Our Empire Story

One of the books I've been working my way through recently is David C. Korten's The Great Turning, which I bought after seeing him speak at a conference last year. In a recent article in Yes! Magazine that distills the essence of the book nicely, Korten suggests that one of the barriers to achieving the world we want to live in is that this story about who we are loops endlessly in our heads:

It is our human nature to be competitive, individualistic, and materialistic. Our well-being depends on strong leaders with the will to use police and military powers to protect us from one another, and on the competitive forces of a free, unregulated market to channel our individual greed to constructive ends. The competition for survival and dominance—violent and destructive as it may be—is the driving force of evolution. It has been the key to human success since the beginning of time, assures that the most worthy rise to leadership, and ultimately works to the benefit of everyone.

As Korten notes, this story makes a world of peace and sharing one that is just a naive fantasy, forever out of reach.

Is this why we don't mind our police state so much? Why we make fun of people who don't achieve through competition or power-grabs? Why we'll go to any length to protect those "free market" forces?

Is this story true for you? How much of it do you encounter or even enact in your daily life? Are there other stories about who we are that you might want to tell instead?

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Chris Hardie

Chris Hardie is an Internet tech geek, problem solver, community-builder and amicable cynic.

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