Posted On: September 11, 2011

I’m Dr Nicholas Beecroft, a Consultant Psychiatrist in London. I’m exploring the Future of Western Civilization through a series of interviews. I want us to rejuvenate our energy, direction and self-confidence as a civilization.

The Future of Western Civilization Vol 0

My mission is to create a positive, appreciative space in which leaders at the evolutionary edge of our civilization can share their experience and set out their vision for our future to inspire others.  They are visionaries sewing the seeds of future transformation, all genuine, creative, courageous people who really care about who we are and where we’re going.

By “civilization”, I mean Western Civilization- the one I’ve lived in, the one that’s transformed the world over the last 500 years; the one that’s gone global; the one that faces enormous threats, challenges and has the unprecedented opportunity to evolve to a really amazing future. When there’s so much changing all at once, old structures failing and a huge array of emerging threats, that all generates a lot of anxiety, pessimism and fear which distract us from putting energy into creating new solutions, generating new ideas and envisioning a better future.

Western Civilization has been supremely successful in all kinds of ways of which we should be enormously proud. Science, technology, industrialisation, democracy, individual rights, personal freedom, property rights, the rule of law, Christianity, humanism, organization, capitalism, feminism, civil rights, philosophy, music, art, even Imperialism have all, on balance, transformed the world for the better and have created new life conditions with new challenges and problems. In some cases, these advances had nasty side effects and some have become imbalanced. In others, they have replaced older structures and beliefs and many babies have been lost with the bathwater.Behind the News Headlines, usually quietly, under the radar, there’s a lot of good stuff going on; the seeds of the future taking root in the present. There are lots of evolutionaries trying out new ideas, new technologies, new ways of organizing and more integrated, conscious & balanced ways of thinking and being.

Human civilisation is made up of human beings who are conscious beings and physical animals, all interconnected like a shoal of fish or a flock of birds. I’ve interviewed a huge range of people across a variety roles, professions, beliefs, politics, status, nationalities, religions, social classes and backgrounds. What is crystal clear to me is that whilst the world we live in is hyper-complex, we operate in it using a kind of mini-map of our civilisation in our minds which we used to navigate through the world, guided by our inner compass of intuition and rational thought. It is astonishing how similar these inner maps are and the patterns are clear. This is how we self-organise in what is a complex living system- just like a bee hive or wildebeest migration.

Now we are super-connected by the internet, media and travel. We carry in our pockets access to billions of people and to just about all the knowledge that ever existed. Turning inwards we have access to to our instinctive intuition, heart, wisdom, common sense and judgement. Put together, that represents vast human potential and the most amazing opportunity for personal and cultural evolution ever. Looked at like that, just about all of our shared challenges and threats are solvable and a much better world is highly realistic. We’re engaged in conscious evolution of ourselves and our civilisation.

There are a huge range of threats and challenges to The West and to the whole World. People focus their attention on different ones depending on their situation, beliefs and emotional make-up. The list is pretty depressing and overwhelming- so I’ve turned it into a list of positive questions instead.

Who are we?

Where are we going?

What kind of future do we envisage?

How do we rise to the challenges we face?

What do we believe; what is right, what is wrong, what is true, what is false?

What do we value and desire?

What do we love about our civilisation?

What works really well?

What’s worth preserving & defending?

How can we be confidently patriotic, open, diverse and global at the same time?

How do we restore a healthy authority in ourselves, our roles and institutions?

How can we have authority which is fair, accountable, evidence-based and respectful of complexity?

How can be apply science effectively to complex systems like the mind, consciousness, society without oversimplification?

how do we get sustainable, secure, clean energy?

How do we renew the welfare state to be fair to taxpayers and empowering to recipients?

How do we balance individual rights with group responsibilities?

Shall we start having enough children to sustain our future without depending on immigration?

How do we absorb huge flows of immigration into a confident, open, dynamic, cohesive and secure country?

How can we be comfortable and secure with our complex, overlapping identities?

How do we innovate, reorganise, get our way out of recession?

How do we enjoy the growth of human potential in harmony with the planet we depend upon?

How do we evolve capitalism to serve our culture & values more holistically and fairly?

How do we rehumanise medicine to get the best of technology whilst having compassion & healing and open our minds to the huge non-linear, non-reductionist possibilities?

How do we refresh our democracy to deepen it rather than have occasional elections manipulated by narrow interest groups, political cabals and the media?

Who are successful examples of organic leadership- leadership in line with human nature including self-organising living systems, trust, respect, judgement, intuition?

What can we learn from pioneers in consciousness and cultural evolution?

How we can most effectively support our cultural evolution, healthy attitude to risk, judgment and responsibility?

How do we support the evolution for a more mature, more conscious post-partisan politics which integrates left & right, individual & group, power & love, freedom and security, justice and fairness,

How can we integrate the dark, shadow side of our history so as to unlock our power and potential?

How do we intelligently integrate what we have come to think of as science with intuition, wisdom and complexity?

How do we preserve and improve our open, free, democratic, pluralistic society whilst living with other cultures which actively assert their righteousness, supremacy and desire for dominance over us?

How do we rebalance our economies to live within our means, to support the development of the emerging economies whilst remaining competitive and vibrant?

How do we live ecologically sustainably?

How do we have a post-post modern spirituality which honours life and spirit and which transcends and includes existing religions and secular views.

How do we evolve from a culture of entitlement to a culture of empowerment, maximising potential, freedom with fairness and responsibility?

How do we emerge beyond patriarchy and feminism to a mature, conscious masculinity & femininity, embodied, equal but different, comfortable with our inter-penetrating ying and yang?

How do we re-legitimise judgement; not prejudice but healthy judgement of right & wrong, good and bad as the foundation of autonomy, freedom and authority?

How do we get healthy hierarchies which are empowering and adaptive?

How do we create new fields of consciousness – our energetic potential into which the future will emerge- create the field of alignment and remove the obstacles and provide the support structures and allow the self-organisation to occur?

What’s already here & happening…

What new technologies are coming which will change our way of life and opportunities?

What are the values and beliefs of emerging new generations around the world?

How do we foresee or create the future?

How can we boost our cultural direction and confidence?

Where we are fighting, what are we Fighting FOR?

How can we make our civilisation so attractive that others choose to align with us, emulate us and synergise with us?

What disruptive technologies are going to change our world?

How can we live in harmony with the planet whilst continuing to evolve our way of life?

How can we securely and confidently live with Islam at home and abroad while it goes through its turbulent period of evolution?

How do we ensure that the basics of food, water, clean air, energy, health and education are available fairly to everyone?

How do we evolve wrongs of racism, nationalism, imperialism without simply inverting them to become the future victims new racisms, nationalisms and fascisms from other cultures?

How do we deal with growing geopolitical assertiveness and military build-up by China, India, Pakistan, Russia, Iran, Brazil, Turkey, South Africa?

Can we make use of raw materials sustainably?

How do we stay safe with continuing nuclear proliferation to Iran, North Korea and others?

How do we clear our massive sovereign and personal debts and live within our means?

How can we evolve the way we do welfare, health and social care to make them affordable and more supportive of a healthy society?

How do we enjoy the benefits of capitalism without being debt-slaves and making sure we values family, community, health, environment, education, security, freedom and human potential?

How can we rejuvenate the family as the cornerstone of our culture?

How do great teachers inspire, empower and carry authority in classrooms?

How can we compete with the very determined educational competition from the East?

How do we bring in the alienated into the mainstream with dignity and compassion?

How do we make taxation and welfare fair for hardworking taxpayers?

How can we eat more healthy, natural food, connected to its production whilst making it fun and practical?

How can we farm animals in a kind, healthy way.

How can we make care homes wonderful, heavenly places full of life, stimulation and family?

How can hospitals empower, support and care for their staff so that they, in turn, are fit to care for their patients?

How can we value wellbeing over objects?

Can we revalue fatherhood and motherhood?

Can we value life and the human spirit in a way which is inclusive of all religions, spiritualities, humanism and atheism?

How can our organisations maximise their human potential and help their staff to live their purpose and values?

Can we restore an innocent, playful, magical childhood?

Can we reweave community by choice or is it something we only do when we have to?

Who does empowering, inspiring, visionary, values-driven, spirit-kindling leadership?

How do we balance our budgets and trade?

……and so on!

Melanie Mortiboys is a writer, artist, Pilates teacher, Bowen therapist, mother and Nicholas’ girlfriend. She has been a key catalyst of the Future of Western Civilization behind the scenes, offering her wisdom, support, encouragement and judgement throughout. She studied Drama, Film and Television at Bristol University and has since explored the world of personal development, psychology and health. She is currently working on her first novel.