Introduction to the P2P Foundation Wiki Material about Spirituality

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How could we call a coming age of participation?

Philippe Van Nedervelde suggests two possible names, both drawn from classical Greek:

1) Synergos, from "sun/syn" = together; "ergos" = work

2) Metechos, denotes sharing/participating



For an intro, read Michel Bauwens on the Great Cosmic Mash-Up, which focuses on P2P and common projects and their role in the construction of our identity:

"Postmodernism was all about deconstructing oppressive mental structures that we inherited from modernity. Amongst other things the Cartesian subject/object split and the alienating effects of Kantian's impossibility of knowing true reality; it was a necessary destructive passage, a cleaning out process, but it didn't, as its names "post"- indicate, construct anything. So in my view, if modernity was about constructing the individual (along subject/object divisions), and postmodernity about deconstructing this, then this new era, which I'ld like to call the era of participation, is about constructing relationality or participation. We are not going back to the premodern wholistic era and feelings, but just as modernity was about rigorously individualising everything, eventually reaching the current dead-end of hyper-individualism, we are now just as rigorously 'relationising' everything. If in premodernity we thought, we are parts of a whole that is one and above us, and in modernity we thought we are separate and unified individuals, a world onto ourselves, and in postmodernity saw ourselves fragmenting, and pretty much lamented this, then this is the mash-up era. We now know that all this fragments can be reconstructed with the zillions of fragment of the others, into zillions of commonalities, into temporary wholes that are so many new creative projects, but all united in a ever-moving Commons that is open to all of us..

So the fragmentation of postmodernity is a given for us now, but we are no longer lamenting, we are discovering the technologies (infrastructural, collaborative-software-ish, political, but above all the mental and epistemological) that allow us to use this fragmentation to create the Great Cosmic Mash-Up. That is the historical task of the emerging Peer to Peer Era."

2. From: The Next Buddha Will Be a Collective. By Michel Bauwens

"the 3 paradigm shifts (open/free, participatory, commons), although only emerging as seed forms at this stage, are letting themselves be felt through contemporary spiritual practices. It suggests a new approach to spirituality which I would like to call a contributory spirituality. This approach would consider that each tradition is a set of injunctions set from within a specific framework, and which can disclose different facets of reality. This framework may be influenced by a set of values (patriarchy, exclusive truth doctrines, etc…), which might be rejected today, but also contains psycho-spiritual practices which disclose particular truths about our relationship with the universe. Discovering spiritual truth then, requires at least a partial exposure to these differential methods of truth discovery, within a comparative framework, but it also requires intersubjective feedback, so it is a quest that cannot be undertaken alone, but along with others on the same path. Tradition is thereby not rejected, but critically experienced and evaluated. The modern spiritual practicioner can hold himself beholden to such a particular tradition, but need not feel confined to it. He/she can create spiritual inquiry circles that approach the different traditions with an open mind, experience them individually and collectively, and where the different individual experiences can be exchanged. In this way, a new collective body of spiritual experiences is created, which is continuously co-created by the inquiring spiritual communities and individuals. The outcome of that process will be a co-created reality that is unpredictable and will create new, as yet unpredictable spiritual formats. But one thing is sure: it will be an open, participatory, approach leading to a commons of spiritual knowledge, from which all humanity can draw from."

Long Citations

The liberation of the self involves, above all, a social process. In a society that has shriveled the self into a commodity — into an object manufactured for exchange — there can be no fulfilled self. There can only be the beginnings of selfhood, the emergence of a self that seeks fulfillment — a self that is largely defined by the obstacles it must overcome to achieve realization.

- Murray Bookchin [1]

"The reference to “northward arm” and “southward arm” is typically Wintu, and its usage suggests a cultural wisdom so deep and unconscious that it was embedded in the very structure of language. In English we refer to the right arm and left arm, and we might describe a certain mountain as being to our right or left, in front or in back of us depending on which way we are facing at the moment. We use the body — the self — as the point of reference against which we describe the world. The Wintu would never do this, and indeed the Wintu language would not permit it. If a certain mountain was to the north, say, the arm nearest that mountain would be called the northward arm. If the Wintu turned around, the arm that had previously been referred to as the northward arm would now be called the southward arm. In other words, the features of the world remained the constant reference, the sense of self was what changed — a self that continually accommodated and adjusted to a world in which the individual was not the center of all creation."

- From the Book: The Way We Lived: California Indian Stories, Songs and Reminiscences. [2]

Short Citations

"Moral insight is not, like mathematics, a product of rational reflection. It is instead a matter of imagining a better future, and observing the results of attempts to bring that future into existence."

- Richard Rorty [3]

There is nothing noble in being superior to some other person. The true nobility is in being superior to your previous self.

- Hindu Proverb

Simply I learned about her, and ungrudgingly do I share -- her riches I do not hide away

- Old Testament, The Book of Wisdom 7,13 [4]


Key Articles

Our own contribution:

  1. Bruce Aldermann's three part introduction to intersubjective spirituality [5]
  2. Gregg Lahood and John Heron with a case study of Collaborative Charismatic Inquiry
  3. Commons-based Peer Production and Virtue: Yochai Benkler and Hellen Nissenbaum on the ethical values underlying peer production.
  4. Commentary on the above Benkler/Nissenbaum text by catholic author Julian Fox: Virtue and the Digital Commons
  5. John Heron warns us of the dangers of spiritual authoritarianism. Read Spiritual Projection and Authority, chapter 14 of his foundational book on Participatory Spirituality; also: Chapter 13: The Authoritarian Blight in Spirituality
  6. Jean-Francois Noubel: Creating Invisible Architectures for Collective Wisdom
  7. Nova Spivack: Towards Healthy Virtual Selves for Collective Groups [6]
  8. John Stewart: The evolution of consciousness, rooted in complexity and cognitive sciences. See Stewart, J. E. (2007) The future evolution of consciousness, Journal of Consciousness Studies, Vol. 14, No. 8, Pp. 58-92.
  9. Stuart Kauffman: A Shareable God
  10. Madronna Holden on the Agency of Nature and the Partnership View
  11. The Revival of Peering with Nature. By James William Gibson
  12. Jorge Ferrer: Participatory Vision of the Future of Religion: on "The Plurality of Religions and the Spirit of Pluralism"
  13. Paul Hartzog: Oneness, Nihilism, and the Multitude
  14. Denis Postle: Psychological Commons, Peer to Peer Networks and Post-Professional Psychopractice
  15. Wolfgang Hoeschele on the Art of Living Abundantly


  1. Read our entries on Relational Spirituality and Participatory Spirituality
  2. Participative Epistemology, and Transdisciplinarity

Key Books

Spiritual Theory:

  1. John Heron's Participatory Spirituality - A Farewell to Authoritarian Religion.
  2. John Heron's Sacred Science
  3. Jorge Ferrer's Revisioning Transpersonal Psychology.
  4. Christian De Quincey. Radical Knowing
  5. Beatrice Bruteau. The Many and the One
  6. The Participatory Mind
  7. Evolution's Arrow. John Stewart (the evolution of cooperation as rooted in science)
  8. Robert Wright. The Evolution of God: how the image of the divine humanizes in the course of history, under the influence of increased human cooperation.
  9. A Reenchanted World: The Quest For A New Kinship With Nature by James William Gibson. Metropolitan Books, 2009

Sociological/Descriptive Approaches:

  1. Participative Technology and the Ecclesial Revolution: technology and the global church

Also of note:

  1. The Alphabet and the Goddess
  2. The Ascent of Humanity
  3. Digital Dharma. Steven Vedro.
  4. The Spiritual Imperative. Larry Taub.

Key Resources

  1. A Catholic approach to ICT

Key Thematic Issues of P2P News

P2P and Nature, Issue 96 of P2P News at,

P2P Epistemology, Issue 89 of P2P News, at

P2P Spirituality, Issue 88 of P2P News, at

P2P Epistemology, Issue of P2P News, at

Key Webcasts

  1. Sister Judith Zoebelein on the Virtual, the Actual, and the Spiritual. Sister Judith Zoebelein is Editorial director at Internet Office of the Holy See.