On “Thrive” And Thrival


By Steve Bhaerman

“It’s time to evolve Darwinism from survival of the fittest to thrival of the fittingest.”

— Swami Beyondananda

Early last month, I posted a piece recommending the “Thrive” movie, thrivemovement.com, produced by friends and colleagues Foster and Kimberly Gamble.  While most of the post-article response was positive, several of my correspondents objected, some vociferously (as vociferously as one can in an email without using CAPITAL LETTERS).  A few questioned the science, specifically the possibility of zero point energy and “perpetual motion machines” (although you have to wonder why, if that’s so impossible, inventors are being silenced – temporarily or permanently – because of their inventions).

My friend Mark Robinowitz (Oil Empire), who is one the most astute sniffers of “the likeliest story” I know, was skeptical of the free energy claims and felt inclusion of certain interviewees was a “discredit” to the film:  “It’s irresponsible to mix together leading environmental thinkers and doers with clowns who claim the world is run by reptiles from other planets (Mr. Icke).”

(If you happen to be a reptile from another planet, please don’t be offended … those are Mark Robinowitz’s words, not mine.)

Seriously, I highly recommend taking a journey through Mark’s Oil Empire website; it will help you develop your discernment muscle and better understand how disinformation, misinformation and missing information are used as weapons of mass-distraction.

Peace Activist On the Warpath!

Kerfuffle-wise, I have to say that I wasn’t prepared for what happened when I attended the Praxis Peace Institute’s annual pre-holiday celebration at Murphy’s Pub in Sonoma.  When Trudy and I arrived, we discovered that another good friend and co-heart, Praxis Peace founder Georgia Kelly had declared war on the movie “Thrive,” and that the entire focus of the afternoon celebration was to debunk the film (based on the last 3-5 minutes of the movie, which was the only part shown).

Georgia told the assembled that she “agreed with 97% of the movie,” but she took extreme issue with the end of the film, which she termed “reactionary libertarian propaganda.”  You can read her Huffington Post post here and if you scroll down, you’ll find Foster Gamble’s response.

Now it’s not my intention to get in the middle of this “peace-ing match” between two friends and colleagues (although if you read Foster’s response, the tone is entirely different than Georgia’s).  Something I would love to see come about is what Georgia suggested at the Sonoma event – a dialogue about the movie which would include airing her concerns about libertarianism, particularly as it relates to the seeming contradiction between the “Thrive” movie’s intention of a “world that works for everyone” and the individualist libertarian approach.  And of course, Foster would have a chance to respond.  If the audience is very fortunate, the conversation would yield more light than heat, and people in the room would leave with new and helpful distinctions.

Now … something I noticed about the Sonoma gathering was that other than the waitress taking our orders, no one in the room was under 50 years old.  While we didn’t do a poll, my sense was that most of those in the room agreed with Georgia and felt anything remotely smacking of libertarianism stood in direct opposition to their progressive, social justice sensibilities. Younger folks, however, don’t have the same ideological investment, and seem more willing to investigate outside the box of already-established ideas. They tend to recognize that any real solutions will not be found in current positions, but rather in the evolution of these positions into a truly emergent politic.  If this seems abstract, please check out Charles Eisenstein’s critique of the film, “The Story Is Wrong, But the Spirit Is Right.”  Notice that the critique is of the message, not the messenger … and that the disagreements of the minds are held in the context of the agreement of the hearts.

And yes, even though I am a Libra / Enneagram 9, I do understand that not every conflict can be reconciled.  However, thanks to my work with Joseph McCormick on transpartisan politics, I recognize that conflict necessarily provides the energy for change – provided that conflict is “held” in the appropriate container.  And that container is love and respect, and the understanding that while we may be separated by the beliefs in our head, our heart is the source of unity.

The Heart of the Matter Is the Matter of the Heart

As Bruce Lipton and I discovered in Spontaneous Evolution, in order to make it through the current evolutionary passage, we humans have to begin to “think like a species” – meaning, we now have such a collective impact on life on the planet that unless we trust ourselves to hold species-wide intentions, and adopt species-wide policies and practices, we are doomed to live out a dystopian nightmare … or be eradicated from the earth entirely.

Those who can see beyond the boundaries of left and right recognize that such an evolutionary understanding must necessarily mean that both the individual and community must thrive.  Just as surely as a healthy body is composed of healthy cells, a healthy body politic involves aware, connected, free individuals being who they were born to be.  If this sounds idealistic or utopian, consider this.  What we call “utopia,” our body calls “health.”

As we begin this “precedential year” – which Swami has declared a “Quantum Leap Year” – I’ve been deeply considering the best way I can serve the scene at this time, to use my gifts and talents to move the “upwising” forward.  For the past four years or so, the one idea that always seems to pop up is the notion of “Heartland Security.”  Three years ago, I began building a website and network – and got stalled by my own and society’s financial issues.

Over the past months, the idea has been unfolding, and I have taken care not to turn it into a “thing” until it shows me what it wants to be.  What’s clear to me is that the heart – the power of love, coherence, connectedness, health, sanity and goodness – is the prime human resource to cultivate right now.  As the Swami has said, “Our true security is in the land of the heart.”

Isn’t it becoming clear how universal human aspirations are?  We want clean air, water … good food, adequate shelter … a loving partner / family / community around us … a way to give our gifts, and participate.  Now certainly a proportion of humankind has been so afflicted by violence and deprivation, that their behavior has been toxically distorted.  Nonetheless, the vast majority of us – 80% to 90% — are capable of recognizing our common self interest, and are potentially willing to live accordingly.

Modern science is pointing us in the same direction as ancient perennial wisdom:  We are all connected.  We are all cells in the body of humanity.  We are all in it together … in other words, thrival for all.

So … once again using Swami’s words … it’s time for humanity (or those who humans who hear the call and want to play) to “gather under One Big Intent.”  This intent must be so big, so all-encompassing that it holds and contextualizes all ideas, projects, organizations, business endeavors that seek the thrival of the individual AND the thrival of all. When we recognize that these are not mutually-exclusive, but go hand-in-hand, we enter a truly new world. Think of this discovery and worldview as the spiritual equivalent of discovering how to harness fire.

This time, we are learning to harness the fire of our individual and collective creativity to create a world that we’ve been told is impossible – but is now completely necessary.

Below, for what it’s worth, is the mission statement I created for myself as we enter a time when the old story dies under its own weight and a new story emerges.  I am holding it as the mission for Heartland Security, however that idea plays out:

“To inspire a worldwide movement to unite Humanity around our highest virtues and values, so that we act wisely and lovingly to thrive together in harmony with the natural world.”

That’s a big order.  It will take all the chutzpah and all the humility we can muster.  Anybody wanna play?


If you want to find out more about Heartland Security, please go here.

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9 Responses to On “Thrive” And Thrival

  1. admin says:

    Yeah, the Huff Post post was a bit huffy and puffy …

  2. admin says:

    Are you calling Swami on the carpet? Thanks for your beautiful job of graphically representing my blog posts!

  3. admin says:

    Thanks for your comment on the Heartland Security mission … may we gather enough co-hearts to make it so.

  4. Pingback: Love and THRIVE « IONS Austin

  5. valerie says:

    this intent is perfect and i am adding to my morning meditation 🙂 thank you for it

    “To inspire a worldwide movement to unite Humanity around our highest virtues and values, so that we act wisely and lovingly to thrive together in harmony with the natural world.”

  6. Antares says:

    Swami Steve, you are most definitely one of my favorite human being impersonators on earth! Where did you pick up that flying carpet? Mine is beginning to get a bit frayed at the edges.

  7. Daniel R Peterson says:

    Well, oh well-bred one from the lineage of the great Poobahs of LORD High Everything Else (Gilbert and Sullivan’s The Mikado, if you must know), I just wrote
    on Huffington Post that the article seemed to me to be the forces of Criticism agitating
    the beast of Condemnation while in the mode of Judgmentalism. I said IT said LOVE one another, not deconstruct the idiots. This article seemed to be from the frail old age of the dinosaurs stuck in the pit of gridlock, dualism and the epic battle of who is squeaky clean. I said I AM willing to dance and fence and twirl over an issue but not go at it hammer and tongs and tongue. (I hope I didn’t use too many capital letters………………………..:)

  8. Bev says:

    Dear, Dear Steve,
    Thank You … so much … I check your site (nearly daily) because I always … not only love what you write and how you write it but how well you inform and inspire (and make me smile). I just wish you would write more often … anyway …
    I watched the movie “Thrive” even before you mentioned it … I think it can serve to help in so many ways on so many levels (the website has so many ways (suggested) that one can begin toward making this world better for everyone … I did consider that many would discredit it automatically because of the mention of Aliens … and that is very unfortunate … but … many are seeing … and evaluating … and considering … and we are making progress … and You Steve are helping (have helped) and Thank You for your continued effort (I need to do more than just Thank You … it’s about time … and especially now that you mention doing something more yourself … and You and the Movie Thrive is helping me to take some steps). I linked to the comments you provide and was so impressed by Mr. Gambles response and his invitation to further discussion. He provides an excellent example of how one can react to those who disagree (or attack) in a way that refrains from reactionary attacking back. He serves as an example (as do you!).
    Love and Peace WILL Follow

  9. Joel Norvell says:

    Thrive was not perfect but it was very good.

    Dear Steve & Trudy,

    I saw Thrive at Kepler’s Bookstore in Menlo Park in November of 2011.

    I really liked it. Did I agree with everything presented in it? No. But I thought it was a genuine work of high production values.

    I just suspended disbelief for the parts of it I was unsure of and enjoyed it for being a magnificent effort.

    Many of the things in Thrive were amazing: like the archaeological information it brought out.

    And I hope even its detractors can agree that any documentary which explains fractional-reserve banking can’t be all bad!

    I didn’t particularly agree with the last 3-5 minutes of the film, either, but for a different reason than Ms. Kelly. The art of predicting what will happen is fraught with uncertainty. I recall Herman Khan’s well publicized flop The Year 2000. You can try to predict the future but it finds out and changes just to spite you!

    So that’s my 2-cents worth 🙂

    Peace & love,