The Time of the Chrysalis?

As I sit sweltering here in Malaysia (and before this, in Thailand) observing the busyness, the massive amounts of construction, the noisy moving to and fro, the widening extremes of opulence and degradation, the scramble of people to earn or save a few pennies to buy a piece of the good life, I often feel despair about the human condition. But, as I’ve said in my books and presentations, it is clear that civilization is experiencing a multi-dimensional mega-crisis which must lead to a thorough social, economic, and political restructuring. I liken it to the process of metamorphosis from the caterpillar to the butterfly. My soul yearns for peace and quiet, fellowship, and positive engagement in the metamorphic process.

Where to find it? How to proceed? These are the vexing questions of the moment.

Over the past three years my nomadic lifestyle has provided numerous adventures of discovery in many parts of Asia. I think my time in Asia has given me a pretty good sense of the developmental trends and the conditions that ordinary people here must contend with. The apparent lull in the breakdown process over the past few months should not cause us to become complacent but should be taken as an opportunity to prepare ourselves and to intensify our efforts to build a better world.

The global economy, like the caterpillar must at some point stop growing. That point seems now to have been reached. If you have not seen it, the post by Darryl Schoon, Davos: The Bomb Shelter, clearly expresses my own views that the current financial crisis is unprecedented and “the crisis will end in a complete breakdown of the banker’s system of credit and debt…”

The next phase, the chrysalis phase, requires that we take the accumulated resources that are at our disposal and use them to create the new butterfly economy. It is not easy to ascertain how that process will proceed, what the specific challenges will be, or how we might best negotiate what Robert Theobald called, The Rapids of Change. Carolyn Baker’s book, Sacred Demise: Walking the Spiritual Path of Industrial Civilzation’s Collapse, may help us in that regard. Major portions of the book can be read for free at

Each of us now needs to ask, “Where shall I spin my personal cocoon, where is my cohort community, and how can I help the emergence of a new, sustainable, more harmonious world.

2 responses to “The Time of the Chrysalis?

  1. If there are any alternatives left to big government, they will use every possible excuse to avoid change. Growing industries in other countries may prop things up for a while, and probably the people will seek totalitarianism out of fear, but there will be groups scattered here and there, like the new flowers in the first bloom of spring.

    They’re already there, and they’re blooming quite well! I remember so many years ago, when I first became acquainted with Tom. There were so few out there! No internet, just snail mail, talking over ideas, people finding each other in tiny little groups.

    But now, compared to those beginnngs, it’s amazing!


  2. Tom,

    If history suggests anything, it is that the backlash to the current
    crisis is substantially more likely to be totalitarian in character than libertarian. The Chrysalis, I fear, will be crushed under the jackboot of oppression as soon as its true nature and intent is revealed.

    Also, for what it is worth, I am not entirely convinced that the ‘final’ collapse is as imminent as many suggest. The rise of the likes of India, China & Brazil may yet allow at least one more ‘credit cycle’. I think a further ‘boom’ within those economies, of truly gargantuan proportions, is actually far from out of the question, and while the U.S. & Europe are unlikely to be major players this time around, it may be enough to stave off an immediate or imminent collapse. Given that the emerging economies all operate within the existing economic model however – a guarantee of ultimate failure – I don’t doubt that an end to this ‘order’ of really rather scary proportions is now, at the very least, visible on the horizon.

    Best wishes,



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