Part of what motivated the founding of Novasutras was the recognition that we are about to experience profound societal transformation.
There remains a window of hope that this transformation can be humane and deliberate. Humans are capable of rapidly choosing to completely change the economic and political structures that have kept us on a trajectory toward climate chaos and the unraveling of habitats. We could still move quickly into a phase of carbon drawdown, of healing and regenerating the biosphere, if there were the widespread awareness and will to do so. Extinction Rebellion, Fridays for the Future and other groups are pushing ever harder to keep this window of hope open. As those who are attuned to the sacredness of life, endeavoring to abide in agaya and ubuntu, we in the Novasutras movement must continue to work to develop visions for a better future, and work to bring this vision about.
However, rational and well-informed people are recognizing that this vision is not the most probable scenario for the coming decades. The window of hope is closing rapidly. Jem Bendell, Rupert Read and others have begun to talk in terms of Deep Adaptation: moving beyond technical fixes to adapt to a changing climate, and developing strategies to cope with the likely collapse of global civilization and what may come afterward.
Bendell proposes a “post-sustainability” ethic. We must give up on the hope that our society can proceed largely on its current trajectory—with proper allowances, of course, for carbon emission reduction and climate change adaptation—and embrace what he calls “deep adaptation.” That agenda calls for resilience, relinquishment and restoration.
To be the most effective agents for enduring ubuntu and agaya, the Novasutras movement must also begin to prepare for the range of futures in which humans fail to act appropriately to climate crisis and other forms of ecocide. This does not mean walling ourselves off from the world, or abandoning our hope-opening work. Still, we must be ready.
Novasutras practices include a range of ways in which we are preparing ourselves for challenging times ahead. Meditation practices help us to deal with the intensity of emotions that arise as we individually face the future, keeping us personally strong as agents of agaya. Rituals and celebrations help us build the strong communities we will need to face the future together, promoting ubuntu as a response to crisis.
As discussed in this 2018 video, our long-term goals and big projects of the Novasutras movement could include:
- Defending and protecting the environment, agaya and ubuntu — 01:16
- Responding to disasters — 02:29
- Rebuilding after disasters — 05:27
- Supporting social justice causes — 07:37
- Education — 09:01
- Preserving knowledge and culture — 10:11
- Spreading joy and celebration
These goals include a strategy for dealing with the times of the collapse, both striving to prevent some of the worst tragedies, and responding to unavoidable disasters with loving-kindness and ubuntu. But Novasutras is also seeding the emerging future, even if those seeds may not germinate until after this civilization collapses. Education and preservation of knowledge can help our descendants hold on to the wisdom and skills that will allow them to survive, and to remember the best of what humans have done so far. Even the insistence on coordinating with the timing of astronomical events is deliberate in this regard: requiring some practitioners to develop and maintain the mathematical and observational skills to track these events could be an important key to revitalizing the sciences, just as such skills have been vital to many civilizations’ emergence or re-emergence after dark ages.
What are your visions for a better future? How do you respond to Deep Adaptation? What do you think the next civilization might be like?