Participatory Spirituality for the 21st Century
The next paper up for discussion is Susan Wright's "Home: A Planetary Perspective," which may be accessed here.
This paper explores the multi-dimensional territory of home through various lenses, some of which stand out for me as follows:
This paper could do with some reflections from those who have studied Morin in depth.
Finally, this subject reminds me of a spell-binding movie of eponymous significance, which can be accessed here.
Thanks, Neelesh, for getting this thread off to a start so quickly. While reading the paper, I also was reminded of that lovely visual poem to the earth, Home. Without intending to do so, I watched another film today which nicely complemented this paper, delivering a powerful, visceral appreciation for the cosmic "refuge" Homeland Earth is to our fragile (but ingenious and resourceful) species:
I'll post some of my reflections on this paper in my next response.
Like you, Neelesh, I appreciated Wright's reflections on the 1-2-3 of home - on its roles as conferrer and consolidator of identity, as formative context and mediator of relations, and as the transformer and intensifier of space (into place). I put this in active language, in keeping with Wright's focus on 'home' as a psycho- and socio-active agent, but elsewhere she puts this in more static terms as well: simply, home as Self (I), Relationships (WE), and Place (IT).
Wright is talking about the importance of 'home' as a potentially transformative vehicle in our present global context, which Morin makes explicit in Homeland Earth:
"At this turn of the millennium, we have reached almost simultaneously a point at which many complementary forms of awareness have become possible:
• The awareness that Earth is one (telluric consciousness)
• The awareness that the biosphere is unified/diversified (ecological consciousness)
• The awareness that humankind is one/many (anthropological consciousness)
• The awareness of our Dasein, of "being there," without knowing why
• The awareness of the Planetary Era
• The awareness of the Damoclean threat
• The awareness of the doom that looms at the horizon of our lives, of all life, of every planet, of every sun
• The awareness of our terrestrial fate.
Thanks to these modes of awareness, messages coming from the most diverse directions can henceforth converge; some of them religious, others ethical, humanist, romantic, or scientific, and others still relating to the Planetary Iron Age."
This convergence is around renewed appreciation for earth as Home (which, as I mentioned above, the new film Gravity powerfully delivers (*Spoiler ahead*): when Dr. Stone -- note the name! -- is laying face-down on the shore of some unknown land, fingers gripping the mud, the preciousness of the "home" provided by our little blue rock is palpable).
Wright names six sites for further inquiry into the relevance and power of the sense -- and function -- of home (some of which you have already named):
Reading this, I found my self thinking, at points, about Sloterdijk's spherology and his notion of CoImmunism. Sloterdijk, as you may know, is critical of modern market or political attempts to install a new, globe-sized monosphere. Neither the womb nor the home provides the right template for a system adequate to the demands of our age. We can learn from the past: As he argues, the theocratic empires attempted to stretch the womb out to the size of the earth, or even bigger, and the poor overtaxed monosphere tore under the strain. If a new planetary cathedral or "Home" is to be erected, he suggests instead that it will be in the form of foams: a profusion of livable spheric spaces which share walls and are interdependent, but do not have -- and cannot sustain -- a single center or a single outer membrane. (This is true for the earth, too, as someone like Latour might argue: while we can -- meaningfully -- see it from space as a single unit, we must never forget its fragility in also being a composition, an ongoing negotiation...)
In Sloterdijk's telling, spheres and foams are not only or always homes, but in their enneagraphic architecture, most do contain an analogue to the hearth fire as part of their autopoietic dynamics. In particular, Sloterdijk describes nine topoi that comprise human spheric spaces:
"1.Chirotop: the performance of the human hand, the area of what can be achieved, the world of human action, the first and primary manipulations (bids, slaps, cuts) that produce specific results in the environment;
2.Phonotop (or Logotop): the vocal sound that encompasses an auditory space, in which those living in the community listen to each other, talk, issue commands, and inspire each other;
3.Uterotop (or Hysterotop): a conquered space that aims to expand the area of maternal protection and care. This scale produces a centripetal force that is perceived and experienced by affected (or even larger units of people) and experienced as a feeling of belonging;
4.Thermotop: the integrating heat that the group experiences arising originally as the home fire and thanks to which the group has the sensation of coziness and “sweetness” of home life, representing the matrix of all the experiences of well-being;
5.Erotop: the fact that different individuals form one sphere does not imply that the relationships between each other are homogenous and without dynamics. To the contrary, there is vivid interaction between these individuals in which appreciation or disapproval of individual members is constantly communicated and calibrated. These interactions contribute to the erotic climate of a sphere. In the next section, this dimension will be differentiated into erotic and thymotic components;
6.Ergotop (or Phalotop): the size of a sensus communis caused by parental authority or a religious authority that generates a spirit of cooperation that can lead to different forms of division of labor or, in extreme cases, a willingness to participate in struggles and wars in defense of the community;
7.Alethotop (or Mnemotop): a situation in which a group capable of learning is constituted as a guardian of a set of common experiences (traditions);
8.Thanatotop (or Theotop or even Ikonotop): a place of revelation of ancestors, the dead, the spirits and gods of the group, offering to this group a semiological conection, a gateway for manifestations of the “beyond”;
9.Nomotop: that which binds the living traditions of the group, through the division of labor and reciprocal expectations through which the mutual exchange and the hoping of cooperation make emerge a social architecture of reciprocal expectations, of opposition and resistance that lead to a political constitution. Each of these topoi is developed and extended in chapters and passages that follow, but which I will have neither time or space to develop here" (Rouanet, 2011 apart form Erotop: taken from Rauschenbach, 2011).
Spheric spaces are home-like in that they provide an immunological function: ideally, they shield us from harm, but allow enough harm 'in' such that we can still grow, develop, become stronger or more reslient and flexible.
"The basic idea of co-immunism is that human beings depend on bio-, socio- and psycho-immunological resources, which can be generated only in collaborative modes. The negation of the other results automatically in a reduction of one’s own immunity" (Rauschenbach, 2011).
In relation to these concepts, I was also reminded, while reading the paper, of some of my own reflections on a concept I call the generative (en)closure. As Wright makes clear, the home is certainly a powerful generative (en)closure, with the form it has taken in the last 400 years making possible the consciousness of our modern age.
If we follow Sloterdijk -- and I think Morin would generally agree, since he always balances talk about holism with reminders that the parts also exceed the whole and are never fully mastered or contained by their "greater" wholes -- one might say that, in the "leaving home" that is called for in our age, the letting go of forms of "home" which are no longer generative of forms of consciousness responsive to the challenges of our time, we might have to learn now how to be "at home in the foam."
Why are the themes of leaving home, returning home, discovering our true home . . . so redolent of feeling, longing, celebration? Susan Wright's exploration in this article hits on the multi-layered meaning of home and the urgent need to connect our individual human dynamics with an out-of-control global momentum which does not appear to be listening to us. I wonder if it may be caring individuals who have to learn to listen better. Perhaps Gaia already knows and if we learn to listen, as we sometimes listen to the wind in the trees and to our own breathing, we will recognize the existence of a greater home, not as the projection of the conjoined influences of many voices within the chorus we call Earth but as the unified voice of a living being. I recently encountered this sort of idea in a workshop I attended on a spiritual path called "MasterPath": namely that we all have a soul which yearns to return home to the divine ocean of which our souls are drops. And that which prevents us from returning home is that our souls have been overlaid with another kind of materialistic, self-driven mind. While the concepts of soul and God don't resonate with me as much as the idea of home, this image may provide an accurate picture of the present human predicament. If we substitute "individual" and "home planet", the notion becomes that we yearn to return to the perspective of a greater whole, namely the consciousness of our planetary home, of whose great oceans we are drops. These are just words unless we can learn to feel the storm clouds gathering which threaten our planetary home and the shelter it provides for vast numbers of living beings. What would make us rouse ourselves to its defense? Is it just a matter of consciousness, of caring, of aligning our own hearts with the heart of something greater? Is there a transformation already underway that will bring our individual lives into the fold of a gathering community? One thing is certain, no absentee creator has appointed us to be custodians of the greater whole we call Earth. That whole image is just a way of creating man in the image of an absentee deity. No idea of a greater Being can deliver humanity if we ignore the greater whole of our own home planet. Our own home planet is the vital starting point of any spiritual path for which home is an animating image.--Michael
Michael, yes, these are resonant questions for our times: what happens when we relate to the planet as a greater living whole or system; a hyperobject with its own influences, needs, demands, and affordances; a living body unto itself (with capacity to both nurture and confront us)? Here is a Christian take on these questions (relevant, I think, to the themes explored in Wright's papers): Eucharistic Ecology.
David, what do you think of Judith's book (which, I expect, is the basis for the above video)? Is it worth reading? I downloaded a free sample from it last night on my Kindle.
Judith's book (Waking the Global Heart) was one of my favorite reads in 2006 when it was first published. I haven't yet read the recently updated version (The Global Heart Awakens). At that time I was less integrally informed, and probably closer to the post-modern worldview. Thumbing through the book again recently, I was surprised to see so many references to Wilber.
I thought of it in the context of this thread when I saw your bullet point of "Home as requiring the return of the Feminine," which is an important theme in the book, along with the idea of the hero's return. The book can also be thought of as a more feminine expression of ideas similar to David Korten's "The Great Turning."
I do recommend it as an inspiring and hopeful book looking (mostly from interior perspectives) at the big picture of the mess we're in. She sees our culture as being developmentally stunted at an adolescent stage, and the problems are opportunities to catalyze the evolution of consciousness and manifest a more global culture (to use your words).
Where she comes up a little bit short is in terms of concrete actionable next steps beyond ideals and visions.
(Note extensive editing after first posting)
I was hoping someone would bring "ET Phone home" in. Thanks! So poignant. For some of us, Earth is NOT our ultimate or most deeply-rooted "home-world." But all the more precious for having been CHOSEN as a place to have a life/lives and to be passionately devoted to her upliftment and wellbeing.
I always thought it was interesting "Home" and "Aum/OM." Don't know what the etymological connection might be.
Still exploring this paper.
BTW the most piercing sense of home and not-home for me was in reading Ursula LeGuin's Planet of Exile. I really GOT what an exile feels like. It is an existential terror. (I might be mistaken; it might have been Rocannon's World, but I'm going by the title.....)
A few further thoughts overnight:
Some people are more "at home" in the past, some in the present, and some in the future. It seems to me if we are going to use the various facets of "home" generatively for a more-desirable future, we need to find people of all those kinds, and have them synergize.
For some people, home is not a cozy place they want to stay in or return to. It is a place of horror, of terror, pain, suffering, humiliation, degradation, a minefield. I wonder where those people end up feeling "at home" either in land-space or (more often) in inner-space -- because everyone seems to need a sense of home; that appears to be hardwired, not surprisingly. So those people for whom "home" -- where they grew up -- was a place of suffering, what does that do to their functioning in the world? Does it offer them gifts or just handicaps? What could be done to help them have a "home" base which is conducive to their wellbeing, and thus to the realization of their positive potentials in the world?
Also, some people are naturally explorers, adventurers, or wanderers. Others need home and hearth often if not constantly. I suspect we need those various folks to synergize also, in service to the planet; each has something to contribute.
I love this discussion. I am not at "home" with the impressive knowledge base that appears to be present for people who study the world and our being an an integrated whole, with metaphysics thrown in, but I intend to acquire the book, "Waking the Global Heart", which David describes, because it reveals something that I didn't know: the existence of a community that has gone deeply into vital questions about the role of human life on Earth.
The perception that there are people at home in one of the three times more than in the others, and that this may be a reflection of how well they were treated by the people responsible for them as children, is familiar. I work with people who have been afflicted with ALS and the most debilitating forms of Multiple Sclerosis. Recently I heard of a correlation between childhood abuse and MS. I am friends with a woman who has MS who never felt a kind glance from her mother. The question of where she has fashioned a home for herself arises naturally. She writes poetry; she is reclusive but emanates great kindness and graciousness; she loves nature and lives among the trees. She has banished neither friends nor nature, while she tries to understand the past and forgive the family members in whose eyes she felt worthless.
In a book by Tarthang Tulku ("Dynamics of Time and Space"), there is a provocative image of the three times (past, present, future) viewed as three nested spheres or eggs, all with the same nucleus. This nucleus is linked to a phrase "nuclear time". Communication among people who stand most comfortably in one or another of the three times, surveying the whole of Time from their personal vantage ground, seems a perceptive aspiration. Perhaps, in it's most developed form, this can entail a growing ability to see within our individual pasts, presents and futures, one integral nuclear time--like viewing the great ocean through three portals. -- Michael
Hi Michael, I did not mean to imply that a main focus on past, present, or future, is tied to childhood experiences; sorry if the paragraphing made an association. As far as I know, those preferences are typological and innate, though I suppose they could be influenced/shaped by childhood experiences.
Certainly each focus has something to offer, so a "growing person" would seek to cultivate their less-developed abilities.
Nested spheres with the same nucleus is a more provocative image than the usual time-line!!
And of course there are developmental/stage changes in time horizons and flexibility in focus, most expatiated upon by Terri O'Fallon.