top of page




Companion Book co-authored by

Linda Lee Ratto, EdM  &  Robin L. Wood, PhD


THE GREAT SHIFT: Catalyzing the Second Renaissance

Foreword by Barbara Marx Hubbard


          Humanity stands at the brink of the greatest crisis and opportunity in the history of our world. It can be stated in one simple phrase: Evolution or Extinction. This may sound extreme, but from every indication we are receiving, the conditions on Earthare not sustainable; our life support system is threatened; our institutions are not designed to transform our world. The higher up in any existing system — political, religious, corporate or academic — the harder it is to actually change. On top of this, the time frame for radical change is very short. According to Ervin Laszlo in his Declaration of Global Emergency issued within

WorldShift 2012, we have no more than a decade or two to shift everything — our consciousness, our behavior, our systems! And there are no experts who have been through this kind of conscious,

evolutionary change as this scale.

          We are unique to ourselves. We have never seen another planet go through the Great Shift from its high technology, polluting, over-populating, warring phase to a cocreative, co-evolutionary

world. We don’t even know if we sick or normal. As a mother of five I have often thought as I amdelivering a baby that if I did not know about birth, I would think I am dying. And the baby, of course, is a mess! Yet we know that it can grow into a marvelous human being. We hardly know what we can become. We have very few positive visions of ourselves at the next stage of evolution.

          This much we can see. We are outgrowing the womb of self-consciousness and one form ofgrowth on Earth. We are using up our mother’s non-renewable resources. We may be submerged in

water; we may soon not be able to breathe. We are not sure how to sustain ourselves much lesscontinue to grow. We have no institutions to coordinate us as a whole. Our planetary nervoussystem (the mass media) is telling us everything that is wrong, violent and broken. No wonder weare concerned! We are facing something radically new. It could be a normal event in a universe;perhaps planets are wombs for life. Until we are more fully “born” and achieve higher and more

resonant consciousness ourselves, we may not be ready to know.

          James Martin wrote in The Meaning of the 21st Century: A Vital Blueprint for Ensuring our Future: “Evolution on Earth has been in nature’s hands. Now suddenly, it is largely in human hands

… as we automate some of the processes of evolution the rates of change will become phenomenal. This change from nature-based evolution to human-based evolution is, by far, thelargest change to occur since the first single cell life appeared …  when it first happens on a planet, it is probably dangerous. The creatures that take evolution into their own hands have no experience

in the game … we are an experiment in free choice.”

          This an evolutionary driver of the highest orders. The set of challenges is so complex and interactive that to the ordinary intelligent, linear mind, it seems impossible. Most people tend not

to respond to this unprecedented scale of challenges.

This is the crucial drama of the next few years. We are heading toward some sort of

bifurcation or inflection point in our own planetary system, which is far from equilibrium. If this is

so, and we are to survive, it means there will be a radical and new convergence of what is

emergent, a connectivity of that which is working. A quantum jump, as is often said. We happen to

be alive at this precise moment in evolutionary history, aware that we are becoming responsible …

with no schools, no jobs, and no pay for most forms of evolutionary action. We can’t stay in the

jump position forever. We have to “land” somewhere. This is high drama, and takes great faith,

intuition, knowledge and commitment.

          Imagine seeing this current dramatic moment in human history with the eyes of an

extraterrestrial newscaster. (I almost persuaded Gene Roddenberry, originator of Startrek to do the

News from the perspective of a more advanced species witnessing the events and behavior of our

species.) What would this “reporter” see? (In contrast to the immature media, our planetary

nervous system of the early 21st century, our cosmic newscaster is looking for the actual news, the

new news of what is emergent, what is growing, what is working.) She is reporting on the planetary

crisis from the perspective of a more advanced species that actually made it through its own

planetary “birth” into the next stage of evolution.

          Our reporter scans for the real news, not only of efforts to solve problems but innovations to

evolve ourselves and the world. The Cosmic Reporter is looking for Emergences out of Emergencies,

sensitive to what is arising, what is new and hopeful. Shining out from a dark and suffering

world, our Reporter sees a center of light, inspiration and guidance; signaling the world with vital

information, calling people to self and social evolution — something called Renaissance 2.

On the EMS (Evolutionary Mapping System) our newscaster locates evolutionary leader

Robin Wood. There he is, gathering people, knowledge, creativity, innovations, know-how, and new

systems, bringing business genius to the business of planetary evolution. Like a Medici of the 21st

century we find him serving as a catalyst for the next Renaissance, even a “naissance,” for a new

world, a global dream of a “thriving global civilization on a thriving planet.” He has written a

guidebook on how to make a whole system shift in our lifetime, called The Great Shift: Catalyzing

the Second Renaissance.

          In it Robin Wood writes, “I believe it is possible to organize a second Renaissance with even

fewer people (than the 1000 that catalyzed the first Renaissance) in much less time.” He calls each

of us to be one of those evolutionary pioneers. InThe Great Shift Wood pieces together, organizes

coherently and communicated effectively a comprehensive blueprint for planetary evolution: How

to get from “Here,” breakdown and collapse, to “There,” breakthroughs to an actual new world. In


          He coins some key new words or memes that help us develop a Second Renaissanceperson

perspective and integration, which is only beginning to emerge now at the

dawn of the 21st century on any scale sufficient to make any real difference to our


          “Transactivists are people who can transcend their ego, and are able to inspire others to

change because they generate such an attractive quality in their being that whatever they do or say

is authentic and motivating for others. They are people who transcend and include existing

perspectives, ways and cultures. They transform themselves and the situations they are in to

yield elegant, enlightened outcomes; they activate the potential in themselves and others along a

range of developmental lines; they transact with each other in a global commons; they develop

action projects and programs the lessons from which can be shared wit other transactivists

developing a “win-win-win” approach.”

          He offers us a “macroscope” to appreciate the system at a planetary level. A microscope”

which enables us to zoom in on who we are, where we are going and what are deepest priorities

and intentions are. Third, he provides a “mesoscope,” an “intermediate level between the big

picture and our personal story, where our intentions turn into actions and outcomes.”

Another new word he has invented is “Creatorship”, a set of practices that enable us to

become “world-centric,” to create, lead, strategize, engage, design and shift our own life, career,

and participation in the evolution of the world.

The Great Shift book is one of the most comprehensive coherent and strategic plans of

action on all these levels. Covering major themes of self, social and systemic evolution, he

concludes with the three key components of a successful change process: A Well-Defined

Context for Action; A Well-aligned Group of Stakeholders; A Well-Developed Platform

for Action.

          Dr. Wood sums it up with the realization that the survival and future thrival of all of us, will

be decided by two competing forces in the next decade or so:


• The Bad News: The speed of Climate Change together with the Rate of Ecological,

         Economic and Social Decline

• The Good News: The Speed at which we design and build Renewable Economy together

          with our shift toward World-Centric Consciousness.


The Important Shifts include:

  • From growth and size to development and scalability

  • From national and transnational to world-centric systems of governance

  • From global economy powered by carbon-based fuels to a global economy

          powered by renewable sources of energy, food, housing and transport

  • From conventional, power-driven consciousness and leadership to postconventional,

          distributed creatorship.


          He concludes with “The realization that we also must accelerate the shift in human

consciousness from unconscious to conscious evolution. This means giving people the power, the

tools and the resources to become fully conscious of their impact on the lives of other living

creatures while at the same time enabling term to experience the joy of a long and satisfying life

lived with purpose”.

          As a life long champion of conscious evolution I see The Great Shift as a seminal

contribution toward our ability to evolve consciously. The shift of evolution itself from unconscious

to conscious choice is to me the signal of the evolution of the species of Homo sapiens sapiens. As

Sri Aurobindo put it: “Man is a transitional species.” Transitional toward what is a key question.

Reading The Great Shift helps us see that we are in transition to a cocreative, planetary, universal

species, the fulfillment of the aspiration of the ages, the hearts’ desire of countless millions. We

gain “evolutionary eyes,” and can see ourselves from the “Overview Perspective” as a species

emerging toward its birth as a universal humanity.

          We can place our own yearning for greater meaning, more creative life, deeper giving of our

best into this framework and accept Robin Wood as one of our beloved planetary teachers, guides

and friends in this fabulous journey into the unknown.


Barbara Marx Hubbard,

Founder, Foundation of Conscious Evolution

Santa Barbara, September 2009



Co-authors Linda, Robin with Robin's wife Elena,

co-owners of Apollinaire Inn & Events Properties

LIFESHIFT 2020 - Global Leadership

bottom of page