May 12th, 2008
The idea of nations is dying. Or at least it should be…
The lines we paint on our planet to form nations cause some of the deepest rifts in our humanity. I’ve done a lot of talking about the importance of each of us developing a world view perspective. This is why I’m sad that I only heard about Pangea Day just before it happened. I’m even sadder that I did nothing whatsoever to promote it. But I’m absolutely thrilled I got to be a part of it.
Pangea Day really was absolutely amazing. The 4 hour event featured short films submitted by people around the world, all of which enabled us better see the world through the eyes of “the other.”
Having the world come together – at the same time – to watch the same films – was an amazingly powerful thing. I sat in a room with strangers watching the world talk about itself. We experienced standing up together to do laughing yoga. We also participated in listening to the world’s heartbeat as percussionists from all of the world drummed together.
It was moving to say the least.
I don’t do it justice talking about it. Instead, here’s a few links to some of my favorite films. Check out all of them at www.pangeaday.org… And maybe even pick a cause to help.
Pale Blue Dot
March 18th, 2007
This talk is an introduction to states and stages of consciousness. States of consciousness are our now experience, and stages of consciousness deal with the growth of self along many lines of development in time. In this talk I want to explain the importance of each of these perspectives of consciousness and begin to point at how we develop each of them.
States of consciousness are not permanent. They include: emotional states, drug induced states, meditative states, waking and sleeping states, and others. Much of our time is spent trying to manage our state experience. We feel hungry, we go for food. We have a headache, we take aspirin. We want to feel good, we have a beer.
Stages of consciousness instead deal with development along many different lines. Those lines include cognitive, value, interpersonal, moral, sexual, etc. On each of those lines there are altitudes of development. Some are more developed morally than others. Some are more developed cognitively. There can also be movement along these lines. An individual may start out as selfish, and move to nationalistic, and then finally resonate from a world view. Stages are objective judgments of subjective experience. They are the structures and beliefs from which we see the world.
Why do these altitudes of development get to be called stages? Because study after study shows that over time the answers to certain question about our experience go in one direction. The way we process and interpret the world tends to keep going in the same direction along these lines. There is a tendency to grow and widen our capacity and our understanding and experience of deeper stages. We all may not move along the line, but almost nobody goes backwards. There is a direction to the movement.
Healthy stage development, along any line looks like this: When one experience (or stage) is taken from subjective experience into objective experience. When we can look back at the prior stage objectively we have fully and healthily evolved through that stage.
Meditation (state management) practice doesn’t always show us our current stage. And while true subjective state experience doesn’t allow us to see our current stage ever (because we’re in it) we still grow through the stages over time. Working on meditation isn’t always only a direct state experience. Often it is a thinking dialog and running into walls of self, belief, structures, etc. It is my opinion that this part of the practice of meditation often leads to an understanding of the stages we’re going through. This is not because of the state experience, but rather the opportunity for introspection sitting offers.
States don’t tend to evolve, unless trained. And even then, they still jump around a lot. (Buddhas still sleep, wake and dream.) But states of mind can evolve when trained. The idea here is that non-dual awareness and the like can be developed. To a certain extent that is a stage in the realm of state experience. Once you understand and have non-dual experience, it has the capacity to inform the rest of your state experience.
Basically, we want to learn to manage our state experience as best we can, and grow through the stages of development along all the available lines as best we can. Doing those two things is what self development and growth is about, in this moment and through time.
Referenced: Integral Theory, Spiral Dynamics
December 29th, 2006
When something is transparent it is able to be seen through. In this talk I make an effort to show the link between transparency and awareness, making the assumption that awareness is healthy. Transparency is an idea that can be applied to any system to allow that system to behave healthily and naturally. Systems mentioned include self, companies, governments and society in general.
Exposure puts natural pressure on behavior that is only OK behind closed doors. Lies in personal relationships, corporate dumping, dishonest motivations of governments all become fixable when we are aware of them. For us to be aware of them, these systems need to make efforts toward transparency. While it’s true that most entities may not immediately want to become transparent, there are many reasons to motivate them to foster transparency. Companies can become more profitable by fostering internal and external transparency. Governments can run more smoothly and efficiently as well. As more individuals understand this concept and want to foster it, we can bring these ideas to the systems we’re a part of.
We all have emotions to help us make appropriate behavioral decisions. If we allow for too much privacy, we can hide behind walls and bury emotions of shame and guilt. Those feelings would naturally curb behaviors if we were only to remove the walls of privacy. It’s easy to continue doing destructive things if we think no one is watching. Once we know others can see us, natural systems kick in to guide us.
Our legal system is losing the battle of specifics. We can’t write specific laws to govern all action successfully. We need a more elegant and complete idea to work from. Any elegant solution ends up being a simple solution. Transparency offers us a simple central theme to work with any system. It fosters awareness in any size system and helps us all resonate at wider levels of identification.
September 4th, 2006
It would help us greatly if we decided to look at others for our similarities instead of for our differences. It is very natural to see someone of different color, or ideas, and focus only on the differences. In this show I discuss some examples of how we focus on the differences, and how things might be different if we were to realize how alike we all really are.
When we come from a place of looking first at differences, we tend to assume that everything about the person is different. If we can realize that we are basically similar, and that the differences are in the details and perspectives, then we would have much less conflict in our lives.
The ways in which we are all similar:
- physical traits
- we all want to prosper
Focusing on differences is very natural. Similarities seem boring. Of course we all breathe. Of course we all feel fear. Not very exciting stuff. But coming into a situation with that literally on our mind helps us to see things in a cooperative way instead of a conflicting way.
What if nations focused on similarities? What if religions did? How might that change our world?
Show Music: A Lesson In Crime by Tokyo Police Club
February 26th, 2006
Consciousness expands from being an infant through different identifications with social groups. The highest level on average is the national level. We identify with our family, our neighborhood, our state, our nation. Why not our world and beyond?
When survival of the team or family depends on loyalty, it is important that we are able to identify with that level. Our survival at this point is becoming more and more dependant on a world view. There are views beyond the world view, but the world view would be the next meaningful level of identification.
At the base of this identification is the ego clinging to an idea about itself. The problem starts when we let that identification get so deep that we make choices that are against our values. Nations that go to war would be potentially the greatest example of this. How does taking human life become so easily justified during war? It does because it falls under the umbrella of protecting a nation. Protecting the idea of “us”. But there is only “us” in a world view. There is no “them”.
Nations often fight because they are lost in value systems that are out of sync. If we were able to widen our level of identification to a world view, we would grow past many, if not all, of our conflicts.
Do we gain anything, or lose anything by identifying with different levels of social structure? Is it better to identify with a neighborhood by being in a gang, or a city by being proud to be from that place, or a nation, or the world? There are less people to fight, less outsiders as we widen our identification.
The next view beyond world view would be a universal view, or a unified view. I only mention this to say that we are not done once we’re at the world view.
We use these levels of identification to grow. We expand as we move from one view of our group to the next wider view. That said, what would change if we, as individuals, started to identify with a world view, instead of a national view?
Show Music: At Home And Unaffected by Decomposure
Referenced: Bill Hicks, Ken Wilber