A Guest Blog: A Paradigm Shift To Face the Future

So many of us are frustrated with the path of humankind. Guest blogger, Richard Welker, discusses how a new consciousness of connectedness to all things is attempting to rise from the old mindset of exploitation and control.

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A Shift to a New Consciousness?

For some time, Roxanne has told me that the biggest problem with mankind and the major contributing factor to climate change is how we have lost our connection with nature. She sees it as a spiritual crisis. My way of understanding this has always been that since the Agricultural Revolution and the transition from our being hunter gatherers, we have acquired a hubris that informs our world view: that we have a right to manipulate the earth to our benefit.

Last week, one of our longtime supporters, Richard Welker, wrote a comment in response to one of our blogs and it seems to capture very clearly another way of seeing this same disassociation from nature.

Paradigm Shift: A Guest Blog From Richard Welker

The most urgent challenge facing humanity is not climate change, or species extinction, or unsustainable population growth; rather, it is how we understand the Universe and our intimate relationship within it. Our deepest choices for the future emerge from this core understanding.”

Duane Elgin, Futurist, author

I believe what is happening here is not just a crisis of democracy, which historically has existed primarily for white males in this country. The great divide in the United States is also not just between Democrats and Republicans. To see it that way is to severely limit the profound magnitude of the paradigm shift that is happening in the consciousness of Americans and world citizens alike.

I think that we have collectively arrived at a state of liminality, that is, on the threshold of an enormous transition, where the old Great Stories that informed us of who we are, why we are here, and what is our relationship to the universe no longer serve us. And like a tsunami, these old images are being swept away.

Still, the old images familiar as they are, continue to be relentlessly promoted. They have their origins in a Judeo-Christian mindset of a raging jealous, angry God who demands absolute obedience to tribal creeds and a rigid belief that a few preselected elect will be “saved” from hell fire. That symbol is personalized in Donald Trump who is the perfect image of the mad and vengeful God of the Old Testament.

These old images have been grafted onto four hundred years of Cartesian science that insists humans are cosmic accidents, that knowledge is purely objective, that all of us are without purpose except as we individually ascribe such purpose to ourselves, that everything is material, that sentience is exclusively the product of random chemicals, that nature is essentially dead and therefore ripe for exploitation.

We have been told that competition and survival of the fittest is the dynamic behind creation, that we are separate from nature, that there are winners and losers, that might is right, that male dominance is Godlike, and that feeling and emotion and the feminine are utterly subordinate to the will of the heroic male

These beliefs are shared by Democrats and Republicans alike and are mostly unconscious. As Charles Eisenstein says,

What we observe to be happening in the world says as much about ourselves as it does about the world. It reveals what we think is important, significant, valuable, and sacred, and what is irrelevant or useless too. Put another way, what we see reveals how we see.”

They have brought us all the inescapable problems of climate change, endless war, violence against women, children and the “other,” pollution, the rise of fundamentalism, tribalism and an economic matrix that commodifies and seeks to own for profit, life itself. These symptoms occur during times of a changing of the Gods, an extraordinary moment in the evolution of humans when one paradigm, one collective belief system is dying and a new one is emerging.

The old material mindset no longer works. The mechanical mind of exploitation and control is dying and evolving into the emergent mind, where all of life is holy and man’s purpose is seen to become co-creators with nature, suffused with intelligence. What is seeking to be born is a radically new consciousness that no longer subscribes to creeds managed by priests, experts and strongmen outside oneself but an inner knowing that humans are charged with a sacred destiny to restore the earth, to honor Gaia as alive, to see the connectedness of all things, to cooperate for the benefit of all, to grant to the other what we grant to ourselves such as sovereignty and respect, and to no longer support those institutions who seek domination and power over us and over nature.

The new consciousness on earth is rising out of the ashes of the old in support of the fundamental notion that the driving force of the universe is love and that we humans are a part of that love. God, Divine Intelligence, The Source of Everything, is awakening to Itself in human form. It says, “I am another yourself.”

This is beyond radical. It is a collective transformation and enlightenment. It has never happened in the history of mankind. We are in the midst of a collective awakening so vast and pervasive that we can never return to the conviction of separation, which is what the forces of fear, fascism and fanaticism are desperately trying to do.

I leave you with this:

I share the belief of many of my contemporaries that the spiritual crisis pervading all spheres of Western industrial society can be remedied only by a change in our world view. We shall have to shift from the materialistic, dualistic belief that people and their environment are separate, toward a new consciousness of an all-encompassing reality, which embraces the experiencing ego, a reality in which people feel their oneness with animate nature and all of creation.”

Albert Hofmann


Thank you, Richard. You’ve given all of us something to think about. For those of you who’d like to take a very deep dive into this kind of thinking, I just finished reading Homo Sapians by Yuval Noah Harari, a fascinating, engaging journey through the history of mankind. Highly recommended.

Feel feel to comment. Does this thinking resonate? Motivate?

In solidarity,

Paul & Roxanne

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10 replies

  1. Aldo Leopold spent many years in NM and it is one of the places that fundamentally informed his thinking on ecology. As New Mexicans, we owe it to his legacy to be at the forefront of this transformation from a Cartesian duality mindset to a holistic one that embraces our unity with nature.

  2. I’d like to respond to this post. Like Roxanne, I believe that mankind is in the midst of a deep spiritual and existential crisis. However, this is largely a concern of people who are not in positions of power. My other half often expresses total rejection of long, intellectual discussions that, while genuinely important, do not address the reality on the ground.

    This is not meant as an indictment of Richard Welker or others who are on a spiritual quest. The problem is this: how do we make this the dominant consciousness of those with the power to stop the Climate Crisis, wars, etc., etc. So what I am saying is that there needs to be more than a change of consciousness – once or as that change occurs, action must then be undertaken to address the very things that must be replaced with an entirely different worldview. And there are serious time limits involved if scientists are right and we have only 10 years to avoid the worst consequences of the social ills described.

    As a follower of Eckhard Tolle and his writings/lectures/ideas, which resonate with what Richard Welker has written, I am very interested in a genuine change of human consciousness. At the same time, I’d like for Retake and our efforts to directly address what steps we must take in line with this transformation of our place in the world and Universe.

    Warm regards,


  3. To add to Welker’s take, this spiritual crisis is a result of thousands of years of patriarchy: a philosophy of dominance and exploitation. A restoration of cooperative power, in the model of women-based communities, works with nature and in community for the good of all. This is the goal of many in spiritual work from diverse traditions. Until modern men across the globe recognize their own wounds from a patriarchal system which imprisons and exploits men as mere fodder for wars, as slave labor to the elites, and rapers of those on the wrung below, nothing changes. When men embrace true partnership with women, we will have a chance to save this planet and ourselves.

  4. Re: Paradigm Shift. Since I was a young child I recognized a kinship of spirit with trees and birds. Beyond Words: What Animals Think and Feel by Carl Safina about a new paradigm in the sciences that recognizes mammals and birds have language and culture as we humans do, helped me see our place amidst the animal kingdoms. It was a felt shift out of that special and separate category of domination I had been taught we inhabited. Lords of Creation? Hah. Kohlbert’s The Sixth Extinction places us in Nature as its destroyer since our appearance on the stage of life.
    My fear is oil and gas billionaires will be the last of our species standing. My hope is the Millennials and those following will be the fount of new consciousness.
    As I talk to people about the climate crisis it’s apparent those in their 30s and younger ‘get it’ and ‘have it’ instinctively. My own generation do not.
    A study of the Great Goddess Culture of prehistory tells us there were times and places when humans recognized the Earth was the body of the Goddess and hallowed it accordingly. And yes the priests were women and art was worship.

  5. It is said that the difference between liberals and radicals is that liberals want to reform the system and radicals want a whole different system. Or that liberals want an equal piece (women, gays, etc.) of the pie and radicals want a whole new pie.

    Astrologically, we are on the cusp of the Age of Aquarius. But the Piscean forms still exist on the planet. Big paradigm shifts like that come in first on the spiritual and mental planes, and manifest on the physical plane last. And when a cycle is near its end, its death, it tries to hang onto life, so we get the desperate perverted forms that exist today. The Piscean physical forms must fall, and I believe that climate change will have a lot to do with that. Upheaval is inevitable. Mother Earth is responding to the abuse.

    (Each astrological age is about 2000 years long. The Piscean Age began with Jesus and other spiritual teachers of that time. Note the fishes symbolism.)

    I believe that we were born for these times, that we each were meant to be here now and that we each have a role to play. If we stay in touch with our inner knowing, our spiritual guidance, we will know what is the next step that we have the power to take. The guidance we seek can come from anywhere – from our inner knowing, from the mouths of friends and children and even the internet. And all of us working together, each in our own way, have already accomplished much and will accomplish more.

    I believe that indigenous people (especially the women) the world over, who have been less influenced by Western civilization and who live closer to their spirituality and knowledge of how to live within the natural world, are the ones who will lead the way of how to survive the crisis of climate change and create a new (old) way of living.

    Many people are not aware of pre-patriarchal times, when there were women-centered societies. Even us European-Americans have indigenous roots. All so very far back. the Suppressed histories Archives is a good place to start learning about this: https://www.suppressedhistories.net/

    Taking the long view is helpful in moments of panic and despair, when things look so bad in the immediate. These times are hard, but our roles are very very important. Hanging onto our spiritual ground is necessary to keep going.

  6. I have been following this since the 1970s and I have not seen any indications that these “spiritual quests” have manifested in any meaningful way. Most of it is focused on the individual, and inward quests. In reality this is often monetized, and in the Neo Liberal Paradigm, it is about monetizing spirituality, like Chopra, and other people who have made a lot of money and deceived a lot of people. None of this has increased “awareness” since the theme is that it is all an individual thing.

    In Santa Fe there are lot of these “spiritual types” and none of it manifested anything meaningful. Lots of celebrities and corporate CEOs claim they sought some kind of spirituality, but it had no effect on them. These spiritual quests require cutting themselves off from reality. The self-described spiritual have no experience of true suffering, or the suffering of others. They seem to exist in a bubble, where they eschew the “less evolved” and are mostly insulated from reality. One of my Native American friends would refer to them as “Bliss Ninnies.”

    The Buddha realized that as a rich prince in his time, he had not truly experienced life, so he went among the people. That is not what is presented here, Our society is so disjointed and isolating, yet the spiritual put themselves above it all. They were not concerned when non believers, atheists and generally non secular people were pushed aside. The impact of christianity and it’s pervasiveness in our culture, went unnoticed. The darkness and exploitation, the conversions, and even now it is everywhere, even though we were supposed to be a secular nation.

    The Goddess is everywhere, under the pavement as they continue to pave everything. Every bit of soil is alive, every tree, and insect has meaning.

    Every time I see a raven, I know that the Morrigan is watching, biding her time.

  7. This really coincides with something I just “discovered” – the work of Joanna Macy. Take a look at The Work That Reconnects.

  8. I came to this provocative discussion unpardonably late. But, I would like to thank the readers who so thoughtfully responded to date.

    I used to think that “it was one way or the other.” That, on a continuum there was a left (pardon the pun) extreme and a right extreme, and many variations in between. But, at least I didn’t have to contemplate that it was all a Paradox – all of it. Now, THAT was caa-razy! No – one definitely excluded the other, and gave me a “team” to be on. Perhaps because I have moved “closer”, then “farther”, and back again to the spiritual quest, I have finally had to BEGIN to accept that the Paradox IS. One does not, indeed, exclude the other, despite my preference for some kind of “assurance.” The “I don’t know” is my most honest response. But, then – wa-la! An issue, a need, a person, even an organization appears and beckons to something in me that DOES respond in action. For me, this has always moved the parameters of possibility into larger spaces. And now we are in a larger, more promising, more threatening space that wants all we have to give. That seems the only response. Not where we’ve been, or how we find the damning realities of where we are, but the only “doing” that matters – which comes from being called, listening, then acting. Not ever knowing what the next thing will look like, but definitely knowing the direction we choose to move in, participate in, fight for, love for. I see Retake doing that, and so many others as well. Let’s remember one another in the struggle as we move through the great mystery. Our own authentic response to being “called.” Please accept my gratitude.

    • Thank you so much, Kathy. On this journey, this place none of us chose but all of us have found, it is so important to find others suddenly and unexpectedly and realize that they get it and that they are in it. That fits you pretty well. Onward into the fog we didn’t choose but must figure out

  9. We all are responsible for the choices we make. To say that we have not chosen ‘this’ situation is quite simply a failure to take advantage of the first opportunity many of us will ever have to immerse ourselves in that spiritual reality we wish to believe will take us out of this living hell we find ourselves in. Everything has a price, and wanting something, anything, requires either a direct cost or an investment, and that cost must be obtained by valuing something more than something else.

    Wei wu wei, doing not doing. This is simply the way things work. It cannot be avoided. This is why Buddhists counsel us to take our time, train ourselves to stay in the present moment at all times, exercise discernment and discretion and above all else, do no harm to any living thing. This last phrase is the constant get out of jail free card we have, and can exercise it as many times as we need. Without it, our every decision will be fraught with the near certainty that karma will be set in motion that will reverberate continuously and ubiquitously.

    But that means we have to avoid doing a great many things, and we just cannot extricate ourselves from the habituating behaviors that have plagued us for millennia. Doing, valuing, possessing, enslaving, guarding, envying, stealing, lying, cheating, raping, murdering. This new paradigm we all wish for demands a supreme sense of balance, and we cannot wish we can have it without giving up all the nasty behaviors that guard our egos with such fervency and jealousy.

    To know that we lie, and cheat, and obfuscate, and deny, is to realize how important that get out of jail free card is. Just comprehend that, in all we decide to ‘do,’ what life may be harmed, at our instigation, and then first avoid it, then ponder on how and why we might value that life as much or more than our own. IMO, this is where it starts, and is the only entrance to the rabbit hole. Then begins the mystery of seeing all others, and all things, as our beloved. The harder this work becomes, the more liberating doing nothing evolves into seeing the world as the self. When we harm anything, we are harmed as well.

    Mick Nickel

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