Wednesday, June 08, 2011

Ervin Laszlo's Forum on Science & Spirituality - Round 7: Worldshift

Round 7 of The Ervin Laszlo Forum on Science & Spirituality deals with Worldshift - our need as an interconnected species to "change the dynamic of the systems so they would take us toward a world that is more equitable, sustainable, and peaceful."

This round features four excellent thinkers: Gregg Braden, Bruce Lipton, Joanna Macy, and Duane Elgin.

Round 7

Is there a role for spirituality in a time of crisis? Can it be of help in facing and eventually overcoming the crisis?

The answer, given in the four stupendous contributions to this Round of the Forum on Science & Spirituality, is a resounding YES. Crisis is both danger and opportunity. The danger is that the systems that drive our world take us to a point of no return where the world collapses around us; and the opportunity is to change the dynamic of the systems so they would take us toward a world that is more equitable, sustainable, and peaceful. To achieve this “worldshift” we need both dependable information and deep insight: the former from science, and the latter from spirituality. We can’t make it without either of them. But with both, we have a chance.

Gregg Braden and Bruce Lipton diagnose the nature of the crisis in which we find ourselves and highlight the nature of the insights we need to cope with it. Joanna Macy and Duane Elgin offer specific advice regarding the insights and the practices we need to face the crisis. Together they paint a concise yet clear and trenchant image of what is wrong with the world, and how we could change our thinking and actions to right it.

When writing is as clear and pertinent as this, there is no need to comment. We cannot point to one or another of the elements of information and advice it conveys, we would need to point to all of it. But there is no need to cite the whole of these worldshifting blogs, for they can be read here in their entirety. And read and read. And taken to heart and to mind, so they could inspire our heart and inform our mind. With inspiration coming from the great spiritual traditions, and information from the leading edge of the sciences, we can empower ourselves to change, both profoundly and urgently. Then we have a chance to change the world.

The world needs to change, profoundly and urgently. And nothing and nobody could change it but us.

Here are the beginnings of each contribution to the forum.

During the last years of the Cold War, I had a front row seat as a senior systems designer in the defense industry to one of the most frightening times in the history of the world, and the thinking that led to it. During the last years of the most potentially lethal, yet undeclared, war in human history, the superpowers of the United States and the former Soviet Union did something that seems unthinkable to any rationally minded person today. They spent the time, energy, and human resources to develop and stockpile somewhere in the neighborhood of 65,000 nuclear weapons—a combined arsenal with the power to microwave the Earth, and everything on it, many times over.

The rationale for such an extreme effort stems from a way of thinking that has dominated much of the modern world for the last 300 years or so, since the beginning of the scientific era. It’s based in the false assumptions of scientific thinking that suggest we’re somehow separate from the Earth, separate from one another, and that the nature that gives us life is based upon relentless struggle and survival of the strongest. Fortunately, new discoveries have revealed that each of these assumptions is absolutely false. Unfortunately, however, there is a reluctance to reflect such new discoveries in mainstream media, traditional classrooms and conventional textbooks. In other words, we’re still teaching our young people the false assumptions of an obsolete way of thinking based on struggle, competition, and war.

Read more.

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The Role of Spirituality in a Worldshift

by Bruce Lipton on May 30, 2011

We are truly living in exciting times. The challenges and crises facing the world today are portents of imminent change in civilization. We are on the threshold of an incredible global evolutionary shift.

The current panoply of global crises collectively reveals we are facing our own extinction. Scientists acknowledge that the current degradation of the environment and the massive loss of species are evidence that we are deep into the sixth mass extinction to hit Earth since the origin of life. Unlike the first five massive die-offs, attributed to physical causes such as life-destroying geological upheavals and the impact of comets and asteroids, the current wave of extinctions is due to a source much closer to home: human behavior. Our way of life is wreaking havoc in the global community and our survival is now in question.

Crises are harbingers of evolution. Albert Einstein wisely proffered, “We cannot solve the problems with the same thinking that created them.” Consequently, the planet’s hope and salvation lies in the adoption of revolutionary new knowledge being revealed at the frontiers of science. This new awareness is shattering old myths and rewriting the “truths” that shape the character of human civilization.

Read more.

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Spiritual Practices for This Time of Crisis

by Joanna Macy on May 30, 2011

At this turning in humanity’s journey, science and spirituality converge, and we can glimpse new possibilities for a life-sustaining civilization. But the going is rough. One mega-disaster follows another. Economic, political, and ecological systems spin out of control, in what David Korten aptly calls the Great Unraveling.

As the rug is progressively pulled out from under us, it is easy to panic, and even easier to simply shut down. These two instinctive reactions—panic and paralysis—are the roadside ditches that border our pathway to a livable future. To fall into either one is the greatest of all the dangers we face, for they deaden the heart and derail the mind. If ever we needed spiritual practices and disciplines for staying alert and connected, it is now.

The greatest gift we can give our world is our presence, awake and attentive. What can help us do that? Here, drawn from ancient religions and Earth wisdom traditions, are a handful of practices I have learned to count on.

Read more.

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The most fundamental question facing humanity is this: At its foundations, is the universe dead or alive? In short, was Plato correct when, more than two thousand years ago, he said: “The universe is a single living creature that encompasses all living creatures within it.”

We can begin to answer this question by turning to both science and the world’s wisdom traditions. Science now regards our universe as: 1) almost entirely invisible (96 percent of the known universe comprised of invisible energy and matter), 2) completely unified and able to communicate with itself instantaneously in ways that transcend the limits of the speed of light, 3) sustained by the flow-through of an unimaginably vast amount of energy, and 4) having freedom at its deepest, quantum levels. While not proving the universe is alive, these and other attributes from science do point strongly in that direction.

When we turn to the world’s wisdom traditions and ask how they regard the universe, we find a stunning consensus that the universe is a continuously regenerated, living presence . . . .
Read more.

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