By: John Karlsson
American visionary, author and public speaker, Charles Eisenstein, visited Stockholm University on Friday, May 17th. Eisenstein was at the University to give a lecture that encompassed his worldviews; it was the last event to round off another year of success with Stockholm’s Earth Week. People of all ages, from all types of backgrounds, gathered in Aula Magna because they shared a similar belief: ‘’ The More Beautiful World Our Hearts Know is Possible”, which is the title of Eisenstein’s new book coming out this fall, 2013.
Before the lecture I was one of four grateful people who had the opportunity to sit down and chat with him before he was to give his talk. To start off the interview I asked him to give me a brief explanation of what his work is about for those who weren’t acquainted with it before:
“I will talk about the changing story. Where ideology, or mythology, is underlying all crisis’s we see today, and what the world might look like if it was built on a new story. As well as, how to respond to that personally.”
Wrongness in the world
When Eisenstein was a kid he had a feeling of wrongness in the world. Why did school have to be boring and why do you hate Mondays?
“There was something in me that said this can’t be right. At the time I couldn’t articulate it clearly what was wrong. It’s kind of normal to hate school – which was what life was. Yet there was a part in me – I think it’s probably in everybody: this rebellion; this resentment; this idealism that comes along with it; that it (life) is suppose to be more beautiful – it’s suppose to be better.”
Charles Eisenstein graduated from Yale University with a degree in Mathematics and Philosophy. He didn’t know what he was searching for, but he knew that none of the options presented as a Yale graduate attracted him.
“I felt that the boundaries of my world were too small. It was around that time that I seriously starting thinking about the origin of these multiple crisis’s. I was starting to come to some understandings about them.”
A passionate de-growth activist
Charles Eisenstein is a self-described de-growth activist. A de-growth activist, as he puts it himself, is: ‘’Someone who tries to re-establish human connection, who tries to re-skill themselves, as well as others, to learn to do things without having to buy them.’’ He is also a de-growth theorist because he describes what money systems and social structures would work in a de-growth context.
Last year he visited Sweden and had a similar seminar where he talked mostly about economy based on his book Sacred Economics. When we talk about it he’s very passionate and engaged, using his arms in bushy movements to emphasize his points.
“How can we transform money so it is no longer opposed to our generosity, to our desire to serve, to our altruism, to our desire to create a more beautiful world, to heal nature, cause today it’s opposed. Usually the places that you make the most money are the places that do the most damage, so how can we change that?”
This year’s meeting touched the economy aspect to some extent, but as a whole, it was more about how we can use our gifts in a different way and that a more beautiful world is possible.
The old story
Some big questions were brought up during the convention, and Eisenstein started off in what he calls the ‘old story’. He describes it as: the story of separation, competition and self-interest. The myth of separation is saying that you are a discrete separate individual among other individuals in a universe that’s separate from you.
Charles Eisenstein is talking about inter-being or oneness: As I do to the world, I do to myself. We are taking from earth, with no sense of limits, and we don’t give anything back. We need to go from the age of separation to the age of reunion.
The new story
How do we grow into a steady state with the earth? How do we accomplish the impossible?
Charles Eisenstein offers all of us invited to the lecture a new story, where humanity doesn’t live to triumph over nature, a story where our relationship to the planet isn’t embodied by the money system. As humans we need nature and each other, so we can no longer believe in the ‘old story’.
“These multiple crisis, these breakdowns we see in the world, can push us into a new story where we all are connected beings. The new story answers the basic questions in a different way. We are all members of the totality of all life on earth. We are all part of a development and wellbeing. “
Charles Eisenstein means that humanity is facing an ordeal, and if we use our gifts in a different way than we are now, we can create a stronger identity and reach an understanding of oneness: that we all are in this together.
“What we should strive for is a world built on love. When you are looking at someone and their happiness is your happiness and their pain is your pain, that’s what love is. Love is the feeling of connection.”
After almost three hours of an inspiring and motivating lecture, Charles Eisenstein received standing ovations. His idea of how our world should look like, and what we should strive for is admirable. He can put words on the dissatisfaction many can feel, but he also offers a solution. I walked out of there with more hope in my heart than before I got there. If you haven’t heard of Charles Eisenstein you should definitely look him up.