Twice nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize, Ervin Laszlo is editor of the international periodical World Futures: The Journal of General Evolution and is the founder and president of the international think tanks the Club of Budapest, the World Wisdom Council, and the General Evolution Research Group. A former professor of philosophy, systems theory, and futures studies in the U.S., Europe, and the Far East, he is the recipient of four honorary Ph.D.’s and numerous awards and distinctions, including the 2001 Goi Peace Award (the Japanese Peace Prize) and the 2005 Assisi Mandir of Peace Prize. Laszlo is the author of 85 books, translated into 22 languages.
YOU CAN CHANGE THE WORLD: The Challenge, and What We Can Do About It
The message is both simple and basic. We must not wait for fundamental change to come from ‘above,’ from the elected or appointed leaders of contemporary societies, but must catalyze it so it would come from ‘below,’ from the people who live in those societies. This is a realistic objective, for in the past few years prospects for change coming from the grassroots have grown. Today these prospects are enhanced by two parallel developments: first, the need for fundamental change, which is more urgent than ever and second, the unfolding and intensification of the will to change among many of the peoples of this world.
Change will come, because humankind cannot go on as before. War and terrorism are only the tip of the iceberg. The submerged but now increasingly emerging body of the iceberg is the growing stress, frustration and hate generated by the impoverishment of our life-sustaining environment and the imbalance resulting from the workings of the world’s economic and social system. The bottom line is that our global village is inequitable, full of frustration and hate, and is neither economically nor ecologically sustainable. This condition cannot be prolonged indefinitely. We either achieve peace and a higher level of sustainability, or risk a global holocaust.
Change will come, for it must come, but when and how will it come? Predicting the timing and the form of the change awaiting us is not the challenge, for the future is not to be foretold; it is to be created. The challenge facing us is to create a positive future. If we act wisely and effectively we can create a more peaceful and sustainable world over the span of the next few years. We are not obliged to go on living in crisis and conflict. The world need not remain violent, and economically, socially and ecologically unsustainable. We can progress towards harmony, cooperation, liveable communities, and a value system that nourishes and sustains us and all things that live on this Earth.
New thinking is a ‘soft factor’ in the life of society, but when it comes to deciding our future it carries more weight than money and power, the traditional ‘hard factors.’ The urgently required local and global transformation calls for timely changes in the way we think and the way we act. It is time to begin to think in a new way, and to act in light of our new insights. Because, when all is said and done, the future of the world is in our hands.
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From The Great Rethinking Oxford: Solace, Renewal, Understanding