Transforming Fear to Joy

In the 1960s, Stephen Stills of Buffalo Springfield wrote the following lyrics as both a testament and protest to the current events of that era.

There’s something happening here
What it is ain’t exactly clear
There’s a man with a gun over there
Telling me I got to beware
I think it’s time we stop, children, what’s that sound
Everybody look what’s going down
There’s battle lines being drawn
Nobody’s right if everybody’s wrong
Young people speaking their minds
Getting so much resistance from behind
I think it’s time we stop, hey, what’s that sound
Everybody look what’s going down
What a field-day for the heat
A thousand people in the street
Singing songs and carrying signs
Mostly say, hooray for our side
It’s time we stop, hey, what’s that sound
Everybody look what’s going down
Paranoia strikes deep
Into your life it will creep
It starts when you’re always afraid
You step out of line, the man come and take you away
We better stop, hey, what’s that sound
Everybody look what’s going down

Protest songs such as Still’s  “For What It’s Worth” shaped the 60s and 70s music industry into a beacon lighting the way for societal transformation — that is, radical identity change.  The need for change was “in the air” and visibly represented by protest marches and demonstrations led by youth around the world.  By now, I hope you are saying, “I get it!  Something similar is happening here.”

We may not exactly know what it is, but everywhere we look we see the signs of dissatisfaction and the dying away of old political and economic systems — toppling monarchies, overthrown autocracies, distrust of capitalistic greed and the failure of democracy to uphold its social contract — social equity.  Once again, a global phenomenon, spurred on by social networking technologies and our young people, is circumnavigating the globe.

In today’s cross-border political and business world, government deficits, escalating energy and healthcare costs, recessions and recent market crashes along with executive greed and indictments symbolize a crumbling social order predicated with insecurity, uncertainty and mistrust.  In the face of all this ‘bad’ news, the good news is the search for new solutions, led by a shift in values, triggered a reinvention of social democracy and capitalism.

In 2005, American futurist Patricia Aburdene wrote: “the synergy of changing values and economic necessity is transforming capitalism.”  Aburdene was forecasting the dawning of a new era.  When human society begins to shift its values, we are manifesting evolutionary growth — a raising of our consciousness.   In other words, our discovery that the old ways of being (capitalism, communism, democracy) no longer serve us opens us up for new possibilities.

This search for new possibilities ‘raises up’ a deeper shared wisdom or value set from which we govern our actions.  Whether we operate consciously or unconsciously, what we value drives our behaviour.  In a world that currently places a higher value on diamonds than on life-sustaining water, it is no surprise that greed is a modus operandi in our economic, political and personal lives.  The table below is my attempt at documenting the shifted values being expressed by the ‘99% occupying Wall Street’ worldwide.

Civil society is universally speaking out against inequity, injustice and corporate greed.  We are in the early stages of a social revolution that now requires our social institutions (governments, business, education, health care, etc.) to become champions and implementers of change or to become ashes of the fallout.  What conscious choice are you making?


Aburdene, Patricia.  2005.  Megatrends 2010:  The Rise of Conscious Capitalism, Hampton Roads Publishing Co., Inc., VA.

Bapuji, Hari & Suhaib, Riaz.  2011.  Occupy Wall Street:  What Businesses Need to Know.  HBR Blog Network, October 14.  http://blogs.hbr.org/cs/2011/10/occupy_wall_street_what_business.html

Sivakumar, S.  2011.  What Business Should Do About Occupy Wall Street, HBR Blog Network, October 24.  http://blogs.hbr.org/cs/2011/10/take_the_occupy_wall_street_mo.html

Stills, Stephen.  1967.  Song lyrics:  “For What It’s Worth”.

Picture of Author: Helen Maupin

Author: Helen Maupin

Helen is passionate about transforming fear into love — from her, for her, for all. She expresses her commitment to transformation through writing poetry, self-awareness and yoga books, co-designing organizations into adaptive enterprises and deepening her daily meditation and yoga practices.


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