Stop World War X


The World Has Been Shattered, Again

Michael Shaun Conaway
Publishing Editor
March 29, 2022

There can be no illusion that humanity has evolved beyond war or that conquest by force is something of our dark past. The consciousness that has brought us the invasion of Ukraine, is the same consciousness that drives nationalism and tribalism in the US today. The politics of keeping the consumer (read us) endlessly busy earning and buying and ultimately driving the dynamics of wealth inequality, only works if the facade of a free and prosperous life is maintained. Putin, in his narcissistic act of conquest, has thrown aside the pretense that he is in any way concerned with the lives of the Russian people. In this war he has peeled back the facade to show the true nature of power in this world. With few exceptions, our leaders are not good stewards of this planet and its people. Certainly not Putin. Not the populists on the left or the right. Not the Russian Oligarchs or our own tech billionaires. Sharks swim with sharks and the rest of us pray we don’t get eaten. This is indeed a dark awakening for humanity, one that has been hidden in plain sight for far too long.

The Ukrainian war is a world shattering event. 

The world of steady economic growth and relative global stability has ended. Covid, climate crisis and now war have dramatically and abruptly changed our lives. And given our global leadership and our ongoing addiction to petroleum and consumerism, we are likely to continue to receive shock after shock to the system.  These are the frothy chaotic waters that lead to civilization collapse or civilization rebirth.  The past based thinking is no longer a fit for the times and no matter how hard our leaders try and pull the dials and levers of power, we are not going back. The genie is out of the bottle. We have too much globally destructive capacity for nation states to stabilize our worst hungers and drives.

No we are not going back to normal life, not even a new normal. Rather we will be riding the waves of disruption until a new aligned structure starts to emerge, or it doesn’t and collapse accelerates. The good news for generative futurists and change makers is that “we the people” are hungry for new models.  We want new ways to live together.  We want a world that values our gifts and contributions and gives us a shot at living a fulfilling life of contribution.   

Like every evolutionary breakpoint, the peril is great. The fear is great. But as we have seen with the people of Ukraine, when you have everything to lose, there can be no question of your courage, what other choice is there? We, you and me my friend, are in the same boat with the people of Ukraine. It’s time for action and courageous reinvention.

Not only do we need systems-change, we need people-change. We need to become those who can steward the world during this time.  We must emerge from the era of celebrating peak predators and elevate our natural nurturers, the empathetic caregivers, our wise elders.  We must remove the incentives for sociopathy and reward the generous, the difference makers and the transformers. The question is, can we set aside our own personal drive to live life better than others, to have a nicer car, bigger house, prettier spouse?  Can we move beyond seeing others in terms of their success or failure and begin to see the clear, simple humanity in each other? This is a moment for sorrow, compassion and deep reflection. 

Then we must imagine our way out of this morass and into a world that really works for all life and the planet.

My heart goes out to the people of Ukraine. There will be lasting impacts on them for generations. And my heart goes out to you, my dear reader, there will be lasting impacts of this time on you and your descendants.  The world is counting on us all to pull ourselves together and invent our way out of this mess. May we have the foresight to not settle for survival but rather insist on thriving for all.

With great love,

P.S.  I would love you to follow our Podcast, subscribe to us on Youtube, sign up for the PROOF email and subscribe if you love reading PROOF

Letter From the Editors:

The invasion of Ukraine has shocked and saddened us all. We stand by the Ukrainian people and their right to a sovereign nation. NOW founder Alexandra Melnyk is a second generation Ukrainian from Lviv. Her father Michael was arrested by the Soviets in the second World War for refusing conscription into the Soviet Army to fight against his own people, the Ukrainians. History repeats itself when we forget the past and fail to invent a powerful future.

We titled this issue Stop Word War X recognizing both the threat of a hot world war in Eastern Europe and the ongoing geopolitical wars of one kind or another between nations, both superpowers and regional powers. According to the Correlates of War Project we have not had a sustained a period of global peace since their earliest dataset in 1816. They define a war as a “sustained combat involving substantial fatalities” and institute an arbitrary cutoff of 1000 battle-related deaths. 

War has evolved from World War to Cold War and then Proxy War. Currently we seem to be exploring a new Hot War/Cold War combo between Russia, China and the western powers. Old territorial ambitions are being revived just as the last of the WWII generation takes their memories and learnings to the grave.  

Against the backdrop of the Climate Crisis, the war in the Ukraine has two clear impacts. The first is the power of oil. Putin financed the war on petro-dollars taken from Europe who is highly dependent on Russian natural gas and oil. Increasingly over the past twenty years, Europe has been naively feeding the largest threat to their sovereignty and peace. As in all of this centuries wars, it’s all about the oil baby.   The second impact can be seen in Germany’s new commitments to a 100b defense budget, almost double the prior mark.  These are funds that could and arguably should be focused on renewable energy and other climate initiatives.  When we spend more on war, we reduce our capacity to reduce carbon emissions and warming.

Is humanity damned by our short term vision threatening our long term viability?

Or is there hope emerging for new long term, omni-considerate, visions of how we might collaborate at mass scale in building a human civilization that works in balance with the planetary ecosystem and produces thriving for all life.    

In this issue we are going to look towards the war to see what good is being done in the worst of circumstances. There are always humans that rise to the moment, who provide service when and where it is most needed and who give us all hope for the future.

Proof 38 – Stop World War X

In the News:

Organizations Generating a Thriving Future: People in Need

The People in Need organization was established in 1992 by a group of Czech war correspondents who were no longer satisfied with merely relaying information about ongoing conflicts and began sending out aid. It gradually became established as a professional humanitarian organization striving to provide aid in troubled regions and support adherence to human rights around the world.

We strive for a society that is open, informed, engaged and responsible with respect to problems at home and around the world. We want to actively participate in shaping a society where cultural, ethnic, racial and other differences are a source of enrichment rather than conflict. Check them out at

What We’re Watching: The War in Ukraine Could Change Everything | Yuval Noah Harari | TED

Technology was never neutral; its social, political, and moral impacts have become concerned about the war in Ukraine? You’re not alone. Historian Yuval Noah Harari provides important context on the Russian invasion, including Ukraine’s long history of resistance, the specter of nuclear war and his view of why, even if Putin wins all the military battles, he’s already lost the war.

What We’re Reading: Practicing Peace in Times of War: A Buddhist Perspective

With war and violence flaring  all over the world, many of us are left feeling vulnerable and utterly helpless. In this book Pema Chödrön draws on Buddhist teachings to explore the origins of aggression, hatred, and war, explaining that they lie nowhere but within our own hearts and minds. She goes on to explain that the way in which we as individuals respond to challenges in our everyday lives can either perpetuate a culture of violence or create a new culture of compassion.

“War and peace begin in the hearts of individuals,” declares Pema Chödrön at the opening of this inspiring and accessible book. She goes on to offer practical techniques any of us can use to work for peace in our own lives, at the level of our habits of thought and action. It’s never too late, she tells us, to look within and discover a new way of living and transform not only our personal lives but our whole world.

What We’re Listening to – The NOW Show with Speculative Fiction Writer Cory Doctorow.

Today, most of our content online is derivative of someone else’s work. It’s a remix and rework of anything and everything. It’s all reflective. It’s all copyrighted. Not that the copyrights are being enforced, but it’s still mindboggling how out of date our copyright system is. Cory Doctorow is one of the earliest adopters of the Creative Commons License for his works. He and his science fiction novels play with this emerging era of creative cynicism. Today, Cory gives us a deep insight into this issue and how the ownership of works and ideas is bound to change in the future.

PROOF in ACTION 38 – 11 Steps to Peace in times of War

Our natural reaction to the presence of violence and war is revulsion. We are then either unable to look at the horror or we become entranced by it, unable to look away. War is primal. Live, die, survive, conquer. Most of us will never bear the direct experience of war outside our door. We won’t be held responsible for the things done in war. And for most of us, war is something out there, something that happens to other people.

Unfortunately this is a misperception of what it is to live in this world today. War isn’t out there. It’s the air we breathe. It is the currency of success. It’s in the systems that run our lives, that perpetrate injustice, inequality and racism. It’s in our entertainment, our news and even in our language. And it is certainly in our fears by day and nightmares by night.

What is peace against the background of our culture of war? Resistance is the way to peace. To resist the impulse to win over the other, to benefit at the expense of the other, to get away with taking a larger slice of the pie. Here are some ways you can take action by resisting the temptation of the spoils of war.

  • Put winning in it’s place. Winning is for games that we play for fun. Winning in business, or in romance, or in political policy, or anywhere that our winning requires the loss of another, is war. Become very suspicious of the winning game. Actively work to disrupt the flow of power that fuels this Achilles heel of humanity.
  • Tune into the “Othering” that happens when inside groups look at those who do not belong. Resist jingoism and generalizations of the people on the other side of an issue, fence, or border. Your affinity for your group, can lead to defining who’s in and who’s out. Resist creating fortresses of like and see detribalization when the the tribe stands in the way of inclusiveness.
  • Challenge excess, yours and others. We have been raised to believe that we deserve the best of things. We all want abundance in our lives and to live on easy street. But it stands to reason that 8 billion people can’t all own a four story yacht, or even a car, or in many parts of the world more than a one room home. Life can be good without being excessive. Life becomes sweeter when we share all that we have.
  • Stop looking at life from the lens of the Victim/Perpetrator duality. It forces us to perpetually try and determine who’s wrong or who’s guilty and likewise who’s been done wrong. Human dynamics are much more complex than this model. Taking into account the three prior points, anytime we win, we other or give into excess, we are some some shade of perpetrator. And likewise when someone else does, we are the victim. To step away from this view on life, look from the perspective of contribution to your, other’s actions. What is being freely given? What space is being held? What was enriched by this action? From this perspective there is no recognition or incentive for war like thinking and action.
  • Resist the definition of redlines, and seek to understand boundaries from all sides. Redlines are born of rhetoric designed to trigger war like behavior. They are rigid and threatening by nature. Boundaries come from stakeholders declaring what is true for themselves in a relationship. Together we can respect boundaries and come to consensus.

To build a culture of peace :

  • Seek consensus and avoid unilateralism. Consensus decisions take longer to make but they are more resilient and leave stakeholders knowing they have been heard. Consensus decision making is strengthened when we remove veto power from any one party. Each party can see to keep the consensus dialogue going for as long as needed. Vetos then become a weapon of war and subvert the consensus process.
  • Use collective sense making. Nations have long used infowar to support their global decisions. Political parties inside of nations use infowar to influence policy making and support the decisions of the party or government in power. When we switch from winning political battles regardless of the facts to good sense making and good choice making, we are laying the foundation for peace.
  • Listen for ways to build bridges to those with whom you do not agree. Listening is the superpower of the peaceful process. If you are not coming to consensus then start a new round of active listening. Listen and reflect back until all stakeholder views are accurately recognized.
  • When you reach an impasse, walk in the shoes of the other. This requires that you physically visit affected places and try on the experience of others. Experience removes blind spots.
  • Take a personal backseat. It is unlikely that your personal desires will not be represented in any conflict, rather they tend to dominate all of your focus. This takes willpower to accomplish. It requires discipline to not fall into self serving decision making.
  • Seek win for all. Consider the impact of a decision on all stake holders, even the ones who are not at the table. All non-human life and the planet itself fall into this category. It is not enough for the humans to agree. We have a responsibility to hold all of it in our consciousness when we make decisions that impact the ecosystem. By the way, most human decisions impact the ecosystem.

We must grow our capacity to interact, make sense of our times and make collective decisions for the good of all life. Humanities tendency towards solipsism and violence can be overcome with peaceful processes and peaceful consideration of the world.

May this information inspire you to generate a thriving future for humanity and a thriving life for yourself. For more resources please check out our Podcast and Youtube channel.

-The Now Team

BOLD.LY NOW is a movement of co-creative up-levelers who have a burning desire to step free of our collapsing world & take the most daring leap forward to a thriving world.

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PROOF is a digital magazine published by NOW and the Generative Futures Initiative.  The mission of the magazine is to shine a light on people, organisations and ideas that stand as Proof of a Thriving Future.