Is a Philanthropic Civilization on the Horizon?
In cities all around the world commercial skyscrapers dwarf places of worship. These concrete monuments mark the transition from traditional societies centered on religion—where God is almighty—to modern societies centered on political economy—where we worship the almighty dollar.
At the dawn of the 21st century we are on the cusp of another epochal transformation: Toward a human civilization that meets global challenges with profound ethical awareness and inspired social entrepreneurial action that sustains and enhances life.
Creating a world that is more just and sustainable will require many things of us, but perhaps none more important than turning money on its head. We have to take what is all-powerful today and make it foundational to a new way of life rooted in a new worldview and value system.
It has been done before:
“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness.” “Perhaps no single phrase from the Revolutionary era,” observes historian Jack P. Greene, “has had such continuing importance in American public life.”
Imagine that: God, in pre-modern times the ultimate authority and basis for tyranny, ultimately the fomenter of the American Revolution, becomes the foundation for a nation, and indeed for a new mode of civilization!
The Future of Philanthropy is Integral
The promise of a bold and effective philanthropic sector begs the question: How can we work best to address today’s wicked problems and foster a global civilization that is wise, compassionate, and thriving?
In their 2010 report What’s Next for Philanthropy, Monitor Institute outlines 10 “next practices” for “acting bigger and adapting better in a networked world.” The practices read like a blueprint for an integral approach:
- Get the big picture
- Reach across sectors and stakeholders
- Go beyond grantmaking to produce knowledge and convene dialogue
- Shift from individual grants to a portfolio of grants that achieve collective impact
- See the forest for the trees of competing methods of evaluation
- Value diverse perspectives and seek outside expertise
- Be reflective and share lessons learned
- Be transformative and create breakthrough solutions
The report’s authors sound this concluding note for integral “both/and” thinking:
We hope the years ahead turn out to be a time when the best philanthropic leaders reject the ‘either/or’ thinking that has characterized so much of the past 10 years, too often devolving into silly debates and artificial polarities…. Rejecting false dichotomies is the philosophy that underlies the next practices we outline here.
If this report is any indication, what’s next for philanthropy is integral.
Keystone Membership at MetaIntegral:
Philanthropy at its Finest
So, what will be the keystone of postmodern societies? What will we worship, if not God or money?
The defining characteristic of our historical moment is a growing awareness of the awesome power we hold in our hands. The power to be destructive to the point of threatening the very systems that sustain life. And the power to be creative to the point of consciously sustaining and evolving life.
Our moment is existential. Our future is global, or else bleak, or possibly not at all.
We might therefore expect postmodern societies to be centered on philanthropy—literally “the love of humanity”. Our challenge is to reimagine and recreate our world with post-materialistic values, empathetic consciousness, and concern for the global commons. Unlike past transformations of society, which were marked by bigger buildings, our global transition will be marked by big minds and big hearts.
Tomorrow we will worship the most noble expressions and profound depths of our humanity. Wisdom. Compassion. Courage. Serenity. Humility. Whatever may be the essence and essential virtues of being human!
This is the integral impulse, which is beautiful and worthy of worship because it stimulates health and cooperation wherever we may be: with our inner self on the meditation cushion; with loved ones at the dinner table; with world leaders in a summit for humanity’s future.
These are extraordinary times. No single organization can be decisive in driving the large-scale change we seek. But MetaIntegral Foundation will be distinctive on the global scene. We are poised to have an outsized impact on society by mobilizing the global integral community and empowering the top integral practitioners on the planet.
Keystone membership is for an elite group of inspired individuals that have the financial resources and visionary capacity to join with MetaIntegral Foundation and make a significant contribution to the flourishing of life in the 21st century.
If you are interested in becoming a Keystone member please contact Dr. Sean Esbjörn-Hargens. Email: sean[at]metaintegral.org.