In this episode, our deep dive into the Axial Age meets the podcast theme of the importance of scale. The themes of thinking at different time scales, our effort of following a “thoughtline” through changing historical scales, is provided its psychological underpinning: scaling up is an identity-project undertaken by the human ego. To shift away from operating at global industrial scale, which operates above all through a consumptive appeal to the ego, towards instead thinking, living, and investing in our local communities, requires massive political reorienting premised on a deep economic transformation away from consumption. Beneath these massive changes, is a correspondingly powerful spiritual and psychological challenge to deny ourselves – a challenge which makes the inward turn of spiritual practice and its transformative potential indispensable.
Alternative economic models were mentioned, Schumacher’s “Small is beautiful” explicitly:
Schumacher, E. F. (1973) Small Is Beautiful: Economics as if people mattered. http://www.smallisbeautiful.org/
A contemporary proposal is Kate Raworth’s “doughnut economics”:
Samuel Alexander has done a great amount of work on “degrowth” and “sufficiency economy”:
Helena Norbert-Hodge has articulated a powerful defense of “local futures” and a focus on the “economics of happiness” (along with a 2011 film of that name)
“Voluntary simplicity” is a theme that interweaves all of the above; see http://simplicitycollective.com/or the 1981 book of the same name by Duane Elgin.