Friday, April 23, 2010

Social Change as Healing/Healing as Social Change

An online dictionary defines Healing as "To restore to health or soundness; To set right; repair; To restore (a person) to spiritual wholeness. [Also:] To become whole and sound;" Wikipedia claims: "Physiological healing is the restoration of damaged living tissue to normal function. It is the process by which the cells in the body regenerate and repair..."

What does all this have to do with social change? Years ago, I thought of my self as a revolutionary, someone who believed that what we needed was a revolution. The trouble with revolutions (and this has now been shown several times) is that they tend to replicate the structure they were replacing, only with a change of people. If you keep an animal caged for a long time, they will often stay in the cage when the door is opened. It's familiar to them. (I've heard the same from former prisoners--in some ways they want to return to prison, it's what they've learned as normal.)

We need a total structural change of society, and it needs to be built from the ground up. But it needs to be an organic, natural process or it won't take. Capitalism and industrialism, for all their destruction, appeal to people on a visceral level. They appeal to fear and greed, but this is more successful than an appeal to reason and logic.

What we need to realize is that people have been hurt. The natural world has been hurt. If we are going to change things we are going to need to do it by healing those hurts. I think these days about transformation. I think about evolving new systems that will appeal to people because they will be generous, and fun, and challenging (not to mention sustainable and connected). These systems also need to be healing. Any change that is going to be sustainable has to take into account the many wounds and wounded people in the world. We need to find a way to care for them. We need to restore them to health.

I like the word healing, because it speaks to social change as an organic process, as opposed to fixing something. You fix a pot that is broken, but when a bone breaks you try to create a situation that will allow it to heal itself. I think that society (not to mention the natural world) is a living system that has to be nurtured and supported as it changes. We need to restore and repair society, to make it healthy again, to set it right, to bring it back to wholeness, to regenerate and repair and restore damaged living systems to full, flexible functioning, to resiliency. I have talked about the 'Healing of the World' (see my post on 'The Four Offspring', 2/24/10). This is how I see social change. I see social change as a way to heal the world and its people; and I see supporting healing (of individuals, of society, of natural systems, of the planet) as a process that will support social change.

Quote of the Day: "Healing yourself is connected with healing others." - Yoko Ono

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