#Occupy Inquiry

“We stand at a critical moment in Earth’s history, a time when humanity must choose its future. As the world becomes increasingly interdependent and fragile, the future at once holds great peril and great promise…. We must join together to bring forth a sustainable global society founded on a respect for nature, universal human rights, economic justice, and a culture of peace. Towards this end, it is imperative that we, the peoples of the Earth, declare our responsibility to one another, to the greater community of life, and to future generations.” - The Earth Charter, 2000

What is the #Occupy Wall Street Movement to you? What could it mean for our times? These are questions to consider as we seek to live and lead consciously in stewardship of the planet and her inhabitants. In this article we offer a mosaic of perspectives and questions to stimulate shared inquiry.


#OWS signals a call to a higher moral order in business, economics and politics – a demand for accountability to the well being of the general populace, the environment and the world. Early in the movement, integral commentators characterized it as a clash of perspectives where those who champion post-modern values (green) were rising in opposition to the excesses of modernity (orange) in the form of unregulated capitalism and corporate-driven politics. This placard, defining #OWS in terms of what it is seeking to become instead of what it is reacting against, underlines that its own identity is evolving and maturing.

The following questions are offered to prompt reflection from first, second and third person perspectives: that is, a personal view, a view in relation to others, and a view from the larger unfolding of life.

We invite you to share your thinking in the comment space that follows this post so that all of our readers can consider and grow with #Occupy together.

First Person Inquiry

  • What is #Occupy Wall Street to me?
  • How am I and those I love affected by the current economic and environmental crisis?
  • In what ways am I dependent on/embedded in the systems perpetuating this crisis?
  • How do I begin to untangle myself from these systems and ways of being?
  • What do I say yes to? What do I need to say no to? What actions do I know I can take that I have not yet done?

Second Person Inquiry

We are not alone in our awakening. It is extraordinary to witness even at some distance what is coalescing in this movement – the communities being generated in the occupy sites, the refinement of their decision-making, the impact of their actions. And then there are the networks of individuals and groups online, organizing to support those on the ground with encouraging perspectives, questions, skill building, and an expanding virtual community in conversation. We are seeing the awakening of a wider swath of the populace to what ‘cultural creatives’ such as Joanna Macy, the authors of the Earth Charter, and others have been advocating for decades.

“…let's take a look at what is in this moment. There is a deep and broad grounding going on, connecting many locations and involving thousands of people who are organizing into working groups to address dozens of issues that require attention if this burst of energy is destined to be more than meteoric. And while direct actions are being contemplated everywhere and there is brilliance emerging with respect to strategic advance, the reality is also that winter is approaching.


This will be our Valley Forge, a time of forming networks and alliances, deepening relationships, appealing to broader audiences, framing the conversation, articulating a new narrative…


But it is not yet time to bring forth a manifesto. It is time to recognize that holding the Commons, tending the inner structures and process, creating micro-economies that work for all will be the seeds of a living manifesto that need not be articulated in words or demands, but which can stand as a statement of who WE are.” Gary Horowitz http://www.occupycafe.org/

  • Where do you feel the invitation in the above words?
  • In what ways and with whom are you engaged in what is happening?
  • David Korten writes: “Whoever controls the prosperity, security, and meaning stories that define the mainstream culture, controls the society.” (https://davidkorten.org):  What are the new stories we need to tell ourselves, in order to inspire and inform our actions toward a shift in paradigm?
  • How shall we redefine success, wealth, productivity, growth within this narrative?
  • How might we approach those whose points of view differ from our own in order to invite and ignite broader and deeper participation?

Third Person Inquiry

Taking our examination of #OWS to the ‘20,000 foot level’, consider that what is occurring, what we are all participants in – Wall Street executives, occupiers, onlookers, all, is the inevitable movement of earth and her inhabitants through patterns of evolutionary unfolding.

Historians William Strauss and Neil Howe describe American history as a series of recurring 80-100 year cycles. Each cycle has involved four “turnings” – a High, an Awakening, an Unraveling and a Crisis. At the time their book The Fourth Turning was published in 1997, Strauss and Howe estimated that the US was midway through an Unraveling and roughly a decade from Crisis. “Around the year 2005, a sudden spark will catalyze a Crisis mood. Remnants of the old social order will disintegrate. Political and economic trust will implode. Real hardship will beset the land, with severe distress that could involve questions of class, race, nation, and empire.”

Broader still, from the cosmological vision of the late James Hillman, what is occurring across the globe may be viewed as a rising up of Anima Mundi herself, to say ‘No More!’ and to ignite the hearts and souls of people on the street and elsewhere, sparking the impulse to speak and act on behalf of the Soul of the world.

  • What are the most pressing concerns we need to address at this time?
  • What other perspectives would be useful to help us understand what is going on in the US and across the globe?
  • What is good about capitalism? How can we preserve its value to the whole while deconstructing the practices that lead to its corruption?
  • Where in our local communities are there changes taking place, new prototypes forming that give manifestation to the forms of community governance, alternative currency, sustainable economics we seek to grow?

Contribute to the Conversation

#OWS is a process, an ongoing and evolving conversation, the coalescing of a new collective consciousness in the US and across the globe. It is a manifestation of a larger shift within the earth community toward a new social, political and economic order. The outcome is not guaranteed, but more than ever before, it can be deeply influenced and shaped by our consciousness, our choices and our collective actions.

As conscious leaders, how shall we respond? What is ours to do?

Tell us what you think in the space below… We’d love to hear your thoughts, your experience, the way in which this movement is moving through you.

Photo credit: Katie Teague