Monday, March 7, 2011

Awakening the Dreamer Symposium

The mission of the Awakening the Dreamer, Changing the Dream Symposium is "to bring forth an environmentally sustainable, spiritually fulfilling, socially just human presence on this planet."

The program started in the Amazon rainforest with the Pachamama Alliance, and organization founded with the indigenous leaders of the Achuar people of Ecuador and a group of North Americans who visited the remote area. The elders initiated the group because of their concern for the growing threat to their ancient way of life. 

Their mission became to 'Change the Dream of the North' and then to 'awaken the dreamer'.  

The symposium combines sustainability in three interconnected facets of life - environmental, spiritual, and social justice. 

Although I will admit that I'm not religious, there it was a very well run symposium regardless of religion. 
It starts with 4 questions:
  1. Where are we?
  2. How did we get here?
  3. What is possible for the future?
  4. Where do we go from here? 

Here are some of the answers my group came up with:

What are some unexamined assumptions concerning environmentalism, social justice, and spiritual fulfillment? (each topic was addressed separately, but we had difficulty separating them)
  • Consumption is the only option for growth. - One of my favorite quotations is from the movie "Economics of Happiness" - "You can't have infinite growth on a finite planet."
  • What we have defines who we are.
  • Someone else will take care of our problems.
  • Things are there for the taking and they will always be there.
  • "We are entitled to bottled water."
  • We have a right not to know.
  • Independence vs. interdependence
  • "More is more"
  • The goal is retirement - leisure - the goal is to do nothing!
  • Convenience and luxury are the best surroundings - what about nature? 
Here's one of the videos shown during the symposium:

As a small tangent to this, recently TV commercials have become more and more frustrating to me recently. After to coming to all of these realizations I see that they really are true and that I can't change them for anyone else but me. People really do keep thinking more is more because commercials tell them that hundreds of times a day. 

How are we going to move away from this society of materialism? It's not making us happier or healthier.

At the moment these seem like revolutionary ideas, but really we are just going back to principles humans have lived by for thousands of years - up until approximately the Industrial Revolution about 150 years ago. 

The symposium is also connected to the following links:

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