Do you believe in God?- Don’t you like that question?

So, do you believe in God? What would be YOUR answer to the question?  And what would it have been 10, 20, 30 or even 40 years ago?
Let’s assume for a moment that your answer is “no” right now. Many people in our western world would give that answer because they believe in rationality and science and not in the old man with the long beard sitting in the clouds or setting bushes in fire. Fair enough.

Not the right question to ask!

Probably still yesterday I would have answered similar to: “I don’t believe in God, but I am a spiritual person”. And, actually, I never have given a profound thought to the question, I just repeated what I heard others say and which seemed to suit me as well. Then I watched the following video – and I became aware of the inappropriateness of the question itself which is so commonly asked in all times and everywhere.

 

Jordan Peterson makes it very clear that not everyone gives the same meaning to objects or words. We all have our own ways of perception and interpretations of what we perceive. Nonetheless, this is not a completely arbitrary process and you can observe some patterns in the way people perceive the world.

The Evolution of GOD

When we talk about GOD, the development of the “image” of God and what people believed God to be and to do, you can read a very interesting book called “God 9.0”. The entity we consider “God” has changed in fundamental ways since the beginning of time and today we can envision “version 9.0” of what we connect with the word GOD. Read the book (you can get it HERE) and you will understand why religious wars have reigned on earth, why you yourself believed in the almighty God as a child if you grew up in a “religious” family and why some people are seeing the world in the same old way while you have lost your faith in God and, maybe, now you believe in energy, crystals, psychotherapy, science, atheism and what not.

So when Jordan Peterson doesn’t answer the question whether he believes in God but challenges it as meaningless, he exactly responds to the insight that the terms “God” and “believe” are absolutely unclear and need a much longer answer than “yes” or “no” in our evolved societies. There was a time when you were supposed to say “yes” or you were burnt on the pyre if you dared to have your own ideas about God, the Divine and the Sacred. This, unfortunately but understandably, is still the case in parts of the world, regarding religion or political belief systems.

Between God 2.0 and God 6.0 – that’s where the problems come from

Our western world has managed to, basically, step up to “God 6.0”, while other parts of the world are still between 2.0 and 4.0. Let us make sure that we keep up the development and go towards 7.0 and higher – instead of allowing terrorism, conservative security needs or liberal utopian ideas to crash that which we have already achieved. Let us not fall back into political purging of “others” through fascist or communist ideology, and let us overcome rationality as religion as well as New Age Pseudo Spirituality. Let us open our minds to ever more comprehensive and differentiated ways of seeing the world. Although the answers we can give will often be “I don’t know” (as Jordan P. is demonstrating with all his honesty in the above video), we are coming nearer and nearer to the truth – which is never merely yes or no!

How can you actualize your potential?

The term “potential” is used constantly in recent decades, understood with a desire to “unlock” it. Many people earn a lot of money by hooking people with courses or books. It doesn’t mean that those resources are necessarily bad, most likely they are not, but they don’t consider the prerequisites people need to truly reach before they can become able to step up to their potential.

 

What if parents don’t do their job?

Before introducing the Ted Talk by Dr.Jordan Peterson I want to briefly tell you my personal story about how one word of my parents decided upon my possibility to develop my potential or not: As a child and teenager, I sang in a choir and quite rapidly climbed up the levels. I liked singing a lot, but, as so often in that age, sometimes I would have preferred to hang out with friends instead of going to the regular appointments with the choir. One day I just didn’t want to go when my mother said: OK, but if you don’t go today you will never go again. Boom, splash, ugh. I had to decide and my decision would have consequences for which I would be responsible. I chose to go – and later I became a classical singer, a voice teacher, and therapist.

Children and young people need to learn to follow rules in order to later be able to become free of them again. They first need to adopt a system that works to figure out who they are and what is possible for them, for later be able to break free from the rules and develop their own ways. All developmental psychologists talk about that: we cannot skip levels of development. We cannot “allow” children to decide for themselves things which are too advanced for them – which was the mistake of the approach of the “anti-authoritarian education”.  A 4-year-old just cannot decide where to go best for holidays and a parent who thinks to give them equal part in the decision, or even have them decide alone, does not fulfil their task of guiding the young person, but tries to get out of their own responsibility for the welfare of the child – and their own, btw. Too!

Children want to know from grownups what the right ways of behaving are. They want to get to know the limits and boundaries which give them a safe space to experience themselves. In time they will push against these boundaries and expand them. But first, you need to have something to expand which is not complete chaos and uncertainty. And children need food for their minds and bodies in the sense that they need to be shown things, get acquainted with many realms of life without indoctrination, but just as an offer to taste and try out if they like it. A 6-year-old fervently demonstrating for political issues is abused quite as much as the one who is forced to decide about the family holidays. Indoctrination is as bad for the child’s development as is abandonment, whether physical, emotional …or educational.

 

Getting to know what we are really interested in needs inspiration and possibility.

We can develop our potential when we are deeply interested and drawn to something in our lives. If I hadn’t been drawn to singing – and then made responsible for pursuing it by my mother – I wouldn’t have discovered my abilities in that field. Many people today say they don’t like or cannot relate to classical music. If no one has ever given them the inspiration and the access to it, how can they know if they like it or not? What we don’t know, we cannot like.  How could we?

 Classical music

Kinder mit klassischen Instrumenten
Fotokredit Heinz Wagner from his article on the  Simon Bolivar Orchester visiting  Austria

 is by no means an ancient thing nor has it anything to do with higher social classes. An excellent example is the Simon Bolivar Symphony Orchestra from Venezuela which results from a dedicated person going into the slums of the big cities and teaching children a classical instrument. Learning the violin or the oboe is a very demanding job – and it has the potential to excite the souls and lead people to a potential which otherwise they never would have discovered. Visit their YouTube Channel here

 

What is your potential and how can you realize it?

Finally, now we’re coming to the talk of Dr.Jordan Peterson about how to think about potential and how to develop it. First of all, it is clear that your potential is something innate in YOU and specific to you. Sure, all humans have a certain potential in common, but if you have more regarding creativity or, let’s say, science, that is specific to you. You can learn and study also the things where you are not really gifted for and you will arrive at a certain level, but it will be very hard work and not very inspiring for you.

This is an indicator: something “comes to you easily” probably means that you have quite a potential for that thing and that your soul will be happy when you pursue it. It might not be easy for you for all sorts of reasons, especially for social-political reasons, but for you, that thing is real and gives meaning to your life. Without it, you would be latently unhappy and unfulfilled.

 

Not only transcend the past but include it!

I don’t want to transcribe the Ted Talk which Jordan Peterson has given and provided a good outline of his thinking. He is a very strong voice against the usurpation by the hardcore materialism, the beliefs of which include: everything is material, dead material, and everything else is illusory. As we know already from Integral theory, these ideas are on the bottom of the overall crisis of the world as the concept of reality is one sided and reductive and therefore cannot give an explanation, let alone pride guidelines for our lives. Jordan Peterson makes clear that “reality” is not what we have believed during the past hundreds of years and he shows ways how we can re-integrate into our present life what we have lost along the way.

Watch this inspiring talk with open ears and open hearts and consider that you can be part of the solution to the present problems when you are inclusive enough to reconsider the past and the core value of TRUTH.

 

Freedom of speech – freedom to use violence when you feel like the “victim”?

They behave, already grown up, like little children who scream to get the attention of others. Always the same phrases, insulting and blaming and using the power of loudspeakers to shut down who they don’t want to grant freedom of speech which they consider to belong exclusively to them as the eternal victims.

Blind to the own blind spots and contradictions

Woman reading in a book
What do we really learn in life to become responsible adults?

I am always amazed how sufficiently intelligent people can be so completely caught up in their contradictions, so unaware that they are doing themselves – massively – what they blame others for. How they, so easily, overstep the rules of society which holds them safe – and even forgives their adolescent blindness – to take as granted to themselves that which they are not inclined to allow others. How can people convince themselves to be right, with no exception and no discussion about it?

How can they proclaim and promote their violence against peaceful people, how would they enter into total war and try to provoke the other side to cease and play the role of the enemy? It is a dangerous game, not only for others, but also for themselves. The revolutionaries of the first hour rarely ever have been alive for long after their destructive victory!

Would you be able to handle such a situation?

This is what came to my mind when I watched the following video. It is loud – but scroll ahead when you have heard enough of the always same phrases and screams, the important part comes in the second half!

Dr.Jordan Peterson trying to speak at McMaster University

Please watch it and ask yourself: Would you have been able to respond to the chaos in a similar wise way as Dr.Peterson did? He has understood that opposing these blind forces only creates more of it.

So what can we do in the face of it? No wonder why other panel guests withdrew from the event because of the harassment. I surely wouldn’t be able to handle a similar situation, would you? Dr.Peterson was calm – and finally gathered the people who wanted to listen to him, somewhere outside the building, and answered their questions and gave them advice about how to meet similar situations in their lives.

This is a lesson in what it means to be an adult and a responsible person in the face of the chaos created willfully by others. This is what we more insightful people need to learn: get free from our triggers, bring our own shadow to light, and then BE THERE and face the situation without the primordial reactions flee, freeze or attack. Then we can be part of the solution, not of the problem!

We are called to stand up and say what we need to say! Even when we consider ourselves non-political, introverted or whatever!

Please watch also our conversation How can we stay inspired to work towards a sustainable future

WOMEN MATTERS

Conversations at The Wisdom Factory

Why being in opposition to others is not only useless but…

Opposition and fight is useless when we want to bring forth positive development.

Understand me right: I don’t mean that we need to agree with everything which comes our way. Not at all, to the contrary, I would say. Getting in touch with other people’s behaviors and ideas is a perfect occasion for self reflection and for refining our own takes on the matter. And there are probably more things in the world towards which we are skeptical or we totally disagree than those which we happily embrace right away and feel connected to whoever brought them forth.

I am talking here of a completely different case: people who for any reason whatsoever take pride in opposing somebody else’s work. The criticize all or parts of it, the axioms, the ways of reasoning, the worldview or whatever they happen to consider wrong… or they dismiss the whole work of the other person because they believe to have discovered some flaws in it or because of certain assumed or real traits of the originator.

When opposition and critique becomes a personal identity

fingerprint
Identity as Know-it-better and warrior for it?

Today such a case came – again – into my awareness: A person whose name I don’t want to mention here has the habit of criticizing the American philosopher Ken Wilber for more than 15 years. He has created an identity around his opposition to the man and his large body of work. It has become his only viewpoint: something is wrong and I have to point it out. This would not be a problem if the critique was well founded, constructive and benevolent. Instead it turns out as a one sided fight for being heard and for being right – by making the other wrong.

The power of rationalization and projection for avoiding to see our own flaws.

It is a human trait to diminish others in the attempt to raise oneself, not a very healthy one, as we know from psychology, and it sheds light on the personality structure of a person engaged in the fight against his or her windmills. Attack and war to dominate others is as ancient as the need for being right. In integral theory we probably would attribute these attitudes to lower levels of development as we would assume that after integrating rationality into our evolved being we would be able to see also ourselves from a rational perspective. Well, maybe. We certainly see others from our rational perspective, we are able to detect flaws and merits and we are able to develop our own theories as well as we can. But our ability to reflect on others and the outside world is far better developed than our ability of self reflection and self knowledge.

Psychology is a relatively young discipline and the insights we can gain about human conditioning and our own behavioral patterns – which  express our thoughts and our emotions – are not easy to perceive and acknowledge, let alone integrate into our lives. To avoid the confrontation with our own reality we prefer to flee into our rationalizing heads or into the more or less “fake” bliss of spiritual experiences.

Projection on hand with points to other people
Projection on others what you don’t want to acknowledge in yourself

The “natural” consequence of the former is to find fault in others (projection of what we don’t want to see in ourselves onto others) or withdrawing from the outside world in the latter. The former leads to separation and war – as if we hadn’t enough of that already. The latter leads to the negation of the responsibility which everyone of us has towards ourselves, humanity and the world.

How being stuck in opposition betrays one’s good intentions.

woman in anger
Angry fighters more likely destroy than repair

The paradox, in my eyes, is the fact that many people who “fight” for a better world, for all the good things to happen instead of eternal conflict and war, they themselves are heavily contributing to maintaining animosity and destruction – against their conscious intent. And they don’t even notice it! They don’t realize what they are doing under the headlines of their positive intentions. How can this happen?

Well, first of all, emotional competency and freedom of unconscious patterns has not necessarily to do with levels of development when we consider the cognitive line as main indicator of our level. There are very smart people around with a complex understanding of theories of all kinds – and they might at the same time have not the slightest idea of their collective and personal patterns through which their actions in the world are colored. It is the question of the fish who cannot tell you what water is. It is too near to be in the fish’s awareness!

Making others wrong makes collaboration impossible.

Coming back to the person who triggered this article. Only he himself can figure out why he is behaving this way, why he spends his life energy in maintaining his opposition and fight to make the other wrong and himself right. I only know that this is not a worthwhile occupation in times when all forces are needed to collaborate for the survival of our species and our planet. It is like wanting to figure out how many angels can dance on the head of a pin while everything around is falling into ashes. In other words: it is not helpful neither for the world nor for the person himself.

Prolonged emotional responses to events in our lives are self consuming and certainly not ultimately rewarding. They are considered disorders, from the psychological point of view. Attachment to victimism might be another term here and blind willingness to seed destruction instead of peace.

The way out

wooden-track in nature
The way out – not a shortcut for sure
  • Be willing to look inside deeply
  • Observe and recognize your own patterns
  • Forgive yourself for not having noticed your deep conditioning as a human and as a person
  • Discover the experiences and triggers which led you into the pattern and work with them
  • Release the counterproductive patterns consciously and create new habits of perceiving, evaluating, thinking and behaving – as well as you can
  • Be willing to see and acknowledge the good in yourself and in others, in your work and in that of others
  • Let go of your need to dominate and know-it-better  
  • Be willing to contribute your part of the truth to the bigger picture
  • Stop searching for the (negative) needle in the haystack and trust that it will be found and treated appropriately in time
  • Become friendly and cooperative – and happy

It might sound as if I knew it all, as if I had figured that all out for myself and that I take pride in advising others. I am definitely not at that level, but I have come to understand what the missing part is in us humans which, for yet another time, is driving us towards separation, discrimination and hate – and ultimately to war. The threat of total nuclear destruction or by an environmental catastrophe could be right around the corner – and we are contributing to it without being aware of it.

Intergral theory is giving us a good understanding of many aspects of reality. If you want to go deeper listen to the lectures of Dr.Jordan Peterson. He has a very engaging way of leading you into the human predicament – and what you can do to become a better and more helpful person in this world. Check out his channel and especially his message to millenials: How to Change the World — Properly.

Human development and the fascinating power of music

The World is Sound – Nada Brahma

Music is a innate capacity of humans. It is the most fundamental means for our expression, especially when we use our voice, and it has the power to influence our whole being.

Music develops alongside humans

Along with our social-psychological development, music too has developed over the centuries. It is a real pleasure to meet the young composer Samuel Andreyev in this interview with Jordan Peterson where they explore together the power of music and the development it has taken up to the present. Even for non-musicians this conversation is quite understandable – and a musician also gains a expanded perspective.

This happened certainly with me. I was very delighted with the analysis and could confirm from my own experience what these two intelligent and open minds were talking about.

Jordan Peterson in conversation with the composer Samuel Andreyev

 

My experience as a musician

I am a classically trained singer and my main interest has always been classical music. I always enjoyed the music, from the middle ages to the early 20th century – but there it stopped for me. My experience of singing in a professional choir taught me how difficult it is to study pieces by 12-tone composers like Webern, Schönberg or those of the sixties like Penderecki and others. Those concerts had a certain fascination as sound experiences – but is it really worth all this huge amount of preparation? I always decided NO for myself – maybe only because of my lack of an absolute ear (perfect pitch) – which would have made singing these pieces so much easier?

How we learn to hear and expand our perception

One thing I noticed though – and it was addressed also by Samuel Andreyev in the interview above: The more you study a piece, whatever music it is, the more you get familiar with it and it becomes “your” music. This is the point where your interpretation of the piece will come from inside you rather than just a repetition of the ideas of someone else. When we really understand the music and own it by continuous practice, it becomes familiar and we begin to really enjoy it – which often was not the case when we encountered it the first time.

What sounds GOOD to our ears?

This is the reason for a continuous expansion of our ability to hear and accept newness in music. The acceptance of what sounds “good” has developed from total harmony (octaves), to fifths and up to all the harmonic intervals. Today it is almost unimaginable that once a third had been considered a dissonance! Our perception of what we hear as consonance or dissonance has developed until today when we can enjoy whole clusters of adjacent sounds. This is just a harmony of a higher level – as all these notes appear, sooner or later, on the scale of the harmonics of the basic note.

Personal development and enjoyment of music 

In short: I realized that, today, my ear has developed so far as to accept music which I had dismissed totally 30 years ago. That doesn’t mean that all music is “good” which is offered today. Good music has a certain felt attraction. Maybe not at first hearing. “Hear it 10 times and then find out what you feel about it!” This is also the recommendation by the composer Samuel Andreyev.

When you listen to his music – especially after having watched his conversation with Jordan Peterson – you probably will find it very attractive, or at least interesting and well worth listening to!

Enjoy

 

Is Western Society Heading Back to The Middle Ages?

Heretics burning at the stake
Heretics burning at the stake

We made it about 400 years ago: the separation of church and state. It took many centuries of fight and suffering, thousands of “heretics” burnt at the stake, loosing their lives for our benefit: For us to be able to say whatever we want without ending up imprisoned, tortured, stoned or burnt. Are we now heading back to the Middle Ages?

Funny enough – or better: tragic enough, it is the leading edge of modern societies who is pushing us back into that state where we lose our freedom of speech, where we have to bite our tongue if we don’t want to be denounced and tried for what we say: If not as in the Middle Ages, but certainly as in the “east-block” countries. I grew up in Germany, fortunately in the West, but I had relatives in the East and I know how they were continuously threatened and had to be very careful or pay dearly if they said something about a certain group or the practices of the state.

The Levels of Development – evolution in healthy and unhealthy forms

The Levels of Development (Ken Wilber)
The Levels of Development (Ken Wilber)

The unhealthy form of the”green” level  is  expressed in an aggressive  fundamentalism (see the levels of development in “Spiral Dynamics” or as outlaid by Ken Wilber). It is nothing better than any other fundamentalism, only the target changes. Western Societies have recently been governed mostly by people with a “green”- postmodern – mindset. In their attempt to protect minorities and to see everybody as (literally) equal, they see the necessity to create laws to protect THE FEELINGS of certain members of certain minorities. 

Who is Responsible for Your Feelings?

Face in hands - expressing sadness or any negative feeling
Negative Feelings

Modern psychology has clearly stated that we are responsible for our own feelings, we alone, nobody else. Yes, we can be triggered by what other people do or say, but how we react to the trigger, that is exclusively our own choice. With the new laws in Canada this gets completely turned around. People’s feelings are considered subject to criminal deeds done by others. This is the perfect form of victimism which is appropriate for little children, but not for adult citizens in the world. It reminds me of my mother’s saying with which she tried to teach me responsibility for my actions: “It’s too bad for my mother that I froze my fingers; why didn’t she give me gloves?”

So, whose feelings would be eligible to be protected by law?- and whose not? Apart from the fact that it is absolutely beside the point for the above reasons, it is a bottomless barrel. We will end up staying silent, all the time, for fear of being accused and “burnt at the stake”. Hello Middle Ages!

White ghostly figures walking over meadow
Do we want such an atmosphere?

We will end up in a totalitarian state – from which most of the present refugees are trying to escape by flooding into the Western world. Will we give up our achievements in our societies and allow practices of previous levels to govern us again? Do you want to live in constant fear and repression because someone believes that you have violated THEIR rules?

Man with bended mouth
Freedom of Speech?

Do you want THEIR rules to take over our countries? Think about it and get clear about the consequences for yourself, your family, your country and the world. And if you decide that your freedom of speech is more important and also the freedom in your personal life altogether, then stand up and fight for the principles of our constitutions and watch out for all the hidden or open attempts to re-establish values which we had overcome with so much sacrifice during the past centuries.

Is This a Picture of Mohamed? – what can you say and what not?

Here you can experience what we are heading toward – if we don’t pay attention: Jordan Peterson brings it to the point in this short video. Feel into it and observe yourself: would you like to live with the fear of saying the “wrong” words?

Let me know what you think about it . now, after you have watched the video!