A few weeks back I attended Andrew Cohen’s seminar for evolutionary spirituality. I wasn’t sure what to expect, having seen Cohen only once, about two years ago during Evolutionary Enlightenment day in Lenox. This seminar went from about 1-5pm, so I came in with an open mind and an empty cup, curious to see this spiritual teacher, and now recent author (his book, Evolutionary Spirituality, was published right around the time Occupy Wall Street began). Continue reading
Hey readers, and listeners, I’d like to introduce to you EL’s latest podcast series. Miriam and I have weekly conversations that involves us talking about our work. We figured, why not start recording them? We cover a lot of stuff. Evolution. Consciousness. Mysticism. Culture. Social change.
We are young and aspiring grad students at heart. These chats will often be at diners, on trains, or even coffee houses. I always loved the experience of talking about these topics in a public area. Maybe because it spilled forth private meanings and insights back into the world that seems so alien and indifferent to them? Either way, I’m excited to share with you our raw conversations. They’re the most important, I think, because they aren’t published or polished. It’s just us, talking our hearts out.
Diner Dialogues: Planetary Consciousness in the Techno Era
Folks who are interested in evolutionary and planetary spirituality might feel disconnected from having access to social occasions where these subjects can be openly discussed. This is no replacement! But I think the more we share our private and inner visions of the world and our potential futures, the more we can generate that world. In other words, let’s dare to share our conversations and make them public ones–especially in the internet era–that help foster alternative media and culture. As Daniel Pinchbeck recently said on Facebook:
Artists and media makers perform the crucial function of constructing the narrative or mythology that underlies civilization and impels people into action. Our culture requires a rapid polar reversal of its governing ideology, through all forms of creative expression and storytelling. What artists and media makers need to develop, first of all, is the moral courage to recognize the full dimensions of the planetary emergency, without flinching away from it. As they undergo their personal initiation into new levels of awareness and compassion, the work they make will automatically reflect this.
As artists, myth-makers, and social activists, how can we participate in this “crucial function?” I’m hoping to gear EL towards a more service-based platform for creating alternative media, dialogue and discussion. Here’s to social change and transformation, and getting our hands dirty with the paints, and platforms, that require us to grasp the prima materia and work with it. In our time, in an age where a new culture and re-imagined human life is needed, the prima materia is human culture.
by Jeremy Johnson
“This question of what will happen in 2012 may just be the wrong question, and we should just be asking: what are we going to bring about?”
I finally got around to seeing Daniel Pinchbeck’s film, and I have to say that it was enjoyable and surprisingly inspiring. Pinchbeck gets some big shots to talk in the film, including the musician Sting, the consciousness teacher Barbara Marx Hubbard, and Dennis McKenna (brother of Terence McKenna). This documentary is in many ways a summary of his book, 2012: the Return of Quetzalcoatl and his latest publication, Notes From the Edge Times. It begins with an animation of the Mayan creation myth, which tells us how the gods created various “types” of humans, each with some defect that forced the gods to destroy them. We were once clay, wood, and now modern humans. Will we face the same demise as previous human ages?
Pinchbeck explores how our modern, industrial and materialist culture has disconnected itself from essential ways of knowledge, long forgotten in premodern cultures. In context, many of these cultures have had a lot to say about our own age. 2012 is the end of a calender cycle, and a cyclical shift in world ages. How can we as secular Westerners integrate this forgotten knowledge to make this transformation positive?
The majority of the movie explores the un-sustainability of modern industrial civilization, and then goes into how we can re-invision civilization and gear our tech-savvy culture towards ecological solutions (permaculture, city farms, etc). One of the interesting people was Bernard Lietaer, author of The Future of Money. He puts forward the idea that our hierarchical money system is an unsustainable model. Instead, he suggests that we adopt alternative, decentralized money systems, based on “open source” philosophy and cooperation (a kind of ecological monetary system).
“Prophecy and history become the same thing.”
One of the most interesting topics I found in this documentary was the discussion of prophecy and time. The idea that a prophecy is something that exists in some distant, linear point is misleading, for the ancient Maya, and many pre-modern societies had a different conception of time than we do. The past, present and future are interdependent cycles. One of the interviewees mentioned that we are in the “space of no time.” The knowledge of the future is gained from the past, “if we are present, we can see the future.”
Halfway through the film, Pinchbeck describes his psychedelic journeys and how they helped transform his own worldview.
“It was one of the experiences I had… that shamans are actually capable of accessing this other form of knowledge, or awareness, that you couldn’t access through ordinary channels.”
The lack of initiation in our culture, Pinchbeck suggests, is one of missing components of our time. He also notes that this may be why the 60′s were not capable of making a total transformation of our civilization. We lack the elders and the shamanic wisdom that is present in indigenous cultures. The psychedelic experience helps us become aware that we are “stewards” of nature, and without this recognition, we are ever at risk for destroying ourselves. But how to re-imagine civilization?
Buckminster Fuller gets a good portion of time in this documentary. “The Leonardo Da Vinci” of the 20th century, he reimagined the Earth as a whole system. He believed we already had the technology and resources to transform the world, but we had to have a “design revolution” in which we would “do more with less.” His inventions, though some of them are a bit quirky, are quite visionary for the time (mid 20th century, hinting at the green revolution yet to come).
At this point of the documentary, I was reminded of many of the other visionaries, like Tesla, who were something like seer-scientists. When we invoke the imagination, through the invention of technology and architecture, we summon forth previously un-manifested dimensions of being that exist in what Carl Jung called the “collective unconscious.” Simple, human imagination is a participation with this greater reality. So when we, even as a secular culture, “invent,” we simultaneously invoke and participate in a creative act with the eternal. Of course, becoming conscious of this, as Barbara Marx Hubbard suggests, may be a new and important component of the Great Work.
In other words, just as the first civilizations were a great act of invoking the imagination and the unconscious, we are now in the midst of an even greater invocation on a planetary scale.
The documentary also explores Dean Radin’s scientific studies on ESP, David Lynch and transcendental meditation, and Richard Register’s ecological city design (among many others). It dips its toes into such a variety of fronts, but I think a coherent theme is taking place: we need to re-imagine civilization, and integrating forgotten forms of knowledge can help us take the first steps to an entirely “new age” of human society that has never existed before, and that is up to us to create. I recommend this film as it gives one a wide glance at what many people are doing at many transformative fronts in society.
First ten minutes of the movie: