My Book: My book presents the story of how I tried Religion (Lutheran Christianity) and then Science as philosophies to guide my life, but neither of them worked out very well for me. So I went on a quest to find a revelation and then translate that revelation into a philosophy that would enable me to make sense out of myself and the world and to construct a (hopefully) good life.
Along the way, I’ve been fortunate to learn from a number of great teachers and great teachings and my book weaves in many of the lessons I learned from them. In the end, I actually did finally glimpse the revelation I was seeking and it has provided the grounding for my life since.
In the book you get my glimpse of a revelation, the story of how I found it, and then the spiritual philosophy that I have derived from it. I call the inward looking dimension of this philosophy, Spiritual Democracy, and the outward looking dimension, Planetary Philosophy.
Philosophy: First, let’s take a minute to explore philosophy. Philosophy, from my point of view, is the discipline of working with basic assumptions to create conceptual frameworks that help to understand the nature of the world and guide action in it. As an integrated set of assumptions, a philosophy is neither true nor false. Rather, it establishes the context by which we establish meaning, truth, and guidance.
Philosophy, from my point of view, is the discipline of working with basic assumptions to create conceptual frameworks that help to understand the nature of the world and guide action in it.
Philosophy has a life both as a verb and as a noun. It is something that we do and also it is the result of that doing. And, there are at least three kinds of doing. The first kind of doing philosophy produces a particular philosophy, a particular conceptual framework, as a result.
Once a particular philosophy has been formulated, then we can do a second kind of philosophy and apply the conceptual framework that has been formulated to help make sense out of different situations and guide action. In the course of this process the conceptual framework is extended and elaborated. Sometimes we may need to turn a philosophy back on itself and modify the basic structure of the assumptions, or even replace them. This whole process can be characterized as a dialogue between theory and practice.
The third kind of doing philosophy – in many ways the most enjoyable – takes place in philosophical conversations in which the participants share conceptual frameworks, explore ideas, and test applications.
Philosophies are successful based on how well they help us understand the world and our place in it and on how effectively they show us how to act and how to evaluate our actions. As Alfred North Whitehead, the great 20th Century speculative philosopher, put it in Process and Reality, a philosophy should be “coherent, logical, and, in respect to its interpretation, applicable and adequate.” The structure of ideas should relate together in a logical and integrated fashion and they should apply to ourselves and the world in a way that is adequate to guiding understanding and action.
In my book, after telling the story of how I got to my glimpses of a revelation and what those glimpses showed, I have essentially completed the first kind of philosophy and produced a conceptual framework that I have formulated in the two concluding essays, Spiritual Democracy and Planetary Philosophy.
Now, as I go forward with this Blog, I will be applying that conceptual framework to try to help make sense out of what is happening in our world right now and to help figure out what we should do about what is happening.
To get launched, I’m going to present a quick summary of some of the highlights of the conceptual framework, but, if you would really like to engage with me and with the philosophy I’ve evolved, I’ll suggest one last time that it would be good to read the book—the story, the revelation, and the two concluding philosophical essays.
Spiritual Democracy: So, let’s start with describing the essence of the first concluding essay, Spiritual Democracy:
“Grounded in the reality that we all inhabit a living conscious Universe, we can all take the journey to find inner knowledge, attain the goal of that knowledge, come back and transform ourselves, and then take action for the benefit of our own lives, the life of our species, and the life of the Earth. Because this is a spiritual undertaking we can all pursue, it seems appropriate to call a philosophy for understanding this journey Spiritual Democracy.”
In the discussion of Spiritual Democracy, there are 7 key propositions that I have formulated and then explored. They can be summarized as follows:
- Consciousness: We all have our own consciousnesses that are nodes in the great spectrum of consciousness and we all can expand our participation in that spectrum to our great benefit.
- Authority: We all must choose for ourselves what authorities, what teachings, what practices to pursue to bring about that expansion.
- Work and Grace: We all have to do our own work to advance spiritually and we all can be recipients of grace as the result of that work.
- The Creator: We all can experience the Creator, the Void, the Absolute as a unity beyond all diversity throughout all of the aspects of each diverse Creation.
- The Soul and the Self: We each are a Soul, a unique aspect of the Creator and a unique perspective on all that is and was and will be, and we each can develop a coherent Self to provide clear guidance for the life that we lead in our bodies, emotions, and minds and in our communities and societies.
- Love and Justice: We are all expressions of the love of the Creator and we can all be forces for the full realization of that love as long as we are guided by the justice that is the other side of the Creator and woven throughout the Creation.
- Time and the Great Transformation: We all live in a time that is real and we each have a role to play in the Great Transformation, choosing together the real alternative future that is best for us and our children and our children’s children.
Planetary Philosophy: The second concluding essay, Planetary Philosophy, uses the insights of Spiritual Democracy to make the case that a new paradigm is emerging, the paradigm of a Living Conscious Universe and then goes on to suggest:
“From the perspective of the paradigm of a Living Conscious Universe, we can see the Earth and humanity at a moment of crucial Planetary Transformation, when the Earth evolves to the point that it acquires an integrated consciousness—with humanity playing a critical role—that can guide the formation of a planetary civilization that is conducive to continued human life on Earth.
This transition is like what happened when collections of individual cells evolved to form insects and plants and animals and, eventually, humans. And, these individual insects and plants and animals and, eventually, humans came to have relatively coherent consciousnesses that could guide the—now unified—collections of cells.
As one first step in the emergence of this Planetary Consciousness, I believe that we need a new, effective, practical philosophy, a Planetary Philosophy, guided by a set of simple, self-evident, powerful core principles that embed the paradigm of a Living Conscious Universe and an emerging Planetary Consciousness in them in a way that is so clear and so self-evident that it is virtually impossible for anyone to deny them. And these principles need to provide clear direction to help us understand what’s happening in the world now and decide how to take action and what action to take.”
So what are the principles of this Planetary Philosophy? I suggest three—One Planet, One People, and One Purpose. The Planetary Philosophy essay goes on to explicate each of these principles and to discuss the emerging Planetary Movement, concluding with:
Each of us can take on this challenge of helping to build the emerging Planetary Movement in our own lives by practicing a Planetary Philosophy however it manifests for each of us, through our family lives, our social lives, our work lives, our political lives, and our cultural lives. We are One Planet. We are One People. We have One Purpose. And the time has come for all of us to embrace our One Purpose. The time of the Great Transformation is now.