The Optimism of Elisabet Sahtouris
"I have gained and sustained my optimism as a humble student of our living universe, our living Earth, which clearly shows us the way out of our adolescent crisis into a mature global human future.
"The sooner we create our vision of all we desire in lifestyles of 100% recyclable and non-toxic elegant simplicity, set our intention to implement it together, and put our individual capacities into collective action, the greater our chances of success. Poverty can be erased in this process, as new win-win economics are implemented and we all thrive."
"While many people find the confluence of current crises so overwhelming that they see little hope for humanity, I continue to be optimistic and excited about the wonderful opportunities at hand for building a thriving future."
Elisabet Sahtouris in Awakin Call interview
"My spiritual view of things is that I'm a believer in reincarnation. I believe everybody on the planet is here intentionally. I think we came for this roller-coaster ride and that many of us who are in this kind of group are the ones who really want to guide it as well as we can into a positive future. I think Earth is a learning-place in the Cosmos where souls come who don't all have good experiences and good intentions, but are here to learn something about it. I don't see us moving into "paradise planet." I do see us growing up as a species. That's what I'm most interested in, and that's what I'm optimistic about for the simple reason that countless other species before us have done it. I believe we have made a big investment in being humans and I don't want to see that experiment fail. I don't know how many of us will survive. I never get excited about population numbers because I think that's going to be taken care of, regardless of whether we pass out condoms, or whatever we do..."
The reason I remain optimistic is because I see no payoff in pessimism. If you don't believe in life after death and you're very pessimistic and scared of dying, when you do die, you won't know if you were right that there wasn't anything beyond death. I'm not going to know it either, so I can't be proved wrong by being optimistic and saying, "Oh, yes, life after death is going to be wonderful." You have so much more fun as an optimist than as a pessimist. You just debilitate yourself if you're a pessimist, and if you're an optimist you'll do something...."
"Mind matters. Mind matters in the whole world. That again is what gives me optimism. I know that if I hang out with positive people, if I behave positively myself, if I talk in this kind of a group rather than with the CEOs and board members of the multinationals, which can be very challenging, I can feel the energy in this kind of group --- the energy of the future world we want."
Elisabet Sahtouris in Seven Reasons WhyI Remain an Optimist
"Some of us, however, see the present situation as a huge opportunity, ripe for creating the future we truly desire, and our optimism comes from information that science itself has recently produced—information that is more compatible with the hopeful creation stories of other cultures, especially consciousness-based Eastern cosmologies.
- The universe is alive and well.
- We create our own reality and nature shows the way.
- YOUTH HAVE UNPRECEDENTED POWER TO CREATE THE WORLD THEY WANT.
WHEN THERE IS NO MONEY, PEOPLE ARE STILL ACHIEVING THEIR DREAMS.
ECONOMIES ARE BEGINNING TO BE MEASURED IN QUALITY OF LIFE.
WE HAVE THE KNOW-HOW TO SHIFT TO SUSTAINABLE ECONOMIES.
GLOBAL WARMING CAN BECOME our greatest peace process.
Elisabet Sahtouris in conversation with Scott London
I try to remain optimistic in the face of terrible statistics. The ozone hole is growing by leaps and bounds. Some say that by the year 2012 there won't be any ozone at the current rate of destruction — without adding to the current problem. And we all know about the polluted oceans and the dying forests and the poisoned rivers and air and soil and so forth, the increase in desert land when we really need more agricultural land. These are all terrible statistics, but what do we do about them?
There is no time in the future at which we have to turn things around. Things are already turning around in the sense that a lot of alternative ways of living have been developed around the world, whether people are creating their own money systems, or developing communal agriculture, or organic agriculture, alternative education systems. These are all the new forms of the future.
I like to use the metaphor of the butterfly. In metamorphosis, within the body of the caterpillar little things that biologists call imaginal discs or imaginal cells begin to crop up in the body of the caterpillar. They aren't recognized by the immune system so the caterpillar's immune system wipes them out as they pop up. It isn't until they begin to link forces and join up with each other that they get stronger and are able to resist the onslaught of the immune system, until the immune system itself breaks down and the imaginal cells form the body of the butterfly.
I think that is a beautiful metaphor for what is happening in our times. The old body is going into meltdown while the new one develops. It isn't that you end one thing and then start another. So everybody engaged in recycling, in alternative projects, in communal living, in developing healthier systems for themselves and each other is engaged in building the new world while the old one collapses. Its collapse is inevitable. There is no way around that.
We must, for example, shift to organic agriculture. There is so much unemployment in the world that it's very feasible. It can now be done with computers on the farms, with culture coming in, and with farm sitters, as in Denmark that permit the farmer to go to the city for a while. There are many ways to do it. Indigenous cultures show us that it can be done much more simply, much more efficiently. You've got John Jevins here in California doing his biointensive agriculture. He is already up to 4 to 7 times the production of large-scale agriculture. In the recreation of pre-Inca agriculture in the altiplano of Bolivia and Peru, the production went from two and a half tons per hectare to forty tons per hectare in five years, and it is an agriculture that requires very little work. It's possible to do really healthy agriculture that's more productive than green revolution agriculture, and far, far more energy efficient and far, far less destructive.
So that is a place, agriculture, where our technology has been used totally inappropriately and purely for the sake of profits for a handful of people. It's inhuman to perpetrate that kind of agriculture in the face of the starvation it brings.
On the other hand, our communications technology is vital, so that we can connect self-sufficient living communities with each other into a global web. So I think this is where we integrate native techniques and modern technology — that we have the have the communications system to share the way we work at the local level in the bioregions working in healthy, organic community.