So What Are the Easy Answers to Difficult Problems?

"Unlike many of our self-assured gurus, ecologists, and technologist something-will-save-us believers, I don't claim to know the exact details of our future. What I do know is that if we are to save some part of this world for our children and all other life, the answers won't simply rest in just the application of technology, economy, government, messianic figures, or new religions, sects, and cults.

"True and lasting solutions will require that a critical mass of people achieve an older-culture way of viewing the world — the perspective that successfully and sustainably maintained human populations for hundreds of thousands of years.

"Because I'm convinced that our problem is rooted in our worldview, the solutions I offer derive from ways we can change that, which will then naturally transform the technological/political/economic details that emerge from that new perspective. For example:

• "History demonstrates that the deepest and most meaningful cultural/social/political changes began with individuals, not organizations, governments, or institutions.

• "In helping 'save the world,' the most important work you and I face is to help individuals transform their ability to perceive reality and control the stories they believe because people do tend to live out what they believe is true. This has to do with people's taking back personal spirituality, finding their own personal power, and realizing that most of our religious, political, and economic institutions are younger-culture dominators that must be transformed if we are to prevent them from destroying us.

• "Then, out of this new perspective, we ourselves will come up with the solutions in ways that you and I right now probably can't even imagine.

"In the reality and the experience of an older-culture perspective — a life-connected worldview — we find a life rich and deep with wisdom, love, and the very real experience of the presence of the sacred in all things and all humans. It is a world that works for every living thing, including our children's children's children."

From The Last Hours of Ancient Sunlight by Thom Hartmann, © 1998, 1999, 2004, published by Harmony Books, a division of Random House, Inc.