Charles Eisenstein Essay about XR and the Revolution of Love

Charles Eisenstein has influenced my thinking a lot about the ecological emergency we are in. I utterly recommend his book “Climate, A new Story” and think it is vital reading.
I just found this essay of his about XR (given in Berlin to XR there last year) and think it may be useful to engage in.

Here it is. Let us discuss


Thanks Andy. I disagree with a lot of what Charles Eisenstein says (I couldn’t finish Climate - A New Story as I found it so intellectually frustrating (not to be confused with intellectually confronting)). The first paragraph in that essay linked is indicative of why I find him problematic as a thinker. But I don’t doubt his earnestness and sincerity. Thanks for sharing.

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Yep, I’ve read it, I’m into it! There are obviously things I don’t agree with, but on the whole I think it points to a place we need to get to.

With utmost respect to Jaron about his opinion (because we’re all legends here hahaha), I think that the point is that if you’re going to intellectually interrogate the book, then you’re almost missing the point. Culturally we only accept an intellectual way of being, it is seen as the pinnacle of human existence, and I’m not going to start saying “oh we need to just not be intellectual” because we’ve done incredible things with this. However, we have lost the ability be other ways in the world because we don’t value anything else. When we talk about Indigenous cultures and their different ways of being, and how it’s important to give space to that and understand, but we are at the same time perpetuating the view in our own culture that intellectualising is the most valuable and important way of being – then we are just perpetuating the same hierarchy that puts our way of being above their way of being, and leaves no room for even the concept that we may actually be the ones that have something to learn.

Of course there is an irony in having to write a book to attempt to intellectually argue for something that is not intellectual, but it’s the only way we know how to “understand”. So it’s an imperfect arrow that points to something, the arrow isn’t the point of the book, the direction it points to is.

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Wow. This speaks straight to my truth. Thank you for sharing Andy! You invite discussion. Well here goes (acknowledging that this article and discussion are intellectual in nature and therefore potentially exclusive) This article gives voice to thoughts that have been bubbling inside me. Here are three propositions for discussion. One, that it’s not all about climate change - it’s about the damage we are doing to Mother Earth because of our false sense of separation. Two, that our tendency to judge others is actually war-like in nature. Better to try to overcome the feeling that we are ‘right’ and come from a place of unity, healing and love. Thirdly that we have put science on a pedestal it doesn’t deserve. When you actually look at the research it is rarely unbiased, like everything else it is a creature of our socialised world. There were lots of reflections on XR here, including that by making ‘demands’ you assume someone has the power to meet those demands, thereby reinforcing perceived power in the system. :pray::clap:

I too feel the words of Eisenstein deep in my bones. Having said that I am disturbed at the manner in which he situates his vision of a world more beautiful at odds to the work of Extinction Rebellion. I am quite comfortable using the language of demands as a way to speak truth to power. I feel ‘demands’ as a core, visceral experience in my body - my right as a sovereign being to not move or turn away from the injustice I see before me. This does not need to be a blaming, violent act - just a clear statement of my truth about love and care for what I value. The 3rd demand speaks to the first step in dismantling the power structure that is not serving us… We have to begin somewhere!

I also felt a bit cross when Eisenstein began listing priorities and placed climate amelioration as the 4th priority. I felt it was a bit condescending for him to point out the previous steps would work to help with this 4th priority - as if this was an idea most of us missed. Our demands always state climate and ecological action is required. Of course given the crowd-sourced wisdom of a citizen’s assembly all of the priorities he lists would be in the discussion. Drawdown (Paul Hawkin’s book) list many, many actions that would have positive ecological and climate impact. This is not new - although I appreciate the clear articulation of the danger if a narrow focus (replace carbon with other energy sources and carry on) if feel the focus offered by XR in the three demands (possibly soon to be four) is vital at this juncture. It does not mean that we cannot hold the bigger vision which I believe is captured in our principles and values.