“Man is not born to work, but to create,
to be that poet at random”
– Agostinho da Silva
Our current civilization is based on two of the most damaging myths ever: the separation between man and nature and the value of work, production and consumption as ends in themselves.
Disconnected from the abundance of nature and harmony of their life cycles, victim of having lost the simplicity and victim of the multiplication of artificial needs and vain desires, this civilization, now globalised, worships the new superstition and the great illusion of infinite economic growth on a planet with finite natural resources.
Labourism, productivism and consumerism, advocated by most economists, left-wing, centre and right-wing politicians, and fed by our habits and lifestyle, are responsible for the spread of slavery to the lack of time to be, to live, to love, to contemplate and to create; for the destruction of biodiversity and cultural diversity; for climate change; for water, air and soil pollution; for mechanisation, bureaucratisation and hyperactivity of human life; and for industrialisation, exploitation and destruction of animal life.
While destroying our leisure time, the ecosystems and the other species, we are also destroying ourselves.
We spend our lives running away from the present moment and from ourselves, frantically searching abroad and in countless occupations, focused on acquisition and competitiveness, the peace and happiness we can only find within, in generosity and cooperation.
Eventually, we succumb in a “fatigue society” where the symptoms of anxiety, stress, depression, attention deficit, exhaustion, malaise, antisocial behaviour and lack of meaning in life grow at an accelerating pace (with immense social and public costs, what makes this a central political issue).
We are a sick civilization, in a terminal phase of crisis, no matter how many distractions, stimuli and fleeting pleasures that every day we invent to stifle the symptoms, preserve the political powers and increase banks’ and corporations’ profits.
It is in search for alternatives to this condition that, on the World Labour Day, instead of demanding the improvement of our slavery condition, we will be sitting in Peace and Silence, in a meditative and/or reflective status for an hour, living the experience of contemplative leisure/freedom; this will allows us to turn our attention inward and see how the problems for which we tendentiously blame the others are also, and especially, rooted within us.
Mindfulness on thoughts and feelings, without identifying ourselves with them, allows us to see things from another perspective, outside the usual schemes.
Contemplative freedom is also creative and active.
Afterwards, we will debate ideas and experiences on positive, fair, non-violent solutions for this crisis, such as the Unconditional Basic Income (to ensure that all of us may have life choices that do not imply paid employment), the transition to an economy based on resources through the serene degrowth leading to a frugal abundance (Serge Latouche), the recognition of intrinsic rights to nature and all living beings (that may preserve them of greed and anthropocentric instrumentalisation), the introduction of meditation/mindfulness (the biggest contemporary phenomenon, once described as “the great silent revolution of the 21st century”, as it promotes quieter, clearer, more loving and compassionate states of consciousness as well as immense psychosomatic benefits scientifically proven) in family life, in education system, health care and activism, the creation of alternative communities of life and education, healthier, more ethical and resilient, the promotion of forms of direct democracy, alternative to representative democracy and party politics, the consideration of alternative social development indicators, such as the Gross Internal Happiness, instead of the Gross Domestic Product, etc.
Let us be conscientious objectors to this civilization and an example of the change we want to see in the world. Bring your peaceful, silent, loving and creative presence and sit, meditate, reflect, dialogue and be with us.
We urge to other cities, all around the world, to join us in this initiative, which started in Portugal, in 2012.
A New World can Be; here and now, we are all its creators.
The Circle of Interbeing