Daniel Pinchbeck blogs

A collection of blogs from US writer Daniel Pinchbeck

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by Campfire Voice
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Created on 15 Dec 2018

"To realie the latent potential of our digital communications networks, we would build decentralized, peer-to-peer systems designed to be perpetually evolving, supporting social coordination, making easy and hyper-efficient to share skills and resources. Politically, we would establish something like a functional anarchy, based on nonviolent Satyagraha principles, to supersede the current system of military and corporate control. New social technologies would train people to make effective decisions together, based on consensus methods as well as ongoing referendums." 

As a journalist, I have written for Esquire, The New York Times Magazine, the Village Voice, Rolling Stone, etcetera. I am currently the editorial director of the Evolver Project (www.evolver.net). 

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Sat, 12/15/2018
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What is authentic spirituality?

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An interesting question to consider: What is authentic spirituality?

I have many friends who consider themselves to be somehow "spiritual" or "shamanic." They regularly meditate, do yoga, attend sound healings, drink ayahuasca, etc. They profess a great interest in traditional cultures and medicines. They go to retreats in Bali, Ashrams in India, ceremonies in Peru, etc. Also Burning Man etc. There is a whole style of self-presentation that goes with this Neo-spiritual culture - an aesthetic.

I feel that the case could be made that, beyond a certain level of self-care and inner evolution, too much of this stuff actually becomes something that really isn't "spiritual" at all - I don't know exactly what it becomes. In a sense, a kind of escapism? A kind of narcissism? A sophisticated form of entertainment? It generally expresses a certain level of privilege. I recognize this "Neo-spiritual" culture is better than the mainstream culture - better than continuing to go to nightclubs with bottle service, etc. I also recognize that many people truly benefit and become healthier and stronger from exploring these practices.

Increasingly, I wonder if the proof of "spirituality" is one's willingness to risk and sacrifice one's self for others (for humanity in general, as well as for protecting the natural world) and for a greater cause? I am also feeling that this is the only path that gives a human being dignity and makes them worthy of respect. It is easy to feel at peace while meditating on a beach in Tulum. Try doing it in the midst of a nonviolent direct action designed to force governments to move faster on climate change. We prove our freedom by making a stand against this destructive system.

Perhaps it would be different if we were at another time in the history of our species. Perhaps in the future, as Oscar Wilde put it, we can all focus on "cultivated leisure," in a post-capitalist utopia where the machines handle the drudgery while we garden, make art and make love? But right now, we actually are at a critical juncture where our future is at risk. I think we all must fear for the adult lives of children growing up today. We could even reasonably fear for our own futures, when we consider the mounting evidence that warming can accelerate exponentially, past certain tipping points.

I think the current movement that is now forming to force governments to orchestrate a mass climate mobilization (on the level of what happened in World War Two) provides a great opportunity, in other words, to discover if one's spirituality is truly authentic or just a kind of phoney badge of membership in an elite club. Are you truly at peace? Can you meditate through an emergency?


 

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Vicki Burke

Absolutely agree. We no longer have the luxury of just sitting and meditating and calling yourself 'spiritual'. It has its place as finding inner peace will help find peace in what we do and the way we do it. But it is time to get out and do the work; time to make a stand in the name of peace.