David Korten wrote this book several years ago, but it is probably even more relevant – and urgent – today. He sees us at a crossroads, and the choice we make will result in either The Great Turning of the title, or The Great Unravelling.
When she was researching for her landmark book Diet for a Small Planet back in 1970, Frances Moore Lappé realized that it is we human beings ourselves who create the problems, such as scarcity, that we find so troubling. “While most of us think that ‘seeing is believing’… no, for human beings ‘believing is seeing.’ Our core ideas about how the world works determine, literally, what we can see and what we can't.”
This book opens with words from the Tao Te Ching “He who knows he has enough is rich” ... and then continues ... “We have some evolving to do. And quickly. We need to develop a sense of ‘enoughness.’”
Healing, at least in part, can come through making sense of suffering and learning from it. So, for those who have suffered from mental ill-health or those who meet people who do, this book is particularly helpful.
The story of this book is miraculous in itself. The fable and the message it so clearly contains date from over a thousand years ago. The origins of the story were Indian, but it was actually written down for the first time in the tenth century C.E. in Arabic by a Sufi order. It has since circulated through most of the Eastern religions; this edition is the first one in English. I found out about it through Isabel Carlisle, who converted it into play form and has used it in schools over the last few years.
You must read this book. If you are interested in political philosophy you will find it fascinating. If you are not interested in political philosophy you soon will be.