Yesterday I looked at the context called “a world that works for everyone,” which was created by Werner Erhard in the 1970s. (1) Today I want to look at the organizing principle that Werner put forth for such a world.
In 1980 Werner referred to that organizing principle when he said “a you-and-me world [is] a world that works for everyone.” (2) I actually vividly remember him saying the following words to describe his vision:
“Sometime around now – it may have happened five years ago or fifty years ago – … the rules for living successfully on this planet shifted. We can no longer hope to live meaningful, purposeful lives using the rules of a you or me world. It’s becoming clearer and clearer to those who will look that in order to live successfully on this planet, we must discover and live by the rules of you and me.” (3)
He described this context as “more radical than a revolution.” In place of the exclusionist principles common in society, Werner offered inclusionist principles based on each of us taking responsibility for our world and letting go of our polar, confrontational leanings and dependency on a “savior.” He said:
“Here, purpose and meaning in our lives do not come in response to a common enemy or in the wake of a popular leader, but from individuals willing to take on and create purpose and meaning for themselves.
“It is the beginning of a transformation in the quality of life on our planet for each of us, with no one left out. We can choose to make the success of all humanity our personal business.” (4)
The Vietnam War was fresh in everyone’s memory. There was awareness among a few of how the population had been manipulated into going to war. But there was nowhere near the knowledge of the forces that wanted to win control of the world that there is today.
No one suspected what was happening behind closed doors. It took 9/11 to wake many people up.
Werner was talking into a space inhabited by protesters and activists who had begun by marching but ended by burning banks and eventually devastating the downtown areas through which they marched. No one’s hands seemed clean in those days. Werner seemed alone in emphasizing accountability and integrity.
Werner’s call for a you-and-me society, a world that worked for everyone, with no one left out, was about as challenging a perspective for me as any that I’d ever heard before. It wasn’t simply its global reach that was revolutionary; it’s that it included very many people whom activists at that time regarded with disdain and missed few opportunities to ridicule.
Werner described the kind of world we lived in here:
“The world isn’t friendly to the experience that your life works; the world isn’t friendly to the experience that you have relationships which are meaningful and nurturing. There’s no room for that out there. There’s plenty of room to be very slick and clever and successful. You’re a slick operator? Terrific! The world’s truly friendly to that. But if you’re decent, you’d better hide it.” (5)
Proposing his vision was radical enough. But Werner didn’t stop there. He campaigned for it.
And he wasn’t helped as much as we are by rising energy and the prospect of global prosperity and a shift in consciousness.
Our work to create Nova Earth is helped by the uplifting impact of the energies sent to us from the far reaches of space and from other dimensions. But Werner had no such help. He was a lone person facing into all the unworkability that prevailed at the time.
That unworkability included the undermining of foreign economies, the seizure of nations’ natural resources by multinational companies, the assassination of leaders of other countries who tried to establish democracy, and constant warfare in every region of the globe, disguised as anti-communist and later anti-terrorist.
No one at the time imagined that all this was a strategy to take control of the world from the people and create a “New World Order.”
In 1980 Werner wrote that:
“In this new context, making a difference becomes a way of life – individuals live their lives out of the knowledge that each of us has the responsibility and the power to create a world that works for all of us.” (6)
No one that I know suspected at the time that this generation would actually face into a global shift in consciousness. People like Werner did the heavy lifting for this global shift and cleared the space for us to consider forgiveness on a planetary scale.
Facing into the challenge that Werner issued was the first introduction for many of us of what we now know as “unitive consciousness.” As Werner put it:
“When we start to examine our assumptions about our relationship with the world, we begin a process that results in a discovery. We discover that not only are we related; we are actually members of a vast human family.
“Along with this discovery comes a deeply experienced sense of responsibility for all family members, and a desire to do something, to make a contribution that will make the world work for everyone.” (7)
(Continued in Part 2.)