If we create a culture that promotes well-being and prosperity for all,
then we will be in a position to discover who we really are.
                                                 Martin Seligman

In 1976 Thomas Hanna wroteThe End of Tyranny. He opens with:

As far back as I can remember, I been fond of the words, ‘America’. As a child I liked the fine ring of it. When people said it, the liquid arabesque of the sound seemed full of some great beauty and significance.

Later, as a schoolboy, I learned things which made me even fonder of ‘America. It was a beautiful and significant word, a word whose meaning seem to curl around other words like ‘freedom’ and ‘bravery’ and ‘honor’.

Still later I discovered that when foreigners spoke the word, ‘America, it was obvious that it meant more to them than riches and power. It always meant a place of great possibilities, where there was real and undeniable freedom for individuals to pursue the wondrous opportunities of life.

I love this opening. It is lyrical and idealistic, and reminds us of the inner core of what America could and should be about.

Hannah went on to say,

It seemed impossible to me that the United States of America could ever lose ‘America’.

And yet, he’s saw it happening. He saw the increasing corporate control of America, and how protesting students were murdered at Kent State University by the National Guard.

A powerful insight of the book is Hanna’s distinction between people who are human, meaning in touch with their feelings, good hearted, caring, compassionate... and ‘humanoid’ people.

Humanoids act mechanically, and have little feeling or compassion. Not being in touch with their feelings, they therefore have a poorly developed internal sense of self. Humanoid people exhibit a low capacity to think for themselves, readily accept authoritarian direction, and become authoritarian themselves.

‘The end of tyranny’, then, involves helping young people develop the capacity to sense their bodies and think for themselves. There are many disciplines that can help with the sensing part. They include martial arts such as Aikido, Judo and Tai Chi; body awareness system such as the Feldenkrais method of body awareness, Alexander technique, and Tom Hanna’s own Somatics; and body psychotherapies such as emotional freedom techniques (EFT) and Bioenergetics.

In terms of dealing with climate change, I think that helping people learn how to think for themselves is essential. This is the purpose of Guide to conversations about transitioning to a life-sustaining society on the Inspiring Transition website.

Nearly 50 years after The End of Tyranny was written, America and our global civilisation are at the brink of large-scale ecological unravelling.  Or possibly over it.  However, we have the means to reorganise our society to be ecologically sustainable and socially healthy.

If anything is to turn things around, it will be a passionate caring movement of people who have kept or recovered our internal life, thought things through for ourselves, and committed to engaging others in the great necessity of our time: whole system change, the great turning, the transition from Empire to Earth community.

I call such people Transition Leaders.  I identify as one myself. And by writing this book - and his other somatic contributions - I would say that Tom Hanna was one as well.