Light in the darkness 2

Daniel Schmactenberger who coordinated the discussion

In ‘The Psychological Drivers of the Metacrisis’ discussion* (see previous post), there was agreement that three shifts were needed to bring meaning and halt the damage to the world: the first is repaired relationships within society, bound as in the word ‘religio’, by common and shared rituals; the second acknowledging our shared relationship with the natural world where nature is what you are born out of, and the environment is what is around and sustains us. The third is relationship to the sacred realm – something that is beyond us; this would give us wisdom and would include collective and personal restraint and sacrifice. We need ecologies of practice like the early Christian church, or what is found in most indigenous traditions. There is also panentheism, where transcendence and immanence are brought together, and where God is seen as in everything and everything is in God; this would bring reverence and respect for the other.

The closing remarks included from Iain McGilchrist: ‘Don’t despair, that is achieving nothing and it’s bad for the soul, see what is hopeful, nobody is asked to do the impossible. Do the bit you can and in our own life and with our own life – we all have a role. Although the material reductionist picture results in a vision of the cosmos as a heap of junk with no beauty or purpose and that we have no role here, I would, you know, go to my death to defend the opposite point of view, that actually it is beautiful, it is rich and it is our pleasure, our duty and something we should be grateful for to help further that.

John Vervaeke: The love of wisdom and the love of being are real possibilities. There are already people of good faith and good talent doing this individually and collectively and that opens up a possibility for a kind of transformation. So that as you fall in love with being again instead of the reciprocal narrowing that we’ve been talking about there is a reciprocal opening which is equally possible … And there is nothing stopping you from doing that right now. … ways of expanding, exploring rather than those that close down to the arid bit of something we think we know.

Daniel Schmachtenberger: The concern about religions that many people have actually has to do with people orienting to certainty with them and then closed-mindedness and holy wars as opposed to the exact opposite – holding the mystery at the centre, holding the unspeakable, the unknowable, but the real and so there is an epistemic humility that is built in forever. When we are actually open to the beauty of reality there’s a sense of awe and gratitude and humility that comes of that. But, when we’re open to the beauty of reality being harmed, which is in the factory farm and in the war field and whatever, we also feel the suffering of others, such that it’s overwhelming, and the overwhelm in the beauty are related, because if the reality wasn’t beautiful you wouldn’t care. And both of them make you transcend your small self, and both of them motivate the sacred obligation… The sacred obligation just comes from seeing clearly, letting yourself be moved by the beauty of reality, and, associated with that, the meaningfulness to protect it and the role of the new religion, philosophy whatever in so far it can help people be more sensitive to both the beauty and the sacredness, and thus a protective impulse towards reality, is what I’m hoping people take away.