|(Extended Version. Reading Time 20 mins)|
Eden (n), a delightful place, a garden or paradise.
Edenism is an ethical movement based on the belief that we can all live together in harmony with nature and each other regardless of race, gender, age, ability, or species. The movement aims to encourage kindness in all our choices, from how we live, to what we eat, how we treat each other and how we organise society. Supporters of the movement believe that by fostering more empathic choices and practicing mindfulness we can evolve into a more enlightened species that will save the planet and its inhabitants from mass extinction.
Edenism is a philosophy and not a religion. Kindness and love form the basis of the movement which seeks to include anyone who wishes to become better versions of themselves. It prefers to make people’s spiritual journey personal to them and not make it part of the vision so as to be fully inclusive. Followers of the ethical code believe that no-one should be coerced into believing the same religious creed whilst simultaneously fearing others. Therefore, supporters are encouraged to draw wisdom from many religions, particularly as so many have ideologies based on love and peace. And to reject what no longer brings peace and acceptance of each other. There are many parallels between all religions and philosophies and supporters seek to learn as much as they can, question everything and accept only what resonates with truth, empathy, kindness and love.
Meaningful conversations are encouraged, and groups gather to share wisdom, explore the crisis we are facing and discuss solutions on how to solve it whether that is creating urban community gardens, setting up rural eco-villages and community grow projects, running campaigns, joining related causes or just making small personal changes that if everyone did would have a huge global impact.
Providing it does no harm to others, no-one has the right to judge another’s belief system, therefore everyone is encouraged to seek a better understanding of why an individual holds a belief dear. Edenists believe that the time has come to be able to discuss our differences without hate but rather with a common goal to better understand each other. Religion has been a divisive tool of control for too long, and to this end, Edenists may reject the dogmas of organised religion, favouring instead the commonality that connects all people, whilst remaining respectful to those who wish to combine Edenism with their own faiths. The two are not mutually exclusive.
Central to the ethos of Edenism is the knowledge that we are not superior to others, including animals and therefore true Edenists choose to reject the suppression, torture, exploitation and slaughter of animals, whether that is for food, labour, sport, products, testing or for our amusement. No-one has the right to ‘own’ another being, or take its eggs, milk, skin, feathers or life. Because of hundreds of years of social conditioning, this is a difficult concept for many, but facing one’s ego (usually driving the commonplace angry responses of cognitive dissonance as a reaction to the truth) is welcomed as people wake up from the mass hypnosis of our addiction riddled society.
The movement seeks to tackle potential cognitive dissonance that can hinder people holding themselves accountable for their actions by educating people on the psychology behind our choices. Being aware that the journey may start with anger towards the truthteller, is to understand that all these emotions are necessary stages to liberation. Expressing rage and grief through creativity is considered a powerful tool to communicating the gravity of the crisis humankind currently faces and is encouraged where it can be done without causing any harm to self or others. Through song, dance, art, prayer, demonstration or any way to release the anguish of realisation out of our bodies, Edenists believe that the outpouring of grief can be beautiful when not channelled into hate towards others. It is counterproductive to hurl accusations at people who have not yet understood the consequences of their actions, and so supporters are asked to share their testimonies of their own journey and how they arrived at their beliefs in place of picking fault in others.
Supporters of the movement understand that when the truth triggers anger in someone that there is hope for them; it means that their life choices are not in alignment with their principles (ergo, they have principles!) and this is why they are experiencing anger at a truth that is uncomfortable to accept. Humans innately understand right from wrong, but it can take longer for some people to get beyond the ego, particularly in these disturbing times when there is so much influence from social media that encourages division, apathy, narcissism and addiction.
Addiction to social media is keeping people glued to their screens and with AI created algorithms in place designed to keep the individual focussed on anything other than reality, it grows ever harder to know what is being kept from us, and what is targeted propaganda. When people realise the extent of the lies and misleading propaganda in our society, it can trigger the kind of rage that divides people further. Providing a safe space to explore these negative reactions within a framework that concentrates first and foremost on self-forgiveness for choices made before waking up is tantamount to reaching even the angriest of carnists, misogynists and racists. Responding with love to the hate is the most crucial part of our evolution.
Edenists believe that using animals as a food source is delaying our evolution. As 70% of monoculture crops are grown to feed livestock, Edenists believe that a global shift towards veganism will free up land that could be both re-wilded and cultivated with permaculture techniques like planting edible forests to grow local produce. This would both feed the world and help slow down the warming of our planet by planting a carbon busting Eden the world over. By reducing our greenhouse gasses here in the west, we can reduce the number of climate disasters in places hit far worse than we are experiencing ourselves.
The redistribution of resources to poorer countries could be a way to eradicate famine and disease as Edenists do not believe it is right that some people starve while others have resources in abundance. We need to voluntarily share the wealth we have in the west with ‘third world’ countries by living simpler lives and giving what we do not need away to those who need it. By giving back what was never ours to take.
The amassing of personal wealth is considered ugly to supporters of the movement who see billionaires as dragons sitting on their hoards refusing to share while the world starves. With increasingly ingenious inventions being made alongside advancements in technology, we have the means already to clean the oceans, provide free clean drinking water globally and generate free power with little cost to the environment, there is no good reason why any human should be without basic essentials like food or water.
Creating livestock free agriculture based on agroecological permaculture principles, along with rewilding, companion planting, growing ancient grains, rejecting GM crops, adopting plant-based diets and eating food currently seen as ‘weeds’ are all welcomed by Edenists. Foraging is encouraged where it leaves enough for the wildlife to co-exist alongside us and will not discourage biodiversity.
Edenists believe in growing food that is suited to each climate and not flying produce around the world at huge cost to both consumers and the planet. Aims to shorten the food supply chain and learn how to grow our own food may end up being crucial to our survival. Supporters share a common aim to re-wild and reforest and consciously farm with living lightly on the land alongside taking measures to protect endangered species and halt the mass extinction we are currently experiencing due to climate change and deforestation. Encouraging biodiversity, eradicating pesticides and herbicides and creating more sustainable food sources are central to the movement which would use natural eco systems to control ‘unwanted’ pests that may upset the balance.
Edenists believe that humans are custodians and protectors of the planet and all its inhabitants and take a pledge to do everything in their power to make choices that cause the least harm wherever that is possible. It embraces ethical veganism and ecological principles with supporters trying to reduce their carbon footprint in all ways, including eliminating single use plastics, shifting habits to growing or buying local organic produce, rejecting toxic consumerism and carnism, not using fossil fuels wherever possible or taking unnecessary flights. ‘Make do and mend’ philosophies alongside recycling, upcycling and other green initiatives to reduce our impact on the planet are all practiced by Edenists who will only buy new products where it has not been possible make at home or be bought second-hand, as they seek to end our ‘disposable culture’.
Supporters are encouraged to reverse the unsustainable expansion of human population by asking only those who have a deep desire to procreate to become parents, and that the role of parenthood becomes a highly esteemed vocation where people pledge to raise their children to become more empathic than previous generations.
Edenists believe immigrants and refugees (particularly from countries where the West has supplied arms and/or contributed in any way to the destruction of their homes) should be welcomed. By integrating the skills and labours of people willing to fill the gaps in our struggling workforces, our ageing population will continue to be cared for by the community while also accommodating climate crisis migrants that will be forced to find new homes in the years to come. Edenists are aware that the actions of the more affluent west have massively impacted the lives of people in places more affected by the climate crisis and actively seek to make amends.
Honesty, authenticity and the practice of empathy is encouraged always. Everyone is welcome regardless of background, status, education, colour or abilities. Neurodiversity is key to acceptance and inclusivity. Well-being, mental health and regeneration are considered crucial to being able to make kind choices for ourselves, others and everything around us. Edenists believe in finding the good in everyone and will work hard to make sure everyone has a support structure in place for even the most challenging members of society.
Supporters of the movement believe that we should be living in eco-friendly intentional communities based on kindness and that we should all have access to land to become self-sustaining. With new initiatives to share land such as EdenKind’s ‘Space Programme’, organic wholefood could be available to everyone, whether that is by growing-your-own with community supported agriculture, free seed banks shared by growers whose crops have provided more than they need or local veg box schemes. In densely populated urban areas, all spaces that could be made green could be given over to being cultivated for permaculture, re-wilded for wildlife to thrive or as parks. Edenists believe that one does not need to be at the expense of the other, and education on how this can be achieved should be available and free to everyone.
Education for all should be free and tailored to individual needs. Infrastructures should be in place so that wherever possible, everyone finds a purpose and gets support to find something they love doing that also contributes to society. Education should include the facts on the climate crisis, how to grow your own food and how to care for the environment and ourselves using only sustainable methods. Empathy should be taught in all schools alongside mindfulness and meditation techniques.
Edenists believe that art, music and creativity are central to self-awareness; personal growth and expression and should be encouraged regardless of ability or end product.
As economic growth and capitalism are not in alignment with sustainability and climate change, Edenists reject the patriarchal system of the 20th century and instead are aiming for a world where personal development and kindness are the core principals rather than the pursuit of financial wealth. Edenists support sharing, but also understand that until we live in Eden, we should be encouraged to give as little or as much as possible without judgement. Small eco-enterprises are encouraged over supporting large corporations who have been allowed to grow so large that they undermine local enterprises and weaken self-sustainability. Large organisations should be made to pay their taxes and if they grow too large, be encouraged to split, franchise or take part in Employee-to-Owner schemes.
Supporting local businesses and boycotting companies that are not ethical or sustainable is crucial to the movement. Animal agriculture has to end, but support should be offered to farmers ready to transition to more ethical ways to farm their land. Crops such as hemp which absorbs four times as much carbon as young trees should be planted as transitional land usage to re-nitrate the soil where over grazing has depleted the nutrients but the long term goal for land should be towards biodiversity and away from monocrop farming. Hemp is an excellent crop for making many products such as biodegradable ‘plastic’, fabrics, building materials and for its medicinal uses. As it grows so fast, it would be a far more sustainable material for making paper based products too.
Whilst we are governed by sociopaths and narcissistic traits are not only considered normal, they are encouraged, Edenists will question and explore the motives of others so that all agendas are revealed. Transparency is paramount and Edenists believe that by making sociopathy culturally unacceptable, we will shift public thinking towards voting for more empathic governmental leaders until such time that central governing is no longer effective or required. The actions of all individuals should be held to account by a code of ethics that values morality over tradition. By recognising the red flags of sociopathy with the aim of exposing hidden agendas, power is removed from those with money or influence that lack moral fibre. Lying is considered unacceptable but where the truth is difficult to hear or digest, Edenists believe that if you have kindness as your core principle, the truth will elevate and not destroy.
Edenists do not believe that violence solves anything and that the only way to defeat hate is with love. Edenists value the wisdom and experience of elders and seek to create families based on shared values rather than biological connections. In Eden, everyone is family and the only people who are alone are those to choose to be. Solitude is respected as much as the need to commune with each other.
Ancient wisdom using plants, herbs and vibrations to heal and be heathy are welcomed, however only practices based on scientific fact are encouraged. Any practice, be it tarot cards, fortune telling, or any unscientific method that seeks to ‘provide answers’ to vulnerable people do not belong in Eden. Instead, fellowship and support should provide the emotional security for those seeking answers they may need through personal growth. Beliefs involving God, gods, superstition, tradition, the occult and so on should remain personal to the individual and not become part of an Edenist doctrine. Practice of religious or spiritual rituals at gatherings may not be experienced as inclusive and could alienate rather encourage togetherness, but discussing faith and the issues that surround them is welcomed for as long as those debating remain respectful to personal belief systems.. Edenism is not a cult and members are encouraged to see faith as individual choice, not a prescribed doctrine for all to adhere to. The same principle applies to those with particularly strong opinions on vaccines and Covid; everyone is entitled to do their own research and make their own decisions but must remain kind, even when someone else’s logic seems flawed.
The movement rejects toxic consumerism and supporters aim to lose the desire to own the latest gadgets, travel unnecessarily or support industries that still rely on fossil fuels or animal products. Edenists believe that desiring less frees up individuals to be more time rich, less anxious and more united as we grow food together and support each other. The power of supply and demand is not to be underestimated and Edenists believe that personal choices made with kindness will shift the collective consciousness beyond the need to vote out current political regimes; they will simply become less powerful. Until our government start listening to what really needs to be done to halt climate change, Edenists will not sit around waiting, and are forming in numbers ready to resolve the issues ourselves; it begins by setting aside our differences and focussing on what we need to happen and how we can achieve it with or without assistance.
Edenists understand that society has grown up around many lies and that history books, advertisements, political agendas and current educational curriculums should be questioned on every level. Truth is more important than political agenda.
Edenists do not believe in wasting resources on pomp and ceremony and weddings are simple affairs usually in nature. The same ethos is applied to funerals, with Edenists believing we should decompose naturally so that our bodies become part of the eco-system. Sacred forests where people can be buried are preferable to cemeteries.
Like Quakers, Edenists do not believe that any one day is more ‘holy’ than the next and nor are certain people to be considered more important than anyone else. True enlightenment is considered a humbling experience and therefore there are no leaders in the movement, only facilitators, administrators and charismatic speakers, all of whom will share decision making as a consensus that includes everyone in the community. By removing power from the people who seek it, the world is far less likely to be run by narcissists, sociopaths and dangerous psychopaths who will always attempt to charm their way into power with lie upon lie. True mentorship comes from a yearning for justice and equality for all, especially for those unable to obtain it for themselves. The sharing of skills alongside the willingness to give whatever you have even if that is only your time is valued in Eden far more than qualifications or financial equity. In other words, a person’s worth is measured by their intentions and actions and not how financially ‘successful’ or academically gifted they are considered in modern society. Those with money help those without until such time that money is not the commodity by which we trade with.
There are no churches in Edenism. Meetings take place in nature wherever possible, or failing that, in people’s homes and local community buildings. Meetings generally follow the format of bringing and sharing vegan food, followed by the discussion of important issues after which there may be music, singing and dance. Edenists are inclusive to all and seek to meet the additional needs of neurodiverse and differently abled people and will always endeavour to find ways to make everyone comfortable, whether that means providing a safe space at meetings or holding smaller gatherings for people easily overwhelmed by large groups. Simple agreed sign language with appointed facilitators as used in Extinction Rebellion meetings are welcomed techniques to keep group activities kind to all and give everyone a voice. Non-violent communication techniques are incorporated, and conflict resolution has agreed stages and protocols to follow so that win-win options are explored over compromises.
Edenists will often meet in nature for camp-outs, conservation projects and gatherings. Participants are encouraged to take their shoes off, connect with nature and practice meditation and mindfulness. Such Groundations are good opportunities to share wisdom and make plans around campfires with singing, dancing and the sharing of cruelty-free food. No single use plastics, meat or animal products are allowed, and the use of alcohol and drugs are discouraged so as to be fully inclusive to all. Edenists will always leave a green space free of litter after any gathering and Groundation organisers will carefully choose locations that will not have a detrimental effect on the delicate eco-systems that occur in natural environments.
As an antidote to modern narcissistic conditioning, Edenists prefer to reject society’s ‘norm’ as to what is considered attractive and instead embrace inner beauty. The patriarchal stance that women, men and children should look a certain way is rejected and many opt for ways of living that are not gender specific. Equality between the sexes is paramount. There is no place for toxic masculinity, warmongering, misogyny or discrimination in Eden.
Edenists do not subscribe to the opinions of current mainstream media and reject the idea that people should be ashamed of their bodies, their hair, their size, their colour or any of their imperfections. Differences are celebrated not vilified. Advertising should not seek to shame people into buying products, but if individuals seek to dress a certain way to convey their personalities or preferences then no-one should be judged for their choices. Fashion should be about personal expression and not a uniform that genders are expected to conform to. Toxic masculinity and anti-feminist ideology are not welcome in Eden, but instead everyone is encouraged to freely express themselves and their needs. Whilst it is unlikely that any infrastructure for living alongside each other will meet everybody’s needs, a society based on kindness will have measures in place to help people struggling to find happiness and acceptance.
Edenists are aware of the power of language and will seek to convey truths in ways that do not offend but instead speak the truth with kindness and love at its core. Certain words are emotive to many, so whilst free expression and truth is paramount, Edenists are encouraged to pose questions rather than make accusations and to make first person statements about how they feel rather than apportion blame.
Anyone can implement Edenist principles into their lives – it is open to all, but for those who wish to adopt the movement as a way of self-identifying, facilitators can help by running free downloadable mentorship ‘Evolve’ courses over the course of twelve weeks in their homes, workplaces or community buildings. The courses usually following the format of a sharing a cruelty-free meal followed by the delivery of a discussion based course based on self-reflection, choices and kindness. The course finishes with a pledge to adhere to the code of ethics wherever it is possible to do so for those who wish to commit. Where possible, the mentee will become the mentor and host a course from their home or place of work to help further the cause. The course is available as a free downloadable resource to all schools, clubs, workplaces and colleges as a way to combat inequality and bullying as well as educating people about kindness, empathy and climate change regardless of whether they are signing up to join the movement.
Please note that there are various other definitions of Edenism currently being used and any similarities between those and this code of ethics are purely co-incidental. Victor Isaken’s Conspiracy Theory on the ancestry of man and Peter F Hamilton’s ‘The Night’s Dawn Trilogy’ are not in any way connected to the Eden Movement. There is a Christian church of Edenism, but again, they are not affiliated with New Edenism. It has also been noted that the use of the word ‘Eden’ may be emotive to some because of anti-feminist bible stories in Christian theology. Supporters are urged not to focus on what is just one of a few definitions in dictionaries of the word Eden but instead embrace the philosophy contained herein. These are new times and supporters are urged to find the truth that resonates from the central ethics of the movement and not get caught up in subjective semantics.
Everyone is invited to support the movement whether or not you wish to call yourself an Edenist. It is understood that not everyone will resonate with every ethic explored in this current manuscript which should change over time if it is to evolve with us. This is not written in stone. To have your say on where you think the code of ethics could be improved, feel free to contact us or bring it up at gatherings and Groundations as valid points of discussion, as what is relevant at the time of writing this first edition may well be different to when a new supporter joins the movement.
First Edition February 2020
Edited November 2021