Deep Time Journey Forum › Countering Intolerance With Cosmic Education
- April 2, 2017 at 1:53 pm #18055
This is a wonderful post & comments…
There are a lot to comment on, so I’ll only suffice with a few…
I agree that the word “tolerance – Tasamohh in Arabic -” is not sufficient here. I remember a teacher of mine (can’t remember exactly when or where) explained to us in class that it’s not good to say that (as the majority of Muslims in Egypt) we’re tolerant toward the minority of Coptic Christians, because that means we just “accept” them to live with us or to adopt their different religion!!! I think “tolerance” is more applicable toward one being “tolerant” or “accepting” criticism being directed toward her/him by another person.
In our context of discussion, like others suggested, “empathy – used in political discourse as understanding and being able to feel what another subject feels”, & even more powerful words as “compassion”, & I add “xenophilia – which I loved as soon as I encountered in the English dictionary, meaning the prefer different persons over similar persons, & have a tendency to enjoy engaging with people of different ethnicity/religions/cultures -“; would be much better in our context of discussion.
So you all added mindfulness, meditation, spending a lot of time in nature doing things we usually do indoors, & music (that is something that has to be dealt with in the sect of Slalfi Islam – the background I come from -, as music & singing is considered forbidden, so sadly, many people where I live are denied to experience this exhilarating transformation of feelings)… I want to add, nurturing children with a revolutionary spirit & what Prof. Philip mentioned in his PD video “psychological – & I’d add socio-political – unconditioning of children & adults’ minds (it’d be more difficult with adults, of course)…
To elaborate further with a story, & here I want to differ with a point mentioned before, that children not struggling for survival have a lower chance to be educated into compassion than children not struggling, besides differing with what’s mentioned here that “religion” – as opposed to “spirituality” in my opinion – is a factor that enhances compassion (while I think it is the biggest factor that enhances rejection of the other throughout human history, at least maybe since the onset of Abrahamic religions)…
I think (though this is something I aim to further study & research – for PhD & later as well -) that children’s innate orientations are already originally directed toward adopting such positive attitudes as compassion & oneness, & it is actually the socialization process of being brought up by family/society/media/education that distorts or crooks this original tendency toward intolerance/ego-centrism (although “ego” is supposed to be the whole “Universe” & this differentiation into space/time/subjects may be only a temporary illusion in this life), to identify oneself as belonging to a specific group of ethnicity/nation/religion, & to build “loyalty” to the members of this group, “against” members of other groups!!!
Of course this is a hypothesis that I still need to research & test… One of the stories that inspired me for my life’s purpose research happened to me “again” during the revolutionary events here in Egypt (which I will elaborate later on how revolutions & nurturing a revolutionary spirit is necessary for transformation).
The revolution was perhaps the first events in decades in which Muslims & Christians took part together in a struggle side by side, even dying together, for one cause, that created deep emotional relationships between them (including myself, as my life was saved once by a Christian guy, whom without I’d be in my grave now & not posting this!!!). A guy I knew, used to be a fundamentalist Salafi, but engaging in the revolution, & making friends with Christians there, transformed him (except for patriarchal attitudes against women, which is the hardest to deal with among Arabs!). He made very close relations with a Chraistian guy called Mina Daniel, who was later murdered by the military (they crushed the tank over him & others!), & became a revolution martyr. This guy I knew suffered from severe depression & kept to his bed for about half a year after this.
When I talked to him later, I asked him why does he feel great sorrow & depression because of Mina, although many of other friends of his were murdered too. He said “Because my other friends are Muslims, so I rest assured that they’re in Heaven now, & I will meet them again after I die. But Mina is Christian, so he’ll suffer in Hell, & I won’t get to be with him again!”… At that time, my own consciousness transformation was not complete & I didn’t yet encounter Big History, so I told him “Don’t worry, maybe he was actually a Muslim in his belief but didn’t show it, or he decided to convert to Islam right before he was killed!”…
Later, I kept reflecting over this (when you are in a revolution, your consciousness keeps thinking, reflecting, & transforming). So, another day, there were raging protests of people, one group were protesting in support of the Muslim Brotherhood president (before the coup d’etat) Mohammad Morsi, & one against him. I decided to make a test for myself. I went to the first group of protesters & talked with a girl (around 10:12 yo) who was with her parents. I asked her “Where do you think a protester from the other group would go to if s/he gets killed?”, she answered “To Hell, because they’re against Islam & the Islamist president”. I further asked her “Where do you think a Christian who’s protesting with you would go to”, she also answered “To Hell, because he’s not Muslim”.
Then I went to the other group of protesters, & talked with a girl about the same age, who was with her mother. I asked her “Where do you think a Christian protesting here with you would go to if s/he gets killed?”, she answered the same “To Hell, because he’s not Muslim”.
Later this night, when I was waiting for the metro heading a home, a street child (this is an expression here we give to very poor children who spend all their time roaming the streets trivial things & begging to collect money) sat next to me offering to sell me something. It got into my head to ask him the same question, & he answered “Well, why would God send a Christian to Hell if s/he’s good?! Good people go to Heaven & bad people go to Hell!!!”, & that’s coming from a child who doesn’t go to school & doesn’t have a stable family/home (unlike both of the previous girls!)…
Sadly, however you educate children with the Universe story & all the other things, those children still go to their “parents” at home, follow “TV & the internet”, watch “movies”, play violent “PS games”, live in a larger “society” that holds ethnic/religious prejudices, & live in yet a larger “global system” in which national/civilizational idetifications is the rule of the game!
I agree also with what’s mentioned before, that chaotic or seemingly-bad & disturbing situations taking place is actually much beneficial, because it forces people to re-evaluate & reflect upon basic cultural/identity principles & values & creates a clear demarcation of what is truly “good” vs. “bad” as that street kid would identity innocently, which I have come to believe – as that child – to be the only identity difference that exists between humans, & I had to experience a revolution to “uncondition” my former Salafi socialization background “before” reading the Universe Story to completely transform my consciousness.
So I would add that nurturing a revolutionary spirit in children against the status-quo of arrangements, cultural identifications, & policies with which their immediate society (& that includes Western societies as well as other societies too, because it is clear that racism, fundamentalism, & materialist realism.consumerism are spreading in the West too, besides the Middle East, Africa, & Asia – despite their non-Abrahamic religions -! (don’t know if this is in Latin America too), & the whole world is being governed with. Perhaps even taking them to participate in protests & strikes may embody this. As well as asking them to “imagine” in drawing/writing/orally narrating what a different “Universally spirited” society/world may be like, & brainstorming activities they may do together to help create this other world…
This is only concerning compassion between humans, as for compassion between humans & other beings, that needs another story/post… 🙂April 3, 2017 at 12:41 am #18058
Thanks, Noha. The words l love most in your post are these:
“that children’s innate orientations are already originally directed toward adopting such positive attitudes as compassion & oneness”
and I’m sure a Ph D on this topic is well overdue. Hopefully the door will open to you. I’ve witnessed European children growing up in an indigenous context in Malaysia and I sense the truth of this. They are often far more accepting of difference than their parents. Certainly they learn a different language more readily than we do as adults.
I suppose the other side of the coin is that siblings in a family often squabble more easily than they share (e.g. their toys). There’s some kind of innate selfishness/self-centredness as well. We all have to learn a different way of seeing things.
I have to confess I haven’t fully grasped the Deep Time approach, when it comes to how his affects our ‘tolerance’, our ’empathy’, our ‘compassion’. But I love what I have learned so far and hope we’ll all learn to learn in more accepting ways.
Thanks too for the real life examples you give. It helps people like me who don’t see such division on so close, or so daily a basis as you do. Please keep contributing.April 3, 2017 at 10:25 am #18061
Though I can’t respond in a deep way right now, I wanted to say how moved I am by your posts and this conversation. Thanks Noha for your on the ground observations and I wholeheartedly second what Di said, “Please keep contributing.” Joyce, let’s talk about the Pandora channel though it may need to wait a bit since there are other project coming into manifestation right now.
JenniferSeptember 3, 2017 at 8:36 pm #19290
Greetings all from Mumbai
This is great information for classroom teachers fostering tolerance inside the classroom and so so hopeful. I am also interested in our teaching forms aside from schools…eg family, work and recreation. I live in India and , as the world over, the politics of separation….othering , difference etc etc are gaining momentum and becoming increasingly violent…violent against humans and violent against the larger Earth community. Are any of you familiar with how integral vision, grounded in an evolutionary universe, is being used explicitly to foster tolerance outside the classroom. Eg a programme advocating peace and justice and grounded in our integral understanding.as the backdrop in calls for action. …how is it being done and what are the outcomes……….thanks…..in peace and hope. OrlaSeptember 4, 2017 at 3:05 am #19293
I absolutely agree with you that our cosmic integrative vision should not be limited to the boundaries of education & learning (in school/college/academia), but should also overflow to all other spheres of our lives – on all levels, individual every-day life, group activities, social & global organization…
Taking the Journey of the Universe MOOC, & the activists’ interviews, I got the idea that so far, this Universal Vision is only available in three spheres (& even so, with yet limited affect): education/academia – economic & civil engineering enterprises – spiritual & religious organizations…
So far, we have yet to see the universal vision overflow to two very important (& mass critical) spheres: political organization & governance – entertainment & mass media industry. Of course, there are attempts to get into these two spheres (ex., green peace parties, & cosmic evolution TV series & films), but their impacts & presence are severely limited, as short-term interests, nationalistic realist perspectives, & wealth revenues are still heading the game! 🙁September 4, 2017 at 5:05 am #19294
Perhaps I will just have to take the leap! For example, this weekend….our college is going to show a film “the world before her’..taking the lives of two young Indian women…one entering a Miss India pageant (supposedly to be free of the constraints of patriarchal society????) and one entering a fundamental militant Hindu ‘boot camp”. (to learn what it means to be good Hindu women)….One could say that the two characters represent extremes…which we have all over the planet at this point.
I know that the woman who is going to be doing the reflection with the student body following the film is coming from the feminist framework…perhaps beginning to think about a ‘stewardship’ response to environmental issue……in other words, not from an integral framework. I have heard these kind of analysis before and they go nowhere…perhaps a bit of ‘tolerance’, but no compassion, and no clear understanding of the issues at hand. I plan to be in the audience to offer another framework to look at the two young women, and perhaps encourage a conversation from an integral standpoint. Its been a while since I have seen it, but when I saw it I thought it was a great film for showing two extreme styles of humanity emerging in this generation and the implications for peace and sustainability. Following the film showing, there is a gathering of a network of NGO’s who are all working on peace/justice initiatives. The department has not encouraged them to engage with the big history/cosmic story to enhance their work, deepen their vision etc etc. Perhaps now it is time. Wish there were more of us!!!
There is a term people often use here to encourage communal harmony (again limited to the human) Vasudev Katumbakham…The world is one family. Perfect …and so it is…but only from the integral lens….interreligious panel discussions are all talking about finding common ground etc etc. We are already standing on ground…and it is common…we have forgotten that…we now have a story which show s that……etc etc.
What I was looking for were examples of programmes, out in the community where there were these kind of discussions and projects but with a shared communal understanding of deep time.
Will let you know how it goes!
Perhaps Sam has a feel for the effects and responses from his music in the communities he works with?September 4, 2017 at 5:34 am #19295
So here is the conclusion of someone regarding fostering tolerance and compassion in the community. Its certainly an example of generosity, but is it enough to build a sustainable and flourishing Earth community?
I wonder how to bring the concern people have into the integral framework. People just dont want to engage conceptually…its a roadblock. The person who sent this self describes as a theologian, has read my thesis etc etc…is in an interfaith marriage….but is not ‘integral’ and riddled with language of the ‘other’.
Its something I wrestle with all the time…folks in the positions they are in who can really help to move things forward but they dont…….I guess it is maneuvering ourselves in ways to be powerful. …to be able to expose more people.
“More gestures like this will pave the way for unity. ”September 4, 2017 at 8:51 pm #19301
Thanks for these posts Orla and Noha!. Please do let us know what happens Orla. We’re in the final hours of Labor Day Holiday Weekend here in the US.
I’m wondering Orla and Noha if it would be helpful to lay out the principles that undergird an integral approach. That way people could assess their decision making in all spheres in the light of such principles.
We developed deep time principles for education, but there’s a huge need to extended and develop principles for
the political sphere and governance as you say Noha. There are many on the Network interested applying such principles in all spheres. Maybe you could get something started. I can work with you!
JenniferSeptember 5, 2017 at 3:37 am #19304
Just wondering Oria whether you are referring to the work of Ken Wilber when you use the word ‘integral’?
HIs is an all embracing theory of everything – but it remains far too philosophical. He pits the individual against the collective, and the interior against the exterior – so making four quadrants, then you can consider the interior individual (personal, subjective), the exterior individual (body and things), the interior collective (culture) and the exterior collective (systems). But you have probably used the term more generally. I’ll wait to hear.September 5, 2017 at 7:46 am #19305
Hi everyone 🙂 I have three points to add here:
1* If I understand your point correctly Orla, you mean to criticize people who talk about tolerance toward the other as we all share the same world, because they actually maintain the idea that there “is” an “other” rather than saying that we are actually “one” not “self vs. other”?
If that’s what you mean, I’d like to refer to you a paper I just looked through (which I’ll add to resources here as well), talking about the prospect of Big History or Deep Time emerging a new global identity. The author presents philosophical criticisms (from the perspective of critical realism & post-structuralism) that talk about how such an identity – if could ever emerge – is very far away from becoming possible (though the author tries to give alternative solutions). One idea that allures me, is the idea that the “self” could never exist without there being an “other” or “anti” to it! That “being or existence” itself depends on the possibility of “non-being or non-existence”.
The paper is: “Is a Global Identity Possible? The Relevance of Big History to Self-Other Relations”, by Heikki Patomaki, 2007 – you can find it on google.
I’m still pondering this idea, & it amazes me that throughout the Universe evolution, you may find that indeed, everything exists with its anti (self/other) – matter & anti-matter; energy & dark energy; male & female; survival & sacrifice; love & fear… etc. I wonder if perhaps, the whole cosmic process is about “self” unconditioning or freeing itself from the “other”, & the ultimate end is when the “self” completely frees itself, & there’s no longer an “other”! That is unity/integrity becomes absolute.
One such way to reach this, is when humans realize, as you say, that our unity is existential, it’s not just that we share a common place, but rather, that the whole Universe is essentially integrated into one common origin that exploded into the Big Bang, hence, we have to uncondition ourselves from “needing” to perceive that there is an “other” – whether this self-proclaimed other is another human of a different race/religion, or a plant, or a rock, anything…
2* I just read this part from “The Future of Global Civilization: Commentary of Big Historians” for Ekaterina Sazhienko, 2014, & immediately remembered our conversation – the article is a content analysis of a number of journal articles & interviews, in order to see what Big Historians forecast for our future:
“Modern society faces many challenges that threaten its development & human survival in general & that can reduce living standards, deepen political tension & environmental degradation, as well as increase the number of social conflicts. The content analysis indicates that sociocultural issues are more frequently discussed than many others. In our opinion this proves that they are of utmost importance, especially the ones related to religious contradictions of the global civilization. The religious factor can cause serious problems, such as terrorism, wars, ethnic, & confessional conflicts. One can argue that we are dealing with a collision not just between two world religions, but between traditional Islam & Capitalism, between the Eastern & Western civilizations that are based on different values & life goals.
The articles under study pay little attention to environmental & socio-economic issues. Probably, the reason is that people have already gained positive experience in solving the problems associated with various restorative measures for environmental management & protection, as well as humanitarian relief to the poorest of the developing countries.”
So, we “have” developed tremendously in environmental management, economic enterprises, & technology… what we have “yet” to develop an integrative universal through is culture, spirituality, politics! In fact, I’d boldly add, that “because of” our falling so much behind in our cultural-spiritual-political awareness, even our developments achieved in the spheres of economics, technology, humanitarian relief, health, etc. are not reaching their utmost potential because of the cultural values & conflicts that the people’s minds are stuck in!!!
3* A recent relevant instance that’s taking place right now… is that while Muslims are formally (though not informally!) celebrating Eid AlAdha these days, pictures & news have went viral all over Muslim channels, social networks, & media about the unbelievably horrifying massacres committed by the Buddhist majority against the Muslim Rohingya minority (I’ve recently seen photos of murdered babies, tortured children, & women having their breasts & heads cut off their bodies with knives!!!).
Needless to mention, comments expressed by Muslims designating as the Muslim self against the infidel other (that is all non-Muslims) are sparked everywhere. But whose fault is this? Indeed, education, socialization/upbrining, & the thought system or concept of “religion” itself is a factor in creating this self/other conflict. But when as a human, who doesn’t believe or is indifferent toward religion, views the international system & major international actors (who belong to a cultural background of both Christianity & Secularism/Atheisma/Realism) acting only to save prejudiced Christian/Jew minorities (ex., East Timor/Indonesia) or minorities where their place intersects with geo-political-economic power interests (ex., Kosovans, Yazidis in Iraq), but give a blind eye to Muslim minorities of places with no such interests (ex., Chechnyans, Uighurs), & more so, designate Muslims who commit relevant massacres as savage “Islamic terrorism”, but don’t designate similar massacres committed by Christians (ex., American invasion of Iraq), Jews (in Palestine), Buddhists (in Myanmar), Confucians (against Uighurs), etc. as savage Christian-Jewsish-Buddhist-Confucian terrorism, given equal attention in world media with Islamic terrorism (which is in my opinion all gibberish anyway, because a person commits crimes for different psychological-social-economic-political reasons irrespective of his religion!)… when all this happens, it is no wonder that the complex problem of self-other perception & animosity increases & spreads among Muslims all over the world, as they perceive the other/world as attacking/prejudicing their self… & the civilizational conflict perpetuates!
I’m sorry to write all this long post, but I had to ramble a bit 🙂September 5, 2017 at 6:15 pm #19311
Hello Noha and Di
When I am using the term integral in my mind……..it is what the name of the experience/sense of unity is called. (you can see the search of that sense in my PhD in the resource section. Its also in other documents I have on DTJ.
I am somewhat familiar with the work of Ken Wilbur but he has not shaped my thought process. Integral systems thinkers (in my intro section) have shaped me (those we think of as scientists now) particular poets, and mystics from various traditions through the years. Integral is kind of a buzz word now in the community I am associated with professionaly (Jesuit) eg Laudato Si …Integral Ecology….In order to try and make any inroads, make sense to people, I need to use terms they are using…..and then to deepen and broaden them if possible.
Noha I am giving you the link for the PDF film discussion guide of the film, The World Before Her.
I love the film as an entry point of discussing our issues,of fundamentalism, culture lite etc etc, but have not had the opportunity to do so. You can see, from the PDF that the questions are obviously anthropocentric. Its so sad……..nothing will change if a discussion following the film flows along these lines. However we could work on developing questions more ‘integral’ in quality. The women are ideologically tied to descriptions we have made culturally down through time…to such an extent that we have no tie with aspects of bodily experience (integral) Earth, Universe.fundamental Mystery. (as process)
Our faith traditions emerged in bioregions to explain Mystery/existence…communal systems of harmony and balance with human/nonhuman…..but we are far from that now. The Mystery, told in the language of science ,offers humanity a solid place to stand…..and even watch as the faith traditions emerged, and what is necessary now …as we engage the fourfold wisdom conversation science, religion, women and indigenous peoples.September 6, 2017 at 3:50 pm #19317
Thank you for sharing with us the film discussion, I will certainly watch the film, read the discussion, & re-discuss it with you 🙂
I understand now better your point of criticism toward the presenters. You mean not integral between human & non-human. I absolutely agree with you about that…
In the paper that I shared, Heikki Patomaki talks about Tzvetan Todorov’s three axes of ego(self)/other relations. One is epistemological (what we know of the other), the other axiological, & the third is praxiological (rapprochement or distancing oneself from the other in one’s actions).
In the 2nd axiological axis, that’s about value judgments one gives about the other. Tzvetan doesn’t only limit this to self judging the other as “good” or “bad”. But more importantly:
“Even more drastically than empirical descriptions, a judgement on the ontological status, particularly if conceived in terms of the “Great Chain of Being”, has axiological consequences. Thus, morally & politically it is critical whether the other is judged to be an equal or a “lower” being. Modern progressive time – & the idea of stages of development – has often defined the status of self (advanced) & others (inferior). This is ethico-politically as consequential as a set of standards based for instance on imperial or religious civilization”
This is what we’re doing with non-humans… I wonder when we’ll free ourselves from this perception of hierarchic superiority/inferiority of beings, just as in the past people have freed themselves (or at least most, since it seems that there are still neo-Nazis / white supremacists!) from perceiving different human races/religions in such a similar hierarchy of “progression/advancement”!September 6, 2017 at 5:54 pm #19318
One is epistemological (what we know of the other),
the other axiological (study of value, ethics/aesthetics), &
the third is praxiological (rapprochement or distancing oneself from the other in one’s actions).
I found this sentence in your text very helpful, Noha – adding a brief sense of what axiological means.
To translate this into daily life terms, I’d say I know your name, your location, your face, some of your views, for instance – the epistemological. I value your quest for ways we might bring children up and ways in which we might live together differently (axiological). Then there’s the praxiological – praxis (action). I hang in with our exchanges because I want my actions to be modified, transformed … through these exchanges. I’m never deliberately ‘distancing’ myself from you, but in that our exchanges can’t fully embrace the whole of us – perhaps I do.
There is a lot in this conversation that I’ve yet to take in, but these are my morning thoughts.September 6, 2017 at 9:25 pm #19319
thank you Di and Noha for your reflections and i deeply appreciate the three points of intersection…..it will help me to distinguish and be able to respond when and if a torrent of sentences come my way in the future.
I always think of epistemology as two sides of the same coin….understanding and praxis..the understanding being the kind of fuel and framework embeded as the praxis flows. Now, I am visualizing the point of intersection where understanding and praxis intersect …the axis being a kind of allurement. Two days back a very prominant journalist was assasinated while she was leaving her home. she had been consistently critical of the ‘right wing fundamental ‘ streams.
protests have emerged yesterday in various cities.
As this news spreads, its very consoling to have our imaginative ways of figuring out how to stay grounded and hopeful! thanks!!!September 7, 2017 at 7:38 pm #19335
HI Orla, thanks so much for this link to ‘worldbeforeher’. I have purchased the film and will watch with great interest. Also the document introducing the film and the helpful study guide/questions. I grew up in conservative contexts (Christian) in a relatively poor family. Through life experience in Malaysia among indigenous peoples and through research on things ‘intercultural’, I’ve grown not only more ‘tolerant’ but far more positively accepting of different ways of seeing the world and living my life in it. This journey into Deep Time and Big History is currently providing even greater perspective and is so personally nourishing. A friendship with Noha has developed and is one I treasure.
So how do I counter ‘intolerance’ through this new perspective. Well, one way is with like minded folk in a University of the Third Age (for retired people and all quite voluntary). We combine spirituality and sustainability. Another is through a phone link up with three others North Americans every two weeks – a group arising from an Integral Evolutionary on-line course I enrolled in in 2009. But as for finding ways to open up meaningful conversation with those who still hold literalist ways of understanding our origins, I’m still at a loss. And even more to the point, I wonder with Noha how we are to ‘teach’, ‘bring up’ children (or learn from them as well). It’s key to our future as a global species.
It looks as if the film will help me understand ‘terrorism’ more practically. I’m asking myself ‘what is beauty’ when held up against the beauty queen culture it portrays. The basic tenets of ‘the good, the true and the beautiful’ cover all aspects of life. I recall the saying of Teilhard de Chardin ‘union differentiates’! How do we then take the multitude of understandings of these three tenets and live/work together.
Let’s keep the conversation going. It gets dense at times and I’ve tried copying it down to a word document to see where I want to say more – but then gave up. I’m really glad to make your acquaintance, Orla.
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