From Empire Consciousness to Earth Consciousness

The word “empire” has been in the air of late ever since Queen Elizabeth II died, perhaps. 

“Wake Up” call to get involved in the work of climate justice. Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash.

And it has been in our daily meditations as I introduced the term “Age of Reckoning” to summarize much that is transpiring in our time: From the truths of Black Lives Matter to the taking down of confederacy statues; from the fuller realization that founders and icons of the United States such as Jefferson and Washington were slave holders (and the former had a slave mistress with whom he birthed several children) to the trauma passed on from generation to generation among so many colonized indigenous peoples; from the realities of the British empire to its devolution to commonwealth status and much more. 

And the headlines feed to us daily Mr. Putin’s aspirations to be a 21st century czar who feels he is free and anointed to invade a neighboring sovereign state if he cares to, United Nations charters and international laws be damned.

Yes, empires and colonialism have been with us a long time.  In fact, David Korten, one of the great prophets of our time and author of When Corporations Rule the World wrote another book which is on the end of the age of empires—and what might replace it.  He called it The Great Turning: From Empire to Earth Community

Joanna Macy called it the book we’ve been waiting for.  We are not doomed to domination and suicidal competition.  We can choose another story.  This is the ‘Great Turning.’ 

“We are One” by Native HipHop Artist and Singer/Songwriter, Taboo. Originally posted to YouTube by Taboo.

Notice that the “Great Turning” means moving from domination and suicidal competition, that is, out of Patriarchy and reptilian brain consciousness which is all about domination, dualism, and suicide or what Adrienne Rich called “fatalistic self hatred.”

Are we witnessing the last gasps of the Age of Empires?  And how thoroughly it has ruled the patriarchal mind set for 5000 years?  Is this some Good News rising from the crises of our time? 

Might our common foes, climate change and the demise of our Mother Earth, assist us in thinking globally and with an Earth consciousness, a story that moves us beyond empire-building and beyond nation-state idolatry?  

To be continued

See Matthew Fox, Sins of the Spirit, Blessings of the Flesh: Transforming Evil in Soul and Society, especially chapters 2-4 on the Sacred Flesh of the Universe, Earth, and Humans, pp. 21-130.

See also Fox, Creation Spirituality: Liberating Gifts for the Peoples of the Earth

To read a transcript of Matthew Fox’s video teaching, click HERE.

Banner Image: Tohono Indian Women led the Tucson 2019 Women’s March with a show of strength, resilience and power. This woman’s sign said: My Mom, Sisters, Aunties and Grandmas are sacred. Her son was by her side. International Women’s Day Photo by Dulcey Lima on Unsplash

Queries for Contemplation

Do you envision humanity coming together and throwing off the shackles of Empire-building in light of the common dangers and possibilities we share vis a vis our shared Mother Earth?

Recommended Readings

Creation Spirituality: Liberating Gifts for the Peoples of the Earth

Fox’s spirituality weds the healing and liberation found in North American Creation Spirituality and in South American Liberation Theology. Creation Spirituality challenges readers of every religious and political persuasion to unite in a new vision through which we learn to honor the earth and the people who inhabit it as the gift of a good and just Creator.
“A watershed theological work that offers a common ground for religious seekers and activists of all stripes.” — Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat, Spirituality and Practice.

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8 thoughts on “From Empire Consciousness to Earth Consciousness”

  1. Richard Reich-Kuykendall
    Richard Reich-Kuykendall

    Matthew, We have been talking about imperialism and colonialism, and we have said that now, with the death of Queen Elizabeth II, now the day of reckoning has come–especially if you throw Putin into the mix. You remind us today of David Korten, author of When Corporations Rule the World, and tell us that he has written a new book titled, The Great Turning: From Empire to Earth Community. Finally, but is it too late? Joanna Macy, a former teacher of mine, says that this is the book that we have been waiting for. This is the ‘Great Turning.’ We can choose another story. We are not doomed to domination and suicidal competition. However, the selfishness, greed, and lust for power of one man (Putin) can jeopardize the peace and safety of the world. I never forget Hitler–his death and destruction enabled by the use of the media with his “minister” of propaganda, would that make Goebbels a Reverend?–and just think of our issues with the media as well today… I think that people like us are trying to care for the earth, however, I don’t think the very wealthy and very powerful could care less about the earth. So I see our job as to vote, protest, demonstrate, write do whatever we can and hope for the best!

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    Thank you Mathew for your DM this AM presenting so much, particularly for me, Adrienne Rich what called “fatalistic self hatred,” a vicious cycle (boomeranging loop) of homicidal/suicidal disconnected, spiritually ignorant actions, devoid of love, that have repeatedly trapped us, as you suggest, for some 5000 years. The hope to break out of this, always has been through Divine love still incarnate among some of us, human beings, then and now, who enlighten our consciousness, courageously, and compassionately. They are still living the Love, that can replace all the false patriarchal, power hungry drives to dominant, Mother Earth, those who habitually act only with reptilian brains, ignoring (avidya) the Feminine, Creation that is within all of us. To me, particularly the women in our species, and some of us men, can model and lead us through their words and actions leading us towards gender/cultural equality, and counter the crimes over Millenia of separating ourselves from each other and the Divine within us, both one and the same. Equanimity is always possible. “We must celebrate our diversity and not claim a superiority based falsely on illusion that because we are different, therefore we are superior. We must not allow politicians to exploit our differences and stoke the fires of tribal animosity and warfare for political advantage.

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    Through knowing the true soul-self, we learn what to let go of and leave behind. Throughout this transformational process of kenosis we consciously awaken to the original blessings of what we carry within us. Those whom choose to realize, accept, acknowledge, reclaim, nurture and cultivate the hidden jewels, seeded and sealed within the true soul-self, give birth to this envisioned potential reality; knowing their source of this birthing as the Cosmic Mother. They surrender in trust, knowing that they are offered comfort, consolation and wisdom counsel throughout their journey, which leads to the destination of their true soul-self unfolding, evolving, and emerging into wholeness and oneness. We are in the midst of these birthing pains, held in the sacred chamber of the womb of the Cosmic Mother, collectively experiencing the rites of passage through the spiritual energy of shared contractions and expansions, participating in our new conscious birth of awakening to a greater measure of our wholeness and oneness with the all and the everything of creation. We are BEING loved TO love, offered unconditional love, compassionate understanding and infinite mercies throughout this sacred undulating union of birthing the original blessings of our true soul-self… which is the inherent beauty and goodness of our true divinity hidden within our humanity, desiring and longing to resurrect into our conscious awareness.

    1. Richard Reich-Kuykendall
      Richard Reich-Kuykendall

      Jeanette, Very beautiful once again, and I am going to quote what I feel is the gist of what you are saying, because it is important to remember. “We are in the midst of these birthing pains, held in the sacred chamber of the womb of the Cosmic Mother, collectively experiencing the rites of passage through the spiritual energy of shared contractions and expansions, participating in our new conscious birth of awakening to a greater measure of our wholeness and oneness with the all and the everything of creation.”

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    Yes, Matthew, I agree totally with the thesis of your beautiful meditation today, “From Empire Consciousness to Earth Consciousness”. There are other spiritual teachers who also believe that the deeper meaning of our climate/environmental crises and chaos is a spiritual transformation of our humanity and Mother Nature to a more compassionate and just Earth Community of All Living Creatures, the birth manifestation and evolution of God’s Loving Diverse Oneness… Thank you for recommending David Korten’s book. Another book I’ve been recommending to my ‘spiritual internet friends’ is Carolyn Baker’s new book, “Undaunted: Living Fiercely into Climate Meltdown in an Authoritarian World” (2022). She rightfully feels that we have to also do our inner work emotionally and spiritually to prepare ourselves for these very stressful human, societal and environmental changes we’re all going through as part of this painful deeper spiritual birth process of humanity and Mother Earth….

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    I watched Stephen Colbert interview Neil deGrasse Tyson last evening about various subjects covered in his new book. Neil reminded us that after the moon landing in 1969, because of the awe and wonder of seeing our beautiful earth without human boundaries and so small and precious, in the next few years the EPA and Earth Day came about. He suggests getting Elon Musk to run a spacebus service to bring politicians and the very wealthy and powerful to experience that sense of wonder. It is a humorous suggestion, but would that not be a very practical way of getting some minds to change and to join the Great Turning? Otherwise, we must be active and do what we can and hope for the best, as Richard says.

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