Bopping along through history, with different players but a through line, we go from the emergence of primitive human who took hundreds of thousands of years to even start to use tools, to the more modern eras where we have moved though thinking we could own human beings to recognizing that ALL people, whatever their religion, sexual orientation, or skin color, have an equal place at the humanity table.
These blog posts form a collection. They are a treasure trove of food for thought to spark conversation. So, grab a cup of consciousness, tour around, chew on some tasty transformation, and let’s talk!
There’s a territory we must learn to live in where we’re committed to the good of the whole. When I engage with a person who’s on this wavelength, or I read something well-written that’s coming from this understanding, or a movie or a play has that ring of being right-on about it, I get excited. There’s something deeply satisfying, kind of like hitting a bullseye, when I meet a compatriot in this pay-dirt for humanity.
I was reading THE CLEAN MONEY REVOLUTION: Reinventing Power, Purpose, and Capitalism (a great book by Joel Solomon that I bought because I know Joel and to know him is to admire him), and came to a one-page statement by Rex Weyler that’s one of those spot-on deliveries of core truth that stirs my heart. I’ve been an admirer of Rex’s, one of the founders of Greenpeace, for a long time. Over the years, having passed along several things he’s written, my enthusiasm got me an in-person visit when Rex came to L.A. a while back.
When I sent Rex’s piece to fellow participants in an Elders Action Network webinar series about our worldview, the moderator said, “It is the most succinct statement I’ve read about the situation, the natural ecological process and the solution for the evolution of consciousness.” The better we understand what got us where we are the better we can grapple with where we need to go, and this piece of Rex’s is stunningly informative on that front:
Humanity is in a state of ecological overshoot, which occurs with every successful species. Nature teaches species how to grow and flourish, but does not teach species how to stop—so everything over-grows its habitat capacity. Everything. Plants in the garden, wolves in a watershed, algae in a lake. Humans have been so successful (ecologically) that we have now overshot the productive capacity of our ecosystem. That is normal and it is the fundamental ecological challenge. Now, all genuine solutions to overshoot involve contraction — plants crowd each other out, wolves die off until the prey recover, algae dies off until nutrients are restored. That’s pretty much a law or pattern of nature. No escape. Technology and efficiency don’t buy us a pass.
Starvation, disease and predators are some of nature’s default “solutions” to ecological overshoot. We can add our own contribution of warfare. But as intelligent, ingenious creatures, we want to devise better ways to contract, and create a mature, stable culture as opposed to simply growing bigger. That is our challenge. But our economic system — capitalism — is fundamentally based on growth, and few governments (outside of Bhutan, perhaps) are willing to discuss the end of growth capitalism. Few environmentalists are willing to discuss it. So we’re in a deep dilemma. We have to learn to talk about it in adult conversation, without freaking out, and then we have to actually act on this knowledge.
How to contract as a species and reduce consumption to suit our finite habitat on Earth—how to do this creatively, intelligently, minimizing suffering as we do so— is the work that lies ahead.
I’d love you to comment on this blogpost, especially to talk about the need for a different mind-set or worldview where we get it that we sink or swim together whereby we need to create a stable, sustainable world instead of simply growing bigger. Do you have an evolutionary idea about this? (Here are some ideas that have been submitted.) If humanity thinks differently we will act differently, and creating the understanding that we are in it together, where, in the words of Charles Eisenstein, “What’s more for you is more for me,” is our challenge. The whole SUESpeaks website is devoted to that work. Please get involved!
Find out more about Rex Weyler, Joel Solomon and Charles Eisenstein in our Heroes Gallery.
Brian Swimme is Director of the Center for the Story of the Universe and a professor at the California Institute of Integral Studies in San Francisco, where he teaches evolutionary cosmology and philosophy to graduate students. He lectures widely and has presented at many conferences. He co-wrote and hosted the 60 minute film, Journey of the Universe, broadcast on PBS television stations nationwide.
Brian has been my main philosophical squeeze since the late 80s when I read his book, The Universe is a Green Dragon. It’s a “cosmic creation story” of our billions of years of evolution with humanity at the leading edge of the known universe. As good as Brian’s book is, I’m equally enamored with its wonderful author who inspires everyone in his presence with the majesty of the universe and the privilege of being part of it. We did a memorable evening with him at my house a lot of years ago, and when he came to L.A. a few weeks ago to be on a panel and to give a keynote address at a local event I had the pleasure of having him at my house again.
We turned the camera on at a brunch with a few good friends who each read Brian a favorite passage from Green Dragon to spark our conversation:
I vote to put world peace into the hands of America’s Got Talent’s winner, Shin Lim, who does the impossible!
When Wild Wild Country came out as a documentary series on Netflix and made a huge splash, I made a little YouTube video about being flown to Rajneeshpuram when they were recruiting me to be a follower:
Hello Hollywood! This got me discovered by Ideapod’s CEO, Justin Brown, who invited me to do the webinar with him that’s below.
(I am a big supporter of Ideapod, a rare site that, like mine, invites participation to come up with what can help this crazed world, and I urge you to become an Ideapod member.)
Here’s what Ideapod sent out to invite people to watch our webinar:
July 30, 2018
By Justin Brown, CEO of Ideapod
By now you’ve probably heard of the Wild Wild Country documentary series that premiered on Netflix on March 16th.
It tells the incredible story of the Indian spiritual master, Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh, aka Osho, who founded a commune, Rajneeshpuram, in rural Oregon in the early 1980s. Remarkably, the commune attracted thousands of people from around the world inspired by the promise of a new kind of society.
The movement also drew controversy and fell apart when significant figures from the commune ending up being charged with terrorism and jailed for immigration fraud and attempted murder.
The documentary series is entertaining to watch. However, there is very little exploration of Osho’s teaching that caused so many people to come together to create a new way of living. It was a revolutionary project and the residents seemed to sincerely hope their ways of thinking would spread around the world. We therefore decided to talk with two people who knew a lot about that era.The full video is below, along with a transcript (Click here for the transcript that’s in what Ideapod sent…ST.) Our hope is that others will be able to take the discussion further by building upon the ideas discussed here.Wild Wild Country is truly stunning. Yet, while watching the documentary series I couldn’t help but think that it didn’t do justice to the many thousands of people who moved to Oregon to create a new way of living.
I then came across a beautiful short video by Suzanne Taylor from Sue Speaks. She had visited the commune and expressed an opinion about the lack of focus on Osho’s teachings in the documentary series. I reached out to Suzanne to discuss this issue, and she invited Pennell Rock into the discussion. Pennell was a disciple of Osho’s. He visited Oregon often but lived there for only three months. Prior to Osho’s sojourn in the States, Pennell lived intermittently at his Ashram in India and brought his girlfriend there. She became Hasya, who plays a major part in the documentary as she became Osho’s right hand when Sheela, who was running the place, fled from Oregon. Pennell is a scholar in Comparative Religions and Philosophy, so he was the perfect person to join us for this discussion.
Justin Brown interviews Suzanne Taylor and Pennell Rock:
My story was featured in OSHO News. Check it out!
I find it helpful to think about the meaning of life and what I am doing here. The deeper I understand the point of life, the smarter I can be about how to live. One of the things I keep asking myself is what it would take for me to feel content, let alone happy. But, content will do — to create equilibrium to think and to choose my actions intelligently.
I’m with Socrates saying the unexamined life is not worth living. Ever since the human potential movement pushed me beyond where being a wife and mom was the main frame for my life, I’ve thought about what the basics are that I need for my well-being.
I think that’s a good topic to talk about. We get food for thought from one another. And, since engagement is what this site is here to serve, how about telling me what you need to keep you going? Would you do a little introspection and see what you come up with? Maybe we can inspire one another to more profound insights that lead us to more satisfying choices!
A while ago, I settled into being creative and being appreciated as my bottom lines. Lately, I’ve been thinking that has morphed to having a good game to play, which covers both those bases.
There are two quotes that, together, frame that game perspective in a way that gives me guidance:
All the world’s a stage,
And all the men and women merely players;
They have their exits and their entrances;
And one man in his time plays many parts…
― William Shakespeare, As You Like It
We’re not here forever. We enter at birth with an allotment of so many years to play out our drama. We get what we get and we have to figure out what to do with it.
I am informed about that by this quote that’s at the start of a book by a lesser-known sage:
Seek, above all, for a game worth playing. Such is the advice of the oracle to modern man. Having found the game, play it with intensity – play as if your life and sanity depended on it. (They do depend on it.) Follow the example of the French existentialists and flourish a banner bearing the word “engagement.” Though nothing means anything and all roads are marked “NO EXIT,” yet move as if your movements had some purpose. If life does not seem to offer a game worth playing, then invent one. For it must be clear, even to the most clouded intelligence, that any game is better than no game.
― Robert S. de Ropp, The Master Game: Pathways to Higher Consciousness
Here’s a bonus from that wonderful de Ropp book:
To emerge from this narrow shell, to regain union with the universal consciousness, to pass from the darkness of the ego-centered illusion into the light of the non-ego, this was the real aim of the Religion Game as defined by the great teachers, Jesus, Gautama, Krishna, Mahavira, Lao-tze and the Platonic Socrates.
And I happened to come across this comment on de Ropp’s book that I agree with:
THIS IS AN IMPORTANT BOOK TO READ WHEN YOU ARE YOUNG. ACTUALLY, THIS IS AN IMPORTANT BOOK TO READ ANYTIME YOUNG OR OLD. AND IT IS CERTAINLY WORTH A RE-READING. ALTHOUGH WRITTEN IN THE 60s IT IS JUST AS RELEVANT NOW AS THEN.
What are your essentials for staying positive? What keeps you moving forward everyday?
Can we pass an amendment to the Constitution so Richard Branson can be President? What he says at the end of remarks about how businesses should treat employees, when he’s asked, What do you think those in positions of power should do to address social problems like income inequality?, is THE succinct pinpointing of where we are stuck. A world run by profit is not a world that works for the good of people. What he just mentions in passing to conclude the interview should have flashing neon lights all around it to draw the public’s attention to the bottleneck that is preventing our next evolutionary step. How to get over this HUGE hump? I was heartened to see how cogently he talks about a Basic Income Guarantee, a track I’ve been on since before we were even talking about this in the States, and was even more heartened when he went beyond that specific idea to urge businesses to become responsible change agents rather than narrow-minded profit seekers.
The conclusion of the piece in The New York Times:
David: What do you think those in positions of power should do to address social problems like income inequality?
Richard: A basic income should be introduced in Europe and in America. It’s great to see countries like Finland experimenting with it in certain cities. It’s a disgrace to see people sleeping on the streets with this material wealth all around them. And I think with artificial intelligence coming along, there needs to be a basic income.
David: Because of job displacement?
Richard: I think A.I. will result in there being less hours in the day that people are going to need to work. You know, three-day workweeks and four-day weekends. Then we’re going to need companies trying to entertain people during those four days, and help people make sure that they’re paid a decent amount of money for much shorter work time.
David: That’s a pretty rosy vision of what business can do. Is it really so simple?
Holly: If all businesses start doing the right thing for their communities and the world as a whole, all of the world’s problems could be solved.
Richard: If we can get every business in the world to adopt a global problem, get slightly smaller businesses to adopt a national problem, get smaller businesses still to adopt local problems, then we can get on top of pretty well every problem in the world.