"Review: Rethinking our World – Maja Göpel (Scribe)
“We have a sense that we are about to face immense upheavals,” Maja Göpel
writes, and we need to find ways to tackle multiple problems at once. The
context for this statement is an account of a 2019 incident staged by
Extinction Rebellion protesters in a London tube station.
Two men carrying a banner proclaiming Business as Usual = Death
the roof of a train in the morning rush hour, preventing its departure and
disrupting all other services on the line. Frustrated commuters pelted them
with sandwiches and drink bottles, then dragged them to the ground and laid
into them until the police arrived.
For Göpel, it was a definitive clash of human objectives: one side wanted to
save the planet, the other wanted to get to the office.
More specifically, one side called for a radical shift in thinking, while the
other clung desperately to an ingrained set of priorities. The story serves as
an arresting (literally) way to illustrate a now all-too-familiar cultural
dilemma. If this book has something distinctive to offer amidst the plethora of
volumes devoted to ecological crisis, it is as an attempt to focus on the
problem of human cognition – or, to put it more plainly, collective mind-set.
Plain speaking is essential to Göpel’s role as a public communicator in a range
of national and international forums including the World Future Council, the
Club of Rome, and the German Advisory Council on Global Change, for which she
served as secretary-general from 2017-20.
In Rethinking Our World
she aims to bring to a wider audience some key points
from The Great Mindshift
, her book written for policy makers in 2016.
Her aim at that time was to respond to a 2011 flagship report from the German
Advisory Council on Global Change that called for “a Great Transformation,” an
allusion to the title of a 1944 work by Austro-Hungarian theorist Karl Polanyi,
who argued that the development of the modern state was bound up with the
development of market economies: there could be no change in one without a
change in the other.
The report called for “a new kind of discourse” between government and
citizens. Göpel thought more needed to be said about what that meant."
*** Xanni ***
Chief Scientist, Xanadu
Partner, Glass Wings
Manager, Serious Cybernetics