This is an age of dissonance. The world’s challenges are complex and interconnected, while public awareness is often relatively simplistic and fragmented. The most fundamental source of dissonance is knowing that the world has made extraordinary progress, yet sensing that everything has to change. Our collective task is ultimately spiritual renewal, but clarifying what that means and what follows for society requires sustained intellectual leadership, innovative participatory processes, and network nodes; which is why we gave Perspectiva institutional form.
Many are enjoying the fruits of economic and technological progress, but our ecological and spiritual roots are neglected and cannot replenish themselves without our discerning attention and imagination. Liberalism as an ideology is no longer hegemonic and appears to be exhausted, hollowed out and rudderless, but no compelling alternative has emerged. Democracy may be dying; it is acutely vulnerable to the misuse of technology and younger generations do not seem to believe it is essential. Financial capitalism is driving socially corrosive inequality. Culture is increasingly a matter of private entertainment to be bought rather than character formation for shared societal ends. And yet, we still use the language of ‘left and right’, ‘public opinion’, ‘economic growth’, ‘consumer choice’ as if these reflected unassailable realities rather than desiccated remains of a worldview in its twilight years.
There has been no adequate planetary response to the preeminent challenge of our time – climate change – and perhaps cannot be, unless there is a change in consciousness at scale; an epistemic and ethical reorientation in our shared sense of meaning, purpose and value. Our crisis is therefore a meta crisis and spiritual in that the the broadly materialist perspectives from which we view our current challenges leads us to construct them in ways that confound our capacity to address their root causes. We need to change and expand our worldview with better ways of perceiving, relating and knowing.
Perspectiva is registered in England and Wales as: Perspectives on Systems, Souls and Society (#1170492). Our charitable aims are: “To advance the education of the public in general (particularly amongst thought leaders in the public realm, including writers and academics) on the subject of the relationships between complex global challenges and the inner lives of human beings, and how these relationships play out in society; and to promote research, activities and discourse for the public benefit in these subjects and to publish useful results.”