Steve Nation: The Will Is Emerging As A Universal Force

Steve Nation, a writer and speaker on meditation and global issues, observes a high-level pattern arising in world happenings: the emergence of the will as a potent force. It is arising between the wholeness vision (or what this blog calls the “Integral” vision) and oursleves, he writes, in our lives, in our communities, and throughout the world.

The will is a quality of consciousness that is taking on a decidedly new direction. Nation writes:

In the past, the will was often understood in terms of ‘thou shalt not’ and of power over others—maintaining a stiff upper lip in the face of difficulties and repressing anything unpleasant or not understood. We know that repression doesn’t work and that trying to battle on without addressing issues as they arise or without ever questioning what we are doing simply sets up new problems for the future. More often than not, problems and issues are a sign of something needing to be addressed—something that is out of alignment. The deeper will is concerned with purpose and with understanding the role that purpose can play in crafting a fulfilling and meaningful life. It is about fostering a sense of direction and nurturing a realistic sense of future possibilities. ‘Thou shalt’ replaces ‘Thou shalt not.’

In a sense, the will is all about the way in which we as individuals and groups respond to our perception of human need and to our sense of the future. As problems arise in our communities and in the world as a whole, they provide an opportunity to heal, transform, and redeem ancient patterns of separation. As such, the problems can be embraced. In learning about a particular social problem, we can train ourselves to recognize the forces that are causing the problem (forces in the human psyche reflected in economic, social, and cultural dynamics) while at the same time looking for the individuals and groups that are responding to these forces in a meaningful way—using the problem to break through ancient thought forms of division and to nurture love and goodwill in the community, and to empower disadvantaged groups and individuals with a sense of their own dignity and possibilities as human beings.

In the process of responding to the problems of our time something wonderful is happening to human beings. The quality of will is being mobilized as never before. It is happening at the local level in every community on the planet, just as it is happening regionally, nationally, and globally. There is today a vast network of groups of citizens that are applying the will to transform the quality of human relationships. Think of the vitality and purpose of the 350.org movement, or of the mindfulness networks that are emerging in health, healing, and education around the world. Think of the One Campaign fighting extreme poverty with almost 6 million global members. Think of the activities of countless Amnesty International groups throughout the world, or of the countless actions by concerned citizens on the International Day of Peace every September 21st. These are just the tip of the iceberg — we are living at a time when people of concern are becoming willfully engaged in diverse ways to transform the quality of relationships on earth.

There have always been periods in history when forces of goodwill coalesce with an unusual degree of singleminded purpose and focus. In the US for example, there was an extraordinary period during the height of the civil rights struggle when a culture of hatred, lawlessness, and violence was confronted by countless acts of individual and group courage. The anti-apartheid movement (within South Africa and around the world) saw a similar concentration of will. What is different about the will that is emerging today is that it is emerging as a universal force. Millions of people feel themselves to be a part of the One Humanity and the One Earth and feel a measure of personal responsibility and engagement in building a culture and civilization that reflects this new awareness. The good will is arising amongst individuals across the face of the globe, just as it is arising in groups and movements in every field of activity. There is an awareness of a common purpose that links community development groups with human rights groups, those working for the empowerment of women with groups targeting the need for nutritious food, and the massive global movement calling for new economic and political structures in response to the challenges of climate change. We are witnessing a quiet and steady mobilization of the will in human affairs.

Read the whole article in Kosmos Journal.

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Unapolgetically Integral In Our Own Way

“Our Most Important Activism For This Point In History Involves Building The Integral Worldview Itself” — Steve McIntosh, author of Evolution’s Purpose

Integral Blog has a new quote plastered across the top of our sidebar, so I thought I’d tell you more about it. You may have recognized it from a 2011 conversation between Scott Payne and Steve McIntosh published at Beams & Struts, or my discussion of the conversation on Awake, Aware & Alive.

Here’s the immediate context of McIntosh’s remarks:

[T]here are obviously many forms of legitimate political activism that integralists can pursue. But from my perspective, the most important form of activism for this point in history involves building the integral worldview itself. That is, we need to demonstrate the power of the integral perspective and show how effective it can be at providing solutions. We need to build wider recognition of, and agreement with, this emerging understanding of evolution. In other words, we need to teach the truths of integral philosophy and persuade people that consciousness and culture do evolve, and that we can solve many problems by coming to a deeper understanding of this phenomenon.

“Teaching” integral philosophy as a form of activism can, of course, involve a wide variety of activities. It can involve creating media such as books, videos, blogs, articles, etc. And it can also be as simple as engaging our friends and family in conversations about it. Further, the more we can each embody it as our own philosophy and not simply Wilber’s philosophy or Whitehead’s philosophy—the more we can show how it is actually a new understanding of evolution that recognizes interiors and can detect a new kind of depth—the more effective we’ll be in these communications. (Bold added.)

Now there’s a reason why I’ve given these words a special place on this new blog. Firstly, they have been inspirational to me in my blogging since I first heard them over three years ago. Secondly, they are just as relevant today as when Steve first spoke them. And thirdly, I believe they have the power to shake my fellow Integralists from their comfort zones and help to give focus to and context for the work they do. (Incidentally, as you will see I’ve shortened it a bit and changed the first word. I hope we can agree these changes are not significant.)

Integral Blog is unapologetically written by an Integralist for fellow Integralists (or integralists) if you prefer. We will not say we’re sorry for discussing theory when others would say that we are “stuck in our head”. We will not shy away from using vocabulary that requires more than a middle school education. (We have a rudimentary Integral glossary for the interested.) We will not try to sneak Integral perspectives quietly into conversations in order to appeal to the huffy-huff-huffington-posters or the league of not-so-extraordinary gentlemen.

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On this blog and the future of spiritual blog publishing

Squiggles (Credit: Jez Atkinson)

Dear Reader,

One of the many pearls of wisdom I’ve gained from the Signals vs. Noise blog is plain talk questioning the notion of “business planning.” Jason Fried writes:

Busting your ass planning something important? Feel like you can’t proceed until you have a bulletproof plan in place? Replace “plan” with “guess” and take it easy. That’s all plans really are anyway: guesses.

So next time you’re working on a business plan, call it a business guess. And that financial plan? It’s a financial guess. Strategic planning? Call it with it really is: a strategic guess. 5 year plan? You mean 5 year guess.

There’s nothing wrong with guessing, dreaming, or predicting, but it’s not planning. Planning’s too definite a term for most things. We often use planning when we really mean guessing. And what we call it has a lot to do with how we think about it, do about it, and devote to it. I think companies often over think, over do, and over devote to planning.

So next time call a plan a guess and just get to work.

Tonight I’m thinking of my best guess for the future of spirituality publishing on the World Wide Web. Where do I see it going in 5 years or more? Where do I see my own contribution landing and within what bigger picture of what the world is evolving into?

My best guess a week ago — a vision of creating a top “Integral blog” — looks like it may be landing within a more expansive vision. Planning is in constant response to a changing environment. What if I’ve been thinking too small?

In a post on August 9, I explained that I want to be the No. 1 blogger in my niche in the U.S., maybe the world, “Whatever that niche is.”

That’s a vision that spoke loudly through me on that particular day, but one that overall I hold lightly as one piece of a mosaic of contributions I’ll be making to the world in the next stage of my career. But I still believe that in order to be exceptional at what you do, it’s very important to know your niche.

My niche is “Integral,” but it’s not yet clear to me how this label intersects with a range of emerging evolutionary and progressive and intellectually rigorous approaches to being human in the 21st century.  I suspect there may be a more useful way of talking about my niche that can include more people and allow me express my Self without compromise without getting too attached to a particular dialect of spiritual discourse.

Tonight I spent a while on the phone with a friend who offered some insights into how Awake, Alive & Aware might fit into a more expansive vision of world spirituality, enlightenment, and integral development. I’m intrigued by the enriched possibilities that may exist if I revisit the question: what is my niche?

As my blog’s tagline says, I’ve been “blogging for a more integral and conscious world since 2003.” On and off. Much of the off-time has been spent confused about the strategic vision for spiritual communications in a world transitioning beyond postmodernity.

Planning has been next to impossible. Last week’s plans are today’s recyling. The landscape is constantly shifting, and yet a need remains unfulfilled and an opportunity untapped for a blog which really brings fresh thinking to spiritual discourse in America and beyond.

Long story short, in the days and weeks ahead I am entering into dialogue with myself and others about the future of integral spiritual publishing … and how Awake, Alive & Aware can best integrate and lead the way towards a common vision. If something productive emerges from these conversations, you’ll be the first to know.

Meanwhile, I’m blogging as usual. I’m also be putting my plans to open the blog to sponsors and advertisers on hold for just a little while until the dust settles.

Much love,

Joe

If content is the new currency, what do integralists value?

Coins (Credit: thegrid.ch-flickrstream)

At Fast Company, an article explains why in today’s digital economy “Content Is The New Currency”:

Just because you can broadcast content via Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Youtube, that does not necessarily mean people are interested in what you have to say. People are intrigued by those who can entertain, educate, or intrigue them. Meaningless and forgettable content is ignored. Dull content is the equivalent of boring and meaningless conversations that are quickly forgotten. The digital world makes it easy for us to contribute to the conversation with opinions, narratives, pictures, and videos, so it is harder than ever to stand out from the crowd.

What you talk about and how you deliver your content matters more now than ever before. Companies no longer have the luxury of communicating in a controlled monologue with consumers through traditional advertising. Technology creates an open environment where millions of people are vying for attention. With content as currency, you must have something relevant, compelling, and meaningful to say.  Today, people respond to content that moves or entertains, so make sure your content is relevant and riveting.

As I am beginning to transition my blog from non-commercial to an advertiser and reader supported business model, I find the article’s claim interesting. What content will you, my readers, find relevant, compelling, meaningful, and even entertaining?

(And once I get closer to figuring that out, I want to better understand how it’s a fit with my distinguishing style as a writer and how do tensions arise?)

What’s missing in Fast Company’s analysis is an appreciation that discovering the intersection between content creator and content reader is an All Quadrants, All Levels affair.

Successful bloggers find the sweet spot in which they resonate with fellows who strongly agree with them and even earn readership from people who strong disagree with them.

I’m not so sure that really describes the nature of Integral blogging considering the way in which most readers are not draw to react to posts with agreement or disagreement. I suspect integralists are instead more drawn to content which enables them to fill in gaps in their mental maps and integrated life practices.

I am puzzled over the question of how to entertain people who are drawn to an Integral blog. Until I figure it out better, I’m blogging mainly on stuff that I find entertaining and see what clicks.

The Integral community’s shadow of intellectual piracy

pirate-by-bomb_tea-flickrstream-creative-commonsRecently a friend and I were discussing blogs we both read, and it turns out she and I had very different evaluations of one “Integral blog” in particular. She enjoyed it very much, but I had such grave misgivings about it that I have wrestled with whether to even link to the blog or re-tweet its tweets. Nothing personal about the blogger. I just think the blog’s raw piracy.

US copyright law does not allow unlimited latitude when it comes to “fair use” of another writer or artist’s creative work. As a general rule, it is considered unwise to publish anything other than a short excerpt or summary of another article. In the case of shorter articles, republishing even a short excerpt could be legal violation punishable by $50,000 or more per infringement, so bloggers as a rule avoid publishing more than 30% of another source’s content.

Most other bloggers, that is. A few bad apples publish entire articles or journal papers or massive excerpts. Doing so is theft, even if it’s done with an attribution or link. If in doubt, a blogger needs to obtain written permission from the original source. It’s not that difficult, and it helps one sleep well at night. Just because some other bloggers pirate articles and papers doesn’t make it right, and building an “Integral blog” out of pirated material is something of a blemish, I think.

Lest it be said that I’m throwing stones from a glass house, I must say that I’ve had an uneasy conscience about this blog’s use of photographic imagery. Many bloggers have struggled with the same problem. When it comes to photographs, I acknowledge that I haven’t always researched the copyright status of some of the images used. I don’t think I’ve violated the law, but there are steps I will begin to take to make sure that going forward my compliance is unquestionable. I like sleeping well at night and continuing to look at my own shadow despite my own shortcomings is how I can do it.

In some cases such as an image of a movie poster getting written permissions seems excessive. The creative artists WANT to get exposure, and it’s not like a blogger can publish an excerpt of a photograph. Nevertheless, I’m resolving to only use imagery from Creative Commons henceforth unless I can positively identify the copyright status of an image.

I’ll remove any images that I discover violate another party’s copyright, and I’ve added a detailed copyright statement to this blog’s new About This Blog page:

Copyright information

The author retains copyright of the original material published on this blog AND we’re thrilled when readers want to republish their favorite posts. We authorize reproduction of excerpts and summaries without notifying us, but if you want to reproduce an entire article or blog post, please notify the author by e-mail and use this line with a hypertext link to this website:

© Copyright by Joe Perez. Some rights are reserved. Reproduced with permission.

In accordance with US copyright law and out of respect for the intellectual property of other authors, this blog does not reproduce full-length articles and papers available elsewhere on the Internet, but it does reproduce short excerpts or summaries.

Photographic imagery used herein is believed to be a “fair use,” however when images are obtained from the Internet it is often not possible to identify the proper owner in order to obtain proper permissions. When a source is known, attribution for photography is given in the image’s file name, title tag or ALT text, and with a “Photo Credit” line for each article. If you own a copyright on any image inadvertently used without proper permissions, please contact us and we will remove the item.

I think that statement will ensure that I abide by the law and my own ethical principles. Though perhaps it can be improved. Any suggestions?

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