BY Nick Jankel

Author, Leadership Futurist, Philosopher, Transformation Catalyst

 

“Nietzsche thought that ecstatic dance – through which we transcend the limitations of self – was first seen in Greece in praise of the god Dionysus. He surely got it right when he said that we should only believe in a god (or a DJ) who can dance.”

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“If you look within, and find ways to enter the flowing, connective consciousness that William James described, I am certain that you will discover that you are not limited or separate. You will instead experience yourself as limitless and liberated: an elemental part of life itself. You will overflow with fullness.”

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“The brilliant Brazilian post-colonial thinker, Paulo Freire, suggested that no educational system can emulate models from colonial oppressors and still be empowering. I found this to be true as a teacher in rural Zimbabwe; and it fully challenged my assumption that Western rationality was above other ways of knowing the world.”

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“As the philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein suggested, it is the very job of philosophy to liberate us from the bewitching lies that flow into every stream of human thought. Philosophy helped me gain the confidence necessary to penetrate beyond the shiny surfaces of life to find the hidden order of things.”

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“All addiction is a “category mistake”, a term coined by philosopher Gilbert Ryle. We confuse the category “things within us that make us whole” – like love, purpose, meaning, connection, and intimacy – with the category “things outside us that feel good for a moment.”

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“We have to be the change that we want to see. Gandhi’s famous phrase can remain a cool bumper sticker or it can become a daily rallying cry deep within us.”

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“Michel Foucault said that many claims to truth are used to dominate people. What I call “Control and Protect Mode” loves paradigms which offer it power, fortune, and fame – all things it thinks it needs to be safe. This causes untold suffering to people and the planet.”

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“Research suggests that people taking psychedelics experience more of the inherent interconnectivity of life. As they slip into consciousness, their brains become less ordered and more “entropic”. This seems to open up ‘trippy’ creative ideas.”

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“Famous physicist Sir Roger Penrose and iconoclastic anesthetist Stuart Hameroff have suggested that the dual aspects of “spiritual atheism” – matter and consciousness  might be quantum “entangled” in microtubules in the cells of the brain.”

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“The pioneering systems biologist Stuart Kauffman suggests that there is a “partial lawlessness” in the material universe. Perhaps this opens up cracks through which transformational ideas and insights can burst forth.”

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“Pioneering neurobiologist Dan Siegel believes shame is the feeling of a rupture in connection. By not acting in alignment with our purpose we break the connection. The result is often an icky feeling like we are letting ourselves (and our universe) down.”

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“As PTSD pioneer Bessel van der Kolk makes clear, we must paradigm-shift out of the medical model to heal trauma. We must be able to consciously change our psychology (beliefs, ideas, and stories) and physiology (breathwork, movement, touch) to heal ourselves and others.”

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“Through fMRI studies, Rex Jung suggests that the Cognitive Control Network dominates us when we are solving familiar problems with existing rules. The Default Mode Network allows us to create fresh solutions to new problems as they emerge. This “daydreaming” network is key to the survival of our species in a fast-changing world with systems stressed to the max. But how many of us are encouraged to daydream?”

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“We need not be religious to access this aliveness, this living oneness. There is no need to become a hippy either and have Om tattooed on our skin. What we do need to do is turn inside and find, for ourselves, a fully embodied sense of connection that does not exist in language (and so it cannot be deconstructed). When we do, we will feel the quality that we humans call, with the best word we can muster: love.”

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“As a spiritual atheist, I reject superstition, magical thinking, scripture, priestly power, stale rituals, and all god-like figures as any other atheist would. At the same time, I recognize the need to awaken from the slumber of materialist separation and discover the reality that we are all connected.”

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“The key to spiritual atheism is to realise that we are not trying to deny matter or undermine science. We are simply attempting to recalibrate the balance between mind and matter to allow us to thrive in a world that has both primary and secondary qualities, that appears both dead and alive depending on which lens we look through.”

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“We only need look at Ubuntu in Africa to realize that the concept of a totally separate, rational individual with private needs and private property does not exist in the same way in every culture. In fact, with Ubuntu, people are not born as self-contained Cartesian subject. They acquire their sense of ‘I’ through relationships with other human beings.”

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“Spiritual atheism offers us a way out of the horrors of both cold data-driven utilitarianism and anything-goes moral relativism without recourse to religion. We look to scientific research to give us the best available knowledge about what to do about matter whilst realizing that consciousness is our only guide to matters of conscience. This truth demands that we all learn to distinguish our love-driven ‘spiritual’ intuitions from our fear-riven survival instincts to be responsible citizens.”

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“As adults, only we can give ourselves the love, safety, and sense of connection we need to release the past and thrive in our future. We cannot talk about it rationally. We actually have to feel it. A god cannot give it to us. A scientist cannot. A guru cannot. Even if our parents are alive and willing, they too cannot give it to us because the parts of us that feel disappointed and hurt wouldn’t buy it. Our internalized Protector has to feel the truth of love flooding through our bodyminds to stop the defensive patterns and release the trauma.”

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“Materialist atheism has chased the heartfelt out of the political domain as well as the dogma. But there can be no lasting environmental sustainability, social justice, or political equality until there is less lack and loss within our hearts. We won’t change what we consume or produce until we tame our protective patterns within. And this takes love, whether we call it ‘spiritual’ or not.”

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“It doesn’t matter whether we conceptualize connectedness as an entangled quantum field, African Ubuntu, or William James’ cosmic consciousness. What matters is that we live this oneness in everyday life and use it to become ever more whole. Mastery of a sense of connection / love is the key to a life of freedom.”

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