Thursday, May 20, 2010
Guest Post and Giveaway: Frances Moore Lappé, Author of Getting a Grip 2: Clarity, Creativity and Courage for the World We Really Want
I’m thrilled to be able to offer you this guest post by Frances Moore Lappé, author of Getting a Grip 2: Clarity, Creativity and Courage for the World We Really Want (read my review).
None of us gets up in the morning vowing, “Today, I’m going to make sure another child starves.” And no one turns off the alarm asking, “How do I heat the planet?”
But that’s exactly what we’re doing.
So what could be powerful enough to have us creating a world not one of us would ever choose?
Ideas! Human beings, uniquely, see through a mental map. It determines, literally, what we can see, what we believe our own nature to be and therefore what is possible.
Now that’s okay, if our framing lens serves life. But I believe we’re alive in an era in which the dominant mental map, going global, is destroying life… creating a downward spiral that’s brought us to this crazy place: Where solutions abound yet we’re convinced we’re powerless to bring them to life!
And what’s at the center of this spiral of powerlessness?
Lack. The belief that there’s not enough of anything. Not enough goods—energy, food or parking spots in Boston. And not enough goodness, for at heart we humans are just “selfish little shoppers.” Once believing this about ourselves, of course we believe we can’t come together to solve problems. You know… democracy? We’re too flawed. Best turn over our fate to an automatic law to sort out outcomes for us—the “magic of the market,” Reagan called it.
Markets are great. But unfortunately for us we’ve fallen for one peculiar version of a market, one driven by a single rule—highest return to existing wealth, corporate chiefs and shareholders. But wait! Didn’t we all play Monopoly?
At the end of the night one person (in my home, my brother!) had all the best property while I couldn’t even afford Baltic Avenue. That’s not too bad in a game—at least I got to go to bed at the end of the night. But in real life? Not so good. We end up with what in 2005 Citigroup glowingly named plutonomy… where the top one percent of U.S. households has as much wealth as the bottom 90 percent.
And the bad news doesn’t stop there. Tightly held financial power morphs into political power. For every single law maker there are two dozen lobbyists, mostly serving corporate interests working the halls of Congress.
FDR warned us: “[T]he liberty of a democracy is not safe if the people tolerate the growth of private power to the point where it becomes stronger than their democratic state itself. That, in its essence, is fascism…” That was 1938. And here we are.
Starting with the false premise of scarcity of both goods and goodness, we end up actually manifesting lack—as now half of American children depend on food stamps at some point in their childhood. And we end up with the ultimate oxymoron: “privately held government.”
So, from the premise of lack, we’ve deprived ourselves of the very tool we need to make a planetary turn toward life: true, Living Democracy. To break free, we must ditch the sweet notion “seeing is believing.” For our species, it’s the opposite: Believing is seeing. So the challenge? To believe in a world actually aligned with our real nature.
Its premise is… possibility.
And that starts with embracing all of who we are—the good, the bad and the very ugly. To align with all of our nature, we can identify the conditions that bring out the worst; and, by flipping them, create the conditions proven to bring out the best. And it’s happening—as real, Living Democracy is emerging.
My argument here is that we live in an era where the dominant mental map is life destroying. What can we as individuals do to create a frame that it is life supporting? What are the conditions shown to bring out the worst in us? And how do we create the opposite to bring out the best, to create a world we really want?
The Small Planet Institute has offered to send a signed copy of Getting a Grip 2: Clarity, Creativity and Courage for the World We Really Want to one of my readers. The giveaway is open to U.S. and Canadian residents only (no P.O. boxes). I will accept entries until 11:59 PM Eastern Time on Friday, June 21.
To enter the giveaway:
Answer one of Ms. Lappé’s questions at the end of her post OR tell me why you want to read this book.
If you are a follower or subscriber, please let me know and I will give you another entry.
Please be sure to provide me with a way of getting in touch with you. Entries that fail to answer one of the questions or that don’t provide a blog link or email address will be disqualified.
THIS GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED.