A Cultural Transformation

New understanding      ->      New worldview     ->      New society

Human activities on Earth today are on a scale and of a kind that pose a severe threat to the whole of humankind, as well as to countless other species.  If present patterns of human activity continue unabated, the collapse of civilisation is certain.

The prevailing cultures that are driving human expansion across the globe appear blissfully unaware of this ecological reality. The only hope for the future lies in a radical cultural transformation, leading to a new society that promotes health and wellbeing in all sections of the human population as well as in the ecosystems on which they depend. I refer to this transformation as the Biotransition.

This transformation can be envisaged as consisting of three distinct steps.

Step 1.  New understanding

The first essential step in the transformation will take the form of a wave of new understanding spreading swiftly across the prevailing cultures of the world – understanding of the story of life on Earth, and of the natural processes, within and around us, on which our existence and wellbeing depend, and understanding that the survival of civilisation will require major changes in the intensity and patterns of human activity on our planet.

We refer to this kind of understanding as Biounderstanding, and to the story of life as the Bionarrative.

Step 2.  New worldview

Biounderstanding will lead to a new, shared, worldview that

  • profound respect for the processes of life that gave rise to us and on which we are totally dependent

This new worldview will be the most significant difference between our current society and healthy and ecologically sustainable societies of the future.

We call this worldview Biorealism. [1]

Step 3.  New society Biounderstanding and the new worldview will lead to a society that is truly sensitive to, in tune with and respectful of the processes of life, within and around us. It will mean healthy people on a healthy planet.   We refer to a society with these characteristics as a

Biosensitive society. [1] Biosensitivity will be a guiding principle in all spheres of human endeavour.

[1] We have introduced the term ‘biosensitive’ because there is a need for a single word to describe a society with these characteristics. The expression ‘ecologically sustainable’ is widely used these days. Of course, society must be ecologically sustainable – otherwise in the long term it cannot continue to exist. But ecological sustainability is surely the bottom line. We must aim for a society that is not only sustainable, but that also positively promotes health and wellbeing in all sections of the human population as well as in the ecosystems of the biosphere.

[1] This worldview needs a name. I have wasted countless hours thinking about this, and ‘Biorealism’ is the best I can come up with. It is not perfect, but I will continue to use it until somebody comes up with a better term. I considered using the term ‘biophilia’, introduced by E. O. Wilson, but its meaning is not quite the same. It has been defined as an innate and genetically determined affinity of human beings for the natural world.

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