ELECTION TIME - A MEMORY
Esalen Institute on election night in 1980…I am participating in an extended study program there which involves honored scholars from a number of disciplines. On this night, Ronald Reagan is winning the election. After dinner, we are all invited to remain in the dining hall for a talk by physicist Fritjof Capra, who is in residence there at the time writing his book THE TURNING POINT. He talks to all of us assembled there about Toynbee’s take on the fall of civilizations and the rise of new civilizations. There, in 1980, he opines that if Reagan is indeed seated…this will be the beginning of a great fall, the fall of a great civilization. On the screen he shows Toynbee’s hope filled diagram of the way a new civilization arises…beginning in small groups separated geographically, but beginning to connect…and then the rising civilization begins to take form and shape itself according to new ideas, new vision.
As I now listen, in 2012, to the debates of the presidential candidates…I remember those diagrams from Toynbee, and I see that indeed the seeds of the fall—the idea of the trickle down economy has produced this devolution. And I think now of the clusters of the rising civilization in the webbing of the internet conversations, the thoughts within the noosphere for the rising civilization…the whole systems change of which Ervin Laszlo speaks so eloquently.
After dinner that night in 1980, I sat for hours with Dr. Capra in a deserted dining hall—just talking. He was working on his manuscript and I remember asking him if he had read Teilhard de Chardin and his ideas about evolution. He had not. I hoped that he might find the time to do so at some point because I felt that Teilhard’s vision and understanding of evolution would make sense to this physicist who so loved the future. I do not know if Fritjof ever read Teilhard, who had left his physical work on the planet in 1955, but I am sure that somewhere in the Akashic webbing they are communicating.--bss