Thanks to my friend Robin Youngson, an anesthesiologist in New Zealand who is founder of a worldwide movement to humanize health care Hearts in Health Care, I have become aware of the works of Charles Eisenstein, a young writer and philosopher whose newest book, The More Beautiful World Our Hearts Know is Possible was published in late 2013. Eisenstein is a profound thinker, a 21st century Thoreau, taking on the problems of looming ecological desolation and sociological disruption. To quote from the beginning of of this important work:
Sometimes I feel nostalgic for the cultural mythology of my youth, a world in which there was nothing wrong with soda pop, in which the Super Bowl was important, in which America was bringing democracy to the world, in which the doctor could fix you, in which science was going to make life better and better, and they just put a man on the moon.
Who hasn’t felt this way?
Slowly, individuals have given up on the mythos of the supremacy of the individual and the triumph of science and technology, because they have gotten us only so far, and that place isn’t far enough. So many feel betrayed by the dream of working hard and geting ahead.
But some are also reconnecting to a shared sense of humanity through countless small acts of kindness and compassion. I see this in the bike lanes, farmers markets, amazing recycling city wide recycling programs, and the way that Portlanders seem to feel a genuine sense of positive regard for each other and the greater world. I also see this in Robin Youngson’s work on addressing stress and burnout in health care workers. Together these are examples of attitudes and acts that may eventually reach a tipping point to form a new way of living and relating that Eisenstein calls “interbeing”
It seems to me that Portland is a city built on the philosophical principles of interbeing and turning away from the age of separation more than any place I have ever been.
Read this book. Let me know what you think.