Radical Words for Radical Action

February, 2005
In this issue:
1. Newsbriefs: Thought Leaders Gatherings Host 100th Meeting
Planet Earth Radio Interview
2. February Editorial: Radical Words for Radical Action
3. Quote of the Month: Maurice Maeterlinck
4. Next Month’s Editorial

Thought Leaders Gatherings Host 100th Meeting

Stanford B-School Professor Emeritus Michael Ray was the conversation starter for January 14th’s San Francisco Bay Area meeting of the Thought Leader Gatherings, which was their 100th meeting; Michael’s latest book is The Highest Goal.

Planet Earth Radio Interview

Planet Earth Radio’s website offers seven “teaser” interviews, including one they did with me on one of my favorite subjects, “Getting to the Better Future” which runs 34 minutes; you can listen by signing up for a free 14 day trial.


Recently I was invited to contribute a few words to a public website/project called “Radical Sages” being created by spiritual teacher and author Rob Rabbin. The purpose of the project is to inspire spiritual teachers, yoga and meditation instructors, speakers and authors, etc. to get involved in politics, community service or other activities so their actions in the world are consistent with their spiritual values, that they come down from their mountaintops and engage the human condition.

To quote from the mission: “Radical Sages was created to unite, inform, and inspire these millions of people; to mobilize this global community into a potent force for social renewal and political reform!”

I recently received Anita Roddick’s newsletter where she called this a time for “fierce humanity”- another term that could apply here.

My first draft had that “edgy” tone that many of my editorials have, the “in your face” style I’m used to writing with. A couple of people saw the draft and thought they would be more inspired if they didn’t feel complicit or guilty for their role in perpetuating the condition. In contrast to an editorial rant or an edgy opinion piece, they suggested it might be more inspiring if I altered the tone so people would be drawn into inquiry rather than feeling their dark sides were being rubbed in the faces. I took these critiques in and revised the piece, what I call a “kinder, gentler” version, and sent it off to Rob for posting on the new website. However, the version that follows is closer to that first draft, harder-hitting, which is more consistent with my past editorial style. If anyone of you subscribers would like to see the kinder, gentler version. Here’s the original version:

One of the biggest crimes against humanity is the way we humans segregate our inner and outer lives, as if they are separate parts of our Self, keeping our most deeply cherished parts of ourselves walled off from the way we live our everyday lives. We rarely share our heartfelt thoughts, our unique experiences and those spiritually savory transcendent moments with another person. When we do, it is usually within a relationship where we feel extraordinarily safe to do so, like our spiritual practice communities, places of worship, 12 Step meetings, clergy, close trusted friends and family members. But when we engage the external world we put all these values and experiences on hold, suspending what we often hold dearest, withholding this essential part of ourselves in order to “get along” with the same consensus reality that all the other pretenders are putting up with. As a result, our world is filled with inauthentic people falsely relating to other inauthentic people, all playing a charade of “make believe” because we are collectively frightened to be completely honest with the rest of the world!

Isn’t this insane? Given this mass pretense, is it any wonder that we have the world we have? In stark contrast, can you imagine a world where all of us act each and every day as wholly integrated human beings consistent with our experience of being in relationship with that power greater than ourselves? Whether we call that power love, God, Nature, Higher Power or whatever, imagine what life on Earth would be like if people lived and worked while being completely authentic, without compromising their souls or their consciences.

Reality is what we make it and the only reason the external world may seem more “real” than our inner world is because we say so. We argue for our limited lives in this way, denying publicly what we know privately, maintaining the pretense we all know is false. By continuing this perpetration, we rip ourselves off, we cheat our children of the possibility of a better world, and we contribute to the suffering in our world. This is not conceptual rhetoric. Our failure to be authentic, to continue speaking and behaving often in complete opposition with our consciences, to remain silent as mass consensus goes unchallenged in our midst, makes us complicit in genocide, wars, murders and polluting the environment. This is more than a crime against one’s individual soul. This pretense is a crime against all humanity. Everyone who fails to be spiritually authentic in the face of the consensus reality, the human condition we all share together, is complicit in this crime.

We are all called to some form of activism. Some of us are reminded of that call by the passion we feel for some issue about our world. Others of us might be reminded by our anger or frustration we feel as we continue to endure conditions we’re finding less and less tolerable. Some of us hear the call and let it shape our actions. Others of us pretend not to hear it because to listen could jeopardize our pretense. Let’s stop being pretenders and listen to that call for action that has been beckoning us. Let us match that consciousness we claim to possess and live and work consistent with those values, to become integrated and whole in thought and deed. Let us be fiercely human! Let each one of us stop living the life of the segregated self. Given the human condition today, there’s never been a better time for individual wholeness.
NEXT MONTH’S EDITORIAL: Not yet identified

“At every crossroad on the way that leads to the future, each progressive spirit is opposed by a thousand men appointed to guard the past.” – Maurice Maeterlinck, Belgian poet

Keynotes That Make You Think!

John’s main work these days is giving talks, particularly keynotes. He is available to address companies, associations and groups of all types. A list of his topics can be viewed at Keynotes That Make You Think! For references: What people have said about John as a speaker.

About John Renesch

John Renesch is a San Francisco writer, business futurist, and international keynote speaker. His latest book is Getting to the Better Future: A Matter of Conscious Choosing.

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John Renesch

John is a seasoned businessman-turned-futurist who has published 14 books and hundreds of articles on social and organizational transformation.

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