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Vision: New TV Show, 'Immense Possibilities,' Capitalizes on Hope Instead of Our Culture of Fear

The first episode features Frances Moore Lappé, saying, "Hope isn't what we seek in evidence, it's what we become in action."

If you're, like me, weary of fear-fueled media, imagine TV that leaves you feeling energized and even thinking, "Wow, maybe we could do that in our community!" Crazy, right?

Well, maybe crazy's not so crazy any more.

My friend, author and former radio personality Jeff Golden, stopped wishing somebody else would buck the "fear sells" formula. He decided just to go for it. And tonight Jeff launches "Immense Possibilities," a weekly TV show airing Tuesdays at 7:30pm both on Southern Oregon Public Television and online.

"Immense Possibilities" features social innovators strengthening and vitalizing their communities. Following each show is a live interactive webcast at 8 pm PDT allowing viewers to share ideas about how we can break out of "never-gonna-happen" jail and bring to life our failing democracy, from tiny towns to corporate towers.

Wherever you live, you can watch the weekly show, participate in the conversation afterward, and let Jeff know what sort of "immense possibilities" you would like him to explore.

I am delighted to be Jeff's first guest tonight. We try to get real about hope--not escapist wishful thinking, but honest hope--the sort that keeps us going through dark times. It's what fuels "Immense Possibilities."

I can only speak for myself, of course, but my hope starts with insights from what science now reveals about our own nature and the laws of nature. We realize that humanity's greatest handicap isn't our lack of goodness--for we evolved with just the pro-social capacities we need to turn our planet toward life--or that we've hit nature's limits--for, if we align with nature, there's more than enough for us all.

The only lack that's real is that of vision of a practical, do-able, effective democracy actually aligned with our nature. Without it, we feel powerless. Without it, we can't solve any of our huge problems. No wonder so many people feel utter despair!

But seeing the world through a lens of ecology, things change: We realize that we are all co-creating reality moment to moment; and that humans, like every organism in nature, are shaped by context. Thinking like an ecosystem, we perceive life as interconnectedness and continuous change--meaning that no one is without power. So we can begin to envision Living Democracy, not simply a fixed structure of government done to us or for us, but democracy rewarding way of life in which we each have a powerful role.

With an eco-mind, we also have to be ready for big surprises, for change--sometimes sudden--is the nature of nature. So it is not possible to know what is possible. And that means we are free to go for the world we want.

In our world journey to write Hope's Edge, my daughter Anna Lappé (author of Diet for a Hot Planet) and I discovered that the most hope- and life-filled people weren't those with the greatest prospects of success. Hardly. They faced some of the mightiest barriers. We came home with one big ah-ha: that hope isn't what we seek in evidence, it's what we become in action.

Then we had to admit that, yep, hope is not for wimps. It's not nicey-nice. It takes guts. It means taking risks, doing things that we've never done before. It means getting used to the idea that fear isn't a verdict, it's just energy. It is energy we can put to good use.

And the nick of time, humans are learning a lot more about how to become gutsier. New neuroscience reveals that when we observe others, our neurons fire as if we ourselves were doing what we are watching. So, if we want more courage, we can choose to bring our heroes, sung and unsung, into our lives, and "Immense Possibilities" offers one great way.

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