That's a very, very profound shift. It's not obvious to a lot of people who are partly in the new paradigm that it goes as deep as that, but as nearly as I can read the signs of the last 30 years, that seems to be the direction we're headed. That is the direction of the perennial wisdom, so it's been around for a while. Maybe it's not too surprising that we should be heading there.
DiCarlo: For many years, you were a futurist for Stanford Research International. In your view, what are the major trends impacting us at this time, and what do you suppose the future has in store for us?
In terms of the new paradigm, nothing is impacting us. It's all coming from within. But in the more practical terms in which you meant the question, I think we really have two fundamental problems. One is ecological sustainability. And the other involves the coherence of our society in view of the tremendously powerful alienating forces that are coming about. This sense of alientation is very much related to the increasing rich/poor gap, and the increasing awareness on the part of the poor that it's not an accident.
The combination of those two is going to require a total re-definition of society and the social contract. Most people aren't really ready to think in those terms yet.
DiCarlo: All that we have been discussing is revolutionary in its implications. How would you respond to the individual who says that this new paradigm talk is utter nonsense?
Harman: Well, some of it is! Some of the more sensational aspects of the New Age are partly passing fads. The spiritual traditions have been fairly clear on this issue. As you go along the inward path, you are going to find a lot of temptations to explore. There are those who get involved in psychic phenomena, or get totally fascinated with one thing or another that somehow relates to all of this. Those are really digressions from the main task of discovering what Alan Watts called the Supreme identity-your own oneness with the Oneness.
So some of the New Age stuff is probably that. Some of it is becoming commercialized so it's pretty well corrupted. But underlying all of that, is this powerful current of cultural change, and that seems to be, in a historical sense, both new and necessary. It's wholesome. And in a certain sense, it's a wedding of the inward looking of the Middle Ages to the excessive outward looking of the modern era. It's more of a balancing of masculine and feminine, inner and outer. Material and spiritual.
In fact, if there's any one thing that characterizes the emerging paradigm, I think maybe it is this concept of balance-it's not black and white, good and evil-there's a balance in here somehow.
Excerpted from the book Towards A New World View: Conversations At The Leading Edge with Russell E. DiCarlo. The 377-page book features new and inspiring interviews with 27 paradigm pioneers in the fields of medicine, psychology, economics, business, religion, science, education and human potential. Featuring: Willis Harman, Matthew Fox, Joan Boysenko, George Leonard, Gary Zukav, Robert Monroe, Hazel Henderson, Fred Alan Wolf, Peter Senge, Jacquelyn Small, Elmer Green, Larry Dossey, Carolyn Myss, Stan Grof, Rich Tarnas, Marilyn Ferguson, Marsha Sinetar, Dr. Raymond Moody, Stephen Covey and Peter Russell.