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What Connects Us and Why Is It Important?

from: http://noetic.org

“The frontiers of science suggest that matter as a thing-in-itself is an illusion and that only relationships are real. By this reckoning, our understanding of relationship holds the key to understanding reality, the purpose and possibilities of creation, and humanity’s place in creation’s unfolding.”

What does it look like to “be true to our deepest humanity and to be in kinship with all our relations?”

On July 20, 2017 we attended What Connects Us and Why Is It Important?, a pre-conference of Institute of Noetic Sciences (IONS) where Episcopal Priest and mystic Matthew Fox and philosopher of living systems David C. Korten had a public conversation attempting to answering that question.

Fox’s and Korten’s dialogue explored how to translate a spiritual awakening into a societal transformation that is sustainable, respects all creation as sacred, and leaves no one behind. Here are some highlights that I noted:

Human Awakening

  • We are experiencing a human awakening – a shift in knowing who we are as humans. (DK)
  • We are not trapped by “human nature;” we can choose our culture. We can make the “impossible,” inevitable! (DK)
  • Stories are so important and we currently have a failed story. We have a troubled earth. If we change the story we can change the future. (DK)
  • Willis Harman, who served as president of IONS for two decades, was convinced that Western culture was facing a spiritual and moral crisis stemming from the ravages of industrialism and its economic logic. He noted that science once said only the material was real; now we believe consciousness and relationships are what is “real.” (MF)
  • A new enlightenment is seeing an end to dualism as we are putting our growing knowledge of science and spirit together. (MF)
  • Creation is revealing it’s intention and meaning, evolving toward awareness, beauty, possibility and hope. (DK)
  • In 1973, when IONS was founded, science thought that there were only two galaxies and we now know there are 2 trillion galaxies. Science has shifted from a steady state understanding of the universe to the Big Bang. (MF)
  • As Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel said, “The universe shocks us into radical amazement.” (MF)
  • So what keeps us asleep in apathy and denial? (MF)
  • Meister Eckhart said “God is the denial of the denial.” (MF)
  • Embrace our moral outrage – lasso our anger. Anger is not a sin as St. Augustine of Hippo (the empire builder of the Church as the City of God) might have us think. (MF)
  • Zeal comes from the intense beauty of everything. (MF)
  • Thomas Berry said awe, reverence and celebration is the exuberant expression of existence itself. We have forgotten a sense of the sacred. (MF)
  • Awe leads to wisdom, justice and compassion. (MF)
  • Scripture, correctly understood, teaches “original blessing.” We should not have a fatalistic, self-hatred and fear of death. (MF)
  • Consumer capitalism is the secular version of original sin. (MF)
  • A priest should be “a midwife of grace.” (MF)
  • We are experiencing a dark night in politics, but we learn things in the darkness we don’t learn elsewhere. (MF)

A Troubled Earth

  • We now consume 1.7 times what the earth can regenerate. (DK)
  • Eighty individuals control half of the world’s wealth. The time has come for the very rich to engage in giving back. (DK)
  • We have become earth’s enemy – an invasive species. (DK)
  • In our politics we have let corporations have more rights than humans, but we are beginning to see a reversal with rivers having rights. (DK)
  • Monetizing caring relationship is a product of empire. (DK)
  • Ask “How well are corporations serving people and nature?” (DK)
  • Creativity is our strength as a species. (DK)
  • An Ecological Civilization provides:
    • Material sufficiency for every one
    • Spiritual Abundance
    • New Economics that provide returns to Living Capital, People and the Earth.
  • We can create a “Living Earth Economy.” (DK)
  • The shift from and imperial to a “Ecological Civilization” starts with the “Living Earth.”
  • Listen and spread intergenerational wisdom – re-firement, not retirement! (MF)
  • Re-sacrilize our commitment to Creation. Take the vow in the Order of the Sacred Earth to “Be the best mystic/lover and prophet/warrior of mother earth that I can be “- coming December 21, 2017. (MF)

There are levels of being human that unite all people and for which a new civilization must make room.