Evolution of America: ‘The Metaindustrial Village’

Get a vision of humanity's immediate future, in which human culture undergoes a planetary renaissance of ultimate benefit to us all including the evolution of America.

| March/April 1978

If the whole of mankind is on the brink of economic and ecological disaster, there may yet be cause for hope amid the despair. To read William Irwin Thompson's Darkness and Scattered Light is to share in his inspired — and inspiring — vision of humanity's immediate future ... one in which — he says — the human culture will undergo a planetary renaissance of ultimate benefit to all with the evolution of America. 

Thompson — a cultural historian who received his Ph.D. from Cornell University — has taught at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, York University in Toronto, and Syracuse University. In 1973, he founded the Lindisfarne Association, an educational community located in New York City and devoted to the study and realization of a new planetary culture. 

There are signs in the evolution of America, Dr. Thompson says, that, "while the cold-blooded dinosaurs are tearing up the landscape, there are some tiny mammals around with warm blood in their hearts." These reassurances ... and others less subtle ... abound in Darkness and Scattered Light. 

I would like to focus on a positive way in which the evolution of America can take on a new life in its role as the charismatic archetype of a prosperous and powerful nationhood. Since all the world is trying to go the way of postindustrial civilization, all the world is imitating us, and if we create Los Angeles, then the Iranians or the Australians will try to have superhighways, smog, and traffic jams too. And so the way to change world culture is to come home to work for a transformation of the archetype of industrialization itself.

Human nature being what it is, it is fair to say that change comes from snobbery and elitism ... what a respected section of the population has, others soon want too. If a farmer feels that his father was a hick and that businessmen constitute the elite, then he will work hard to become an agribusinessman and begin to buy chemical fertilizers, computers, and huge machines.

To change all this, we have to get down to the roots of the whole way in which people think.

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