Roadmap: A 500 Year Plan

We all know by now that Roadmap is a long-term plan for movement strategy and unity within the realm of nonviolence (for those who have not yet seen this ambitious–and beautiful–model, click here). But just how long-term of a plan should it be? 5 years? 20 years? How about 500 years?!

Sarvodaya, a Sri Lankan organization dedicated to bridging conflicts through nonviolent intervention and preventative strategies, offers us a brilliant guide that will thrill the futurists among us, and we hope, liberate the imagination of those standing in the midst of nonviolent struggles for a more just and more dignified humanity. This organization took the time to create what is known as the Sarvodaya 500 Year Plan for Peace. One of its key features include recognizing the impact of the decisions made today on generations in the future (very much like the very real concept of “Seven Generations” thinking in indigenous cultures to what they called Turtle Island (North America)).  Other features include recognizing ones efforts in relationship to the evolution of consciousness in the future, as well as creating a new legacy, a new line of tradition that can be carried out into the future, giving real, deep change a fighting chance, instead of demanding deep changes be immediate. Not to mention, when we think of 500 years in the future, we are offering our humble intentions to be around as a species in that time!

Roadmap mandala

On one hand, the Roadmap itself can be seen as a 500 year plan in itself–looking into the mandala, we can see the future of a just, regenerative, and holistic/intersectional society, well-grounded in the principles and strategies of nonviolence as a way of life, in all aspects of life. However, let’s work together to mature the plan by imagining together each segment of the Roadmap (6 sectors and 3 circles, so 9 in total) will need to do to achieve its entire fulfillment in 500 years. This breakdown brings the enormity of the thing into the realm of the manageable — but not the compartmentalized.  Overlaps, resonances, and intersections will naturally emerge (and we will be on the lookout for them).

We spend so much time as a movement working to resolve present crises, pitting us in a never-ending battle. But what happens when we are successful? What are we going to do after the revolution, as we move into the evolution of our movement? What does that look like?

Looking so far down the road has the effect of liberating our imaginations and giving ourselves permission to imagine — anything!  We get the power of the ideal unfettered by the sordid realities of the present real.  But at the same time, we work the plan with realistic, achievable steps:  after we envision the world in 500 years as though the movement has achieved its total fulfillment we step it back: where do we have to be in 450 years to achieve the ideal? In 400? In 240? in 100? in 50? In 4 months? etc.

The British historian Arnold Toynbee said (and at Metta we often recall) that “Apathy can only be overcome by enthusiasm; and we can only rouse enthusiasm with two things: an idea that takes the imagination by storm and a concrete, intelligible plan for putting that idea into practice.”  The Sarvodaya model has both.

This is a very creative process–full of power and excitement.

We invite you to participate in the 500 year planning discussion happening now through the Roadmap Compass (click here to get started).

What can you expect from the Metta Center in this process? Our team of interns and volunteers (and we invite you to participate) will support and facilitate discussions to keep the process inspiring, edging toward what we can all do right away to get started.