It was a tough choice last week between writing about Valentine’s Day and the liberation of Egypt. Valentine’s Day was about love itself. Egypt is about the transformation from a dictator’s love of power to the people’s greater power of love. As technology and those who use it evolve, hierarchical power structures fall to the power of social self-organization. The one ruling the many, typical of the third chakra era, is evolving to the many ruling themselves.
What struck me is that Egypt is the land where the third chakra era began. Here grew the first empires that many mark as the birthplace of modern civilization. Though stable far longer than any civilization since then, Egypt was built upon a top down power structure from the God-Kings to the masses. Most believe the pyramids were built on massive slave labor, while kings, queens and pharaohs lived in elegant palatial complexes. (How’s that for a gap between rich and poor?) The fact that this edifice of imperial organization is giving way to what the world hopes will become a functional democracy is richly symbolic for the world at large. Historians may mark this as the shift in power from the third chakra empire to the birth of a fourth chakra collective global community.
It is still far from certain what will emerge in Egypt as a result of this upheaval. Will one oppressive regime be replaced by another or will the people have the maturity to rule themselves with peace and justice? The first instances of youths in the square taking their own initiative to clean up the litter after the 18-day demonstration was encouraging. We are no longer children, needing to be ruled by a stern parent, but emerging adults, literate, capable, infused with a vision of freedom and justice, and ready to take responsibility.
An essential key to this awakening is the reclamation of free will. An army, trained to obediently function as a unified force, wielded at a ruler’s command, is still made up of individuals. These individuals can listen to their conscience and take a moral stand. Since armies have long been instruments of imperial power, they may be the very place where that power turns. But that free will exists in all of us, and we all face moral decisions every day. Do we choose to serve power or love?
Common people of today are anything but common. This uprising was not made of any single faction but represented every strain, segment, and class of Egyptian society, from Muslim Brotherhood to Coptic Christians, from disenfranchised youth to successful professionals. Furthermore, it happened non-violently – at least on the part of the protesters, a miracle in itself. The “common” individual today holds more power than at any time in history. We have the power of information and access; we have the power to communicate and organize; we have the tools of power—computers, cell phones, and cameras– for printing, broadcasting, writing, traveling, and organizing, once limited to only an elite class.
The revolution in Egypt did not happen in a vacuum. The entire modern world was watching and was also a part of it. The spark of fire that blew up the old regime is now spreading across the Arab world. How that fire burns may depend on how we all hold it. I am holding that we have entered a window of transformation where the evolution to our next organizing principle is ripening like a plump fruit. The time has come for that fruit to fall from on high into the hands of the people.
It’s up to all of us what we do with it.
Feb 17, 2011
Fair Trade Flowers
Late last week, we mentioned that the largest florist in the world, 1-800-Flowers, was oppressive to women farm workers. Apparently they responded to 54,000 Change.org members and agreed to begin selling Fair Trade flowers and insist on a strong code of conduct for all their suppliers to counteract the deplorable working conditions that thousands of female flower workers face in South America. They’ve promised to offer Fair Trade flowers in time for Mother’s Day, making 1-800-Flowers a leader in the industry.