Political revolutions and social upheavals have always been an essential part of human society. With the possible exceptions of the Cuban Revolution (1951), the French Revolution (1789) and the Bolshevik Revolution (1917), their impact has been limited.
The word revolution is drawn from the core word ‘revolve’, meaning to turn, impling that change within society is necessary, healthy and inevitable.
The truth of the matter is that most effective cultural and sociological change does not come about through force and direct opposition to the opposing or controlling forces. Instead, it comes through subtle changes in mass consciousness.
Thus, the changes that brought about the fall of the Communism in Eastern Europe in 1991 were essentially a change in the mindset of the oppressed masses and the cost in human lives and suffering in bringing about massive change was small if compared with most other political coups.
While most of the sleeping majority of humanity go about their daily business, another social revolution is currently taking place within our midst. This is largely unknown and undetected because our corporate media systems are not reporting on it—unless, like the events of Egypt and Syria, they break out into violence.
However, on September 17, 2011, in Zuccotti Park, close to New York City’s Wall Street financial district, a new type of revolution ignited.
Commonly referred to as the ‘Occupy Wall Street’ movement, it was born from the sheer frustration felt by people of all political persuasions and social classes to the greed and corruption of the financial sector.
The movement reached peak and then imploded in on itself. It’s inability to bring about permanent social change was some what inevitable and totally predictable, given that it was born and driven by emotive, rather than rational, responses.
Nevertheless, like a pebble dropped into a pond, the ripples that the Occupy Movement created have spread out far and wide and have now stimulated a much wider and more philosophical debate in its wake.
Occupy Spirituality by Adam Bucko and Matthew Fox was written mainly as a response to those whose imaginations have been triggered by the rising tide of social change that the Occupy Wall Street Movement initiated and to the sort of activist who are now seeking some tangible answers to some deeply far-reaching questions.
The book centers around a series of dialogues that are held between two men who are a generation apart in both ages and mindsets. On the one hand, we are introduced to Adam Bucko (www.adambucko.com), aged 37, an activist and spiritual director of many New York City’s homeless youth projects and Matthew Fox (www.matthewfox.org), aged 72, an internationally acclaimed theologian. Two very different sorts of people from completely different backgrounds and life experience.
Interspersed within the transcripts of their conversations are various quotes from a large number of people who through their questions and observations about the world as they see it and the powerful spiritual forces that they are being confronted with.
Occupy Spirituality is really well written. It engages the reader from the outset with an opening story of heart-rending proportions. It continues to maintain this pace throughout. At no time did I feel it was either condescending nor preaching. The interplay between the two authors was fascinating and thoroughly engaging as they knocked ideas, concepts and mind-expanding theories back and forth claiming no definitive answers to questions and no assumption that the reader was obliged to accept everything they said.
The conversations that the two men have draw in a wide-range of concepts from a wide range of esoteric, philosophical and spiritual sources. Where they feel that the ideas of old institutions still hold sway today they say so but equally these two men are clearly very deeply rooted in their understanding of the urgent need for dramatic social and political change if we are going to resolve our immense problems as a human race.
Through from beginning to end, Occupy Spirituality prods, pokes, challenges and then unweaves many important threads of established dogma. It presents the reader with well-reasoned concepts which are clearly directed towards those of a newly emergent generation who are starting to see through the irrationality of modern life and are seeking alternatives. Throughout, the reader is left marvelling at the innate wisdom and insight of the younger and the hard-won, battle-scarred experience of the elder. The interplay between the two is a joyful and humbling experience.
Occupy Spirituality is the sort of book that should become an underground classic with tired, margin-marked copies being passed between members of disparate groups of activists, revolutionaries and the socially dis-enfranchised all over the world.
Let us all get a copy of Occupy Spirituality for our friends and together work to get its pearls of wisdom out there to aid the process of fanning the flames of this socio-spiritual revolution!