Is There One Underlying Platform/Substrate to Reality or an Infinite Variety?

You assume there is only one set of agreements, one reality.  This is the way it is.  If I like it, I like how it is.  If I don’t like it, I don’t like how it is.  And, that’s how it is.  That’s reality, and I cannot change reality.  I can like the experience or not.  I can like the outcomes or not.  But, that is reality.  That is how it is.

That’s what you think. Yet, you also know that it is not true.  If it were true, if that is the way it is, then it would have to be always true.  True in all circumstances, in all situations.  If it is sometimes true, and other times not, then it isn’t always true.  Then, it depends.  Sometimes that’s the way it is, and sometimes it is another way. What does it depend on?

You have two very different experiences of reality–one of scarcity and being disengaged and one of abundance and being engaged.  You know the difference, in your own experience, in your own knowing.  You have a preference.  I have directly asked thousands of people from 39 countries, and I have surveyed people from 125 countries, asking if they know the difference and if they have a preference.  So far, everyone says they do.  They know when they are experiencing scarcity or abundance, being disengaged or engaged.  And, they prefer to be engaged; they prefer abundance.

For you to experience scarcity to abundance, low to high engagement, there are different rules of the game, different rules of interaction, different agreements.  Some of the rules of the game, the agreements, lead to the experience of scarcity and low engagement.  In the exact same setting, some rules of the game lead to the experience of abundance and high engagement.  It is a choice.

You may believe that it just is that way, because you believe there is only one substrate, one underlying substance to all agreements.  One underlying reality.  One underlying structure for how we humans agree to interact.  That’s just the way it is.  It turns out there isn’t only one possible substrate, rather there is an infinite number of underlying sets of assumptions that lay the foundation for the set of agreements that you experience in every group, in every system.  An infinite number of substrates, which you can pick.  It’s like going to the paint store.  There isn’t just beige, rather an infinite number of possible colors to use.

Ecosynomics refers to these sets of assumptions about reality as the underlying agreements field, the foundational agreements structures.  They include assumptions about what you think is real, what resources are available.  About who decides how those resources are accessed, and who enforces those decisions.  About the values that permeate the system, providing the criteria used to decide.  About the rules of the game for how we interact with the resources and with each other.  These are a set of agreements.  A set of coherent agreements that describe the interactions that determine the experience you are having.  One tool for mapping out, understanding, and changing these underlying agreements is called the agreements evidence map, which has been used in thousands of settings by groups across the world.

So, you assume the substrate is the same.  It is just being used differently  There is one set of agreements, which are used differently.  That is what you assume, consciously or unconsciously.  The last 20 years have conclusively shown that there is not just one substrate, rather there are an infinite variety of substrates.  An infinite variety of ways that you can agree to interact.  The substrate, the platform, the set of agreements used matters.  What you are able to do within and with your agreements, your experience and your outcomes, depends on this substrate, on this set of agreements.

There is one experience.  There are many ways to perceive that experience and what is real in it.  This makes for many different realities that can be perceived in the same experience.  You know what you experience.  And, with reflection, you can know even more about what you experience, in all of its rich dimensions.  The deeper vibrancy you experience to be real.  You are the chooser of the experiences and outcomes in your life.  You can take the path to choosing your substrate.

Homo economicus eunomicus vs Homo eunomicus economicus: Which Comes First, Economic Wealth or Social Well-being?

In defining happiness, two ends of a continuum have emerged, providing completely different exemplars of and pathways to happiness.  One defines happiness by economic wealth, the other by overall wellbeing.

The Homo economicus eunomicus hypotheis assumes (1) scarcity and (2) needing to engage the purely rational being.  With success at basic resource needs (economicus) comes relational wellbeing (eunomicus).  This is global aid’s developmental and neoclassical organizational model. Economic wealth leads to wellbeing, so wellbeing is only found through higher GDP.  This framing leads to a GDP-based scaling of economic wealth, human development, and well-being, with the higher-GDP countries paving the way to models of greater success.  Copy the wealthy, and you too will have wealth, health, and well-being.

The Homo eunomicus economicus hypothesis assumes (1) abundance in relationship and (2) engaging purposeful energy. With success at basic relational needs (eunomicus) comes resource impact (economicus).  Wellbeing leads to higher economic impact.  This framing leads to subjective estimates of steady traits and transitory states of psycho-social well-being, with objective estimates of economic development and physical health.  High-well-being groups show up all over the globe. Identify local examples of health, and well-being, and learn with them—they have already figured out how to contextualize success.

Initial data from a global survey in 125 countries and fieldwork in 35 shows social topographic hotspots everywhere (Homo eunomicus economicus hypothesis), as compared to the global map of economic wealth (Homo economicus eunomicus hypothesis). What you can see, in your own experience, in framing humanity as Homo economicus eunomicus vs Homo eunomicus economicus: which comes first, economic wealth or social well-being?

If You Had the Time, Could You? — Recommended Readings

Barbour, Julian. The End of Time: The Next Revolution in Physics. New York: Oxford University Press, 2001.

Carroll, Sean. From Eternity to Here: The Quest for the Ultimate Theory of Time. New York: Dutton, 2016.

Skow, Bradford. Objective Becoming. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press, 2015.

If I had the time, I would…  How would you complete the sentence?  Why does it seem like time can go by very slowly, at times, and sometimes it can go by very quickly?  How do we get lost in time?  How can we have such different experiences, and often different from others having the same experience, with this thing we call time?  What is it?

The short answer is that nobody knows.  What time is and why it exists have perplexed people for as long as people have asked questions.  We know that we can measure it.  Until we can’t, because it is relative to the observer, as Einstein taught.  At least we know it exists.  Until we don’t, as physicists have taught us.  So, what do we experience, why do we experience it, and is this experience useful?  Or does this experience mislead us?  In these recommended readings, two physicists and a philosopher explore these questions.

MIT philosophy professor Bradford Skow guides us through frameworks that describe our experience of time with the block universe and moving spotlight theories.  These theories provide possible ways of understanding, robustly, what it means to experience the passage of time.  Is time moving, or are we moving?  Is there one time or branching time?  Why does time seem to speed up or slow down?  Professor Skow invites us to explore the rigor of the underlying philosophical claims that these frameworks bring to these questions about our experience.

Physicist Julian Barbour invites us to explore time as a series or set of “nows,” where “time is nothing but change…change is the measure of time, not time the measure of change” (p2).  How can we understand our experience of time, if “time does not exist at all, and..motion itself is pure illusion” (p4)?  Building on Einstein and Mach, Barbour suggests that “The proper way to think about motion [change in space over time] is that the universe as a whole moves from one ‘place’ to another ‘place’, where ‘place’ means a relative arrangement, or configuration, of the complete universe…the universe…does not move in absolute space, it moves from one configuration to another…History is the passage of the universe through a unique sequence of states” (p69).

Cal Tech professor of physics Sean Carroll provides a relatively user-friendly exploration of the physics of the arrow of time, through an understanding of entropy, Einstein’s special and general relativity, quantum theory, and black holes.

For me these readings have opened up my awareness to what I am experiencing when I think it is time.  Seeing choice points, choices that otherwise I tend to lose in time.

What Did We Know About What Is Real in 1929? — Recommended Reading

Eddington, Arthur Stanley. The Nature of the Physical World. New York: The Macmillan Company, 1929.

In a set of lectures, given in 1927, astronomer Arthur Eddington described an emerging understanding of what was known, at the time, about what was real–the nature of the physical world.  Eddington’s journey to the west coast of Africa to observe the 1919 solar eclipse provided initial proof for Albert Einstein’s theory of general relativity.  One of the first in the English-speaking world to begin to see the new picture of reality suggested by Einstein’s work and the emerging work in quantum theory, Eddington used his ability to explain very difficult concepts and mathematics in simple analogies, without losing the rigor of the shift in perspective.

In this very accessible set of lectures, Eddington explores the new reality, where there is simultaneously perceived forms that extend over space and time and nothing there.  He walks us through the framing and consequences of special relativity, general relativity, matter, space, time, entropy, gravity, and quantum.  He then explores what this shift in perception of what is real in nature means for consciousness.  While many scientists in the 20th century began to define reality as only that which is physically observable, Eddington who worked with the people who initiated the physics revolution suggested that the physicist is describing some dimensions of reality and the explorers of consciousness are describing other dimensions, of the same reality.

Having read dozens of books on these topics, I find this to be the best entry point into these difficult topics.  I now have a much clearer map with which to enter this exploration, for which I am grateful to an astronomer from ninety years ago.

 

Great Places to Work or Great Spaces to Shine? — Recommended Readings

Loehr, Jim, and Tony Schwartz. The Power of Full Engagement: Managing Energy, Not Time, Is the Key to High Performance and Personal Renewal. New York: Free Press, 2003.

Mankins, Michael, and Eric Garton. Time Talent Energy: Overcome Organizational Drag and Unleash Your Team’s Productive Power. Boston: Harvard Business Review Press, 2017.

Zak, Paul J. Trust Factor: The Science of Creating High-Performance Companies. New York: American Management Association, 2017.

Work.  A word people use a lot, which means different things.  Maybe they are different.  In worker-employer relations, work is the labor power–the work done per unit of time–that the laborer sells to the employer, who applies that work to getting something done. In thermodynamics, work is the amount of energy transferred from one system to another.  In physics, work is the application of a force over a distance, transferring energy from one place to another, or one form to another.  The word “work” comes from the PIE *werg-o-, suffixed form of root *werg- “to do.”  Maybe they aren’t different.  The common thread of these perspectives then might be work as doing something, setting something in motion.  That seems straightforward.  We work.

Work is measured in energy terms.  Compensation is measured in energy terms.  Common terms for measuring energy include metric joules, British Thermal Units, kilowatt-hours, and calories.  This suggests that work is measured in the energy we bring to the labor we apply over a period of time, measured in some form of joules or calories.  The word calorie comes from the Latin calor for heat.  We give our calorie energy to our employer’s activity in exchange for money with which we pay for the calories that nourish us (food) or for the protection from excessive waste of our heat energy (shelter and clothing), which are both defined as our basic human needs.

It is nice when work is pleasant and engaging, though recent global surveys show that work is not pleasant for most people.  Maybe part of the reason so many people around the world are disengaged at work is because of the way we define the very activity.  Maybe the problem is that it is seen as work.  The labor contract pays me for my work, my energy, my calories applied for a period of time.  What if, instead, we saw that I was invited to contribute my creative expression towards a deeper shared purpose, integrating my head (thoughts), heart (passions and relationships), and hands (will, intention, and action).  The unit of measure might then be the creative energy that flows through and from me–lumens–the light we see in the creativity of another’s expression.  These recommended readings explore this other worldview, where creative people most express their talents in the form of energy when fully engaged in spaces of trust.

Expressing lumens energy in terms of calorie energy, to make it easier for business leaders to apply, management consultants Michael Mankins and Eric Garton find that, “talented people show up for work every day, but then something happens and they can’t get as much done as they believe they could or should.  We think of that something as organizational drag, a collection of institutional factors that interfere with productivity yet somehow go unaddressed.  Organizational drag slows things down, decreasing output and raising costs.  Organizational drag saps energy and drains the human spirit…While the level varies, nearly every company we’ve studied loses a significant portion of its workforce’s productive capacity to drag” (p12).

Psychologist Jim Loehr and journalist Tony Schwartz suggest that, “The ultimate measure of our lives is not how much time we spend on the planet, but rather how much energy we invest in the time that we have…We have far more control over our energy than we ordinarily realize.  The number of hours in a day is fixed, but the quantity and quality of energy available to us is not.  It is our most precious resource.  The more we take responsibility for the energy we bring to the world, the more empowered and productive we become…Human beings are complex energy systems, and full engagement is not simply one-dimensional…To be fully engaged, we must be physically energized, emotionally connected, mentally focus and spiritually aligned with a purpose beyond our immediate self-interest” (pp4,5,9).

Neureconomist Paul J. Zak finds that, “Managing people as human resources to be exploited for maximum gain produced workplaces that confirmed economists’ claims that work provides disutility.  Or, in the vernacular: Work is a drag.  Except sometimes it wasn’t.  There are organizations in which employees love what they do, where they are satisfied professionally and personally by their work…You have humans at work, not machines…It turns out that both trust and purpose activate regions of the brain that motivate cooperation with others, reinforcing behaviors essential to meeting organizational goals…Trust acts as an economic lubricant, reducing the frictions inherent in economic activity” (pp4,5, 10,11).  “A Deloitte/Harris Poll shows there is a serious worldwide Purpose deficit.  Sixty-eight percent of employees and 66 percent of executives said that their organizations do little to create a culture of Purpose” (p175).

While we would prefer to spend our time in great places to work than being disengaged in awful places to work, it seems that we would far prefer to fully engage our creativity in spaces of trust, great spaces to shine.  Which do you prefer?  It is a choice.

Huge Hygge — Recommended Reading

Russell, Helen. The Year of Living Danishly: Uncovering the Secrets of the World’s Happiest Country. London: Icon Books, 2015.

Hygge.  Danish for something cozy, charming, or special.  It is also the art of creating intimacy.   Author Helen Russell explores how hygge might be one of the secrets of Denmark’s perennial position in the top ranks of the happiest countries.  To understand her experience, over a year-long journey of living in Denmark, she shares many funny anecdotes of her daily life, and she uses her journalistic skills to meet and interview Danish experts in the many aspects of daily life that she explores.

She uncovers widespread attention to the environment one creates in one’s home, to being comfortable on one’s own, to being honest with and supportive of others, to respecting and supporting the many contributions people can make to society, to the creative process and getting feedback about what one is learning, and to celebrating the creativity that is everywhere, if one looks.  In ecosynomics terms, these are co-hosting the five primary relationships.  The global Agreements Health Check survey (from 124 countries) shows that as people get better at co-hosting the five primary relationships, they experience greater vibrancy, more hygge.  I highly recommend this fun, well written discovery of the secrets of living vibrantly every day, even where it is very cold.

Confusing Unison, Harmony, and High Creativity

Recent studies suggest that too much harmony or collaboration is bad, killing creativity and value-generation.  They find that too much time spent agreeing with everybody else and minimizing differences leads to lower creativity and innovation.  While they might be right, I suggest they are confusing interacting in unison with interacting in harmony.

Unison means one sound.  Monophony.  This is where everyone makes the sound, the same note.  All the same.

Harmony means an agreement of sounds.  Polyphony.  This is where everyone makes different sounds, with different notes, that combine in a specific way.

It seems to me that the studies are criticizing too much unison and too much submission.  Too much process focused on getting everybody to the lower common denominator, where they can find something that they all agree on, and then submitting to someone else’s will, in honor of the group’s health, over-processing everything.  Unison and submission lead to people shutting down their creativity, their insights into new, unique contributions they can make towards the health of the group, and the others, and themselves.

It seems to me that the studies are then suggesting that people need to find ways to efficiently bring out their best, unique contributions, together, in a way that creates new value for those participating and for those who are recipients of the efforts.  These are the definitions of harmonizing and collaborating.  Bringing out the best of each other’s unique contributions (what makes us each different), each other’s own note, in a highly efficient way that generates something new.  To do this, efficiently and effectively, requires listening to one’s own voice, to the other’s voice, and to the resulting harmonic for the whole, continuously improving all three.  Not doing so is a waste of time.  So maybe the recent studies mean to say (1) that people are mislabeling harmony and collaboration [they mean unison and submission] and (2) that too little harmony and collaboration is bad, killing creativity and value-generation.  Maybe.

Honing Our Axiology of Homo lumens — Recommended Readings

Locke, John. An Essay Concerning Human Understanding. New York: Penguin Books, 2004. 1689.

Kant, Immanuel. The Metaphysics of Morals. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2007. 1797.

Lewin, Kurt. Principles of Topological Psychology. New York: McGraw-Hill Book Company, 1936.

Bauman, Zygmunt. Liquid Modernity. Malden, MA: Blackwell Publishers, 2000.

Bartow, Jef. Resolving the Mysteries of Human Consciousness: Volume II God, Man and the Dancing Universe. Sarasota, FL: New Paradigm Publishing, 2016.

What is a human being?  What does it mean to be a human being?  How do we know?  How do we know when human actions are good, beautiful, or true?  Big questions.  Questions the answers to which guide what human beings do–everyone, everywhere, everyday–whether they are aware of this guidance or not.  If these questions so deeply and continuously impact everything, maybe it would be good to be aware of what they are, who is asking then, what answers people are coming up with, and how those answers impact each of us.  Maybe.

The above books, in chronological order, provided a highly recommended excursion through the development of a way of looking at these big questions.  In his political philosophy, Locke provides an early view, in the 1600s, of human beings capable of making healthy decisions on their own, without divine guidance from the king or church.  Locke’s Essay provides the moral-philosophical foundations of this view of the human being–what a human is, how humans understand the world, and how this knowledge influences what humans are capable of deciding.

Kant provides a very logical structure, in the 1700s, for understanding what a human being should do, based on reason, an expression at the end of the age of enlightenment, furthering the idea that human beings are completely capable of developing their own moral philosophy.  Kant explores, through reason, the emerging terms of freedom, the rights and duties of people and of the state, and their relationship to the law.

Lewin applies the emerging concepts of energy fields and topology in the early 1900s to the behavior of human beings, finding that there is both the inner experience and an outer structure or environment, which mutually influence each other, and, to a great part, influence the behavior of the human being.  The human being has its own internal processes and is influenced by and influences its external environment, a region around it, and this interplay influences the human’s behavior.  This takes the purely rational human or the purely influenced human and blends them.

Bauman in the new millennium brings the fluid nature of reality into the question of what humans are and what they are capable of, finding that both the descriptions of humans and the structures that support them are based on static, stable frameworks, whereas reality is fluid, and so should be the understanding of humanity and structures of the individual, work and the community.

Bartow brings back the questions of long ago to today, developing a picture of the human as the natural manifestation of spirit, conscious and unconscious of the reality the human being interacts with and as part of.   This framework blends what is known from modern science and the wisdom traditions about what makes up reality and the role of human beings in it.

Building on the foundations placed by the lines of this evolution of thought about human beings, we are developing today a picture of the human being, of Homo lumensas a being full of potential, a potential that the human being can choose to manifest.  Homo lumens experiences value in life through the vibrancy of five primary relationships (self, other, group, nature, spirit).  We know this from our own experience.  We can also see, from our own experience, which we can validate with external evidence, how well our agreements support the experience and outcomes we want from our efforts together.   We see that most of these choices are unconsciously accepted, and they can be more consciously chosen.  The start of a moral philosophy based on the abundance of potential in humans and nature, towards a more vibrant experience in more harmonic interactions that lead to far more interesting experiences and far more impactful and resilient social forms.  

While these are challenging reads, they are well worth the effort, to see where we have come from in our understanding of being human, where we are now, and where we might be heading.  Honing our axiology of what we are, and how we can live the life available to us.

2 Gifts We Gave Ourselves: Triggers and Signals

As Homo lumens you experience separation when your attention is focused on perceiving things as nouns.  You are separate from it.  The same happens when your attention focuses on perceiving change as verbs.  This separation from, being apart from it, allows you to experience it.  This separation, of being apart from the 10D reality, in a specific, lower-dimensional way, enables you as Homo lumens to be able (a) to notice triggers and signals, and (b) to give intentional attention to triggers and signals.  Two gifts.

Triggers, from any of your energy fields–your thinking, your feeling, your willing, your sensory perception–bring your attention to the choices, within the context of sensing and of your higher purpose, as reflected to your awareness.  The human system is designed to pay attention to the trigger, meaning to give it attention, then widen attention to your other energy fields to see what perspectives or textures they add.  You can start with any trigger (such as your feeling), noticing the trigger within any energy field, expanding to include the other energy fields (such as your thinking, willing, and sensing).

Signals are a process for working with the information within each energy field, across them, and as an integrated whole.  As Homo lumens you are designed to pay attention to context.  Since, out of context, the literally-infinite amount of information present at any instant forms nothing useful within (it does not in-form), as Homo lumens you start with the deeper shared purpose, which provides coherence to your awareness, then you look to the witness (to see experience and outcomes), to see, of what I know, what is available in this context?

Triggers and signals.  Something is off (triggers).  An integrated awareness (signals).  Two gifts.  Gifts you gave yourself.

From I Interact to We Interact

I have been in many conversations recently about how we, as Homo lumens, experience higher dimensions, in what often seem to be paradoxical ways.  As we explored our many different experiences in these realms, and how we interpreted them, I started to see another pattern.  This world that includes higher dimensions seems to be real.  We all describe our experience of it in many ways.  Whether with my kids, my wife, in the park, hearing about a friend’s beautiful experience with the hospital staff.  I experience the radiance the experience gives off.  I experience the pull to the experience.  I experience myself as part of and a part from the experience.  All at the same time.

If I experience this, then in some way it is real.  At least to me.  If you experience it as well, then maybe it is real in another way.  What if this world made of higher dimensions–higher than the one to four dimensions we normally perceive–is real, and it is mine and yours and ours?

This brings up, for me, the observation from psychology that much of what I see in the world is a projection of what I am seeing internally.  I am projecting my internal movie onto an external screen, which might look like you, and I am saying that the projection is real.  In this case, is the higher-dimensional reality where I am experiencing the push, the pull, being apart from and a part of my reality, your reality, or our reality?  It would be dangerous to assume that what I experience as your radiance and your pull is shared.  It would be healthy if you too experience the radiance toward me and the pull towards you.  It would be pathological if I believe you are radiating towards me and attracting me, and you do not.  Can I know which it is?  I think so.

Three simple observations might let me know whether this experience is healthy or pathological, only mine or shared.  First, when I experience higher dimensions, in my world, I simultaneously experience being in its radiance and its pull, apart from it and a part of it.  In my world, the one I experience, it is real.  Second, I cannot have your experience of higher dimensions.  I can be with you with your experience, but I cannot embody it.  That is your sovereignty, by design.  Third, I can know with you whether you are also having the shared experience of the same higher-dimensional essence.  I feel pulled to be part of this particular school community, and so do you. We are both part of a shared experience, and we can know this through our sharing.

So, I can know my reality of the push, of the pull, of being apart from, and of being a part of.  I can be with you with your experience of the same.  You and I can be in a shared experience together.  We can both experience the energy radiating from the experience and the pull of the deeper purpose we share.

When I experience this world within me alone, I interact with it.  When you experience this world, and I experience this world, with you, we experience it together: we interact.  We interact with the experience together.  I experience this interaction in my separateness from–as apart from–and in my connection with–as a part of.  So do you.  And when we interact, I experience that I need your perspective of the experience to complete what I can experience of our interaction together.  I need you to be different and relevant in this shared experience, so that we can interact in this deeper shared purpose, bringing the best uniqueness we each have.  If we do not each experience our own apartness from, then it would be more difficult to realize that we each have a unique experience of the push and the pull.  We can then choose to contribute our apartness from as a part of.

That we experience higher-dimensional experiences through our ordinary awareness in fewer dimensions then seems to be a gift.  This allows me to experience more directly my apartness from, my unique experience of the push and the pull, of what the attraction to and the partness of mean to me and to my unique gifts.  I can then consciously choose to be a part of the experience, to contribute myself.  I become a part of it, one with it.  When we each do that, we come together, we interact, and we create a stronger agreements field, through our conscious choice together.  We can co-host this experience together.  We can shift from I interact with the experience to we interact with the experience, and a much richer world can open up with us.