''A religion old or new, that stressed the magnificence of the universe as revealed by modern science, might be able to draw forth reserves of reverence and awe hardly tapped by the conventional faiths. Sooner or later, such a religion will emerge.'' -- Carl Sagan, 1994, Pale Blue Dot, cited on [http://www.pantheism.net/paul/index.htm PanTheism.net]
'''"Evolutionary Spirituality"''' is a name LionKimbro is using to refer to a mass social movement (a movement in thought) that LionKimbro is tracking, and is sympathetic to.
It is a ZeitGeist, not an organization. It is a LineOfThinking that many people have come across, throughout time (for example, Spinoza,) but that is particularly relevant today, and being "reactivated" today.
This page began in 2006.
== Common Themes of Evolutionary Spirituality ==
These are some common themes of Evolutionary Spirituality.
Not all of them are always present.
* '''Naturalism''' -- Evolutionary Spirituality takes as it's frame the material universe, as science understands it.
* NestedSpheresOfCreativity -- ...rather than predictable clockwork & materialism; The empiricism of the world of living systems; Values and the subjective as material realities.
* '''Supernatural optional?''' -- Some evolutionary spirituality groups some credence to the occult, the super-natural, the psychic, and so on. They are in (what feels to me like a) natural tension with those that do not.
* '''The Universe''' -- The observable universe, [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Observable_universe] [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cosmological_horizon] and beyond. We have no idea how big the universe is, ''and it may well be infinite.'' [http://www.esa.int/esaSC/SEMR53T1VED_index_0_iv.html] We are presently in [http://www.jb.man.ac.uk/~jpl/cosmo/golden.html a golden age of astrophysics.] The significance of the universe is that it is ''the largest frame of reference,'' within which our minds position ourselves, and thus it plays an enormous role in our self-concept.
* '''Deep History''' & '''Ancestor Reverence''' -- Evolutionary Spirituality is based in reverence for deep history: The 14+ billion year history of our universe, the presence of other galaxies.
* '''Evolution'''' -- Evolution is understood as the ''primary explainer'' for life, of just about all types -- plant, animal, human, memetic. Some even extend evolution to talk about the development of particles, atoms, molecules, and so on, in terms of evolution.
* '''Future: Interconnection''' -- The vast majority of groups subscribe to some sort of variant of TeilhardDeChardin's view that we'll form a technological GlobalBrain. ''"No one can deny that a network (a world network) of economic and psychic affiliations is being woven at ever increasing speed which envelops and constantly penetrates more deeply within each of us. With every day that passes it becomes a little more impossible for us to act or think otherwise than collectively."'' [http://www.amazon.com/Phenomenon-Man-Pierre-Teilhard-Chardin/dp/006090495X ~1938-40]
* '''Multi-Religious Backdrop''' -- Evolutionary Spirituality is usually blended with the culture of origin. So for example, there is Evolutionary Christianity, Evolutionary Islam, Evolutionary Buddhism, Evolutionary Hinduism, Evolutionary Sikhism, Evolutionary Paganism, etc., etc.,.
* '''Psychological Study''' -- Evolutionary Spirituality tends to pay a lot of attention to, and include a MetaPhysics of: human psychology, human communications, human nature, systems theory, cybernetics, holism, and so on, as studied by scientists, popular thinkers, metaphysicians, sociologists, etc.,. People ask: "What is my purpose? What am I doing? How does my society work?" (and so on,) and look to science and literature for partial answers.
* '''Holism''' -- study of life "as a whole;" a clear intuitive understanding of how MetaPhysics connect up with the reality -- "it is worthwhile to talk about abstract entities" -- different characters are not necessarily contradictory, just because they express the whole differently
* '''Environmentalism''' -- Almost ''all'' Evolutionary Spirituality has some environmental component, some concern for the state of the Earth. Some commune with "Gaia," on either a literal or figurative basis, and work the Earth into ritual or contemplation.
* '''Cosmic Imagery''' -- Earth-rise from the moon; Earth from orbit; Galaxies, Nebula, God's Eye in Space [http://www.snopes.com/photos/space/eyeofgod.asp] [http://roachmaterial.blayboy.co.uk/fusion.html], the natural environment, fractals, cityscapes, ...
* '''The Spiritual is Material''' -- re-consideration of "what is worthy of empathy?" -- not only extending to animals and plants, or even rocks, but even cell towers, information, stars & void (talk about your full-circle,...)
* '''Community''' -- Most every Evolutionary Spirituality philosophy holds a special place for community. Some think "people need access to community," some think "the world should mainly run through a powerful CivilSociety." Regardless of where they are, I can't think of one that does not strongly revere actual communities (rather than just ImaginedCommunity.)
== Evolutionary Spirituality is Emerging ==
There are ''many'' small groups, around the world, that seem to be arriving at the independent conclusion that we can, and need to, construct naturalistic spiritualities. This is very much an emerging and developing thing:
* There are many individuals out there saying, "There should be ''this thing.'' They are not connected with any groups, but we know they are there, because they speak, publish ideas, come to similar conclusions.
* Some groups have names for what they are doing, others do not. In the event that there are names, the names do not match, and describe slightly different things.
* Roots can be traced backwards at least a hundred years, but they are thin and frail, and attached mainly to famous individuals, who are mostly famous for other things.
* Some groups have actually come to see one another, and are becoming visible to one another, and starting conversations; Some are even evangelizing.
The construction of EvolutionarySpirituality seems to co-incide with the New Atheism movement, which (this year, 2006) has more press and some greater visibility. [http://www.wired.com/wired/archive/14.11/atheism.html]
== Evolutionary Spirituality Groups ==
* [http://www.pantheism.net/ World Pantheism Movement] -- I don't know much about them.
* [http://yoism.org/ Yoism] -- "The OpenSource religion." Pays homage to Timothy Leary, South Park. Performs a lot of visioning & strategy work. Extensive video collection, with lots of ideas. Also has... ...a wiki!
* [http://thegreatturning.net/ The Great Turning] people
* [http://www.churchofreality.org/ The Church of Reality] -- My vote for most humerous motto: "If it's real, we believe in it!"
* [http://thegreatstory.org/ The Great Story] -- Michael & Connie travel the USA out of their car, preaching. My favorite couple in this domain; I'll write more about them specifically in a bit. They communicate through [http://co-intelligence.org/newsletter/ Evolutionary Life.]
* [http://www.earthlight.org/index.html EarthLight Library] -- low key, but right on target
* [http://www.stonyhill.com/stonyhill_institute.htm Stony Hill] -- another low key, but on target
* [http://www.global-mindshift.org/ Global MindShift] -- An organization with the most ''professional'' image on the web. They have a ton of videos on the web.
* [http://iamawakening.org/index.html I Am (Awakening) Movement Video] -- trippy collaboratively produced (though I'm skeptical about their "OpenSource" claim) video link; I don't know their organization, I think it's Ken's people
* [http://www.evolve.org/ Evolve,] Barbara Marx Hubbard's society
* [http://www.resurrectisis.org/PaganEvolution.htm Resurrect Isis] -- though a bit nutty...
* [http://www-personal.engin.umich.edu/~leta/natpag/ Naturalistic Pagan]
* [http://www.tufts.edu/as/wright_center/cosmic_evolution/docs/splash.html Cosmic Evolution] -- very science oriented; see their [http://www.tufts.edu/as/wright_center/cosmic_evolution/docs/fr_1/fr_1_site_summary.html summary] for their big picture description, including culture & the future
* [http://www.thedarwinproject.com/adventure/adventure.html The Darwin Project] -- yet another group
* [http://www.partnershipway.org/index.html The Partnership Way] -- it's hard to see that it's an EvolutionarySpirituality group, on the surface, but you dig just an inch down, and it's clearly so; It just has a particularly feminist anti-patriarchy bent to it, likely reflecting the genealogy of it's creators, and the niche it is filling.
* [http://www.noetic.org/about.cfm Institute of Noetic Sciences] -- started by an astronaut
* [http://www.spiritualprogressives.org/ Network of Spiritual Progressives] -- federation of several movements
* [http://www.stateofourplanetforum.org/mainsite.html State of Our Planet Forum] -- I think (he?) wants us all to abandon conscious thought, and become farmer hippies, but, well, that's just the way some of these people think
* [http://www.ratical.org/LifeWeb/ LifeWeb,] Dr. Sahtouris
* [http://www.spiritualatheism.org/ Spiritual Atheism]
* [https://www.wisdomuniversity.org/syllabus60002.htm Wisdom University 60002] -- a class that teaches some of these ideas
* [http://www.humanitysteam.org/ Humanities Team]
There are actually far more groups than this; I run across them "all the time," but I haven't kept adequate bookmarks. I'll try to dual-bookmark them here, as I bump into them.
== Papers, Books, Theory ==
Many papers, books, and theories & so on don't call themselves "Evolutionary Spirituality," simply because we're in the middle of the ZeitGeist, and if people ''are even aware'' that this is the zeitgeist (and not original thought,) there is still no name for it. "Evolutionary Spirituality" is the label I'm using for this zeitgeist, picked up from the EvolutionarySalon''''''s.
* [http://users.tpg.com.au/users/jes999/ Evolution's Arrow] -- a huge book, about the role of the conscious individual in the evolutionary story
* [http://www.yale.edu/lawweb/jbalkin/cs/cultural_software_preface.htm Cultural Software: A Theory of Ideology] -- Some quotes: ''Cultural evolution proceeds, but not toward any particular goal. We are its agents but not its puppets. We are its bearers but not its slaves.'' ... ''People who think that cultural information is soulless understand neither information nor the soul.'' ; for this one, see also: TheHumanAsaMedium, MeatballWiki:EmbodiedIdea.
* [http://www.mtnmath.com/whatrh/whatrh.html What Is and Will Be] -- a book with evolutionary spirituality ideas (takes panpsychism as fundamental assumption)
* [http://www.seanet.com/~realistic/idealism.html A Measure of Truth] -- book from a Christian background & basis, an entirely naturalistic spirituality
* LetterToPeter (a book) -- by AndrewCates, who has posted on MeatballWiki. LionKimbro sees it as an example of Evolutionary Christianity.
* The Universe of Experience "A Worldview Beyond Science & Religion" -- by Lancelot Law Whyte (dig the cool 1950's cover)
* [http://radicalcentrism.org/ Radical Centrism] -- "A Unifying Paradigm for Civil Society" -- by [http://radicalcentrism.org/about.html Ernest N. Prabhakar] -- this is not precisely EvolutionarySpirituality, because it has very little (explicitly spoken) about ''the Universe,'' and ''Evolution,'' and so on. It very much focuses on holism, character, psychology, science, and community, however. Naturalistic spirituality seems to hang in the background, without being talked about. Regardless, the "Radical Centrism" ideas here are clearly part of the zeitgeist that EvolutionarySpirituality shines through, so I list it here.
* [http://www.the-underdogs.info/games/u/ultima4vga/files/ultima4vga.pdf the Manual to Ultima IV] -- Chapter X, Modern Civilization and Our Universe. We find here: Evolution, the universe, holism, environmentalism, the spiritual is material, and a naturalism (given the supernatural world it takes place in.) (see also: [http://lion.taoriver.net/?p=37] [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Virtues_of_Ultima])
== People ==
* ThomasBerry -- [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thomas_Berry (Wikipedia article)] -- "The universe is a communion of subjects, not a collection of objects." -- a major influence on MichaelDowd
* [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hossein_Nasr Seyyed Hossein Nasr] -- he doesn't "fit the norm" for Evolutionary Spirituality, and would likely reject the association, but there are deep connections, particularly with his focus on natural reality, nature, and spirituality in the modern context
* AlbertEinstein -- the evolutionary spirituality movement loves to quote him
* [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Madeleine_L'Engle Madeleine L'Engle] -- wrote childrens books "A Wrinkle in Time," and "A Wind in the Door" (Christian Evolutionary Spirituality) -- see also [http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/4926262/ this interview]
* [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Osamu_Tezuka Osamu Tezuka] -- extremely proliferous: 700 manga, 170,000 pages; [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phoenix_%28manga%29 Phoenix] most clearly telling evolutionary spirituality
* [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kenneth_E._Boulding Kenneth E. Boulding] -- on the [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kenneth_Boulding%27s_Evolutionary_Perspective economics] end of things, modeling [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Evolutionary_economics evolutionary economics]
* [http://www.peterussell.com/index2.php Peter Russel]
* [http://www.drewdellinger.org/llmw/hymn.php Drew Dellinger] -- Evolutionary Spirituality poet
* ChristopherAlexander -- architect, patterns
* [http://www.edge.org/3rd_culture/kauffman06/kauffman06_index.html Stuart A. Kauffman]
Present Day Gurus:
* [http://www.barbaramarxhubbard.com/Public/WhatisConsciousEvolution/SelfEvolution/EvolutionarySpirituality/index.cfm Barbara Hubbard]
* [http://www.andrewcohen.org/ Andrew Cohen] -- I've read a few pages, and what I saw seemed pretty sensible to me
* [http://wilber.shambhala.com/ Ken Wilber] -- (note: kinda culty)
* [http://www.peterrussell.com/ Peter Russel]
And really cool individuals:
* [http://www.deepastronomy.com/ Ted Darnell, at Deep Astronomy] -- ''"Here you will find a unique perspective that strives to help you understand (sometimes complicated) astronomical ideas and concepts with an eye toward making them relevant to your life. I believe that learning about the universe we live in can be one of the most mind-expanding and spiritually rewarding activities a person can embark on, and this site will strive to make that journey as complete as possible."''
Some authors are primarily known for one thing, but their thoughts and writing express the core themes of Evolutionary Spirituality:
* DouglasAdams, [http://www.biota.org/people/douglasadams/ "Is there an Artificial God?"] -- in this speech, he describes evolution, and the epochs of our understanding of the universe, from our understanding of the cosmically large, to the quantum, from the computational, to the communicative; he ends in a TeilhardDeChardin future of growing interconnection
* VernorVinge, [http://www-rohan.sdsu.edu/faculty/vinge/misc/evolution.html "Nature, Bloody in Tooth and Claw?"] -- sees a similar vision for the future, after reaching into the past, and studying evolution
== Threads ==
Some days, I just find threads of Evolutionary Spirituality, found in different places.
* ''We sing ink songs and laser lullabies. Our culture of youth is more oriented toward the ink of song, the inscription of dress.'' -- [http://www.vispo.com/writings/essays/mcluhana.htm McLuhan Reconsidered,] by Jim Andrews
== History ==
These are some of the historical notes I've paid attention to.
I'm sure there are many, many more, than what I've listed here.
* Late 1800's: [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Russian_cosmism the Russian Cosmists] -- I bring this up because they are little known, intriguing, and potentially had a lot of influence that we haven't noticed, since we have been so busy paying attention to Tielhard de Chagrin. Russian Cosmists are easily considered early Transhumanists. (See: TransHumanism.)
* Early 1900's: TeilhardDeChardin -- Evolutionary Spirituality people are always quoting him. :)
== Differences, Debates ==
Some major differences within Evolutionary Spirituality:
* "Does ''Consciousness'' require explanation, or is our present understanding of Physics sufficient?"
* "Do super-natural things happen?"
* "Should we ''feel'' the Universe emotionally? Is emotional interpretation of natural history ''legitimate?''"
* "What do we want the future to be like?" (ex: "How long should people live?")
Some groups are way out there, into what I call "Quantum Mechanical Madness," my name for the idea that Quantum Mechanics ''proves'' pretty much ''anything'' you'd like to believe. UFO's, telepathy, angels & demons, whatever.
Evolutionary Spirituality is ''contrasted'' with ''Atheism.'' Atheists do not want to ''feel'' anything religious, and focus intensely on clarity of thinking, as if thinking can happen without feeling.
== Questions ==
There is ''still'' no solid answer to the question:
* "What might a naturalistic ''religion'' look like?"
We have some ideas of what a spirituality looks like, but not so much of a ''religion.''
== See Also ==
[[tag:notes]] [[tag:lion]] [[tag:lionkimbro]] [[tag:evolution]] [[tag:evolutionaryspirituality]] [[tag:spirituality]] [[tag:nature]] [[tag:environment]]
* MetaPhysics -- ideas and maps that are ''created,'' that are in many ways ''arbitrary,'' that do not necessarily correspond to reality, but that "work"
* SourceOfEthics -- the naturalistic origin of ethics & morality
* FiveWorldsMandala -- an example
* SincerityFilms -- Inconvenient Truth, Celestine Prophecy, Peaceful Warrior
* ThePhenomenonOfLife -- Life is everywhere, in all things
* ChallengeOfEmotiveExpression -- how spirituality is embedded in language
== Discussion ==
[new:LionKimbro:2006-11-14 03:32 UTC]
I have been asking myself the "What might a naturalistic religion look like?" question a lot, and have actually come up with a few ideas. I'd love to write them out, and intend to do so, fragmented though the visions are.
I also want to write about the ''very'' interesting (and related) work that [http://thegreatstory.org/ Michael & Connie] are doing.
Their website is simple & a little cheesy, but read about how people respond to their work. I'll personally attest that it's totally authentic.
[new:sigi:2006-11-14 21:07 UTC]
i was reading http://www.thegreatstory.org/trivializing.pdf till i came to: "as physicist brian swimme says: the greatest discovery of the scientific enterprise is this: you take a great cloud of hydrogen gas, leave it alone, and it becomes rosebushes, giraffes, and human beings ." then i stopped, wishing to ask the writer about this false trivialisation . but i couldn't ask him, because he is not a wiki-writer . so i have to wait, till he is .
[new:LionKimbro:2006-11-14 23:34 UTC]
OK, ... Is there anything ''else'' about the page that bugged you, or is it just this quote?
[new:HelmutLeitner:2006-11-15 06:20 UTC] sigi, depends on how you look at the hydrogen gas. If the cloud is normal size and the time is millions of years, then it is nonsense. At a cosmological level, hydrogen cloud in the size of a galaxis at least and billions of years, it makes perfect sense. Suns form and produce the other elements, suns explode as supernova and distribute this material to form planets with new suns at some time ... and then the evolution on the planets takes us to where we are. At least this is the current evolutionary picture of physics and biology.
[new:sigi:2006-11-15 20:34 UTC]
lion, my english is much too bad, to give you the whole picture . but to provoke you a little ;) i can give you a primitive try:<br>
it's this glorification of science, that bugged me . science has nothing to do with life . it can't explain life, because all it can explain, is how long or heavy or old things are . it can't even explain the color "blue" (we discussed that already) . it handles with death . when cain killed abel, he was the first scientist . science is the server of the rich and the mighty . it destroys the earth, but it cant give us a better one .<br>
so, the glorification of science is pure preachment, that boils down to "give me please some money" .
i think, we are on a better way here . as keith says: "i believe the fundamental motivator that we’ve overlooked is humans’ innate desire to play with stuff. to have fun." or as brandon says: "ideas think us, they are all products of our hivemind interacting with our environment." or as david says: "perhaps someday we’ll figure out the perfect solution." or as you put it: "this (a wiki-organized society) is, actually, believe it or not, a very common idea ." yes, it is .
[new:HelmutLeitner:2006-11-16 07:15 UTC] ChristopherAlexander is the focal point of a transition, having a similar role as Rene Descartes for traditional science. Alexander suggests and puts forward an alternative scientific methodology that puts "life" and holistic understanding using patterns, transformations and processes, emotional resonance and reproducable subjectivity in the center. This means a system theory that is neither "clockwork" nor "cloud" but "tree" (organic unfolding).
The fact alone, that there is a second rational consistent methodology (synthetical instead of analytical) is enough to deprive tradional science of its uniqueness and glorification. But it also makes clear, where and why science fails in so many - the more interesting - aspects of our existance. This will have long-term effects.
Actually I'm in the early stages of writing a book about this (exposé at the publisher, positive feedback, 90% chance of implementation within the next 9 months).
sigi, regarding your:
: "leitners law: each galaxy does not only have a black hole, but also at least one planet with rosebushes, giraffes, and human beings. "
yes, I believe that each and every galaxy that is old enough develops life in some way or other. On a specific planet the ecology may resemble life on earth or may look totally different. This belief has little to do with science, because science can make no predictions in that directions because the probability of suns having planets and of planets developing life are totally unknown.
[new:HelmutLeitner:2006-11-16 09:10 UTC] Just notes from current chat with MattisManzel: UnjustifyPessimism, LeitnersLaw, MindTheGap => GapTheMind.
[new:LionKimbro:2006-11-23 22:32 UTC]
Just a note for inclusion:
* I suspect EvolutionarySpirituality requires some concept of elevating ''want,'' or the "sacredness" of wants, or recognizing wants as in some way as a ''fundamental element'' of whatever it is that we are constructing.
Of course, (to use HelmutLeitner's language,) it is paradoxical. Some wants, the expression of which, would cause a lot of harm, and are completely unacceptable to us. Yet, we recognize that we feel them, and such.
[new:FridemarPache:2006-11-23 22:54 UTC]
Only one annotation download (losing (not only) positional information) for not overcrowding the page:
To me it is totally based on the principle ''Love'', a kind of universal tendency to ''make things more and more compatible''.
I let me inspire by the Bible, and quote it in modern language as. "A domain that is inconsistent has no persistence".
Studying this page, the author makes and invites annotations with:
[new:LionKimbro:2006-11-24 03:19 UTC]
The house divided on itself, falls apart.
And there is: to what is strong, it is added to, and to what is weak, it is taken away. The parable of the talents; HowardBloom emphasises that one.
I'm not sure I understand that ''Love'' (or desire, ''want,'') is the same thing as those principles, but it seems that they are related.
What is the relationship between Love (want, desire,) and those 2 principles? (Or just 1, if you can answer it.)
[new:FridemarPache:2006-11-24 23:06 UTC]
* ''Love makes compatible'', e.g. the states of Wanting and Getting, in the sense of irrelevant.
* ''Pray and you will be given'' is the underlying belief pattern.
* ''Do your work as good as you can and don't be addicted to the fruits.'' ( Bhagavad Gita)
* ''Actions of love need to have a critical mass'' to be "successful". Below that, they are suboptimal and loose. Saving your energies (remaining in a cold state) is then better than to waste them with halfhearted efforts. ("Wärest Du heiss oder kalt. Da Du lau bist, will ich Dich ausspeihen." "Heiss"/"Hot" means to me "filled with enough energy" and "kalt"/"cold", being in the energy saving state. The state in between ("lau") is wasted energy. ) On the other hand: "If you had only a very small seed belief (energy), I would make a big tree out of it". Belief energy is to me = Shared energy in a community. If everybody gives only their small input, it produces a magical synergetic effect ("Wunderbare Brotvermehrung"(''What is the official term for it?'' ).
[new:sigi:2006-11-26 02:15 UTC]
believe it or not : "Wunderbare Brotvermehrung" ist genau das prinzip, nach dem CommunityWikiBank arbeitet . real und wirklich !
"Wonderful bread increase" works exactly due to the principle, making the CommunityWikiBank work, actually and really!
Kannst Du das bitte naeher erlauetern auf WunderbareBrotvermehrung oder auf WonderfulBreadIncrease.Can you please elaborate this on WunderbareBrotvermehrung or WonderfulBreadIncrease.
[new:LionKimbro:2007-09-19 18:21 UTC]
Thank you DavidCary, for pointing out LetterToPeter to me, via MeatballWiki:WhatIsScience!
== Conversation with Helmut, Nov 2007 ==
[new:HelmutLeitner:2007-11-20 10:42 UTC] Lion, I'm sorry for this misunderstanding, but I don't get this clear. There are prominent references in the pages EvolutionarySpirituality to pantheism, which is nothing but atheism in a noble form. You also refer to "real God", which suggests something observable. My experience is that each and every believer will declare that his experience of God is real, maybe more real than any scientific measurements. / At the same time you refer to a very Christian TeilhardDeChardin, assuming that such movements do or should converge. / I see, like you, a common element of many movements maybe in a kind of "spiritual need" or "need for spiritual concepts" widening the religious movements even towards the esoteric. But there is nothing that would unite them in what they actually do or believe. And there seems to be nothing that makes them especially "evolutionary". Pantheism has nothing to do with the concept of evolution, for example, except that they maybe use this as a weapon against more fundamentalist religious movements.
But probably we should move this misunderstanding or discussion to EvolutionarySpirituality. It's a not the main point here.
[new:LionKimbro:2007-11-20 16:47 UTC]
I personally have taken a leaf from MichaelDowd, the argument that: "God" is a righteous and legitimate name for what is no less than the totality of the universe. This includes all consciousness, all rock, all life, all experiences, all possibilities even.
It took me a while to get there, because I originally believed that God was something remote and distant, discretely separate, possibly not existent. I believed in a cosmic dualism. Now I understand that we are in a cosmic monism, and that life is life, wherever it is found, whatever form it takes.
I've asked myself, "What would the visualization of all living things on the planet look like?" One visualization is of the Earth, if we look from the material world. But other visualizations are possible. Think of how, in anime, they draw things iconographically, like they do in anime -- in a way that communicates emotion far more clearly than any photorealism could even aspire towards. This is a communication of a reality by way of feeling and heart and by way of intuition, rather than by natural (trees, mountains, daily world) representation. It's no less real, what it's depicting; It's just it's easier to see the "facts of the psychic life" this way. Considering this class of images: What would the visualization of all living things on the planet look like? I argue: It would be nothing less than ''religious imagery.'' Religious imagery is the imagery that it takes to communicate about things that are so large, that our conscious language doesn't really represent it well. For language, we have to pull out really inspiring, exotic, unifying language, to communicate those realities of the heart. Then we ask, "What is God?" Surely, it is reality.
If the universe is a ''place,'' then it is wrong to say, "The Universe (a place) is God." But the universe is ''not'' a place; The universe is a totality, and that includes all consciousnesses, all experiences, all thoughts, all life, all stuff. Anything that you can imagine, and even what we cannot imagine, is part of the Universe.
Before "science," there were religions that saw God present in all things. Some personified God. (Others did not: My concept is that Aten was an impersonal God, possibly even the Sun was a symbol; My understanding (and I may be wrong here) was that Aten was linked with Democracy and the recognition of all people as equals, a concept that was despised by the Egyptians. Hindus saw God in all things, but I forget the reference.) After scientific awakening, many people said, "There is a split between the material, and the sacred." No longer could the material embody a God. If you spoke ''exactly'' what the people in the religions had said before, people would laugh, and say: "You are saying nothing but atheism in a noble form." That would be ''news'' to those people who didn't see it that way, who saw God in all life.
People in pre-scientific times ''could not know'' that their explanations were bogus. But to them, they were as common-sensical as anything. When the animist sees a bird fly high, and reasons, "It's so high, it must have been there at the creation, and have spoken with the creator," the animist is not being ''bad'' or ''unreasonable'' -- they are not "doing religion," either -- given the facts of the world that they exist in, and all that they could know, they are simply accounting for things in (what was for them) the obvious way. That is, they lived in a very ''ordinary'' universe. The motions of the psyche played around them, but it was an ordinary thing; I don't think that they were ''inventing'' and ''convincing.'' I doubt they went on religious battles, to convert the other. That's not the impression I've ever received from reading about indigenous cultures. I wonder if they even conceived of the idea that their (what we would call) "theology" was at all, ''could at all,'' be distinctly separate from their account of (what we would call) "the universe."
ChristopherAlexander, and TheLuminousGround. What's the quote everyone's putting on their webpage? "I believe he is likely to be remembered most of all, in the end, for having produced the first credible proof of the existence of God . . ." -Eric Buck, Department of Philosophy, University of Kentucky
To address your other points.
* "Real God" -- Any God that can be believed in or disbelieved in, is precisely '''not''' what I am talking about. (This phrase isn't original to me, but I fully stand by it.)
** "Do you believe in Life?" It's not a question of whether you ''believe'' or ''disbelieve'' in life; The question is absurd. It's like, "Do you believe in Water?" We might argue about whether it's composed of two parts hydrogen, one part oxygen, or how those parts are combined or something, but nobody seriously disbelieves in ''water.'' You might say, "It's an illusion," but at least we agree that there is such an illusion. When I refer to "God," I am referring to something that cannot be doubted. It's not even a matter of "observable" or not, even though it can be observed. (Visible light shows us just a fraction of reality.) If you doubt the existence of what I am calling God, (existence, possibility, everything,) then it's not that it's not "real," or that I am in confusion; It's simply that you don't understand my language.
* "Esoterics" -- I don't see the motion of EvolutionarySpirituality as one pointed towards ''esoterics.'' Rather, I see it as pointing towards ''reality.'' Even "reality" is too abstract -- so I must clarify: The ''reality of the heart.'' Real human needs. Katrina disaster relief. Preventing more Katrinas. Serious introspection. Living a life of integrity, and striving for heart. Being active, and practical, and making something real out of your ideas, in true service to Life, to God. See also: NewRealism.
* TeilhardDeChardin -- Absolutely. TeilhardDeChardin is one of the most essential, core people, in EvolutionarySpirituality. ''His own words,'' very specifically, were: "Everything that rises must converge." I'd be interested in your points about divergence here; I'd love to have that conversation.
** TeilhardDeChardin is a Christian. That's great: So am I, in the sense that: I grew up reading the Bible. I know Genesis, Cain & Abel, Job, the Judges, Paul and Christ. I went to Christmas service, (even though I didn't believe,) and much of my personal mythology and spiritual founding is based in the Bible. The people who wrote the Bible didn't know as much as we do about science, but I am convinced that they knew a lot about life that can't be thrown out. Different people by different genetics / heritages / histories have different stories, and I don't always understand other people's stories (though I strive to do so.) But that doesn't mean that there are multiple Gods, or anything like that. I don't think they're going to an eternal Hell, because they don't directly literally understand the words of Jesus.
* "Uniting Religions" -- There are always going to be people who are going to insist on difference. I do not bother myself with willful difference. My belief on the origins of the different accounts of the religious realities of the psyche, of the heart, is that people developed into tribes in different parts of the world, and thus when they were describing the world, they used different languages and so on. Could they possibly be blamed for this? It's not like they had microscopes and telescopes; They accounted for what they knew with what they had. I have the benefit of this knowledge, by a line of history of the development of thought that I call "evolutionary," because the way thoughts develop in societies seems to be similar to how evolution develops in species.
* "Pantheism as a Weapon" -- I simply don't see it as a weapon, any more than a Christian views Christ as a weapon. I have difficulty relating with the word "Pantheism" some times, but basically: In the ways that I am pantheistic, it is my sincere way of relating my own heart and spirit with the universe we find ourselves in. Imaginary worlds simply don't seem very real to me; It would require very serious contortions in my understanding of the world, to try and "make them" real. Instead, I choose to go with what is clearly real, both perceptually ("in my head") and externally, and trust in the public revelations of science. This makes the most sense to me. How then do I relate from there? That is EvolutionarySpirituality.
Here's some more TeilhardDeChardin: ''There is neither spirit nor matter in the world; the stuff of the universe is spirit-matter. No other substance but this could produce the human molecule. I know very well that this idea of spirit-matter is regarded as a hybrid monster, a verbal exorcism of a duality which remains unresolved in its terms. But I remain convinced that the objections made to it arise from the mere fact that few people can make up their minds to abandon an old point of view and take the risk of a new idea... Biologists or philosophers cannot conceive a biosphere or noosphere because they are unwilling to abandon a certain narrow conception of individuality. Nevertheless, the step must be taken. For in fact, pure spirituality is as unconceivable as pure materiality. Just as, in a sense, there is no geometrical point, but as many structurally different points as there are methods of deriving them from different figures, so every spirit derives its reality and nature from a particular type of universal synthesis.'' -- (in: A Sketch of a Personalistic Universe)
[new:LionKimbro:2007-11-21 18:50 UTC]
I'm bringing this to the top of RecentChanges, because I'm really curious: What are your thoughts, Helmut?
[new:HelmutLeitner:2007-11-23 17:28 UTC]
Lion, I never said "pantheism as weapon".
I do not see ES as a unified movement. Famous people are quoted and in their pocket - they are dead and can't defend.
IMHO statements like "everything is spirit-matter" or "the universe is God" have no meaning at all, this is just a kind of ritual text handling. I remember a collegue 30 years ago saying after a night of discussions about the universe "everything is software" and I think Maharishi Mahesh Yogi said "everything is sap". I think that a statement "everything is X" doesn't tell us something about X but just deprives the word X of any real meaning.
[new:LionKimbro:2007-11-24 00:48 UTC]
And on top of that, it just sounds to me like, even if I perfectly responded to your statements, you wouldn't care anyways: You just don't ''want'' to see this go anywhere, prima facie, for reasons that you will not state.
[new:LionKimbro:2007-11-24 00:48 UTC]
Regardless, I will respond:
"Everything is spirit-matter" is a meaningful statement, in a society that sees spirit and matter as fundamentally distinct.
Similarly: "Every person is valuable" does not debase the concept of value. It holds special meaning, in a world that says those people are more valuable than those other people.
[new:HelmutLeitner:2007-11-24 09:58 UTC] Lion, I would have preferred to think about this in the WikiNow, but you actually enforced me to answer, so I did it in a short way. It should be clear that this is not satisfying. This is not because I do not want discuss open issues but because I feel that too many questions are opened - like many cans of worms - to be productively dealt with.
Language is a blunt tool. If two people, each of them for his own, say "I believe in God", this this no way mean that they believe the in same thing. If they do this together, they may feel sympathy for each other and may feel united, which is nice. But this has nothing to do with the information in the sentence. On the other hand, if one says "I believe in God" and the other says "I believe in Allah", then they may feel separated, although they actually say the same thing. So all this is on a level that has nothing to do with language itself, or the reality of the world or the reality of God. It has only to do with their interpretation of the world and the language in their individual minds.
At that point it is very hard to continue argumentation, because we just do not have the words to clearly separate the different layers of reality and of our perception and interpretation of it.
Of course, if I say "X has a meaning" I mean that the sentence expresses a meaning directly (not between the lines) and in a way that is probably understood, even by someone who doesn't share my exact opinion or context.
If you e. g. say
: ''"Everything is spirit-matter" is a meaningful statement, in a society that sees spirit and matter as fundamentally distinct.''
then it would be more to the point to say "Spirit and matter are not distinct". But what does that mean? Does this statement really have a meaning, given that people probably do not agree on the boundary line between matter and spirit? You would have be more specific about the phenomena you are talking about. Where do the people that do not believe in spiritual things draw their boundary line? What do they exclude from their reality and what do you have included? It's about communicating over that world-view-gap.
But in telling people about spirit and matter, you will have to make that distinction yourself. It is our only way to deal with the world to make distinctions, to see and understand differences. So you can't talk about spirit and matter being the same without making the distinction. So what you really want to say is "there are spiritual things like X and their existence is just as real and important as you or your car".
In the end you must end in something like "I believe in a spiritual entity X" (like reincarnation, some values, order in the universe, a soul separable from the human body, love beyond chemical processes) and you derive - and that's important - actions or conclusions from that, and someone else will say "I don't believe in this until you give me some proof" and continue to act according to his value system.
The solution that you seem to suggest, although not openly, is propaganda/hype, and its kind of weird that you pointed me to NewRealism a number of times, a page which I wrote against the "let's just believe this, this sounds good, why not, if we have enough momentum for this meme we'll change the world or sell his product". NewRealism means to be to the point, not be abstract/general, to be not deceived by language but to look beyond. It means to be sceptical against unproven ideas (and even science offers no real mechnism for verification) and to personally stand the instable situation of not having simple and final answers.
[new:LionKimbro:2007-11-24 20:11 UTC]
I have difficulty following your argument about how people argue; About whether or not TeilhardDeChardin should say things like "Everything is spirit-matter," or not. The meaning of the sentence is clear to me, the significant difference it suggests is clear to me, so, ... I'm not going to argue it. TeilhardDeChardin, and others following, has expanded on these meanings of these single sentences in their writing; This sort of sentence is the "one-sentence version;" The many-sentenced & exploration-into-implications happens elsewhere. This seems normal and natural; For example, Lawrence Lessig is trying to find a one-liner explaining his perspective on copyright and cultural creativity.
It is not true that in the end, you must say something like, "I believe in a spiritual entity X." That is precisely the point of Evolutionary Spirituality.
To take the example of romance: We believe in spiritual entity ''oxytocin,'' and the evolved structure of the brain. We believe in the purpose of romance, and we believe in the social organism and mental structures formed around romance. We believe in the trials and dilemmas and joys of romance. I believe in spiritual entity ''oxytocin.'' By itself, it means nothing, but we don't find it by itself; We find it in an interpretive structure, a consequential structure, within the brain. That structure is detailed and evolved. This is the spiritual process.
The assertion of Evolutionary Spirituality is that anything that has meaning, significance, or value, is rooted in the material universe.
So if we are passionately moved by a transcendental imaginary story, the ''significance'' of it to us, the ''value'' of it to us, is rooted in the material universe. This is not to say that "The Sacred is Profane;" Rather, it is a challenge to identify the Universe's sacred. There is clearly sacred. It never exists without material.
Our belief is that our hearts are closed. Through movies (stories,) we are brought to a state of mind where we can see significance, larger stories, and touch the Noosphere. Our hearts open, then. After a while, our minds and hearts close again.
The actions people should undertake are different, according to the person. But the overall frame is to aid in the evolution of life. Evolution now takes place in the sphere of heart & thought, in the psyche rather than in the biological sphere. (Actually, there is rapid evolution in the machinery, in the computers, as well.) The biological container of the human being, the human body, is less significant now; A third or fourth arm and hand, or another eye, or something like that, will not make enormous significance now.
I think the EvolutionarySpirituality "program" is to work towards making a wonderful world, and to work on making ourselves wonderful people. The interesting stuff is in the meaning of "wonderful," and in the strategies to do so. Unfortunately, it is now 12:10 PM, and I have to go now.
[new:LionKimbro:2007-11-25 19:41 UTC]
[new:LionKimbro:2007-11-25 20:53 UTC]
''The solution that you seem to suggest, although not openly, is propaganda/hype, and its kind of weird that you pointed me to NewRealism a number of times, a page which I wrote against the “let’s just believe this, this sounds good, why not, if we have enough momentum for this meme we’ll change the world or sell his product”. NewRealism means to be to the point, not be abstract/general, to be not deceived by language but to look beyond. It means to be sceptical against unproven ideas (and even science offers no real mechnism for verification) and to personally stand the instable situation of not having simple and final answers.''
I need some clarity on this:
* What is the problem that you believe EvolutionarySpirituality is being proposed as an answer to?
* What is the propaganda/hype that you believe I am proposing, as the solution to (the problem)?
* What do you see as wrong with propaganda (sharing ideas?)
** Is there a ''mode'' of sharing ideas, that you think is wrong, that I shouldn't be done?
Do you think that how people think of their relationships with each other and the Earth doesn't really matter?
I want to make explicit that, whatever the social problem, ''communicating'' (and there are myriad ways this can happen) and ''changing our thoughts'' are some pretty fundamental tools in finding a CommunitySolution.
[new:LionKimbro:2007-11-25 21:44 UTC]
: ''I see, like you, a common element of many movements maybe in a kind of "spiritual need" or "need for spiritual concepts" widening the religious movements even towards the esoteric. But there is nothing that would unite them in what they actually do or believe.''
Unity is found through science, and through human nature (AlexandrianMethod.)
If there are groups that go into esoterics (DamanHur, for example,) what does that bother us?
Why must they all be united in belief? And what does any of that have to do with EvolutionarySpirituality?
A point of relevance may be: [http://www.thegreatstory.org/what_is.html Five Unique Characters of The Great Story]:
: ''The Great Story is radically open to multiple interpretations. Because the empirical and theoretical sciences search entirely for material explanations of the world, whenever one ventures into the realm of meaning or into the realm of spirit, the interpretations necessarily go beyond the science. And yet, make meaning we must! Humans are intrinsically meaning-makers, whether we construe that meaning to be innate in the cosmos or created by the human mind. (This is the diversity character.)''
[new:LionKimbro:2007-11-25 21:44 UTC]
: ''And there seems to be nothing that makes them especially "evolutionary". Pantheism has nothing to do with the concept of evolution, for example, except that they maybe use this as a weapon against more fundamentalist religious movements.''
Well, EvolutionarySpirituality isn't about ''only'' "pantheism."
EvolutionarySpirituality is my ''name'' for a movement in thought that's taking place. Panetheism is certainly a part of it.
Where does "Evolution" come into play?
EvolutionarySpirituality takes the revelations of science on face value. If scientific communities say, "Man evolved like so," if scientists say "Here's how we understand the Earth to have developed," we stand at attention.
''Evolution'' is the best story we have today for how man came to be: We sprang from the Universe, through the stars, through the planets, and through the development of species.
"Evolution" is not being used as a tool to fight bad guys. Rather, it's seen as the recognition of: "Here is where we are. Here is how it happened. There was pangaia, there were these tectonic rifts; Life was different at different places. Life developed and adapted in different places." And so on.
Many Evo-Spir authors use "Evolution" in places where biologists don't want that word to go: They may say, "Atoms evolved from primordial substance after the big bang," or that "The matter evolved into galaxies."
But this is all seen in terms of authenticity, not as weaponizing. Evo-Spir people wouldn't drop evolution, and pick up something else, if it turned out to be a better weapon.
"Why do Evo-Spir people see their thinking as progress in evolution?" There's a ton of perspectives where this works. Evo-Spir people see their thinking as the ''reintegration of science with religion.'' They think there are ''problems'' with the way that they're segregated right now. There were historical reasons behind how that happened. But they see societies and knowledge and thought systems and so on, developing in interplay with the environment, and they say, "This is an evolutionary process."
It makes a heck of a lot of sense to me; If this is the substance of your criticism, I'd be happy to answer any questions.
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