Talk:Next Buddha Will Be A Collective

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Michel, I would respectfully suggest that you consider changing "Religious and spiritual expression is always embedded in societal structures" to something less absolute and categorical. Secular social structures are possible, in which religion and spirituality are replaced by secular ethics, morality, conscience, respect for the value and dignity of all life, appreciation of the evolutionary kinship and interdependence of everything (ecology), the values of cooperative individualism (community and p2p), human and inter-species bonding, tradition and ritual, exotic states of consciousness, mindfulness, synergy, etc. I challenge anyone to state a religious, spiritual, mystical, or supernatural concept for which I cannot describe a functional equivalent or alternative in secular/natural terms. If p2p spirituality is participatory, should ample space (including head space) not be made for participation in discussion and practice by those who have an atheist, agnostic, secular, or science orientation???--Poor Richard 12:00, 10 September 2011 (UTC)

I submit that the kind of natural/secular terminology I refer to is part of the evolution of thought and language that predicates your article, and that it may have high utility and "portability" in the kind of intellectual, academic, scholarly, technical and interdisciplinary discussions that are prevalent in the p2p and technology oriented community.--Poor Richard 12:22, 10 September 2011 (UTC)

Richard, your argument is not related to what I say, so I'm assuming you misread or misinterpret its meaning. I agree with you, but if you really disagree with me, you should argue that there is a possibility for religion and spirituality NOT TO BE EMBEDDED in societal structures. I'm still enough of a materialist (though an integral one), to hold that as an disembodied impossibility. Unless you can provide me with an example?

By the way, I advocate a secular, materialist if you like, re-appropriation of the psycho-spiritual and bodymind affecting practices of the religious and spiritual traditions. Though I agree mostly with you on the conceptual level (i.e. much of the spiritual language has secular equivalents), I do hold that current secularism is not developed enough to fully replace the thousands of years of development of such psycho-spiritual techniques, and without such a re-appropriation, it's really a poor cousin of the historical accomplishments of tens of thousands of years of human development. I'm not for a clean-slate and violent approach to human history which rejects all that came before, but for a critical re-appropriation of cultural achievements.

Michel, I don't think I completely misread you because I based my commentary largely on the lead sentence of your abstract, which I quoted at the outset of my comments. I also read the the full article. I agree that only a few statements in the article were relevant to my comments and I didn't quote any others because the first sentence was a good proxy for all those to which my comments might have applied. The bulk of your article consisted of statements that I agreed with. As is my wont, anything I don't quote and quibble with is stuff I agree with or don't care about. That may make me seem more of a devil's advocate or adversary than I mean to.

I'm fairly sure we a re almost on the same wavelength. Still, I DO argue that it is possible for religion and spirituality NOT TO BE EMBEDDED in various possible societal structures, including some present and historical communities and organizations. We may differ in our assumptions about what constitutes a societal structure per se -- I assume it to include subcultures, individual communities, and organizations, but perhaps you assume that term to mean only large population groups or cultures. Under my interpretation of "societal structures" I can offer such examples as atheist/skeptic/free-thought organizations and communities.

I prefer the term naturalistic to materialist, as the definition of material is a constantly moving controversy. I would love to appropriate the term "realist" but that is already claimed by practically every existing belief system. "Natural" has also been perverted on billions of food packages, and naturalist has bird watching and pond-sampling connotations----so naturalistic seems like the least ambiguous available choice.

"I do hold that current secularism is not developed enough to fully replace the thousands of years of development of such psycho-spiritual techniques"

That is a fair argument, but I am willing to challenge you (and others) to give me a religious, spiritual, or psycho-spiritual concept or technique which I cannot re-appropriate (I like that term) in a secular framework. I am not prepared to undertake the entire re-appropriation of humanity's body of cultural, religious and spiritual knowledge and practice, but I am willing and I think able to tackle them one piece at a time. So throw one at me. Give me your best shot.

"I'm not for a clean-slate and violent approach to human history which rejects all that came before

Heavens, no--me either!!! If I gave the impression that I proposed a wholesale precipitous re-appropriation of all cultural wisdom and accomplishment in some fell swoop overnight, that was not my intent. This is a work for a generation, at least. I'm just saying its time to really get serious and systematic about this re-approriation of cultural and religious heritage for reasons I've mentioned: not to foist some brave-new-world thought regime on unwilling masses, but mainly to improve technical specificity of concepts and terms (reducing ambiguity and sifting out the non-pertinent or factually erroneous material) and "portablity" across cultural/intellectual/academic/technical domains of language and thought. Another metaphor that just came to mind is "normalization" which is a process of minimizing redundancy in relational database structures. The re-appropriation may help to normalize the multi-cultural, multi-historic-epochal database.

I think the present generation of interdisciplinary intellectuals is ready to undertake this thoughtfully and artfully.--Poor Richard 20:19, 10 September 2011 (UTC)

Michel Bauwens: Hi Richard, I completely agree that it is productive to re-appropriate prior cultural in secular terms, however, it is ALSO productive to engage participatively while precluding prior judgment, into the perspectives and worldviews of the existing traditions. As I said in another email, studies have shown that western doctors are LESS EFFECTIVE than traditional acupuncturist, event though the whole cosmology makes no sense to western science ... Engaging yoga, tantra, meditation, with only western mechanistic prejudices is going to impoverish that re-appropriation substantively.

Poor Richard: Michel, I agree with all your last post here, and I am as leery of "western mechanistic prejudices" as almost anybody. I violently rejected that mindset over 40 years ago but I continued to study the sciences in parallel with a variety of religions and western and eastern wisdom traditions with a persistent emphasis on shamanism. In the case of information science and technology, shamanism, meditation, mindfulness practice, altered states of consciousness, non-neurotypical cognition, religious experiences, and psychopharmacology, I have decades of direct practical experience to complement my scholarship.

The only people I want to see engaged in this re-appropriation are people with extensive, serious, sympathetic knowledge and experience of current and prior bodies of knowledge. Unfortunately, no one with the best of qualifications can plot a precision course through the multicultural and scientific "bush". The participants should have direct experience of multiple cultures, paradigms, or traditions beside their native or primary one. That is the place that I come from, and I can't imagine anyone without that background and without a great deal of subtlety, empathy, and flexibility being of much use. Poorly suited people will opt in nevertheless. We can only hope they don't start a culture war.

My sense is that you are probably the only person with appropriate qualifications that I have corresponded with. I am not great at engaging people because of my often provocative style, and I have only been online in a non-corporate personal capacity for about a year. I'm still prospecting my way around the online ecosystem. Your work and your correspondence is the richest vein I have struck. If only I could borrow some megabucks and exploit it to the max, say by intellectual mountain-top removal...--Poor Richard 20:19, 10 September 2011 (UTC)

Dear Richard, given your practice and thinking, I indeed do think our approaches are very similar. My only problem is that today for me, I pretty much gave up on further exploring what I call the higher psycho-spiritual potentials, because of my really superful engagement with peer to peer. You could say that I have fused the various aspects of my being, including my spiritual 'hunger', into that engagement. I did try to rejoin a spiritual group for three years, but found it to be a distraction. You probably have seen my Spirituality section, dedicated to mapping out relational and participatory practices, as well as the project on neotraditional economics. My quest now is to create meeting places, online and offline, where various perspectives can learn to understand each other, but always with a view of human emancipation, and my own specific context is of course creating space for authentic peer to peer engagement. Perhaps I could interest you in supporting these projects, with a view of organizing conferences bringing the best people in the world around the table?

Michel, thanks for your encouragement and appreciation of my approach. I wish my thought and writing was much more consistent and refined, but I assume its better to put out the quality I'm capable of than to reject my own work for not meeting the standards I wish it did. I understand and support your p2p focus and your emphasis on being a curator and convener. I am enthusiastic about supporting your work in any way that I can. Unfortunately, I have some handicaps including rapid cycling bipolar disorder that make it impossible for me to travel or take responsibility for time-sensitive activities. I am forced to interact in a primarily asynchronous online way. If I can be of any service, I invite you suggest where you'd like to use me most. It is probably best to suggest just one or two projects, suitable for my asynchronous online participation, at a time. I don't want to impose on your time in any way, but please consider me at your disposal If I can be of any service within my limitations. I wish I were able to offer much more.

Richard, thanks for the offer of assistance. What about fleshing out the Spirituality category, with examples of more secular p2p approaches to this issue? As you know, we're focused here on creating usable content to promote dialogue between various perspectives on p2p related issues. This is just an open invitation for wherever it is convenient!

--MIchel Bauwens 16:59, 12 September 2011 (UTC)

Sure, Michel, that sounds like a fine project for me. I'll start giving it some thought. --Poor Richard 18:27, 12 September 2011 (UTC)