This book is a sort of guide to the New Story: not what it is but, a clear, compassionate process of how to move into it. He illuminates the personal and societal habits and mindsets holding us back, and their benign successors.
He sums up the New Story as “the story of Interbeing, the Age of Reunion… the world of the gift.” Whereas, “More than anything external, it is our own habits that draw us back into the old story… habits of scarcity,…judgement, and… struggle.” But as he points out, giving attention to a habit and the feelings underlying it weaken its addictive power.
Since the New Story is about interconnection, he warns against its advocates feeling righteous, which perpetuates separation and alienates others. “Today, our economic environment screams at us, “Scarcity!” … political… “Us versus them”, … medical… “Be afraid!” Together they keep us alone and scared to change.” Whereas in truth “fundamentally we are the same being looking out at the world through many sets of eyes”.
So how can one change others’ opinions? He says, through “an experience that doesn’t fit the existing story, or that resonates with a new one.” “The same applies…on an organisational, social, or political level.”… “Healing the wounds of separation is a key.”
He observes that , “the laws of cause and effect that the old world has handed us (mean)…nothing we do can …be enough to create a more beautiful world…”. Hence despair is understandable, but “true optimism comes from having traversed the territory of despair and taken its measure.”
Eisenstein believes that a sole focus on big impersonal goals like CO2 reduction risks aggravating our sense of individual insignificance. Rather “We need to come into direct, caring, sensuous relationship with this forest,… this river, this tiny plot of land, and protect them for their own sake rather than for an ulterior end.”
Connecting with others, deepening community, is another antidote, and strengthens collective wisdom. He quotes Matthew Fox: “the second coming of Christ will be the advent of Christ consciousness in everyone.”
Eisenstein has an interesting view on how the shift to the New Story may happen. He believes it could be in the next few years, which would be pretty bumpy. He also feels we may fail to grasp this chance, and believes another would arise around 2050, “when the damage to the ecosphere will hit home with truly calamitous consequences.” And “only a remnant of humanity will survive.”
He urges us all to “stop trying to be a good person”, follow our joy, and deepen our trust. In fact “it is not ours to decide what is true or possible.” “The proper way to start is to receive a vision.”, and the second step “is to heal the wounds and doubts that vision illuminates… the third step is to bow into service to that which wants to be born.”
The full book is even more readable and informative than this summary!