On the morning after Trump says he’s going to increase already intensely bloated military spending by another 10%, I look at Paul Craig Robert’s reaction —
— and am tempted to despair. Where is the larger vision that precludes war as the driver of civilization until the entire world disintegrates in a flash?
Then, again this morning, thanks to permaculture teacher and designer Keith Johnson, this. THIS is the vision. Interdependency. Interbeing. Increasing differentiation and integration via cooperation and empathy. Let us hold this vision as we move forward, not to just “make America great again” but to live up to our homo sapiens destiny as self-aware collaborators in Nature’s divine dance.
Lychen are green algae and/or blue-green algae living within a symbiotic relationship amongst the structural filaments of a fungus (Image Source)
The narrative of interbeing informs and promotes global empathy as it makes us aware of our interdependence as relational beings with life’s thriving on Earth and with the evolution of consciousness within the constantly transforming universe. The healthy evolution of consciousness is not a replacement of reason with empathy, but rather an integration of our capacity for reason with multiple ways of knowing and an increased capacity for empathy — what Albert Einstein referred to as “widening our circles of compassion”.
Evolutionary maps of consciousness like the Wilber-Combs lattice of levels and states of consciousness (Combs, 2009), Clare Graves’s ‘bio-psycho-social systems’ (Graves, 2004 & 2005) or Don Beck’s and Christopher Cowan’s ‘spiral dynamic’ map of worldviews and value systems (1996) all suggest that healthy development proceeds by a process of transcending and including (rather than opposing and dismissing) previous perspectives.
The evolutionary trend of increasing integration of diversity is not a path towards increasing homogeneity and one dominant monoculture but a path towards appropriate participation in complexity. Avoiding ‘monocultures of the mind’, valuing and nurturing diversity and cooperatively integrating this diversity by living the questions together will enable humanity to act wisely — informed by collective intelligence and multiple perspectives — in the face of unpredictable change.
Being fixed on finding silver-bullet solutions and universal or permanent answers predisposes us to frame progress as a replacement of one perspective or ‘paradigm’ with another. We tend to over-swing the pendulum from one extreme to another. We habitually move from thesis to anti-thesis, rather than searching for the fertile ground of synthesis that transcends and includes various perspectives in an attempt to inform wise action.
Cooperatively and empathically living the questions together — in humble recognition of the limits of our individual and collective knowledge and capacity — is a cultural guidance system capable of informing wise action in the face of change and unpredictability. Living the questions together creates regenerative cultures by nurturing resilience, adaptive capacity and transformability. By collectively exploring and valuing the perspectives that each of the three horizons has of the future potential of the present moment we facilitate the emergence of future consciousness that can help us to act with foresight in the face of unpredictable change.