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A New Republic of the Heart: An Ethos for Revolutionaries--A Guide to Inner Work for Holistic Change
by Terry Patten and Andrew Harvey


Terry Patten's "A New Republic of the Heart" is a call to action for a profound transformation of human consciousness and culture in the face of our impending ecological and civilizational crisis.

The book blends social commentary, integral theory, evolutionary science, deep ecology, and spiritual wisdom to offer a holistic approach to navigating our complex predicament. It argues that our current fragmented mindset and unsustainable behaviors are deeply rooted in a pervasive "consensus trance" that obscures our interconnectedness with the living Earth and with one another.

Part One establishes the context:

  • Our Wicked Predicament: Patten lays out the scale and complexity of our ecological crisis, highlighting its interconnectedness with economic, political, social, and cultural systems. He examines how "wicked problems" and "black swan events" further complicate our ability to understand and respond effectively.
  • The Consensus Trance: Patten explores how our shared cultural narratives and ingrained habits of thinking can lead to denial and blind optimism, hindering our ability to face the severity of our situation. He introduces the concept of "consensus trance," arguing that our "normal" consciousness is often a product of unconscious indoctrination and hypnotic suggestions that reinforce pre-existing beliefs and perceptions.
  • The Evolutionary Perspective: Patten argues that we are in the midst of a crucial evolutionary leap, a period of rapid and radical change driven by the inherent creative impulse of evolution itself. He emphasizes the importance of recognizing our interdependence with the living Earth and embracing a more expansive worldview that encompasses the evolution of consciousness, culture, and technology.
  • Integral Consciousness: He introduces integral theory, a framework that seeks to integrate various worldviews and knowledge domains to provide a more holistic understanding of reality. Patten emphasizes the need to transcend fragmented, dualistic thinking and embrace a "both/and" perspective that acknowledges the partial truths of different worldviews, including traditional, modern, and postmodern perspectives.

Part Two moves into the practical implications of integral awakening and activism:

  • Life as Practice: Patten presents a holistic view of practice as a continuous process of waking up to the reality of the present moment, integrating our physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual capacities. He outlines four core modules of practice: body practices, mind practices, spiritual practices, and shadow work.
  • The New Stories of Our Souls: He explores the importance of soul work, emphasizing the need to discover and embody our unique purpose, guided by the "voice" of our soul or daemon. He highlights the power of archetypal stories and metaphors in shaping our experience and influencing our behavior.
  • Awakening into Evolutionary Activism: Patten argues that true activism must integrate inner work with outer action. He describes different domains of activism: working within the system, against the system, and around the system. He emphasizes the crucial role of individual transformation and the development of "integral heart intelligence," which integrates mental, emotional, and spiritual capacities.
  • A New Tribalism and a New Republic of the Heart: Patten explores the potential of "we-space" practice, a dynamic process of deepening mutual understanding and creating shared awareness within groups. He argues that these practices can lead to the emergence of a "new tribalism," based on conscious intersubjectivity, trust, and cooperation, ultimately contributing to the birth of a "new republic of the heart" that embodies a higher level of collective wisdom and compassion.
  • Conversations That Matter: Patten highlights the importance of constructive dialogue across different worldviews, particularly between innovators, ecologists, and evolutionaries. He stresses the need to transcend epistemic closure and engage in open, honest, and compassionate conversations that can bridge ideological divides and advance a shared vision for the future.
  • It's Not Too Late, and It Never Will Be: Patten emphasizes that the future is not predetermined and that we each have the power to participate in shaping it. He calls for a radical shift in consciousness and a commitment to living a life of purpose, practice, and service, recognizing that it is never too late to embrace a new, more conscious and sustainable way of being in the world.

Overall, "A New Republic of the Heart" presents a vision for a more conscious and compassionate future for humanity, grounded in the wisdom of the heart and the interconnectedness of all beings. Patten's work invites us to awaken from our fragmented worldviews and embrace a holistic approach to living, relating, and creating change, one that acknowledges the urgency of our current predicament but also offers hope for a future shaped by conscious awareness, collaborative action, and a profound love for life.