THE INSTITUTE FOR
FOR A THRIVING EARTH COMMUNITY
WHAT IS A POLITICAL COSMOLOGY?
A political cosmology is a worldview, a reality map, or a paradigm of ‘the best way to live’ which takes the form of an epic origin story. By ‘political’ we refer to the practice of aligning the highest good of each individual with that of the Earth community. In that sense, all cosmologies are political because they guide our decisions and give meaning to our lives by answering the big questions of human existence: Who am I? Where do I come from? What is this thing called ‘the world’ that I am born into? Most importantly, what is the best way for us to live together? We draw from classical philosophy in identifying the work of cosmology construction as the truth quest.
Every political and social system assumes a particular cosmology. No society can hold together without one. No individual can live a conscious, fully human life without a coherent, functional reality map.
A CIVILIZATION IN CRISIS
Today globalized humanity is in the grip of an extreme systemic crisis precisely because we are between cosmologies. We are like sleepwalkers, unconsciously driven by an obsolete story radically disconnected from reality. Consequently, we march blindly towards the abyss. Our embrace of industrial capitalism, despite its spectacular achievements, has pushed humanity into the Anthropocene, a geological epoch marked by human destruction of the biosphere. We have destabilized the global climate and are inflicting mega-fires, droughts, floods, and famines on ever-larger populations. Ecosystems are collapsing triggering social chaos which is further accelerated by extreme inequality. As ruling institutions lose their authority, demagogues fill the vacuum with defunct ideologies and conspiracy theories. Mass delusion enters politics, scapegoats are targeted, and the biggest issues are neglected. We now seem paralyzed in the face of the horror of human actions driving the sixth great mass extinction of life on Earth.
Solutions based on our current ideologies, rooted in the 17th-century cosmology of Liberalism with its assumptions of the-world-as-machine, and human beings as incurably selfish and greedy, simply make things worse.
a new political cosmology
Alongside the specter of collapse is an extraordinarily inspiring development. A new political cosmology is emerging in the wings which dwarfs in scale and self-awareness, all previous worldviews. It offers a vision, at once sacred and scientific, of the whole drama of human civilization growing from an incomprehensibly old, evolving universe; it shows us that a more conscious, meaningful, and ecological way of life is within our grasp.
This new story is being shaped at the margins of society by activists, scientists, artists, and thinkers in all areas of human activity. For the first time, the practices of the truth quest invite all to participate in the work of cosmology construction. But since the vision is not yet center stage, it fails to guide our most important political choices.
The Institute includes the work of University of Hawaiʻi–West Oʻahu professor
Dr. Louis Herman.
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The Institute consulted on the Oscar-winning film
My Octopus Teacher.
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Dr. Louis Herman discuss aspects of the film during the making of the documentary.
The Institute promotes the truth quest in public education and popular culture as both the method of creating and truth-grounding a cosmology and as the core practice of a better way of life—a new politics.
The four interlinked practices of truth-seeking co-evolved with the emergence of self-reflective consciousness and human culture. Accordingly, they can be found in many traditional wisdom teachings. As such the practices are intuitively persuasive and near-universally accessible. The quest is also self-illuminating. As one follows the four practices they reveal that a flourishing Earth community requires the search for truth become a core social practice, and a high political and spiritual imperative. These features mean that the truth quest can easily function as a cultural catalyst, rapidly accelerating self-realization and collective transformation.
We see humanity poised on the edge of a planetary transformation of evolutionary dimensions: either a spiraling down into global devastation or a leap in consciousness on the scale of the spiritual revolutions of the Axial age. The institute promotes rapid, peaceful transformation of consciousness and culture to a life-loving political cosmology based on an ongoing practice of wisdom seeking—the truth quest.