The book is shot through a with sense of urgency to break away from an obsolete industrial system that encourages unsustainable growth in all areas of economics and unhealthy competition on levels from grade school classrooms to national GDPs. It urges us away from a top-down ideology that grew out of centuries of struggle with our environment and with each other and toward a reawakening of human consciousness to the possibility of balanced and symbiotic, if not mutualistic, living with the myriad species on our Earth.
I wanted to touch briefly on this quote at the end of the book, wherein Rifkin reveals his vision not only for the practical, tangible sectors of human existence but also for a "concomitant leap to biosphere consciousness."
... We emotionally identify with our fellow creatures to the point of experiencing their being as if it were our own. In short, we empathize... It is our way of acknowledging the mystery of life that binds us together in fellowship on this Earth. To empathize is to affirm another's struggle to be and flourish.Rifkin suggests that once we, as a conscious human race, have made this leap to thinking "as an extended global family," we will begin to rethink our understanding of "work" and "productivity." We will, in all aspects of our existence, begin to engage in what he and a decade ago Diane Ackerman describe as deep play.
I'll be talking more about this because the idea of rethinking "work" excites me. For now, I'll leave you with this juxtaposition.
Deep play is "not frivolous entertainment but, rather, empathic engagement with one's fellow human beings. [It] is the way we experience the other, transcend ourselves, and connect to broader, ever more inclusive communities of life in our common search for universality." - Rifkin in TIR