The world’s crises represent three divides: ecological, social, and spiritual. The ecological divide manifests in symptoms such as environmental destruction, and is experienced as a divide between self and nature. The social divide manifests in increasing rates of poverty, inequity, polarisation, and violence and is experienced as a divide between self and self. And the spiritual divide is experienced as a disconnect between self and self — the “current self” and the “emerging future self”.
A disconnect between these two selves manifests as burnout, depression, and suicide. In 2010, more people died from suicide than from murder, war, and natural disasters combined. Suicide is not an economic problem or a generational tic. It’s not a secondary concern, a sideline that will solve itself with new jobs, less access to guns, or a more tolerant society, although all would be welcome. It’s a problem with a broad base and terrible momentum, a result of seismic changes in the way we live and a corresponding shift in the way we die around the world.
Another symptom of this disconnect is the decoupling of GDP from the actual well-being of people: we produce more, consume more, and are busier than ever before but our happiness and wellbeing are declining.