universal forgiveness

10 forgive and

Forgiveness is one of the most astonishing qualities found in our universe.

As he experiences the universe, Joseph Jaworski offers this first principle:

‘There is an open and emergent quality to the universe.’*

Jaworski continues to describe this openness: ‘We can’t find a cause or reason for this emergent quality, but as we experience it again and again, we see that the universe offers infinite possibility.’*

This got me thinking.

Forgiveness is a really important connector to this “infinite possibility.”

We can live in need of forgiveness, always burdened but never free: ‘if a society does not have an apparatus for forgiveness, then its members are fated to live forever with the consequences of any violation’**

Or we can live as though we don’t need forgiveness, which may lead to repeating the violation over and over.

Forgiveness, though, makes a third future possible.  Forgiveness is not one thing, but many; it is infinitely imaginative, mirroring a universe with “infinite possibility.”

Try it out.  Give it and receive it often, in diverse and creative ways.

(*From Jospeh Jaworski’s Source.)
(**Walter Brueggemann referring to Hannah Arendt’s belief about forgiveness, in The Prophetic Imagination.)

the plastic ape

9 beyond the normal

‘Why did people make such a fateful miscalculation?  For the same reason people through history have miscalculated.  People were unable to fathom the full consequences of their decisions.’*

Yuval Noah Harari is reflecting on the serial “improvements’ our ancestors made which moved them from hunting-gathering to farming; he argues the health of the more people farming produced was worse than the of the smaller numbers of hunter-gatherers**

Harari calls this the “luxury trap,” and claims it’s still with us today.  Is there another story here, though, one which inexorably pulls us forwards?  And what does forward look like?

I wonder whether Humans are the “plastic ape,” meaning we are both shaped and shapers:

‘By practice, we mean doable habits that transform us, rewiring our brains, restoring our inner ecology, renovating our inner architecture, expanding our capacities.  We mean actions within our power that helps us become capable of things currently beyond our power.”^

It’s debatable whether we control our technology or our technology controls us.  Watch what happens the next time you’re in a cafe or similar, and someone is pulled from a conversation because their tablet-friend speaks to them.

(It’s amazing to think that we have in a standard iPhone, the technology cornucopia which would have once totalled around £500,000 when the items first came to market.^^  Is this forward?  Some would say not.  I feel we’re still learning to use our technologies in the best possible way, towards telling a story we feel impelled to both write and live, believing ourselves to be more than creatures made for food, procreation, and sheltering.)

Recently, in a place we call Göbekli Tepe, great decorated stones were uncovered, shaped by hunter-gatherers almost ten thousand years ago, over a long period of time.  Perhaps they ask a question about how these people felt the future to be calling them, some primal pull towards the future.

‘Explanation sets the need for extra inquiry aside; narrative invites us to rethink what we thought we knew.’*^

(*From Yuval Noah Harari’s Sapiens.)
(**More babies were being born to a poorer and more vulnerable diet.)
(^From Brian McLaren’s Naked Spirituality.)
(^^From Peter Diamandis and Steven Kotler’s Bold.)
(*^From James Carse’s Finite and Infinite Games.)

playing with perspectives

8 we always have been

Here are three I was pondering this morning.

1. To see something happen we believe is right may mean we find ourselves taking on the powers that be:

‘Inversions are not easy, not without cost, and never neat and clear.  But we ought not to underestimate the power of the poet.  Inversions may being in a change of language, redefined perceptual field, or [an altered]consciousness.’*

2. Yuval Noah Harari might suggest the existence of “powers that be” are something which intensified with the Agricultural Revolution.  He offers, ‘We did not domesticate wheat.  It domesticated us.’**  An agrarian lifestyle meant people had to live close to their their food; it also meant those who wanted your food could target it more easily than in a hunting-gathering lifestyle – now some people could become a lot more powerful than others.

3. Peter Diamandis writes about how digitisation is deceptive (Kodak couldn’t see what the first digital camera would lead to – at 0.1 megapixel), and then is disruptive, demonetising the future.  Writing his thoughts down, he has paid for the computer, but his operating system is Linux, his software is Google docs, and the wifi is provided by the coffee house he’s sitting in – all free.

‘Billions and billions in goods and services … are now changing hands sans cost.’^

Claudia Altucher adds to this when she encourages us to give our ideas away: ‘give them for free, or, as currency meaning your are paying it forward, with no expectations’.^^

I get the feeling from these different perspectives on life, there’s another story we find ourselves, in which we are drawn irresistibly forward, and a big part of our future is going to be free.

“Be grateful for whoever comes,
Because each has been sent
As a guide from beyond.”*^

(*From Walter Brueggemann’s The Prophetic Imagination.  The words in brackets are more “perceived” correction of  ‘or unaltered consciousness,’ which doesn’t seem to fit with the rest of the sentence.)
(**From Yuval Noah Harari’s Sapiens.)
(^From Peter Diamandis and Steven Kotler’s Bold.  They include 6 D’s altogether – the last two being dematerialisation and democratisation.)
(^^From Claudia Altucher’s Become an Idea Machine.)
(*^From Runi’s poem ‘The Guest House,’ quoted in Mindfulness from Mindfullbeing.)

amazingly dramatic

7 woohoo, where next?

It’s amazing, because hope emerges from despair.  Who expected that?

Dramatic, because this cannot be scripted and acted out theatrically, but it can emerge  as the drama unfolds …

… when we open our senses to more: the divergent

… when we open our hearts to what begins to what it is that begins to take shape and form: the emergent

… when we enact and act upon what it is we realise we must do: the convergent.

This is the flow of drama.  On the other hand, the theatrical, or scripted, begins with: this is it, do it.

Where’s the surprise, the amazing, in that?

I realised that there could be no execution over nothing. The idea has to come first.  Idea precedes execution.’*

(From Claudia Altucher’s Become an Idea Machine.)


6 life is more

Throneliness is how I control my kingdom, securing and maintaining what I have.  The price I pay is in terms of thwarting the future which wants to emerge.

‘The royal consciousness means to overcome history and therefore by design the future loses its vitality and authority.*

Whilst throneliness may employ the language of imagination and creativity, it is unskilled in the alchemy of futurism.  More aware of what it does not have, rather than what it does, throneliness fails to understand, to possess is to make dead but to let go, through imaginations and creativity, brings into being the vital and new.

To get down from our thrones is to see we “have” far more out there than immediately around us, to get down allows us to connect with people and artefacts and the world in which we live, reminding us we have legs with which to move from here to there and set history free.  We become generators of more.

‘An infinite player does not consume time but generates it.’**

(*FromWalter Brueggemann’s The Prophetic Imagination.)
(**From James Carse’s Finite and Infinite Games.)

false prophets

5 the false prophets

Beware professional prophets.  Those employed by the people in charge, by the institutions and organisations.  Their job is to say “We can do this, there is hope, we only need keep faith and keep doing what we’re doing.”

It is the edge-person who can see ‘only anguish leads to life, only grieving leads to joy, and only embraced endings permit new beginnings.’*

Reality must be faced and grief experienced so that an ending may occur and a new beginning found.

I’ve just come across this, from mindfulness, which offers a little more insight into what is happening when we are able to accept reality.  To accept means to grasp and understand something, allowing us to ‘respond in a skilful way,’ that is, to have choice.**  The false prophet, and their company, are more inclined to employ ‘aversion, clinging, or tuning out’^ – that is, to deny reality or hold on to their version of reality, or to let their thinking wander, maybe to their retirement.

When we are willing to face reality for what it is, and all ourselves to grieve, then we are able to free tens and hundreds and even thousands of new ideas: ‘we are in a different realm, we’ve entered the universe that is inhabited by people who dare go into unknown territory.^

(*From Walter Brueggemann’s The Prophetic Imagination.)
(**From Mindfulness by Mindfullybeing.)
(^From Claudia Altucher’s Become An Idea Machine.)


4 synchonicity

synchronicity  (sɪŋkrəˈnɪsɪti/)
  1. 1. 
    the simultaneous occurrence of events which appear significantly related but have no discernible causal connection.
    “such synchronicity is quite staggering”

“Synchronicity is being open to what wants to happen.”*

Steven Sasson is the guy who came up with the first digital camera.  He was a prophet of the future in the kingdom of Kodak, but the company struggled to ask the really important questions about the technology.  If it had, maybe it would have imagined the exponential possibilities for this new way of taking pictures.

Kodak is representative of so many organisations and institutions, which have become detached from their raison d’être and ended up preserving the past when threatened by the new and imaginative.

Something wants to happen, though, wants to emerge, and there are prophets who want to tell us about what it is.  They come in all shapes and sizes with all manner of messages.**  They do this in almost playful and imaginative ways for good reason:

‘Hope is a tenacious act of imagination given in a dream, oracle, narrative, and song, rooted in absolute authority … . It is given in an imaginative way, because it is out beyond what we know.’^

Synchronicity seems to occur more often when we prepare ourselves through the playfulness of sensing (acknowledging what is), presencing (gathering the things which are of greatest significance and resonance to us), crystallising and realising (identifying what it is we must do and expanding this to others).^^

Bring a group of people into a playful space and something will happen.

(*David Morsing, quoted in Peter Senge, Otto Scahrmer, Jospeh Jaworski, and Betty Sue Flowers’s Presence.)
(**As I think about what this means for me, I keep returning to the importance of people’s potential, the need to be a prophet of talent.)
(^From Walter Brueggemann’s Reality Grief Hope.)
(^^A combination of Theory U: sensing, presencing, crystallising, and realising, and, Mindfulness: acknowledging, gathering, and expanding.)

embracing imagination and pathos

3 we are determined to learn

In his speech at the state opening of Parliament, David Cameron spoke about aspiration:

“In recent days, I have noticed some of the candidates for the Labour leadership seem to have discovered a new word: the word being aspiration. Apparently it has upset John Prescott, he went on television to explain he doesn’t know what it means. I am happy we should spend the next five years explaining what it means and how vital it is to everyone in our country. If the party opposite truly believe in aspiration, they will vote with us to cut people’s taxes so people can spend more of their own money as they choose. If they believe in aspiration, they will be voting with us to cap welfare and use the savings to fund more apprenticeships.”*

Aspiration appears to mean a good job, good pay, good spending, good pension, good retirement.  As important as these things are, the next thing the prime minister could have said was, “so that every Briton can arrive at death in the best way possible.”

He didn’t, though.  It’s not where most politicians of different shades and leaning would want to acknowledge.  It’s not in their interest to say anything which upsets the need for everyone to be a good citizen within society.

Institutions of many kinds and size don’t want to admit the emptiness of their circular arguments; neither do they want to admit they don’t know how to encourage people’s imaginations outside of the work hard, earn as much as you can, save, and retire well message.

Pathos: here’s a larger tale, though, from behind the facades of government and employment and taxes and healthcare. First the pathos:

Homo sapiens drove to extinction about half of the planets big beasts long before humans invented the wheel, writing or iron tools.’**

Then followed the agricultural revolution around 12,000 years ago, followed by the industrial revolution 300 years ago – each having an incredible impact on the world and all of it fauna and flora.  We are presently using the resources of one and a half Earths.

One of the things my friend Steve does is work with secondary school students science through Non Fi-Sci – remaking well known movies by putting the science right.  If they were to remake Independence Day – in which Jeff Goldblum and Will Smith save planer Earth from aliens aiming to eradicate Humans and plunder all the Earth’s resources – maybe they’d have to cast the Humans as the alien plunderers.  Our ancestors were exterminating all kinds of species long before farming came along, as they travelled to new continents and islands.

We have to acknowledge the destructive nature of our species: they didn’t realise the devastation they brought, we do, and ignore it.

Imagination: We need everyone’s imagination set free and encouraged so that we may find better ways and means of living as the peculiar species we are on planet earth.  Imagination which connects people with each other, outside of the silos we build, as well as connecting us with the only planet we’re able to live on at the moment.

Here are the five elemental truths which I have share before:

Life is hard
You are not as important as you think
Your life is not about you
You are not in control
You are going to die.^

I include them here as imagination, because they are only half formed.  We can complete, or transform them, with great imagination.

(*From theguardian.com.)
(**From Yuval Noah Harari’s Sapiens.)
(^Five things taught to young people entering adulthood by tribes and societies around the world, as identified by Richar Rohr in Adam’s Return.)

the upside and downside of passion

2 breathing and passion 2

2 breathing and passion 3

The up: to live with passion is to be alive.

We are not so much concerned with discovering the meaning of life as to know we are alive.

Passion is unique to each person.  What the best passionate kinds of life have in common is they are blue – as in hyperlinked. To others, to other worlds and to the universe.

The down: people and institutions will be threatened by your passion, and make you suffer for it.

But, with the first deep, primordial breath of life a Human takes, there also comes passion: our striving to be fully alive.

Not to be able to do what we are passionate about is like being asked not to breathe.

I can quieten myself and listen to my breathing.  I can quieten myself and listen to my passion too.

the trouble with maps

1 mapping

Maps are not reality.

Even the most accurate maps only show some of the the facts relating to a place or an area.  As Denis Wood writes, in contemplating the power of maps:

‘They are, consequently, in all ways, less like windows through which we view the world and more like those windows of appearance from which pontiffs and potentates demonstrate their suzerainty.’*

Maps are a way of seeing things.  The status quo has maps, and so have gentle revolutions – one is not more real than the other.

Here’s how a map of Scotland was displayed today at a U.Labs Scotland event run by the Scottish Government – interesting, how something like this can change things.

scotland on its side

Four years ago, I’d met some people I sensed were going to be important to my exploring of new communities.  It’s proven to be the case.  I think we’re defining what a gentle revolution (and expression of an infinite game) might look like where we are, as we produce alternative maps for collaboration towards wellbeing.

We have to remember institutional maps are just their maps.  We don’t have to use it, or it doesn’t have to be the only map we use.

The gentle revolutionary knows the maps of the future will not only show what they are doing, but who they are becoming.

‘We have a physical, a spiritual, an emotional and a mental body.  The idea muscle is what powers the latter.’**

(*From Denis Wood’s The Power of Maps.)
(**From Claudia Altrucher’s Become an Idea Machine.)