Right now humanity is faced with many existential problems such as resource depletion, climate change, imminent economic collapse and rising social injustice. When we look at these problems from the perspective of the separate, disconnected, traumatized individual and his isolated mind all these problems seem insoluble; we can only conclude that the likely outcome will be total system collapse, widespread ecological destruction and/or the decimation of the human population.
From the perspective of the separate, isolated, disconnected individual and his control based mind the only solutions to these problems are top-down control based solution such as geo-engineering, totalitarian social engineering, forcible population control or abandoning the planet entirely. Ironically, the disconnected control based mind gains little comfort from these solutions, as he often recognizes that they are in fact highly impractical.
When we shift to a more connected ecological self and expand our identity to include our wider community and even to include non-human life our perspective on the situation may radically change. Although the situation is still a serious one with many difficulties to overcome, it may become apparent that there is narrow chance that bottom-up community and grassroots solutions to human and ecological problems may become effective if we work together as a community and work together with the intelligence of nature rather than against it.
In fact right now we have answers to most of our problems. We have effective conflict resolution techniques to help us to create decentralized benevolent forms of governance, deep ecology practices to help people reconnect with nature, renewable technologies, permaculture based food production systems which would also allow us to regenerate soil and ecosystems and sustainable, non-growth based socially just economic solutions. All that we lack at present is the widespread application of these ideas.
These radical ideas are the vanguard, which may one day become the mainstream. In the future all those things which the mainstream world has cast aside may be raised up and will be put to the work of the restoration and repair of community and of nature.
Widespread social change requires us to work together as a community. From the perspective of the isolated disconnected mind this is impossible, because the isolated disconnected mind does not engage with community and from its perspective community does not exist. In a sense the disconnected individual is a skeptic in the philosophical sense. The disconnected individual doubts the existence of community in the same way Descartes doubted the existence of exterior reality in his meditations. This skepticism about community, generated by trauma and disconnection, is what lead Margaret Thatcher to once make the absurd statement that ‘there is no society, only individuals.’
When we begin to move away from disconnection and towards interbeing a new perspective on reality may emerge. When we shift into connection with nature and begin to work together with our community it may become clearly apparent that when many individuals work together as a community, and when many communities work together as a collective, it can create emergent change at the level of the whole system. These emergent changes cannot be predicted from the lower levels of the system, and from the perspective of the disconnected individual they are in fact invisible. From the perspective of the isolated disconnected individual large scale social change is impossible. From the perspective of the someone who is connected to their community it may become apparent that large scale social change arises at an emergent level when many individuals begin collaborating together.
We all know at some level that a better world is possible (even though it is uncertain) but sometimes we doubt it. The dreams, visions and stories of a more beautiful world which we hear sense, see or feel at first appear as a signal which we pick up intermittently. They appear at first to not be entirely ontologically stable; they seem to flicker in and out of existence. As we move deeper into connection with life and with nature we begin to pick up a more and more stable and continuous signal. The reason that visions of a more beautiful world appear as an intermittent signal at first is because they are a message sent back in time from the future. Visions of the more beautiful world move as if backwards in time and they work to create the effect of what Plato called anamnesia, the reversal of amnesia; they remind of something we already know at the deepest level of our being. They are a message from the the emergent level, from the ancient future, from the new world which is trying to bring itself into being.
It is not necessary for everyone to shift into a new perspective of reality at once for social change to become mainstream. It only will only initially require somewhere between one in thirty to one in a hundred people to recreate community, connect people together and facilitate psychological, spiritual, economic or social change. Some time after one person in a hundred has woken up, the process of awakening may become emergent and may spread through the whole system, rapidly increasing social integration and diversity, creating negative entropy, reversing social and ecological destruction, and eventually greatly reducing separation and disconnection.