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Why This Site
While there is considerable material invoking the term "sustainability", particularly in the past few years, there are several issues with the situation.
While many people are into 'green building', 'green business', 'green cars' etc., a contemplating person cannot but come away wondering why does so much of this 'green business' seem to be primarily about two things: 1) the philosophy of green environmentalism, and 2) business as usual in the name of the color 'green'. Why this rampant 'green frenzy' is unlikely to stop or reverse the current trend to ecological disaster, planet-wide may become clear if we just stop all the 'frenzy' for a moment and consider a broader picture.
Right now, at this time, the majority of those responsible for spewing CO2 into the atmosphere, for polluting our air, water and soil are somewhat ignorant of what they are doing, or commanding to be done on their behalf. On the one hand it is us; it is anyone participating in the global economic system, green or otherwise. On the other hand, a great deal of destruction is being done by people who are too desperate to care about this 'green philosophy' - they need food for their children, TODAY. And, at least in the USA, something like 1/2 of the citizenry are simply not on board with any real change of plans. The Climate Change Treaty in Copenhagen was emasculated by these OTHER PEOPLE. So what is the deal - why is it that these OTHER PEOPLE just don't understand these ALMGHTY GREEN PRINCIPLES? What is going on? Why do so many people simply not think the way I/We/You think they should? Don't they understand how important this is? What is going on? The frenzy state the above text points to will not solve the problem, never mind getting a grip on actually understanding the full dynamic of the situation. The green frenzy state is too busy shrieking at the world. The world that doesn't seem to 'get it'. Those of us who appreciate the magnitude of this and other important sustainability related issues will need to operate with a different toolkit than the 'green shreik' — not only is it of paramount importance that we empower ourselves to be more effective, our sanity is important too. There is enough insanity in the world.
Another main issue, that some are actually addressing, especially in the past few years, is that the rampant green eco frenzy approach can actually shut down economy; it can really interfere with having enough cash flow to do anything. Forget about saving the world. Without a working economy, very little of anything can get done. This has been the issue in Germany in the past few years - the 'green frenzy' got elected, but then crashed the economy. Picking up the pieces has been quite a challenge, ultimately not very good for the 'green frenzy' people's plans, because there is a tendency for backlash. This whole dynamic will be discussed elsewhere - but essentially you have people who don't understand the details of national economy trying to run an economy, and even if their idealism is well placed, there is a need for some greater understanding, some greater integration. Without a more sophisticated model, even Germany cannot do its part to save the world.
This site is about presenting first, the idea that there can be a broader view, one that doesn't involve culture wars. Secondly, and hopefully to some value, this site is presenting a systematic way to study, understand and also work with a broader framework of understanding. A framework of understanding that incorporates an understanding of human cultural evolution, including the 'green' movement. With better conceptual tools, perhaps the good effort going toward 'saving the planet' can be put to more effective use. It is important not only to have a good picture about where we should be headed toward, but also, for those of us conspiring to convince others to make lifestyle and other changes on behalf of all future generations, it can be quite helpful to understand the communication codes that others will actually understand, to understand the limitations of our and their world views, to attempt to be more holistic in our thinking, so the little things, like false thinking, are less troublesome.
An attempt is going to be made, in writing on this site to keep the language accessible. Effort will be made to avoid creating a baroque tapestry of new terms. While some of the concepts will be new to many folks trolling around the site, efforts will be made here to keep the materials within established zones of discussion. For example, while Ken Wilber has now created a somewhat different color scheme in working with the Spiral Dynamics model, we will here present the Spiral Dynamics model in accordance with the color scheme initially presented by Beck and Cowan (Spiral Dynamics 1996 - paperback 2005), which arguably is the one that most people who know of the model, are acquanted with. Most of what needs to be said, can be discussed within the common palette of the English language.
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This site has been a project undertaken over many years, going back to 1996 and before, including securing the URL at the dawn of the internet itself. Hence why one person who has now studied the concepts around the term sustainability over many years, can offer this particular information on this particular place and time. It has been a labor of love, built as time allowed, while life went forward, while the Solstice Institute flourished in other directions, and recently, during a personal journey into the realm of Vedic science, and Buddhist and Advaitic wisdom. Coming full circle, it has been found to be a project worth continuing.
Study of the meaning of sustainability in a deeper context, ultimately led to the realization that the issue is primarily a concern of human cultural evolution, and that ultimately, this relates to two universal aspects of the human experience, one of them being that we all ultimately have a sense of our spiritual nature, and that spiritual nature relates to a yearning to somehow be better, to improve, to find a feeling of the Divine in our lives.
As well, early in the very early days of the internet, I worked as the campaign coordinator for the Boulder Hub of a project called Campaign for the Earth, which was based at least in part on the work of Barbara Marx Hubbard. In 1992 there really wasn't an internet as we know it now. There were no web browsers like we have today. There was e-mail, however, and discussions about sustainability raged on, in a format called a 'list serve', and one in particular called sustain-L, which I think might have been focalized out of Cornell. Anyway, what I discovered to my amazement, while organizing the content of these early on-line discussions, was that all the discussion seemed to fall into 12 neat catagories, which closely, but not exactly, approximated Barbara's campaign areas. So from these sources, I developed the 12 Sectors of Sustainable Culture, which came, over time to be called "the Seed Logos".
After initially developing the twelve fold aspect of the Seed Logos in 1996, following a curiosity about how cultural evolution, on an individual level, typically occurs on an accelerated rate through real spiritual transformation, I proceeded over some years to develop the underlying spiritual framework, based on universal sacred geometry principles, which informs which sectors of the Seed Logos logically belong at which point on a 12 pointed star. A detailed explanation of this underlying sacred geometry for the Seed Logos is available HERE. Curiously, the 12 pointed star was developed in parallel with the 12 sectors, and in one sudden instant, the Seed Logos was born when the 12 sectors were placed into positions on the star, which was originally more like a 6 pointed star. A historical artifact, a frame-based web template circa 1997 can be viewed, if there is interest. . .
Twelve sectors later came to be used in Barbara Marx Hubbard's on-line cocreative web project, and Marshall Lefferts used a very similar 12 sector arrangement as the Seed Logos in the "Peace Room" on that site (2001). Apparently there had been, somehow, some parallel developments in thinking, to a degree that I found a bit astounding. Actually, at one point I talked him into using the same arrangement, but the 'wheel' was tilted so that a junction, not a sector would be at the 12:00 position. We went back and forth on Sector 8, however. I never really could accept that "Communication and Media" covered the whole story, though I did eventually drop the phrase "architecture and land use planning" in favor of the "Communication and Planning" that is now offered on this website today. My understanding is that the 'wheel of co-creative culture' morphed during these interactions, and the 'Twelve Sector" terminology, now populating the "Thrive" materials (2012), may have originated from the Seed Logos. While the same arrangement of the Sectors was only briefly presented on the Peace Room Website, some Seed Logos ideas thus may have migrated, without credit given, into the ongoing presentation by Barbara and her associates.
Flash forward to 2012: While much of the thrust of the "Thrive" materials is good: eg: promoting human cultural evolution toward greater local autonomy, more democratic and financial opportunities, supporting individual evolution and creativity, etc there are certain premises and ideologies woven into these materials that don't for me don't pass the my 'sniff test'. No real working zero point energy system has yet been (or may ever be) credibly presented; the UFO people have yet to produce anything convincing beyond heresay; a focus on individual over group welfare is not entirely appropriate to address our biggest challenges, and I stand with the scientific community on what may be the biggest challenge of our day: Global Warming is probably the largest short and long term challenge to human civilization, unless we get into WW III or there is some other acute catastrophic event like a global airborne ebola epidemic, etc. There is no connection between the Thrive material and this project, other than the common use of a "Twelve Sectors" concept. It is probably good that some worthwhile principles have been stirred into the mix of "Thrive", except that in the melange, some people may be misled; hence the disclaimer letter of disassociation by John Robbins and nine others who are served up on that slick sci-fi platter. While there is a certain parallel of values and principles, a great effort will be made here to avoid a certain 'new age' fluffiness, which might be described as requiring a full suspension of disbelief and critical thinking. Please, everyone: disbelieve until you are properly convinced, ideally with direct experience! Yes, do think critically! The emerging movement to transform human society needs open hearts, but also requires dupe-resistant minds. Here be charletans. Enduring systems will emerge after rigorous testing, hard dialogue and probably through incremental improvement. This is how we build a real consensus, which will bring us Toward a Culture of Sustainability, and a world that truly works for everyone.
After all this time, and travelling to India initially in 2002, and going deeply into states of meditation and ultimately studying orthodox Tantric philosophy, I have come to conclude that this star correlates closely with the ancient Vedic philosophy; to get there I had to go into all the esoteric wisdom I could find, mostly Western, and discern what seemed universal and true in these bits of philosophy. The Vedic source may indeed have been revealed during this inquiry, but it was quite a journey, a personal spiritual inquiry to be sure. And now, having no need to do anything, this work still seems germaine, worth bringing into some new light, to offer the world.
Because this world needs all the help grappling with the topic of Global Sustainability it can get.
A later insight was that the system of understanding Social Development, called Spiral Dynamics, with its 8 or more levels of human cultural development, it fits very well with the Seed Logos. Hence the main thrust of this website, the presentation of a model we are calling here, "The Matrix" or 8L-12S. To simplify the discussion of Spiral Dynamics with its 3 tiers, and pay homage to the contributions of Ken Wilber, I am suggesting the use of 9 Levels, which allows for the gesture of two levels at the third, tier, one individual and one collective. Thus 9 levels x 12 sectors = 108 cells of THE MATRIX. A tenth level of the esoteric formation is so rarefied, it is in fact very much the object of attention approached by one who is fingering the 108 rosary beads. . .
February 2010, revised 2012
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In the spirit of cultivating language to address some of the issues around the term "sustainability", initial efforts, going back to 1996 included coining the term "sustainable culture". This works well to distinguish from the term sustainability as it has been co-opted by politicians, corporations and many others, perhaps most notably the World Bank with the term "sustainable development" which has come to have numerous meanings. In more recent years, the term "sustainable culture" has been determined to have its own issue, notably that it could refer to any cultural pattern that perpetuates itself, which is not really the intended meaning. Thus the term now being used wherever convenient, is now "A Culture of Sustainability". The challenge is that the word count keeps increasing, so please do bear with, fair reader, all these terms are intended on this site, to be interchangeable:
Culture of Sustainability
This site is specifically created and maintained for the purpose of promoting thought, discussion and advancement of human society toward a Culture of Sustainability. Therefore, Fair Use, an emerging body of legal understanding about use of materials placed into the public realm is invoked. While Varadaan retains full copyright to the material, as may be indicated at the bottom of a given web page, permission is granted for limited use (one time) for noncommercial purposes, so long as the copyright mark is maintained and credit for source is provided in the presentation context (see terms, below).
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