Three years ago, I read a book titled The Power of Kindness: The Unexpected Benefits of Leading a Compassionate Life, written by Piero Ferrucci, an Italian psychotherapist and philosopher. In its introduction, Ferrucci describes the world as being in the midst of a “global cooling,” essentially defined as the chilling of human relations.
At the time, I didn’t know why, but the phrase stuck with me. I read the book at a time when I had only just begun to try and make sense of the world — in particular, why despite so much progress in so many aspects of our lives, our planet and those who inhabit it were hurting in so many ways. In trying to understand what I could do to help, I realized two things about myself.
1) I was passionate about a lot of issues. Each in their own way, the climate crisis, inequality, food insecurity, and more were calling my name. 2) I couldn’t see myself wholly dedicating myself to any single issue in particular. The first conclusion led me to believe that these issues might have something in common — the second, to believe that that something may be one level deeper than these surface-level problems. I felt like there was something closer to the root of what was going on in the world, and that’s what I was personally drawn to.
More and more, I began to feel like we weren’t paying enough attention to a piece of the puzzle. As I read and thought over the past few years, I started to wonder about a question that I wanted to share with others. How is the modern world that we shaped for ourselves now shaping us and the nature of our relationships and interactions with each other? Perhaps more importantly, how does this reconcile with our understanding of the conditions required to build trust, cooperation, compassion, and other building blocks of our social fabric?
Later on, I came to understand why I couldn’t get that phrase out of my mind: it succinctly captured the missing piece. It spoke to something deeper than day-to-day politics and economics, beyond the issues that dominate our news headlines and “conversations” on social media. It delved into something that seemed to be at the core of so much: how we see and understand each other in relation to ourselves, and how that feeds into how we treat one another through our decisions and actions.
A seed had been planted in my mind that has stood the test of time — an idea for a book that I hoped would spark conversation and thought around the relational implications of the structures and norms that shape our daily lives. I’m incredibly excited to finally have the opportunity to bring that idea to life, and announce my book, tentatively titled Global Cooling (The Not-So-Good Kind), scheduled to be published in August 2021.
2020 — and everything this year has thrown our way — has been eye-opening, to say the least. But like many have noted, it’s only shining a spotlight on the cracks in our world that existed long before it. Just as the past few months will have lasting implications for how we think about public health, the environment, and equality, I hope this book highlights the importance of the nature of our relationships and interactions to address any of those areas — particularly as we come to face crises that know no boundaries. By no means can I claim to have even a fraction of the answers. My only hope is to spark some questions.
I’m equally nervous and excited for this journey, and I’m beyond grateful for those who have inspired and supported me to embark on it. ❤
P.S. If any of this resonates with you, I would love for you to spread the word. There are few missions that demand as much of a team effort as reflecting on and changing the very way in which we live our lives, and I would be so thankful for anyone who joins me on this crazy journey. If you or someone you know is interested in receiving updates on the process and important announcements, I’ve created a mailing list you can subscribe to here. (Don’t worry, you’ll receive no more than 1–2 emails a month!)