Election time. Decisions to be made for the next four years and beyond. Elections create an atmosphere that can bring out the worst or the best in us as a nation of diverse organisms. Competition to win has typically been driven by positions and strategies that will negate or destroy the opposition. It’s not usually a time we lighten up. However that might be just what is called for.
How might we find our way through in a spirit of cooperation? In the statement that there are certain inalienable rights reserved for all (organisms) are unifying principles worth focusing on. These rights are inherent living processes we share in common and when they are recognized and allowed, something magical occurs; life is lived on a higher moral plain than “an eye for an eye” or survival of the fittest. We transcend our differences and separateness and experience both individual freedom and unity. Organisms do this all the time.
Our research focuses on life as organism. When we refer to organisms it can include the cells in our bodies, you and me, or you and me as cells in society, the ecosystem, the economy, or planet earth as a cell in the universe or the USA as organism. We all obey the law of gravity, however we’re going in different directions. Similarly, we all are obeying universal organism laws while developing our individual uniqueness.
We thought it might be helpful to focus on characteristics of organisms in this Inner Tapestry issue prior to our national elections. Why? Because organisms function as a pure democracy. Our very own body/mind organism’s existence requires a democratic process.
Picture your hand, each finger with separate and unique responsibilities as fingers, yet all working together to accomplish something that the whole hand wishes to do. That’s democracy and that is how organisms work together. Organisms are self-acting, self initiating entities, autonomous – obeying self-law, auto-poetic – self-creating, yet living nested in larger organisms that are also obeying similar operating processes. Each organism is unique, knows uniquely what it does, and what it has done. From this knowledge, organisms find effective action for themselves and for the greater organism in which they live. It’s an on going, ever-changing process. With everything changing how do we maintain ourselves as us? That’s done through coherence principles that keep forming again and again in concert with an identity (DNA is the executor, but not the source). We’ll go into this more fully in another paper. There’s a core identity of each organism that has properties, needs and requirements to act to be true to it-self, while also functioning in relationship to the greater organisms in which it co-exists.
Isn’t this amazing? It’s like a giant dancing field of energy points interacting and maintaining one another. This can go on and on as long as there is energy that reaches everyone. This kind of energy also takes much more explanation than we can include here. For our purposes now, let’s say that this energy is exchanging communication in some form; two, three, four, twenty-five and more different kinds of ways, all happening simultaneously – not linearly, but simultaneously. Whew! How do we do that? Trying to understand this with scientific materialism just ain’t going to work.
There is nothing in our history of ideas, whether philosophical or scientific, that deals with such living self-acting organisms. Everything until now in our philosophy and science has been an attempt to imitate life with non-living entities not capable of self-determining and self-initiating action. As a consequence, for 2,500 years since the Greek philosophers started us down this path of thinking, it seems our Western culture has learned better and better ways to specialize, to be separate and be non-holistic in thinking and living. Such thinking has led us to great machine-like, scientific materialism producing great machinery, but such thinking has left out the understanding of living process so beautifully operative in all organisms.
So what is a democracy? It’s more than a form of government. It is a process, a collection of individuals acting individually and together to find the most effective actions for life. It is not a constant permanent state. Given the fullness of process, the freedom of each individual to find effective action for him/herself and for the greater whole, it’s a process that works. Not many would say they understand how it works. Our constitution says it’s about balancing power, ideas, and representation as with three separate and equal parts of government (legislative, executive, and judicial). The Bill of Rights talks of the freedom of speech, equality. Democracy and free enterprise (capitalism) have become equated. Freedom to act, freedom to pursue this liberty, and free elections, rights to be represented; all this and more come to mind when we think of democracy.
The challenge of life lived by democratic process, requires that we learn more deeply what’s required to form and maintain such a process. Perhaps this is where we’ll find the foundations of kindness and human dignity, and the universal rights that occur within and between organisms to pursue life, liberty and happiness as a unity, connected, but separate.
Remember I mentioned several months back about the cities in Europe that were suspending the use of traffic signs in order to restore more civil and safe intersections? Well, where I live in this little town here in Maine, Route 1 goes right through the middle of it. There is a 5-corner intersection with pedestrian crosswalks and lots of people and cars going through, on average 20,000 a day. In the seven years I’ve lived here, there has never been an accident to my knowledge at that corner. People approach the intersection so slowly and enter into it through a give- and-take, allowing others to go before them in order that they can move through without difficulty. It’s like that giant dance I just mentioned. Everyone is communicating with everyone else. Everyone can see everyone else and that’s the instant communication. To enter into that intersection without communicating, puts you and others in peril. So paying attention and being conscious, noticing what others are doing while you decide what is the best action for yourself is how it works. It’s an effective action for everyone, democratic in all the ways an organism functions, cells relating to cells, etc.
So can we make that work in our election process? Good communication with everyone seeing everyone else, listening, sensing what others need in order for you to do what you need to do to act successfully? I just learned of a new journal called Kosmos. In the first issue, I learned how the Fetzer Foundation is sponsoring a project called "collective wisdom" to learn more about these natural “wholistic” group processes. (see www.collectivewisdominitiative.org)
There is no time like the present to begin learning how we can do this.
We aren’t going to win this election or any election through “beating” the opposition. This ol' world needs every single organism doing its best to find effective action being fully itself, creating itself, finding ways to grow, learn, adapt and cooperate for the good of all living organisms and that includes this big one called earth.
Suggestions you might wish to keep
in mind about organisms...
- In any given moment of being alive, we have an opportunity to learn new ways of being, responding, acting and living together.
- Organisms and societies of organisms and communities can change and adapt, learn and evolve in ways that help them thrive.
- Organisms are capable of enormous creativity to find new solutions in concert with life and living processes.
- Organisms are connected to other organisms in a unity, autonomous yet nested and relating, contributing and affecting the greater whole.
- An organism will act in ways that are coherent with what works for him or her and that includes coherence with the greater whole.
- No one single organism functions in isolation, nor understands all that is needed. Can you see the other organisms in the intersection that you are moving through? What do they need so they might pass through safely, as well as you?
Processes to grow cooperative understanding:
- Ask questions, explore, and invite others into conversation, especially those with whom you may not agree. Ask them how they came to think as they do? How do they know what they are saying?
- Ask politicians to answer from their "feelings" about an issue. When they respond to questions with "That's an interesting question, I'll look into that.", ask them what their own ideas and feelings are about the issue. Explore with them how they came to that point of view.
- Question campaign ads, slogans and those sound bites. Are they true? How can you find out? Listen, listen and ask questions about how they know what they are saying.
- And listen to the whole of the process as if you are listening to all the organisms in which you are nested so you can find the most effective action being yourself and allowing others to do the same.
- Get to the experience of what it feels like in you when you hear the slogans, the speeches and the promises. Do you feel safe to be yourself, to navigate through your life while keeping others in mind that they can do the same? Do you feel safe or fearful? Connected, or separate?
- If you hear "You should," ask yourself is that true of how organisms can best function together since we are all in this together?
If we keep the communication open and widespread throughout this USA organism, we just might find that spirit of cooperation and everyone wins.
That's all you have to do... be present to the moment, notice the intersection your in and the people who are there with you. How can you best dance together? Then go to the polls in November and magic may just happen.