is becoming ever more discerning in its grasp of what media presents to it. With this ability to understand comes also increased responsibility for our words. Speaking out, voicing an opinion, is a potent form of action, and one which is becoming more available as electronic forms of communication expand and diversify. Coupled with this is the growth in the individual’s sense of self, of the unique contribution he or she can bring to any public discussion of important issues. There is a danger that this growth in the number, force and distinctiveness of voices may become a clamorous roar which drowns out common sense. The antidote to this is for all concerned to approach discussion with goodwill as the keynote – allowing differing opinions not just to be noted, but fully heard and appreciated. Goodwill – the Foundation of an Enlightened Public Opinion and The Crisis of Disclosure explore these ideas in more depth.
The idea of the Common Good is one which is becoming increasingly important as humanity recognizes the limits of planetary resources and the necessity for sharing them, and economist Jeffrey Sachs’ book on this theme is reviewed. Also included is a brief introduction to the World Goodwill blog, Goodwill in Action, and news about the updating of the booklet Techniques of Goodwill.
The mobilising of goodwill is closely linked with the power of public opinion. There may be many reasons for linking goodwill to public opinion, but one which especially speaks to the current times is that we cannot count upon our leaders, particularly in government, to resolve all world problems. The issues are so pervasive and of such critical importance that the resolution of the problems lies in nothing less than the transformation of human consciousness.
As rapid communication systems have increased in speed and capacity, a natural corollary has been greater accessibility to information that was previously concealed and the opportunity to disseminate it to all corners of the earth. With a single, effortless click on the computer keyboard, information that can have profound and far-reaching consequences becomes available to all. This demonstrates the force of information and naturally raises questions of discrimination and responsibility.
Embedded as we are within our societies and ways of life, it can be difficult to step outside and view changes in consciousness, especially major changes, in a dispassionate, detached way. But it is important to attempt to do this, in order to sense the direction of change, and possible obstacles. This is especially important at a time of transition such as we face now, where human consciousness is being re-vitalised, with all the attendant disruption in existing institutions.
One of World Goodwill’s abiding purposes is the mobilisation of goodwill in the world. As part of this remit, we seek to inform our contacts of the many worthwhile initiatives around the world being pursued by individuals and groups on behalf of the Common Good.
"The defining challenge of the 21st century will be to face the reality that humanity shares a common fate on a crowded planet.” This assertion is made by Jeffrey Sachs in his book Common Wealth (Penguin, 2008).
World Goodwill is pleased to announce the updating and re-publication of its booklet, Techniques of Goodwill. Focusing on such timeless principles as Unity, Creativity and Sharing, this booklet presents a series of reflections on how goodwill can be nurtured and practically applied in service in any circumstance.