Posts Tagged: Integral Planet
“Our challenge is to make the world work for 100% of humanity, in the shortest possible time, through spontaneous cooperation without ecological offense or the disadvantage of anyone.”
The goal of this paper is to look at the larger contexts that the issue of global hunger exists within and identify some of the interaffecting and driving factors that are crucial to lasting success but may be less obvious to a more narrowed-in scope of focus, so as to be informationally equipped to develop strategies that are truly adequate to the scope and complexity of the task at hand.
I’d like to start by proposing a modification to the challenge, from “how to end world hunger”, to “how to end world hunger sustainably without externalizing harm to any other system in the process”.
This is in recognition of how inextricably interconnected our major global systems and issues are…necessitating strategies that adequately account for that interconnectedness to do anything more than displace harm.
We optimize what we measure. If our metrics for success omit any part that affects the system, then our likelihood for failure in that part and resultantly, the whole, is high.
“Humankind has not woven the web of life. We are but one thread within it. Whatever we do to the web, we do to ourselves. All things are bound together. All things connect.”
Without enumerating a comprehensive taxonomy of all the issues that affect and are affected by global malnutrition (which needs done to succeed with this task, but is beyond the scope of this paper), let’s look at a few examples of related issues and why we need to consider them:
- 50 million land mines remain globally from wars that were never cleaned up. Many of these are on arable land making it completely inaccessible. This loss of land and resultant malnutrition is on top of the fact that one of these landmines is accidentally detonated by a civilian every 19 minutes. Mozambique has enough arable land to feed all of Africa, but there is food shortage even within the country due to the roughly 500,000 landmines embedded in that soil: remnants of 30 years of civil war. Because of accidentally encroaching to near to the minefields, the country has over 50,000 amputees.
- The populations of most species of large fish are around 10% of what they were in 1900. We live on a ¾ water planet whose biodiversity developed over billions of years, and in just over a century of mechanized fishing, we have decimated 90% of the top of the food chain populations.
- The fish that do remain are becoming continually more contaminated with mercury and other industrial toxins, making them continually more dangerous for humans to consume. The primary cause of the mercury in the oceans is the burning of fossil fuels for energy production and transportation.
- Looking to other of the ocean populations for human food options, whale and dolphin meat has been on an upsurge, threatening certain species that are critically endangered, and crossing ethical lines by slaughtering creatures with neocorticies nearly as complex as our own. (If our only goal is to end world hunger for humans, then this is of course a viable option. Thus the problem of overly narrow metrics.)
- Connecting the ailing ecology of the oceans to the land and the topic of food production, the leading cause of the growing dead zones around the world is the toxic runoff produced by the current methods of industrialized agriculture.
- The dead zones in the ocean are mirrored on land by the growing deserts that have replaced previously biodiverse ecosystems after relatively short periods of unsustainable farming methods that demineralize topsoil.
- The push to maximize extraction per time burns through ecological savings accounts while producing massive waste causing environmental harm on both sides of an unsustainable linear materials economy.
- Mass industrial agricultural is the leading cause of deforestation, loss of habitat land, fresh water depletion, species extinction and total biodiversity loss.
- The pollinators that are essential to the success of life on this planet are being profoundly threatened by the increasingly toxic kinds of pesticides being used, in quantities hard to truly comprehend. These same pesticides are showing up in human breast milk and other tissues, only to be taken off the markets after the first long term trials on the general population (without informed consent) show what was always predictable but not tested for before mass utilization.
- Factoring the methane from livestock, the energy used in the production and distribution of food, and the decreased photosynthesis from dead zones and deserts, food production is arguably the most significant contributor to climate change.
- Factoring the total carbon emissions involved and the agricultural run off, food production is likely one of the most significant causes of ocean acidification.
- Fish populations, arable land, fresh water, phosphates for fertilizers and oil for energy production…are all limited resources that we have been utilizing many times faster than they can replenish, to only provide an adequate quality of life to a portion of the world’s people. To provide adequately for all the world’s people, with a population that continues to expand, utilizing even remotely similar models to those feeding the industrialized world today, would mean utilizing finite and dwindling resources even faster, accelerating inevitable system failure.
- To address the issue of limited freshwater for irrigation we are looking to increased desalination, which creates a new kind of harm to the coastal ecosystems where most of the world’s marine life lives.
- Returning to the stakeholders at the heart of this question, even if adequate macronutrients are made available, the critical micronutrients necessary for healthy growth require minerally rich soil and adequate diversity of crop types. Even if all the nutrients are provided, malnutrition is still possible if there are absorption challenges from intestinal pathogens still rampant in the developing world, necessitating sanitation and health care as crucial elements to the hunger equation.
- Beyond landmines from old wars obscuring arable land, current wars are another piece in the hunger puzzle… displacing people in mass from basically functioning societies to unsustainable refugee camps; shutting down distribution channels so the available resources can’t be brought to the people; and even intentionally destroying food stocks and crops as a method of attack. Thus changing the political, religious, and economic motives for war is yet another integral factor to addressing the issue of hunger.
The list of interconnecting factors that have to be addressed for a lasting and viable solution goes on and on.
Technological solutions to increase efficiencies in food production, storage, and distribution are necessary but not sufficient to the task at hand. Increased agricultural output through industrial technologies over the last 200+ years did not bring about a steady-state population with a high average quality of life, but rather lead to an exponential growth in population with more people in extreme poverty today than there were total people of all economic classes before that…and has caused more ecological harm in the process than any other industry, threatening the fundamental life-support systems of the planet.
Can we provide healthy food without addressing the burning of fossil fuels that cause mercury contamination of significant food sources? Is the profound cruelty of factory farming an adequate solution to producing more pigs per acre? Is losing more of the Amazon to grazing land for cattle an acceptable solution to feeding a population that only reached its size because of industrialized agriculture and overusing finite resource savings accounts in the first place?
The issue of global hunger, like all major global issues, is a part of an interconnected set of challenges that cannot be solved in isolation. Our real task is to lessen suffering, not just move it. That requires a wider scope of metrics, deeper analysis, and more fundamental changes to how our species navigates aboard this fragile organic spaceship.
“A problem well-stated is a problem half-solved.”
World hunger, climate change, species extinction, environmental pollution, and all the other major global issues, are interconnected not only because everything within a tiny biosphere is inter-affecting, but also because they are all predictable and inexorable manifestations of the same underlying structural motivators.
Global economics has several core structural flaws (that have not been addressed in any industrialized system of economics to date) that make major environmental and social harm, including world hunger, unavoidable, irrespective of the specific people involved.
I will address some of these flaws here just deeply enough to demonstrate the level at which economics has to change, and to underscore the necessity of these changes to bring about a world of sustainable sufficiency:
The value equation:
What determines the relative economic value we place on one thing compared to another? Why is gold valued at $1,200 per ounce while air has no assessed value? Our human values both inform and are reinforced and conditioned by the value equation economically. Several of the core drivers of the valuation process create an economic incentive that is antithetical to environmental sustainability and human flourishing for all.
A living whale swimming in the ocean has no economically recognized value to anyone, but harpooned, is worth up to a million dollars as meat. A 2,000 year old redwood tree that produces oxygen, sequesters CO2, cleans toxins from the atmosphere, stabilizes topsoil, prevents flooding, and creates habitat for pollinators and other species that are crucial to the functioning of our biosphere, confers economic advantage to no one. But cut down, makes $100,000 worth of virgin lumber.
Our value equation is extractionary and commoditizing. Even the phrase “natural resource” assumes the extraction and commodification of what was once a part of a living ecosystem. This is exactly why we have decimated 90% of the large fish populations globally, 80% of the world’s old growth forests, and caused more species extinction than we have been able to account for. This is also why we enslave whole species, at forced populations many times what is natural, in conditions that future historians will catalogue along with concentration camps and slavery ships as tragic examples of human power, pre-civilization.
As long as the other species with which we inhabit this planet are worth more to us dead than alive, more enslaved and commodified than free, and only have assessed value insofar as they can be used to meet an immediate need of ours, not recognizing sovereignty or intrinsic value on the balance sheet…then we will continue rationalizing violence and extracting faster than renewability, eroding the very cliff on which we stand.
Our extrinsic only, commoditizing valuation system applies to other people just as much as it does to other species. This is why the aid of wealthy nations to poor ones is limited by the rationalizable case for ROI. The manufacturing of goods, including of foodstuff, for the industrialized world, depends on cheap labor from the developing world. This system of profit margin is not only predicated upon but also requires the continuance of massive economic disparity.
This is not just self-serving interest, but shortsighted self-serving interest. Beyond a living tree’s value to the rest of life, or to itself, it is producing the oxygen that I breathe. That does something more fundamental for me than anything I can do with the tree. But my cutting this one tree (or forest) down won’t ruin the entire atmosphere, so I breathe either way. But me cutting down this one tree does confer immediate and tangible economic advantage to me that I wouldn’t have otherwise. It is a whole population thinking this way, because the structure of incentive within the system predisposes that, that has us nearing the end of a savings account we are not equipped to replenish nor yet prepared to live without.
Currency evolved to mediate complex barter where the amount of currency in the system was proportional to the total value of goods and services in the system, with the proportionality ratio for a unit of currency determining its value. The economic concept of interest not only incentivized hoarding, but did so artificially as it made the monetary system expand irrespective of growth of goods and services. Fiat currency and fractional reserve banking took the artificial expansion of the monetary supply further, driving inflation and requiring perpetual growth to even maintain equilibrium. Perpetual economic growth was predicated upon the idea of continual material extraction from the environment, which is clearly not possible on a finite planet. Continued evolution of scientific insights and technological resource efficiencies leading to a continued increase in quality of life is possible sustainably, but requires a closed loop economic model based on an evolving homeostasis rather than continued exponential growth.
From extraction at the front of a linear materials economy, to waste at the end and pollution all along it, centralizing profits while externalizing costs is endemic to every part of this economic system. With the integrity of the commons not represented on anyone’s profit and loss statement, the more of the cost of operations can be externalized to the environment and others, the better the profit margins.
Hence, the agricultural run off, the mercury in the ocean, the deserts and landfills taking the place ecosystems once inhabited, the “waste” marine life accidentally killed in drift nets and long lines, and the general blind eye to the immense suffering induced in the pursuit of narrow success metrics.
If the cost of a landmine included the cost to remove it afterwards (let alone to try and remediate the irreparable harm to human life caused in its use), there would be no land mines. Real cost accounting would mean the military industrial complex would operate at an astronomical loss. Without the majority of the cost being unaccounted for, i.e., paid for by somebody else, war would be the least economically viable solution to address conflicts, which would motivate the development and utilization of other strategies. (As it is, the military industrial complex is the largest single sector of global economics. Without threats of war necessitating military manufacturing, global economics as we know it would collapse. What it the consequence of having a global economy that actually requires continuous war, where the fiscal interest of the most powerful organizations in the world is directly opposed to peace?)
If the cost of a hamburger included the cost to clean the water used in its production, to sustainably manage the soil used for growing feedstock, to remove the methane and CO2 produced from the atmosphere, to tend to any resultant health issues in the people consuming it as a result of the antibiotics, hormones, or steroids used, to remove the pesticides from the environment, etc. (not to mention the cost of suffering to the animals or intrinsic value of life taken, which is impossible to calculate a value for), current methods of industrialized animal agriculture would be the most expensive method for producing food ever attempted.
In order for the strategies we develop for feeding people to be sustainable, they have to inventory and internalize all the costs associated. That imperative is not incentivized or even possible (for a provider to maintain competitive status) within the current valuation system.
If we inventoried and internalized all the externalities within the value and profit equation, economics would spontaneously incentivize behaviors that supported sustainability and thriving.
As long as a thing’s scarcity adds economic value on top of its real use value (whether it was scarce or not), there will be economic incentive to artificially manufacture and maintain scarcity even where otherwise avoidable. Technology’s capacity to create more abundance through increased efficiency will not be fully realized within an economics where abundance results in lower valuation.
Where food is an economic commodity whose scarcity informs its price and thus the profitability for the most powerful stakeholders affecting the equation…and the profitability of that industry affects the homeostasis of the stock market and economics as a whole… The technologies and strategies that could produce the most sustainable abundance are directly opposed to the highest valuations for those vested in the current commodities market, i.e., sustainable global food sufficiency would be economically disadvantageous for those who have the most influence over current food production.
This is the underlying reason farmers have been paid to not grow food and why speculators drive the commodities prices high artificially, exacerbating hunger for the poor who already couldn’t afford enough.
This is why to date, air, which is seen as abundant and universally available, has no assessed value, despite its foundational role to life…while gold, which is seen as relatively scarce (factoring both total amounts and the associated extraction and refinement costs) is given a high value, independent of any real use value or lack thereof. This is why we will clear cut a forest (and damage the atmosphere in the process) to mine the gold underneath it, to put it in bars in safes serving no real value to anyone.
The value focus on scarcity is based on the underlying goal of maximizing differential advantage rather than systemic advantage. This causes unavoidable violence.
Essential to all these elements of the value equation is the concept of separate ownership. Separate ownership, at the level of an individual, family, corporation, or nation, creates a line where extraction and externalization on one side equals prosperity to the other. It is the basis of the drive for differential advantage, hoarding, and decreased sharing, resulting in decreased efficiency and thus systemic insufficiency. Separate ownership minimizes synergistic advantage and works in the opposite direction of empathy, extended responsibility, and intentional symbiosis.
Separate ownership, driving ubiquitous competition, is the cause of artificially manufactured demand and the associated exploitive marketing practices, designed in obsolescence, trend induced perceived obsolescence, and every other form of incentivized mass waste.
As long as there is separate ownership, some people will be born into greater economic advantage than others, having nothing to do with merit, leading to socioeconomic stratification and class systems. Those with more resources have more to be creative with (and visa versa) leading to a perpetual widening of the gap and ever-greater resource disparity. This disparity is a major driver of crime and war.
This system of resource allocation creates additional unnecessary scarcity through decreased circulation and sharing. In response to the resultant crime, which is an impulse towards equality and homeostasis, we invest the largest fraction of our already scarce resources into protecting the scarce resource stores, further perpetuating the underlying imbalances.
A world without war, crime, and poverty, requires a fundamentally new structure for resource access and allocation, and individual motive, not based on separate ownership.
“Ultimately these problems must be seen as just different facets of one single crisis, which is largely a crisis of perception. It derives from the fact that most of us, and especially our large social institutions, subscribe to the concepts of an outdated worldview, a perception of reality inadequate for dealing with our overpopulated, globally interconnected world.”
Underneath and driving the contributing causes of world hunger (and all the major social and environmental issues) are the core structures of economic incentive.
Underneath and driving these structures of economics are ubiquitous and misguided core values and beliefs that need updated.
The primary axiom that gave rise to all the economic structures discussed above is that of separate and competitive interest. The memetic shift from this to an awareness and sense of interconnected interest is at the heart of what’s needed for the solution to these problems and entry into a new phase of human existence.
Competition does occur within natural complex systems, but represents only a tiny fraction of the total interactions, most of which are symbiotic.
The competition of bucks to determine procreative opportunity is easier to notice (and thus create a metaphor around) than the gas exchange between plants and animals or the micro flora colonies in the soil and our gut that make both work.
There have been cultures more aware of and focused on symbiotic and interconnected interest, who lacked much of the resource disparity and ecological devastation we have become so used to we assume it as unavoidable. While the memetic structures of those cultures may have created more harmony and a higher quality of life relative to resource per capita, they didn’t motivate much focus on militaries and were thus killed and subsumed by separate interest cultures in an unconscious natural selection process determined in wars that favored domination over quality of life.
The separate and competitive interest memes and thus cultures proliferated, not because they were sustainable or good, but because they were proliferative. As it is with most species at some point in their evolution, what has made us successful as a species so far is now the primary cause of our problems and what most threatens our continued existence.
Driving pathological extraction, externalization, hoarding, and the manufacturing of scarcity (and all the problems resulting from there) is the meme of separate and competitive interest. At its core, this is about individual identities that are conditioned to feel separate from and threatened by the rest of existence, rather than a part of and supported by it.
Reconditioning this meme leads to an omniconsiderate circle of care that leaves no place to externalize harm; genuine respect and concern for all sentient things necessitating a reworking of commoditization and what we think of as resources; and an interest in systemic rather than differential advantage, robbing scarcity of its allure.
A global citizenry aware of the inextricable interconnectedness of all life on this planet would call for a fundamental restructuring of economics inclusive of all the points mentioned above and more, that would create an incentive system that would induce spontaneous behavior shifts at all levels of agency, towards comprehensive solutions that would work to eliminate suffering and support an increasing quality of life for all life, ongoingly.
The memetics and the economics mutually reinforce each other as they are (and will do so in the opposite direction as we work to evolve both) and drive the behaviors that cause the problems we are interested in solving. Within this value and incentive system, global hunger is intractable…without externalizing the harm to other parts of the system in ways that ensure the solution’s unsustainability.
In an updated system of values and incentive, this and all the other pressing issues of our time, would find spontaneous support for their transformation from all sides.
We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.”
Understanding clearly some of the core drivers and interaffecting factors, what can we do?
Recognizing world hunger as a symptom of deeper issues doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t treat the symptom. Of course we should. It simply means that alone won’t be sufficient.
In addition to all the critical work that is currently being done for this issue, including all the local sustainability initiatives and technological innovations for increased efficiency of production and distribution, I’ll list a few meta-initiatives we could do to ensure that we are factoring and addressing the underlying drivers and interconnected factors, measuring and optimizing the right things, and coordinating strategies effectively towards achievable goals:
1. Conduct a thorough analysis of the planet’s sustainable carrying capacity. This will not yield a single number, but a relationship between the total number of people, their material quality of life, and the technoeconomic strategies for converting resources to meet needs at higher levels of efficiency. This will require a comprehensive inventory of global resources, more comprehensive compound metrics for assessing quality of life and overall societal health, and systems for real cost analysis that factor and internalize externalities so we can identify total resource load per capita numbers factoring matriculated shared infrastructural resources and externalities. Knowing clearly how many people the world can actually support ongoingly, at what quality of life, utilizing which support technologies and systems, is fundamental to really addressing this issue, and all issues of environmental sustainability. Given that current sustainable population estimates–based on inadequate data and analysis–range from ~500 million (pre-industrial revolution levels, less than 1/10th of our current population) to ~15 billion (30 times the estimate on the other end, assuming huge increases in resource efficiencies)…and our path ahead is radically different depending on which side of that spread we are aiming at…this is critical knowledge for all global strategy efforts.
Supporting the aim of a sustainable population, we need to invest more focus in integrated strategies for controlling population growth. In addition to further implementation of the known effective strategies (addressing poverty, empowering women, electrical light, education through college, etc.), memetic strategies to increase the voluntary use of birth control (like was done with Radio Tanzania by Martha Swai and colleagues), as well as the development of better methods of birth control that are easier to adopt, are crucial. Specifically, technological options to turn off reproductivity before puberty, with full reversibility and without negative health effects (e.g. epigenetic modulations specific to reproductivity that don’t affect the endocrine system) are nearing feasibility. This has the capacity to end accidental pregnancies.
2. Develop a comprehensive critical path plan (that is elastic and upgradable with the input of new information) for achieving sustainable food security for all people. In addition to knowing the population number we are aiming for, here are some of the key components required for an adequate critical path:
a. Create a context map of all the interaffecting issues and factors that have to be addressed for complete solutions. This can be represented as a nodal network that shows the magnitude and mechanism of effect, and can model the effect of addressing specific nodes on the whole system. This can also be represented as a weighted taxonomy of what needs done.
b. Enumerate all the KPI’s relevant to food sufficiency and the entire context map so we can make sure we are tracking all the relevant metrics and reaching identified benchmarks to ensure we are on course or modify the course as needed.
c. Within the context map, identify all the economic structures that incentivize causes of hunger and develop solutions for changing economic incentive to be aligned with the needed changes in those areas.
d. Create a folksonomy of all current hunger related initiatives and overlay it on the content map taxonomy of what needs done to identify what is already being adequately tended to, which areas need more focus, and which groups could coordinate to share best practices, reduce duplication inefficiencies, and increase total efficacy.
e. Create a blueprint of a model where all people’s fundamental needs are met that is environmentally sustainable to ensure that the methods we are pursuing for meeting human needs are actually viable. This will involve questioning some of the deep axioms of how we are currently working to address hunger. Specifically the idea of meeting the needs of the developing world through the industrial and commercial model of the developed world: that roads and distribution channels are essential, as opposed to the kinds of local sustainability that met the needs of most of the world’s people before the industrial revolution, and that markets are essential for people in the developing world to be able to grow something commercially for sale to make money to buy food, as opposed to growing the food their village needs to eat. The solutions we implement need to be appropriate to the context and environmentally sustainable.
These are meta-solutions for coordinating and strategizing the many specific initiatives across the whole field of work related to addressing world hunger, to support optimized solution development.
At an even deeper level, we need to take a focused strategic approach to restructuring the underlying systems that influence human behavior globally in ways that encourage and reward life-supporting activity:
“You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.”
2. Develop a fundamentally new system of global economics. Not simply retrofitted improvements to the current system, but a ground up redesign of how we meet human needs, incentivize contribution, and allocate resources. This requires deep analysis and modeling, and development of both an adequate blueprint of an effective system and an adaptable roadmap for how to get there. Economics is a made up system. The problem is that it depends on and affects the fundamental systems of geology, biology, and ecology, without properly understanding them. If the ecology and the economy are not optimized by the same actions, than we have to change the made up system to work with the fundamental ones, or we self-destruct. The development of a new system of economics is absolutely crucial to not only world hunger, but the continued success of our species.
3. Applied science and technology aimed at accelerating global memetic evolution towards a population that can reliably self-govern on the basis of shared omniconsiderate values and an adequate knowledge base for how to act effectively towards those values, including the capacity to participate in scientifically informed rational dialectic for optimized collective decision making. Allocating the resources to deliberately purposing big data tools and scientific marketing towards this goal could produce more shift in the internal determinants of vital human behaviors (which is all of what needs changed), inducing emergent mass behavior changes, than likely is achievable any other way. Any system of law, no matter how enlightened, imposed by force on people who don’t understand it, agree with it, or want it, will always lead to dissent. Self governance has to be the basis of an effective system, which requires an educated, aware, and caring populace.
4. Develop a comprehensive critical path for humanity’s total evolution into a world system that makes possible and supports the highest quality of life for all life, ongoingly, with an optimized evolutionary rate. This is a unifying imperative, including the first three strategies mentioned and all other needed and relevant evolutionary projects. This is a distributed and crowd sourced, global peace room as sophisticated as the war room.
This requires a comprehensive inventory of all global needs: human and environmental, including all problems that need remediated, ongoing maintenance needs, and the development of new capacities to meet needs ever better. This also requires comprehensive architecting of a redesigned civilization based on the continually updated best of what is technologically doable, not assuming any part of how we have done infrastructure so far would necessarily be how we would continue to do it, but looking from scratch at all the possible strategies in each area and seeing which demonstrate themselves as the most comprehensively advantageous.
The scientific and technological capacities needed to support an effective, integrated, and continually updating critical path process for humanity’s conscious problem solving and evolution already exist and have demonstrated efficacy towards other uses, adequate to the scope of what’s needed: mathematical forecasting systems (to assess timelines for major issues, informing responses and resource allocation to address challenges within needed timelines); complexity processors (to show the web of externalized effects [positive and negative] on other systems from any initiative so as to be able to optimize not only local but systemic advantage from all projects…and to inform the basis for a system of scientifically optimizable global resource allocation); complex metric systems (for synthesizing and commensurating disparate metrics); and data systems for harvesting, mining, and procedural vetting (so governance can truly be distributed and empirically based).
Altogether, these interoperating capacities represent a new global operating system, aligned with a new global awareness of humanity as an entity, capable of and requiring conscious and considerate direction and action, in order to solve the current problems, prevent otherwise impending ones, and support the accelerated realization of our full collective potential.
“Most of the things worth doing in the world had been declared impossible before they were done.”
~Louis D Brandeis
While it may seem like I’ve expanded an already enormous task into a nearly incomprehensible one, trying to lastingly solve a problem within a structure that inexorably generates it is not possible. Changing the structure to generate different things may be complex and difficult, but complex and difficult are still infinitely easier than impossible.
The majority of this paper was focused on underscoring the need for systemic (in addition to symptomatic) solutions, and pointing towards some of the system elements in particular that must be addressed. The kind of systemic solutions needed to solve world hunger, and more fundamentally, to incentivize and support spontaneous evolution in this and all sectors, at all levels of agency, have simply been tagged here, to hopefully inspire new types and levels of consideration.
A more detailed proposal for how to develop these solutions could be a next step if we are interested in pursuing this direction together further.
1. The perspective presented here draws upon the work of Buckminster Fuller, Jacques Fresco, Barbara Marx Hubbard, Fritjof Capra, Don Beck, Carl Sagan, and many others.
2. The specific numbers included in this paper are approximate, to give a sense of general magnitudes, not precise figures.
Ervin Laszlo & Marc Gafni: Evolutionary Love
Listen to this audio dialogue between Ervin Laslo & Marc Gafni on Evolutionary Love.
Ervin Laszlo is a Hungarian philosopher of science, systems theorist, integral theorist, originally a classical pianist. He is the Founder and President of The Club of Budapest, Director and Co-Founder of the Ervin Laszlo Institute for Advanced Study (ELIAS) and of the Laszlo New-Paradigm Leadership Center (Italy)… He is the author or co-author of fifty-four books translated into as many as twenty-three languages, and the editor of another thirty volumes including a four-volume encyclopedia.
“…everything that happens from the original Big Bang in this universe or in prior universes, when things fall together and move together and create wholes, larger and larger, more and more complex wholes which more and more interact, more and more communicate with each other, and they are really entangled as a physicist would say.
That’s because there is built into each element of this universe, each particle, each atom, each cell in a living organism, its belonging to the others, its coherence with this larger whole, which comes through in spirituality. It comes through in a deeper philosophy. It comes through in a deeper, honest theology. And this is basically what the motor is. If this universe was not built in such a way, was not created with its laws of nature and development in such a way that things pull together to create wholes, then we wouldn’t be here to ask these questions and the universe would still be a random concourse of perhaps carbon – but carbon is already highly integrated – so photons or initial particles, neutrons and electrons, and that wouldn’t be much more than that. Even creating an atom calls for pulling together the elements of the nucleus and the electrons that go around it. So, evolution is what happens, is the essence of things, and evolution is based on the attraction, on the relation of the parts to each other.”
“Allurement… you’re describing a core allurement that exists between all things. You just stated it, of course, so beautifully and so musically and poetically. So let’s try and enter into it for our listeners – and there’ll be tens of thousands of listeners on this set of calls – so I really want to try and break it down for people. So when we talk about – the phrase you use is, not evolutionary love, the formal phrase you use is an all-embracing love, which is a beautiful phrase, which is the force of – and I’m borrowing Thomas Berry’s word – allurement that coheres everything together. Let’s try, if we can, if I could invite just to show people three or four just simple examples. Although you mentioned a couple implicitly even in your first opening, but just as we come deeper into the symphony to get a sense of where do we see that? Where can an average, intelligent layperson see that as it’s unfolding in the evolutionary ascension?”
Listen to the first 10 minutes here:
Ken Wilber, Richard Barrett & Marc Gafni: Personal and Societal Transformation
Join these three exciting authors as they discuss what kind of personal and societal transformation is necessary in a post-fundamentalist environment for the creation of a better world. How can we facilitate that?
Listen to the first 10 minutes here:
Dr. Marc Gafni on Outrageous Love and the Self-Organizing Universe
On July 6, 2013 Simple Life host Cynthia Fernandes interviewed Dr. Marc Gafni, who shared with her and her audience some of the most cutting-edge teachings on Unique Self and the self-organizing principle of Evolutionary Unique We-Space.
- why people have a deeper need to start playing a larger game and stop doing business as usual.
- why people tend to close down when confronted with the huge challenges we are facing as humanity and what we can do about this.
- the path from Ego through True Self to Unique Self and what it means to be an outrageous lover.
- the clues to recognizing your Unique Self.
- how we can “unleash the symphonic creativity of every Unique Self” and how this is key to solving every challenge in the world.
- why both happiness as well as profit cannot be pursued directly – they are the natural by-product of living our Unique Self and striving for excellence.
Listen to the interview below and read the synopsis of some of the keypoints here:
Warren Farrell & Marc Gafni: Tradeoffs – The Path to Paradise
These dialogues are the first in a series on what Warren Farrell and Marc Gafni call Tradeoffs.
Here we offer the Tradeoffs Methodology as a way of cultural criticism.
Extremists mostly stand for a good value in life. Yet, they think that you can never have enough of their value. That’s why they feel better when they wake up in the morning because their value gives them a sense of clarity, certainty, and comfort. They are inable to compromise because that would mean to admit that there are competing values that are all valid.
The first step in rectifying evil is knowledge. It is okay to forget certain truths, but sometimes we have forgotten that we have forgotten. The failure to see the invisible lines of connections allows for injustice and other forms of evil.
Listen to the first 10 minutes of Warren Farrell and Marc Gafni unfolding these exciting sets of ideas:
CIW Scholar Daniel Schmachtenberger about Existential Risks
The existential risks we are facing “are not different in kind, but they are different in magnitude and speed,” says Daniel Schmachtenberger in a recent podcast—called the 2050 Podcast, The No Fluff Podcast about the Big Picture, Positive Impact & Life Purpose. The exponential tech we created cannot “be put back in the bag,” so we need to create what he calls “anti-rivalrous environments that make us safe stewards of the level of power that exponential tech brings, or the human experiment completes.”
In a more poetic way he elaborates further that exponential tech is bringing us the power of Gods. Now we have to have the love, prudence, and wisdom of Gods to guide us.
Daniel says that creating an anti-rivalrous environment has never been done and there are a few prerequisites that need to be built into the prototype system:
- We need to make sure that the system doesn’t incentivize harm.
- The prototype needs to be big enough, so it can be a close-loop system—meaning it needs to be something like a city-state.
- The system needs to be anti-fragile and autopoietic.
In order to create it, we need to tap into a different sense of our humanity, says Daniel.
Read more from Daniel on Global Sufficiency: A System’s Science Perspective on Addressing World Hunger>>>
The approach to ecology set forth in Sex, Ecology, Spirituality is, critics agreed, a unique approach. Whether the critics liked the book or not, they agreed it was unique because it managed to combine ecological unity, systems theory, and nondual spirituality, but without privileging the biosphere and without using the Web-of-Life notion,which I maintain is a reductionistic, flatland conception. Rather, an all-quadrant, all-level approach to ecology allows us to situate the physiosphere, the biosphere, the noosphere, and the theosphere in their appropriate relationships in the Kosmos at large, and thus we can emphasize the crucial importance of the biosphere without having toreduceeverything to the biosphere.
The key to these relationships—and the reason why they have so often been confused—can be seen in figure 4-6. Notice that the body (biosphere), mind (noosphere), and soul/spirit (theosphere) are all indicated on the figure. Each senior wave transcends and includes its junior, as shown by the enveloping nests. In that sense, it is quite correct to say that the mind transcends and includes the body, or that the noosphere transcends and includes the biosphere. The biosphere is a crucial component of the noosphere, but not vice versa (as most ecologists incorrectly suppose). That is, you can destroy the noosphere—or human minds—and the biosphere will still survive quite handsomely; but if you destroy the biosphere, all human minds are also destroyed. The reason is that the biosphere is a part of the noosphere, and not vice versa. By analogy, an atom is part of a molecule; if you destroy the molecule, the atom can still exist, but if you destroy the atom, the molecule is also destroyed. Same for biosphere and noosphere: destroy the latter, and the former can still exist,but not vice versa, showing that on the interior realms, the biosphere is a part of the noosphere, and not the other way around (as can be clearly seen in figs. 4-3 and 4-6).
So it is not true that human minds (the noosphere) are part of nature (or the biosphere), but rather the reverse. But notice, every interior event has a correlate in the exterior sensory world—the world we often call “nature.” Thus, most ecotheorists look at the external, empirical, sensory world, and they conclude that “Everything is a part of nature,” because everything does indeed have a correlate in the Right-Hand world (as can be seen in figs. 4-4 and 4-6). So they conclude that “nature” (or the “biosphere”) is the ultimate reality, and they ask that we act in accord with “nature,” and thus they reduce everything to some version of ecology or the biosphere or the great Web of Life. But that is only half the story, the Right-Hand half. On the interioror Left-Hand dimensions, we see that nature—or the sensory, felt, empirical dimensions—are only a small part of the bigger story, a small slice of the Bigger Pie, a Pie that includes biosphere, noosphere, and theosphere.
And although all of those interior waves have exterior correlates in the world of nature, they cannot be reduced to those exteriors; they cannot be reduced to nature.To do so is simply to embrace yet another version of flatland: the monochrome world of Right-Hand reality, the empirical-sensory Web of Life. That is ecological reductionism at its worst—reducing the entire Kosmos to the Lower-Right quadrant—a reductionism at the heart of many eco- philosophies. On the other hand, an all-quadrant, all-level approach to ecology—as summarized in figure 4-6—allows us to honor the physiosphere, the biosphere, the noosphere and theosphere, not by trying to reduce one to the others, but by acknowledging and respecting the vitally crucial role they all play in this extraordinary Kosmos.
Integral Politics: A Summary of Its Essential Ingredients
by Ken Wilber
[Editor’s Note: The following is the last installment of three of the middle chapters from Book Two of a work-in-progress, The Many Faces of Terrorism, a trilogy referred to as the “terrorism trilogy.” Taken together, these three chapters outline an Integral Political Theory, which is much further detailed in the trilogy itself. But all the essentials are here, and especially in this particular chapter. You might have seen this chapter with “part 3” in the subtitle, but we also title this chapter, “Integral Politics: A Summary of Its Essential Ingredients,” because that is exactly what it is. You needn’t have read the first two chapters to understand this, as it is a good stand-alone. In the chapter itself there is a “Handout” with the basic ingredients listed and summarized, and we have included that in its entirety at the end of the chapter, since it is introduced part by part in the narrative.
There’s nothing you really need to know about the plot, since these chapters don’t really deal with that, and it’s much too dense to summarize in a short intro anyway. We have added some intro diagrams not in the original chapters, for those new to Integral (AQAL) Theory, although the last diagram is in the original chapter.
All you need to know is that this narrative is ostensibly being written by a 25-year-old named Ken Wilber (part of Ken’s poke at the self-reflexiveness of postmodernism), who has just found out that Kim, seated next to him, has been considering him as a potential father for her children—children that, given their nanobotic future, might have biological immortality (see esp. the previous two installments posted here: Part 1 and Part 2). Ken is loopy in love, as is the person soon to be sitting on the other side of him, a teacher named Margaret. Their struggle to carry on a conversation, as they fade in and out from logic to love, is part of the hilarity of the chapter. The serious part is, of course, what might be the first Integral map of politics ever devised, which, in the book, is discovered/created by Lesa Powell (the object of Margaret’s mutual affection).
The setting is a press conference being given by Integral Center (a play on Integral Institute, of course), who are reporting the results of a computer futures scenario, a scenario that, using the AQAL Code (or the Integral model, explained below), has found that around 30 years from now (“P+30”; i.e., the “Present + 30 years”), there will occur a tetra-Singularity of staggering proportions. Think of it like the Singularity described by Ray Kurzweil—except that his Singularity only refers to the Right-Hand quadrants, not the interior or Left-Hand quadrants, where, the AQAL Code predicts, we will finally have over 10% of the population reaching truly Integral (or ‘second-tier’) levels—hence, a Singularity-like occurrence in all four quadrants.
This is where these three chapters pick up. But the overall plot of the trilogy deals with many other items: especially, as the title suggests, the nature of terrorism itself—what it is, why it is, how it is, as well as how to deal with it, from an AQAL or truly Integral fashion. The first book of the trilogy introduces the Integral model (using an ingenious two-level plot-line, where there is something new and intriguing in the plot whether you know the Integral model or not; the second book focuses on Integral Politics (these excerpted chapters come from that book); and the third book focuses on the role of religion in the modern and postmodern world, which invariably entails a look at terrorism, again. (These chapters are not much more than first drafts, so please remember that; but Ken tends to conceive books fully formed and then quickly write them down with little editing or changes, so first drafts are often quite close to last drafts.) So we hope you enjoy this chapter, which is a brief slice from the trilogy itself, but one that has enough to indicate what a truly Integral Politics is, and how to begin to construct one in the real world. Stay tuned to this site for more on the actual praxis; but for now, the theoria…. All best, the Editors]
Unique Self & Integral Politics
Beyond the old style zero-sum politics and moving past win/win bi-partisan politics, there is a new approach to government that is truly transpartisan. Unique Self is an essential technology for developing a new integral political wisdom capable of solving the world’s problems.
The following is a transcript of an excerpt from a dialogue between Joe Perez and Marc Gafni in July 2012.
Joe: This is Unique Self and Politics. I’m here with Marc Gafni. Welcome, Marc.
Marc: Welcome Joe. It’s great to be here with you.
Joe: Likewise. On this sunny day in election season, politics is on the brain.
Marc: Completely. I guess our conversation is – as you and I talked in the pre-recording conversation – How do we move towards an integral politics, and what is the contribution of Unique Self towards an integral politics, and that’s really what we want to talk about today.
Joe: Exactly. By integral politics, we’re talking now about the contribution of the integral movement – particularly leaders such as Ken Wilber – in creating a vision of politics in which the role of government is seen as being one that brings people together and not dividing people among different factions and ideologies.
Marc: Okay, that makes a lot of sense. “Integral” represents a broad range of perspectives of integral theorists and thinkers, Ken being one of the very important leading thinkers and teachers, and a host of other really important voices over the last 150 years.
Integral is, if I can state it, is meta-theory. Integral says that we have a larger vision of the patterns that connect, which is a non-metaphysical, non-dogmatic vision. Integral means that after all the deconstruction is over, we need to begin the great reconstruction project of drawing together all the systems of knowing and weaving them into a larger vision of meaning and direction.
Another way to say that, which is fantastic, is that integral is bringing together different perspectives. That’s really what it’s about. Every particular political party, and every faction within a political party, is holding a perspective. One of the things that integral theory likes to say is that no one is smart enough to be entirely wrong. There’s something to that perspective. It’s got some kernel of something to it.
I’m taking out of the conversation perspectives that are really rooted in malice. There are perspectives you need to exclude. Not every perspective is kosher. If everything’s kosher, nothing’s kosher. If we exclude the fringe perspectives that emerge from malice, or what Scott Peck once called People of the Lie, the core center perspectives on either side, all sides of the aisle, are really important, and all the core perspectives within every party and all the core perspectives within each branch of government, all of those need to be honored. They are all unique perspectives. That’s really what Unique Self is about.
Unique Self says that reality sees uniquely through every human being because each human being has a unique perspective. That’s precisely the idea of Unique Self. Every perspective needs to be brought to the table. But not at the level of ego. At the level of ego, I’m struggling for my ego’s survival, I’m competing with you for resources, and I need to win and you need to lose. From a Unique Self perspective, uniqueness is the currency of connection, and all the unique perspectives together create a new vision, all the unique perspectives create a larger evolutionary We-space in which all those perspectives are recognized as true but partial, and they can all be heard.
So that’s the beginning of an integral politics. An integral politics is not an “Us against Them” politics. It’s a politics in which every unique perspective, both of every person who is a voter who expresses their unique perspective through voting, and through whatever sort of civic or political activism that they’re moved to do, that you can do in a democracy. That’s an incredibly dramatic idea that never existed previously in history, and every organized group is allowed to and encouraged to express its perspective. But what’s happened is that politics until now has become a zero-sum game. It’s Us against Them, we’re right and they’re wrong, and the notion of listening deeply to another person’s perspective and saying wow … I see that, you are really pointing towards something I hadn’t thought of before. I disagree with three things you said, but one dimension of what you said has really moved me and I really want to incorporate it. You don’t see that a lot on your classical James Carville, Rush Limbaugh talk shows. Because it’s a zero sum, either/or game.
Joe: Another way of putting this point would be to draw a distinction between bi-partisan politics and trans-partisan politics, if you get that general distinction. Bi-partisan: you can have two fixed groups who are opposed to each other coming up with a compromise that doesn’t really make anyone happy and can ignore the larger good. Trans-partisan politics comes from a Unique Self perspective and it’s not so much concerned about getting factions to a concrete action but about aligning factions with that ultimate good. Is that how you would put it, or do you see it differently?
Marc: That’s completely correct. What we’re basically doing is putting perspectives front and center. The link we’re making is absolutely critical because there are two conversations. There’s a Unique Self conversation, and there’s a perspectives conversation. They’re both actually the same conversation. The entire point of Unique Self is the irreducible perspective which is unique. Let me say one more word about that because I think that’s where the essence of it is.
In the old enlightenment the assumption was that if you really got clear, you’d get beyond your separate self. Your sense of perspective of uniqueness came from that separate self, when you moved beyond it you’d become part of the Light, and the Light is all One. It’s an unqualified Oneness. That’s the old enlightenment.
In the new enlightenment, we actually realize—number one – that Light itself is not unqualified. There are frequencies of Light. When you move into the Light, you don’t lose perspective, you lose the grasping, distorting perspective of the ego which is deluded into thinking you’re separate from everything else. No, you realize that you are part of the all. While you are part of the all, you still remain apart. You’re part of the larger at-one-ment. You retain your unique perspective. What we’ve realized in the new enlightenment is that an irreducible perspective is the ontology of the new enlightenment. It’s part of what essence is about. Once that’s true, it’s not about proving the other guy wrong.
There are a million places where you have to argue that this perspective is wrong because it didn’t take into account this or that or the other piece of information. However you also have to be listening to say, Is this perspective showing me something, showing me uniquely from that particular perspective that I’m not able to see because it’s looking at it from a different angle? An integral politics moves to bring all the unique perspectives of all the different dimensions of society and all the individuals in society into a larger, as you say, trans-partisan vision. I love that distinction between bi-partisan, which is trying to make everything a win/win game so it will be better for both of us, and trans-partisan where there’s a real evolutionary We-space. Integral politics requires the technology of Unique Self in order for it to actually become real.
Joe: Does Unique Self – and this has been on my mind recently – what does it say about nations? Does each nation have a Unique Self? And does the world itself have a Unique Self? And how do we even talk about this without sounding like we’re slipping into some old style metaphysics?
Marc: That’s a fantastic question. In other words, is there a Unique Self which is not some nationalist xenophobia but that actually reflects something essential? I think the answer is yes. What’s happened is we’ve failed to make a pre/trans fallacy. In the pre-universal days, our identity was wholly defined by our particular identity: national identity, religious identity, and so then we said we’re the unique ones, the chosen ones, and everyone else is excluded. Then we moved beyond that limiting, distorted prism of identity, and we said no, no, we’re part of a universal One – the universal rights of man. That was a huge evolutionary leap forward which shifted consciousness and evolved love – which is incredibly important. Now at level three we’re now beginning to understand that an enlightened pluralism at a higher level of consciousness is not merely the ethic of a melting pot society, where we all melt into a larger one, but one in which the singularity of every person and the singularity of every sector and dimension of society is what moves us towards a shared vision. At level three, we are able both to acknowledge and embrace our role as global citizens, as participants in a World Spirituality, but our metaphor has now become that of a symphony.
In a symphony, every instrument plays its own music to perfection, and the recognition is that what is essential is the music and every instrument can play the music in its own particular way even as it listens to the other instruments and participates in the larger symphony. That’s the kind of reclaiming of Unique Self that we need to do on a national level. Every nation is an instrument, a unique socio-cultural, ethnic, existential, geographic, values-perspective spiritual instrument, and that instrument is necessary and important.
Therefore reclaiming the native traditions, reclaiming the aboriginal wisdoms, reclaiming the original shamanism if you will, of every people and culture is critically important, but not in the old way. In the old vision of shamanism, the shaman was responsible, for example, for this bush to that river to that mountain range. It was a very ethnocentric, local view. In a kind of evolutionary shamanism, we actually begin to incorporate in a very deep way the Unique Self, the original Unique Self shamanic intuition and understanding which is evolving and emerging of every people, every nation. To lose that would be to lose perhaps one of the most important sources of wisdom – wisdom,depth, insight and Eros that we have on the planet. It’s about an evolutionary shamanism which reclaims the Unique Self of every nation – not on a pre- level, pre-universalism, xenophobic nationalism of the old kind, but on this new evolutionary level.
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One of the core tenants of an Integral Planet, the Emergence Project, and a World Spirituality Based on Integral Principles is to be All In for All Life.
To be All In for All Life, you’ve got to be willing to participate in the pain, to wake up and feel it. But what we’ve done is numb ourselves to the pain to the point where we have become comfort. Comfort is the opposite of pain.
So we are never awake. Pain and pleasure are related. Pain is the pain of loneliness, alienation, starvation. It is the pain of a world desperately crying out to be heard. Millions of voices are subsisting below the poverty line. It is disconnected from itself, separated from a vision of meaning and a shared spiritual language.
We must be willing to engage with it, beginning with the immense physical pain of people on this earth as well as animals. You cannot be All In for All Life if you spend your waking hours anaesthetizing yourselves to the pain. Love, joy, and creativity can’t be realized through a spiritual and ethical bypass of the pain; they have to move through and transmute the pain.
To be All In for All Life is to engage the pain in a way that is transformative. Why do people shut down? How do you engage the pain in a way that doesn’t make you mad? These are the questions we will be engaging in the next parts.
Why do people close their hearts? Why is it that good people are able to live comfortably and ignore the pain?
Some say that people aren’t very good, that they are grasping egos moving towards survival. But the human being has an animal dimension and an evolved consciousness. The human being is noble and often sacrifices its life for the sake of another.
How can you ignore image after image of pain coming at you through every form of media and do nothing? Don’t think about it as a theoretical question. Why is it that you have closed down? Virtually every person I ask tells me the same thing: you feel helpless.
When you live with a sense of futility, you have a sense of breakdown. You can’t live with a sense of learned helplessness. Its fragrance is the stench of the world today.
The Gap between our Ability to Feel and our Ability to Heal
The reason people shut their hearts is that there is a gap between our ability to feel and our ability to heal. When you know you have the ability to heal, you have the ability to feel. When the gap is too great, your heart closes because the pain is too unbearable.
In the gap between your ability to heal and your ability to feel, your heart closes.
You have a level of information today about the suffering of the world available to you today that was only available to God a hundred years ago. The level of knowledge around the globe only God knew.
You have some dimension of omniscience. But in the classical definition of Divinity, God is also omnipotent. But you and me are omniscience but not omnipotent. Our experience is that we are impotent in the face of the outrageous pain.
How do we heal the gap? The only way is to reclaim your potency. This will re-close the gap between your ability to feel and your ability to heal. You need to do this to be All In for All Life.
How do we close the gap between our ability to heal and our ability to feel?
It is not only critical for every living being that needs our engagement, but it is critical for ourselves.
If you close your heart time and again after seeing outrageous pain, do you think you can open your heart someplace else fully? We only have one heart. If you close your heart in one place, you close it in another.
Intimacy is under devastating dissolution today in a way it never was before. We are exposed to such profound knowledge of pain and yet we are impotent. You think you can open it again to love him/her. But you can’t.
It is essential to open your heart for your self – for the most “selfish” of reasons, the self that wants to be intimate with other people.
Morphogenesis is an important idea which helps us to the solution. The universe is not driven from a top-down system. The universe is ceaselessly creative which self-organizes bottom-up. The command system of slime mold or ant hill or bee hive or flock of birds reveals these principles.
The world is meant to be self-organizing. We used to think that there was a government department that will solve the world’s problem. But it doesn’t work that way. There Is intelligence in the cosmos that can solve these problems and it is a system of Unique Selves which have unique gifts which have the ability to address a unique needs of their community.
Every Unique Self is an expression of the whole, so when every Unique Self begins to act then every Unique Self in the world begins to act in that way, and then you unleash a torrent of heart. There is a waterfall of creativity which is a symphony of outrageous lovers committing the unique acts of love they are meant to commit.
You are a unique expression of the seamless coat of the universe. That means it all lives in you, the infinite is awake and alive in you. When you act in your circle of influence, you are the whole acting through you. You are God’s verb, the action of Love in the world, Spirit-in-action.
The whole acts through you by engaging the unique need in your circle of influence. You are potent, powerful, alive, awake, aware. That’s all the universe wants from you, and it’s a lot.
It’s the potal to your joy, your Eros, to your happiness. You are here with a purpose unlike any other. From this place, you have closed the gap between your ability to heal and your ability to feel.
In Order to Be All In for All Life, You Have to Feel Your Own Aliveness.
That means you have to plug into the portal of pain in a way that’s powerful rather than impotent.
How do you do that? Marc Gafni shares a particular practice from Kabbalah.
It is called participating in the pain of Eros in exile. What that means is that you have to open yourself up to the pain in a way that means you are taking care of your soul. You are not allowing yourself to become dysfunctional.
Some of the most profoundly sensitive people are addicts or living in insane asylums. This won’t do.
We need to develop a formula that allows you to open up to the pain fully for 5 minutes a day. You might do it by getting silent and bringing to mind images of pain and letting your mind dwell in it. You might do it by reading a newspaper article.
You open yourself to the pain fully for a limited amount of time. Here is a deep mystical knowing – it is what we know by meditating or contemplating with the Eye of the Spirit or what the Sufis called the Eye of the Heart or the Christ people called the Third Eye. When you enter the pain, you are participating in the sweetness of the Divine.
The alive personal intelligence of All-That-Is is the infinity of intimacy and the infinity of pain. If you think you feel the pain of the world for 5 minutes, that’s fine. But imagine that the Divine pain is intimate. You are entering into God’s heart and are participating with the personal Eros of All-That-Is. In that participation, there emerges an infinite sweetness.
When you step inside, you are blessed by everything. The contraction is melted away and you feel the aliveness and awakeness of the feminine Goddess Divine – the personal embrace of the loving intelligence of the universe. You have the power to love and dance and sing and create. You are empowered to become a beneficial healing presence on the planet.
From the perspective of Unique Self, Sacred Activism is our Unique Obligation or what Buddhists have called the bodhisattva vow. In the words of Marc Gafni:
Your Unique Self creates your Unique Obligation and Unique Vow. First Person: In the Buddhist tradition, the bodhisattva is one who seeks buddhahood through practicing noble action. The bodhisattva vows to postpone his or her complete awakening and fulfillment until all other beings are awakened and fulfilled. The determining factor in his or her actions is compassion, moved by the highest insight and wisdom. The realization of Unique Self may be regarded as bodhisattva activity - the unique manifestation of wisdom and guidance. The Unique Self bodhisattva vow is an expression of evolutionary joy and responsibility, even as it is a commitment to the fulfillment of your evolutionary obligation.
Or in other words from the same article by Dr. Marc:
To be loved is to be obligated. In the language of the second-person mystics - the human being is obligated as the core essence of being alive to engage in imatatio dei - the imitation of god. The second person mystics now go the next step (and this is Rumi, Hafiz, Ibn Arabi, Akiva, Luria, Augustine, Aquinas, and the whole gang.) We are commanded by consciousness itself to be “like god.” To partner with God in the healing and transformation of all that is.
But, how can you be like God if we do not know God? Ahhh. Remember there is one thing we DO KNOW about God. God is Creative. Consciousness is Creative. Creativity is the essential manifest quality of Consciousness. So, therefore: Just as God is creative, so you be creative. To use biblical language, just as God stood as the abyss of darkness and said “Let there be light,” so too shall you stand creatively at the abyss of darkness and say let there be light. Just as God creates worlds, so too shall you as God’s partners be a creator of worlds.
God in the second person, who holds you and loves you, has but one wild, ecstatic, rigorous, and uncompromising demand: “Be my creative partner in the healing and transformation of the world. Evolve consciousness, and fix the broken places with Me - because I cannot do it without you. I need your service. My gift to you in love,” whispers God in our ear even as She caresses our heart, “My gift to you is to make you my partner and allow Myself to be - at least in part - dependent on you!”
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Reclaiming obligation at second tier consciousness
What does it mean to answer the call?
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One of the core tenets of an Integral Planet and a World Spirituality based on Integral Principles is to be All In for All Life. The way you do that is through the twin principles of Unique Self and unique responsibility or obligation.
The word “obligation” seems frightening for most of us, but in World Spirituality we have evolved the notion of obligation. We haven’t done away with it as so much of the human potential or New Age movement have done. And we haven’t mythologized it as so many of the traditions have done.
Your unique obligation is your way of loving and engaging All-That-Is. To be All In for All Life, you incarnate through these twin principles to be described in the following videos.
To be All in for All Life at its core is not an option but an obligation.