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When fiction fails reality rises

It's rare that I laugh out loud while reading a column in the New York Times — even those ones meant to be funny — but this one had me spitting out my coffee.

Perhaps I like it so much because it is written in a form that is shared by a potent integral spiritual practice: the practice of taking oneself out of context, of waking up to your life in any moment as if you had just discovered yourself where you are, with no past or future. This simple practice presses “pause” your habitual mind and its perpetual story. The result: you suddenly find yourself with more insight in a more vivid world.

Not sure what I'm talking about? Read this column and see how you feel at the end.


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President Pants on Fire

My father gets apoplectic when politicians proclaim beliefs or make policies that fly in the face of reason. (He went gray very early). I’ve explained to him that not everyone sees the world through a rational lens. At some stages of development, facts carry less weight than beliefs. Like many Americans (70%!) some members of my family still think that Saddam Hussein was responsible for 9/11 because it fits their belief system. It justifies a bloody fiasco in Iraq and legitimizes the foreign policy of President Bush, whom they voted for.  

This infographic, assembled by Politifact and published in the NYTimes, supports the notion that conservative politicians rely more heavily on beliefs than on facts. This doesn’t make them bad people, but it may argue that they are unsuitable for leadership positions in rational systems (for example, President of the United States of America in the year 2016).

A loose relationship with reality probably looks a bit different at each stage (for example, at orange, rational, falsehoods are probably more about “spin”--a form of propaganda).  

–Written by Brett Walker

If graph is small, click to enlarge.


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“My name’s Blurryface, and I care what you think” – The 20-somethings’ lament

The song “Stressed Out” by twenty one pilots really captures the angst and self-rumination (always a bad combination) of today's postmodern 20-somethings.

These young folks are, after all, pioneering a distinct new stage on the road to adulthood, emerging adulthood, which is explored in a terrific piece in the New York Times, What Is It About 20-Somethings?:

The traditional cycle seems to have gone off course, as young people remain un­tethered to romantic partners or to permanent homes, going back to school for lack of better options, traveling, avoiding commitments, competing ferociously for unpaid internships or temporary (and often grueling) Teach for America jobs, forestalling the beginning of adult life.

Emerging adulthood is similar to the advent of adolescence at the beginning of the 20th century, when humanity became rich and sophisticated enough to accommodate, indeed require, a new life stage between childhood and adulthood.

And once again life expands, which makes further sense when we consider that today’s young people will likely live well into their 100’s.

But still ... it’s stressful being a grown man on a tricycle.

Read the lyrics to "Stressed Out" by twenty one pilots.


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We’re getting better at being human beings. Today’s teens are proof.
40 years ago: our first glimpse of a whole-planet, worldcentric POV

Forty years ago today, little TIROS-1, the first weather satellite, was launched into space aboard a rocket that took off from Cape Canaveral, Florida. It was a game-changer for meteorology. At the time we were still relying on a patchy network of buoys and weather stations. This type of satellite is what eventually allowed the five-day forecast, which we take for granted today.

"From its vantage point 400 miles up,” the NYTimes writes, "the satellite let forecasters track wide cloud movements for the first time.” Within ten days it sent back pictures of a typhoon swirling 1,000 miles off the coast of Australia.

We basically have thousands of eyes and ears orbiting the earth, looking back at us and our planet (2,271 to be precise). We use them not only for communication and navigation, but also to see natural and man-made changes in the earth, to monitor storms, and even to track poverty. This is the lower-right infrastructure of a worldcentric consciousness that is spreading like a virus in the other quadrants. It seems appropriate to take a minute and marvel at what we can do!

Chris Rock’s Oscar opener was supremely integral

If you haven’t yet seen Chris Rock’s opening monologue for the recent Academy Awards ceremony, check it out. It is a virtuoso performance of integral flex-flow consciousness. He inhabits perspective after perspective – black and white, boycotters and supporters – honoring each one’s piece of the truth and goring its sacred cows.

He’s very funny, brutal at times, but ultimately loving – and wise.  By the time he gets to the point where he calls for a re-examination of all human categories (“Think about it: There’s no real reason for there to be a man and a woman category in acting.”) I felt expanded and edified.  I think the people in the room did too. It was a lovely metabolization of a lot of the energetic stuck-points about racism, and a small act of liberation for all with ears to hear.

Here he is “going at it the right way.”

“Here’s the real question. The question everybody wants to know is: Is Hollywood racist?

You know, that’s a...you gotta go at that at the right way.

Is it burning-cross racist? No.

Is it fetch-me-some-lemonade racist? No. No, no, no.

It’s a different type of racist. That’s right. Is Hollywood racist? You’re damn right Hollywood is racist. But it ain’t that racist that you’ve grown accustomed to.

Hollywood is sorority racist.

It’s like, “We like you Rhonda, but you’re not a Kappa.”

That’s how Hollywood is.

But things are changing. Things are changing.”

Find the full transcript here.

Brett Andrew Walker

1971 – 2016

It is with great sadness that I share the news that our beloved brother, Brett Andrew Walker, passed away Thursday evening, June 9.

Brett’s warmth, intelligence, humor and plain goodness will be missed by all beings who knew and loved him.

The Daily Evolver podcast and blog will be on hiatus until further notice, as we contemplate a future without Brett’s essential creativity and life force.

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About integral theory

Integral theory is a school of philosophy that seeks to integrate all of human wisdom into a new, emergent worldview that is able to accommodate the gifts of all previous worldviews, including those which have been historically at odds: science and religion, eastern and western, and pre-modern, modern and post-modern.  Read more

About Jeff Salzman

I am an integralist, an evolutionary, and a public commentator who, swimming against the current of prevailing culture, is heartened by the state and future of things. It seems to me self-evident that life is animated by the power of evolution, inside and out, and that we are riding a geyser of emergence toward a sacred world. Read more

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