Maybe we all feel it. A deep unease. A sense of something impending, unfolding. 70% of us believe the greatest challenges humanity has ever faced, we are facing right now. A long chain of events that began our journey on this earth is coming to a head, a reckoning. Are we good enough? Will we survive?
We’re often not at our best when we’re afraid. Fear can do terrible things to us, cloud our judgment, make us unwise. And it offers the slippery slope, to a place where we are all capable of our worst.
In searching for how to bring our best to this moment, to meet it as all that our parents and grandparents have taught us to be and more, we have to understand it. There’s nothing we fear more than the dark. That’s why our ancestors told stories, great myths, around the camp fire, about the world and ourselves. When we know what is happening, when we can make sense of it, we can choose how to respond.
This book is my best, most sincere and truthful attempt to understand what is going on. Where we’ve been, where we’re going, and how we meet the challenge of our time.
For over 20 years I have consciously pursued this understanding - from long hours in libraries and years of learning from scholars, to years at the front lines of brutal wars learning from people at the frayed edges of our civilization, to years building and learning from a global movement of tens of millions of people striving to rise to the challenges of our time. And maybe most of all, from years of living and loving and learning how to heal, and trust, and love and connect with people -- both those closest to me, and those far away.
And from the summit rooms of heads of state and CEOs, to the clean countertops of our scientific laboratories, to the roar of a sea of people marching, to the embrace of my father, I have found one story threaded throughout. An incredible story, a magical one.
It’s a story of connection. Increasing, unfolding, proliferating, spreading, layer upon layer of connection - from the earliest life in our primordial oceans, to the evolution of vast nations of us bound together by culture and belief, to this moment, where we are realizing the depth of our connection not just to every other human being, but to our fellow creatures and the natural world that has birthed and nurtured us.
But this not an academic book. I write with urgency, and purpose. Because I believe our fears have merit. Because there is a real chance that this beautiful story, our journey, could end within the lifetimes of our children or grandchildren. Because history teaches us that civilizations fall. But ours is the first civilization with the power to end life on earth. Stand or fall, we are the last civilization.
And if we wish for our journey to continue, we must match our rising challenges, and rising power, with rising wisdom, connection, and love. Down this path is a future we can face with joy, not fear.
The place I’m writing this book from is a pure and honest part of me that I trust. I hope you can choose to trust it too, if only as an experiment, for a few pages. I find that trust is a choice, and that the magic of human connection cannot unfold without it. And if the story I’m seeing is true, then it is this magic of connection, and our wisdom to wield it, that will determine the next step on our journey, and the fate of everything we’ve ever loved.