My whole life I have struggled with mental health. Part of what caused this is genetics, part of it childhood trauma, and part of it a long-term abusive relationship. As I mentioned in the first post, a big part of my life has been spent recovering from emotional trauma. And sometimes, the path of healing can feel so heavy that it makes you question — is it worth it?
Studying Social Innovation does not exactly make it easier to answer that question. Becoming a Social Innovator often involves a deep internal and transformational journey that changes how you view and interact with the world. Not only do you being to see more and more of the injustice that persists in our world, but you also being to see what is creating them and what is enforcing them. And more often than not, the answer is humans.
The world that we know today, was created by humans. A world which is full of destruction, suffering, environmental degradation, slavery, exploitation. The list goes on. Daniel Wahl raises a question in his book Designing Regenerative Cultures (2016): Why are we [humans] worth sustaining? In many ways, I have always felt that the quest for sustainability has been more about finding ways to sustain humanity in a way that allows humans to do “business as usual”. Finding sustainable solutions that fit our current social constructions, solutions that allow us to carry on without having to experience the discomfort of change. Aligned with this, David Orr said “If our debate does not go further than the language of neoclassical economics, we are done for! Because you cannot make an economic argument for human survival, you have to make a spiritual argument for human survival.” (as cited in Wahl, 2016).
This world we have created, I don’t like it. Somewhere along the way, we, as a species, royally fucked up. The way things currently are, I find it difficult to answer Wahl’s question whether our species is worth sustaining. I used to believe we were. I used to be so full of passion to help our species, our world, evolve towards a better world for all life. Are we capable of creating this world? Wahl (2016) writes that we will have to change individually and collectively to create a better future, that we will have to collaborate as one species and learn to transcend and include our differences if we want a thriving future for all of humanity. He writes that we have to rediscover the common ground of human community and that this will enable us to co-create a future worth living in.
Yes, sometimes I want to give up on civilization and move deep into the wilderness. Create my own little world. But despite the overwhelming moments of hopelessness, I cannot help but to also feel hopeful. Amongst the darkness, there is shimmer of light. There is change. There is progress. These are crucial times we live in and we are standing at a crossroads. How we choose to move forward will determine the fate of our, and countless other, species. The planet is not dependent on humanity’s survival but we are dependent on it and all that it has to offer. If the human species is going to survive, we have to make ourselves deserving of it. We have to change.