Read this book if you know there’s a better way to live, a way that restores connections to each other and connections to the earth; a way in which we were born to live; a way that we used to live but have long abandoned. Read this book if you want this way to be illustrated for you and colored in with vibrant hues. Read this book if you want some direction on how to get there.
Charles seems to have learned important lessons after writing two other extremely provocative books on how we got to where we are and how to make radical and not-so-radical changes (Ascent of Humanity and Sacred Economics). Since publication of those books, he speaks all over the world about them. I have read all three books now.
This third book, The More Beautiful World Our Hearts Know is Possible, makes me think of Charles Eisenstein as a modern-day Annie Sullivan—prodding a willfully blind, dumb, mute and emotionally immature culture to recognize knowledge buried deep within, which, once recognized, will change life forever. It feels as though, through the questions and rebuttals he’s received on his travels, he now knows his audience, and how to speak with us.
When I read The More Beautiful World Our Hearts Know is Possible, I got the sense that Charles has learned that we are all Helen groping in the dark. We are impertinent but teachable--ignorant but questioning. And so he has to take us back to the place where maybe we will recognize something—a spark that he treats so gently that, rather than fanning it out, by the end of the book it has grown to stand on its own, turning to ash the hard wood of our outmoded beliefs.
With his musical prose, right in the book’s beginning he takes us by the shoulders and assures us that once upon time, where we came from was a place where people didn’t compete, didn’t hoard retirement funds, didn’t have to buy recycling buckets, didn’t have to enact laws to keep the air and water clean, didn’t turn on TV or the internet for some vague and meaningless social connection. In other words, we are living an aberrant lifestyle. We haven’t progressed. Well, we have progressed in a certain sense and in an important sense—but we have bought that progress with Separation. Now it is time for Reunion and Interbeing, and they are beckoning us at this particular time.
And, importantly, he recognizes that in order to make his case for an exodus from this aberration, he has to peel back layers and layers of thoughts and beliefs that will keep us stuck in Helen’s blind and dumb world. And that’s exactly what he does in this book.
What helps is his modest downplay of his qualifications. He doesn’t claim to be Moses or Christ. Nor does he claim to have credentials in quantum physics. He’s not Einstein or Margaret Mead and he tells us that right off the bat. Rather, a theme running through the book is a very humble sentiment: if I can think this, and if I can believe in it, anyone can. He reminds me almost of the self-recriminations of St Teresa in Interior Castle, telling her “dear sisters” how inadequate she is for the task of taking us all on the journey to our God-self. Eisenstein does the same thing, exhorting his “dear readers” to understand that he is simply one person describing one world that seems crazily unlike the one we’re in, a world of Union and Beauty. Despite my humble status, he tells us, I have some ideas to present to you on how to move from the Age of Separation to the Age of Interbeing, to the Age of Reunion. But hey, I’m just one of you all, and we’re all in this together. “Enlightenment,” he says, “is a group activity.”
In Charles’ weaving of the story of Interbeing he becomes apologist for both cynic and dreamer. And in doing so, he gives us an example of how we might straddle the space between Separation and Reunion in order to come to the place where we can understand without judging; accept without capitulating.
Each chapter has a theme, such as “Separation,” “Force,” “Reality,” “Hope,” “Judgment,” “Miracle,” etc. Each of these chapter themes are a layer of the onion he peals away to prod our resistant minds to overcome current beliefs in order to see what there might be. Indeed, not which might be, but what is, and that which we simply cannot see from our vantage point—a view obscured by mountains of “the way things are.” From this vantage point, we are the proverbial clueless frogs in the pot of water, not conscious of the water heating up and not conscious of the life beyond--if we dare to open our eyes—and then to leap.
So, my own reading experience ran parallel to the themes—and my mind became a concoction of curiosity, doubt, cynicism, separation, naivete, disruption of my beliefs. And hope. And joy.
And tears. Because it’s poignantly reassuring to read The More Beautiful World and go from *yes*, this is difficult to envision, and *no*, no one person has the key (certainly not the humble author), and *yes*, if we simply perform small acts with integrity the world might change and *no*, it’s not easy given the quicksand we’re in, but *yes!*, isn’t it exciting to imagine--because by imagining, maybe we will invoke the reality of a new world!...
…And *no*, you can’t pursue this dream without cutting the hard wires, the very hard wires of Separation that have been soldered and resoldered on our souls and our minds by virtue of our inherited belief systems over the past millennia.
But if we can prod ancient knowledge that runs deep in the aquifers of our souls and find a crack in the rock of our assumptions, we will be on the road to The More Beautiful World. We will learn language to move forward. We will have uttered “wah-wah” at the pump, and have thus have started the journey. Not to the *most* beautiful world, which is too fantastical and hard to wrap our minds around, but to the *more* beautiful world, which we all can work on. It’s possible, and it's achievable--individually and collectively. And this book shows us how.