Truth is God
I have been mulling over this phrase that I saw in the Gandhi Museum in Madurai. It was in a prominent location under his portrait suggesting that is was the central theme in Gandhi’s life.
I have heard the similar expression ‘God is Truth’ on many occasions, generally used as a way of describing God. When you are trying to understand God this expression is an excellent starting point. The problem with it is that God is indescribable, beyond knowledge. When you hear Christians, Muslims, and Hindus all saying with absolute certainty that they ‘know’ God but all describe different gods it becomes very difficult to understand who God is. Add to this the Buddhist view that the existence of a creator god is irrelevant and only the actions of individuals are important and you begin to appreciate that uncovering the one true God is extremely difficult. The more people you ask the more opinions you hear and the less vivid God becomes.
Gandhi’s phrase solves this problem. By turning it around he is telling us that we should not pursue God, we should pursue the truth. Pursue the truth and you will find God within you.
Pursue the truth in all things and at all times. You will know the truth when it resonates inside you, when your mind gives you the same answer as your heart, when your logic and your intuition align, when your words are consistent with your actions.
Pursue the truth.
Uncover the truth.
Discover the truth within you.
Reveal your true self.
Know thyself and you will know God.
Only Truth can be the God of all humanity.
I took this photo in Anuradhapura, the first capital of Sri Lanka. It reminds me that the most common division in almost all societies is that between the conservatives and the modernists.
The modernists (usually called radicals by the conservatives) will always be trying new things, will sometimes dress differently and are always looking for new and better ways to do things.
The conservatives always prefer the traditional way of doing things and tend to spend a good part of their time complaining about the modernists, who they say keep breaking the rules of society. Rules are, of course, made by conservatives who generally want to maintain or conserve the established order… Since the dawn of time the social fabric has always and everywhere been falling apart because of these radicals…yet creative new ideas can only come when we break the existing rules and dream of something better.
Maybe we could accept that people are different and some want stability while others want change, some want safety, while others want to take a risk. Perhaps we could realise that growth can only come from stepping outside your comfort zone.
I believe that this distinction, between modernists and conservatives, exists in all societies because both of these qualities are found in all of us. our priorities also change through the course of our lives. When we are born we need safety, security and stability. As we progress to adolescence and early adulthood we take more risks and step further and further outside the security of our home. Later we may get married and return to create a safe and secure environment. In our late forties or fifties we may wish to explore the world again… some people call this a mid-life crisis. Towards the end of our lives, as our bodies slowly give way, we return to a safe and protected environment.
What’s Next? – ‘Creatives’ collaborating to transform society
What does ‘creative’ do next after turning shoppers into bargain hunters?
My immediate response to this question, posed on the ‘Australian Creative’ website, was that the next step was to turn bargain hunters into collaborators.
I have been exploring the idea of collaborative consumption and what it means for our society. Anyone listening to Rachel Botsman, speaking at TED.com, or looking at the collaborative consumption website, must surely agree with TIME magazine that this is one of the “10 ideas that will change the world”. The collaborative consumption website includes links to countless other websites, where people are using the power of the internet and social networks to share and to collaborate so as to satisfy their needs. CC is about shifting the focus from ownership to access. Rather than buying the goods and services that we need, the idea is to look on the web to see if someone has any spare capacity, or wants to swap or is willing to share what they have.
So how will this idea change the world?
Well, the more we share things, the less we need to buy. The less we buy, the less we are supporting the economy and economic growth. It appears to me that collaboration is an opposing force to the economy.
Another way of looking at it is that the economy is driven by the profit motive, that is, the enhancement of private interests. Collaboration is about sharing; it is about people and human connections. Collaboration is about the public interest. The interests of people are different, or indeed opposite to, the interests of the economy. The public interest is opposite to the enhancement of private interests.
In my mind there appears to be a fundamental conflict between the interests of the majority of the population and our social structures and institutions, which appear to be geared towards supporting the economy. I have been wondering whether there is something inherent in human nature that drives us to build such unsupportive institutions.
Some fascinating insights have been offered by a book I am currently reading, “Quiet – The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking” by Susan Cain. It is a very readable discussion about the broad spectrum of human traits and characteristics. One aspect of this book is to explore whether the introvert-extrovert qualities are characteristics we are born with or something we become as a result of our experiences; the classic nature versus nurture debate.
One of the interesting experiments that are described is a study that compares the actual thickness of people’s skin with their psychological characteristics. The study in fact concludes that thin-skinned people tend to be more sensitive to the world around them, whereas thick-skinned people are less so. Other studies involving babies and young children seem to confirm that at least some qualities can be inherited at birth.
Yet there are other studies that illustrate that introvert or extrovert qualities can develop as a result of our experiences, while individuals who were born with one set of qualities can consciously make the decision to live contrary to their nature.
Initially, when translating these ideas to understand the drivers of collaborative consumption, I thought that it is the idea that we can choose to live outside our natural inclination that is important. Rather than living according to nature’s ‘survival of the fittest’ and competing in every aspect of our lives, we could rise above our nature, to share, to collaborate and to help each other. Acknowledging that we all start in a different place, with different strengths and inclinations, what do we choose?
Yet collaboration is not contrary to our nature. Susan Cain describes the world as one “that can’t stop talking” because she suggests it is designed for people who behave like extroverts; those who desire constant stimulation and excitement, including the excitement that comes with every competition and victory.
The world is less suited to those who behave like introverts, who prefer to write rather than to talk. They prefer to create rather than to conquer. They prefer to design something new rather than to control something that already exists. They are not interested so much in ‘what is’ as they are in ‘what if’.
If you think about our political debate, it is a debate between the conservatives, who want to conserve ‘what is’ and those who want to imagine something better, those who are saying ‘what if’. The economy too, is supported by those who want to conquer the world as it is, while creativity and collaboration tends to be supported by those who want to create something new, to imagine and to build a better world.
‘Creatives’ have always challenged the status quo through art. Now, the internet and social networking provides a platform through which the status quo can be challenged not just through generating discussion, not just by talking …but by doing; by collaborating in creative new ways.
We have become accustomed to a world that is driven by the ideas of the strongest or the loudest speakers. Online, only the ideas that resonate will be heard. This is ideal for introverts, who prefer to withdraw, think things through and only then to write or design or create. This is the power of introverts… Perhaps the meek shall inherit the earth… or perhaps they will at least be able to take their place in a world that values the ability to create at least equally to the ability to conquer.
2012 Brainart Project Awards
Last Friday I attended the Brainart Awards at the Verge Gallery at Sydney University to receive a ‘special mention’ for my work Yin-yang harmony, which can be downloaded here.
The theme of the art exhibition and project was “Life Pleasures and the Brain”… put together by About my Brain, a not for profit “organisation devoted to making neuroscience available to everyone in a practical, fun and interesting way.”
Had a particularly enjoyable evening, mostly in conversation with the ultimate people’s choice award winner Thomas C Chung…
Reading the book “Quiet - The Power of Introverts in a World that Can’t stop Talking”… powerful and insightful … should be compulsory reading in every school so that we begin to appreciate the enormous diversity of talents and inclinations, desires and capacities across the population. Perhaps we can all stop trying to be ‘normal’ and allow each other to be extraordinary…
published to youtube on Mar 2, 2012 by TEDtalksDirector
http://www.ted.com In a culture where being social and outgoing are prized above all else, it can be difficult, even shameful, to be an introvert. But, as Susan Cain argues in this passionate talk, introverts bring extraordinary talents and abilities to the world, and should be encouraged and celebrated.
Simon Sinek… “people don’t buy what you do… they buy why you do it”
Elizabeth Gilbert… author of ‘Eat, Pray, Love’ talking about the nature of creative genius.
What an amazingly articulate speaker… and really in touch with the ‘idea’ of creativity, with what it entails, how it can be found… and how to wrestle with your daemon…
My contribution to this idea is The Ecstasy of Yang.
Interview with the President of GEN (Global Ecovillage Network) International, Kosha Anja Joubert at GEN Conference 2011, Tamera, Southern Portugal…
…talking about hope and longing for transition…
Sir Ken Robinson…great speaker and thinker about the state of our education system and more importantly, about human nature and how to bring out the best through thinking differently about education.
I agree with his views that education is currently about producing workers for an industrial age economy… and that it should be much more. To become more creative requires that we think beyond our basic economic needs, we need to fully understand ourselves and what we have to offer. In my experience the steps to a broader education that leads to a better understanding of your self starts with learning tai chi… This gives you a better understanding of your body. The next step involved learning the tango, which helped me understand how to work in harmony with another person and to truly connect. The third step was learning tantric sex, which showed me how to give completely.
Wonderful article by Diane Monroe at Transition Voice…
“This is an amazing time to be alive!
… we’re living in a time when the old is crumbling, which is when there’s the greatest opportunity to create something new.
And that is an amazing time to be alive!
If you’re alive today, you’re part of this Great Unraveling/ Great Turning, or whatever we choose to call it. If, like me, you’re middle aged or beyond, we’ve lived through the apex of a global empire now passed irrevocably into decline.
We’re experiencing this great crumbling from within, and that’s a very good (if at times painful) thing. In times of crumbling, when the old way of being and doing can no longer hold itself, can no longer hold us in its grip, there’s greater fluidity, a greater opening. In times like these even small actions can reverberate widely into the future.
That makes it an amazing time to be alive.”
Coupled Harmonics - resonance creates life
While writing my paper The Ecstasy of Yang, I realised the extent to which harmony and resonance are crucial to life. Indeed I see harmony as the thing that is most attractive to us, the thing we call ‘beauty’ or the X-factor, while resonance is the key to transmitting a message. To be heard, a message needs to resonate… that’s what I understand by the idea of something going viral.
I was watching a documentary on National Geographic channel the other night. It was about the crash of Partnair Flight 394… which was apparently caused by what physicists call ‘coupled harmonics’ … two different wave actions, acting in different directions, suddenly resonating and ‘going viral’ taking on a life of their own… the resonating waves feed off each other causing each to increase the amplitude of the other. The collapse of the ‘Tacoma Narrows bridge’ was also the result of coupled harmonics. Two ‘catastrophes’ caused by the same thing… resonance … resonating waves taking on a life of their own.
The next documentary on the same night was about the search for a new earth… a planet somewhere in space that is able to sustain life. The scientists were talking about the basic things that were necessary to support life eg. water and being located within the ‘goldilocks distance’ from a star (not too close and not too far). Unfortunately, all the planets they found didn’t spin on their axis. One side faced the sun/ star and the other side was forever in darkness. Any creature would experience only heat or cold, only day or night.
I think a fundamental driver of life on earth is its rhythm… day/ night and hot/ cold… the cycles from one state to another. The earth spinning gives us one wave action that generates hot-cold and light-dark dualities. The earth tilting gives us a second wave action that resonates in harmony … it also gives us hot–cold changes as well as variations in level of light through the seasons.
My feeling is that these rhythms are what created life on earth. Coupled harmonics acting on water in the sea caused some inanimate molecules to replicate or divide… to resonate and take on a life of their own… the beginning of life.
To speak to the whole human population, to share an idea, requires that we relate in a way that is common to everyone… harmony is fundamental or central to human nature…. indeed it is central to nature.
I believe that there are two resonating waves, messages that are growing in amplitude, the ‘environmental crisis’ and ‘inequality/ social crisis’ in our societies.
If both tunes continue to be played and then they start feeding off each other, they will start to resonate …. and a new way of living will be created.
http://www.ted.com In Rajasthan, India, an extraordinary school teaches rural women and men — many of them illiterate — to become solar engineers, artisans, dentists and doctors in their own villages. It’s called the Barefoot College, and its founder, Bunker Roy, explains how it works.
First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.