Existential Awareness and How We Deal With It: A Wandering God Review (Part 1)

Existential awareness — that mundane experience we all take for granted — had dramatic historical effects. Morris Berman explores some of these effects in his book Wandering God: A Study in Nomadic Spirituality.

Who are nomads? What is their spirituality and consciousness like?  How does it differ from more sedentary cultures?  What role did it play (and what role might it continue to play) in the evolution of human consciousness? 

Berman hints at an answer for the role of nomadic spirituality when he writes of his personal motivations:

“Years of body work and meditation led me to believe that paradigm zeal is rooted in a denial of our somatic experience. Emotions, often painful, live in the body; paradigm-shift addiction (like substance addiction) enables us to escape these emotions and live in our heads. Carl Jung and the transpersonalist’s (…) call for a renewed spirituality only went so far, in my view; clearly, we needed a renewed corporeality if we were not going to repress the body and fall into the trap of a new mythology, make a fetish out of our supposedly new spirituality.”

A lot of painful emotions that live in our body can be traced back to the dawn of existential awareness. It’s here that we’ll start off.

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Separation Worldview to Interbeing World Presence

Transition from Old Story Self to New Story Self
The Sense of Self in the Old Story, the Space Between Stories, and the New Story

The human story undergoes a dramatic plot twist a few thousand years ago. A nomadic lifestyle of Interbeing World Presence morphs into a sedentary lifestyle of a Separation Worldview.

The “agriculturalization” phase shift that William Irwin Thompson outlines in his model of cultural transformation eventually grows into Civilization, Industrialization, and where we are now.

Where we are now is inside the narrative depths of what Charles Eisenstein calls the Old Story.

He writes:

“The world as we know it is built on a story. To be a change agent is, first, to disrupt the existing Story of the World, and second, to tell a new Story of the World so that those entering the space between stories have a place to go.”

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An Inspired Reason For Schooling

“Public education does not serve a public” Neil Postman writes in his book The End of Education: Redefining the Value of School , “It creates one.”

And the one it creates, at least in the United States, is one bound by  “false gods.” These tiny deities often go unnoticed but that doesn’t mean their effects are unnoticeable.

As the subtitle suggests, purpose is what Postman’s book is all about.

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14 Traits of Elite Schools

For anyone interested in the “educational” system in the United States — what it teaches and what it fails to teach — the work of John Taylor Gatto is invaluable. The folks at Tragedy and Hope media have loads of great interviews with him.

There is a huge disparity in quality of education between your elite private school and your typical public school. Gatto outlined 14 traits he found in the former type of school that were sorely missing from the latter.

They provide a great foundation for anyone trying to pursue an enriching and useful education. They are:  Continue reading

Education and the Stream of Life

As you probably already know — depending upon who you are and what you know — there are planeloads of problems with this thing called “the educational system.” Some of if I explore in a previous post.

A lot of it has to do with the technical aspects of how it’s carried out and a lot of it has to do with the philosophical aspects of why it’s undertaken.

These problems are not new. Over 30,000 days (and a similar amount of moons) ago, the polymath ahead-of-the-game thinker Alfred North Whitehead gave a bunch of lectures that were collected into a book named The Aims of Education.

In it he, as you might have guessed, works out the aims of education.

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