In recent decades, a revolution in our understanding of human nature has produced evidence from neuroscience to anthropology that we have all the social “wiring” needed to make the turn toward life. It turns out we’ve evolved to take pleasure in and to need cooperation, empathy, fairness, and efficacy.Yes, there has been much encouraging research findings regarding human nature and it is necessary that we think about the implications of this research for social change. This article, while inspirational, suggests mostly conventional methods to bring about social change.
Then what is preventing us from moving toward the world that almost all of us want? My short answer is that we feel powerless. We feel powerless to act on what we know.
And what robs us of power?
...we can each press our representatives to get on board. We can make campaign finance reform a sexy, compelling issue, knowing it’s needed to move on everything from serious climate-change legislation to remaking our banking system.If the history of the US in the past 50 years has taught anything at all, it is the futility of working through the existing political system. That is why people feel powerless. We must come up with alternative methods if we are to accomplish anything, and especially to rid ourselves of this sense of powerlessness.
The Simpler Way model at the top right of this blog offers some constructive ideas, but we need many more. We need many more people working on alternative ideas and methods in order to harness our new understandings of human nature to the critical task of changing our societies whose ruling classes seem hell-bent on letting capitalism run us off the cliffs of climate change and environmental degradation.