Cultural Metamorphosis and Ecological Transformation
Four aspects of cultural metamorphosis and ecological transformation
Prof. Dr. Michael von Bruck
- Action Starts in the Mind.
- Perception and Judgement are Active Constructions.
- Towards a Non-Dualistic Model of Reality.
- Charisma and Institution.
- Any action is mentally prepared by connecting data from memory and new impressions into a coherent map of the present situation. Value judgements are not only results of a processing of those data, but also influencing the perception and order of the data. One basic difference in cultures/religions is centered around the question whether human beings can change history or not. There are 3 basic models: a) Everything is predetermined by God or an impersonal order; Calvinism, some forms of Hinduism, Islam; b) Humans are agents of their own destiny; some forms of Buddhism, modern humanism; c) History happens according to unchanging laws, but humans have the freedom to comply with it or resist against the changes history may bring about. (most interpretations of Karma Theory, Confucianism, Judaism, Catholic and Lutheran Christianity, Marxism). These patterns are inscribed in myths and influence us unconsciously. They may motivate or demotivate. It is important to analyse and understand those opinions which direct us. We may have a choice.
- Situations are constellations of circumstances which provide opportunities. But opportunities must be perceived and taken up. We live in an universe of utmost complexity, and any perception or rational argument is a reduction to one or a few lines of intersecting events, it is based on judgements. The world is as it appears to us, and this is very much a pre-selection due to our basic attitudes. Those attitudes are cultural codes which give societies stability but also hinder potential actors to see alternatives. New patterns and paradigms of cultural behaviour do not happen if we cling to the past nor if we deviate into a cloudly future, but only if we arrive at the creative present moment. To act out this awareness of the present connects with everything around us right here and now, it gives satisfaction and thus avoids us from clinging to quantitative growth. It is a qualitative experience. This could be the basis for a new design in the unity of thinking-feeling-acting. This would be a basic motivating factor for an ecological world view.
- Modern Technology is driven by Western Culture and Science. Scientific data are connected in interpretations that are basically dualistic. However, his is by no means the only „Denkform“ (Mode of Thinking) that makes sense. If we overcome the dualisms between mind and matter, emotion and rationality, culture and nature, ecology and economy etc., we might arrive not only at a new model of reality but also a different „being in the world“. This non-duality has been worked out in Daoist and Buddhist cultures and has influenced the whole history of India and China. It provides the basis for an integral or wholistic way of life. It combines thinking, feeling and social binding into an experience of completeness. There are models in the religious traditions, they could provide inspiration for action today.
- The relationship between Charisma and Institution is vital for any process of transformation, though it is only one parameter of the cultural basis for metamorphosis. Is it the individual hero that shapes history or are there circumstances which produce the individual that believes erroneously that it has the influence it seems to have? The question has been asked by philosophers and historians, and the answer seems clear: Both, charisma of the individual and the institutionalized tradition are pillars of metamorphosis and transformation. Metamorphosis happens due to algorithmic programs inbuilt in entities, but these patterns are not static for they change according to the homoeostatic endeavor of the individuals to adapt to changing conditions. It is the historicity of everything which is the pattern on which individual mutation (the charisma) and collective experience in established patterns (the institution) develop. This insight leads to the motivation of dissidence, the intent to try new ways of life and technology, to ask the unasked, make the impossible possible and try the untried. It rationalizes cyclic thinking which is so important for any mode of sustainability. It is a qualitative approach which is aware of the momentariness of reality and a mere quantitative approach of repeating what has been tried out already can be overcome. It requires and sets free a specific awareness of time.
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