is a social visionary who looks beneath the surface turbulence of our times to explore the deeper trends that are transforming our world. He has met the heads of state, he has bent the laws of physics under research settings at Stanford Research Institute, and he has co-authored a book with Joseph Campbell. As an internationally recognized thought leader, he's delivered over 300 keynotes, authored five books, and started several non-profit organizations.
The core of his message comes down to simplicity
. Through that very basic practice, Duane says, we can open ourselves to a dynamic relationship with a living universe.
Growing up on a farm on Idaho, he was always connected to the cyclical rhythms of nature -- until he got swept up by mainstream dream, got an MBA from Wharton, worked on a presidential think-tank, hobnobbed with the powerful and elite, and started to pursue a linear growth that left him exhausted. Then, one fine day, he made a dramatic shift towards voluntary simplicity. He quit everything about his old lifestyle, and went in an entirely new direction. On his spiritual journey, he had some profoundly illuminating experiences
. The universe came alive, and only deepened his convictions. "Consumerism makes sense only in a dead universe. If the universe is dead at its foundations, then it is rational to turn to material pleasures to protect us from life’s pains. On the other hand, if the universe is a living system
, then it makes sense to get rid of undue complexity, live more simply, and focus on coming into a conscious relationship with the world around us."
Join us for a riveting conversation with an unsung hero of our time, as we dive into the nuances of living simply in a complex world.
Five Questions with Duane Elgin
What Makes You Come Alive?
I come alive seeing people bringing their voices and visions into the process of creating a more promising future both personally and collectively.
Pivotal turning point in your life?
In 1978 I invested a half-year in a self-directed meditation retreat. My intention was to integrate the years of research and writing on humanity's time of great transition with years of meditation and personal inquiry. After a half-year, these major life-streams converged into an awakening experience that has been the source of guidance for my life ever since.
An Act of Kindness You'll Never Forget?
I grew up on a family farm in Idaho. The road next to our farm house had symbols etched into the asphalt which told walking travelers that this was a home with friendly people where you could get a meal here if you were willing to do a bit of work for it. I never saw my mother and father turn anyone away. Importantly, there was often a bit of "make-work" required (rake some leaves, pull some weeds) so people had the feeling they had earned their meal. This was kindness combined with respect for the integrity of the people who came to our door.
One Thing On Your Bucket List?
Help catalyze an "Earth Voice" movement that gives ordinary citizens a voice in our collective future.
One-line Message for the World?
We are learning to live in a living universe.