(I am fleshing out the first part of the outline you can find in my previous post.)
This is the ground I currently imagine I will cover.
What actually happens…we’ll see.
We are at a pivot point.
- The central impulse of Industrial Civilization has pretty much run its course, and it is being overwhelmed by its inherent contradictions/limitations.
- The seeds of what comes next are already sprouting amidst the early ruins.
- A brief history; show & tell about the Handbook
- What’s happening
- among Quakers
- in the Twin Cities
Mary Conrow Coelho’s book, Awakening Universe, Emerging Personhood: The Power of Contemplation in an Evolving Universe
- My big-picture statement of Mary’s meaning:
- Call it “God,” “angels,” “spirit(s)” or something else, most human societies agree that our material, down-to-earth living is subject to influences from beyond what we can understand.
- It’s hard to give weight to that, within the thought-forms of Industrial Civilization, because our dominating power has come from focusing our attention on the material world. Theoretically and practically we are a culture of materialists.
- We have come to this point through what we call “science,” but science is an historical process, born in an argument with the Church.
- While we are currently at a point of materialistic focus in that process, science and a scientific world-view are not essentially materialist. There is room for Spirit (call it whatever!) within the scientific tradition.
- In fact, the physics and math that brought us quantum physics,
starting in the early 1900s,
has come to see the universe as
much more than its material manifestations.
It may be misleading to say the Big Bang of cosmic origin came
but it didn’t come from nowhere.
- And the “where” that it came from is now seen to be
just as active in creating today’s universe as it was at “the beginning.”
Our current universe is “implicated” in in an underlying order, something much larger and non-material, like a wave is implicate to the sea.
So says science, or at least the leading theoretical edges of science.
- Christian mystics, and others who have focused on the non-material, seem to have been exploring a world similar to the one now being investigated by scientists using huge super-colliders.
And the best physicists know this, and write about it, though they may not “understand” it.
- This has –can have– profoundly significant meaning for each person who understands it:
- We are intimately,
a part of the explosions of supernovas
and the big bang (“The Great Flaring Forth“).
- The world we see around us is OURS to see –it would not exist in the way that it does without us.
- This is not just a theoretical truth; it can and should be experienced — a truth known personally and lived out of,
as we move into the future.
Mystics of all stripes know this. Many within TCFM have direct experience with “healings” and other paranormal phenomena.
Yet we have trouble talking about it, partly because these phenomena are so actively disparaged by materialist science and partly because:
the specialized language-universes within which these experiences are recognized
do not have a common language with the popular culture
or with other groups who recognize similar things.
- We are intimately,
THE NEW UNIVERSE STORY is an opportunity to change that.
Using the language and findings of quantum science we can find a “way of seeing” which allows monks and astronomers to live in the same world, the same linguistic and conceptual universe.
And to feel supported and affirmed by our place in the larger scheme of things, including the choices we make for good,
And to yearn, to pray, for beneficial outcomes.
The Dalai Lama is already there, I think, and is hosting seminars that include western scientists.
“Nice Story, Richard; tell it to my great grandchildren”
No! This is going to be important WAY quicker that that!
Yes, this is big-picture, metaphysical, philosophical thinking,
but life as we know it is about to slide off its foundations into something very different,
and people all around us will soon be asking, REALLY asking,
“How can I understand my world?
What does this all mean?”
Of course they won’t be getting together in little seminars to discuss this.
And many of the answers they come up with, won’t look much like The New Universe Story.
But WE, all of you, my dear spiritual companions, are going to be right in the middle of it.
And, at the same time we are becoming urban farmers, we are going to be talking to people who are asking
“what does it all mean?”
Without a vision, the people will perish
I deeply believe we are on the cusp of a new time.
The Transition Town movement offers us a good process for embracing a world where oil is dramatically less available
and “local” will be a much more important part of what sustains us.
That’s great, and I want to be part of strengthening that process in my neighborhood and sharing that work with Quakers I know.
But even among my Friends–
spiritual, generous, people who are ready to put the welfare of another before their own–
I see a vagueness of personal meaning.
I see uncertainty in response to “what does it all mean.”
Friends, as we are tested by the transition, we will need to be able to answer that question, provisionally, at least for ourselves, and especially for our community’s children.
The pit of meaninglessness will be as dangerous as the mountain of debt or a dearth of green vegetables and protein.
Many will look for answers from established sources, and some established sources may successfully rise to the occasion. However, to the extent that “Answers” assume the primacy of the material world, I predict that they will be seen as dead within a generation.
It simply will not be enough.
“The New Universe Story” offers a vision of the universe, our cosmos,
which is consistent with much of modern medicine and the other technical fields upon which we rely,
but also goes deeper,
beyond “curing” into “healing.”
Mary Conrow Coelho’s Awakening Universe, Emerging Personhood: The Power of Contemplation in an Evolving Universe is the best rendering of The New Story” I have found, at least for liberal Quaker sensibilities.
And as I move into the work of the Transition, this is the story I want to be sharing, while the new harvests are coming in.