For a sustainable future, we need to understand life and our relations with other people not in terms of economy or exchange, but as gift… not in expectation of any return, without calculation of cost, but instead as a celebration of Presence with another. In that moment of Presence, the universe changes in the way all of us need it to change.
The sustainability problem reminds me of my favorite arcade game, which I will call “Whack-A-Mole.” Some indeterminate creature pops out of holes in a random pattern, requiring you to whack them with a mallet at an ever increasing rate until the end of the game.
Blessed with good hand-eye coordination, I could always count on winning some pointless prize for whoever was with me.
When it comes to sustainability, however, the whack-a-mole approach will ultimately not be successful. The game will just get harder and there is no prize at the end – because there will be no end to the creatures that pop out at us faster and faster until we are eventually overwhelmed.
The seventh lesson the Old Savage needs to learn is that skill and good tools will not be enough to solve the problems preventing a sustainable future.
It is not a question of getting better or faster at solving the problems as they emerge – perhaps with more people and more mallets. Instead, you need to change the game itself.