Gregg Braden’s Visit to Halifax
by Ron MacInnis
It is hard to know where to begin to describe this man. Let me start with the fact that I spent some time with him and came away really liking him. Author of such books as “The Turning Point, The Divine Matrix, Awakening to Zero Point, and Walking Between Worlds: The Science of Compassion,” Gregg is a visionary with feet firmly planted in the realms of disciplined scientific thought, and a humanist who believes people are basically good, and that our social and individual problems can be solved by applied reason. Gregg has a worldwide following of people from all walks of life with his work translated into some 38 languages and his many books have logged enough time on the NYT bestseller list to gain him a following in countries all over the world.
And no, the man does not have “all the answers,” but he sure offers us in Nova Scotia a hearty helping of food for thought.
Braden’s thesis is that the world is approaching a precipice from which there might be no return if we do not awaken to the reality of our situation: we are at a “turning point” as he describes it in his book of the same name. This is not news, and he says nothing about it that the world’s most respected scientists and academics have not said already. Environment, economy, inequality, violence…take your pick: our planet is headed at high speed for progressively more difficult times. (Read the sobering forecast in anthropologist Ronald Wright’s “A Brief History of Progress” if you remain unconvinced.)
But Gregg is not a bad news bear. What makes him unique is that he proposes a set of solutions, plausible ones, that lead not only to a better world for ourselves and future generations, but to a more awakened, comfortable and peaceful state of mind for each of us. Waiting for our world to return to the steady state of the old days as many people do, he says, is simply not an option.
And through all this, the man is brutally honest. “Global warming is a natural cycle,” he says.
True. “Check,” he says, “the Antarctic ice core samples.” And he demonstrates his point with easily verifiable data.
“But,” he then says, “The big question is, what are we doing to prepare for the inevitability of this natural and very dangerous phenomenon? Continue our consumption of oil as we have in the past?” Are we not aggravating the situation and pushing ourselves further towards the brink?
Gregg peels back the layers of this, and a host of modern misconceptions, laying bare the myths of our time and underlining his points with new scientific studies and news that is not and may never be mainstream.
“We must look at our world and our place in it in a completely different way,” he says. “The world has never in history been in this state. It requires a new way of thinking on everyone’s part.” And, pacing the stage with audio visual clicker at the ready, he proceeds to unfold his case.
Central to Braden’s thinking is the fact that most if not all of our social problems today stem from habitual behaviours based on “the false assumptions of an incomplete science.” There have been discoveries, in other words, about which many of us just don’t know. For example, ancient and very sophisticated near-ice age civilizations that rose and fell as revealed by new archeological digs that have stories to tell; the real reasons for wars fought in our past and why war may become obsolete in our time; or the false assumptions about human evolution and Darwin’s theory, and how they play out to this day in large corporations and society in general, creating havoc and suffering as they go, which leads in turn to deep questions about basic human nature and whether we are predisposed to be competitive…or cooperative.
“Co-operative,” says Braden, riding the roller coaster of reason to new heights, as he unfolds yet another intriguing story that underlines his point.
Yes, this sounds like heady stuff, but what you have here is seemingly complex matters presented in clear, concise terms, lushly illustrated, free of jargon, and free of any hustles or persuasions. “And when the facts are made clear,” he says, “the solutions become obvious.”
“And the question we might ask ourselves these days,” says Gregg, “in our quiet moments or perhaps in our prayers, is not what can I get from this earth, but what can I give?”