Monday, December 03, 2007


The widely read NY Times columist Tom Friedman has a very interesting op-ed in yesterday's edition, entitled "The People We Have Been Waiting For." In it he talks about visting the young student generation of engineers at MIT and witnessing their decision stop waiting for the elder generation to solve the world's problems.

"... I got together with three engineering undergrads who helped launch the Vehicle Design Summit — a global, open-source, collaborative effort, managed by M.I.T. students, that has 25 college teams around the world, including in India and China, working together to build a plug-in electric hybrid within three years. Each team contributes a different set of parts or designs. I thought writing for my college newspaper was cool. These kids are building a hyper-efficient car, which, they hope, “will demonstrate a 95 percent reduction in embodied energy, materials and toxicity from cradle to cradle to grave” and provide “200 m.p.g. energy equivalency or better.” The Linux of cars!

They’re not waiting for G.M. Their goal, they explain on their Web site — — is “to identify the key characteristics of events like the race to the moon and then transpose this energy, passion, focus and urgency” on catalyzing a global team to build a clean car. I just love their tag line. It’s what gives me hope:

“We are the people we have been waiting for.”
Read it all here.

There are lots of ways to express our need for individual initiative and collective responsibility. I've always loved to say, "WE are the ONE we've been waiting for." But how it is said is not very important compared with the sensibility that informs the words. For this, I always turn to the words of the un-named Hopi Elder.

A Hopi Elder Speaks

"You have been telling the people that this is the Eleventh Hour. Now you must go back and tell the people that this is the Hour, and there are things to be considered:

Where are you living?
What are you doing?
What are your relationships?
Are you in right relation?
Where is your water?
Know your garden.
It is time to speak your Truth.
Create your community.
Be good to each other.
And do not look outside yourself for the leader."

"The Elder then clasped his hands together and said, This could be a good time!"

"There is a river flowing now very fast. It is so great and swift that there are those who will be afraid. They will try to hold on to the shore. They will feel they are being torn apart and they will suffer greatly.

"Know the river has its destination. The Elders say we must let go of the shore, push off into the middle of the river, keep our eyes open, and our heads above the water. See who is in there with you and celebrate.

"At this time in history we are to take nothing personally, least of all ourselves. For the moment that we do, our spiritual growth and journey comes to a halt. The time of the lone wolf is over.

"Gather yourselves! Banish the word struggle from your attitude and your vocabulary. All that we do now must be done in a sacred manner and in celebration.

"We are the ones we've been waiting for. "

This statement began to appear on the eve of the Millenium and it has been attributed at times to an individual and at times to a council. Or,
maybe it arrived somehow in lots of people's minds. But figuring out the source is not as important as acting on the message. What a blessing it is to know that this is exactly what people are starting to do.

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