The “Me” in Media

Is media the boss of me? Or am I the boss of it?

What we communicate internally—whether in dreams, fantasies, fears, or aspirations—are to some degree written large upon the billboards, headlines, screens, and ads of our civilization. In this sense, inside media becomes inside me. —  Tom Cooper, Professor of Communication, Emerson College.

What we think about consistently, we make more of. Individually and collectively, what’s on our minds are largely concerns and values. Our purchasing behaviors reflect them, and these get projected onto billboards and screens. In this way, the culture reflects the personal. Because each of our purchase decisions is a vote for more of the same, the shaping of the culture begins with me. 

Commerce is an essential social activity. But when it becomes pervasive to the point of distraction and manipulation, when it takes center stage in the environment, it diverts attention away from the thoughts that inspire and lift us up, including the vital processes and values that make us more fully human. My list of these includes the discovery of identity and purpose, the development of unique potentials, expanding consciousness, integration of head and heart—and  thoughts about the expression of virtues in everyday living such as love, compassion, kindness, altruism, empathy, humility, generosity, honesty, morality, consideration for others, the experience of beauty and the exercise of wonder and awe.

Consideration of the ”me” in media, simply means that I’m in charge. Looked at from the whole population the influence seems remote and minuscule, but from the personal perspective the influence and be immediate and powerful—by being more conscious and intentional when it comes to purchasing, consuming and viewing. For instance, when on the highway I avert my eyes from billboards, mute the sound on television ads, ignore or click-off ads on the internet, go directly to the products I want in a grocery store and block robocalls. There are so many places where I can find inspiration and be productive. I don’t want to be distracted. And my attention is not for sale.

Our minds are being addressed by addictive media serving corporate sponsors whose purpose is to rearrange reality so that viewers forget the world around them. — Paul Hawken, Ecology of Commerce.

_____________________________

I welcome your comments at <smithdl@fuse.net>

My portfolio site: DavidLSmithPhotography.com

My Photography Monographs

Teachers and Teaching

A guest posting, taken from my daughter’s recent blog

I will forever love this photograph taken in my Mother’s freshman high school English Literature classroom in the late seventies (check out my teeth!). Mom — and Dad — were my very first teachers both in their professional and personal lives. I watched as they strived to recognize the assets in each student and bring out their very best (even when those students had no faith in themselves). They showed me how teaching could be one of the most meaningful contributions to the world.

As a child, I pretend played teacher with my stuffed friends, acted in plays at school as a teacher, and envisioned what I would be iike someday when I could become a teacher. Since then, the teachers who have left a lasting impression are the ones who taught my heart and spirit to soar with curiosity, wisdom and compassion. I’m honored to now be a teacher and have learned that teachers, in order to fulfill their sacred role, must be consummate students. Teaching has become a whole family affair as I teach alongside my partner, Jason in homeschooling this year and we invite in guest teacher friends and family – yes, Mom and Dad are back teaching their grandson – with powerful lessons in the Ancient Maya, the arts, Shakespeare, writing poetry and more.

Because teachers are learners and change-makers, we are well-equipped for changing times, times of division and times of trial. We realize that the whole world is our classroom if only we observe, question and reflect with our students on the lessons to be learned from social, political and environmental challenges. We know that if we bring our whole heart and mind to our students — paying keen attention to their needs, their gifts, and which issues ignite their passions — we will become just the support they need to thrive not simply survive.

So to all the teachers who are making the world a better, kinder, more inclusive and just place, thank you!

Jennifer Smith Miller, Author, Confident Parents Confident Kids

(Her book: Confident Parents Confident Kids)

Stillness

Inside and outside, it’s the place where peace resides

Nothing in all creation is so like God as stillness.

 — Meister Eckhart, Christian mystic

Coming across this quote, I noticed that stillness has been and continues to be one of the prominent themes in my photography. When I go out with a camera, the word in my searching mind has long been “simplicity,” one of the aesthetic dimensions. Upon reflection, I see that a large part of the appeal of simplicity, that is, few visual elements, is stillness. The fewer the elements, the less there is to distract the eye. And this applies as much to life as it does to art. Both of these images convey a sense of stillness, but the one below has fewer elements—greater simplicity and an increased sense of stillness. 

Regarding Meister Eckhart’s quote, the greatest potential representation of the Divine in a photograph would be no visual elements at all. Consequently, no “image.” Of course, God, Infinite Intelligence, the Ground of All Being, Great Mystery or whatever name we choose cannot be imaged, that is, represented by anything physical or mental. At the same time, assuming a Creator that’s both imminent and transcendent of creation, everything in the cosmos is an expression of That. 

What breaks the paradox, for those who choose to see it, is that the hand of every artist, including God, is available to be seen in all their creations—simple or complex. It’s in this regard that St. Ignatius of Loyola challenged his “Jesuit” followers to “See God in all things.” It’s what my photography has been about since 1964. 

_____________________________

I welcome your comments at <smithdl@fuse.net>

My portfolio site: DavidLSmithPhotography.com

My Photography Monographs

Single-Mindedness

Stepping away from distraction and divided attention

The light of the body is the eye; if, therefore, thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light. — Jesus (Matthew 6:22)

 

To be whole, authentic, we’re advised to be single-minded—present in the light of Now, present in the light of consciousness. I refer to the Now as “light” because focused attention on whatever we’re doing in the moment illuminates the true self. Single-minded concentration—centering on the breath or a significant word—is what we do in meditation. In the East they call it “one-pointedness.” We can practice this at other times as well, by focusing wholeheartedly and whole-mindedly on our thoughts and activities throughout the day. 

By removing distractions, even significant ones, single-minded focus promotes deeper understanding and appreciation, greater efficiency in performance and lessens the prospect of  challenges becoming a burden. Also, we get to the essence of the situation quicker. Double or multiple-mind divides consciousness into parts that vie for prominence. Single-mind is like a laser. When thought is focused and sustained it becomes coherent.

Coherence means the quality of forming a unified whole… The cornerstone of coherence is the experience of being a unified whole in our own right as individuals.Diana Durham, Author of Coherent Self, Coherent World: A new synthesis of Myth, Metaphysics & Bohm’s Implicate Order.

Because our reality is constantly changing, divided mind is the norm. Thoughts and images race through our consciousness continuously, like a stream of television channels that can only be paused momentarily. With many of them being meaningless distractions, at times annoying, frustrating and exhausting, it’s refreshing to pause and focus, to become single-minded, to allow the observer and the observed to become one. For many, a time comes when there’s a hunger, an urge for this, for that which endures despite change. 

According to my dear friend and mentor, Beatrice Bruteau, the “unification of consciousness, usually called concentration” accomplishes this. The following is from her book What We Can Learn From The East.

How do you do this concentration? You just BE what you’re actually doing at the moment, without thinking or feeling about the fact that you’re doing it. When you set your hand to the plow, you just concentrate on plowing and go straight ahead without looking back to see what you plowed, or how well you plowed. You don’t allow the mind to divide into two, half on plowing and half on plowed. You notice the plow, the field, whatever you have to attend to in order to plow straight and merge your whole mind into the objective reality of these things in order that the plowing be done correctly. Put all your feelings into this plowing because this is where your life is at the moment. You have no other life here and now except is plowing. Therefore, feel this plowing thoroughly, feel it everywhere you can… Become plowing. This is you at this moment. This is where you really are what you are really doing. That’s how you center yourself, how you concentrate. You will be in your inner chamber, and you will be aware of that life is gushing up to you at that point, that your being is being sustained from moment to moment. You are in immediate contact with your Source. This is keeping the consciousness single. And sure enough, when this eye is single, the whole body is filled with light.

In his famous book, Be Here Now, Ram Dass (whom I had the pleasure of interviewing in the early ‘80s) talks about the busyness of life, and how, when he found himself reflecting on the past and planning for the future, he reminded himself to be in the moment, present in the light of Now, the place where our true self resides. 

I find that being single-minded, present, observing what I’m thinking, seeing or doing and holding my attention on it for a while, is expansive. I think this is what photographer Dorothea Lang meant when she observed that “Photogaphy takes an instant out of time, altering life by holding it still.” Holding, noticing, attending, concentrating, focusing the mind in the midst of change and distractions may be one of the great appeals of photography. When the eyes of mind and camera are single, the whole body and experience is full of light.  

If you continue worrying about what might be and wondering what might have been, you will ignore what is… It is good to learn from the past, but the future can only be positively fulfilled by focusing exclusively on the present. It’s the only action that supports life, that enables everything to be the best it can be, all unfolds from and happens only in Now.  Isira Sananda, Australian spiritual leader and author.

____________________________

I welcome your comments at <smithdl@fuse.net>

My portfolio site: DavidLSmithPhotography.com

My Photography Monographs

Emergence

We continue to speak as though we “came into this world.” But we did not come “into” this world; we have come “out” of it—as leaves come out of a tree, we have come out of the universe. As leaves are organically parts of the tree, we are organically part of the universe.

Thomas King S.J., Theology professor, Georgetown University

 

When a child is born it appears he came into this world, as if the soul resided in another world or dimension—a common belief among traditional faith communities. Speaking just physically, our bodies don’t come into the world so much as they emerge from previous organic substances that, as Fr. King noted, can be traced back to the stars. 

In concert with this perspective, just as the spirit of a tree gives rise to and inhabits its leaves, the spirit of the universe gives rise to and indwells its most complex expression—human beings. And everything else. In part, it reveals to us further understanding of the phrase, “We are one.”

_____________________________

I welcome your comments at <smithdl@fuse.net>

My portfolio site: DavidLSmithPhotography.com

My Photography Monographs

The Universe in a Chair

There’s more space than matter here, but the combination served a beautiful purpose.

Photographed in Venice, Italy

 

When we look at a chair, we see the wood, but we fail to observe the tree, the forest, the carpenter or our own mind. When we meditate on it, we can see the entire universe in all its interwoven and interdependent relations in the chair. The presence of the wood reveals the presence of the tree. The presence of the leaf reveals the presence of the sun. The presence of the apple blossoms reveal the presence of the apple. Meditators can see the one in the many and the many in the one… The chair is not separate. It exists only in its interdependent relations with everything in the universe. It is because all other things are.

Thich Nhat Hanh

 

A lesson from both quantum physics and Buddhist philosophy: the farther and more deeply we extend our perception into matter, the less there is of it. At base, there’s string-like vibrations, energy fields. As more and more scientists recognize that energy as consciousness, I think about the carpenter who made this chair. What a wonderful contribution, a comfort to all who rested on it. So many. And here, again, as an image, it points to the tree, the forest, the sun—everything.  

_____________________________________________________________________________

I welcome your comments at <smithdl@fuse.net>

My portfolio site: DavidLSmithPhotography.com

My Photography Monographs

Immigration and Assumptions

The assumptions we make have consequences

Experiences, positive and negative, result in assumptions that drive policies, action and reactions, all of which have consequences for identity, for demonstrating—not just talking about—who we are as a people. A case in point is the current global immigration crisis.

The purpose of this blog is to reflect and appreciate through the contemplation of images, so my intention here is neither to judge nor offer solutions to this complex issue. Instead, I reflect on the assumptions underlying the creation of laws that drive decisions, which in turn have consequences. Atticus Finch’s closing argument in To Kill A Mockingbird, illustrates the power of assumptions.

“The witnesses for the State…have presented themselves to you, in this court, in the cynical confidence that their testimony would not be doubted, confident that you gentlemen would go along with them on the assumption—the evil assumption—that all Negroes lie, that all Negroes are basically immoral beings, that all Negro men are not to be trusted around our women, an assumption one associates with minds of their caliber. Which gentlemen, we know is in itself a lie as black as Tom Robinson’s skin, a lie I do not have to point out to you. You know the truth, and the truth is this: Some Negroes lie, some Negroes are immoral, some Negro men are not to be trusted around women—black or white. But this is a truth that applies to the human race and to no particular race of men. There is not one person in this courtroom who has not told a lie, who has never done an immoral thing, and there is no man living who has never looked upon a woman without desire.”

The science of whole systems and biological evolution support the long term viability of “inclusion.” Life evolves by creating novelty, variety. Despite the accommodations it requires, the dynamics of diversity propels evolution forward. Within all living systems there are cells that, for a variety of reasons, are or become toxic. To assume that all or most of them are toxic would be ignorant and dangerous—the body would turn on itself. In the human body, the immune system is the first line of defense, protecting it against toxic behaviors. The social equivalent of the immune system are law enforcement agencies. 

When a society fences itself off from diversity, as the previous administration did, it severely limits its most precious resource—people with potential, and seriously weakens its resilience in overcoming adversity. The more diverse the members in a system, the greater the experience and intelligence available to find workable solutions to crises.

Persons, humanely treated, have constructive potentials that can be cultivated. Aside from the few bent on destruction, the vast majority of immigrants are highly motivated to make things better. Their intention is to build. Among them may be the next generation’s grand contributors. Closing out also fences in. In time, the “insiders” will experience limited resources and labor.  

A compassionate people view themselves as a whole, interdependent system composed of individuals capable of manifesting both light and shadow, angel and devil, good and evil. They devise laws and put into place systems that attempt to minimize the darkness, but not at the expense of the light.

Of course, the world has changed dramatically since the days of Ellis Island where 450,000 people entered the United States in the first year. And of the 12 million admitted between 1892 and 1954, only 2 percent were deemed unfit to become citizens. Certainly, the American “melting pot” was more of a “cauldron,” but out of it came the scientific geniuses, captains of industry, artists, engineers, philosophers, educators, politicians, day-laborers and you and me—who built and continue to build the most powerful free nation on earth. 

Destructive forces have always played, and continue to play a central role in biological, human and social evolution. It’s one of the ways that nature continuously renews herself. Now that humanity is largely directing its own and the planet’s evolution, it’s how we learn what works, what doesn’t and how to manage the shadow aspect within us and around us. Over the past four years we learned that a reactive and biased posture, operating from fear and exclusion only concedes more power to the forces of destruction. Negative thought and energy begets more negative energy.

The measure of a people’s strength is not their potential to blame, belittle or fend off diversity. It’s the ability to create a context wherein diverse people can live and work together safely, optimize their health, pursue an education if they want to and help each other to realize their potentials and dreams. 

Breakdowns occur in nature and in life as pressures to pay attention, make a fresh examination of the situation and choose more wisely by considering the consequences of any action before it’s taken.

With regard to making judgments about any group of people, I repeat Atticus’ response to the evil, shadow aspects of human nature, made by the prosecution and bystanders.

We know the truth, and the truth is this: some people lie, some people are immoral, some people, irrespective of race, religion, national origin or worldview cannot be trusted. But this is a truth that applies to the entire human race. There is not one person in this courtroom who has not told a lie, who has never done an immoral thing, and there is no man living who has never looked upon a woman without desire.”

Holding a mirror up to one’s self encourages tolerance, fairness and compassion, qualities associated with light.

 

Begin challenging your assumptions. Your assumptions are the windows on the world. Scrub them off every once in awhile or the light won’t come in.

Alan Alda

_________________________________________________________________________________________

Email: smithdl@fuse.net

Portfolio: DavidLSmithPhotography.com

Photography Monographs (Click on the pages to turn them)

What’s Your Story?

Our backgrounds reveal who we once were and how we got to where we are

The empty patio chairs and the cleared table seem an appropriate symbol of our inability to gather this past year. At the same time, the chairs evidence the many conversations that went on there, sort of a “musical chairs” effect as people came and went. 

Two events converged to prompt this contemplation. One is the many television images of young people partying on the beaches for Spring Break, older folks in restaurants and dancing at parties, all eager to burst out the coronabubble that’s plagued us for a year. The other is the accumulated experiences of seeing people of all ages ignoring the people they’re with, preferring to talk to someone else on the phone. I sometimes wonder; What’s so important it can’t wait? And what are they talking about?     

While writing my novel Soul Train, I wanted to model one of the characters after a dear friend and colleague of twenty years. He’d recently passed away and I realized that the only thing I knew about his personal life, aside from what I learned from his wife, was the university he attended. I knew his worldview and philosophy of life, but I knew very little about the experiences that had shaped it. Fortunately, after contacting some of our mutual friends and colleagues, I was able to piece together some of the amazing places he’d been and things he’d experienced and done. In the process, I became aware of how little I knew about many of the people who, on many business and social occasions, sat across from me.

When we apply for a job we hand over our resumes and curriculum vitae to strangers, but chances are members of our family and friends would be surprised by some of the items on them. Maybe we don’t share that information out of modesty, or because it would bore people. But in an appropriate context, such as informal get-togethers, the sharing of stories about a person’s family, education, employment, travels, significant others and formative events can promote understanding and deepen our appreciation, perhaps even provide life lessons for young people and others. It would provide topics for future conversations with a person, and deepen our respect for their life’s journey.

To avoid the “Do you want to talk about me or should I?” embarrassment, the host or someone else could suggest, “You know what would be great? How about we go around and each one take ten minutes to tell the highlights of their story?” My first experience of this was in a Dale Carnegie class when I was in high school. The lesson being taught was “Speak in terms of the other person’s interests.” I came away knowing the names and backgrounds of thirty adults (I was the youngest). Much later, as an adult, I experienced this again on several occasions. Each time it was so delightful, I remember many of the people and their backgrounds to this day. And importantly, those “round-robin” stories invigorated our conversations on other matters. 

The sharing of personal histories within the family is especially important for young people. It helps to shape their identity, ties them to the past and provides lessons for the future. Whatever the context, family, fun or business, it stimulates a lot of wonder, appreciation and laughter. 

Telling our personal story constitutes an act of consciousness that defines the ethical lining of a person’s constitution. Recounting personal stories promotes personal growth, spurs the performance of selfless deeds, and in doing so enhances the ability of the equitable eye of humanity to scroll rearward and forward. Every person must become familiar with our communal history of struggle, loss, redemption, and meaningfully contemplate the meaning behind our personal existence in order to draft a proper and prosperous future for succeeding generations. Accordingly, every person is responsible for sharing their story using the language of thought that best expresses their sanguine reminiscences. Without a record of pastimes, we will never know what we were, what we now are, or what we might become by steadfastly and honorably struggling with mortal chores. — Kilroy J. Oldster (Author, Dead Toad Scrolls)

______________________________________________________________________________

Email: smithdl@fuse.net

Portfolio: DavidLSmithPhotography.com

Photography Monographs (Click on the pages to turn them)

A Paradigm Shift In Consciousness

Tenants of the shift to interdependence, unity and love

Diverse cells rise, become illuminated and enter a circle of light, expanded consciousness. Higher yet is the Great Mystery where infinite potential resides.

According to Mirriam-Webster Dictionary, a paradigm shift is an important change that happens when the usual way of thinking about or doing something is replaced by a new and different way. The phenomenon was defined and popularized by Thomas Kuhn in his 1962 book, The Structure of Scientific Revolution, where he argued that scientific advancement occurred in “intellectually violent revolutions” where “one conceptual world view is replaced by another.” Examples from the modern world include the Industrial Revolution, Einstein’s Theory of Relativity, the digital revolution, the internet, quantum physics, smart phones, artificial intelligence, robotics, gene splicing and nanotechnology. 

Since the early ‘70s, authors and scientists have been writing about the coming “transformation,” describing  shifts in consciousness from independence to interdependence, and from separation and fear to unity and love. It’s important to note that ten random people asked to describe the “current significant shifts in our ways of thinking” would result in ten different lists, possible with some duplication, certainly with different language and emphasis. 

My research into paradigms turned up sites that specialized in business, political and economic shifts. Also, there were sites where individuals and organizations with particular agendas described both positive and negative shifts. Acknowledging my interest and philosophical biases—humanity’s evolving consciousness and a positive future—I list here a brief summary of the tenants I’ve been reading about since George Leonard published his book, The Transformation in 1973. (Amazon has the paperback listed at $768.00. The Kindle edition is $3.95).

 

Tenants Of The emerging Paradigm

Authenticity

To live authentically is to make choices based upon the deepest part of our being, rather than the opinions or expectations of others or society.

Balance

Whole-systems balance requires harmonizing components, all stakeholders. Harmony occurs more often when there is a balance between matter and spirit, and heart and head. “In a democracy, there is not a center. Rather, needs and resources are balanced for the good of the whole by all its parts.” (McFague, 2013). “A customer-centric store shifts the balance of power away from the merchant and toward the customer… it’s about empowerment of the individual.” — Jeff Bezos

Competition and Cooperation

“Evolution depends on competition and cooperation, on independence and interdependence. Competition and independence are both important to individual survival, while cooperation and interdependence are important to group, social and species survival. Individuals and their societies are holons at two levels of the same holarchy. These levels must achieve mutual consistency by looking out for themselves and working out between themselves a balance of competition and cooperation, of dependence and interdependence.” (Sahtouris, 2000).

Consciousness 

The great wisdom traditions held that the universe is consciousness, the excitation of consciousness, the activity of consciousness and the experience of consciousness. It evolves in consciousness, and we evolve in consciousness. “I regard consciousness as fundamental. I regard matter as derivative of consciousness.” (Max Plank, physicist).

Diversity

The great advantage of diversity is resilience, the ability to adapt to changing situations. For a diverse community to become resilient, it must be aware of the interdependence of all its members. As they are enriched, the community is enriched. (Capra, 2018)

Economics

Equatable economic systems need to safeguard the viability of the whole community. Only as they thrive will their members thrive as well. “This begins with sustainability and distributive justice, not with the allocation of resources among competing individuals. The community must be able to survive (sustainability), which it can do only if all members have the use of resources (distributive justice). This kind of economics is not value-free. Its preference is the well-being and sustainability of the full spectrum of holons, including the Earth.” (McFague, 2008).

Education

“We need to teach our children, our students, and our corporate and political leaders, the fundamental facts of life—that one species’ waste is another species’ food; that matter cycles continually through the web of life; that the energy driving the ecological cycle flows from the sun; that diversity assures resilience; that life, from its beginning more than 3 billion years ago, did not take over the planet by combat but by networking.” (Capra, 2018).

Energy

The laws of quantum physics indicate that the universe is constituted of energy. Energy is primal. Matter is derivative. There are far more information and potential in what we cannot see, than in what we do see. Space is not empty. (Laszlo, 2017)

Ethics and Integrity

“To retain a positive image, businesses must be committed to operating on an ethical foundation as it relates to the treatment of employees, respecting the surrounding environment and fair market practices in terms of price and consumer treatment.” (Horton, 2020)

Inner / Outer

“The inner world precipitates the outer world. Perceptions, beliefs and attitudes are a higher order than genetic endowment. Through perception and belief, we can modify 30,000 variations of every gene. Our perceptions and responses to life dynamically shape our biology and behavior.” (Lipton, 2008).

Interdependence

All living systems are interconnected and interdependent. “This interdependence of parts and the whole applies in both spatial and temporal terms… Anything that exists and has an identity does so only within the total network of everything that has a possible or potential relation to it. No phenomenon exists with an independent or intrinsic identity.” (Dalai Lama, 2005).

Life

“To live is to communicate life because life is essentially a spreading, growing phenomenon. Therefore, the more one communicates life, affirms life in one’s fellows, gives oneself to enhance their lives, the more one is alive, is truly living, and thus, is truly oneself.” (Bruteau, 1979)

Pattern & Trajectory Of Living Systems

Enduring patterns in the evolutionary process demonstrate that life moves inexorably in the direction of increased freedom, order, diversity, integration, novelty, complexity and consciousness. “Increasing diversification and integration are driven by selection. An understanding of the trajectory and causal drivers of the trends suggests that they are likely to culminate in the emergence of a global entity. This entity would emerge from the integration of the living processes, matter, energy and technology of the planet into a global cooperative organization. (Stewart, 2014).

Power

The paradigm of dominion, “power over,” is giving way to “power with,” the empowerment of others. The ideal structure for this is not the hierarchy but the social network, which is driven by interconnectedness. The network hubs with the richest connections and resources become centers of power. They connect large numbers of people to the network and are therefore sought out as authorities in various fields. Their authority allows these centers to empower people by connecting more of the network to itself. (Capra, 2018) 

Purpose

“Our essential nature is identical to the central nature of the cosmos—pure consciousness, or love or spirit. According to all the major wisdom traditions, we are here to access, embody and transmit this divine consciousness into the world until material reality is made sacred—that is, until cosmic consciousness returns to Earth or, alternatively, until ultimate reality—God—returns to its original form of infinite oneness.” (Laszlo, 2017).

Spirituality

From an ecological perspective, “spirituality” is not about what gods we praise and how piously we do it, but about how our lives affect other human beings, including natural habitats and the Earth viewed as a living system. (Berry, 1999)

Stewardship

As members of one, whole and living body—the Earth—we are responsible for our actions concerning it. Acting responsibly means doing no harm and preserving, ideally promoting the health and well-being of all living things. Geologian Thomas Berry distinguished between an “environmental movement” that seeks to adjust the earth community to the needs of human beings and an “ecological movement” where human beings adjust to the needs of the earth community. (Berry, 1999).

Unity

The universe is one, a whole, living, creative, evolving, self-organizing and self-making system. “All evolution is a dance of wholes that separate themselves into parts and parts that join into mutually consistent new wholes. We can see it as a repeating and sequentially spiraling pattern of unity-individuation-competition-conflict-negotiation-resolution-cooperation-and new levels of unity.” (Sahtouris, 2000).

Worldview

“A worldview is a way of describing the universe and life within it, both in terms of what is and what ought to be… In addition to defining what goals can be sought in life, a worldview defines what goals should be pursued.” (Kiltko-Revera, 2004). Individuals who hold negative worldviews eventually demonstrate what does not work for the good, the qualitative sustainability, of the whole. Those holding positive views of the world have the potential to make lasting contributions.

 

Contemplation

Shifts is consciousness can be difficult for individuals. They can happen quickly, as when we adopt a more workable idea, or over a long time where we grapple with a concept that requires a worldview adjustment. For a society, nation or humanity as a whole, a shift in thinking that’s newly introduced requires testing. And that can take years, decades or longer because it upsets the status quo, established ways of thinking that are working for most people.

Throughout the testing period, when a worldview that was once successful starts to become toxic it meets resistance. The same with consciousness. Too many people may depend on it for life and livelihoods. For instance, when it became obvious that manufacturing industries were polluting the air globally with devastating health consequences the voices of concern and innovation, the emergents, were disregarded or drowned out by politicians, lobbyists and executives who made the case in support of the status quo. 

But the status is never quo. Change is constant. And the emergents lead the way with more viable thinking, in part due to the increasing pressure of entropy. Unresolved breakdowns escalate into a crisis. Evolution favors the thinkers who, while adapting to changing conditions, find a better way to sustain and increase life. The more encouraging thing about a paradigm shift in consciousness is the realization that it’s both fundamental and directed. Everything emerges from consciousness and it’s always ascending. As Buckminster Fuller said, “You can’t learn less, you can only learn more.” Life is an ascent. The direction of evolution is onward and upward because that which becomes more complex becomes more conscious, centered upon itself. More aware.

This means that whatever drives learning, be it a crisis, innovation or aspiration, life eventually learns and grows. As conscious members of the web of life, human beings are now the leading edge of evolution. So it’s up to us to determine whether, how and how quickly we, as a species, will learn to live in harmony with each other, the rest of life and the planet.

 

References

Berry, Thomas. The Great Work: Our Way Into The Future. New York, NY.: Random House, 1999.

Bruteau, Beatrice. The Psychic Grid: How We Create The World We Know. Wheaton, IL.: Quest Books, 1979.

Capra, Fritjof and Pier Luigi. The Systems View of Life: A Unifying Vision. Cambridge, UK.: Cambridge University Press, 2018. 

Koltko-Revera. The Psychology of Worldviews. Review of General Psychology, Educational Publishing Foundation Vol. 8, No. 1, 3–58. 2004.

Lama, Dalai. The Universe in a Single Atom. New York, NY.: Three Rivers Press, 2005.

Horton, Melissa. The Importance of Business Ethics. Investopedia, July 1, 2020.

Laszlo, Ervin. The Intelligence of the Cosmos: New Answers from the Frontiers of Science. Rochester, VT.: Inner Traditions, 2017.

Lipton, Bruce. In Daniel Goleman, Measuring The Unmeasurable: The Scientific Case for Spirituality. Boulder, CO.: Sounds True Publishing, 2008).

McFague, Sallie. A New Climate For Theology: God, the World, and Global Warming. Minneapolis, MN.: Fortress Press, 2008.

McFague, Sallie. Blessed Are The Consumers: Change and the Practice of Restraint. Minneapolis, MN.: Fortress Press, 2013.

Sahtouris, E. Earthdance: Living Systems in Evolution. iUniverse, 2000.

Stewart, John E. The Direction of Evolution: The Rise of Cooperative Organization. El Sevier Abstract, Vol. 123, September 2014, Pages 27-36.

______________________________________________________________________

Email: smithdl@fuse.net

Portfolio: DavidLSmithPhotography.com

Photography Monographs (Click on the pages to turn them)