Filled with practical ideas and innovative strategies honed from the author's work with over 1000 luminaries via his company, The Shift Network, Sacred America, Sacred World rings with a can-do entrepreneurial spirit and explains how America can lead the world toward peace, sustainability, health, and prosperity. This vision of the future weaves the best of today's emergent spirituality with seasoned political wisdom, demonstrating ways America can grow beyond its current stagnation and political gridlock to become a world leader in peace and progress.
Published to coincide with the party conventions and presidential debates, this book will promote a return to the sacred principles cherished by America's forefathers in order to create a "transpartisan," non-ideological, pragmatic approach to social reform. This uplifting discussion explores evolutions in political leadership, environmental concerns, and economic reformation.
It is time to forge a bold new image of America's future. Here is a road map for getting there.
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Sacred America Sacred World
Fulfilling Our Mission in Service to All
By Stephen Dinan
Hampton Roads Publishing Company, Inc.Copyright © 2016 Stephen Dinan
All rights reserved.
If we are to have peace on earth, our loyalties must become ecumenical rather than sectional. Our loyalties must transcend our race, our tribe, our class, and our nation; and this means we must develop a world perspective.
— Martin Luther King Jr.
When our Founding Fathers risked their lives to sign the Declaration of Independence, America became a free country. It was a truly historic moment. From that point forward, we Americans have had to rely on ourselves to govern, regulate our economy, pass laws, and organize a common defense, as well as protect the rights and liberties of our citizens. In other words, we had to build a new "operating system" for our country, which we can think of as the foundational assumptions, laws, and social institutions that allow us to operate together.
The first attempt to organize our activities involved the Articles of Confederation — a way for states that were at the time highly suspicious of any centralized power to form a loose national confederation while retaining most of their power. In the language of software operating systems, we can view this as America 1.0. Looking in the rearview mirror of history, the Articles of Confederation seems to be an exciting triumph. In practice, it proved to be a mess. Interstate traders had different currencies to deal with, as well as tariffs that drove down the profitability of trade. There was no way to raise money for a national army, which left the newly formed United States of America poorly defended. And there was neither a national executive to make decisions nor courts to which states could appeal disputes.
The poor performance of our 1.0 operating system led early American leaders to almost immediately begin thinking about an upgrade. The Constitutional Convention faced all the problems and inefficiencies created by the Articles of Confederation and devised our Constitution, which was ratified in 1787 to create the current federal system, which balanced power better between the federal government and the states and laid out the balance of powers between different branches of government in a clear way. This upgrade to a 2.0 operating system for our country was an enormous advance not only for America but for the world, which received a new template for democracy.
Our Constitution continues to shape every aspect of our current American society. However, it was designed such that new laws, protections, beliefs, and values can evolve on top of this core, a process that has distinct parallels with building new operating systems on top of the original base of code. In many ways, each upgrade of the operating system represents a deeper application of the sacred principles built into America from the beginning, which we'll be exploring more throughout the book.
Historians differ in what they see as the major fulcrum points in the history of America, often choosing to focus on wars or presidential administrations. I see America's growth through the lens of the evolution of new levels of consciousness that expand our respect for the freedoms and rights of others and which are then institutionalized in the form of law. This view of our history does not dwell on lateral expansions, such as the addition of states, or on external wars, which reflect how we engage with other countries. Instead, I see the deepest and most enduring activities as those that lead to an evolution in our worldview and the societal systems that support it. To help understand these, again, I use the metaphor of the evolution of computer operating systems. Here is my list of the major upgrades to the American operating system in the last 240 years:
1. America 1.0 (1776–1787): Nation is born; Articles of Confederation
2. America 2.0 (1787–1865): Constitution and Bill of Rights
3. America 3.0 (1865–1920): Slavery is abolished
4. America 4.0 (1920–1933): Women included as voting citizens
5. America 5.0 (1933–1960): New Deal legislation expands role of government to create safety nets
6. America 6.0 (1960–2000): Civil rights movement and women's movement expand full inclusion of more citizens
7. America 7.0 (2000–present): Emergence of truly global era, with globalized Internet, trade, travel, and movement of finance
In most of the upgrades, a precipitating crisis reveals design flaws in the beliefs, values, principles, or practices built into the last operating system. After passing through the crisis, which typically sheds light on the problems of the last operating system, there is an expansion of freedoms and rights along with better safeguards to institutionalize the advances of the past and to protect those who have been disenfranchised. For example:
Problem: South secedes from the Union ? 3.0 upgrade without slavery
Problem: Great Depression ? 5.0 upgrade with a better societal safety net and financial protections
Problem: Social unrest of the sixties ? 6.0 upgrade with more integrated society and protected civil rights
Before each new evolution, we often pass through a period of increased resistance to change. This time of stability is an essential part of integrating the gains of the past and allowing them to become part of the new "tradition" of our society. However, the stabilizing aspect of tradition can turn into stagnancy and block further evolution. So something needs to stoke the fires of change. In addition to the collective crises that give a "push," inspiring leaders emerge that offer a "pull" to lead American society forward, visionaries such as John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln, Susan B. Anthony, Franklin D. Roosevelt, and Martin Luther King Jr.
The upgrade to America 7.0 hasn't been distinguished by a singular crisis as an evolutionary driver but a series of them that have begun to force a shift in our orientation from being nation-centered to being global citizens. Financially, the market crash of 2000 followed by the much more major 2008–2009 global meltdown began to reveal how deeply interconnected we all are economically. In the first fifteen years of the new millennium, we've been roiled by the spread of terrorism, fear of global pandemics like Ebola, and an increasing challenge to the sustainability of our planetary ecosystems. All of these crises are forcing us to begin to think and act out of concern for the whole world rather than just America. That's because we are globally interconnected now to a degree that is unprecedented in history, which has been driven by the rapid interconnection of the Internet as well as finance, trade, media, and travel.
The America 7.0 operating system is thus slowly emerging in the first decades of this century, pushed by many evolutionary drivers. It's leading us toward a fundamentally new operating system for our country that will take decades to fully realize even while some changes have already begun to emerge. It is our first truly global operating system, which corresponds with a real sense of becoming global citizens. At the root level, America's 7.0 operating system is built upon the evolution of a new level of consciousness as a country, which then leads to a new set of governing assumptions, political structures, and our national psychology. The operating system of our nation cannot simply reject the old code. It must evolve in an integrated fashion, which means completing the unfinished parts of the last stage. That's why our maturation as a country requires facing what is no longer helpful about our beliefs, thoughts, and habits as well as what we've hidden in our shadows, which we will explore more later in the book.
For example, the presidency of George W. Bush caused angst for many people committed to the new global operating system, partially because his "go it alone" style of foreign policy felt increasingly out of sync. In this way, President Bush provided an exaggeration of some of the independent and nationalistic assumptions that we are outgrowing, which was actually helpful in the long range, provoking a clarification of where we are going, which is increasingly toward interdependence and collaboration.
However, to move forward, we need to also embrace what was virtuous and valuable about Bush and his allies rather than only pointing at problems and inadequacies. After all, they represent aspects of the American character that we need to build upon in America 7.0. Growth rarely happens through self-hatred, even while it does require rigorous self-reflection. Shifting the core patterns requires releasing our judgments and finding appreciation for the perceived "problems" of the past. That spirit of love and acceptance is a foundation for the deeper changes to happen. For America 7.0 to be a true upgrade, we cannot jettison the old but need to build upon and extend it. If not, we compromise the efficacy of the new platform.
In America's next operating system, we need the strong, single-pointed, and resolute warrior who is willing to stand for what he believes is right, something obvious in President Bush's administration. Simply rejecting the warrior values outright will not work. That would be like deleting essential lines of code from the next operating system. What we need is to upgrade the warrior and integrate him with the emerging global operating system. It's not the warrior qualities in Bush that were the problem; it's the use of those qualities in situations for which they did not represent skillful means.
Integration is the main difference between an upgrade and a rebellion. The values of a rebellion tend to be in opposition to the dominant culture's values. They are countercultural rather than transcultural. When in rebellion, we enter a tug-of-war for dominance; it's either the old operating system or its antithesis. A true upgrade, though, transcends and includes both polarities while letting go of what no longer serves. When that happens, the warring factions recognize that their most important priorities have been honored in a new viewpoint that is more whole.
All of this relates to the importance of exploring our country's shadow. Doing so with rigor is a requirement to activate a new system because it allows us to see the inadequacies of the last stage more clearly. We need to recognize where we have been unconscious, blind, or untruthful with ourselves so as to help less-developed parts of our national character to find their next-higher expression.
The 7.0 operating system for America is very much a global operating system. It is not defined by thinking only of American citizens but by expanding our care for the world. It requires releasing old animosities and building new strategic alliances. It builds upon a global Internet and media, with international travel growing each year. Most of all, America 7.0 is about seeing ourselves as global citizens and American citizens, as an increasing number of us do.
As we have now entered the transition to America 7.0, the culture of America 6.0, which is more rooted in identities of religion, race, and nation, is still prominent but starting to decline. These two cultures are not defined by skin color, language, ethnic group, or religion. They represent ways of seeing the world that have unique national expressions while transcending the borders between nation-states.
The declining culture is one in which the boundaries of community, identity, and concern are focused on the national level or still more partial identities of race, class, religion, or party. For those on the inside of our boundary of "us," we champion the best for them. Within this in-group, we mostly align our economic interests. For those on the outside of this boundary, we retain a certain suspicion, a protective looking out for "our" interests versus theirs. In the more extreme forms, it can result in xenophobia and extreme nationalism that is based in discrimination, as we see in some extreme right parties.
This strong sense of national identity is reflected in the distribution of military forces — no forces are focused on protecting boundaries between American states, for example, while massive resources are allocated to potential disputes with other countries. When most US citizens are asked who they are, they are likely to say "American" before saying, "I'm a Minnesotan" or "I'm a global citizen." When we watch the Olympics, the coverage focuses on "our" team. The medal count becomes a measure of our national worth in competition with other nations. Similarly, when reporting on armed conflicts or natural disasters, the primary concern is how many of "our" people were injured or killed. The total body count, if even reported, is largely secondary.
Although it remains dominant, this nation-centered culture is declining in power. On the Internet, national boundaries are nonexistent. In commerce, we are increasingly an interconnected world, with transnational corporations operating globally. Our environmental challenges do not respect national boundaries. Science is a global endeavor, as is finance. Even our entertainment, food, and travel are all increasingly global.
So, while nation-centered culture still wields great political power, the underpinning psychology and infrastructure are starting to shift in dramatic ways, which will ultimately mean a shift toward a global sense of culture and identity. Eventually, we'll be more concerned with how many people died in an earthquake than how many Americans. We'll be more likely to celebrate the best athlete's achievements than the best American's. We'll champion global accords when addressing environmental challenges rather than focusing on narrowly defined national interests. The ascending culture of America 7.0 is thus global in its sense of identity and sphere of concern. It is grounded in a unified sense of community with the whole planet rather than separating people into enemies and friends.
As the interweaving of nations and the evolution of global consciousness proceed further and we evolve more reliable structures for global peacemaking, it will eventually make large militaries less necessary, gradually replaced by smaller police forces to protect the peace within nations. En route to that endpoint, though, we face many challenges, the primary one for America being the balance between the security that our current military power can provide and the decrease in our nationalistic focus that is required for the long-term health of ourselves and our world.
That's why the task of honoring (and seeing clearly) what has gone before us is so important. If the transition to the ascending global operating system is too abrupt, we may undermine the foundations for its emergence by rejecting the economic and military stabilizing force that we now offer. We would risk leaving behind the values of the conservative right that support family, local community, and national sovereignty.
The ascending culture needs time to mature and grow structures of support and collaboration. Millions of people need to evolve their worldview. Organizationally, the ascending culture needs media, institutions, and political platforms that embody and reinforce its global focus.
America is thus in a pivotal position to help usher in a new era. To the extent that we cling to our 6.0 alpha-dominant–nationalistic status for too long, we become the problem that the rest of the world needs to address. If we shift our alpha-dominant status too early, destructive ethnic, religious, and tribal rivalries will flare up at the same time that we face mounting global crises that require a coherent response. That's why we are best served to honor what has made our country successful while fostering new initiatives that are global in their scope, while we test out what works.
For America to play a leadership role in the next stage of our planet's evolution, as I believe was imprinted in the founding codes of our country, we must see ourselves as champions of the ascending 7.0 global culture while also respecting the 6.0 America-centric culture and its gifts. As the ascending culture gains prominence in the coming decades, there will be a relaxation of the tension that characterizes the boundaries between countries. From a spiritual perspective, these boundaries create an uncomfortable friction that can eventually erupt as war and conflict. This friction wastes money, time, and resources. Evolving a truly global perspective will eventually eliminate the need to protect artificial borders and thus open to the possibility of a far freer and more prosperous world.
America 7.0 holds great promise, not only for our citizens but for the entire world. It is a fulfillment of millennia of cultural evolution, striving toward better systems of governance, culture, and consciousness. It may not be our last operating system, but I believe it is the operating system that can help us transition to a peaceful and thriving planet. And that will be a gift for which we will all be eternally grateful.
Excerpted from Sacred America Sacred World by Stephen Dinan. Copyright © 2016 Stephen Dinan. Excerpted by permission of Hampton Roads Publishing Company, Inc..
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Table of Contents
Foreword Marianne Williamson xi
Part 1 Developing a Sacred Worldview
1 America 7.0 3
2 What Is a Sacred America? 13
3 The Next American Dream 19
4 E Pluribus Unum 25
Part 2 Evolving Our Consciousness
5 Radicals and Republicans 31
6 Political Cross-Training 37
7 From Revolutionaries to Evolutionaries 43
8 Patriotism and Progress 49
9 Reconnecting with Indigenous Roots 55
10 Healing the Legacy of Slavery 63
11 Rebalancing Feminine and Masculine 69
12 Occupy the 100 Percent 77
Part 3 Creating Innovative Solutions
13 Building Stronger Families 85
14 Educating Our Children 93
15 Creating a Culture of Peace 99
16 Beyond a War on Terror 105
17 Consecrating the Warrior 111
18 Stabilizing the Middle East 119
19 Ending Global Warming 131
20 Uplifting through Microfinance 139
21 The Sacred Corporation 145
22 Transforming Our Banking System 155
23 Solutions Councils 161
Part 4 Building an Evolutionary Movement
24 Sacred Citizenship 169
25 Turning the Wheels of Democracy 175
26 Toward a Strategic Political Movement 181
27 Transcending Political Polarities 189
28 A More Enlightened Left and Right 195
29 Training Future Political Leaders 205
30 The Shift Network 209
31 World Campaign 2020 215
32 The Call to Interdependence 223
33 Toward Global Governance 227
34 Fulfillment of America's Spiritual Mission 237
Recommended Resources 253