Ervin Laszlo's Letter to the Young People of the World
You, the young people of the world, are the movers and shakers, the music makers—the most privileged people who ever walked the Earth. For the first time in history, one generation—your generation—hol
You, the young people of the world, are the movers and shakers, the music makers—the most privileged people who ever walked the Earth. For the first time in history, one generation—your generation—holds the key to the greatest challenge our species has faced since it proudly named itself homo sapiens. This is the challenge of change—of profound, timely, and conscious change.
Privilege entails responsibility. You have the privilege to meet the challenge of timely and conscious change, but you also have the responsibility that goes with the privilege: the responsibility of taking an active part in promoting this change.
To live up to this responsibility you need to understand the nature of the problem and its possible solution. Why do we, the human family, face the challenge of change? And what can you, your generation, do about meeting the challenge? There is a straightforward answer to both these questions.
We face the challenge of profound and timely change because the world your fathers and forefathers have created is not sustainable. "Unsustainable" means that if the world doesn't change, it will break down. It cannot keep going as it is.
We are now seven billion humans on the planet. How many of us will survive the next ten years? The next five years, or the next three? And if some of us go under, how will the rest manage, given our interdependence and our proneness to resort to violence to assure our short-term interests? If the world continues its downhill slide, and if the mindset of the rich and powerful doesn't change while there is time, there will be a holocaust from which no one will emerge unscathed.
The answer to the question of why we must have timely and profound change in the world should be clear. We either change, or we go under. But what can you, today's young generation, do to create the required change?
The answer to this question is straightforward as well. You need to take to heart two wise sayings, by two of the wisest people who ever lived on this planet. Albert Einstein said, you can't solve a problem with the kind of consciousness that gave rise to the problem. And Mahatma Gandhi said, be the change you want to see in the world. Take Einstein's insight first. You need to develop a new consciousness, adopt new thinking. This means not just acquiring more data, more information, mere additions to the current kinds of knowledge. It means new knowledge, a new way of thinking. Some call it a new paradigm.
Now consider now Gandhi's advice. Why is it important to "be" the change you want to see in the world? Is changing yourself the way to consciously change the world around you?
The answer is that it is indeed. In a critically unstable system even small "fluctuations" can provoke major transformations. You have heard of the "butterfly effect." The popular story is that when a monarch butterfly flaps its wings in Southern California a storm develops in Outer Mongolia. The tiny air current created by the butterfly grows and grows, until it changes the pattern of weather on the other side of the globe.
The fact is that a chaotic system—and the world's weather is such a system—is supersensitive and inherently unpredictable. But not only the world's weather is chaotic: so is the world's economy, the world's financial system, and the world's natural environment. All these systems have now been pushed to the edge of chaos, and as a result they have all become supersensitive. Butterfly effects are coming about in them.
You, the young generation of our chaotic times, are precisely positioned to be the butterfly that creates the crucial effect. You were born at exactly the right time: at the time when the world around you is becoming open to change. It's hardly possible to create real change in a stable society: it has powerful defenses against it. There is a simple reason for this: those who hold the reins of power fear change—it may divest them of their privileges. Whether they are politicians, business leaders, or ecclesiastical, educational, or social authorities, the powerful, unless they are exceptionally open and wise, do everything in their power to maintain the status quo. They try to "excommunicate" those who want change— not literally, as the Church did in the Middle Ages, but by modern means: by ignoring the agents of change, and if ignoring them is not feasible, then by discrediting, ridiculing, and isolating them.
This is not an insurmountable problem for you, today's young generation. The dominant forces in the world still resist change, but they no longer have the power to resist it effectively. Contemporary societies are no longer stable; they suffer from multiple crises—economic, financial, and ecological, even social and cultural crises. They are approaching a condition of chaos, and in a condition of chaos new thinking can spawn new behavior and lead to effective innovation. Even small groups and seemingly minor initiatives can catalyze major change.
There was chaos in the human world in the past as well, but it was local, and the opportunity to change was likewise local. Today's chaos is global, and the opportunity it brings is also global. Failing to seize it would be not just the height of stupidity: it would be a crime against humanity.
The bottom line is this. The world needs timely and effective change: a global shift. Your generation is uniquely positioned to bring about that shift. The Giordano Bruno GlobalShift University is committed to make available to you the new-paradigm thinking you need to evolve your consciousness, develop new thinking—and change yourself so you can change the world. *****************************
The Giordano Bruno GlobalShift University held its Founding Congress at the Budapest Historical Museum in the Royal Castle of Hungary on the 9thof September 2011 and will open for enrollment on the five continents as of 2012. This open letter indicates the University's commitment to young people, and its resolution to offer a program of education that empowers them to be self-reliant and productive members of society, as well as effective architects of a world that is sustainable and peaceful, and free of the barriers and subordination that often constrain the lives and the opportunities of young people today. September 27, 2011