Rebel Wisdom As tensions rise over racial divisions throughout the western world, books like ‘White Fragility’ and ‘How to Be An Anti-Racist’ have flown to the top of the bestseller lists. These frame race as central to our understanding of the world. In his book, ‘Unlearning Race, Self-Portrait in Black and White’, Thomas Chatterton Williams takes a very different tack, attempting to understand his own mixed race background and arguing that we should move away from seeing racial categories as primary and fixed. What does he make of this new focus on race, and how does identity politics wall us off from each other? You can listen to podcast versions of our films on Spotify or Apple Podcasts by searching ‘Rebel Wisdom’ or download episodes from our Podbean page: https://rebelwisdom.podbean.com/ To support Rebel Wisdom, and get member benefits including regular Q&As with the interviewees from our films for our members, check out: https://www.rebelwisdom.co.uk/plans
Santan Dave Feb 8, 2020 Stream & Download Psychodrama: https://SantanDave.lnk.to/Psychodrama Psychodrama on Apple Music: https://SantanDave.lnk.to/Psychodrama… Psychodrama on Spotify: https://SantanDave.lnk.to/Psychodrama… Psychodrama on YouTube Music: https://yt.be/music/Psychodrama Psychodrama on Amazon Music: https://SantanDave.lnk.to/Amazon Psychodrama on iTunes: https://santandave.lnk.to/iTunes Follow Dave: http://instagram.com/santandavehttp://twitter.com/santandave1http://facebook.com/santandave1 Snapchat – davem1st © Dave / Neighbourhood Recordings 2019
Music in this video
Black (Live From The BRIT Awards, London 2020)
Licensed to YouTube by
UMG (on behalf of Neighbourhood); Warner Chappell, AMRA, BMI – Broadcast Music Inc., PEDL, Kobalt Music Publishing, and 3 Music Rights Societies
“Black” by Dave
Look, black is beautiful, black is excellent
Black is pain, black is joy, black is evident
It’s working twice as hard
As the people you know you’re better than
‘Cause you need to do double what they do
So you can level themBlack is so much deeper than just African-American
Our heritage been severed, you never got to experiment
With family trees
‘Cause they teach you ’bout famine and greed
And show you pictures of our fam’ on their knees
Tell us we used to be barbaric
We had actual queensBlack is watchin’ child soldiers gettin’ killed by other children
Feelin’ sick, like, oh shit, this could have happened to me
Your mummy watchin’ tellin’ stories about your dad and your niece
The blacker the berry the sweeter the juice
A kid dies, the blacker the killer, the sweeter the news
And if he’s white you give him a chance
He’s ill and confused
If he’s black he’s probably armed
You see him and shootLook, black is growin’ up around the barbershop
Mummy sayin’, stay away from trouble, you’re in yard a lot
Studying for ages, appreciating the chance you got
‘Cause black is in your blood
And you ain’t even got the heart to stopBlack is steppin’ in for your mother
Because your father’s gone
And standin’ by your children
When you haven’t proven karma wrong
Black is doin’ all of the above then goin’ corner shoppin’
Tryna help a lady cross the road to have her walkin’ offBlack is growin’ up around your family and makin’ it
Then being forced to leave the place you love
Because there’s hate in it
People say you fake the shit
Never stayed to change the shit
But black is being jealous, you’d be dead if you had stayed in itBlack is strugglin’ to find your history or trace the shit
You don’t know the truth about your race
‘Cause they’re erasing it
Black has got a sour fuckin’ flavour, here’s a taste of it
But black is all I know
There ain’t a thing that I would change in itLook, black ain’t just a single fuckin’ colour
Man there’s shades to it
Her hair’s straight and thick but mine’s got waves in it
Black is not divisive, they been lyin’ and I hate the shit
Black has never been a competition
We don’t make this shit
Black is deadlyBlack is when you’re freezin’ in your home
And you can’t get sleep but never feelin’ empty
‘Cause you got 20 cousins in your country living stress-free
Walkin’ for their water, daughter wrapped inside a bed sheet
Black is distant, it’s representin’ countries
That never even existed while your grandmother was livin’
Black is my Ghanaian brother readin’ into scriptures
Doing research on his lineage
Finding out that he’s EgyptianBlack is people namin’ your countries on what they trade most
Coast of Ivory, Gold Coast, and the Grain Coast
But most importantly to show how deep all this pain goes
West Africa, Benin, they called it slave coastBlack is so confusing, ’cause the culture?
They’re in love with it
They take our features when they want and have their fun with it
Never seem to help with all the things we know would come with it
Loud in our laughter, silent in our sufferingBlack is bein’ strong inside and facing defeat
Poverty made me a beast, I battled the law in the streets
We all struggled
But your struggle ain’t a struggle like me
Well how could it be when your people gave us the odds that we beat?
I mean, fuckin’ hell
What about our brothers that are stuck in jail?
That couldn’t bust a bell, they held a bird and gotta live with itBlack is being guilty until proven that you’re innocent
Black is sayin’
Free my fuckin’ niggas stuck inside in prison cells
They think it’s funny, we ain’t got nothin’ to say to them
Unconditional love is strange to them, it’s amazing ’em
Black is like the sweetest fuckin’ flavour
Here’s a taste of it
But black is all I know
There ain’t a thing that I would change in it
Songwriters: Dave / Mathias / Jimmy / TimmyBlack lyrics © Kobalt Music Services Ltd Kms
How our Connected Crises are Creating a Mass Movement for Social Healing and Collective Liberation
We thought we were living in the middle of one crisis; then it became two, then three, and it spiraled on. From Covid-19 to massive job losses and economic uncertainty, to nationwide and global Black Lives Matter protests sparked by police violence and racial injustice, we are experiencing a crisis of the whole system. Our structures are failing or broken; for many they’ve been designed that way from the beginning. We are tired of suffering, of living without dignity, freedom, and breath. We know that life is sacred and we all belong. We’re at a tipping point. The old is dying, and the new is being born. When we look back on this defining chapter in our history, if we continue to rise and mobilize together, to love and heal together, to bridge and build together, we may find that we made the great transition to a just and flourishing world.
“We will be someone else’s ancestors one day. If we do this right they will inherit not our fear but our bravery.” -Valarie Kaur
“Imagine winning. This is your sacred task.” -Aurora Levins Morales
A Convergence of Crises
“This is a hard time to be alive. It’s a time of concurrent crises. …In a sense, the world has been on fire for a while now. The climate crisis and global warming say that, the fevers induced by the pandemic say that, and now the fires incited by the history of racism, injustice and exclusion say that.” -Michael Meade
“Here is what my research has taught me. It’s possible for crisis to catalyze a kind of evolutionary leap.” -Naomi Klein
Covid-19 grew into a global pandemic that shook the foundations of our lives and shut down the world. Country by country, it spread around the globe and closed economies, transportation systems, schools, stores and life as we knew it. In the United States of America, our world’s wealthiest and “most advanced” country, we found ourselves caught off guard, and living under the misguided and disastrous leadership of our current President. We now hold the highest number of coronavirus infections and fatalities in the world: 2 million confirmed cases and climbing, 120,000 deaths and counting, and disproportionately impacting communities of color and our most poor and vulnerable populations by statistics that are greater than 6 to 1. We thought we were living in the greatest moment of challenge and change in a generation, and then we discovered that the plot was only getting thicker.
With our economy slowed down, travel suspended, and the consumption habits of our American lives radically reduced, we found ourselves in an economic recession, one that is still unfolding and the full extent of which is still unknown. More than 28 million people are unemployed, with ongoing uncertainty around when jobs will reopen, and many more are on furlough unsure if they will be invited to return. Some of our most essential workers — farm workers, construction workers, care providers — are trapped by our broken immigration system and stranded without any form of government assistance or healthcare. As the direct impact of Covid-19 continues to hit us, the stimulus checks are not enough, food banks are running short on supplies, child hunger is spiking across the nation, and the fate of our collective future feels tattered and worn. Our economy is shaking — built on a house of cards, ballooning debt, and a widening chasm between everyday people and the billionaires on Wallstreet getting richer even amidst our crisis— and it could all come crashing down upon us.
On May 25, 2020, George Floyd was cruelly and inhumanely murdered by a white police officer in Minneapolis pressing his knee to his neck for over eight minutes. The atrocity was caught on video and broadcast to a captive nation that was quarantined at home and paying close attention. It was yet another blatantly racist killing of an unarmed Black man, the latest in the long and tragic history of racial injustice in this country. The outrage spread like wildfire across our nation and around the world. Hundreds of thousands of Americans have taken to the streets in protest, standing up for the sacredness of Black lives and demanding justice, action and accountability. Amidst fires, curfews, violent confrontations with the police, and authoritarian threats from the President, the grief and rage has boiled over. The spirit of freedom and liberation has ignited in the hearts and minds of people everywhere. Young people, families, health care workers, and caring citizens of all backgrounds are rising up together and letting their voices and demands for justice be heard.
As if what is happening in the foreground was not enough, in the backdrop of it all is the ever-present and looming threat of climate change, mass species extinction, resource depletion and widespread environmental destruction. With the hottest temperatures ever recorded in the Arctic and rising, devastating wildfires increasing, and climate-related superstorms becoming the norm — the future of our blue-earth home and the life-support systems we depend on are hanging in the balance. In many ways our current challenges may just be a preparation for the massive disruption and survival challenges still to come. Slowing down our economy has shown us the power of nature to regenerate and how we can live with a smaller ecological footprint; yet we are far from changing our lifestyles and taking the collective action to make the shift to a clean, just, and green economy for all.
Poet and mythologist Michael Meade writes, “The word crisis comes directly from the ancient Greek healers, who used the word to describe a turning point in a disease.” It’s when a patient either gets sicker and begins to die, or starts to heal and begins a path of recovery. As we navigate this connected set of crises — a health crisis, an economic crisis, a racial justice crisis, an ecological crisis, a human and culture crisis — it’s clear that we’re at an unprecedented moment of reckoning.
If we continue to live in the way that we’ve been living, we won’t survive. But if we change course and respond to the opportunity of these crises together, we can create a world where we all thrive.
A Deeper ‘Pandemic’
“Historically, pandemics have forced humans to break with the past and imagine their world anew. This one is no different. It is a portal, a gateway between one world and the next.” -Arundhati Roy
“This pandemic / Is systemic / Global pandemic / Endemic Systemic No Equality” -Aisha Fukushima
Author and activist Arundhati Roy has named the Covid-19 pandemic as a portal from one world to the next. While the portal is still open, what has changed is the depth of its transformative potential and the meaning of the word “pandemic.”
As we continue to navigate the health concerns of the coronavirus, and while the reopening debates rage on and we prepare for the coming second wave, a deeper, wider, at-the-heart-of-our-culture pandemic has opened up and is riveting us all. Racism and its 400 year history of inequity that ravages on today is our pandemic. Our underfunded schools and the hundreds of thousands of children without equal access is our pandemic. Economic disparity in all its forms, the ever-increasing wealth gap, poverty and homelessness is our pandemic. Loneliness, isolation, suicide and our mental health crisis is our pandemic. Materialism, consumerism, and our culture of overwork and fatigue is our pandemic. The unfathomable loss of biodiversity, the devastation of our natural ecosystems, the endless pollution and waste generated by our way of life on this planet is our pandemic. Our lack of meaning, morals, a sense of the sacred and a larger purpose is our pandemic.
When we search for the root cause of our interrelated crises, we discover a worldview based on separation, competition, endless growth, and exploitation. Every culture has a story made up of core beliefs and assumptions. It shapes the way we think and act and guides how we build and construct our social reality. It’s the water we swim in, an operating system running us all. The dominant culture and structures we live in today follow the rules built into the DNA of our system of capitalism and the neoliberal mindset that has colonized our lives and world.
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. named this radical — meaning “getting to the root” — analysis in his own words over half a century ago:
“We must rapidly begin the shift from a “thing-oriented” society to a “person-oriented” society. When machines and computers, profit motives and property rights are considered more important than people, the giant triplets of racism, materialism, and militarism are incapable of being conquered.”
Going even further, he wrote:
“The black revolution is much more than a struggle for the rights of Negroes. It is forcing America to face all its interrelated flaws — racism, poverty, militarism, and materialism. It is exposing the evils that are rooted deeply in the whole structure of our society. It reveals systemic rather than superficial flaws and suggests that radical reconstruction of society itself is the real issue to be faced.”
There is a sickness at the heart of our culture that infects us all. It lives in our minds and bodies. It pervades our systems and structures. It shows up in how we treat each other and how we live our everyday lives.
How do we heal the soul of our culture and create systemic change? How do we shift our society from a story of separation and othering, to a story of interconnectedness and belonging? Can we apply the same energy and emergency responses we’ve used to address the Covid-19 pandemic to root out and dismantle the deep patterns of patriarchy, racism, sexism, ableism, exploitation, colonization and all of the cultural codes that are causing this Great Sickness?
The doctor is here, and it’s not Dr. Fauci this time; it’s our own inner knowing and collective sense. Our prognosis is clear: we are sick and we need a Great Healing.
A Mass Movement for Social Healing & Collective Liberation
“King’s response to our crisis can be put in one word: revolution. A revolution in our priorities, a reevaluation of our values, a reinvigoration of our public life and a fundamental transformation of our way of thinking and living that promotes a transfer of power to everyday people and ordinary citizens.” -Cornel West
“We don’t want a normal or a new normal. We want a revolution. We want a moral revival. We want a transformation.” -Rev. Dr. William J. Barber
There’s no vaccine for the sickness we are facing, but the medicine we need lies within us and between us. From the depths of our crises and souls, a movement is rising that holds the power to heal and liberate us all.
We see it powerfully in the protests and marches on the streets as hundreds of thousands of Americans — and people around the world — rise up to end the long history of racism and to honor the lives taken of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmad Arbery, Tony McDade, and countless more. Black-led movements — rooted in a long history of organizing and movement-building — are leading the way to #defundpolice, invest in our communities, and fundamentally transform our policing and justice systems. White people are looking harder and deeper at their privilege and complicity, engaging in the essential work of undoing racism internally and externally, vocally inviting their family and friends to show up for racial justice so that we can end the myth and structures of white supremacy once and for all. People of all colors, faiths, generations and backgrounds are rising in solidarity for Black freedom, justice, joy and beauty.
This movement is rising from all of the places we are experiencing pain and injustice, and from our deep care and love for the world. We see it in our health care workers, who amidst their long hours of caring for others related to Covid-19 and beyond, are simultaneously working to bring about health equity and transformation to our health care systems. It lives in our communities, neighborhoods, and mutual aid networks, and in all of the ways we are showing up with kindness and care for our collective well-being. We see it in our impassioned teachers, educators and parents who are working to transform our inequitable school systems and to raise a generation that embodies the ways of a new world.
It lives in our next economy movements that are building local and cooperative businesses, shifting money away from extractive systems and into regenerative models to create an economy that works for all and our planet. It flows in our efforts to end mass incarceration and to bring restorative justice to our schools and communities. We see it in the Poor People’s Campaign and our Just Transition movements, and in all of our efforts working to end poverty and ensure that everyone has housing, a livelihood, and what we need to live a life of health, dignity and opportunity.
Our farmers, permaculturists, and backyard gardens are part of this movement. We see it in our immigration and right to citizenship movements, ensuring that people who were born here and immigrated here have the same rights and care as the rest of us. We witness it in the beauty and power of our Queer and Trans movements in their stand for human dignity and the inherent right to love and be loved as we truly are. It lives in our Native and Indigenous peoples movements fighting for sovereignty, protecting their lands and waters, defending the Sacred, and revitalizing their cultures and languages as they work to heal from the ravages of colonization and erasure.
We see it in the people and communities that are practicing the deep work of healing and vulnerability, who are tenderly caring for the wounds of history and healing the trauma in our bodies — personal, collective, and generational — creating lives of wellness, wholeness, and connection. It continues to rise in our women’s movements, in the power of #MeToo, and in every workplace, leadership position, political office, and social setting where women are leading the way. We see it in the young people of these times, stepping forward with such power and purpose, rooting in the wisdom of their ancestors and elders, taking their place on the front lines with a courage and creative fire that is carrying us to places we’ve never traveled before.
A movement of movements is rising, flowing from a long history, stretching wide and deep, intersecting, cross-pollinating, building in power and momentum. To some they seem like disconnected struggles, but they are united by a common struggle for freedom, rooted in our love for justice and life, and part of a deep social healing and collective liberation that connects us all.
Let’s be clear: understanding that our movements and peoples are all connected is not a cause for some type of simple rah-rah-rah, happy dance and celebration. It’s not an excuse to sit back, relax and wait for some inevitable liberation; nor is it an excuse to bypass the ways that we are complicit with the oppression of the past and present. It’s a call for us to engage more fully, deeply and broadly; to come together in solidarity on behalf of each other’s struggles and liberation. It’s an opportunity to participate in the deep healing work that’s inevitable in our coming together, and to learn how to show up in service and with humility. We see this clearly in the ways that white and non-Black people of color are using their bodies as shields at protests, ensuring they are the first to get arrested and protecting Black lives from further harm.
Systemic insight allows us to understand that structural racism is at the root of our capitalistic economy, which is at the root of our climate crisis, and therefore the work for Black liberation is fundamentally tied to the work for climate justice and protecting our planet. While we engage in our connected struggles and movements, our current movement moment asks us to show up powerfully for the sacredness of Black lives and liberation. Michelle Alexander writes:
“Our only hope for our collective liberation is a politics of deep solidarity rooted in love. In recent days, we’ve seen what it looks like when people of all races, ethnicities, genders and backgrounds rise up together, standing in solidarity for justice, protesting, marching and singing together, even as SWAT teams and tanks roll in. We’ve seen our faces in another American mirror — a reflection of the best of who we are and what we can become. These images may not have dominated the media coverage, but I’ve glimpsed in a foggy mirror scenes of a beautiful, courageous nation struggling to be born.”
Abraham Joshua Heschel once declared that “The very future of this nation depends on how we respond to the legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr.” That legacy is the work of building a Beloved Community where we all belong and thrive together. Its a legacy of ending white supremacy, racism, poverty, and systemic oppression in all its forms, and “creating a qualitative change in our souls, and a quantitative change in lives.”
We are closer than ever before, yet there is still so much to heal and transform. Just as this has been the work of generations, this will be the work of our lifetime and generations to come. We need to continue preparing for the long haul as we keep mobilizing and keep the pressure on. Alicia Garza, co-founder of #BlackLivesMatter, reminds us:
“It takes organizing. Protest to up the ante. Public and private pressure. Electoral organizing strategies. Telling new stories about us and what we are fighting for. We gotta stop looking for easy answers and instead join the hard work. Please and thank you. Be good to yourselves. This is a marathon that no one wants to run.”
Some say that we were made for these times. Whatever your perspective, we are alive at this pivotal moment and we all have a role to play: marching on the streets, organizing in our communities, storytelling and writing songs for the revolution, making art, preparing food, caring for others, mentoring and teaching, donating funds, sharing your heart, gifts and medicine however you are able to. This is a time of mass awakening and we all are being called to show up and become something we have never been before.
We are hospicing the old and midwifing the new. We are disrupting, dismantling, defunding, and decolonizing the life-destroying forces in our society while we reboot, rebuild, reimagine, and regenerate the life-serving forces of our world.
This pandemic. It’s systemic. And so are our movements. So are our hopes, dreams, and actions. So is our deep love and care for this world. This river is mighty and these times are momentous. We are part of something sacred, healing and beautiful. May we find our way together.
Joshua Gorman is writer, changemaker, youth worker, community builder, founder of Generation Waking Up, and organizer at Thrive East Bay in Oakland, CA. Find him on Medium, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
Check out the Medicine for These Times series hosted by Thrive.
This piece arose within an ecosystem of thinkers, feelers, creatives and change makers. My deep gratitude for feedback, support and inspiration extends to a wide web including Cherine Badawi, Aryeh Shell, Armando Davila, Sunshine Michelle Coleman, Bethsaida Ruiz, David Dean, Jean Milam, Manuel Manga, Arthur Romano, Ramon Gabrieloff-Parish, Darcy Ottey, Ann-Ellice Parker, Taj James, Brenda Salgado, Akaya Windwood, Staci Haines, john a. powell, Joanna Macy, Sonya Renee Taylor, and countless more.
Alexander, Michelle. America, This Is Your Chance. NY Times.
Barber, William J. The Only Way We Make It Through Is Together. People. 2020.
Fukushima, Aisha. Pandemic. 2020.
Garza, Alicia. Ending Police Violence Is A Long Game. Twitter. 2020.
Kaur, Valarie. See No Stranger: A Memoir and Manifesto of Revolutionary Love. 2020.
King, Martin Luther. Beyond Vietnam. 1967.
Klein, Naomi. “Coronavirus Capitalism”: Naomi Klein’s Case for Transformative Change Amid Coronavirus Pandemic. Democracy Now. 2020
Meade, Michael. Humanity At A Tipping Point. 2020.
Morales, Aurora Levins. V’ahavta. 2016.
Roy, Arundhati. The Pandemic Is A Portal. Financial Times. 2020.
Taylor, Keeanga-Yamahtta. How Do We Change America? The New Yorker. 2020.
West, Cornel. The Future of America Depends on How We Respond. MSNBC. 2020.
Writer, Speaker, Community Builder, Changemaker @generationwakingup @thriveeastbay https://joshuagorman.com
Health leads to whole: OP (Old Prussian) kailustikan, health, Gr (Greek) koilu, the beautiful.
–Partridge’s Origins: A Short Etymological Dictionary of Modern English
Definitions for whole (hoʊl)
Here are all the possible meanings and translations of the word whole.
- whole(noun)all of something including all its component elements or parts”Europe considered as a whole”; “the whole of American literature”
- whole, unit(adj)an assemblage of parts that is regarded as a single entity”how big is that part compared to the whole?”; “the team is a unit”
- whole(adj)including all components without exception; being one unit or constituting the full amount or extent or duration; complete”gave his whole attention”; “a whole wardrobe for the tropics”; “the whole hog”; “a whole week”; “the baby cried the whole trip home”; “a whole loaf of bread”
- whole(adj)(of siblings) having the same parents”whole brothers and sisters”
- unharmed, unhurt, unscathed, whole(adj)not injured
- hale, whole(adj)exhibiting or restored to vigorous good health”hale and hearty”; “whole in mind and body”; “a whole person again”
- solid, unanimous, whole(adverb)acting together as a single undiversified whole”a solid voting bloc”
- wholly, entirely, completely, totally, all, altogether, whole(adverb)to a complete degree or to the full or entire extent (`whole’ is often used informally for `wholly’)”he was wholly convinced”; “entirely satisfied with the meal”; “it was completely different from what we expected”; “was completely at fault”; “a totally new situation”; “the directions were all wrong”; “it was not altogether her fault”; “an altogether new approach”; “a whole new idea”
- whole(Noun)Something complete, without any parts missing.Etymology: From hool, from hal, from hailaz (compare Low German heel/heil, Dutch heel, German heil, Danish hel), from kóhₐilus, coel ‘omen’, Breton kel ‘omen, mention’, Old Prussian kails ‘healthy’, Albanian gjallë ‘alive, unhurt’, Old Church Slavonic cĕlŭ ‘healthy, unhurt’, Ancient Greek koîlu ‘good’). Related to hale, health, and heal.
- whole(Noun)An entirety.Etymology: From hool, from hal, from hailaz (compare Low German heel/heil, Dutch heel, German heil, Danish hel), from kóhₐilus, coel ‘omen’, Breton kel ‘omen, mention’, Old Prussian kails ‘healthy’, Albanian gjallë ‘alive, unhurt’, Old Church Slavonic cĕlŭ ‘healthy, unhurt’, Ancient Greek koîlu ‘good’). Related to hale, health, and heal.
- whole(Adverb)in entirety; entirely; whollyI ate a fish whole!Etymology: From hool, from hal, from hailaz (compare Low German heel/heil, Dutch heel, German heil, Danish hel), from kóhₐilus, coel ‘omen’, Breton kel ‘omen, mention’, Old Prussian kails ‘healthy’, Albanian gjallë ‘alive, unhurt’, Old Church Slavonic cĕlŭ ‘healthy, unhurt’, Ancient Greek koîlu ‘good’). Related to hale, health, and heal.
- whole(Adjective)entire.I ate a whole fish.Etymology: From hool, from hal, from hailaz (compare Low German heel/heil, Dutch heel, German heil, Danish hel), from kóhₐilus, coel ‘omen’, Breton kel ‘omen, mention’, Old Prussian kails ‘healthy’, Albanian gjallë ‘alive, unhurt’, Old Church Slavonic cĕlŭ ‘healthy, unhurt’, Ancient Greek koîlu ‘good’). Related to hale, health, and heal.
- whole(Adjective)sound, uninjured, healthy.He is of whole mind, but the same cannot be said about his physical state.Etymology: From hool, from hal, from hailaz (compare Low German heel/heil, Dutch heel, German heil, Danish hel), from kóhₐilus, coel ‘omen’, Breton kel ‘omen, mention’, Old Prussian kails ‘healthy’, Albanian gjallë ‘alive, unhurt’, Old Church Slavonic cĕlŭ ‘healthy, unhurt’, Ancient Greek koîlu ‘good’). Related to hale, health, and heal.
- Whole(adj)containing the total amount, number, etc.; comprising all the parts; free from deficiency; all; total; entire; as, the whole earth; the whole solar system; the whole army; the whole nation
- Whole(adj)complete; entire; not defective or imperfect; not broken or fractured; unimpaired; uninjured; integral; as, a whole orange; the egg is whole; the vessel is whole
- Whole(adj)possessing, or being in a state of, heath and soundness; healthy; sound; well
- Whole(noun)the entire thing; the entire assemblage of parts; totality; all of a thing, without defect or exception; a thing complete in itself
- Whole(noun)a regular combination of parts; a system
Chambers 20th Century Dictionary:
- Wholehōl, adj. sound, as in health (so in B.): unimpaired: containing the total amount, number, &c.: all: not defective: complete: in mining, as yet unworked.—n. the entire thing: a system or combination of parts.—adv. wholly.—adjs. Whole′-col′oured, all of one colour; Whole′-foot′ed (coll.) unreserved; Whole′-heart′ed, -souled, noble: hearty, generous; Whole′-hoofed, having undivided hoof; Whole′-length, giving the whole figure, as a portrait: full-length.—n. a portrait or statue giving the whole figure.—ns. Whole′ness; Whole′sāle, sale of goods by the whole piece or large quantity.—adj. buying and selling in large quantities: extensive.—n. Whole′sāler, one who sells by wholesale.—adjs. Whole′-skinned, having an unbroken skin: unhurt: safe in reputation; Whole′some, healthy: sound: salutary: (Shak.) prosperous.—adv. Whole′somely.—ns. Whole′someness; Whole′-stitch, a lace-making stitch used in filling.—adv. Wholly (hō′li), completely, altogether.—n. Wholth, wholeness, soundness.—Whole number, a unit, or a number composed of units, an integral number.—Upon, On, the whole, generally speaking, to sum up.—With whole skin, safe, unscathed. [A.S. hál, healthy; Ice. heill, Ger. heil. By-form hale (1).]
- wholeHaving the complete element or facet.The whole business is represented at the management meeting and it is so clear teamwork and unity makes the plan work.Submitted by MaryC on February 9, 2020
(Courtesy of Hanz Bolen, H.W., M., and definitions.net)
Translators: Mike Zonta, Melissa Goodnight, Richard Branam, Hanz Bolen, Sarah Flynn
SENSE TESTIMONY: Individual rights to earn a living can conflict with individual responsibility to maintain their health.
5th Step Conclusions:
1) Consciousness, the only Individual, is entitled to all that is, can lay claim to all that is; can rest secure in its infinite livelihood and boundless health, which are its indisputable due.
2) One Infinite Consciousness is expressing as all individuation — generously endowing every living formulation, with limitless supportive and sustaining capacity, that perfectly reflects the inherent ability, for outpicturing universal principle of Wellbeing.
3) Truth is complete, perfect, omnipresent existence maintaining its wholeness always.
4) Truth I Am is the ever-present Generosity, Knowingly maintaining and sponsoring abundant Well Being, Harmony, Beauty Instantaneously and powerfully for one and all.
5) Truth is Absolutely indivisible Priori Principle; Iso=Morphed emotional exponential, surging fruitfully exercised Solemn Engagement, the only answer; Principled certainty satisfactory of Being Consciousness Aware Androgynous Identity, this whole, healthy, sound, and complete resource, mannerism is beautifully Living.
All Translators are welcome to join this group every Sunday at 7 p.m. Pacific time. Zoom link:
“During the Vichy era, French residents sent between three and five million denunciation letters. Civilians sent denunciations to everyone from local officials and law enforcement bureaus to national agencies and individuals such as the General Commissariat for Jewish Questions or even Marshal Pétain himself. Natives of the Limousin denounced newly arrived refugees, while some refugees denounced Limousins or other refugees; long-time neighbors denounced each other; and non-Jewish French men and women denounced “undesirable” Jews. Motivated by material gain, ideological commitment, self-preservation, or petty differences, residents of the region picked up their pens and regularly informed the government of their neighbors’ and acquaintances’ immorality and misdeeds. Individual willingness to resort to denunciations created an atmosphere in which officials noted that “Few people dare to talk. One has a tendency to see in his neighbor a possible denouncer.” While denunciations could provide information on food or “racial” infractions that were admittedly difficult to police, they also created an atmosphere of fear and suspicion that opposed the ideals of the National Revolution. Rather than building a stronger community through the purge of harmful elements such as black marketeers, hoarders, and cultural outsiders, denunciations encouraged lying, dissimulation, and self-interested actions.”
–excerpted from Denunciations, Community Outsiders, and Material Shortages in Vichy France by Shannon L. Fogg
More at: https://quod.lib.umich.edu/w/wsfh/0642292.0031.017/–denunciations-community-outsiders-and-material-shortages?rgn=main;view=fulltext#:~:text=During%20the%20Vichy%20era%2C%20French,or%20even%20Marshal%20P%C3%A9tain%20himself.
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
William Quan Judge (April 13, 1851 – March 21, 1896) was an Irish-American mystic, esotericist, and occultist, and one of the founders of the original Theosophical Society. He was born in Dublin, Ireland. When he was 13 years old, his family emigrated to the United States. He became a naturalized citizen of the USA at age 21 and passed the New York state bar exam, specializing in commercial law.
A vigorous, imaginative, and idealistic young man, he was among the seventeen people who first put the Theosophical Society together. Like Helena Petrovna Blavatsky and Henry Steel Olcott, he stayed in the organization when others left. When Olcott and Blavatsky left the United States for India, Judge stayed behind to manage the Society’s work, all the while working as a lawyer.
When Blavatsky and Olcott left America, they left Theosophy in North America in Judge’s hands. While Judge kept in close contact with both Blavatsky and Olcott through correspondence, there was little if any organized activity for the next several years. His difficulties over this period of time are illustrated by a biographical passage written by Mrs. Archibald Keightley: “It was a time when Madame Blavatsky – she who was then the one great exponent, had left the field … the interest excited by her … striking mission had died down. The T.S. was henceforth to subsist on its philosophical basis … From his twenty – third year until his death, (Mr. Judge’s) best efforts and all the fiery energies of his undaunted soul were given to this work.“
In 1876, business affairs caused him to visit South America, where he contracted “Chagres fever”, and he was ever after a sufferer from that torturing disease. Other “phases” of his experiences on this journey are recorded in his writings, often allegorical, suggesting the character of the occult contacts which may have been established on this journey.
In India, Blavatsky established a new headquarters. As a European, her efforts to restore respect for the Hindu faith were quite effective. As a result, she made enemies among the missionaries of conventional Christianity. The Theosophical Movement 1875-1950 sets out some of the events that followed: “William Q. Judge, who arrived in India soon after the Coulombs had been sent away from headquarters, made a detailed examination of the false door constructed in Madam Blavatsky’s “occult room”. He showed the product of Coulomb’s interrupted labours to some three hundred witnesses who signed their names to a description of the place. He removed the “shrine” in which the Coulombs had attempted to plant evidence of fraud. Even many years later, these actions provide cogent evidence of “the Coulomb Conspiracy” and vindicate Madame Blavatsky.
In 1885, after his return to America, Judge set about to revitalize the Movement in the United States. The real beginning of the work of Theosophy in the United States began in 1886, when Judge established The Path, an independent Theosophical magazine. Until this time, not much had been accomplished in the way of growth of the Society in America. Mr. Judge addressed the common man in homely language and with simple reason. The Path showed that he had found himself and was now cultivating the area of his greatest usefulness, as a writer. His natural interest in the welfare of others affected everything he did, so that his articles and Theosophical talks are cast in the idiom of the common man. In his first editorial, he wrote: “It is not thought that utopia can be established in a day … Certainly, if we all say that it is useless … nothing will ever be done. A beginning must be made and it has been made by the Theosophical society … Riches are accumulating in the hands of the few while the poor are ground harder every day as they increase in number … All this points unerringly to a vital error somewhere … What is wanted is true knowledge of the spiritual condition of man, his aim, and destiny … those who must begin the reform are those who are so fortunate as to be placed in the world where they can see and think out the problems all are endeavouring to solve, even if they know that the great day may not come until after their death.“
He also wrote: “The Christian nations have dazzled themselves with a baneful glitter of material progress. They are not the peoples who will furnish the clearest clues to the Path … The Grand Clock of the Universe points to another hour, and now Man must seize the key in his hands and himself – as a whole – open the gate … Our practice consists in a disregard of any authority in matters of religion and philosophy except such propositions as from their innate quality we feel to be true.“
It has been said of Judge: “Everything he wrote of a metaphysical nature can be found, directly or indirectly, in the works of Madame Blavatsky. He attempted no new “revelation” but illustrated in his own works the ideal use of the concepts of the Theosophical Teachings.” The Theosophical Mov’t, 1875 – 1950. Over the years, Mr. Judge attracted to the Movement a nucleus of devoted followers. The movement grew steadily in America.
Judge wrote theosophical articles for various theosophical magazines, and also the introductory volume, The Ocean of Theosophy in 1893. He became the General Secretary of the American Section of the Theosophical Society in 1884, with Abner Doubleday as President.
Judge left no record of the period before the founding of the Theosophical Society but some of his published statements reveal the character of his relationship with Blavatsky during this period. On the occasion of her death in 1891, he referred to their first meeting in her rooms in January 1875. He wrote:
It was her eye that attracted me, the eye of one whom I must have known in lives long passed away. She looked at me in recognition for that first hour, and never since has that look changed. Not as a questioner of philosophies did I come before her, not as one groping in the dark for lights that schools and fanciful theories had obscured, but as one who, wandering through the corridors of life, was seeking the friends who could show where the designs for the work had been hidden. And, true to the call, she responded, revealing plans once again, and speaking no words to explain, simply pointed them out and went on with the task. It was as if but the evening before we had parted, leaving yet to be done some detail of a task taken up with one common end; it was teacher and pupil, elder brother and younger, both bent on the one single end, but she with the power and knowledge that belong but to lions and sages.
Blavatsky often referred to the founding of the Theosophical Society as coming about as a result of occult direction from her teachers. Judge would later write that the objects of the Society had been given to Olcott by the Masters before the meeting at which they were adopted. Thus, the founding of the Theosophy Society may be seen to have been inspired.
In 1881, looking back on the founding of the Society, Blavatsky wrote: “Our society as a body might certainly be wrecked by mismanagement or the death of its founders, but the IDEA which it represents and which has gained so wide a currency, will run on like a crested wave of thought until it dashes upon the hard beach where materialism is picking and sorting its pebbles … ” At this time, the affairs of the Society were largely in Olcott’s hands. Meetings were held irregularly, and many plans for occult experimentation were proposed. Neither Blavatsky nor Judge took any active part in the meetings after the first few sessions. He was busy with his law practice. She was beginning to write her first book, Isis Unveiled.
After Blavatsky died in 1891, Judge became involved in a dispute with Olcott and Annie Besant, whom he considered to have deviated from the original teaching of the Mahatmas. As a result, he ended his association with Olcott and Besant during 1895 and took most of the Society’s American Section with him. Despite being hounded by devotees to Besant, Judge managed his new organization for about a year until his death in New York City, whereupon Katherine Tingley became manager. The organization originating from the faction of Olcott and Besant is based nowadays in India and known as the Theosophical Society – Adyar, while the organization managed by Judge is known nowadays simply as the Theosophical Society, but often with the specification, “international headquarters, Pasadena, California“.
Judge died in 1896 in New York City.
In 1898, Ernest Temple Hargrove, who had initially supported Tingley, left with other members to form the Theosophical Society in America (Hargrove) Branch. Other new organizations split off from his, including the Temple of the People (whose library bears his name) during 1898 and the United Lodge of Theosophists or ULT during 1909.
By Craig Hamilton (integralenlightenment.com)
When we look back historically, many traditional spiritual paths were focused on helping us learn how to liberate ourselves from the mind. These meditation practices usually involved sitting down each day for a period of time to try to do that. The belief was that when we do this, our experience will then change everything else in our lives, which it will.
In a sense, the meditation that I teach is basically meant to do the same thing. The intention is to liberate us from our compulsive identification with thought and feeling in order to free us up to respond to life in an unconditioned way.
And yet what also excites me about this evolutionary spiritual path is that it isn’t just something we do for 30 minutes or an hour a day or something we just do when we go on a retreat away from the world. This is really a 24/7 spiritual practice (except when you’re asleep). It’s a spiritual practice you can engage all day. It’s woven into your life.
For me, that’s really good news, since we spend most of our lives engaged, not just sitting quietly. This means we have a lot more time to practice. We have the potential to dramatically accelerate our progress on the spiritual path because we’re not just doing it for an hour here and there. We’re practicing all day long.
This evolutionary relationship to life plays out in very specific ways, which means there are a variety of practices that we can engage as we go through the day.
Before we get into these specific evolutionary life practices, I want to first explore the essential orienting framework for this way of living, which has four dimensions.
First, this evolutionary relationship to life rests on the recognition that life is not fundamentally about “me.” It’s the opposite of the egoic position. The ego says, “Life’s only about me. I’m the center of the universe.” But when you’re relating to life from this evolutionary orientation, you say, “No, it’s not fundamentally about me. I’m part of a universal, unfolding, cosmic process. Therefore, I’m more concerned with the evolution and health of that whole process than I am with my own personal welfare.
“Of course, I recognize that giving my energies to the evolution of the whole will include taking care of my own genuine needs. I’m not completely left out of that picture, but I am no longer the be-all and end-all. I’m no longer the center of the universe. My life isn’t my own. I’m beholden to something bigger.”
This stance, in a sense, flows right into the second orienting point. This is the recognition that not only is life not about me, but my life isn’t my own to do with as I please. Instead, I have an obligation to other people, to life, to the evolutionary process, to God, if you will. I’m beholden to becoming the most enlightened human being that I can possibly be, because that will be of greatest service to this process. Only then can I really truly function as a contributor to our higher evolution. I strive to take full responsibility for all the ways in which I’m not yet that evolved, so I can show up in every situation as an expression of my most enlightened self.
The third of these four orienting points is that I relate to my life as an evolutionary experiment. I recognize that there is no road map for the future that we’re creating. Nobody knows where this is all going. So if I’m going to participate in this great process of evolving consciousness and culture, I need to have an approach to life that is experimental, ever-learning, inquisitive, and open. I’m always open to new information and new data, and I’m always ready to change course or shift my behavior in response to new opportunities.
The last orienting principle is that I’m more interested in the future that’s being born in each moment than I am in the past, or even in the present. I’m more interested in what’s next—in where this is going. I’m animated by the call of a higher potential to emerge. I’m not just complacent or content to sit here in the moment and just be. And I’m definitely not oriented to just dwelling on what has been in the past. Instead, I’m always leaning forward into the emerging future that’s coming into being. I’m living on the edge of evolution and maintaining a continual posture of stretching forward into that unknown edge.
These four orientations together make up a kind of latticework upon which these evolutionary life practices rest. To distill them down even further, these four points make up the North Star of our lives. They are the simple questions that guide us in every moment. We are constantly asking ourselves, “What’s the most evolutionary or helpful response I could have in this moment? What’s the response that would break me free from the patterns of the past and make room for a new higher possibility?”
Within this simple framework, we could create hundreds of practices to guide us through our lives, but today we’re going to explore three of them. They are all focused on how to live an enlightened, evolutionary life in a very practical sense.
The first practice I want to talk about is the practice of caring for the greatest good. That can sound very abstract. What is “the greatest good,” anyway? What does that even mean? And who’s to say what’s the greatest good?
What I mean by the practice of caring for the greatest good that in every situation you find yourself in, you stand in a place where you’re genuinely interested in serving the best outcome for the whole situation rather than just advocating only for your own personal benefit.
The egoic stance would be, “What’s in this for me? What do I stand to gain? What do I stand to lose? How am I going to get my needs met?” That would be the basic egoic orientation to every situation we could ever encounter. Most of us consider that normal, right? Humans beings are considered to be self-interested creatures trying to get our needs met, to fulfill our agendas, and get what we want.
So this is actually a very radical practice. Instead of just going with the selfish momentum of the ego, we choose to say, “What is truly in the interest of the greatest good here?”
The greatest good isn’t just some abstract higher principle. It’s practical. In every situation you ask, “What will serve the greatest good of the whole?” which means all parties concerned. Some situations concern just a couple of people. Other situations concern a large group of people. You could even argue that some situations extend beyond people to impact larger entities like the entire planet. Certain choices we make on a daily basis affect our whole biosphere.
From a spiritual perspective, some choices we make can potentially impact all of consciousness. We realize, “Wow. If I give myself wholeheartedly to meditation, that’s adding momentum to the awakening of humanity.” So this question relates even to those deep interior choices we make in our spiritual practice. Are we practicing for ourselves or something greater? The ego would say, “Do I want to meditate today or not? What’s in it for me?” But instead we say, “What do I need to do now to serve the highest possible good?”
This is something you can apply to any situation at any level. It’s a shift in orientation and it’s a practice. You might not feel like serving the greatest good, but you still make the effort to do it. You can say, “I’m going to plant my stake here. I’m going to do it whether it feels good or not.”
As we engage this practice of always orienting towards the greater good, we begin to develop a deep moral compass. We awaken to a kind of inner navigation system, like our conscience, that tells us which way to go and what to do. We can practice remaining responsive to the call of that inner compass. In essence, we practice by following our deepest, clearest sense in every moment of the best thing to do.
So, that’s the first practice, and itleads directly into the second practice, which has to do with our ability to see the truth of things. In order to be able to discern the greatest possible good or the right thing to do, we need to be able to see clearly. And when we try to do this, we quickly confront the many ways in which our perception is distorted.
We know that human beings are deeply prone to distorting reality. We know that all the ego defense mechanisms that have been catalogued by psychologists are all ways of distorting our perception in order to defend our self-image. We are also full of cognitive biases, which get in the way of our ability to see things as they are. Sometimes they lead us to want to see things as better than they are. Other times we want to see things as worse than they are, or to justify decisions we’ve made.
Because we don’t naturally see things as they are, it’s important to make a practice of being interested in the truth. This sounds really simple. You might be thinking, “Of course I’m interested in the truth.” But this has to be a very rigorous practice. The kind of truth seeking I’m pointing to is constant. In every situation you encounter, you want to be more interested in seeing what’s true than in how you feel, or in defending any belief you have. This is such a powerful practice that if you could do only one thing to get through this life with grace and wisdom, facing the truth in every moment would probably be it.
Facing the truth in this way plays out as a willingness to consistently question our assumptions. We have to assume that our perception is full of cognitive biases and defense mechanisms. We want to be interested in seeing all the tendencies to distort the picture.
This practice requires a rigorous, and at times ruthless willingness to simply see what’s going on. It’s almost a yearning to see clearly. You’re constantly saying to yourself, “I want to be in right relationship to the universe. I want to be in right relationship to other people. I want to be in right relationship to reality. So I have to see what’s true. I have to see clearly, so I have to get out of my filters.”
This practice propels us into inquiry with others, because we need other people to get outside of the limitations in our own perspective. It propels us to deeply question ourselves and our assumptions. We are compelled to look, again and again, striving for the naked, unadorned truth.
This practice of cultivating a relentless interest in seeing clearly in each moment rests on another practice, which Suzuki Roshi called “beginner’s mind.” This is a practice of not already knowing. It’s a practice of letting go of what we already know. You could say it’s a practice of innocence, but not the naïve innocence of a young child. It’s not an innocence where we throw out and reject the hard-won wisdom that we already have.
It’s a practice of being more interested in what we don’t yet know than in what we already know. We suspend, at least temporarily, the things we already know and say, “If I already know something, then it will still be there. I’ll still know it, even when I let go of it. I don’t have to hold onto it to know it. If it’s true, it will continue to be self-evident and so I can just let go and I can rest in this place of innocent interest. I don’t know, but I want to know.”
In this practice, we’re emptying out all of our fixed ideas and assumptions and beliefs. It’s a powerful experience to have, even though not knowing is terrifying to the ego. Ultimately, it’s very calming for the deeper parts of us. It’s an easy place to be, because we’re really not clinging on anymore. There’s not a fear. There’s a letting go of knowing and a willingness to simply trust, which brings us to the next practice.
The third evolutionary life practice is learning to deeply trust—in life, in God, or in the mystery. Those words get thrown around a lot these days: “Oh, I just need to trust the universe,” or “I just need to trust life,” or “I just need to trust God.” It changes depending on the context we’re in.
But this way of understanding “trust” often doesn’t really make a lot of sense. What people tend to mean is they’re trusting that some external force is going to take care of things. If they just stop trying to make things happen, then some external cosmic force will somehow step in and take care of it. There may be a little bit of truth to this. To some degree, there is more under heaven and on earth than any of us can imagine and there do seem to be mysterious forces at work in certain situations. But we don’t want to rely on any of that. I wouldn’t call that a very wise way to live: to just cast it all into the hands of some hopefully benevolent external force that we believe in, even though we claim we’ve left the mythic God in the sky behind.
This notion of fundamental or essential trust that I’m pointing to is much more profound than that. When you let go of the need to know what’s going to happen beforehand—of the need to control outcomes—and you allow yourself to trust that what you need to know will be revealed in the moment, you make yourself available for a mysterious process to begin to happen within and through you that you really can’t know anything about. There’s a spontaneous emergence of wisdom.
If I make the choice to go out to that edge and let go of everything—of all my certainty, all my knowing, all my need to control life and have it go my way—and I just allow myself to show up empty-handed, then I find something mysterious and profound. There’s a depth of wisdom and clarity. There’s also the passion and drive and power to act on that wisdom. It all shows up from somewhere utterly mysterious that we don’t anything about and that we’ll never know anything about. It’s the great unknown.
If you had to say there is one key to living an enlightened life, it would be this practice of trust. It’s not that we need to feel trusting. It’s that we need to decide to trust—decide to act from this unpremeditated, unscripted place.
This practice of trust doesn’t mean we are not doing long-term planning for our goals and projects. It means that there’s a fundamental trust that something deeper will emerge when we don’t grasp. It’s a practice of essential trust.
Another way to look at this practice of trust is as a willingness to take risks. I’m not talking about careless or reckless risk-taking. Nor am I talking about risk-taking just for its own sake. Many of the things that living a spiritual life requires of us will feel like a gigantic risk to our egos—to the part of our self that’s organized around comfort, safety and security.
If you’re really doing the practice of facing the truth, which we explored earlier, you’re going to see a lot of things that you were previously avoiding, but that need to be said. Once the truth is known, it needs to be named, regardless of the context. In a relationship, for example, you might suddenly realize, “Hey, there are lies between us. We’re deceiving each other. We’re deceiving ourselves. We’re pretending something didn’t happen that needs to be addressed. We’re avoiding how bad things are or we’re denying how good things are.” When we start to face and see the truth, there’s this overwhelming sense of risk associated with speaking the truth.
So a big part of this practice of trust includes healthy risk-taking for a greater good. We’re not doing it just to get what we want. We’re doing it for its own sake. We’re doing it because it needs to be done.
Sometimes it’s around speaking challenging truths. Sometimes it’s about revealing something about ourselves that we’re terrified for other people to see. It could be admitting that we don’t know what to do in a situation where we’re responsible, or being transparent about a limitation.
We might feel we’re taking a risk by admitting that we don’t have it all together, but we need to do it for a greater good because if we don’t, we’re potentially going to do more harm or damage through our ignorance. Admitting to others that they “don’t know”is a risk many people are afraid to take. They don’t want to reveal that they have a certain vulnerability, or lack of capacity, or a weakness they’re struggling with.
Another element of risk that comes into play is that many of us are terrified to stand for our own depth in the world. We’re afraid to fully step into the deepest, most awake part of ourselves and speak from that place with great clarity. We’re timid about revealing the depth of what we’ve discovered about our own true self. We’re afraid that when we do this we can’t go back, because the world will now expect it of us and we’re not sure whether we have what it takes to consistently show up with that much clarity, courage, care, love, and wisdom.
It’s like that phrase from the Bible, “Don’t hide your light under a bushel.” People will hide their light. People will hide the deepest, truest part of themselves out of fear for being called to a higher responsibility in the future. We’ll act less enlightened than we are. We’ll dumb down and pretend.
So risk-taking goes both ways. It’s taking a risk to reveal both the smallest and biggest parts of ourselves. In essence, it’s really a practice of consistently taking emotional risks, all the time: the risk to be vulnerable, the risk to be authentic, the risk to challenge a situation, the risk to step up and reveal our own wisdom. And many other things.
This may be one of the most challenging evolutionary practices because it means walking straight into those things we’re most afraid of.
Νιουσριπορτ Τζιαρ Germany vs Greece – Monty Python Philosophy Football Match
Barbara Marx Hubbard: The Revolutionary Evolutionary
18th April 2019 (rozsavage.com)
Sometimes deaths come in spates. In 2016 we lost several famous rock stars, including David Bowie, Prince, Leonard Cohen and George Michael. I hope 2019 isn’t turning into the year that we lose too many rock stars of the future/visionary world. In 2019 Bernard Lietaer passed away, and last week I heard that Barbara Marx Hubbard had died. She was 89 years old, admittedly, but had been in excellent health until a swollen knee led to a chain of events that ended with her life support being turned off.
I never met Barbara, as I never met Bernard, and yet both had a significant influence on my worldview, particularly on how I perceive the future and what needs to happen to make it both peaceful and sustainable. As you have hopefully gathered from recent blog posts, I am extremely doubtful that we can solve our problems from within the same structures that have created them, and believe that we need a new narrative about what it means to be human in the 21st century: as Alex Evans puts it in The Myth Gap, we need a narrative that embodies “a larger us, a longer now, a better good life”.
If you’re not familiar with Barbara’s work, I will attempt to do it some small amount of justice in this blog post, and I’d also encourage you to watch one of her talks, like this one. Her central thesis was that, after millions of years of evolution on Planet Earth, we are the first species to be aware of the process of evolution, so it is incumbent on us to use that awareness to consciously manage our future evolution.
She has sometimes been disparagingly referred to as part of the New Age movement, but I think this is to do her a disservice. She brought immense intellectual curiosity to her work, with great questions being her particular stock in trade.
A turning point in Hubbard’s life was the end of World War II and the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. “What was all this power for?” she wondered.
In 1952, her father took her to see President Eisenhower in the Oval Office. “What can I do for you, young lady?” he asked casually. “Mr. President,” she said, “I have a question for you. What is the meaning of our new powers that is good?”
He looked startled, shook his head, and said, “I have no idea.”
Then we better find out, she thought, and the quest for a vision of the future equal to our new power became the driving question of her life.
This question also led her to meet her husband. She was a student at Bryn Mawr in Pennsylvania when she took a year out in Paris. One day, while hanging out in a Parisian café, she struck up a conversation with an artist, a man by the name of Earl Hubbard. She asked him the questions she had been asking everyone, the questions inspired by Hiroshima: “What do you think is the meaning of our new power that is good, and what do you think is your purpose?” This young man had an immediate answer: “I’m seeking a new image of man commensurate with our power to shape the future. When a culture loses its story, loses its self-image, it loses its greatness. The artist has to find a new story and until it is expressed by artists, we won’t be able to bring our culture to fruition.” Her only response was a small voice in her mind that said, “I’m going to marry him.”
And she did. And went on to have five children as a housewife in Connecticut. But she needed more than domestic bliss, and started reading books in search of answers.
It started with Maslow’s Toward a Psychology of Being. He said that every self-actualizing person has one thing in common: a chosen vocation they found intrinsically self-rewarding. Here she found a great clue to conscious evolution: the need to find innate life purpose that transcends mere selfish desire to prevail, with vocation being a vital way of directly experiencing the evolutionary impulse.
Then came Teilhard de Chardin. She wrote later: “This was the real opening. I could tell from his Law of Complexity/Consciousness — the understanding of God in evolution rising to higher consciousness, freedom and more complex order, that my own impulse to grow, to be more, to realize my potential was not the musings of a neurotic housewife, but rather, it was the universe unfolding in me as me.”
Then came Buckminster Fuller, who told us that we have the resources, technologies and know-how to make of humanity a 100% physical success without destroying our environment.
It was February 1966 when she had a life-changing vision while walking on a frosty hill near her Connecticut home. She wrote:
“I asked the universe a question: “What is Our Story? What on Earth is comparable to the birth of Christ?” What I meant by that is the Gospels were such an amazingly effective story. What could be our story comparable in power to that?
Suddenly, my mind’s eye penetrated the blue cocoon of earth and lifted me up into the utter blackness of outer space. A Technicolor movie turned on. I felt the earth as a living organism, heaving for breath, struggling to coordinate itself as one body. It was alive! I became a cell in that body.
In the next few minutes I saw conscious evolution as the next stage of evolution itself. It is the evolution of evolution from unconscious to conscious choice. I realized that we are literally in a crisis of birth of the next stage of our evolution. We are outgrowing the womb of self-conscious humanity and planet-boundedness. We can learn to restore the Earth, free ourselves from scarcity and move forward into an immeasurable future as a co-evolutionary co-creative species. Like a newborn infant, we innately know how to do this…. when we have the right story to guide us.”
She dedicated herself to learning the story and to telling it in every way that she could. She believed that Maslow was right, in that a true vocation is a key to participation in conscious evolution.
“I see vocation as the enfolded implicate order, the process of creation localizing and unfolding in each of us as our own passion to create. Once that happens the Consciousness Force internalizes and we enter the process of conscious self-evolution. We become conscious evolutionaries.”
She saw the essential task of conscious evolution as being “to learn how to be responsible for the ethical guidance of our evolution. It is a quest to understand the processes of developmental change, to identify inherent values for the purpose of learning how to cooperate with these processes toward chosen and positive futures, both near term and long range.”
She boiled this down to “the three C’s:”—new cosmology, new crises, and new capacities.
Our new cosmology is the story that science has revealed about where our universe came from, about the extraordinary process of which we are a part. It is important, Hubbard wrote, because it gives us “a new sense of identity, not as isolated individuals in a meaningless universe but rather as the universe in person” Our new crises, she explained, are those potentially catastrophic global issues we face, such as climate change. In light of evolution’s trajectory, these are reframed as a “natural but dangerous stage in the birth process” of our next evolutionary stage. Hubbard points out that there have always been crises as part of the process—mass extinctions, ice ages, and so on—but never before have we had advance warning of our pending self-destruction and therefore had the opportunity to do something about it. We are shifting, she wrote, from “reactive response to proactive choice.”
The third piece in Hubbard’s triad, new capacities, are recently developed powers such as biotechnology, nuclear power, nanotechnology, cybernetics, artificial intelligence, and artificial life. She acknowledged that in our current state of “self-centred consciousness” these are potentially hazardous, and yet, she suggests, they may be exactly what we need for the next phase of our evolution. She cautioned against acting out of fear and prematurely destroying these new technologies. The task of conscious evolution is rather to “guide their capacities toward the emancipation of our evolutionary potential.”
She saw a special role for women in the emerging new consciousness: “An evolutionary woman is activated by an inner impulse to create, to love more, be more, create more and give more… The evolutionary woman is able to love what’s being born in her – the creative feminine – and able to love giving her gift to the unknown world.”
I will give the last word to BMH:
“Perhaps we are indeed coming to the end of this world, to the end of civilization, the end of separate self consciousness as we have known it. And this is good. We are being instructed by Failure – the failure of war to win, the failure of consumerism to satisfy, the inevitable rise of the seas in response to global warming brought on in part at least by human destruction of nature. All of these evolutionary drivers may indeed be the impulse needed to jump our species to a higher order, or to self destruction.”
She lived a long and prolific life, and many will miss her, but she has left a huge legacy of thought leadership, books, and presentations. Although I don’t particularly believe in a heaven as such, I nonetheless like to imagine that her spirit is now somewhere where she can ask great questions to her heart’s content, and get the answers she so enthusiastically sought.