What is “Macrobiotics 2.0”?
The idea of “Macrobiotics 2.0” was introduced to me by the people living in the Ionia Macrobiotic Community in Alaska. Where “Macrobiotics 1.0” is the grand vision that my parents, Michio and Aveline Kushi, introduced to the world in the 1960s, 70s and 80s, “Macrobiotics 2.0” explores implementing and living that vision.
Most people consider macrobiotics to be only a restrictive Japanese based whole grain diet for health prevention. But in the 1960s and 70s, my parents, expanding on the ideas of George Ohsawa, outlined a grand vision for a comprehensive way of life for the entire planet. This vision not only included proper food selection and cooking methods but also all aspects of life including raising families, education, agriculture, economics, technology, politics and world peace. The vision incorporated vast ideas that spanned ancient and future worlds, explored celestial influences and yet was also as specific as to provide insight on, for example, what to sleep on. The vision inspired the creation of the natural and organic foods industry, alternative health industry and even the futon industry.
As with other similar great visionary teachings, “Macrobiotics 1.0” led to ideas of creating intentional communities. There was an attempt by my parents to create a macrobiotic community in the 1970s but for a variety of reasons it never manifested. Later, there was another attempt, principally by my mother, to create another community in the Berkshires of Western, MA, but that dream remains unfulfilled and has only resulted in creating a macrobiotic school, the Kushi Institute in Becket, MA. Meanwhile a group of four or five families left the Boston Macrobiotic scene in the 1980s and set-off to establish a community that is now the Ionia Macrobiotic Community in Alaska. It is less a model community and more an exploration into the question of what it means to implement and actually live the vision of macrobiotics. This is “Macrobiotics 2.0.”
“Macrobiotics 1.0” is the introduction and education of my parents grand vision to the world through books, classes, lectures, private counseling sessions and continues on with second generation macrobiotic teachers (students of my parents). “Macrobiotics 2.0” is what comes after someone has learned the foundations of macrobiotics and now wishes to implement it in fully in his or her life for raising families and building communities toward the grander vision of one peaceful world in harmony with natural changing environment. It is living with the awareness of being directly connected to, influenced by and the result of changing seasons and celestial influences and maintaining harmony by eating in accordance with macrobiotics principles. “Macrobiotics 2.0” seeks to explore the “livability” of “Macrobiotics 1.0”.
Having been raised macrobiotically since birth my own personal life has entirely been about living “Macrobiotics 2.0” and dealing with the struggles it presents. There are many other individuals and single families around the world who have taken on the challenge of exploring and living “Macrobiotics 2.0”. But without communal support many of them fall back and return to living in the modern world in a manner that is some type of hybrid of two worlds; where they try to eat macrobiotically while maintaining conventional jobs and lifestyles. The Ionia Macrobiotic Community, on the other hand, has been successfully exploring “Macrobiotics 2.0” by not only living it but also, in the spirit of “non-credo”, “thinking it” by going beyond the conceptual dogmas of the conventional modern world that limit and confine all of our social behaviors and seeking out and experiencing what naturally arises out of living closer and in harmony with nature and seasonal influences.
In my opinion, “Macrobiotics 2.0” is the future and aspects of it are naturally being explored by the world at large in the form of the environmental movement, the social justice movement, the alternative energy movement and so on. But without the macrobiotic foundational vision (“Macrobiotics 1.0”) all of these movements fall short of addressing and providing a complete solution for the transformation required to change the world. One clear example of this failure is the issue of Global Warming as presented by Al Gore. In his film, “An Inconvenient Truth”, nowhere did he address the issue of diet and food choices nor did he question the economic paradigms and value systems which continue to perpetuate the problems.
“Macrobiotics 2.0” should not be confused with the businesses involved in promoting “Macrobiotics 1.0” which include macrobiotic food companies, restaurants, events, classes, schools, teachings, counselings and so on. These are all examples of individuals who live normal competitive lives like any other in the modern world. “Macrobiotics 2.0” is more about, for example, having natural home births, raising children naturally, growing one’s own food and living a full and satisfying life that is more like playing than working. It is striving to fully embody macrobiotics entirely in all aspects of life.
“Macrobiotics 2.0” is still being explored and defined. No one has a complete answer on what it looks like as it has never been done before. Elements and pieces of it have been and are being explored now and certainly traditional indigenous cultures have essentially lived it in the past, but none have actually explored it with a global macrobiotic vision of One Peaceful World. This is what the Ionia Macrobiotic Community is doing.
Beyond “Macrobiotics 2.0” there is possibly a “Macrobiotics 3.0” and that involves the coming together of families, groups and communities that live “Macrobiotics 2.0” to share ideas and work together toward finally creating One Peaceful World.