Summer '73

Research Assembly


July 19, 1973


1. I want to deal with the whole issue of the social avalanche. What do we mean by that? What are its implications relative to our intuition about the future? We will come at it in four ways. First, what are the signs of the possibility of the social avalanche that we now foresee? Second, what is its path? Third, what seems to be the central problem? And fourth, what is the method for occasioning that avalanche? We came up with the image that we were looking for the place you could stand in a field of snow and blow a whistle to unleash an avalanche. When you think about human beings in our time you sense there is a great weight on men. In the midst of resurgence there is a weighty sense of being unable to move. How do you name the sign which will release motion? The signs we have have come out of our struggle with trying to describe society. The first is what we cal] the "five pillars." Once again there has appeared a consensus that a new common picture of the nature of society is coming into being' and it is that society is a dynamical process rather than structures or moral principles. In this consensus society is discerning the pathway into the future. And when you do not operate out of this image you run into trouble. The social process triangles, as you break through them again and again, make sense out of what society is about.

2. There is a new consensus emerging on the scope, nature and quality of society, that all the earth belongs to all the people. This is the kind of society we live in. It is thoroughly global. This means that the local is utterly common across the globe. This does not mean sameness' but that the struggle with the economic tyrant is across the globe. This is the third sign and it has to do with the social imbalances. The current distortion in society is hobbling human beings. The economic has grown so large in their imagination that they see no way to move and are paralyzed. In addition to the "pillars" there is a common practical vision. There is a coagulation of fundamental nexuses of local man's intuition about the future. First that has to do with a new mythology, a new story about what it means to be human. Our story has been that we are less than global and that we live in a two story universe, while we experience life as global and the universe as one. There is going to be a new form of local community, of primal community. The static rural village in which people cannot cope with the complexity and mobility of the twentieth century is gone. There is going to be a new kind of education to allow people to deal with human issues, to allow people to be centers of decision rather than simply technicians, to allow every man to stand in the center of the world with every decision he makes radically altering the whole world. There will be a new localized polity which allows local man to be concretely engaged in decisions about the world. There will be globalized economics. The problem is not large multi­national corporations, for they see that we live in a global world and live out of that image. The monetary problem is that we have national currency and national control of the economic when the economic is not a national entity.

3. The pressure points also represent a consensus of the best wisdom of local man. That consensus gives you the possibility of starting out. It is amazing. You walk up to someone and say that you know how to change society, that you know practically where to move and you point to those places on the triangles to give him an image of what you are talking about, and he gives you the lecture. This is that kind of radical sign. When you discern what society is like and how it is going to be change it scares you. Mao Tse Tung must have found his pillars, his nexus and his pressure points. Adolph Hitler must have found his. This is not anything new, but when it dawns on you that you are now chosen you feel like a kid with an atom bomb. You feel irresponsible and want to ignore what you have done, to tear it up and throw it away, or to say there is no future rather than go ahead with it. We pushed one step farther, however' and came up with the whistle points. These are the universal dynamics of practical social change. They are the nine isnesses without which society never has and never will be changed. The myth, the action, the order force, the cell force, the guild force and then the four systems: demonstration, interchange, impact and training are these nine whistle points.

4. The thing we ran up against as we pulled various evolutions through this' as we analyzed social change in history, was the concept of whistle point imbalance. You have various periods of social upheaval and social change, and different combinations of these nine dynamics came into being, and different ones were emphasized. For example, the youth culture never built an intensive training mechanism to bring discipline into their insights' to allow them to operate effectively. Nor did they develop an effective action factor, the deed that had to be done everywhere. All they did was the demonstration whistle point, which has to do with shaking up society, primarily, and were never able to make the shift from the disestablishment to the more locally grounded.

5. You wonder if there are some guidelines. For example, the myth factor and the action factor are the contextual determinants. These determine and nail down a particular time in history. That myth has to include every man and be a story that interprets any human being's life to him. It cannot be a story that splits up life but must be utterly inclusive, obedient to the fact that all the earth belongs to all the people and obedient to the time in which we live. The action has to be universal and yet utterly practical. It has to be that which any local man can do. And it has to deal with the twentieth century in the context of the future, rather than simply creating signs for the sake of signs. The interchange system is that which we are doing in the PSU's. Every human being must have a mechanism whereby he gets his insights into the decisions. When you sit there in a PSU you are there on behalf of every crummy local man, demonstrating the fact that we can all build this earth together. It does not require that you have graduated from any courses. It is like a play. You sit down and engage yourself and your creativity in it. This order force has to be built so it can go anywhere and do anything. If a dam has to be built, it goes there and builds it. The cell is the local grounding. It is the point at which the new revolution hits geography. But you do not have just one of these somewhere. This is your passion in RS­I recruitment. You just keep going until it is everywhere or you have denied some chunk of geography the possibility of participating. The guild is that which engages every man. Your question about the guild is always that of will it engage all men.

6. In terms of the path of the avalanche, we have been clear on that for a long time. Fundamentally the path we see that avalanche taking is first of all in this world. This is the only place it happens and it happens across the world. Primarily it is going to take place under the rubric of the local task' rather than in the councils of government or the skyscrapers of the economic. It will be a local task. And the path of that revolution is going to pull through some kind of fundamental local force, some kind of massive engagement of local men. Ten million is too small. More like one or two hundred million have to be engaged if you are talking about actually, concretely and physically dealing with redoing all of society. Then this has to come out of the local church which is the sustaining

framework. It has to have some way of holding it in being. Then finally it has to be common and supported globally. This is nothing other than that early picture we drew of who we are as a body of people. Our task is not to enable the local church, for that is worked on in terms of the ecumenical parish to enable it to pick up a form whereby it can be the church in the world. That is the local force. That is the guild and we will work on that. We are not out to have the guild be a fellowship group? but to be in the world. That is finally our passion. That is finally everyone's passion. They want to go out and live their lives for the world. They want to do what they are being called on to do. They want to respond to the weight of the world that is on their back.

7. Tactics give the guild a way to do that. The question of logistics is simple. How do you set up the mechanisms that provide the motivity to do the job? The problem in that has to do with this thing called the world. It is the question of how you allow people in every area to live not just before the world but before God. How do you allow people to live before the awe rather than their feelings? How do you allow people to live before the mystery of life. How do you break people loose for the guild? How do you release people to be free men to grasp the indicative they stand before, so that instead of being responsible to the world they are responsible to God for the world? Unless that happens whatever we do is demonic. If we ever act in any way out of what the world says has to happen it is wrong. We are recovering something with our discovery of sanctification. All my life I have said I believe in God. Now saying "I believe in God" is like saying that I believe in that wall because it has become so obvious that we are again acquiring a sense of the presence of mystery in life. The reality of God is not even questioned, and we now have a way to talk about that and receive it.

8. What motivates men is the perception of the task. I took RS­I because I wanted to be a saint. I grew up in the church and I understood that you lay down your life, and I wanted to be a saint. After RS­I I went to another course but that didn't work either. Then I thought I will bring my local church to it and I recruited people and we were going to make our local church good. It was not going very well. Then we had the Local Church Experiment and I thought we could do those tactics and it would really be good, but my local church did not make it into the galaxy. Then came the guild, I thought, and boy, I am going to have the best guild. But I have a sneaking suspicion that there is going to be someone else in the guild too and I am going to be recruiting RS­I courses while others are in the guild creating fantastic, tremendous human beings. In the midst of this it dawned on me that what is required to deal with the problem is not first of all the direct task, but the indirect task. It is the problem of motivation not the problem of action. What it comes to is something like this. You begin doing something like dealing directly with human suffering and all of a sudden it dawns on you that you are fiddling with your own soul, with how you respond to the interior deeps of your own life. What is required is carrying that to every man, carrying that possibility to every human being.

9. The whistle points do not do one thing directly. They paint the possibility of motivity for every man. What does this look like? It looks like taking a man's life and turning it into raw event, where he does not worry ever again about wasting time, where life is a dance, where life is a bubble. You find a way to use every bit of a human being's time' so that his life is never again boring. How do you take their space, like that corner park, and turn it into sheer spirit? How are you going to make that space come alive so it cannot be ignored, so that the determinants of time and space that man walks through are just filled, just­bubbling over in awe? How do you make him aware of the set of infinite relationships he is so that every act he takes is filled with significance? How do you get said that that is life, filled full and running over? You stand at the center of the universe, and it all swirls around you. You are nothing but the center of relationships, and that is everything. Your every deed is out to do one thing, to make the universe swirl. You take the resurgence that is happening and turn that explosion into a creative force.

10. We have talked about avalanches. To have an avalanche you have to have snow. The problem with most people is they cannot see the snow. You have to have eyes to see the snow, eyes to see the human power, the human spirit that is heaped up like an overwhelming mountain ready to move. And those who have eyes to see have to show the rest. That is our job. We have to become the wonder workers, common, ordinary local men walking around like the mild mannered reporter Clark Kent, who step into telephone booths and emerge as wonder workers. And we must be global wonder workers, traveling with the speed of light to create seemingly simultaneous wonders in San Francisco, and New York, and Delhi and Tokyo and everywhere else. When they describe who they saw it will be a short fat man in one place, a long necked girl in another. This is what it will take to release the resurgence that is happening across the planet. You create the wonder and every man will see the snow, the mountain of life ready to move. Then all you have to do is blow the whistle.

11. The task before us is to discern clearly where that avalanche is about to move and to show people the snow so they can participate in building the earth. What has to get communicated is the methodologies for being the religious. Going out to create that avalanche is learning how to grasp where the transparency in life can be released. This is the new evangelism. It is turning every bit of life into the fullness and richness that is there in life.

12. The resurgence outside is frightful, and the Cabaret is delightful, so everywhere you go, let it snow, let it snow, let it snow. Oh, it shows no sign of stopping. This avalanche is hopping. The globe is all set to go. Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow. When the earth belongs to all, how life will dance in the storm. But if I'm really sanctified, all the way home I'll be warm. Oh, the avalanche is slowly started. It's time that we're departed, a sign all over the globe. Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow.