We have been taught for too long to fear crises. Especially in the West, people have bought into the Hobbesian notion that human nature is essentially brutish and egocentric, and the Malthusian notion that there is not enough to go around. People believe crises inevitably bring out the worst in people, and aggravate or even justify inhumanity and selfishness. Today, as global crises worsen, people are terrified.
On the contrary! My direct experience, both growing up in India and working for the past 27 years primarily with communities on all continents ravaged by war and crises, proves over and over that the opposite is true. In the midst of crisis, when everything crumbles, ordinary people turn inwards. They transform their pain into power. Like Mandela, they radiate an inner power that is so much more potent than material power. They reach out to each other and create circles of solidarity infused with values; they share the little they have; they transcend obstacles together with creativity and humanity.
We know ourselves that it is amidst our deepest personal crises that the window opens within us to reveal our deepest humanity, our latent creativity, our inherent divinity. Our personal transformation becomes a portal to systemic transformation in the world around us.
We are living now through such a moment in human history where we are called, each of us, to build the bridge between personal and systemic transformation. We are called to recognise that the old paradigms have asphyxiated not only our institutions but the very possibility of life on earth. We are called to shape and enact new paradigms that are regenerative and infused with care.
It is imperative today to bring humanity and creativity to the centre of both political decision-making and public responses to the global predicament we face. This is the passion that drives all my work, and that suffuses the Theatre of Transformation Academy and our transformative community of change agents around the world. We show how simple and essential it is for us all to create transformative spaces for the public, youth, decision-makers, activists and academics to come together in circles of solidarity: to witness what is really happening in our world; to awaken what can be as new possibilities for human and planetary life; to envision the change that is essential in our lives and our systems; and to enact transformation together to co-create a global community of care – an OURtopia of we, us and ours – of belonging and well-being for all.
This is why the Spirit of Humanity Forum resonates so profoundly with me. The Forum is grounded in a profound understanding of what the world needs today and a deep commitment to realising this. The Forum provides us with an invaluable opportunity to come together as transformative leaders from all sectors, to weave new narratives for our shared future, to shape new paradigms and co-create communities of care at all levels. It fills me with profound excitement to look forward to this unique gathering of visions and wisdom to shape a world of care.
Dr Rama Mani, Founder, Theatre of Transformation Academy, Research Associate and Convenor, Enacting Global Transformation Initiative, Centre for International Studies, University of Oxford.
‘As our world hurtles through turbulent transition, Spirit of Humanity Forum offers an irresistible and timely invitation to us all.
It invokes us to weave new narratives of the global community of care we all long for, and know is possible.
It invites us, as transformative leaders, to explore and enact new paradigms of personal and systemic transformation that the Earth so urgently needs today.’