We are living in a time of extremes. Our advances in technology demonstrate the impressive capacity of human potential, yet we’re still embroiled in war, conflict, and violence. Our societies are increasingly polarized. Recent decades have spread economic progress to many parts of the world yet much of the benefit of this progress has gone to a tiny few while hundreds of millions around the world slide backward. In many places, barriers based on gender, race, sexual orientation, and religion are falling, yet elsewhere efforts are being intensified to strengthen such divisions. Some advocate sustainability and cooperation with nature; others believe we’re entitled to exploit and dominate nature.
It seems as if we are living in two separate realms . . . and perhaps we are. What if these polarities actually express two entirely different worlds, one illuminating where we have been for millennia and the other offering previews of an emergent new world? What if these extremes reflect the necessary growing pains of our transition from one way of life to another? What if the violence, oppression, and exploitation so prevalent today do not presage a future dystopia, but the last gasps of a world passing away? Perhaps there is a Utopia, waiting for us to co-create it.
The Arc of Humanity documentary series explores this question by understanding the span of human existence across three historical eras: The Tribal Era, The Empire Era and Planetary Era. The Tribal Era started 200,000 years ago with the dawn of hunting and gathering cultures and culminates with the Agrarian Revolution. The Empire Era followed for a span of 5000 years as shaped by large agricultural/military civilizations like ancient Egypt, Babylon, Rome, China, and the Indus Valley. What awaits us in the Planetary Era, as we transition to it from the Empire Era? By examining these eras we can tell where the momentum of history may be carrying us. We will look forward into the future through the experience of forerunners in community, business, technology, and the arts. Based on extensive research, the series will bring together insights about this transition from prominent cultural historians, futurists, visionary entrepreneurs, academics, and activists.
There is a pressing need to examine our society and address those issues which we choose to ignore. We tend to look outward, towards technology as a driver of solutions rather than addressing the root of our dysfunction, namely ourselves. As we reach a tipping point in our overconsumption of resources, irreversible impact on climate change and other man-made ecological disasters, we need to put an actionable and realistic plan in place to rehabilitate our psychology. We need to reconnect to ourselves, each other and nature. The project started with filming a modern community in New York. The intention was to show that a group of people that would normally not be perceived as seeking community, are also drawn to living in a connected way. There is something inherent within the human condition that seeks meaningful social connections. However, the information found during the pre-production phase demanded that the scope of the project increase if we are to truly address the dysfunctions of our society.
This project has an impressive advisory board with intellectual and academic heavyweights and authors, such as Robert Gilman, Diana Leafe Christian. Using an interdisciplinary approach of interviewing experts in the fields of Integral Psychology, Evolutionary Psychology/Biology, Developmental and Jungian Psychology, Behavioral Economics, Geography, Sociology, Non Violent Communication, Permaculture, Sustainable Development and Anthropology. In addition, we tapped into the expertise of industry futurists and social entrepreneurs, to deliver groundbreaking insight that can only be pieced together through this total systems thinking approach.
Our intentions for the Arc of Humanity series are not only to inspire, inform, and encourage viewers. We also hope to motivate the same kinds of cultural historians, futurists, visionary entrepreneurs, academics, and activists featured in the videos to suggest workable policies and projects to implement the changes required to help us successfully transition. We envision this video series as stimulating real and concrete solutions that are rooted in a deep understanding of where we came from, how we got here, and our next steps in the journey. We seek no less than to generate a roadmap of doable policies and projects to help us together create a more humane and sustainable society.