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Heard on Detroit Today with Stephen Henderson

Pandemic Shows Rapid Change Is Possible When We’re United, Says Author Charles Eisenstein

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Image credit: Photo by Rural Explorer on Unsplash

For the first time… the whole planet is thinking about the same thing. It’s no longer possible to think your health is disconnected to my health.”

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Will we use this global opportunity to radically change how societal systems are organized and maintained? 

In a striking essay that came out at the end of March, philosopher, public speaker and author Charles Eisenstein wrote that “Covid-19 is showing us that when humanity is united in a common cause, phenomenally rapid change is possible. None of the world’s problems are technically difficult to solve; they originate in human disagreement. In coherency, humanity’s creative powers are boundless.”

Eisenstein’s essay, “The Coronation” explores the interconnectivity between the many systems in our society and ourselves and how a so-called “reflex of control” may be holding us back from learning important lessons at this crucial time.

In response to the piece receiving attention from people who took some of what Eisenstein wrote to be somehow sympathetic to conspiracy theories cropping up around this pandemic, Eisenstein penned another essay that was just published on his website yesterday. “The Conspiracy Myth” not only acknowledges this proliferation of conspiracy narratives but also digs into why these stories are emerging in the first place and what we can learn from looking at this moment in society. 

Listen: Charles Eisenstein discusses the theories explored in his essay “The Coronation”


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Charles Eisenstein is a philosopher and author, who has focused his recent writing on the psychosocial shifts resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic. He writes about how these turbulent times could very well result in a radical change in social thought and action, and social structures could come out stronger and more benevolent on the other side. While there has been a lot of national discussion surrounding a return to normalcy, Eisenstein focuses on how even our idea of ‘normalcy’ should be questioned.

This isn’t really working but we feel trapped in the direction we’ve been going and now all of the sudden, there’s this big pause” says Charles Eisenstein. He adds, “We can ask what about the ‘old normal’ we want to reclaim and embrace.” Eisenstein describes how these infrastructures we have always imagined as behemoth and unalterable are being tested in an unprecedented way. Whether it be on a local or global level, these groundworks of our society are more vulnerable than previously perceived. “Things that seemed unchangeable and permanent are being revealed as actually quite fragile. When things fall apart… one response is to cling all the more tightly to the familiar,” says Eisenstein

Even our national finances our more malleable than we thought. He gives the example of the ability to fund the national coronavirus relief packages, while even weeks before the pandemic, these figures would have been perceived as insurmountable. “We are learning that money is a social agreement, the same as debt, and that can be changed,” says Eisenstein.

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Detroit Today

Dynamic and diverse voices. News, politics, community and the issues that define our region. Hosted by Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Stephen Henderson, Detroit Today brings you fresh and perceptive views weekdays at 9 am and 7 pm.

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This post is a part of Coronavirus in Michigan.

101.9 WDET, Detroit’s NPR Station, is committed to providing accurate, up-to-date information on coronavirus, and it's related illness COVID-19, in Michigan. 

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