Center, Athena

We are a center bridging science, business, and “ancient wisdom” from different traditions to bring sustainability and equality to the (business) world.

Infinite Potential – The life and ideas of David Bohm

He was one of the 20th Century’s most brilliant physicists. Albert Einstein called him his spiritual son. The Dalai Lama relied upon him as his “science guru.” So why is it that hardly any of us know the name: David Bohm?

By telling the little-known story of David Bohm and evoking the realms he explored in his research, INFINITE POTENTIAL takes us on a mesmerizing and immersive journey into the mystery of Consciousness––through the use of hypnotic music and rich visual tapestries. The film includes interviews with luminaries such as H.H. the Dalai Lama, esteemed artist Antony Gormley, Oxford philosopher and physicists Sir Roger Penrose, and many more who were influenced by Bohm’s revolutionary work.

Growing up in a poor Pennsylvania coal-mining town during the Great Depression, David Bohm possessed a rare and maverick intelligence that baffled his parents and peers. After earning a scholarship to go to college, Bohm got the attention of the greatest minds in science, including Robert Oppenheimer, the father of the Atomic Bomb, who became his thesis advisor but would eventually turn against him.

Bohm’s explorations led him to intuit a hidden order to reality––the Quantum Potential––that underlies both the microscopic world of subatomic particles and also the macro world of stars and galaxies. Bohm had turned to Eastern thought and the wisdom traditions of India to talk about something that underlies all of creation––a realm that mystics have known about for millennia and modern science is only just beginning to explore. Bohm’s revolutionary ideas were way ahead of their time––a threat to the scientific orthodoxy. And that’s why he was dismissed.

A relational turn for sustainability science? Relational thinking, leverage points and transformations

ABSTRACT

In sustainability science, revising the paradigms that separate humans from nature is considered a powerful ‘leverage point’ in pursuit of transformations. The coupled social-ecological and human-environment systems perspectives at the heart of sustainability science have, in many ways, enhanced recognition across academic, civil, policy and business spheres that humans and nature are inextricably connected. However, in retaining substantialist assumptions where ‘social’ and ‘ecological’ refer to different classes of entity that interact, coupled systems perspectives insist on the inextricability of humans and nature in theory, while requiring researchers to extricate them in practice – thus inadvertently reproducing the separation they seek to repair. Consequently, sustainability researchers are increasingly drawing on scholarship from the ‘relational turn’ in the humanities and the social sciences to propose a paradigm shift for sustainability science: away from focusing on interactions between entities, towards emphasizing continually unfolding processes and relations. Yet there remains widespread uncertainty about the origins, promises and challenges of using relational approaches. In this paper, we identify four themes in relational thinking – continually unfolding processes; embodied experience; reconstructing language and concepts; and ethics/practices of care – and highlight the ways in which these are being drawn on in sustainability science. We conclude by critically discussing how relational approaches might contribute to (i) a paradigm shift in sustainability science, and (ii) transformations towards sustainability. Relational approaches foster more dynamic, holistic accounts of human-nature connectedness; more situated and diverse knowledges for decision-making; and new domains and methods of intervention that nurture relationships in place and practice.

(Taken from https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/pdf/10.1080/26395916.2020.1814417?needAccess=true&fbclid=IwAR2_Xw9Nv21rLb-7tp5zUpoO2IDTWuSHYX7MRNMYgCWTSmOjsxv0FHOesYw)

Björkman, Tomas

My name is Tomas Björkman and I am an applied philosopher and social entrepreneur.

One of the strongest personal drivers in my life has always been to unlock the hidden structures of the world around me. Curious and exploring, I constantly strive for a better understanding of science, people and social phenomena. Based on my understanding of human and societal needs in a world that is in many ways falling apart, I have committed myself to facilitating the co-creation of a more conscious society.

I want to give momentum to the right kind of changes

I am by no means the only person trying to become more conscious about the problems in the world. Many are also actively doing something about it. My main contribution is to bring change-makers together by creating arenas and initiatives with the goal of stimulating the right kind of development at both an individual and a societal level. The overall goal is to co-create a future at a higher level of individual, cultural, societal consciousness.

In 2008, I started my personal journey by founding Stiftelsen Ekskäret (Ekskäret Foundation) together with a number of future-oriented thinkers, social entrepreneurs and change-makers who became members of the board or creative partners. The Foundation’s strategic vision is to “support a sustainable world where people are creating more well-being for themselves, each other and the planet”. I strongly believe that personal development is a prerequisite for societal change.

Under the umbrella of the Ekskäret Foundation, we have created primarily two venues for events, Learning Labs and exploratory meetings etc.: the workshop facility at the island of Ekskäret (literally: the island where the oak-trees grow), located in the Stockholm archipelago, and the co-working space Ekskäret Klustret in central Stockholm.

The workshop facility on the island of Ekskäret welcomed its first curious and creative visitors in 2011. The facility provides a breath-taking venue and is a perfect arena for exploring existential questions and personal development – for teenager as well as adults. All activities on the island are carried out according to the principles of the Foundation. Ekskäret Klustret, a creative, activity-based co-working space located in the very heart of Stockholm city centre, opened its doors in 2016.

I believe that providing physical and digital meeting venues will create fertile soil for change. Gathering change-makers under one roof will stimulate sharing of ideas and creativity and lead to the co-creation of new initiatives and projects. It will also expand the networks of all participating entrepreneur and generate greater momentum for their important work.

I like to think of these two arenas as important incubators for co-creating positive changes. They are physical manifestations of the idea that a more conscious and sustainable society is possible, and we do watch and guide the ripple effects that result.

More recently I have taken the initiative to create K9 Co-living, Stockholm; Perspectiva Institute, London; the Co-creation loft, Berlin and the digital initiatives 29k.org and ‘Emerge’: www.whatisemerging.com.

Bayr, Tobias

I am Meteorologist, deep ecologist and passionate “feelings worker”

Ragnarsdottir, Kristin Vala

I am originally an Earth Scientist with emphasis on geothermal systems and behaviour and fate of pollutants in the natural environment. Since 2000 I have been working on issues related to sustainability.

Ecological Footprint of the Findhorn Foundation and Community

“The study was commissioned by HIE Moray, a Highlands and Islands Local Enterprise Company, to measure the Ecological Footprint of the Findhorn Foundation and Community. The ecological footprint method has been used to determine the extent to which the Findhorn Foundation’s sustainable practices are reducing the Community’s environmental impact.”

Mitchell, David

In 2014 I was introduced to the initial nucleus of AMA; Tom Bruhn, Mark Lawrence and Zoe.  We quickly realized we had a lot in common on a very deep level. I contributed a presentation to AMA in 2015. Since then I have pursued spiritual transformation and scientific research; the latter I will elaborate on now. One of the aims of the scientific research is to determine whether a climate intervention technique known as cirrus cloud thinning (CCT) is viable. A cirrus cloud remote sensing method was developed that could indicate when and where there are cirrus clouds that were probably formed by homogeneous ice nucleation (a precondition for CCT to work), based on their ice crystal number concentration.  The results of this research were published in 2018 in ACP, and while CCT was not mentioned (requested by a co-author), the paper shows that the right conditions exist for CCT to be effective.  While no scientist I know wants to deploy climate intervention methods, these may be needed in the future due to lack of progress on GHG mitigation efforts and limitations regarding CO2 removal methods.

I am also the president of a yoga organization teaching various yoga practices like meditation, and am a board member of the newly formed Order of Universal Interfaith (OUnI). This places me at the cross-roads of science and spirituality, especially given the spiritual/religious issues surrounding climate intervention research.  I am the “eco-spirituality” board member for OUnI.

While I do not have any AMA contributions immediately in mind, I sense there is that possibility, and therefore want to keep that option open.

Lawrence, Mark

My role in the team:

Setting up a project like AMA was a keen interest of mine already before starting at the IASS.  After the first years of developing our program on our core topics like air pollution and climate change, and connecting to the spiritual and religious communities through dialogues and workshops, the time was finally ripe to kick off a pre-AMA project with Tom Bruhn, Zoe Lüthi and other colleagues.  Watching that grow into what the current team has made out of AMA today has been deeply fulfilling, and I’m pleased to continue to interact with the team however I can connect to and support their efforts.

Background & expertise

  • PhD in Atmospheric Science
  • Habilitation in Physics
  • Research focus on air pollution and climate geoengineering
  • Additional research: the Anthropocene and Earth-system science
  • Transdisciplinarity & co-creation
  • Various facilitation & moderation forms
  • Leadership experience and deep interest in Taoist leadership principles
  • Black belt in Aikido

My responsibilities:

  • Advisory role, mainly reflecting on major developments with the team
  • Connecting to like-minded colleagues and stakeholders
  • Representing AMA and its principles at academic and public events

Albert Einstein

“We cannot solve problems with the same mindset that created them.”

Albert Einstein

Bruhn, Thomas

As the initiator and coordinator of AMA, I feel a deep commitment to the project‘s original intention and ambition. I care particularly about community building and see my conceptual work as a support for community empowerment. I love the diversity of perspectives that we aspire to integrate and the challenges that this aspiration means for my own development. I believe in the intrinsic goodness of all humans and tend to see the unity and connectedness behind apparent cultural or disciplinary differences.

My Background and Expertise:

  • PhD in Physics (self-assembly in nano-structures)
  • Facilitation & Moderation (Art of Hosting, Design Thinking…)
  • Complex systems dynamics (self-organization, emergence)
  • Transdisciplinarity & co-creation
  • Anthropocene, earth-system science
  • Climate change, geoengineering

My responsibilities:

  • Facilitating the team; creating structures, containers and visuals
  • Coordinating the website, database, and board of curators
  • Vision and strategy development
  • Holding space for the formation of trusting relationships & networks
  • Presenting AMA to the public
  • Administrative and strategic coordination within the IASS