From Me to We: The Five Transformational Commitments Required to Rescue the Planet, Your Organization, and Your Life

Tree submitted the below as a comment, but I thought it worthy of its own post, since it hits on our current theme of discussing the good we should do, in addition to the bad others shouldn’t do. Maybe we could all read it and have virtual book club? I have to say that the idea that all things are connected is not particularly novel for those who are familiar with the world’s spiritual traditions. As Paul said, long before industrial economies (Romans 7: 18-19)
“For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing.”

From Tree:

There is new book just published by Bob Doppelt. I have not read it, but it looks interesting.

In “From Me to We: The Five Transformational Commitments Required to Rescue the Planet, Your Organization, and Your Life,” systems change expert Bob Doppelt reveals that most people today live a dream world, controlled by false perceptions and beliefs. The most deeply held illusion is that all organisms on Earth, including each of us, exist as independent entities. At the most fundamental level, the change needed to overcome our misperceptions is a shift from focusing only on “me” – our personal needs and wants – to also prioritizing the broader “we”: the many ecological and social relationships each of us are part of, those that make life possible and worthwhile. Research shows that by using the techniques described in this book this shift is possible – and not that difficult to achieve.

From Me to We offers five transformational “commitments” that can help you change your perspective and engage in activities that will help resolve today’s environmental and social problems. Not coincidentally, making these commitments can improve the quality of your life as well.

Bob Doppelt’s latest book is a wake-up call to the creed of individualism. He calls for recognition of the laws of interdependence, cause and effect, moral justice, trusteeship, and free will. The book will be essential to all of those interested in how we can create and stimulate a sea change in how to enable the necessary behavioral change we need to deal with the myriad environmental and social pressures consuming the planet.


1 ‘Me’ to ‘We’ throughout history

2 The first commitment: See the systems you are part of

3 The second commitment: Be accountable for all the consequences of your actions

4 The third commitment: Abide by society’s most deeply held universal principles of morality and justice

5 The fourth commitment: Acknowledge your trustee obligations and take responsibility for the continuation of all life

6 The fifth commitment: Choose your own destiny

7 Conclusion: It is up to you

a link to the author’s website.

2 thoughts on “From Me to We: The Five Transformational Commitments Required to Rescue the Planet, Your Organization, and Your Life”

  1. I think if would be a very good idea to have us all read Doppelt’s book and talk about it. I’ve been trying to get folks to read things for years, e.g my Collaboration Readings for Reflective Practitioners. But I’ve never had much luck getting anyone to read anything. Maybe “We” can do better than “Me.”

    Here’s a snip from Doppelt’s Introduction (pdf), that expands what Sharon posted above from “Tree” and gives us a bit broader glimpse of Dobbelt’s intent, in his words

     The economic, social, and environmental ills we face today are of our own making. They are the outcomes of how we see and respond to the world. Unethical corporations and disreputable politicians might seem to cause the most egregious harm, but they are merely taking today’s dominant cultural perspectives to the extreme. The challenges our society faces today illuminate the changes each of us needs to make in ourselves.
     Even as we blame others for today’s turmoil, many of us sense that something within us is deeply amiss. Our long-held assumptions and beliefs don’t seem to explain the tumultuous events occurring all around us. We intuitively know that unprecedented changes are unfolding across the planet. We yearn for a way to make sense of these frightening events. But we don’t know where to start.
     Some of us try to mask our feelings of confusion and fear through distractions such as electronic games and non-stop social networking. Others sedate themselves with alcohol and drugs. Many seek to satisfy their deep thirst for meaning and purpose by consuming more and more material “stuff.” These escapes briefly numb our feelings of despair; but never quench them.
     To resolve a problem you first need to understand its cause. The roots of our troubles are simple, yet for most of us completely hidden from view. We have been living in a dream world, controlled by false perceptions and beliefs. Our personal lives, as well as the activities of the organizations with which we are involved, and society at large, have been guided by fundamental misjudgments about how our planet functions and what it means to live a good and decent life.
     The most harmful illusion is that each of us exists on Earth as an independent, separate entity. This belief, now dominant in Western culture, in particular the U.S. and the UK, has produced an extreme form of individualism. Most of us today believe in the “sacredness” of the individual. Anything that threatens our ability to do whatever we want, whenever we want, is seen as a danger to our economy, personal freedom, and way of life.
     The belief in separation leads us to accept the notion that self-interest is the dominant driver of human behavior. This is false. A selfless concern for the welfare of others is also encoded in our genes. It is a powerful feedback that keeps the self-interested aspects of our personalities in check. By emphasizing only our selfish traits and denying our selfless qualities, we have denied our capacity for self-restraint and promoted behaviors that undermine the health of the planet and put billions of people in peril, including you and me.
     Our belief in separation and the extreme individualism it has spawned is a fantasy — with startling consequences. It prevents us from seeing that we humans exist only due to the complex web of interlocking ecological and social systems that exist on Earth. Because we have failed to restrain our activities to conserve those systems, the Earth’s surface temperatures are on a trajectory to rise by around 2°C, and possibly much more this century. If this occurs, the consequences will be disastrous. Temperatures might climb gradually, in fits and starts, for a while. But then sudden shocking changes that no computer model could ever predict are likely to occur. Rapid and chaotic climatic shifts will trigger destructive heat waves or long-term drought, followed by food shortages, resources wars, and maybe the destruction of a major city or two by rising sea levels or horrific storms. Without a swift, dramatic change in direction, the coming decades will be a wild and turbulent ride.
     To navigate the troubled waters that lie ahead and eventually emerge in a healthier condition, we must overcome the erroneous perspectives that have led to this predicament. At the most fundamental level, this involves a shift from responding to the world exclusively through the perspective of extreme individualism — the lens of “Me,” which includes our personal, family, and organizational goals and desires — to meeting our needs by renewing and caring for an expansive “We” — the many people, organisms, and interconnections we are part of that make life possible and worthwhile. …[footnotes omitted]

  2. It wasn’t in my library nor in Prospector (our Colorado- wide borrowing network) so I had to ask them to order the book.. it might be a while since it’s new. But I’ll read it.

    The ideas about despair and materialism and our connection to Earth can be found many places but reminds me of Matthew Fox’s different works on what he calls “Creation Spirituality”. Now being me, I could argue with many of his assertions, but I agree with him on his basic premise on cosmology and spirituality.

    Here’s a snippet from an interview here (couldn’t find the date):

    MISHLOVE: You seem to be suggesting that since the rise of science — and I suppose probably since about the Renaissance, when the scientific world view came to dominate over the religious world view — it’s as if the Church has been kind of kowtowing to the god of science.

    FOX: That’s true. You know, the real priests of our culture are not priests, they are scientists and doctors and people who work out of the technological achievements of the Enlightenment era. But you know, it’s not science’s fault, or anything like that. The year 1600 began with the church burning Giordano Bruno at the stake. Bruno was a great mystic and a scientist. He was trying to bring together the new cosmology, and boom! He got burned. Well, the scientists had already seen the religious wars for a hundred years, with Christians burning each other, and they said, “You know, these Church people can be kind of dangerous, so we’d better work out some kind of truce here.” Essentially what was worked out was this. The scientists said, “We’ll take the universe; you guys take the soul.” And the church people were set up for this by Augustine’s introspective conscience: “Oh, the soul, OK, great, good deal.” What happened was science discovered the laws of the universe, but it had no conscience and no wisdom, because it cut itself off from the religious traditions. That’s why we’re six minutes away from blowing up the world today. On the other hand the churches, giving up on the cosmos itself, became more and more introspective, rendered the soul something punier and punier, trivialized everything to do with religion from sin to sacraments to who Jesus Christ or any other prophet was, and that’s where we were left until Einstein came. But Einstein has brought the two together again, by insisting that awe, mystery, and mysticism are at the heart of true science and of authentic living. Einstein said, religion without science is lame, and science without religion is blind, or the other way around. In either case he says you need both, or we’re crippled. And we live in a crippled civilization. That’s why we’re cosmically lonely, we’re cosmically violent, we’re destroying other species at an unprecedented rate. It’s because we don’t have a cosmology. Cosmology is when science and mysticism come together, and then the artist carries this news into our psyches with dreams and rituals and music and dance, and that’s what I’m expecting to happen today, is a renaissance, a global renaissance — a rebirth of civilization based on a spiritual vision, a new cosmology being born of the new science and of the ancient mystical traditions, creation mysticism. And you know, we in America have a special role to play, because the Native Americans have so much wisdom in their creation-centered sixty-thousand-year-old way of praying on this soil. We have a special role to play in awakening us to our own deeper traditions.


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