I'm interested in relocalization and how to approach it so as to see the spiritual dimension of the changes we're in. I wrote this piece for my site (www.radicalrelocalization.com) and would love to be in conversation about it.

Evolutionary spirituality has moved me for years now. I don't remember the first stirring that told me that
something big for me was there. One "hit" was first hearing about
collective intelligence, in an article by Craig Hamilton in What is
magazine. The notion of collective intelligence
to what I feel or have felt in meditation and in groups, a sense of a
larger whole I'm a part of.

And I subscribed to and listened to great swaths of audio from What is
and IntegralNaked
to, Ken Wilber's
online series of interviews. I was excited by the ideas. I tuned into
Barbara Marx Hubbard's notions of conscious evolution and did one of
her early online waves of practice. And I read Michael Dowd's Thank God for Evolution, which was
filled with charming ideas and re-frames of the tradition I'd grown up

But what did one do with all those great ideas? Go off to the factory and
make widgets with a higher consciousness? Do something modest, like
retail (Nisagardatta Maharaj had a little tobacco stand and he was one
of the revered sages of the twentieth century).

Is the Great Turning simply that we do the same stuff with a higher
consciousness? What did we actually do? Become a coach, was what I
figured out for myself, because I was a self-help junkie. No matter
that I was severely dislocated from the larger society in which the
people I would coach were working in. I was growing and learning, and
more comfortable in my skin than I'd been, but I wasn't "a success".
What was my integral work for?

I could see that I was shy and nervous of exposure, half out and half in.

I also think that the system is going to tumble like a house of cards.
it's a matter of time, of course, but I feel certain that the stresses,
absurdities and dead ends in the system are going to cause a profound
smack down. I'm not a depressive (well, I have been but that's not
driving my observation). It's deep in me to understand that the system
is cruising for a collapse. To say a "bruising" would be too mild. By
"system" I mean the entire human interconnected play of global resource
consumption in the service of our human development. It's not
sustainable literally; there aren 't sufficient resources. And our
climate choices are in danger of - in mortal danger of - compromising
the future for untold generations. No, this must not happen!

And since it's the resource consumption, with its attendant carbon
outpouring, and the escalating spoliation
and dwindling of much of what's left, there's little doubt that,
impossible as it may seem and be, going small and local and frugal is
our future.

Very small, very local. Although we intellectually appreciate the scale of our dependence on the global system, and on
fossil fuels, it's hard for us to get a visceral sense of it, one as
visceral as say, missing supper for one night. (Obviously I'm speaking
to the part of the world that assumes it's going to get supper, and
every night!)

Small and local is the future. Relocalization.

Evolutionary spirituality
is about being out there on evolution's edge, conscious of
that, moving with it with intention. All of its major practitioners
speak of the intensity of the transition we're in, the imminence of it,
the profundity of it.

But it looks as if, to deliver that message, they're living the high consumption, fly where
you need to go, jet-set lifestyle that's the very opposite of small and
local future. From the outside at least, workshops in evolutionary
spirituality often assume that you're going to spend the GDP of an
village, or the daily wages of a Chinese factory to get yourself a few
days of that enlightenment.

I'm no stranger to this. In addition to
decades collecting New Age cred as a full-time thing, just a week or two
before I
met my partner Lynn I'd flown to the west coast of Canada from above
New York state to see a spiritual therapist guy whose book's I'd read.
I know that visit was part of whatever it was in me that was ready to
climb to a new me, one that included Lynn and the life we're finding
together. Not just our love, but the new frugality we're living and
talking about as part of what we do.

Riding that frugal edge is riding our own human edge. It is real in the way that missing supper
can be real. It's painful at times, not because of not having enough -
I have enough - but because of the addictive power of the system we're
attached to.

It's hard for us, me but also all of us, to see how addicted we are to the system. We tend to take its assumptions for
ourselves even as we critique it. We live in the lifestyle that's
already doomed and dangerous, while speaking of the future. We live on
the merry-go-round and shout truisms about it to the sweet eyes we lock
in with as it goes round.

Still there are truths, and on merry-go-rounds same as anywhere. If Lao Tzu were around today, he would
look on the carnival. Would he twitter, I wonder? Well we don't know,
but "my Lao Tzu" might very well. However, my Lao Tzu wouldn't
be attached, as he tweeted. His tweet haiku would doubtless inch down
the screen and be forgotten. Wendell Berry, arguably the most important
American writer of our time,isn't online, I hear. There's a Facebook
page for him though with lots of fans, most of whom I'm sure, realize
the irony. But he's still a fine writer, I can hear them saying, and
indeed, he is. Perhaps LaoTzu would tweet today and be gone tomorrow,
riding off on his donkey through yet another gate into an unknown

But I was speaking about the system. Nowadays all the interesting questions
are about the relationship to
the system. For example, most mainstream media conversation I find
interesting - but not useful. But I love the places (like MediaLens)
which explore the border between what the media - the system - says and
what more impartial witnesses know to be true.

As peak oil and climate change realities truly kick in, as they must, the
evolutionary edge itself will necessarily get more local, and small.
Perhaps it will meet Mr. and Mrs. America in their suburban yard,
trying to figure out how to grow a squash up against the south wall
when they've never really looked to see what kind of soil is there. We
will all look an African in the eye sometime in the future and wish we
had known sooner. Our sadness over the ocean will be very real. And for
all this nothing will really be different in the secret heart of
things. The love of father for daughter, and mother for son, and man for
woman will be as
strong. The stars will trace out the truth
of Big Time and our place in it as clearly then as they will tonight.

This evolutionary
edge is real. We do understand what's come before with a
breadth and depth that is new and worthy of celebration. We know we're
on the
cusp of a momentous change and that what we think and do, moment by
moment, counts as never before.

But the evolutionary perspective can take even deeper root, informing people as they work together to
create resilient, sustainable
economies, and as soon as possible.

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Comment by Andrew MacDonald on January 8, 2014 at 5:49pm

(Thanks for getting back to me and for your hard work in this area.)

I want to make a few comments, writing without a familiarity with your other writing or with Rifkin's pillars. But I can see enough that we're both interested in how to help democratize the commons, which despite its name remains an unknown territory, a howling wilderness of isolation for most of us. I mean that most of us have little practical daily sense of being part of a collective intelligence, a cultural common room we're vibrating in together.

My long-term hope is to be part of the widespread movement toward local inclusion.

I'm a practitioner of, or fan of, "the art of hosting" which is a set of practices based on convening conversations that allow for something good to emerge among the people. Culturally, we already know quite a lot about what some call "large group interventions," the art of reaping what's in a room or gathering by going back and forth between small groups of just a few where people can be heard, and the larger room. Back and forth.

We know a lot of the skills - open-ended questions, speaking personally, permission to be real and hearing from some of the people in small groups within the larger gathering. These being just a few attributes of a more general "energy" of welcome, inclusion, allowing, bringing marginal voices into the centre. Back and forth from the small to the larger group.

So my sense of what's coming is that we're learning what works in our small local gatherings to work deeply together without a plan imposed from above, but rather co-developing a protocol for listening and being attentive to what's emerging. And I can imagine that representatives from local instances of this can cross-pollinate with others in their locales.

A "World Cafe" format writ large. And the larger gatherings would be for mutually exploring what works well locally so that we can build better protocols for inclusion and incorporating more people. Back and forth between the smaller and the larger, or the local and the regional (or bio-regional).

Building the sense that we're involved in a common enterprise, building a "container" that can hold more of our diversities. (Because each time we move from the local we encounter other ways that seem "foreign" to us, but as we inhabit them, become "us.")

I honestly think that a small number of people can seed some convergence like this on a larger scale. In fact I think it's in the process of happening, partly because something like this growing of collective intelligence "needs" to happen. "Needs" in quotes because things also are just right where they are now.

Love the internet. Thanks to you and this site for this opportunity to say this afresh.


Comment by Darrell R. Moneyhon on January 7, 2014 at 12:12pm

Bruce, Does this Ten Acre Organic something or other collective concern itself with spiritual consensus, getting on the same page despite different flavors or faiths of "inclusivity" (as Andrew calls it) or "wholeness" or "interconnectedness," etc.? Note how I conceptualize this as a sixth pillar for the third industrial revolution. Shared spiritual vision. I have long been interested in spiritual consensus. You, in fact, turned me onto the Snowmass Interreligious Conferrences several years ago. I have since read A Common Heart. Recently I see spiritual consensus as being a major part of a bigger "thing" called "Democratic Spirituality." Democratic spirituality would also involve how we democratically enact the manifestation of group-shared spirituality. Government and God could be integrated, while maintaining the healthy separation of specific religions and government. Extract or abstract the essentual truths of various spiritual lines of thought and practice. Then co-enact these truths via a highly democratic form of government. My idea of a "giftocracy" would seem to be of use also, since a "gift" is sensed as being something one spiritually inherits as a result of becoming incarnate. A "gift" ties the spiritual to the physical/earthly/manifest realm. It also salvages agency within communion and communal social enactments. This is important, since our unique Self is part of spirituality and successful living, just as much as our shared, transpersonal, or communal Self is. But spiritual agency is not at odds with communion or communal living. The Many (individual gifts) form a reciprocal and integrated relationship with the One ("body," unified transpersonal reality). A true non-dual arrangement that sees the Many and the One as of one ultimate "stuff" (or process, or reality, or whatever!). 


Comment by Darrell R. Moneyhon on January 7, 2014 at 11:52am

Andrew, Sorry I'm so slow responding here. Your comment was way back in October of this year. 

The proposed "sixth pillar" has evolved in my mind to a discussion and eventual book about "Democratic Spirituality." Instead of taking the autocratic prescribed theology and rituals of traditional religions, why not have folks deliberate and reach consensus on "points of agreement" (term used in the Snowmass Interreligious Conferrences), whether working around a framework of a given faith tradition or outside of all faith traditions. Have the group democratically re-interpret the "Word" occassionally. Let the meanignful myths and theological interpretations evolve beyond mere dogma, into recurring consensus about main points or main meanings in regards to being "spiritual" or "whole" or, as you indicated, unified/together/interconnected.  

Democratic spirituality would be instrumental in forming the shared "vision" supporting "lateral power," interdependence, etc. 

I really liked this that you said (way back in October!): 

So that radical welcome and inclusivity (interesting inclusivity bothers my spell checker but it likesexclusivity!) to me would be the method of getting toward wholeness. It starts from where we are and then, if we can let all that be in the room, evolution takes over and starts having a party.  Evolution likes diversity, thrives on it.


A process of spiritual consensus would be 2/3 of what "democratic spirituality" means. In my first book the consensus was framed as being "spiritual principles." I imagined that the mythical townsfolk agreed upon 5 main spiritual principles. This made-up list, and those of other spiritual consensus efforts (such as the 8 points of agreement from the Snowmass conferences) could be starting menus for groups of inclusivity-minded people to deliberate and reach periodic consensus on. This is only the "best we understand as a group," not ever to be taken as an absolute truth, but as a good-faith group effort to come as close to the essential truth as we can at various points in time. As group understanding improves/evolves we simply update the list. It is a living, breathing, spiritual constitution of sorts. Not clinging to the old but allowing for "intelligent designing" to be expressed THROUGH us in an ongoing manner. The shared "book" or spiritual consensus then could act like social glue to help with Rifkin's other 5 pillars. It would be a mechanism for supporting his "lateral power," and bringing it into the very culture through which or around which the green economic engine or third industrial revolution occurs. 

I still lean toward localizing the experiment as I did in fiction in Allsville Emerging. Get it down on a small scale and then generalize it to larger swaths of society/civilization. Start small, see what works (experiments in culturally-sensitive and culturally-informed government). Then see what works once implimented on a larger scale. Perhaps just a whole bunch of little towns integrated by a common government program which is more like a shared/mutual software program than a centralized institution. Cut out the middle men of state politics altogether. Empower small towns to be soveregn entities which nonetheless agree to work within the guidlines and proceedures of an overall national or international "program." If this program also treats UL type realities such as spirituality as being worthwhile resources, human resources, including cultural engineering (LL), then the program is made responsive to "humans," serves humans instead of humans serving the program (or "government"). Is this not the main idea of government by, for, and of the "people." Turns out that "people" and "humans" must take into account all those squigly subjective realities of the UL and LL quads which have been too much ignored by government to date. The by, for, and of the "people," however, hinted to a future program for people or persons. A "pergram" of sorts. Pascal Solenquintez hope to write a novel called The Pergram. We have not yet done anything with About Wholeness that we wrote together. And we have not even made notes for the Pergram yet. But I feel it welling up or brewing. Another posible sketch, blueprint, or template for social enactment of inclusivity, interdependence, etc.

Thanks for your valuable contributions to this line of socio-cultural thought.


Comment by Andrew MacDonald on October 9, 2013 at 5:56pm

@Balder thanks for the link

@Darrell. Howdy!

Getting people on the same page . . . Maybe we're talking the same thing since I don't know your lingo but I'm a proponent of a common "book" for many different pages.  I love it when people's uniqueness and diversity are celebrated and encouraged. My sense is that humans deeply want to feel welcomed and fully belonging. When we're not, as we so very seldom are in our isolating modern world,  our defenses are up, including the "ego" with its wiles. I know I've worked with this sense of belonging a lot as an outsider and my understanding is it's a universal condition (to not feel fully welcomed).

So that radical welcome and inclusivity (interesting inclusivity bothers my spell checker but it likes exclusivity!) to me would be the method of getting toward wholeness. It starts from where we are and then, if we can let all that be in the room, evolution takes over and starts having a party.  Evolution likes diversity, thrives on it.

Are we on the same page, or just the chapter? We're definitely in the same book.

Comment by Darrell R. Moneyhon on October 9, 2013 at 9:56am

Left a sentence incomplete. Development of our Third Nature (...) ... would seem to support the development of Rifkin's Third Industrial Revolution, since that third revolution will require more democratization (Rifkin), sharing, or "lateral power" (Rifkin). Rifkin does mention the need for a narrative or vision. Whether this vision-recieving or narrative-making should constitute and additional "pillar" is, I suppose, debatable. But it is much less debatable that such a shift in thinking and acceptance is needed. Is vision just a minor contributing factor or is it an essential, foundational, factor that would warrant being called an extra "pillar?" 


Comment by Darrell R. Moneyhon on October 9, 2013 at 9:48am

Andrew, Yes I'm here (with a little help from Bruce's email). Feel free to email me at Allsville.moneyhon@yahoo.com. It is the email account/address I set up for communications related to my writing and (mainly spiritual) philosophyzing. We could of course do much of our meeting of minds here as well.

My first book went on to become a real market flop, but it continues to be a good source of my better ideas whenever I get the urge to integrate those ideas into new formulations such as ideas and concepts presented in About Wholeness (replaced working title of Be Whole Now...), co-authored with Pascal Solenquintez whom I met online at Integral Life. We have a whole section called Creating Wholeness Together. I of course mention my first book about a fictional model community reflecting and generating a new, more spiritual, world view and (proposed) local enactment of such.

In order to integrate spirituality with actual living in modern times, it seemed essential to me that we get all the folks who have even the least bit of whole-feeling or whole-making interest more or less on the same page. Without consensus no spiritual (or "wholeness"-oriented) transformation of social enactment is likely. The spiritual community must learn to act like a community.

And that would include its (spirituality's or wholeness') integration with the thing called democracy. If spiritual principles or principles of wholeness can be consented upon -- common denominators found -- then unity for creating a new culture and community could be achieved. Without this unity the enactment would be flawed due to lack of integration and due to clinging to out-moded world views and out-moded spiritual vehicles (religious dogma and structures).

Like Carl Sagan, I tend to see true spirituality as being the place where intelligence eventually evolves. Once dynamic wholes are able to be conceptualized by human minds spirituality is no longer just something that good-hearted folks do. It becomes something that is smart, more sustainable, gives us more bang for our bucks (or "shared resources" instead of bucks, since I advocate a gradual transcendance beyond the "money system").

Once intellectual clarity or understanding takes us there, then of course the heart is free to love away, but it will have as its constant companion an evolved mind that sees/understands better how the puzzle pieces of life really fit (or flow) together. Yes, we can ...! Yes we can think our way to love.

Also, true love requires us to have sincere thought and to grow an understanding about reality which better serves the heart's impulse to care and share and love. To me it would be irresponsible to continue to maintain communities which don't support such evolution of thought/thinking or "minding." We must create communities which facilitate greater understanding of interdependence or one-body consciousness. We can't enact social spaces that leave us with inadequate understanding of how life really works. Because what we don't know really could (and will) hurt us. 

I'm just now getting around to reading Rifkin's The Third Industrial Revolution. I wonder if psychological changes to accept interdependence (and a variety of other concepts or ways of thinking which serve it) is not a sixth pillar. And culture/communities a seventh. I hope to explore that notion further in a future book called Your Third Nature. Development of our Third Nature (integration of "first nature" raw abilities and learned "second nature" skills into a new whole that is greater than the sum of its two main parts).

If you are interested in reading the Creating Wholeness Together section of the current book, About Wholeness which is getting close to being published, I'd be more than happy to share a pdf prototype of it with you via email attachment.

I didn't plan to talk so much about my various writing projects, but it so happens that they are the repository (Is that the right word?) of my better thoughts. If you and I are to have a meeting of minds it seems helpful for me to begin to share some of the things I've already written down elsewhere. As we make more and more "matches" I won't feel the need to refer so muh to my writing. We can get more and more "real time" about our shared insights. 


Comment by Balder on October 9, 2013 at 8:55am

A former student of mine has an interesting project he's working on in Austin, Texas.  It was originally called the Autopoietic Cooperative, based on Integral and living systems principles, but now goes by the name of Ten Acre Organics (TAO).  The initial plan was to create a self-sufficient, sustainable, zero-waste community, using innovative technology (for construction and industrial needs) and an integration of farming techniques, such as aquaponics and permaculture.  I believe TAO is the first step towards this, so the website doesn't describe their fuller vision; but it's a good start.

Comment by Andrew MacDonald on October 9, 2013 at 6:46am

Hi David, I too have switched from a relocalization emphasis toward community resilience. I always was interested in the latter but it was hard out in the bush where I live. I'm moving into a small town with a heating up transition movement and I'm delighted to be part of it.

It's good to hear you share an integral AND resilience perspective. I think the integral movement will benefit from the local grounding resilience initiatives offer, getting directly involved rather than thinking they're a good concept. "All hands on deck" at this time. I'll follow your blog with interest and check out Holbert too.


Comment by DavidM58 on October 8, 2013 at 10:28pm

Hi again Andrew,

I've been an advocate for relocalization since 2005, though I've shifted the framing in recent years to 'community resilience' (following the Post Carbon Institute and the Transition Network.

I call the approach I take 'Integral Permaculture' which is also the title of my blog.  A fairly recent post there I titled Aspects and Perspectives on Localization and Relocalization, which is basically a series of jumping off points to different articles on the subject.

Another similar "voice in this wilderness" that I recently discovered, btw: Matt Holbert, and his blog Integral Campus.

Comment by Andrew MacDonald on October 5, 2013 at 9:00pm

(responding to Darrell) I didn't see this for a year and a half Darrell. I'd love to talk to you about our common "voice" and where harmonies might be there. Let me know if you're still there!


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