What do cultural shifts look like?

So far in our journey, we’ve discussed why we need to shift our collective consciousness and what kinds of shifts that might mean. Now it’s time to explore what those shifts look like in our daily lives, as we look for evidence of large-scale transformation through our personal experiences.

Culture shifts and consciousness shifts can be both immediately disruptive and glacially slow. Consider the almost overnight change in values that followed the Twin Towers attack. Americans flocked together, bound by a piercing need for shared community after years of desperate individualism. Some of that yearning for connection yet lingers, but it’s expressed in more positive ways these days. For instance, the meteoric rise of social media allows us connections on a global scale in real time. This has been a disruptive shift – fundamentally changing the ways we interact with one another. But similar humanistic ideas like civil rights, gay rights, human rights, and feminism are still being hotly debated fifty years after they hit the national radar screen.

But what we also must realize is that for every shift, there’s also an entrenchment in the old worldviews, as they fight for relevance and survival. Today, we clearly see this in the political arena, as the Tea Party blocks, rejects, and refuses to compromise on critical national issues. Their worldview is characterized by strict adherence to rules, particularly moral and religious dogmas, resistance to change and a belief that there’s one right way and countless wrong ways. Today’s religious institutions are also feeling the shift away from this worldview, as more and more people reject “one right way” and search for spiritual fulfillment that feels more personal, relevant and less judgmental.

Edmund Bourne, author of Global Shift: How a New Worldview is Transforming Humanity, lists ten things as evidence that we’re moving from an individualistic and materialistic worldview to more humanistic, systemic and spiritual ones. Here are a few:

• The increased popularity of Eastern philosophies and spiritual practices like yoga, meditation and alternative medicine. Contrast the decline in church attendance with the rise in those embracing these practices.

• The environmental movement. The ultimate shift from me to we thinking, since all systems on the planet are interconnected. The whole idea of the biosphere – the web of all living things on the earth – only came into our vocabulary in the 1970s.

• The “New Physics” like quantum mechanics and string theory that blow up previous scientific assumptions about the way the world works and acknowledges the possibility of dimensions beyond our senses and observations.

• The rise of feminine energy and values including cooperation, inclusiveness, receptivity and intuition. After centuries of submission, women are now more powerful than ever, and even men are encouraged to “get in touch with their feminine side.”

• The proliferation of global-based charitable organizations who are delivering desperately needed aid to those who need it most. This is a signal of our ability to think beyond our immediate needs, take care of others, and develop systems to solve large-scale issues.

Look around you and you’ll start to see evidence every day that we’re shifting. Look to yourself first: how are you walking through this world? What’s important to you now that wasn’t when you were younger? How have your filters for interpreting the world changed? Once your eyes are open, you’ll see it all around. And that’s part of the shift, too.

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About Karen Barnes

To change the world we live in, we first must change ourselves. Insightful cultural commentary and innovative approaches to behavior change all in service to a more sustainable, equitable, peaceful world.
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One Response to What do cultural shifts look like?

  1. cissyblue says:

    Please also see Eideard’s post on Monsanto/Gates. Maybe if enough people see the writing on the wall, more “shifts” will continue. Thank you for your words. Good job!

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