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Articles by Charles Eisenstein
The Polarization Trap
Charles Eisenstein · Over the past decade I’ve watched with alarm the widening polarization of the body politic across Western societies (and to some extent globally). As commonly recognized, the public is split into irreconcilable political factions who...
Why the Climate Change Message Isn't Working
Charles Eisenstein · Threats of global catastrophe won’t move people to action. Only the heart can inspire zeal.
Initiation Into a Living Planet
Charles Eisenstein · Most people have passed through some kind of initiation in life. By that, I mean a crisis that defies what you knew and what you were. From the rubble of the ensuing collapse, a new self is born into a new world. Societies can also...
The Problem with Evil
Charles Eisenstein · When we confront something we regard as “evil,” it poses a threat to the self-preservation of ego. We are so busy preserving our existence in the face of this threat that we cannot see the thing clearly at all. —Chögyam...
Can Psychedelics Inspire a Lasting Paradigm Shift? - Podcast with Charles Eisenstein
Opposition to GMOs Is Neither Unscientific Nor Immoral
Charles Eisenstein · The pro-and anti-GMO positions will remain polarized until larger questions about the future of food production are addressed.
But What about the Psychopath?
Charles Eisenstein · If something bites you, it is inside of your clothes. —Swahili proverb I have argued that change will come not from overcoming the powers-that-be, but through their transformation. I have stated that we are fundamentally the same...
The Trap of Righteousness
Charles Eisenstein · The way you see people is the way you treat them, and the way you treat them is what they become. —Goethe
Most Colleges Prepare Us For a Future That Feels Wrong. Wouldn't It Be Amazing If Alternatives Were Widely Flourishing?
Charles Eisenstein · When I graduated from high school in 1985, college was the unquestionable next step for an intelligent, middle-class or upper-middle class young person. I entered an elite school not out of any particular ambition, but because the story...
Charles Eisenstein on The Challenge of Communicating Beyond the Boundaries of Consensus Reality
Charles Eisenstein · Last week I had two brushes with the mainstream of American culture and politics. The first was an appearance on a PBS television show, the Tavis Smiley show. As far as I can remember, this was only the second time I’ve been on a...
The Lid Is off, The Truth Is Coming Out
Charles Eisenstein · It is getting harder to keep a secret these days. The collective shadow of our society, once safely relegated to the dark basement of the unmentionable, is now exposed to daylight, forcing us to face our contradictions. I’ll offer three...
The Problem With Hating Our Enemies
Charles Eisenstein · He who fights too long against dragons becomes a dragon himself; and if thou gaze too long into the abyss, the abyss will gaze into thee. —Nietzsche
Standing Rock Wisdom: How Sacred, Nonviolent Activism Has the Power to Succeed
Charles Eisenstein · I am told by Native American friends active at Standing Rock that the elders are counseling the Water Protectors to undertake each action prayerfully and to stay off the warpath. I would like to explain why this advice is not only...
We Need to Confront an Unjust, Ecocidal system, But Let's Do It Without Hate
Charles Eisenstein · Normal is coming unhinged. For the past eight years it has been possible for most people (at least in the relatively privileged classes) to believe that society is sound, that the system, though creaky, basically works, and that the...
This Is How a War Begins
Charles Eisenstein · This is how a war begins “Their stupidity is amusing.” “Stopping Trump is essential. Anyone who says otherwise is either foolish or blinded by privilege.” “People should get hated for voting for Johnson because he is a moron.” “Are...
The Fertile Ground of Bewilderment
Charles Eisenstein · The other day I was speaking to a small audience at a music festival and thought to allude to Brexit to make a point. Some in the circle looked a bit mystified, so I asked, “Everyone knows what Brexit is, right?” It turned out that...
The Addiction to Control
Charles Eisenstein · This excerpt from The Ascent of Humanity by Charles Eisenstein​ looks at our relationship to technology, civilization, nature and our sense of self.
Money and the Divine Masculine
Charles Eisenstein · I recently attended a ceremony at the Tamera village in Portugal in which the officiant invoked “the healing of money.” Immediately a vivid image popped into my head of a man, vast and muscular, bound to the earth with stakes and...
In a Rhino, Everything
Charles Eisenstein · I received the following email from a young woman, a student at an elite law school. I want to quote it in full, because it cuts so deep to core issues so many change agents face. I don’t cry very often. But this week I cried twice...
Zika and the Mentality of Control
Charles Eisenstein · The ruling institutions of this world are quite comfortable with a virus.
By Their Fruits Ye Shall Know Them
Charles Eisenstein · I’m dealing with massive cognitive dissonance right now. Multiple, contradictory beliefs and perceptions inhabit my mind, each compelling on its own terms. How do I choose? I’ll share two of the most contradictory. Last weekend I spoke...
Mutiny of the Soul, Revisited
Charles Eisenstein · Over the years, I’ve probably received more mail about Mutiny of the Soul than any other essay I’ve written. The idea of the article has been hugely validating for many readers: that depression, ADHD, anxiety, etc. aren’t chemical...
The Revolution Is Love - An Excerpt from Charles Eisenstein's Next Book
Charles Eisenstein · I'd like to share an excerpt of the book I'm working on. It is from the beginning... (It is a first draft so be gentle!)
Kind is the New Cool
Charles Eisenstein · When I was in high school, I remember social banter consisting of a lot of subtle put-downs and one-upsmanship. The popular kids were generally not very nice, certainly not to us unpopular kids but not even to each other. I remember a...
Blind Focus on Carbon Reduction Could Be "Green" Movement's Achilles Heel
Charles Eisenstein · I'm in Paris now, preparing to speak tonight about climate change. It is a parallel venue, not mainstream, called Place 2 B, but even here I am afraid my message is going to be controversial. You see, I think there are deep problems...
The Ecosexual Awakening
Charles Eisenstein · From the anthology Ecosexuality: When Nature Inspires the Arts of Love I hesitate to start an essay with definitions as if I could compel you with force of logic to accept conclusions that follow irrefutably from premises. Nor would...
Misogyny and the Healing of the Masculine
Charles Eisenstein · My new home of West Asheville is in the news. A local coffee shop, Waking Life Espresso, closed its doors after its owners Jared Rutledge and Jacob Owens were outed for hosting a misogynistic blog. In addition to repulsive and degrading...
The Need for Venture Science
Charles Eisenstein · I just spent several hours down a rabbit hole. The topic was the "electric universe," an unconventional cosmological theory that emphasizes electromagnetism rather than gravity as the primary structuring force of the universe. It offers...
Sustainable Development: Something New or More of the Same?
Charles Eisenstein · Two years ago when he was 14, my son Matthew grew six inches. Last year he only grew two inches, and this year he has only grown half an inch. Should I be worried? Of course not. At a certain stage of maturity, quantifiable physical...
"Don't Owe. Won't Pay." Everything You've Been Told About Debt Is Wrong
Charles Eisenstein · With the nation’s household debt burden at $11.85 trillion, even the most modest challenges to its legitimacy have revolutionary implications.
Deep, Systemic Change Is Essential, But Is That The Only Type of Change We Should Care About?
Charles Eisenstein · Perhaps we could look at acts of direct human-level compassion as complements to, not substitutes for, action on a social or political level.
Your Life Can Be Different: 11 Things I'd Like to Tell My Younger Self
Charles Eisenstein · This is a letter to my younger self - both the inner cynic and the idealist that secretly believes a more beautiful world is possible.
The Woman Who Chose to Plant Corn
Charles Eisenstein · Not long ago, a Diné (Navajo) friend of mine, Lyla June Johnston, sent me a one-line email: “I am not going to Harvard… I am going to plant corn.” Her statement signals a profound divergence from the path she’d set out on when she was...
The Oceans Are Not Worth $24 trillion
Charles Eisenstein · Some things are beyond measure and beyond price. No amount of money is enough to compensate for the loss of the sacred.
The Problem With Society Isn't Greed. Greed Is a Symptom of a Deep Need Going Unfulfilled
Charles Eisenstein · A lot of people reacted to my comment on Facebook the other day that greed is more a symptom than a cause of our current system, with all its inequities. I’m asked, What is the cause of greed? First I’ll say what I think greed is: Greed...
The Problem With Judgement
Charles Eisenstein · Many people have little trouble confessing to being hard on themselves, to being “my own worst critic” or to being a perfectionist. They are, after all, merely confessing to something that our culture upholds as a virtue: the struggle...
The Cynic and the Boatbuilder
Charles Eisenstein · A story that will change how you think about what kinds of change will *really* make a difference
Mutiny of the Soul
Charles Eisenstein · Depression, anxiety, and fatigue are an essential part of a process of metamorphosis that is unfolding on the planet today, and highly significant for the light they shed on the transition from an old world to a new. When a growing...
The End of War
Charles Eisenstein · Feedback from my lecture at the Green Party annual meeting has been trickling in, and it seems that the talk wasn’t as well-received as I thought at the time. The people who walked out in the first five minutes – maybe they didn’t have...
Disorderly Conduct
Charles Eisenstein · Last weekend I decided I would get the kids outdoors for a little time in nature. The Susquehanna River was frozen over, with the most remarkable ice formations. Even though the water is not deep in this part of the river, ice somehow...
A Circle of Gifts
Charles Eisenstein · Wherever I go and ask people what is missing from their lives, the most common answer (if they are not impoverished or seriously ill) is “community.” What happened to community, and why don’t we have it any more? There are many reasons...
Permaculture and the Myth of Scarcity
Charles Eisenstein · At a conference a couple weeks ago an activist who does work in Africa recounted an encounter she had with the minister of agriculture of a certain African country. The minister spoke with excitement about the high-tech agricultural...
How To Bore The Children
Charles Eisenstein · Here is how to make a child bored: first and foremost, keep him indoors so that the infinitude of nature, its endless variation and chaotic messiness is replaced by a finite, orderly, predictable realm. Second, through television and...
The Birds Are Sad
Charles Eisenstein · Here is one of those little things – tiny on the scale of the vast tragedies unfolding on Earth today – that got under my skin. A family living on wild land in Oregon in tipis, raising their daughter, is now threatened with eviction...
The Allure of Societal Breakdown: Admit It - The Thought Kind of Excites You
Charles Eisenstein · It is frightening, this transition between worlds, but it is also alluring. Have you ever gotten addicted to doom-and-gloom websites, logging on every day to read the latest evidence that collapse is coming soon, feeling almost let down...
The Cycle of Terror
Charles Eisenstein · In the wake of terror attacks, politicians are fond of proclaiming, “We will not be intimidated.” By this they seem to mean that we won’t cower in fear, but will boldly root out the terrorists, visit upon them the hand of justice, and...
When Others Commit Acts of Violence, Calls For Punishment Follow. But What If We Tried Compassion?
Charles Eisenstein · Charles Eisenstein has a radical idea: instead of greeting violence with the threat of punishment and more violence, let's seek understanding instead. Rather than dehumanize our enemies, perhaps it is time to try compassion. The...
5 Ways C02 Reduction Isn't The Best Way To Think about Solving Climate Change
Charles Eisenstein · Focusing on minimizing a number hasn't worked that well so far. Maybe it's time to try a whole-systems approach.
Development in the Ecological Age
Charles Eisenstein · Do you live in a developed nation or a developing nation? If your nation has an extensive system of roads, rail and airports, if it is fully electrified, if it is mostly urban and suburban, if modern medicine is widespread, if literacy...
Vivienne Westwood is Right: We Need a Law Against Ecocide
Charles Eisenstein · The economic and legal system rewards corporations that bulldoze, stripmine and burn. A new law against ecocide could halt this destruction. Designer Vivienne Westwood expressed anguish and alarm at the worsening state of the planet...
Let's Be Honest: Real Sustainability May Not Make Business Sense
Charles Eisenstein · Considerations such as 'what do you really care about' and 'who do you serve' should be drivers of sustainability, not profit.
2013: Hope or Despair?
Charles Eisenstein · Things are getting better and better and worse and worse faster and faster simultaneously.” – Tom Atlee Was the year 2013 a cause for hope or a cause for despair? Were the positive developments signs that the world is turning the...
Fear of a Living Planet
Charles Eisenstein · Does the concept of a living planet uplift and inspire you, or is it a disturbing example of woo-woo nonsense that distracts us from practical, science-based policies? The scientifically-oriented nuts-and-bolts environmental or social...
Stories That Once Offered My Life Meaning No Longer Satisfy. Have You Felt This Too?
Charles Eisenstein · Sometimes I feel nostalgic for the cultural mythology of my youth, a world in which there was nothing wrong with soda pop, in which the super Bowl was important, in which America was bringing democracy to the world, in which the doctor...
The Narratives Used to Wage War Are No Longer Working
Charles Eisenstein · Why is the American public so unenthusiastic about bombing Syria? Certainly the case for war is weak and hypocritical 
The War on Suffering
Charles Eisenstein · The war on germs is just one expression of a medical system based on control. Control, in turn, arises from our sense of self, that we are separate beings in an alien and indifferent universe. Not being part of any purpose beyond...
Thrive: The Story is Wrong but the Spirit is Right
Charles Eisenstein · "What is keeping us from thriving?" asks the new movie, Thrive. The answer it gives is "the global elite," the people who control the financial system that in turn controls everything else. Operating through the power institutions of...
Synchronicity, Myth, and the New World Order
Charles Eisenstein · Looking out upon the horrid ruin we seem to have made of the planet, in spite of the kind hearts and good intentions of the vast majority of human beings, it is hard to avoid the conclusion that some nefarious force has hijacked...
Why Occupy's Plan To Cancel Consumer Debts Is Brilliant
Charles Eisenstein · A new initiative is re-energising the Occupy movement. Called the Rolling Jubilee, it is a plan to use money from donations to buy distressed consumer debt from lenders at a marked down price, just as debt collection agencies normally...