A sense of samverkan in the Transdisciplinary Sustainability Field
Tim SThis is messy right now. Hope its ok. Work in progress.
Grounded theory (GT) is a scientific method that can be used for generating mind maps. It was discovered by Barney Glaser and one of his collegues. GT works. But how does it work? This question calls for a metaanalysis of language.
A sense of samverkan in the Transdisciplinary Sustainability Field
What I´ve felt, what I´ve known Never shined through in what I´ve shown
Never free, never me so I dub thee unforgiven.
What I feel, what I know always shine through in what I show
Always free, always me so by now you are forgiven
This thesis is written in a dialogue with Håkansson 2002. Håkansson writes about how the language tends to be dual in nature while reality, in his opinion is one whole system. Håkansson describes his legacy of proposing excercises and part of the process to create understandings that deals with the problem of dualisms. The article is called, the body as the blind spot. Håkansson observes his own inability to sense his body as he writes on the computer. My excercise as I write this is to keep a sense of body awareness during typing. I also aim to keep a thread of attention on the breath. The body right now feels warm, and there is a slight rocking or circual motion in the whole body. This ability of mindfulness of body and breathing is the result of a long term engagement in a contemplative practice inspired by scholar such as Varela and by practitioners and leader such as Nhat Hahn and Bhikkhu (NL). There is a sense of trembling and excitement as I write because I feel I have a message to convey. I aim to write this message in a style similar to Håkansson, Siegel, and the author of "becoming an artist". I am writing about becoming a transdisciplinary scholar. Doing this I am going to use insights from my own meditative practice as proposed by Baars (2009). This is called phenomenology labs. I have been inspired by a method called grounded theory and made that into a lifestyle as is proposed by Glaser (2010). In one regard however. The life style proposed by Glaser in a nutshell is the practice of constantly writing down exciting insights that are related to understanding a substantial area. I have been living a substantial area that has been labeled "the transdisciplinary sustainability field. TSF can be seen as a cocreative area of engagement to make the planet a place for thriving. This is a theoretical exploration about how strategies for enacting a thriving global community has been devised on several level ranging from the individual to the cosmic. The focus in
this text is on how it is percieved to be possible to think about Rapid Whole Systems Change (RWSC) from a whole systems perspective with focus on how the individual percieves and contributes to the family of intimite love relationships (fluid dynamics) the community level (ubuntu) the regional (RCE) and the global (UN) level. All of these levels are integrated into a framework for how individuals can contribute to the whole in a way that the individual chooses in a new economy that is made possible through large scale collaboration with open standards that I in this text will call "gnu". Gnu is one standard for free software that is using open source protocols to allow user to make their own adaptations to the software they use.
Data has been gathered over a period of almost fifteen years of engagement in various movements that all strive towards the shared vision of a thriving society where individuals contribute as equals. To integrate all the data in a way that I do not lie by omitting any crucial parts of the body of finding I use my full human intelligence and moral faculties.
This is a work in the tradition of Social Psychology. SP has been defined as the science about the "/" between the individial and the society. This slash, in my interpretation reveals how self and society is actually one system. They are the same from two different point of view. They are aspect of the same thing. The self however is also part of a living thriving universe that has an intelligence. This has been the intuitive understanding of human beings for as long as we have been able to share stories with eachother (Jung, Simmel). This is called the transpirational insight (Siegel). Simmel uses a tree to explain: imagine you stand in front of a tree. How do you percieve the tree?
Before we continue to adress this question I would like to introduce the theoretical framework for this report. It is informed by the new science of subjectivity. Scholars all over the world who feel it is time to integrate all the findings of western science to be able to explain the last real mystery: the nature of consciousness (Baars). A main method in this science, that is explicitely monistic, is empathising (Trost). Empathising is the art of imagining what it is like to be some one or something else. One famous text is for example exploring what it is like to be a bat. Consciousness science use basically all the sciences in an attempt to understand the mind, and one perspective that explicitely has this multidisciplinary approach is Interpersonal Neurobiology (Siegel). IN is one theoretical framework that is arguably a continuation of what is called Symbolic interactionism (SI). IN has more of a focus on the non-symbolic levels, that is contents of awareness that has no apparant dependency of the faculties of language.
Eastern scholar have critized western science to be to much focused on language. With IN and SI there is a possibility to integrate non-symbolic and symbolic streams of data. This can be useful when western and eastern traditions of wisdom meet to exchange perspectives and ideas that are relevant to find fruitful ways of dialogue about possibilities of action in a time where there is a consensus that the way we currently sustain the global economy can to transition into a more environmentally friendly mode of funtioning. Such a high level dialogue can be found in several forums today. One is the mind and life institue where scientists meet with practitioners of different kind of insight meditation.
There is a critisism of the public discourse about sustainable development (SD) that it has to much of a focus on the outside world. This text will give a short history of ideas perspective of how that might have happened. Then we will develop a framework for understanding collective action from the individual perspective. The various institutional mechanisms for transitioning will be explained from a standpoint of sociological theory. This is the societal level. Then I will go to the individual and partnership level and describe my own epistemic journey.
The final part of the text is a call for collective action informed by the "/" or the transpirational insight that now from this perspective that we are all one system we have a reason to co-operate and also a possibility to co-create by the virtue of the fact that our mind might in it self may be a creative agent (Hagelin).
The theory of mind problem (4)
During the time when I studied on a center for environment and development studies I was asked the following question by a collegue. “What is the idea that you would like to spred in the world”. My reply I do not remember, but the question remained with me. And now the answer is ripe enough to come out. It is basically that there is a tragedy in social psychology. The root problem is that we sometimes look very scary to others. We have a direct access to our own individual life worlds, but we do not automatically see proof that other human beings have a similar intelligence inside. This creates a cycle of interpersonality conflict that is most likely to a large degree unconsious. This, Håkansson is what Mead means by the statement that interaction precedes consciousness. This is demonstrated in the theory of interdependent co-arising, which is a systemic explanation of how reality is a social construction. This model precedes the western scientific model stating the same thing by at least two thousand years. Why does information spread so slowly? It is basically because we do not trust people that are outside of the ingroup (Bauman). It is even impossible to attain such a mental attitude so as to not have outgroups any more. This is according to Bauman who uses a marxist life world phenomenology to arive at the conclusion that it is not possible for a human being to attain a view of the world that includes all sentient beings. We have some basic need for being a we in a relationship to others. The conflict between individuals in groups and between groups of individuals can be labelled interpersonality dissonance.
The dynamics of the tragedy of social psychology follows directly from a theoretical model of personality interactions called the enneagram. Conflicts arise in groups because we are different and have different interests. There is usually a dominant leader of the group who feels it is important that there is some structure to the cooperation for the survival of the group.
I will now attempt to show that it is possible to create a integrated sense of us, a combination of me and we - a mwe (IL). I call this a sense of samverkan.
Then to the science of consciousness for understanding self, volition and consciousness. (4)
Then to the part of society level (4 pages)
Then to Individual level - the awakening
There is a scene in the most recent Star Wars movie in which there is “an awakening” of one of the storm troopers. I have had many similar experiences like that during which I have felt kind of new. Often this has happened while reading interesting texts or in meditation. Awakening is a theme of a many movies, such as the Matrix. And it is not just movies. This is a real process that has now also been formally studied by at least one scholar of consciousness science. There are many ways of awakening, and here are some aspects of my process of awakening.
One thing that happened gradually during my own journey of awakening was that songs that I had heard in my childhood came into my mind and I started singing a lot. I noticed that some messages in the lyrics held negative emotional content. I made it a practice to rephrase these lyrics.
I also made it a practice to analyse the contents of lyrics. Considering for a moment the quote from Alannis we might ask: what does it mean? It is apparent that the message resonates with a lot of people. Also in me.
Having completed school I had a very bad back. I had problems sitting still already in kindergarden. I could not sit in circle like the other kids, without a very awakening discomfort. As I was a "good boy" I still did my best and hence I have vivid memories of trying to sing about the ducks while struggeling to remain on the floor in the circle of kids. Growing up I was tormented by the thought that the mandatory sitting in school had destroyed my body. I had a hard time forgiving the schools for forcing me to sit like this.
The quote might also have to do also with the christian way of upbringing. The moralism and the closedness in the interaction with the child.
The back pain gradually went away, while I was living as a student in 2007. I could not write, because I could not sit. And because I could not write I could not finish my degreee. So I meditated laying on my back a few hours a day. Gradually the pain went away. One other effect happened: my thoughts got more and more clear and at one pivotal moment the mind kind of spun loose. The feeling was associated with the door knob. Somehow the mechanism of the door knob seemed to start spinning without the rotation of the door knob. Kind of like an engine with the koppling pressed down. The shift has been with me since. It is like I do not cling to the content of my mind any more. Thus no content of the mind becomes painful.
That was one pivotal moment for the mind. I had a similar pivotal experience with the body. I was in Plum Village learning meditation in the sangha around Thich Nhat Hahn. It sounded for and instant like an jet engine - and this sound was the only object I experienced at that moment. The second later I made the guess that what I had heard was actually the sound of my lungs as some nerve in the breast back got activated. What allowed this to occur was the fact that we were free to position our bodies the way we wanted during the dharma talks. The moment before the pivotal experience I lay on my back on a wooden bench in the back of the hall paying attention mostly to the pain.
When the pain was gone from mind and body, I could start the process of forgiving and understanding on a new level – as well as of loving.
It seems appropriate at this stage to reveal another fact from my school years. This has to to with the attitude of reading and which texts I choose. I had an attitude towards litterature that favoured recent publications. I only gradually discovered that for example Erich Fromm made very insightful commentaries on society already in the fifties. As I continued exploring written sources I was astonished to find a systems theory about the individual psyche from the time of the buddha.
I kind of intuitively assumed that if some one would have written something smart in the old days I would be informed of that in school. Why was this not so?
Eastern philosophy has the most elaborate systemic written understanding of basic cognitive functioning that I have come across. The version that finally reached me was from the Thai Forest Tradition (TFT) and that which is taught by Thich Nhat Hahn. The term "frame of reference" in the title of this chapter comes from Thanissaro Bikkhu who is one of the westerners who lived and learned this tradition. Frame of reference is however a western term he uses to make it easier for people educated in the west to take the insights from buddist philosophy to heart.
So if you will, consider these "frames of reference" for understanding our mind.
Buddhist philosophy can be summurised as the four noble truths which points to the eightfold path. Every thought that is not informed by an understanding of the four noble truths are labeled "ignorance" (Bhikku). As scientist we want to create knowledge that is universally recognised and hence the four noble truths might be a good start for exploration.
The four noble truths can be stated like this: (1) There is stress (problems). (2) Stress has causes. (3) The factors causing stress can be abandoned. (4) The way to abandon the causes are to stop clinging to the content of the mind by using the balanced approach of the eightfolded path.
What this means is basically that if we look deeply at our negative thought process or feeling it will dissipate and in its place there will be happiness and clarity. This was what the buddha wanted to find out, remember? His research showed that it is possible for a human being to find the ultimate happiness and to make it the ongoing background from which the world is percieved.
Inherent here is that we have cognitive filters. The buddhas reserch showed that cognitive assonans (Festinger) is possible. Long lasting happiness and mystical insight in a highly functioning state is possible. This research from millennia back has now been validated in western society (Martin 2010).
Martin showed in a participatory approach to attaining enlightenment that it is possible and that the majority of participants who are consciously trying to attain enlightenment can actually do that within months. Martin was sceptical at first but he himself attained what is now called a state of Ongoing Non-Symbolic Experience (ONE) during his own research effort.
The implication of the truth of happiness and the possibility to keep watching the world from a balanced point of view is of course a very happy in individual.
John Hagelin has said that enlightenment is the result of proper education. Maybe this is why we treat eachother with loving kindness in the higher education system. I oftern get a sense of samverkan around other teachers when I am working in compulsory schoole. Also I noticed that information about the transpirational insight and the interconnectedness of all things are often given in books about pedagogy. There is a conversation about integrating training for presence and mindfulness using practices like meditation in the formal education system in sweden (Glädjens pedagogik). This is tricka however because different individuals need different kinds of meditation (Martin).
To further integrate the insights from the four noble truths into a western philosophy of science we might start with the word institution. Institution in Symbolic Interactionism (SI) is defined as a set of organised expectations. There are several expectations that form the totality of expectations in a social situation. These toghether form a structure which is defined as the patterns that emerge from the totality of institutions. Structures can be rigid and controlling such as a hegemonic discourse. They can also be dissipative. Dissipative structures have the faculty of vanishing when they are observed. They do enable the I to keep a continuos stream of consciousness (James).
The four noble truths point to the eightfold path. In essence the eightfold path has the message that balance in all areas are the road to enlightenment. Two elements of the path are key to understand the mind. Mindfullnes and concentration. Mindfulness is defined as "the ability to keep something in mind" (Bhikku). Concentration is the ability to watch. With the complete or appropriate kind of mindfulness and concentration we learn to keep an object in mind, so as to observe it. The ability to keep something in mind so as to be able to shine the spotlight of attention on any social object is the primary thing we learn while educating our selves according to James.
So let us now do a small excercise. It is not mandatory but if you do it, and get some skillful thinking out of it, please let me know!
Keep the word samverkan in mind; Watch this word; See what other words might pop into the mind and notice how these words are related; Write key words on a piece of paper...
Language is an institution and it is also like a web of symbols. It has a caleidoscopical property kind of like the nodes of Indras net are the symbols in relations to eachother. Perhaps this is a way of the unconscious minds workings. Could this caleidoscope of language be used for theoretical deduction?
One final insight from the Buddha that has helped me immensely over years is the habit of labelling thoughts as skillful or unskillful. According to the oral tradition, the Budda got on a good path in his practice after making a habit of this labelling. At this point I think it is a skillful intention to start using the four noble truths as a critereon for assessing the skillfulness of future thoughts related to samverkan.
We start the hermeneutic vortex from the bottom up, allowing it to generate random numbers that give qualia output such as colours. Perhaps a function that allows it to somehow favor the output of words. Then these can be used to generate random sentences that we also allow to evolve. Evolve towards the data that comes from the top down, which is created by input from transdisciplinary scientists.
Then the machine prints as quickly as it can. The hermeneutic vortex can be connected to a textfile receptor on the metamap.
Hi, thanks for inviting me to the to hackpad Poietic!
I live in in Sweden in the vicinity of Karlstad.
For many years I have been browsing around the Internet looking for good open source initiatives. Do not remember specifically how I found metamaps. But I have been using mind maps in my studies for fifteen years - so I am fond of the concept.