As most of you know, for two years, I have been holed away, writing a new book, The Bond. Now that it’s done, I want to tell you a little about this project and why I wrote this book.
All of us now sense that we have reached the end of something. Since the millennium, commentators of every variety have been trying to get a handle on the collective significance of the continuous crises besetting us in modern times: banking crises, terrorist crises, sovereign-debt crises, climate-change crises, energy crises, food crises, ecological crises, manmade and otherwise.
"The world as we know it is going down,” a Wall Street broker told reporters in September 2008, after Lehman Brothers collapsed and Morgan Stanley threatened to follow suit. It is the “end of capitalism as we know it,” declared filmmaker Michael Moore, when American auto giants General Motors filed for bankruptcy.
It is the end of our dependence on fossil fuel, announced President Barack Obama, about the Deepwater Horizon oil-rig explosion. It is the end of nature, wrote Bill McKibbin in his book of the same name. It is the end of oil, wrote journalist Paul Roberts in his book of the same names. It is the end of food because it is the end of oil, declared Roberts in his follow-up book. With various Japanese reactors poised for a meltdown, it is the end of nuclear power.
For those who take stock in the Mayan Long Count calendar and the apocalyptic significance of 2012, it is the beginning of the end of the world.
The beginning in the ending
But the crises we face on many fronts are symptomatic of a deeper problem, with more potential repercussions than those of any single cataclysmic event. They are simply a measure of the vast disparity between our definition of ourselves and our truest essence.
For hundreds of years we have acted against nature by ignoring our essential connectedness and defining ourselves as separate from our world. We’ve reached the point where we can no longer live according to this false view of who we really are.
What’s ending the story we’ve been told up until now about who we are and how we’re supposed to live — and in this ending lies the only path to a better future.
Living a lie
As I began researching and studying the latest discoveries in a vast array of disciplines—general biology, physics, zoology, psychology, botany, anthropology, astronomy, chronobiology, and cultural history—the more it became clear to me that the lives we’ve chosen to lead are not consistent with who we really are.
A new understanding is emerging from the laboratories of the most cutting-edge physicists, biologists, and psychologists that challenges the very way we conceive of ourselves. Frontier scientists in every field have all found evidence that individuals are far less individual than we thought they were.
The space between things
Between the smallest particles of our being, between our body and our environment, between ourselves and all of the people with whom we are in contact, between every member of every societal cluster, there is a Bond — a connection so integral and profound that there is no longer a clear demarcation between the end of one thing and the beginning of another.
The world essentially operates, not through the activity of individual things, but in the connection between them — in a sense, in the space between things.
What’s more, these new discoveries in physics and biology demonstrate that we are in crises because we are living a lie. All living things succeed and prosper not through competition, but only when they see themselves as part of a greater whole.
We succeed only because we share, we care and we’re fair.
Rather than a will to dominate, the essential impulse of all of life is a will to connect.
The competitive paradigm
Nevertheless, our paradigm for living has been built upon the premise that competition is the essential calling card of existence. Every modern recipe in our lives has been drawn from our interpretation of life as individual and solitary struggle, with every-man-for-himself competition an inherent part of the business of living.
Our entire Western economic model is built on the notion that competition in a free-market economy is essential to drive excellence and prosperity.
In our relationships, we extol our inherent right to individual happiness and self-expression above all else. We educate our young by encouraging them to compete and excel over their peers. The currency of most modern two-cars-in-every-garage neighborhoods is comparison and one-ups-manship.
The world, as Woody Allen once put it, “is one big cafeteria.”
The crises we have faced on every front have occurred precisely because we are operating according to an outdated set of rules.
The competitive impulse that is now a major part of our self-definition and that forms the undercurrent of all our lives is the same mindset that has created every one of the large global crises now threatening to destroy us. If we can recover wholeness in our lives – in our relationships, our neighborhoods, our societies, in my view, we will begin to heal our world.
In writing this book, I had an audacious mission: to rewrite the scientific story you’ve been told about who you are plus offer you detailed blueprint of how to live in harmony with it.
I wanted to help establish a very different set of rules from the ones we currently live by.
In fact, the only truth is the space between us—the Bond — which means that we must share and recover wholeness in our lives if we are to survive and flourish.
A new blueprint
It was clear to me that need to perceive the world differently, relate to others differently, organize ourselves — our friendships and neighborhoods, our towns and cities — differently. We need to change our fundamental purpose on earth as something more than one based on struggle and domination.
We must look at our lives from an entirely different perspective, a larger vantage point, to notice the connections that tie us all together.
With this book, I hope to set a new agenda besides our current one of struggle and domination, in which all of us observe the mounting crises with a sense of impotence. I want to initiate a giant conversation, in which people are no longer waiting for the right president or prime minister to make decisions for them, I aim to give you a fresh way of seeing the world from a wider perspective, a new way of relating to other human beings, a new sense of community, a new and authentic purpose.
I want to empower you by showing you how easy it is to live in wholeness, how tiny changes can revolutionize your life and the life of everyone around you.
I wanted to provide a message of hope, inspiration – and a practical way to change, starting with your home, then your neighborhood, your community, your town. . .
Above all, I want to show you that it doesn’t have to be like this. Not for one more day.
Please join this conversation. The Bond: Connecting Through the Space Between Us, will be released on April 19. We’ll soon be asking you for your suggestions about which small changes can create the next stage in our evolution. To join the dialogue immediately and receive the book on your doorstep on the day of publication, you may pre-order via the www.thebond.info, where you can also see and share a little video about the project.
Make the Bond and pass it on.
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