Online Book Chart/Book Study

 Hosted by: Kathy McGrane, CTF & Cheryl Kartes, CTF, principals at VFC

Held September 11th through October 23, 2017


A Compassionate Civilization

The Urgency of Sustainable Development and Mindful Activism

 – Reflections and Recommendations by by Robertson Work

Description: The world needs to change. It's easy to become overwhelmed by the violence, inequality, injustice, and environmental disasters faced by modern society. With so much wrong, can it ever be made right? Robertson Work believes so. In this new guide, he documents the changes that need to happen for society to morph into a compassionate civilization that supports all people and pulls us back from the brink of environmental catastrophe. He focuses on six fundamental areas of change. Using insight gleaned from decades in public service. Work concretely shows what a compassionate civilization looks like and shares exactly what we need to do to create such a society.

Providing: Recording URL/link of session 1-7 and a Book Chart to go with each session for the seven days of study and dialogue.

Please: give feedback on each chapter as you listen to that session.

We thank the individual Chapter Charters who also served as the chapter facilitator: Cheryl Kartes, Sunny Walker, Jim Wiegel, Jane Stallman, Catherine Tornbom, Nelson Stover and Jean Watts.

We thank author Robertson Work for his presence during Book Charting sessions and for answering participant questions on Trusted Sharing.

Explore:  Register and contribute your insights and questions there. Dialogue may continue on that site.

Session 1 Chapter 1: Cheryl Kartes, CTF   Charter/Facilitator

Chapter 1 Recording: September 11, 2017 Prologue & Chapter 1 charting URL:

Intro to Charting:

(See the Chart of the whole book below, for a “big picture” view of how it is organized.)

We began with a simplified version of ICA’s Book Charting Method, to structure the conversation with Cheryl Kartes as facilitator.

  • Key Points—made by the author. (Most participants did not yet have a copy of the book).
  • Associations— these were personal memories, observations and insights, by the facilitator and later by the participants.
  • Significance / learning to take away. (Hear and see more on the recording of the session.)
  • Image that holds the meaning of the chapter.

 The Author’s Chart (from Table of Contents)   prepared by Sunny Walker, VFC

Prologue of A Compassionate Civilization: The Urgency of Sustainable Development and Mindful Activism – Reflections and Recommendations

Pages xxvii—xxx

Key Points:

  • Questions: What is a human being? What is development?  What then is human development?
  • Our answers, in thoughts & behaviors, collective cultures & systems, will determine how life itself flourishes or declines.
  • Examples: Is human just another mammal = treated that way. Is human a “child of god” = treated as a holy being? Development = is material & economic progress?  Are systems designed to nurture good or punish dark impulses? Do future generations have rights? = Different views of human development.
  • UN’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights = promoting “sustainable human development” over 20 yrs.
  • Social Contract then guides design of social systems for benefit of all human beings, all living things, and the finite resources of the Earth = No group should be allowed to make this impossible by over-accumulation of economic wealth, political power or cultural dominance.
  • Around 5,000 yrs of recorded history, industrial age began 250 years ago – What do you hope will be going on in another 250 years? 5,000 years?


  • Rob has provided a compelling context to open our thinking to the challenges facing the Earth and all of life. His questions will prompt us to consider the actions we will commit to.



Chapter 1: Our Time of Crisis and Opportunity

 Key Points:

  • Most critical time – facing the direst of consequences – future of life on Earth is at stake.
  • Whole system transformation is underway – brink of mass extinction or whole new way of being human.
  • Climate Chaos & Degradation of Ecosystems
  • Patriarchy and Misogyny
  • Systemic Poverty & Social Deprivation
  • Oligarchy, Plutocracy, and Corporatocracy
  • Bigotry and Prejudice
  • Continuous Warfare and a Culture of Violence
  • These 6 crises are interwoven and mutually causative = door and pathway forward.

 Significance/ Insight to Take Away

The idea that the 6 crises are interconnected, and all need to be worked on at the same time.


Click to download as a PDF: A Compassionate Civilization Book Study Session 1 of 7

A Compassionate Civilization – Session 1 of 7

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