Dialogue for a Better World
This month’s full blue Aquarius moon is staring me in the face as I sit down to write my most recent thoughts about Bohm’s Dialogue. It seems like everywhere I look from the increasing violence on the streets in California and Oregon, to a recent NYTimes article that shows how little has actually changed in terms of resolving our global climate change problem leaving future generations with a planet that won’t be what it has been despite the work of activists such as Greta Thunberg. And then there is a potential for renewed nuclear arms races I keep hearing about.
David Bohm was a deep thinker and wasn’t content with how the quantum physics community was mainly using mathematics in conceptualizing how the smallest particles of life contributed to an understanding of reality. He brought a much larger and foundational understanding of the nature of reality by synthesing his understanding of quantum mechanics with philosophy, social psychology, eastern spiritual traditions, native American thought and language structure and so much more.
His proposal of Dialogue rests on this larger framework and the new worldview it represents placing consciousness at the root of all that is rather than matter. It offers us a way out of the more limited Newtonian/Cartesian one we are still living within and that is causing so many of our modern-day issues. The neo-liberal economic system, for instance, spawned from the thinking that places matter at the center of life rather than the consciousness which created it, is depleting the natural resources we depend upon for life and is bringing us a 6th species extinction.
According to last week’s latest UN Report from Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)
it looks like we have only 9 years to turn this situation around before we hit a point of no return with runaway climate and other disasters.
We all see it happening. Just turn on the nightly news: Haiti, the US Northeast, and Mexico all experienced unrelenting hurricanes and tropical flooding; Athens, unrelenting heat waves and fires; Northern California, unending forest fires; droughts are a problem in the Southwest and I could go on. Is this the future we want?
Rupert Spira’s 2017 book “The Nature of Consciousness: Essays on the Unity of Mind and Matter” clearly and simply states that which Bohm intuited so well: that we can’t get to the root problem of what isn’t working in our world until we come to the realization that it is consciousness and not matter that is fundamental to our planet’s evolution.
From my perspective, this was Bohm’s most important contribution to our world. He spent over 20 years in dialogue with Krishnamurti on this subject – bridging his understandings from his work with quantum physics together with Krishnamurti’s understanding of how consciousness creates reality. And, it was with his encounter with Patrict de Mare, a social psychologist, that put him on his path to Dialogue. Bohm merged his understanding of our radical interconnectedness with de Mare’s understanding of how culture (or collective consciousness) creates and recreates our world without us noticing how it is doing so. Bohm, Krishnamuti, and de Mare saw that if we leave our world view and shared values unexamined, we will not get to the root cause of our global problems, nor will we be able to create a coherent world that works for all.
I engaged for several years in the Tucson area as a climate activist, thinking I could use my facilitation skills and organizational know how to help slow down runaway climate and environmental problems. Naomi Klein’s book “This Changes Everything” (2014) was my catalyst.
Though I feel the work I did was helpful, I decided to return to consciousness work because it was clear that our problems are rooted more upstream than was the focus of the local sustainability problems I was then pursuing.
What if we could all be connected through interlocking Dialogue circles and be consistently unfolding our shared future in ways that are coherent and adaptive to changing conditions? Today with zoom and other digital technologies, this is becoming more and more possible. I now am in Dialogue groups that include people from South Africa to South America, Canada and Europe. This was never possible before without spending time and money to travel. What if we were consistently engaging with each other in inclusive, nurturing ways looking together at how to create a world that works for all? What if we made a commitment to learn and live-in ways that take good care of our shared natural environment that would ensure a planet worth living on for the future generations to come?
That is my current prayer and hope and why I have returned to my work with Bohm-inspired Dialogue.
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