Monthly Archives: January 2016

… maps of meaning …

Maps, the symbolic depictions of relationships between different elements, be they objects, regions in space, or ideas in conceptual domains, serve as orientation devices. Though it’s worth remembering Korzybski’s point, ‘The Map is not the territory.’

Earthrise, Dec 1968

Earthrise, Dec 1968

Given the complexity of global problems, there’s a dire need for charting the increasing expansion of specialised knowledge, diverse traditions and experiences, into a wider context. Since the poetic image of our planet rising in space did not grip the hearts of a critical mass, we need theoretical overviews to dispel confusions, and explore how all the seemingly disparate comprehensions of the world we live in can work together in a more intelligent and unified way.

Ken Wilber is a great proponent of an’ Integral Theory,’ bringing together many fields of knowledge and methodologies, scientific and spiritual, in an attempt to show how all these partial truths can be reconciled and be mutably enriching. This 1.5 hour talk  is brilliant, and eminently worth listening to.

In his AQAL  map  (You can press – 1MB free – and get a screen resolution)  Wilber integrates various developmental ideas, which may remind of Abraham Maslow and Carl Gustav Jung, to name but a few mapmakers before him.  In the above talk Wilber describes developmental tipping points in recent history, which apparently needed only a small percentage of the population, the 10 percent who could embrace the new value, to bring about a collective shift in consciousness.

He’s expecting another tipping point to emerge soon. Fresh conceptions can bring more truth and more love to our actions, more consciousness, more skill to deal with complexities, and more compassion to every dimension of human knowledge and activity.

I hope you’ll find the time to listen to Wilbers talk, and maybe further study his work.

Fazal Inayat-Khan  Photograph by Ashen

My former Sufi teacher, Fazal Inayat-Khan, (image by Ashen) also felt strongly that new conceptual maps were required. His aim was to integrate transpersonal aspect into the field of psychology. During a summer school in 1990, a few weeks before he died, he sketched the following cosmology on a flip chart and invited us to play with it.

Fazal's Cosmology

The graph depicts three worlds, the natural Cosmos, the finer Psyche, and the yet finer Pneuma (spirit,) differentiating the function, structure and content of each world.

How these three dimensions can relate to an individual is set into the same framework.

For me, this playful ordering made perfect sense, and, in a kind of epiphany, helped me to clarify the tremendous importance of the world of the imagination, and how it is held together by meaning. It also gave me new ideas about time. These days I like to call the Psyche the changing room.

Barn, group room, smallerOur small group that day was encouraged by Fazal to replace terms and use our own words in this presentation, according to our own understanding. He was this kind of teacher. I dearly miss this wonderful friend, the community and the place.

Does this cosmology, this orientation device, corresponds in any way to your understanding and experience? And I’d be curious know if you feel inspired to change or move words around.

*       *        *

On the ‘OTHER’ page of this site (see top bar) you can find a PDF link to an article I wrote on the imaginative function based on ideas of the great Muhyi-d-Din Ibn ‘Arabi. The article is called ‘Science of the Heart.’

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… the fallacy of warnings …

time ago, my son climbing a tree

time ago, my son climbing a tree

I shudder when I hear a parent shout, ‘Don’t run into the road – you’ll be will be hit by a car,’ or, ‘Don’t climb that tree – you’ll fall.’ Understandably, parents fear for their children, and want to prevent or change reckless behaviour. Sadly, we’re lumbered with the inherited language of generations.

Even our self-talk innocently emphasises what we don’t want to happen, which is absurdly counterproductive. Notice how last words reverberate, like bad spells, a habit the media perpetuates with: Tiredness kills – Smoking kills – Alcohol kills – Fat kills – Sugar kills …

Instilling fear conjures up the feared. Fear is the real killer.

Why not say instead, ‘Keep safe by staying on the sidewalk,’ or, when climbing, ‘Have a good grip on the branches,’ or, when driving, ‘Stay awake’ …  Specific guidelines might be helpful too, like – when smoking do so in moderation and with respect for others, or, before you drink alcohol make sure you have some food in your belly, and prevent dehydration by also drinking water. There seems to be nil awareness about the effect of language when disseminating new statistical information.

Why are research-findings reduced to data and trivialised? Why the continuous projections of bad faith instead of life-enhancing messages?  What has happened to the tremendous innovations that poured out of Humanity studies?

my art

my art

I want school curriculums to include bridging subjects, like studying the process of one’s thinking, the structure of language, psychodynamics, body awareness, child development, conflict resolution, effective communication, and lots of practical stuff about energy, money, how things work, and so on. I want there to be space in schools for ‘HOW’ questions, the process of change, paradox, play, and the mystery of identity.

Nerja, rock in water

Does one have to become an outcast in order to free oneself from fixed notions and develop curiosity and creative thinking? Innovators tend to shy away from academics and scientists who, who, maybe dependent on research grants, don’t take the time to reflect on their attitudes or study overlapping subjects that would gain them a wider perspective, and often end up dismissing people’s actual experience and intuitive hunches.

That’s my moan for today. I’m having a mini existential crisis about the state of the world.

I need a happy pill, a placebo will do fine …

Related posts:

https://courseofmirrors.wordpress.com/2012/09/29/unseen-stuff-micro-organisms/

https://courseofmirrors.wordpress.com/2013/08/28/the-mystery-of-thoughts/

https://courseofmirrors.wordpress.com/2013/04/14/inner-time-writing-rant/

 

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… World News – by Mulla – Allum …

Nasreddin - 17th century miniature - Tokapi Palace Museum

In my world, Mulla Nasreddin, the famous wise fool from the East, could not possibly be stuck in one place or one time. I call my inversion of him ‘Allum.’ Warning: He always has the last word. If you have a problem with this then just add another word, for your pleasure.

I hope to occasionally post more of Allum, should his voice come through the white noise surrounding our planet.

(The image of Nasreddin  is from a 17th century miniature – in Tokapi Palace Museum)

World News

Allum is seated on his favourite bench from where he overlooks the town.

A kid, making sure that none of his peers is nearby, sneaks up to Allum.

‘You’re known as a wisecrack. Tell me – why are grown-ups so obsessed with World News?’

Allum shudders. ‘World News has become a mega-mirror to humanity. People are mesmerised by the comical clashes of ideas. Factions are stretched on the cross between being and becoming, that is, final answers and dynamic change. It’s a conflict most humanely and economically fought inside each of us.’

The boy looks puzzled. ‘Aren’t there final answers?’

Allum sighs. ‘I hope not in my lifetime. If that was so the illusionary charm of reality would evaporate. Life would have no meaning. There’d have to be another big bang.

*    *    *

Bang head hereFor those stressed over solutions to the divide between being and becoming, here an academic exploration from Stanford  academia. To shorten the  tortuous exploration: … We are not inertial observers …

I figure we have plenty of potential to develop in ourselves, and there is always more we can contribute to the world.

My Sufi teacher, Fazal Inayat Khan, summed up being and becoming eloquently:

   ‘Being is death. Becoming is life.’

Here some of my former posts that are related …

https://courseofmirrors.wordpress.com/2014/11/06/not-now-later/#comments

https://courseofmirrors.wordpress.com/2013/02/18/global-vision-synchronicity/

https://courseofmirrors.wordpress.com/2013/02/06/why-spin-tales

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