The Outdated Story of Separation

In my previous blog post, I discussed our great transformation. In this post I would like to expand a bit more on why the narrative we tell ourselves is so important in fostering positive change. The old story we have been told is of separation, whereas the new story we are currently realizing is of unification.

One of the keys to transformation is to discover the mindset of creating a unifying story to overcome the challenges of the current crisis. When we look at the sociology behind previous movements there tends to be a limited analytical approach to summarizing the differences between collective behavior and social movement. I have taken just such an analysis by Peter Dreier, the Dr. E.P. Clapp Distinguished Professor of Politics at Occidental College, and added a new column that compares social transformation to movements and collective behavior, and this chart describes the differences as follows:


While I don’t want to pick apart mainstream sociology and its definition of random, spontaneous crowd behavior and social movements, I do want to emphasize that our current transformation is much different from social movements of the past, and that this shift in consciousness is not occurring because of collective behavior. What’s happening is a merging consensus about what it means to be a human.

A Story of Unification

We are currently writing a new story of unification that is superseding the story of separation. This growing, although often inexplicable, knowledge that we are interconnected and interdependent is shaping how we act toward one another. As this consciousness takes over, our base value system shifts toward a deep respect for all fellow humans and their basic needs.

In a breakout session on social transformation that I presented at the recent IONS conference, we explained that a redefining of our movement is in order. We are currently living through the greatest transformation in history, the equivalent of the initial arising of human consciousness on the evolutionary scale. While conversation and communication is critical for this social transformation to occur, we must be respectful.


Just in the past few weeks, headlines related to the Confederate flag, police brutality and gay marriage have triggered intense opinions and extreme behavior. These violent or inappropriate acts toward individuals are setting an example of how we don’t want our culture to act toward one another and feeding the fire for positive transformation. Unfortunately, it often takes major turmoil to create change.

With our fresh water supplies drying up, deep spiritual conflicts being broadcasted in the media, general unrest and violence occurring daily, we can see before our very eyes that we are on the verge of a transformation. Despite what feels like a movement that is deeply divided, this is the very time we must actively engage in radical inclusion.

This doesn’t mean that we all have to agree on extremist actions and opinions, or condone them, but what it does mean is that we need to understand these conflicting ideas in a larger transformative context, and see them as part of this evolutionary process. This will come with our growth in emotional intelligence. When we are radically inclusive, we are accepting and tolerant, but firm in our beliefs. It is time to set an example of positive transformation rather than pointing fingers and exclaiming how the opposing side is “wrong.”

This is Not a Revolution; it’s a Transformation

What we can agree on is that all of us are human. The time has come to move beyond cynicism and despair for the state of the world and embrace hope and social action in a critical mass of positive change. This is not a revolution; this is a transformation. The old, common values that all lives matter and all humans deserve access to basic resources are re-emerging on a grand scale. Respect for our fellow humans is rising on a tide of higher consciousness, of love.

To successfully ascend our evolutionary wave, we can’t set out to crush and destroy the current system, because we’re all interdependent. Instead, we must transform the system from the inside out. It will be because of a new shift in thinking toward cooperation rather than separation that society will evolve. In our efforts to include and transcend, we can courageously transform from our caterpillar state of consciousness into a beautiful butterfly of unlimited potential.

Comments 3

  1. First, thanks for this clarifying statement. It is becoming clear that, as a planetary species, we are in the midst of a great transformation. The third column, Social Transformation, does not upend prevailing theories as much as it simply adds a whole new dimension. This new dimension seems to be a key component in a new scientific paradigm. Federico Faggin’s insights which he shared with the IONS/Greenheart/transformative community, can be summed up in the idea that a search for a unified theory can no longer discount the subjective as some epiphenomenon, but include it as a fundamental aspect of reality. The Cartesian dichotomy still underlies the dominant paradigm – separateness. From that we have constructed a global civilization struggling with polarities: individual vs. the collective, subject-object, self-other, us vs. them, science vs. religion, and so on. The critical failings of this mindset are causing great turmoil and suffering and threatening our existence. I might suggest adding a third column to individual behavioral theory as well. Example:

    Rational behavior | Irrational behavior | Transformative behavior
    Organized Reactionary Emergent
    Purposeful Emotionally satisfying Sense of higher purpose
    Enduring Brief Eternal, omnipresent
    Materially Productive Often counter productive Environmentally grounded
    Logical Expressive Intuitive

    Rational Behavior: Organized, Purposeful, Enduring, Materially Productive, Logical

    Irrational Behavior: Reactionary, Emotionally satisfying, Brief, Often counter-productive, Expressive

    Transformative Behavior: Emergent, Sense of higher purpose, Eternal and omnipresent, Environmentally grounded, Intuitive

    The general human condition has us mired in the polarity of rational vs. irrational. The result can be creative or destructive, though on a planetary scale, more often than not, quite destructive. A simple but potentially powerful personal practice to transcend this Cartesian heaven/hell we’ve created would be to reflect as often as possible on what is driving our specific behaviors. As we open more to intuitive knowledge, identify with a higher purpose, and feel connected to fellow humans, all of life, the planet, and the cosmos, the more we each will be contributing to a positive, evolutionary transformation.

    1. Thanks, Ken, for yet another astute and inspiring observation on transformation. I love your idea for a new column for transformative behavior. We are so conditioned to think in terms of two sides to everything, to get lost in polarizations or choosing one side of the Cartesian split, that we are not even aware of the emerging third force. but this new force will become stronger in many fields as the transformation progresses. It is like the harmony coming forth in the universal song. One side sings high, one side sings low. In between we hear the harmony of souls encouraging us to join their melody of hope and transformation.

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