Center for Future Consciousness Website
The Psychology of the Future: Consciousness, Wisdom, & the Self - A five-session new workshop and presentation at Sun City Grand, Chaparral Center, 19781 N. Remington Drive, Surprise, AZ. Dates: Jan. 24, 31, and Feb. 7, 14, and 21 from 10:00 am to 12:00.
This Month's Highlights:
- Editorial: The Ecology of Creation
- Guns and Violence in the USA: Sam Harris Blog
- Journal of Futures Studies Online Newsletter
- New Course - The Psychology of the Future: Consciousness, Wisdom, and the Self
- Nicholas Maxwell: Philosopher for the Future
- Archive: Futurodyssey and Wisdom Page Updates
The Ecology of Creation
The future is the act of creation and we are all participating in it. And creation is the making of order out of chaos, which as a necessary prelude often entails the making of chaos out of order. The inexorable flow of time is messy: to make an omelette you have to break a few eggs. As Heraclitus noted, the river of time involves both "becoming and passing away," with the passing away invariably preceding the becoming.
This last month Jeanne and I immersed ourselves in the act of creation - of becoming and passing away - of order into chaos and chaos into order. We moved our household - plants, books, rocks (yes, we moved rocks, lots of them), computers, furniture, art, clothing, dishes, pots and pans, etc. etc. - first packing everything up in a whoosh, taking roughly three weeks, and filling hundreds and hundreds of boxes, then transporting it and stacking it all, often willy-nilly in our new space, and then unpacking and setting it all up again, which took another roughly three weeks.
In this brute act of sustained, tenacious will my intellect seemed to shut down as my body, my muscles, went into high gear. The process of dismantling and re-creation consumed me and drained all my energy, giving me a sore and achey back, two calloused and cut-up thumbs, numb fingers and toes, and various bruises and abrasions all over my body. On top of it all, my biorhythm was thrown permanently out of whack (waking up everyday now between 4:30 and 5:00 A.M. in conditioned anticipation of work to be done).
Clearly it seemed to me that we were engaging in an act of creation (at the very least, re-creation) - taking all the pieces of our life apart and then putting them together again. Philosophically reflecting on what transpired, it struck me that creation is hard work; it is psychologically disorienting and physically exhausting. I became sleep deprived. At times I felt dizzy, and I still feel light-headed from the whole thing.
The act of moving was not simply functional and physical though, but artistic, spiritual, and psychological as well. Jeanne and I were continually figuring out, once we had moved in, what should go where, what was most pleasing to the eye, and we debated, argued, and discussed the whole thing from morning to night. I was focused, indeed obsessed, on how to decorate and arrange the house. We were re-creating our life space and identities in a new place.
As to be expected things did not re-configure in the same way. Once the dust started to settle, (and there was dust and dirt - the entropy of creation), Jeanne had a new study, all to her own, and I had a science fiction room (a crazy place indeed). We also lost twenty plants (due to the windy cold trip on the highway and the subsequent frost that set in) - but just as well for now we can start anew on the backyard.
As all this was going on, it hit me how much we are physical beings - in fact, ecological beings - where our identity is tied up with our living space and our minds are invested in all the objects that support our various day to day activities. Our minds - our psyches - extend out into the surrounding environment, and to remake our ecology - our home - is to remake ourselves. (Didn't Freud suggest that the rooms in a house in a dream represent the rooms in one's mind?)
We now live in a different paradigm. The kitchen had to be re-organized; now we don't cook the same way. We can now watch TV while we cook in the kitchen. We had to redo the master bedroom as well - it now feels much cozier, more intimate. I have a new study, facing south rather than north, as in the old house, and the sun now brightly shines down on me while I sit at my computer. I wake and work to the sunrise.
In preparation for the move, we purged ourselves of many belongings, big and small, shedding considerable weight for the trip, but also because we were intentionally downsizing. Yet we still found that there were things that didn't fit anywhere, and that we needed to go out and buy some new items that our new house seemed to require. (The house and our minds have different kinds of rooms now).
There have been other twists and turns and various surprises. We froze the first night in the new house because we had no heat; the local Safeway seems to be laid out in a mirror image of the old store I used to shop at; we now have a giant (twenty-foot-tall) cactus in the front yard, that I can see through the front windows of my study; the local Starbucks - only five minutes away - is great, with a spacious outdoor patio. (There are a bunch of guys who regularly hang around there at 5:00 A.M. in the morning). Perhaps most surprising is that while the new house and new neighborhood don't feel totally comfortable or familiar yet, the old house and neighborhood seem a million miles away - a distant, rapidly fading ghost from the past. How fast - at least at times - the mind can change.
It was a very good idea to move, to re-locate, re-create, and re-define; I was bored with where we were. It was time to start a new chapter in the book of life; it was time to dive in again into the Heraclitian flow of becoming and passing away. As I quoted from Teillard de Chardin in the CFC newsletter a couple of months ago, in reference to the evolutionary, dynamic nature of reality, "We are moving." Yes, we are; yes, we did, both on the outside and the inside, and the dust hasn't settled yet.
|Sam Harris Blog: Guns and Violence in the USA
Sam Harris, the author of The Moral Landscape
(reviewed in our January and February 2012 newsletters
), The End of Faith
, and other philosophically challenging, thought provoking books, recently wrote two thematically connected blogs on guns and violence in the United States. Since the ongoing debate over gun ownership and our violence ridden/violence obsessed popular culture clearly pertains to the future, and since both Jeanne and I found Sam's blog entries very informative and stimulating reads, I'm providing links to his two essays.
To quote Sam Harris, from his blog,
"Fantasists and zealots can be found on both sides of the debate over guns in America. On the one hand, many gun-rights advocates reject even the most sensible restrictions on the sale of weapons to the public. On the other, proponents of stricter gun laws often seem unable to understand why a good person would ever want ready access to a loaded firearm. Between these two extremes we must find grounds for a rational discussion about the problem of gun violence.
Unlike most Americans, I stand on both sides of this debate. I understand the apprehension that many people feel toward "gun culture," and I share their outrage over the political influence of the National Rifle Association. How is it that we live in a society in which one of the most compelling interests is gun ownership? Where is the science lobby? The safe food lobby? Where is the get-the-Chinese-lead-paint-out-of-our-kids'-toys lobby? When viewed from any other civilized society on earth, the primacy of guns in American life seems to be a symptom of collective psychosis."The Riddle of the GunFAQ on Violence
The Psychology of the Future: Consciousness, Wisdom, and the Self
I am and will be the ongoing, transforming, and self-reflective story I tell and will tell myself about myself within the context of the story I tell myself about the world.
This fall I began the pilot of my new course: The Psychology of the Future - Flourishing in the Flow of Evolution
. This winter, beginning in January, I am continuing the course. Even if you did not attend the fall classes, or missed the first couple of sessions of the winter semester, the winter classes are being presented as a series of self-contained topics to empower you to create a more constructive and personally fulfilling life in the future.
In the new five-week series, I examine how to enhance your thinking, creativity, self-awareness and self-control, and capacity for wisdom. We will study, among other topics, the psychology of memory and deep learning, the nature of human understanding, the skills of critical and reflective thinking, methods for controlling and directing consciousness, and the central importance of wisdom in directing your future.
We will examine how memory is the foundation of future consciousness; how habits both perpetuate the past and provide the means for life transformation; how to facilitate deep learning and the life-long pursuit of knowledge; how theories, paradigms, world views, and grand narratives structure one's consciousness of the present and the future; and why humanity needs a "New Enlightenment" in thinking and values.
We will conclude the course by constructing personalized ideal future self-narratives to provide a road map for your future self-development.
For those of you who are interested in participating in some deep inquiry and thinking into the nature of the mind, consciousness, knowledge, and personal identity, this is the course for you. You can register at: AZ Grand Learning
|Nicholas Maxwell - Philosopher for the Future
Nicholas Maxwell is a contemporary British philosopher who is a member of The Wisdom Page Advisory Board and the founder of the online association Friends of Wisdom. This month he is being featured in The Wisdom Page Updates, providing the guest editorial, as well as two new published articles on the central importance of the pursuit of wisdom within education and human society.
Maxwell is a philosopher for the future - indeed a philosopher of the future - since he is a revolutionary, calling for a fundamental transformation in education and the goals of science and academia. To quote from his website,
"We need a revolution in the aims and methods of academic inquiry, so that the basic aim becomes to promote wisdom by rational means, instead of just to acquire knowledge.
Acquiring scientific knowledge dissociated from a more basic concern for wisdom leads, via technology and industry, to an enormous increase in the power to act.
This has led to much that is good, but also to much that is harmful. All our modern global crises are the outcome of science without wisdom. If we are to avoid in this century the horrors of the last one - wars, death camps, dictatorships, poverty, environmental damage - we urgently need to learn how to acquire more wisdom, which in turn means that our institutions of learning become devoted to that end.
The revolution we need would change every branch and aspect of academic inquiry...."
Have a look at his website
and his publications. If you do not subscribe to the Wisdom Page Updates
, the newest issue will be available (with Maxwell's editorial and articles) a day or two after the first of February.
Archives - Futurodyssey and Wisdom Page Updates
This fall I began publishing two redesigned newsletters: Futurodyssey--the online publication for the Center for Future Consciousness--and the Wisdom Page Updates--the online publication for The Wisdom Page. There are Archives for both newsletters. You can view earlier issues of each newsletter by going to:
That's it for this month: Essays on moving and the ecology of creation & guns and violence, the psychology of the future course, the new electronic newsletter for JFS, and Nicholas Maxwell, philosopher of and for the future.