Time of the Great Turning

In his book, The Living Universe, Duane Elgin researched the question, “how do the spiritual traditions of the world regard the universe?” He discovered that at their depth there is a common understanding. Islam says that, “each moment is an occasion for Allah to create the universe.” The Gospel of Thomas proclaims, “the kingdom of heaven is spread out before them and they do not see it.” Elgin studied similar findings coming from science — that the Earth is being renewed at every moment but that we are unaware of it. Elgin says that science is now pointing toward the spiritual. Science is finding that the universe is a deeply mysterious, connected living system, most of which is still unseen and undiscovered. For hundreds of years humanity has separated itself from the mystery of the universe. We used nature to increase our own material prosperity. We saw ourselves separate from and superior to nature. Now is the time for ”the great turning” — a time for people everywhere to turn from disconnect with, misuse of and separation from nature — and turn to connecting in mutually cooperative ways and acting with common purpose as part of nature.

So what does this have to do with a greater democracy? A greater democracy is a phrase that can pull us forward. It helps us see what our role and responsibility as members of the human race are at this time. It conveys an idealism that every person matters, every voice counts, people can decide better ways to live together, and that diverse people will contribute their best to achieve the common good. It is a phrase that can act like a light at the end of a tunnel — enticing us to grow up as a species. A greater democracy contains a promise and a destiny. It identifies us as a humanity bound for mutual respect, cooperation and unity. If we limit our understanding of democracy to a governance system, or a set of values that protects human freedoms but that creates messy politics subject to misuse and manipulation, we may not survive as a human race. It is time for humanity to grow up and for democracy to mean something more to us.

A greater democracy acts like a looking glass for us to peer into and imagine the future while still living in the reality of the present. It is not good enough anymore to go about our business unconscious of the power our thoughts and behaviors have on the future. We can impact the future with our intentions in the present. We have a job to do. We can imagine what a greater democracy would be like. We can set the stage for a greater democracy in our mind’s eye. Let us be motivated by visions of ourselves and people everywhere creating a new kind of life on Earth. Wisdom traditions speak of a Golden Age, Heaven on Earth, Enlightenment. An accelerated turning toward this higher potential in concert with the universe has begun. We are needed to imagine it. Believe in it. Act on behalf of it. We can contribute to the future with our intentions, visions and actions. We are needed. Now is the time.