Thursday, November 15, 2007

Calmly but Insistently

One of the most beautiful things I found in the people who gathered to study with Joanna Macy at Seeds for the Future II was their bravery, and their willingness to speak the truth of their own experience.

These people and people like them, who are willing to witness the agony of the wounded in Iraq, the sick children of Chernobyl, the dwindling salmon of the Northwest help me find, in my own reactions to their stories, my solidarity, my ability to care about and connect with a wider world. The people who share stories of reconciliation and progress, like a woman I just met who lived through the end of apartheid in South Africa, do the same.

In honor of these truth-tellers and for the truth-teller in all of us, the quote of the week is from a column Donella Meadows published in 1992.

SPEAK THE TRUTH. Speak it out loud and often, calmly but insistently, and speak it, as the Quakers say, to power. Material accumulation is not the purpose of human existence. All growth is not good. The environment is a necessity, not a luxury. There is such a thing as "enough." Human progress must be assessed not by quantity but by quality. Our consumption-crazed society has lost its its direction and its soul.

I can assure you that saying these things will not make you popular. But if they are not said, over and over, so often that they begin to supersede the contrary messages that now dominate our airwaves and our lives, we will lose not only our souls, but also the natural systems that might someday support more enlightened souls.

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