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Thursday, January 15, 2009

Eye on the future

My friend JD left a very thoughtful comment in response to the post on my recent feeling of disequilibrium. He rightly challenged me on something that I should have never done: portray a personal opinion provoked by individual circumstance as a universal truth.

Contrary to what my statements may have implied, I am not opposed to spirituality. It's a trait that I believe lies at the core of who we are. I do have serious objections to organized religion, which I feel uses our innate inclination toward spirituality to control rather than free us. Most major religions were created under much different social circumstances than we have now. They have, in my opinion, become so intertwined with the status quo that they can't help but oppose any movement toward legitimate social change.

Of course religions aren't the only entities standing in the way of our progress. Corrupt governments, greedy corporations, and unaccountable financial institutions have also proven quite capable of making out very well while keeping us running in place. We're facing a worldwide economic meltdown, while these various mis-leaders play Nero and fiddle on amid the destruction.

I suggested to JD, half-seriously, that it might be interesting to have a dialogue to find common ground between my penchant for chaos theory and his belief that there is an organizing force in the universe. Going even further, I'd actually like to begin that conversation with a series of posts on the question: How do we arrive at an ethos for the 21st century? I'd also love to broaden it out to as many of you as would like to participate.

People around the web have been discussing the Law of Attraction for some time now. It's usually done within the context of attracting a mate or making money. I like the concept, but not the customary application. What if, however, we used the same method (listing out the characteristics we're attracted to) to conjure the future we want for our society?

I've long been an advocate of the idea that we get the future we imagine, and I hope this series of posts will be a small first step toward conjuring the future I want for the world. The ideas I'm going to discuss are in no way original. They are the synthesis of years of reading and conversing, and I'll borrow heavily from sources to which my memory can't manage the proper credit. If you know of a book or website that goes into much more details on these subjects, please do leave a comment.

This is of course very ambitious of me, and I'm not delusional enough to believe that I have a monopoly on the truth. It would help greatly if people fill in the gaps where needed, especially those with expertise in the areas discussed. In an ideal world, I hope there's even occasion for all of us to meet up face-to-face and have a more robust conversation. I know that things will only change with a groundswell of activity at the grass-roots, and the first step toward that could be finding a way for people from around the world to get together and talk about what we need.

Here's a short list of posts that came directly to mind, which I'll try to tackle over the next few weeks:
  • Seeking to resolve not exploit contradictions
  • A respect-based economy: removing the corrupting influence of the profit-motive
  • Divesting ourselves of unnecessary things
  • Openness, transparency and collaboration
  • Grass-roots, direct democracy
  • A non-anthropocentric universe
  • One mind: piecing together the mosaic
These are meant to be wide-ranging philosophical essays, as you can tell. I'm sure that the posts will take the form of me thinking out loud, and I expect to be challenged often when I stray too far from other people's experience.

Before I dive into it, I might just take a stab at the "law of attraction" game on a much more personal level and try to solicit your help in identifying my ideal new occupation. Oh, and there will still be the weekly poems and drawings to keep us amused and distracted.
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