New issue of Spanda Journal on collective enlightenment

In addition to my and Michel's article there are a lot of other fine articles in the issue. I thought I'd create a thread for it if anyone wants to discuss any of those articles and ideas.

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E.g., I'm enjoying reading Stein & Gafni's article on democratizing enlightenment. We need a new worldview to transcend and replace neoliberal capitalism, which has reached the end of its dominance. If we don't, we might indeed face the literal end of mankind, not just a metaphorical paradigm shift.

I also appreciate the emphasis on developing human potential as a measure of collective enlightenment, not just external measures like GDP or material possessions. And that technology in itself is not the savior. But in this need to emphasize development of internal consciousness I'm leery of its 'esoteric,' mystical framing as if said consciousness is from a divine source. Aurobindo is given as an example where the "divine super-mind descends" to meet humanities rising evolutionary development (94-95).

As discussed in my and Michel's paper, this is still a holdover of metaphysical thinking. Yes, we can still posit a virtual domain but it is no longer framed in these metaphysical world-systems, to use their term. Now they do acknowledge that there are other ways to frame this such as how we have done. But they're more interested in these esoteric ways where people "awaken en masse" through a metaphysical, miraculous agency (95) via the likes of Aurobindo or Teilhard. And they call that post postmodern. It sounds more a carryover from pre- and modern metaphysics to me.

Granted we need a massive shift in consciousness to effect a world system change, but it will come from us enacting it, not waiting on deus ex machina. Or worse, some avatar and guru proclaiming they have received the message from God or the future and is willing to impart it to us all for a low, low price and/or our obedience and loyalty. This shift will come from us collaborating and participating in its enaction without need of skyhooks or enlightened ones.

This is reiterated in Gafni's notion of the True Self. "True self is the singular that has no plural. The total number of True selves in the world is one. This True Self is only one" (98). We've discussed this notion many times in the forum, and that religions or spiritualities that posit it are still based in a metaphysical unity. He goes on to say that this True Self must then integrate with the small ego self in non-duality. We've also discussed this at length in Wilber's works on the two truths and their non-dual integration. This is an entirely different conception to the many ways we explored a pluralistic, participatory, postmetaphysical spirituality here.

So I'm all in for their notion of the democratization of enlightenment. But that notion seem to me antithetical to the notion of the sort of metaphysical descent of divinity or True Self as necessary to achieving that goal.

Wilpert's article (123) on post-capitalist, developmental forms of organization via the commons is of interest. E.g., "post-capitalist commons are based on networking and peer-to-peer principles that do not need hierarchical forms of organization in order to function efficiently" (124). He sees this as a shift to a systemic form of cognition with empathy for social diversity and an emphasis on fairness, justice and freedom (126). A key ingredient in enacting this shift is "democratization and diversification of the media" (128) via a commons social sharing paradigm. Also poverty needs to be addressed via a basic income, as but one example, to allow for consciousness to develop.

It's encouraging to see a 'developmentalist' getting on board with this agenda instead of the typical conscious capitalistic maintenance of the status quo. And with none of that woo woo business regarding enlightenment or consciousness that seems to go along with that maintenance.

So much for hoping my and Michel's article would spawn some interest in this forum from it. I'm guessing we did not get an influx of Spanda readers requesting to join?

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What paths lie ahead for religion and spirituality in the 21st Century? How might the insights of modernity and post-modernity impact and inform humanity's ancient wisdom traditions? How are we to enact, together, new spiritual visions – independently, or within our respective traditions – that can respond adequately to the challenges of our times?

This group is for anyone interested in exploring these questions and tracing out the horizons of an integral post-metaphysical spirituality.

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