This book describes the path ahead. It combines system transformation research with political economy and change leadership insights when discussing the needfor a great mindshift in how human wellbeing, economic prosperity and healthy ecosystems are understood if the Great Transformations ahead are to lead to more sustainability. It shows that history is made by purposefully acting humans and introduces transformative literacy as a key skill in leading the radical incremental change.
The Anthropocene is an existential crisis facing humanity, wherein human beings worldwide are confronted with the fact that not only are we in the midst of an unprecedented ecological crisis that endangers the basic living conditions of humankind, but that we are the culprit.
This narrative has elicited increasing and widespread feelings of fear, anxiety, and disillusionment in citizens of every nation on the planet. Einstein said that we cannot solve a problem with the same line of thinking that created the conditions for it. Much has been written about the Anthropocene from scientific and ecological perspectives; this thesis will approach the issue from a philosophical standpoint in an attempt to address the ideological frameworks premised on control and domination of one another and our environment that brought about our current predicament. To understand from whence these ideas originated, we will examine Plato’s Cosmology, specifically his theory of Forms, Reason and Necessity, and the ruler/ruled dynamic. Having considered the impact, evolution, and consequences of Platonic ideals in the development of the western political tradition, we will turn our attention toward contemporary philosophical concepts in search of new frameworks and solutions. Using the phenomenological method, we will consider the non-egoistic existential philosophy of Karl Jaspers and the political philosophy of Hannah Arendt.
The works of Jaspers and Arendt have been selected for several reasons. If humanity is indeed experiencing an existential crisis, Jaspers provides an existential antidote through striving toward non-egoistic Existenz in pursuit of higher consciousness. We will discuss paths toward realizing one’s Existenz such as existential communication, cultivating interrelated freedom, and the loving struggle. Next we will turn to Hannah Arendt’s critique of Plato’s philosophy and the western political tradition, specifically addressing her concepts of plurality, ‘the fact that men, and not Man live on the earth and inhabit the world;’ natality, our unique ability to begin new processes; and the pre-socratic polis, the political space which emerges through people acting in consort (HC, 7). Arendt’s concepts of action and natality offer us hope that we can always embark on a new course.
The Anthropocene imposes its existential question on all people at once, demanding each person to ask, why exist? What does it mean to be a human being in this context? The Anthropocene has awakened our awareness to the fact that not only humans inhabit the earth, but also millions of other species. Plurality seems to be a law of the planet and the foundation of the resilience of entire ecosystems. For human beings, it is also the foundation and condition of politics. To act with others, we must engage people from a spectrum of viewpoints to build a common world that is symbiotic rather than antithetical to our environment, the earth, and the other people and creatures who inhabit it. The reflections of this thesis provide guidance on how the concepts of Jaspers and Arendt can inform and support us in our efforts to move beyond the disturbed human relationships that have contributed significantly to the emergence of the Anthropocene and its existential threats to human and non-human life.
“Catalyzing a culture of spirituality, healing and connection through content and community.
Who We Are
- Love of nature and deep caring about its preservation, and its natural balance
- Strong awareness of the planet-wide issues of sustainability and a desire to see more action on them
- Belief that change is the constant
- Thinking global, acting local
- Investing time as volunteers with one or more good social causes
- Wellness of mind, body, and spirit are high priority pursuits
- Optimistic about the future
- Concern and support of the wellbeing of all women and children
- Love and respect for the animal kingdom
- Design science, innovation in technology and artisanship are desirable
“ATB started in July 1992 in the schools of Auroville as a programme to help children increase their capacity for attention, concentration and relaxation, and to enhance their ability for self awareness and their sense of responsibility. Nowadays, it is offered to adults as well as to children.
Through a wide variety of exercises and games, ATB offers individuals opportunities to come to know themselves better, to explore the complexity of their being, and find ways to integrate and harmonise this complexity around the inmost centre of their being.”
Abstract: “Ecologically responsible policies are concerned only in part with pollution and resource depletion. There are deeper concerns which touch upon principles of diversity, complexity, autonomy, decentralization, symbiosis, egalitarianism, and classlessness.”
“Can we hold hope that positive psychology will be able to help people evolvetoward their highest potential?” The classification described in this bookbegan with this question, posed by Neal Mayerson to Martin Seligman in 1999.The Mayerson Foundation was concerned that inadequate progress was beingmade from well-worn problem-fixing approaches and that an approach basedon recognizing people’s strengths and aspirations might prove more effective.Mayerson turned to Seligman to explore the intersection of the emerging fieldof positive youth development and Seligman’s new push to articulate a newpositive psychology. It soon became clear that two prior questions needed tobe answered: (1) how can one define the concepts of “strength” and “highestpotential” and (2) how can one tell that a positive youth development programhas succeeded in meeting its goals?”
(from the preface of the book)
“This book seeks to provide a scholarly and multidisciplinary approach on the topic of contemplative practices for the development of well-being, wisdom, healing, and stress management that includes state-of-the-art science, practice, and applications of contemplative practices in the professional workplace, educational settings, pastoral care, and medical, psychological, or other health care interventions. The chapters articulate current findings and practice in contemplative practices from a wide range of religious and spiritual traditions and from experts in the integration of contemplative practices and psychology, nursing, pastoral care, business, and so forth in order to achieve well-being.”
(Source. The book’s preface)
“During the last decade, the sustainability position in multinational corporations has grown in influence. Much literature has explored how corporations can play an important role in solving the environmental challenges facing the planet. However, until now, there has been little research on sustainability leadership at the individual level. In this book, Schein explores the deeper psychological motivations of sustainability leaders. He shows how these motivations relate to overall effectiveness and capacity to lead transformational change and he explores the ways in which the complexity of sustainability is driving new approaches to leadership.
Drawing on interviews with 75 leaders in more than 40 multinational corporations and NGOs, Schein explores how ecological and post-conventional worldviews are developed and expressed in the context of global sustainability practice. By empirically grounding key theories from developmental psychology, integral ecology, and eco-psychology in sustainability leadership practice, the author encourages us to think about leadership in a different way.
A New Psychology for Sustainability Leadership will be of interest to an interdisciplinary audience of educators, students, corporate executives, social science researchers, and concerned citizens. The insights from this book can be usefully integrated into leadership curriculum and development programs to help the next generation of leaders respond to global challenges.”
“Formerly a research psychologist in the USA, the author conducted a qualitative study of sixteen long-term practitioners of the Integral Yoga working in the fields of business management, education, health care, and the arts. Initial chapters frame his research methodology and examine some general findings regarding the participants’ practice of the Yoga in work. Results of the study in each field are based largely on interviews with the participants, and include textual references from the works of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother and the author’s reflections on central themes and common experiences. The final chapter identifies the various principles and insights regarding the application of Integral Yoga in these four professional fields and presents some of the broader implications of the study.”
“Abstract: An extensive data search among various types of developmental and evolutionary sequences yielded a `four quadrant’ model of consciousness and its development (the four quadrants being intentional, behavioural, cultural, and social). Each of these dimensions was found to unfold in a sequence of at least a dozen major stages or levels. Combining the four quadrants with the dozen or so major levels in each quadrant yields an integral theory of consciousness that is quite comprehensive in its nature and scope. This model is used to indicate how a general synthesis and integration of twelve of the most influential schools of consciousness studies can be effected, and to highlight some of the most significant areas of future research. The conclusion is that an `all-quadrant, all-level’ approach is the minimum degree of sophistication that we need into order to secure anything resembling a genuinely integral theory of consciousness.”
“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.”
“Abstract: The Tropical Dry Evergreen Forest (TDEF) ofIndia is only found on the south eastern seaboard of thepeninsular. It has a very limited range, and extends only 60km inland. The TDEF occurs in an area of high populationdensity and consequently it is the rarest type of forestecosystem found in the subcontinent.The establishment of the Auroville International Township in1968 initiated a major work of eco-restoration which has turneda highly eroded lateritic plateau into a re-emerging ecosystemof the TDEF.The work now spreads out beyond the boundaries of theinternational township and involves working with local people,especially women and children. Many lessons have beenlearnt and the work continues to reintegrate the forest in thesocial fabric of a rapidly changing rural environment.”
(source: Blanchflower, P. (2005). Restoration of the tropical dry evergreen forest of peninsular India. Biodiversity, 6(1), 17-24.)
“WHY THIS FILM ?
TODAY, we sometimes feel powerless in front of the various crises of our times.
TODAY, we know that answers lie in a wide mobilization of the human race. Over the course of a century, our dream of progress commonly called “the American Dream”, fundamentally changed the way we live and continues to inspire many developing countries. We are now aware of the setbacks and limits of such development policies. We urgently need to focus our efforts on changing our dreams before something irreversible happens to our planet.
TODAY, we need a new direction, objective… A new dream! The documentary Tomorrow sets out to showcase alternative and creative ways of viewing agriculture, economics, energy and education. It offers constructive solutions to act on a local level to make a difference on a global level. So far, no other documentary has gone down such an optimistic road…
TOMORROW is not just a film, it is the beginning of a movement seeking to encourage local communities around the world to change the way they live for the sake of our planet.
Start small to grow big, and write a new story for the generations to come.”
“The ancient Icelandic word for intuition is “innsæi,” but in Iceland it has multiple meanings. It can mean “the sea within” which is the borderless nature of our inner world, a constantly moving world of vision, feelings and imagination beyond words. It can mean “to see within” which means to know yourself, and to know yourself well enough to be able to put yourself in other people’s shoes. And it can mean “to see from the inside out” which is to have a strong inner compass to navigate your way in our ever-changing world.
In the inspiring and thought-provoking InnSæi – the Power of Intuition, Hrund Gunnsteinsdottir and Kristín Ólafsdóttir go on a soul-searching, global journey to uncover the art of connecting within in today’s world of distraction, disconnection and stress. They meet with world-renowned scientists like Marti Spiegelman, an expert in neuroscience and indigenous consciousness who believes that we are only using a fraction of our capacity as human beings, with devastating consequences for the planet; artists like Marina Abramovic, the “grandmother of performance art” who teaches that “in order to create something new human beings need to go into the unknown”; and spiritual leaders like the captivating Malidoma Patrice Somé, a West African elder and author who reasons that “intuition binds us together. Without it we lose our sense of purpose and belonging.” They also meet an extraordinary group of British schoolchildren who are learning how to better cope in today’s world by unlocking the power of nature and mindfulness.
Illustrated with gorgeous animation and stunning imagery, InnSæi is a film like no other, and one that offers radical insights into how we think and sense the world today.”
We may be living through times of unprecedented change, but in uncertainty lies the power to influence the future. Now is not the time to despair, but to act […]
It is only by transforming our own personal despair, rather than trying to bypass it, that we can become effective change agents.
For years there was this deep sense of insecurity inside…or rather a wrongness about my existence that I did not know how to describe. I tried to live the values of the culture, follow the roadmap to success imparted to me through community, family and school. I was determined to be an “acceptable” kind of woman, even though I was obviously not. So I got educated, went into business, wore suits, thought rationally, competed against others and was successful for a time, but then my life fell apart.
I had been looking outside— in what I did, what I had, who I knew—for who I was, but it didn’t work. The best way to say it was the outside was not connected to the inside so I was living someone else’s idea of me (who I wonder?) I was not free and did not know how to live what I valued. I had no idea if there was a more natural way for me to be.
It became clear that the only way I could understand was to explore from the inside…to renounce what the culture valued and reconnect to my inner knowing. I now know this unknown inner dimension of myself as the feminine…. so I started with a simple question that guided my journey. What is the feminine?
I ask some remarkable people who embody these traits to find out how they would describe the feminine, to get a sense of how being connected to this part of themselves informs their lives and how it is lived in balance with their masculine aspect.
This is my personal inquiry, but I have a sense that this film is also about our collective journey towards wholeness because I am simply a microcosm of the macrocosm…and so are you.
Peter Doran points to the way buddhist concepts are being corrupted by the commodifying pressures of capitalist culture, and outlines the ways in which true mindfulness practices can help us resist the growing demands of the ‘attention economy’.
The book guides the reader through a transformational process informed by mythic journeys, modern psychology, spirituality and holistic science. This process equips us with tools to face the mess we’re in and play our role in the collective transition, or Great Turning, towards a life-sustaining society.
“This book is a tour de force. No one has attempted to bring together such a wide range of people and movements under the rubric of Spiritual Ecology. The result is deeply engaging for scholars and activists alike. Sponsel has given us a gem.” Mary Evelyn Tucker, Forum on Religion and Ecology,Yale University
“Education is the kindling of a flame, not the filling of a vessel.” This quote from Plutarch is as true today as it was two thousand years ago. Still, the misconception of education as a vessel-filling activity remains. In this column, I outline an idea that could reshape our universities while also prototyping new ways of addressing urgent societal challenges. The kindling of the flame that Plutarch talked about has never been more relevant than now.
Let’s start with 2017
Last week my column focused on 2017:
- The year 2017 mirrored the epochal year 1917 by putting a new challenge in front of us: the challenge of vertical development.
- By “vertical development” I mean the capacity to deal with disruptive change, which requires us to let go of the past and to let come the future, to shift our awareness from one state to another. In the language of tech: vertical development is about suspending your habit of installing yet another app and instead upgrading your entire operating system.
- From that perspective we can interpret the current global surge of terrorism, fundamentalism, xenophobia, Trumpism, and autocracy as expressions of the same underlying phenomenon: the missing capacity as a society to respond to challenges in generative ways, by evolving ourselves “vertically,” by upgrading the way we listen and attend, the way we converse and think, and the way we organize and coordinate in the context of larger systems.
Last week I suggested that such an upgrade of our societal operating system (OS) should include advancing and transforming our economies, our democracies, and our education systems. It is the latter that I focus on in this column: how to how to reinvent our institutions of higher education through their transformation from an ivory-towered into a distributed eco-system for societal renewal.
Vertical Literacy: Addressing the Knowing-Doing Gap
The difficulties we have in meeting today’s global challenges, such as implementing the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) worldwide, are not caused by a knowledge gap. We have all the knowledge we need. The problem is a knowing-doing gap: a disconnect between our collective consciousness and our collective actions. In most societal systems we collectively create results that (almost) nobody wants. Examples: the ecological divide (the self-nature disconnect), the social divide (the self-other disconnect), and the spiritual divide (the self-self disconnect—that is, the disconnect between my current and my emerging future self).
These gaps and divides are amplified by the silo structure of our key institutions and the mindset of the decision makers that operate inside them. To address these issues at their root requires two things: new platforms for cross-sector co-creation and an upgrade in the operating system that people use to collaborate—practices that facilitate a shift from ego-system to eco-system awareness.
Figure 1 maps the landscape of options for such an operating system. In our research we have identified four different operating systems—in other words, four fields of attention that social systems can operate from: habitual, ego-systemic, empathic, eco-systemic.
Since I have presented the Matrix of Social Evolution in much more detail elsewhere, allow me here to stick to its essence: the matrix shows that we are stuck with our collective knowing-doing gap because we try to solve level 4 problems with an operating system that runs on OS 1.0, 2.0, or OS 3.0. But, as we learned from Einstein, you cannot solve problems at the same level of thinking and consciousness that created them.
The result of that mismatch is on display every single day: more problems lead to more felt pressure and frustrations, which lead to more destruction and “absencing” (to use the language of last week’s column), which in turn lead to more problems, felt pressure, frustrations, and so forth. That in a nutshell is our vertical development challenge: how to move from the vicious cycle of reacting to disruption powered by OS 1.0, 2.0, or 3.0 to a generative response that is powered by 4.0—that is, by a process of co-creating the future.
The lack of vertical literacy is the main problem in our universities and schools today. Talk to experienced CEOs and CPOs (chief people officers) of major companies and ask them what they need. They commonly say: people, teams, and leaders that can make our organization thrive in a world of VUCA (volatility, uncertainty, complexity, ambiguity). By that, I believe they mean people and capacities that can take their organization into the 4.0 world in which they respond to disruption by co-sensing and co-shaping the future. Then go to universities and talk to faculty and deans of management and engineering schools. Many, maybe most, are rather illiterate when it comes to vertical development. They think mostly in terms of horizontal development—for example, about adding another skill here or another app or course there. They do not think in terms of upgrading the entire educational OS—of our students, our learners, and our societal systems.
But if you think about it, if we follow Plutarch, I believe that the only reason universities exist in the first place is to provide vertical developmental literacy. Especially now. If you want the app, you just go to an online learning store like edx.org and get your free knowledge download. Done! You don’t need a physical university for that. The primary reason we have universities and other institutions of higher education today is to support the development of vertical literacy. That means creating a learning environment in which the learner can step into his or her highest future potential in the context of hands-on societal challenges. In our experience, this requires us, as learners, to upgrade the way we pay attention and listen, to upgrade the way we converse, dialogue, and think, to upgrade the way we organize and coordinate in the context of VUCA shaped environments. Everything else is secondary. Vertical literacy gives us the vocabulary and capacities to:
- become a blackbelt in listening with our minds and hearts wide open
- turn a conversation from debate to generative dialogue
- shift organizational fields from competing silos to generative eco-systems
- invent new coordination mechanisms that operate from shared awareness.
Ten Principles of the New University
How do we build vertical literacy at scale? Well, not by placing learners inside lecture halls. And also not by separating out humanities, social sciences, and STEM into separate universes. That much we know. What it will take is nothing less than a complete reinvention of schooling and higher ed based on a new set of principles. Here is a first cut at a list of core ideas:
(1) Co-initiate: Put the learner into the driver’s seat of profound societal change. The learner is not a consumer. She or he is a partner in making the world a better place.
(2) Co-sense: Move the outer place of learning from the lecture hall to the real world. This isn’t just about action learning but also includes immersion journeys to the global hotspots of societal renewal across cultures.
(3) Embodiment: Move the inner place of learning from the head to the heart, and from the heart to the hand. The essence of learning in this century revolves around activating the intelligence of the heart and then putting it to use in serving the needs of others and the whole.
(4) Science 2.0: Bend the beam of scientific observation back onto the observing self. At the intersection between the old, dying civilization and the one that is being born is the transformation of science. Science 2.0 must integrate first-, second-, and third-person data by bending the beam of observation back onto the observing self.
(5) Systems Thinking: Make the system see itself. Systems thinking is a core capacity of vertical literacy. Students must learn methods to make the system see itself.
(6) Systems Sensing: Make the system sense itself. This is the core capacity to unlock collective creativity. Learners must become literate in “aesthetics” in its original meaning (aistesis means to sense): the cultivation of all our senses.
(7) Systems Inversion: Transform the system through eco-system activation. All societal sectors go through similar institutional changes: from perpetuating systemic silos to cultivating generative social field in the context of their eco-systems. Learners need to be literate in facilitating this shift.
(8) Know Thyself: To create vertical developmental literacy, we need to integrate science, social change, and self. Deepening our self knowledge requires us to access not only the intelligence of the open mind (curiosity), but also the intelligences of the open heart (compassion), and open will (courage).
(9) Tend the Fire: To patiently elicit and draw out the unique qualities and expression of each person with perseverance and in support of his or her highest possible future.
(10) The Fourth Teacher: Use nature and social fields as gateways. The Reggio Emilia approach is known for seeing the environment as the third teacher. Building on that we see the cultivation of profound learning relationships to nature and to social fields as gateways to the deeper sources of knowing (”the fourth teacher”).
Five Building Blocks
How can we build a 21st-century university that embodies these principles of vertical literacy, i.e., of awareness-based systems change? The answer will vary across contexts, cultures, and geographies. But in our experiments we have found the following five building blocks to be critical (Figure 2).
(1) Cross-Sector Innovation Labs
Create cross-sector Innovation Labs that bring together key stakeholders and innovators who need each other in order to evolve the system they operate within. With our colleagues and partners, we have refined a lab process that generates remarkable results.
(2) Cross-Intelligence Capacity Building
Create massive online-to-offline mechanisms for complementing the labs and building the deeper capacities at scale (that means at marginal costs close to zero). With the u.lab MOOC we have prototyped a mechanism that combines the democratization of access to knowledge with the activation of the deep learning cycle. Some of the early key learnings from u.lab, which has attracted more than 100,000 registered participants from 185 countries since its launch in 2015, can be found here.
(3) Awareness-Based Action Research: Deep Data Imaging
Although “big data” has been useful in many parts of our daily lives, the algorithms that increasingly shape our reality have also became a liability that undermines some of society’s foundations (as discussed in last week’s column). We need to progress from big data to deep data. By deep data I mean data that advance vertical literacy by making us look at ourselves in a mirror, individually and collectively, by making us aware of our own patterns and blind spots, by making us see ourselves through the eyes of another or of the whole. An example of big data is your Facebook feed: Facebook filters out all news that it thinks does not match your world view (i.e., it keeps us stuck in our own echo chambers). Examples of deep data mirroring are the case clinics and global mindfulness practices described in the u.lab link above.
Another mechanism for generating deep data (i.e., data that help us to see ourselves and to deepen our awareness) that we have developed over the past decade is Social Presencing Theater (SPT). SPT practices help complex stakeholder groups to see themselves and their evolutionary patterns through the mirror of the whole, thereby shifting their individual consciousness from ego-system to eco-system awareness. We are now working to develop SPT as a research methodology that allows people to visualize and understand the deep (and mostly invisible) structures of social change. We see the potential for SPT “scans” to do for social field research over the next decade what MRI scans did for mindfulness and neuroscience over the past decade.
(4) A Community of Eco-System Catalysts
The fourth building block deals with people. The best concept is worth nothing if the faculty do not embody these new forms and the principles of student-centered learning. The requirements of today’s tenure-track system put faculty on pathways that keep them far from the experiences that are most relevant to reinventing the type of education described here. We need a new faculty track for reflective practitioners who are more deeply involved in major projects of societal transformation and who can share their knowledge-in-action with students while also helping learners deepen their own capacities for embodied knowing.
(5) Places, Platforms, and Practices for Making the System Sense Itself
The fifth building block concerns places, platforms, and core practices. The piece most needed here is places: high-quality spaces that are designed and structured to build vertical literacy.
Figure 2 summarizes these five building blocks that, if put into place, could prototype and accelerate the journey of higher ed institutions toward 4.0 worldwide—a journey that in many microcosms of higher ed has already begun to take shape.
Five Bold Initiatives to Actualize the New University
While I have been holding the vision of such a new university for some years, it is only now that I feel it is completely doable. To advance the journey toward realizing it, we—the core team of the u.lab and Presencing Institute community—will launch five major initiatives throughout 2018.
(1) 4.0 Labs: Co-shaping the Future by Activating Generative Fields
We will convene 4.0 Labs at both the country and the regional level. We are currently working with the government of the Netherlands and Scotland on prototyping a country-level lab. We intend to launch the European 4.0 Lab in June 2018. Each of these 4.0 Labs will co-define its own focus at the outset. With the United Nations Development Group (UNDG) we are discussing how to use 4.0 Labs to accelerate the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) on a country level.
The key idea of all these labs is very simple: the next wave of innovation in food, farming, finance, health, learning, and leadership will be highly interrelated and sourced from a shared co-creative 4.0 territory (see Figure 3 below). Since no one can do this alone, we need to create cross-sectional infrastructures that support these initiatives on that journey.
(2) u.lab 2x: Transforming Our Economy
Our second initiative will be launched in March 2018. A joint eco-system of sites and platforms among HuffPost and PI will capture and share the new economic narrative that is shifting the economy from ego to eco. Starting in April, each month our online platform will present inspiring, interactive, 60-minute live-broadcasts. Between the monthly live sessions we will hold global community cafés where change makers from across sectors, systems, and cultures can join the conversation. These will incorporate video-based discussions in small breakout groups and help us to move from traditional media and social media to more interactive and engaging forms of conversation, and from there to globally distributed ways of co-generating future media that change the world for the better.
(3) Social Field Research Summer School
The third initiative focuses on launching a research project that blends SPT practices, , and data-driven third-person research to investigate the deep structures of social fields. The focus in 2018 will be on establishing the research group and integrating these methodologies. Starting in 2019 an annual Berlin Summer School for Social Field Research will invite 50 leading awareness-based action researchers from around the world to work with each other and with senior thought leaders and investigators in their fields. The intention is to run the Berlin Summer School for 10 years in order to do for awareness-based field research what the Mind and Life Institute did for mindfulness and neuroscience: establish a new domain of research and replicate it worldwide.
(4) Eco-system Catalyst Masterclass
The fourth initiative, the masterclass for eco-system catalysts, will target the most advanced practitioners and activators of social eco-systems of innovation in order to help them advance their skills, mirror and support each other on their journey of Self, and interweave their respective innovation ecologies across regions, sectors, and cultures. This masterclass will be a year-long journey limited to 50 participants. The first cohort will start its journey in Boston in October 2018. As a group they will activate and cultivate a globally distributed innovation ecology. From that group we expect a new breed of young faculty to emerge who are literate across all of the intelligences discussed above.
The fifth initiative focuses on upgrading our place- and web-based infrastructures to better serve the evolving needs of our rapidly growing global community. One key focus is on finding physical campus areas for all of the above (which together will constitute the “u.school”). The first conversations for such a campus are happening in Berlin. The longer term intention is to establish campus areas in all major cultures and geographies. These u.school campuses will partner with multiple universities to co-deliver a curriculum in vertical societal literacy across all system levels (Figure 1 matrix) and then create open source resources that allow for the replication of this curriculum in universities worldwide.
Reinventing the Idea of the University
The classical university was based on the unity of research and teaching. The modern university has been based on the unity of research, teaching, and application. The emerging 21st-century university, I believe, will be based on the unity of research, teaching, and civilizational renewal. To transform higher education into its most advanced evolutionary state requires nothing less than a full inversion of its traditional discipline structure toward 4.0 ways of innovating and learning.
The purpose of education is not to fill vessels. It’s also not to spurn people who diligently rearrange the deck chairs on the Titanic. The purpose of the 21st-century education and university is to help us develop what matters most: vertical literacy—the capacity to sense and actualize our highest future possibility in the face of disruption.
All the elements for making this happen at scale already exist. By connecting them we can activate a vibrant global eco-system of 4.0 Labs, place-based hubs, change maker communities, research initiatives, distributed media producers, and eco-system catalysts—in short, a living ecology that can protect the flame that Plutarch was talking about and that we need to pass on from one generation to the next. For it is this flame—the flame of the creative human spirit—that at no point in the history of our planet has been so at risk, so attainable, and so necessary for addressing our ecological, social, and spiritual divides. We need intentional places to kindle, cultivate and evolve that flame.
At the entrance to the Academy of Athens there was an inscription that said: Let no one enter here who does not know math and geometry. What should the inscription be at the entrance to the new university that we aspire to create today, 2,400 years later? Maybe it could read: Let no one enter here who does not know that the issues outside are a mirror of the issues inside; i.e., let no one enter here who is vertically illiterate. The new university comes into being—the flame is kindling—wherever and whenever we bend the beam of collective attention back onto ourselves, whenever we shift our awareness from ego to eco in order to regenerate our economic, democratic, and educational systems from that awareness and source.
Ecopsychologists have suggested that mindful awareness of our interdependence with nature may not only help us regain our lost, ecologically embedded identity (Roszak, 1992) but may also help us behave more sustainably, closing the documented gap between proenvironmental attitudes and behaviors. We suggest more specifically that, in contemporary consumer culture with its dearth of proenvironmental norms and cues, mindful attentiveness may be necessary to develop sustainable habits. To explore the connection between mindfulness and sustainable behavior, we measured 100 adults attending a Midwestern sustainability expo on two mindfulness factors: acting with awareness and observing sensations. As predicted, acting with awareness was significantly positively correlated with self-reported sustainable behavior. This finding is consistent with the idea that, until sustainable decisions become the societal default, their enactment may depend on focused consideration of options and mindful behavior. In contrast, observing sensations did not predict behavior. This calls into question the notion that feeling connected to the world outside of ourselves is a precondition for sustainable action. We call for more research to further test the validity and generalizability of our findings.
Recent imaging results suggest that individuals automatically share the emotions of others when exposed to their emotions. We question the assumption of the automaticity and propose a contextual approach, suggesting several modulatory factors that might influence empathic brain responses. Contextual appraisal could occur early in emotional cue evaluation, which then might or might not lead to an empathic brain response, or not until after an empathic brain response is automatically elicited. We propose two major roles for empathy; its epistemological role is to provide information about the future actions of other people, and important environmental properties. Its social role is to serve as the origin of the motivation for cooperative and prosocial behavior, as well as help for effective social communication. ?? 2006 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Few studies have examined how changes in materialism relate to changes in well-being; fewer have experimentally manipulated materialism to change well- being. Studies 1, 2, and 3 examined how changes in materialistic aspirations related to changes in well-being, using varying time frames (12 years, 2 years, and 6 months), samples (US young adults and Icelandic adults), and measures of materialism and well-being. Across all three studies, results supported the hypothesis that people’s well-being improves as they place relatively less impor- tance on materialistic goals and values, whereas orienting toward materialistic goals relatively more is associated with decreases in well-being over time. Study 2 addition- ally demonstrated that this association was mediated by changes in psychological need satisfaction. A fourth, experimental study showed that highly materialistic US adolescents who received an intervention that decreased materialism also experienced increases in self-esteem over the next several months, relative to a control group. Thus, well-being changes as people change their relative focus on materialistic goals.
Is the global communications revolution fostering a new global consciousness? What is the extent of humanity’s global ecological awareness and concern? Is there a shift underway toward “postmodern” social values? Is a new kind of experiential or first-hand spirituality emerging? Is there a shift underway toward more sustainable ways of living?
As the whole society is experiencing a notable shift fr om the industrial age to the information age, an urgent need for a mindset change in education has been frequently discussed during the past decades. This paper will approach the mindset change through three interconnected sections: the first section revi ews the conceptualization of mindset and then gives our definition of mindset concentrating on understanding its unique significance to the educational system. The second section presents, compares, and contrasts the key markers of the information–age mindset and the industrial–age mindset. The third section displays an instrument designed and developed by the authors that can be used to measure the status of individual and group mindset.
Immersive virtual environments can break the deep everyday connection between where our senses tell us that we are and where we actually are located and whom we are with. ‘Presence research’ studi es the phenomenon of acting and feeling that we are in the world created by computer displays. We argue that presence is a phenomenon worthy of study by neuroscientists and may help towards the study of consci ousness, since it may be regarded as consciousness within a restricted domain.
This paper focuses on emergent signs of evolutionary change in human thinking that run parallel with many of the exponential changes manifesting in the external world. Weak signals are identified from the early 20th century indicating the emergence of new knowledge patterns. These signals have strengthened in the last 40 years. The paper first identifies new ways of thinking within several disciplines such as science, philosophy, religion and education. New knowledge patterns are then identified in discourses that traverse disciplinary boundaries through transdisciplinary approaches such as futures studies and planetary/global studies. The paper then discusses evolution of consciousness, identifying research that theorises new ways of thinking as being related to individual psychological development and/or socio-cultural evolution. Finally, evolutionary concepts are discussed that attempt to meta-cohere the new knowledge patterns via the terms postformal, integral and planetary. Notably, academic research on ” futures of thinking,” ” evolution of consciousness” and/or ” global mindset change” has been, until now, largely ignored by mainstream academic discourse on evolution, consciousness and futures studies
Psychology and Consumer Culture provides an in-depth psychological analysis of consumerism that draws from a wide range of theoretical, clinical, and methodological approaches. The contributors to this edited volume demonstrate that consumerism and the culture that surrounds it exert profound and often undesirable effects on both people’s individual lives and on society as a whole. Far from being distant influences, advertising, consumption, materialism, and the capitalistic economic system affect personal, social, and ecological well being on many levels.
Authors address consumerism’s effect on everything from culture, ethnicity, and childhood development to consciousness, gender roles, identity, work stress, and psychopathology. Contributors provide a variety of potential interventions for counteracting the negative influence of consumerism on individuals and on society. The book makes a strong case that, despite psychology’s past reticence to investigate issues related to consumerism, such topics are crucial to understanding human life in the contemporary age.
The paper aimed to provide additional insights into the wide and partly uncovered area of interactions among spirituality, happiness, life satisfaction and sustainability, supported by a survey representing the Hungarian society. As results reflect, spirituality definitely proves to matter in pro-environmental behaviour, sustainable consumption, happiness and life satisfaction.
‘Walking the talk’ is a collection of interviews and stories from young adults on how the younger generation are engaging with faith, spirituality and social action amid the challenges of our times.
Spirituality in a time of global crisis
Young people are growing up under the influences of globalisation, consumerism, social media and new technology. They face a future beset with multiple challenges to our planetary stability, such as global ecocide, the rise of religious extremism and the refugee crisis. The millennial generation are reported to be the least religious that our world has ever known. And yet some surveys show they are simply rejecting organised religion in favour of self-organised spirituality that draws on many different sources.
This edited collection of stories asks: How are young people engaging with faith, religion and spirituality at this time of crisis and transition?
Generation Y are doing faith differently!
For a start, young people have a more global interconnected outlook. They also have more flexible religious identities. They draw on the wisdom of the different religious practices that are available around them and they relate to each other’s traditions more openly. Many have a deep concern for the Earth, economic justice and a values-based way of life. They are co-creating their own non-hierarchical spaces – either within traditional religious institutions or completely outside them. They build community together and share what nourishes their souls. Most importantly, they cannot separate faith from the need to respond to what they see around them. Spirituality belongs to the inner life but is also the driving force for social action, for building a just and sustainable future.
Young people face many, many challenges – often including a lack of understanding from their elders. Today’s faith leaders also face a major challenge in meeting the needs of this generation and staying in relationship. There is a great need for the talents and unique perspective of the younger generation to be better supported and better understood.
This book will explore these themes through stories, lively interviews and case-studies of new emerging youth-led communities. The book also asks what all this tells us about the evolution of faith in the future and humanity’s changing relationship with the sacred.
Trends in cognitive sciences
Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology