Elisabet Sahtouris' Letter to Thrive Filmmakers

By Elisabet Sahtouris

To see the full dialogue between the Thrive Filmmakers and Pioneers, and to add any comments, please visit:www.thrivemovement.com/public-dialogue-between-thrive-movie-filmmakers-and-pioneers.

Dear Foster,

It is with a heavy heart that I write this, because of my longstanding loving friendship with you.

A lengthy critique of the Thrive Movement website, to which I contributed, has been published by the  Praxis Peace Institute, as you know.  John Robbins and Duane Elgin have expressed so many of my own responses to Thriveand the website that I see no reason to repeat them, but know I am I full agreement with both of them and please say publicly that there are precisely ten of us appearing in the film yet signing the statement of dissociation from the film´s message, not a mere “several” as you put it.  They are, as you know, Deepak Chopra, Duane Elgin, Amy Goodman, Paul Hawken, Edgar Mitchell, John Perkins, John Robbins, Elisabet Sahtouris, Vandana Shiva, Adam Trombly.

After writing all that is below with the intention of posting it as a commentary on the website, I find you have disabled that whole section so that no one can post comments except you.   How then can we have the free and public dialogue you advocate?  I trust it will soon be available again and that we may all post our comments there.

The symbol of your Introduction´s rattlesnake hissing DON´T TREAD ON ME is frankly scary.  My guru is J, Allen Boone, author of Kinship with All Life, who wrote a whole chapter on why rattlesnakes don´t bite Indians, but only white men.  It is about the Indian´s seeing all creatures as his relations, about his respect and love of the snake, about the white man´s fear and loathing of ´lesser´creatures who get in his way.  It is about seeing the sacred connections among us all, about generosity, not fear of losing one´s possessions to another.  

My role model societies are the Sarvodaya Movenet of Sri Lanka, which I visited to see how 15,000 villages are in development on the principles of inner peace and generosity of spirit, and the Mondragon Cooperatives of Basque Spain, based not on capitalist or communist models, but on loving human relationships, and where over 200 businesses are co-owned equally by all who work in them, where management rotates and no salary is more than ten times the lowest, where no-one in the community is not cared for. And the Haudenosaunee League (called Iroquois by the Europeans) that kept a thousand years of peace in a society respecting women and children and all nature as equals with men.  

Such models are truly based on love, not fear of loss of what is ´rightfully´yours.  They do not start from a place of outraged “us” and “them” and “how do we get them to stop taking from us?”  They begin, in the midst of an unjust world, to build a just and loving world. They waste no time or energy on judgmental condemnation; they simply teach and practice loving generosity to others as first principles, from nurseries and schools to places of work as the basis of everything economic and political.  As the Dalai Lama says, Kindness is the most basic religion. 

You reassured me again and again over the years of production that Thrive was totally positive and that I would love it—in  emails and in my visits to you in your home/office—because  I was sensing the movie changing from its early intent, especially as you would not let me see it while having no reason to distrust me unless you were hiding something.  

I do not feel that love, that generosity, that kindness I want in my grandchildren´s future in the Thrive movie or in your writings.  And it makes me very sad because you are a beloved friend and because I now see so many young people hearing you and following your lead as they create the future.

If I try to get into your mindset, as best I understand it from what you say up front on the website, the following questions arise for me:

Who/what will insure

that all spiritual and cultural belief systems are honored as long as they do not violate anyone?

that there is no violation of another´s person or property?

that Exchange is by choice, not coercion?

that there are no wars of aggression? (What ARE the ways of “optimizing our security in a voluntary society”?

that the means exist  to make all people equally well educated and equally heard with no involuntary taxation? 

that all children, elderly and infirm are cared for?

that roads and highways are accessible to all people regardless of means?  Ditto health care to minimize the socially dependent.

that there is paid work for all able-bodied people?

that a truly free market  does not give advantages to some that lead once again to the kind of inequities we see today?  (Are there any limits on wealth accumulation?  If so, who sets them?  Surely it will not be those with the greatest wealth.)

that people can make their voices heard equally in all economic/social/political decisions affecting them?

that all able people take responsibility for their community, their global family´s and all creatures´and ecosystems´ wellbeing?

You say that “Today involuntary governance is all that exists.”  Exactly what do you see that the founding fathers of the United States got so wrong that we ended up with some taking huge advantage of others?  What is your proposal for keeping your future world from massive inequities and massive destruction of other species and ecosystems?   I know you want everyone to answer these questions, but it seems to me you have answered them for yourself in order to envision the happy future in which you clearly believe, but I just don´t get how what you propose gets us to what you dream.

With love always,


To see the response from the Thrive Filmmakers, Foster and Kimberly Gamble, go to: http://www.thrivemovement.com/foster-and-kimberly-gamble-response-to-elisabet-sahtouris-critique-of-thrive-movie