Gift Culture movement

Allow us to suggest “New Tribe” as a powerful social invention supporting the emerging social movement known as “Gift Culture”:

“I don’t know of any great movement that hasn’t depended on base communities to sustain individuals in the demanding work of social change.”Parker Palmer, a wise and courageous truth-teller, precedes the above quote with this observation: “Institutional change doesn’t come about simply through the actions of courageous whistle-blowers. It happens through the formation of communities of people who have a shared moral concern and who can provide encouragement, resources, and protection for each other.”

And why are these “communities of people who share moral concern” so important?

“Social movements are humanity’s immune response to political corruption, economic disease, and ecological degradation.”Paul Hawken

Duane Elgin, in his 2010 edition of Voluntary Simplicity, calls for “a new village movement” or “greenhouses of human invention.”  Indeed, right now the world needs social artists and inventors all humming along—full speed imagining, building and getting new social designs into the culture. Gift Community is the fertile soil in which new methods can grow. In our shared joy we water and nurture the buds regularly, harvest when ready, and launch into the larger neighborhood, community and eventually into the world.

The movement of social inventors has begun. We use different names for these change agents—for example, the social artists of Jean Houston, the social entrepreneurs of David Gershon and the social architects of Jim Channon. By whatever name, each invites us to offer our creative gifts as we step up to do what needs to be done.

Jean Houston, our friend here in Ashland, Oregon, calls us Social Artists because we are creating it fresh as we go. We have no map, just a feel for the beauty that is possible. She says “Social Artistry is the art of enhancing human capacities in the light of social complexity. It seeks to bring new ways of thinking, being and doing to social challenges in the world.” It was her old friend Margaret Mead who famously said, “Never doubt that a thoughtful group of committed citizens can change the world.  Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”

David Gershon, in his visionary book Social Change 2.0: A Blueprint for Reinventing Our World, says with great clarity, “Given the scale of change required to pull our planet back from the brink we need a social entrepreneurship revolution. To do this we need to increase the percentage of people who walk this path from one in a thousand to ten or even a hundred in a thousand.”

Jim Channon suggests that social inventions can be most anything created by humans, however social architectures focus on culturally significant purposeful creation. He says, “The purpose of social architecture is to make known the tools and practices for the conscious construction of a planetary civilization.”

You may be the social inventor your friends are waiting for. Your “tribe” or family of choice could be one of these new social inventions. This movement starts with a vision, an intention, and the next conversation.



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