What if we paraphrase a popular saying about the devil* and think “The greatest trick the modern world ever pulled was getting humanity to believe there aren’t any options”?
As cultural and ecological crises deepen around the world, there are visionaries taking steps to demonstrate that, yes, we have options in how we choose to live and the future we imagine for ourselves and the planet.
This emerging and powerful sense of new possibility is transforming, among many other endeavors, how we think about and create a sense of community — the ways we work, live and engage with one another and our environment. Intentional neighborhoods, “metamodern monasteries”, and virtually connected global networks are all part of an expanding vision for a collective human experience.
Of course, no one is saying it’s going to be an easy transformation. For example, a cultural undercurrent we all share in our collective imagination is for a superhero to come and save the day; always an individual, never a group of people talking through their differences
We talk through many visions and ideas for a new approach to community in the second part of our conversation among Aviv Shahar and Sylvie Barbier, French-Taiwanese artist, entrepreneur and educator, and Rufus Pollock, entrepreneur, researcher and technologist. Among their many projects and passions, Sylvie and Rufus co-founded Life Itself, dedicated to wiser living and social transformation. Part 1 explored the emerging, new second Renaissance.
From their conversation:
- We're serving the discovery of our individual purpose and calling, and at the same time, becoming a service agency of evolution itself. Can we wrap our mind and heart around not living just for ourselves?
- A practice hub is having a space for the modern individual to rediscover in sometimes awkward reengineering how to be together again, at a pace that doesn’t create trauma about the collective.
- What mix of ingredients — business plus location plus practices — will be scalable to create a transformative region in the next few decades, a place in the world where the future is being pioneered?
- I see a lot of movement coming from fear and panic. Being in service today is to not give in to fear, but slow down and discern what’s going on inside and outside. Let the work, work on you.
- Something bigger than us wants to reconnect with humanity while we seek to reconnect with it. We’re birthing new sense organs and ways of being — connecting with the ineffable that is rediscovering its beloved humanity through our endeavor.
- People are skeptical; there's a sense that things won’t work out. One of the killers of this age is cynicism; it’s an extinguisher of hope.
* “The greatest trick the devil ever pulled was convincing the world he didn’t exist.” Attributed to Charles Baudelaire, and quoted in the film “The Usual Suspects”.
This conversation is part of the continuing Portals discovery into what is emerging on the frontiers of human experience in this time of profound change. Information about upcoming special events can be found on the Events page. Also visit and subscribe to our YouTube channel.