Keynote, Environmental Design Research Association, Sacramento, CA, 2007
In the next generation or two, we’ll have to redesign most of what we’ve taken for granted during our lifetimes. To do that will mean that people will have to take the future into their own hands, not leave it up to the politicians, the corporations, and other existing powers. It’s more than a design challenge. It means major changes in all our institutions-media, politics, commerce, and economics. None of our key institutions seem ready to meet the challenges we face. We may be beginning to go through a profound shift in our global consciousness. In Blessed Unrest, Paul Hawken documents there are more than a million groups worldwide working locally to regenerate their environments. Cultural historians who follow the “Perennial Philosophy,” which believes that humans evolve with the rest of nature, categorize human history in terms of our fundamental leaps forward through non-biological mutations called “cultural memes.” The spiral of human evolution is like a strand of DNA moving through four-dimensional space/ time. In a new world view, what we humans design and nature’s evolutionary design begin to merge. Our minds evolve as part of a larger evolutionary process. The new paradigm will revolve around the regeneration and reassembly of the organic and its reintegration into the web of life.