Monday, August 18, 2008

Consciousness Change and Life After Oil

In an interview appearing on Transitions Culture, psychologist Peter Russell, author of Waking Up in Time, highlights a number of valuable insights for those of us working with people struggling, either consciously or subconsciously with the unsettling impact of peak oil and climate change on their daily lives.

Russell begins by pointing out the need for an inner change of consciousness that underlies so many of our daily habits and our way of life. But he also addresses the pitfalls of getting stuck in the fear, anger, or magical thinking that we can meditate our way out today's realities, any one of which may occur when we focus too narrowly on inner work.

He emphasizes the value of personal and collective visioning about the future given these realities, while warning against the dangers of becoming attached to the ideas we envision for the future, urging instead that we remain open to unfolding possibilities. I too find envisioning to be a valuable way to move out of fear and shock into positive action.

As we've discussed here before, moving past fear, shock, or anger isn't usually an instantaneous process, though, so we need to allow ourselves and those we work time to adjust both emotionally and cognitively as we move through the stages of waking up. Trying to hurry one through this process tends only to deepen the fear, shock, or anger one needs to move on from.

Russell calls for a balance between what I consider to be inner and outer reconstruction, dealing with both the needed psychological and practical change. In terms of practical action he views provision of energy and food as our top two priorities. In general terms I would agree with this, yet I maintain the best place for a given individual to start is with their most pressing concerns and personal priorities. In many cases that may be dealing with freeing themselves from immobilizing debt.

I am interested in knowing your comments about Russell's views and those expressed here.


  1. What I like most about Russell's article is his statement that fear and anger are emotions that must be WORKED ON. It is unrealistic to expect that given the world situation one would/should have no fear or anger. Those are normal emotions in the face of planetary annihilation. But they are tremendous grist for the mill of consciousness transformation which he also emphasizes.

  2. I enjoyed the interview. The good news is that we already have all the metaphysical tools we need to face our fears and handle our anger. The idea of visioning in communities is a great one. There are countless solutions that have been discovered by ordinary people. While we have a free internet, we can find what has been invented and share these ideas in our meetings. Nature has already provided us with all we need. Some ideas have not yet come to the forefront, and this is where meditation and visioning are invaluable.