Monday, December 9, 2013

Foundation for New Systems of Thinking

The modern technologically "advanced" world that surrounds us is an outgrowth of our civilization's compartmentalized ways of thinking. For centuries now most modern cultures have taught their people to "conceptualize" the Universe in terms of distinct categories and dualistic divisions.

As a result we have the complex systems and institutions that surround us - governments, corporations, schools, entertainment industries, economic systems, legal systems, prison systems. All of these based on methods of identifying, measuring and manipulating "things" - discrete objects and units.

Many of the problems humans have created - from poverty, war and racism to global warming & environmental destruction - have their roots in our compartmentalized and mechanistic ways of thinking.

As Alan Watts and others have pointed out, most of the "units" we observe around us (humans, trees, birds, forests, rivers) have existed for millions of years in the natural world, while others are very recent creations - products of "civilized" imaginations.

Money and property, for example - the ideas of value, worth, wealth accumulation and "ownership" of objects and pieces of paper - are mathematically based conceptions that our ancestors dreamed up fairly recently.

Same for time, which is based on measurements of little hands going around a clock, the turning of the earth, and the earth going around the sun. While days and years have a basis in observations of Nature, our division of each day into hours, minutes and seconds has been completely arbitrary.

With clocks and timetables those in positions of "authority" have been able to control and synchronize human activities, running the world as if we were all parts in some larger machine.

Synchronized systems of time have worked hand-in-hand with systems based on money (and ownership) to create the complex web of "civilized" activities that have dominated our planet over the last few thousand years.

Most of the social structures and institutions that surround us - school buildings, financial systems, corporate headquarters, military bases and such - are grounded in this framework of time and money.

The architects of modern civilizations dreamed these institutions up and placed them in our world. Consequently, generations of humans have been raised within them, much as ants build colonies and bees create hives to hatch their young.

Unfortunately, just as blinders limit the range of a horse's vision, the conceptual boxes and physical walls of civilized people tend to screen out deeper understandings about the effects of our actions and our connection to nonhuman worlds.

In reality, the whole Universe pulses with complex interconnections and a mysterious beauty far beyond our imaginations. There's a deeper truth that our limited conceptions ignores - that the Universe is not something that exists outside of us. You and I are creative living expressions of ALL that is.

We are born of atoms forged in the heart of long gone stars, energized now by the photons of our local sun. Kept alive by the nutrients and air of our Mother World. We are Life manifesting as people, mountains, rivers and trees

Seeing this deeper truth and experiencing our connection to the Universe is the beginning of wisdom. Sharing that wisdom with others - and using it as the foundation for new systems that we build together - is how our world can be re-created and transformed.

Creative Systems Thinking