This is another in my series of articles exploring the basic existential questions of who we are and what motivates us to do what we do. For those puzzled about what that has to do with “saving the world”, my answer is that if we hope to be able to organize with others to make the world a better place, and deal with the huge crises we are now beginning to face, we are going to have to be cognizant of the truth of human nature, and specifically these existential questions. There is no point hoping millions or billions of people are going to change their beliefs and behaviours if such change is just not in our nature. And, as regular readers of this blog know, I am inclined to believe it is not in our nature, though I’m open to evidence to the contrary.
How would you describe finding meaning in the work you do? Would you say that work is most meaningful when you are developing yourself? Would you say that that you find the most meaning when you are expressing your full potential? How about when you feel connected with others? Does doing service give you the most meaning? How about all of the above?
“On the level of daily experience I think of art as what expands the horizon of what people conceive to be possible … I think art, all of a sudden, is needed everywhere in a really profound way. To open up horizons for new possibilities for oneself and others. To remind us to play. The catalyst can be poetic; what it inspires can be utilitarian and vice versa!"
If you invest in a way of seeing the world that is mean and frustrated, you're going to get a world that is more mean and frustrating. But if you can find any authentic reason to give thanks, then you'll be better off.
Integral theory is an all-inclusive framework that draws on the key insights of the world’s greatest knowledge traditions. The awareness gained from drawing on all truths and perspectives allows the Integral thinker to bring new depth, clarity and compassion to every level of human endeavor — from unlocking individual potential to finding new approaches to global-scale problems.
After all, what are we worrying about? In truth we are not separate from one another, nor separate from the realised man, and therefore from Atman. The clouds seem to melt away when one remembers that.
- Dr. Francis Roles (d 1982) Founder of the Society for the Study of Human Being
Even if sustainability were not a critical issue, for anyone to have to pay to live on Earth is a ridiculous notion for a society to undertake. But this is our brilliant system, whereby people are conditioned to compete and buy into their own slavery. Abandoning nature in order to have to buy pieces of it as commodities is inefficiency and waste of the tallest order. Modern man is demonstrably stupid to rely on unnecessary slavery, whereas any animal smart enough to survive in the wild cannot be stupid and is no kind of slave.
As a political movement we are aware that the current political systems are operating with no understanding of the relationship between consciousness and matter. However there is now a shift involving humanity’s deepest knowing and understanding of ourselves and our universe. This political movement is committed to operating within the context and understanding of the inter-relationship of all things. Therefore all policies will be based on the 7 founding principles of this party.
The ancients who wished to illustrate illustrious virtue throughout the Kingdom, first ordered well their own states. Wishing to order well their states, they first regulated their families. Wishing to regulate their families, they first cultivated their persons. Wishing to cultivate their persons, they first rectified their hearts. Wishing to rectify their hearts, they first sought to be sincere in their thoughts. Wishing to be sincere in their thoughts, they first extended to the utmost their knowledge. Such extension of knowledge lay in the investigation of things. Things being investigated, knowledge became complete. Their knowledge being complete, their thoughts were sincere. Their thoughts being sincere, their hearts were then rectified. Their hearts being rectified, their persons were cultivated. Their persons being cultivated, their families were regulated. Their families being regulated, their states were rightly governed. Their states being rightly governed, the whole kingdom was made tranquil and happy. From the Son of Heaven down to the mass of the people, all must consider the cultivation of the person the root of everything besides.
The concept of strong sustainability is based on the scientific fact that all human life and activity occurs within the limitations of planet Earth, or the 'biosphere' where humankind lives, including all societal functions, such as the economy.
It is a self-evident truth that without a functioning biosphere there can be no society or 'sociosphere', and without a sociosphere there can be no societal functions, including an economy or 'econosphere'.
Strong sustainability recognises that in order for human civilisation to continue, the true model for sustaining the planet on which we rely to survive should look like this (see above).
Brilliant analysis in Eurozine of the political and social implications of looking at mankind as part of the planet instead of its master.
Based on the works of Bruno Latour, Michel Serres and others, this new "more-than-humanism" can revolutionise our thinking about the economy, politics, culture and social interactions. A good example is the new constitution of Ecuador, which gives "nature" legal rights.
Over my lifetime, I have learned from experience that holding an intention for change can result in creating the desired change. I have seen it work in bringing people and relationships into my life, creating the work I desired, and helping me develop a path forward to create the change. Essentially, I learned that if I could envision it, I could bring it into reality. It has worked so effectively that I know I have to be careful that what I think I want to create is what I really want or need.
Many of us have lived our whole lives in comparison to others and copying others. Our society supports inauthenticity. We are expected to wear different types of masks to play the role of all sorts of characters, BUT ourSelves. We wear so many different masks that we forget who/what we truly are. The mask starts to get stuck and now we believe we are the mask. Living authentically takes courage and the ability to listen to our inner guide or heart. This inner voice will guide us and encourage us to follow the path set out for us to Truth, Freedom, Joy, Heaven.
I am a spectator, so to speak, of the molecular whirlwind which men call individual life; I am conscious of an incessant metamorphosis, an irresistible movement of existence, which is going on within me - and this phenomenology of myself serves as a window opened upon the mystery of the world. I am, or rather my sensible consciousness is, concentrated upon this ideal standing-point, this invisible threshold, as it were, whence one hears the impetuous passage of time, rushing and foaming as it flows out into the changeless ocean of eternity. After all the bewildering distractions of life - after having drowned myself in a multiplicity of trifles and in the caprices of this fugitive existence, yet without ever attaining to self-intoxication or self-delusion - I come again upon the fathomless abyss, the silent and melancholy cavern, where dwell 'Die Mutter,' where sleeps that which neither lives nor dies, which has neither movement nor change, nor extension, nor form, and which lasts when all else passes away.
- Henri Frederic Amiel (1821 - 1881) Swiss philosopher
The Great Turning is a name for the essential adventure of our time: the shift from the industrial growth society to a life-sustaining civilization.
Whether or not it is recognized by corporate-controlled media, the Great Turning is a reality. Although we cannot know yet if it will take hold in time for humans and other complex life forms to survive, we can know that it is under way. And it is gaining momentum, through the actions of countless individuals and groups around the world. To see this as the larger context of our lives clears our vision and summons our courage.
I’ve been working on ‘how change happens’ for a few years now, as regulars to this blog will know, but in the last few months, ‘theories of change’ has gone viral as a new development fuzzword. In meetings and documents, people earnestly enquire ‘what’s your theory of change?’ and you’re in trouble if you don’t have an answer. (Quite a good answer is ‘could you just explain what you mean by theory of change?’ – people often have no idea).
So it’s time to ride the wave and speed up the ‘theories of change’ work programme, and last week I spent some time at IDS and with Oxfam big cheeses thinking through what a joint IDS-Oxfam work programme might look like. Here’s what I’m currently thinking, with a plea to others to comment, send sources and otherwise give me a hand. Hat tips to Thalia Kidder and Jo Rowlands for their suggestions.
Firstly it’s ‘theories’ not ‘theory’. When people talk about a single ‘theory of change’ (ToC from now on), alarm bells should ring – in the worst case it’s just a new jargon for old-school linear change, impact chains, logframes etc. Instead of a deluded search for a single grand theory of everything, we need to learn to recognize and manage a range of theories, throw them at a problem, and see which ones are helpful (see my recent experience of doing this in Tanzania). Yes folks, we’re talking practical post modernism….. Surfacing our deeper, buried assumptions about the motors of change can also help us understand why we keep disagreeing with each other, a crucial skill in coalition-building.
"Our reluctance to accept new discoveries about our relationship to the earth, one another, and our ancient past keeps us locked into the thinking that has led us to the crises threatening our lives today"