Thanksgiving Reflections: Social Nonmovements, Quantum Entanglement, and Indigenous Wisdom

Last week, I was enriched hanging out with two remarkable visitors, Drs. Monica Sharma and Doris Grey. The two spoke on leadership and social change from years working in global settings. I felt electrified hearing the following quote from Dr. Grey’s most recent book:

“Revolutionary social change does not conjure images of the often subtle but significant changes that take place at local levels, that is, within households, neighborhoods, or communities. Sociologist Asef Bayat contends that these changes are generated by social nonmovements, that is, the collective actions of non-collective actors, they embody shared practices of large numbers of ordinary people whose fragmented but similar activities trigger much social change.”  (Women and Social Change in North Africa: What Counts as Revolutionary?, Doris Grey, p. 5)

The power of one person, one family, one neighborhood, and one community to affect change is beautifully described through this work. That type of change, through principled nonviolence, is exactly what the Gandhi Institute is passionately committed to bringing forth.

Another source of corroboration comes from science. I am moved, mystified, and inspired when I read that all life is interconnected through phenomenon like quantum entanglement. I take this to mean that Individual words, actions, and lives matter far more deeply than we can perhaps understand with our ordinary mind. My ordinary mind struggles to take it in and yet the glimpses of possibility are well worth the struggle. Here is physicist Will Keepin, another recent visitor to the Gandhi Institute:

“Science is discovering new levels of interconnection between matter and consciousness, which began with Heisenberg’s discovery that nothing exists in objective isolation from the rest of existence. Experiments in quantum physics show that every particle in the universe is to varying degrees ‘aware’ of every other particle. New principles of interconnection, known as “nonlocality” and ‘quantum entanglement’ have been confirmed in repeated experiments.”  (Belonging to God, William Keepin p. 137)

Interconnection is a principle deeply embedded in the indigenous wisdom of this region, the traditional lands of the Haudenosaunee. As I understand it, a core principle of life practice is one of gratitude. It’s been passed down that expressing gratitude for the gifts of life is one of humanity’s fundamental purposes. When we forget to live in gratitude, greed, jealousy, and conflict ensue. We forget the truth of our interconnectedness and how deeply we matter. Will you take in these words and use gratitude as a path to revolutionary social change during these difficult days?