THE INSTITUTE FOR

A NEW

POLITICAL COSMOLOGY

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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 deal with the good of the whole. Cosmologies 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 survive long without one. No individual can live a conscious, fully human life without a coherent, functional reality-map.

 
 
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A CIVILIZATION IN CRISIS
 

Today global industrial civilization 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 has pushed civilization into the Anthropocene, a geological epoch marked by human destruction of the biosphere. We have destabilized the global climate and inflicted mega-fires, droughts, floods and famines on ever larger populations. Ecosystems are collapsing triggering social chaos which is further accelerated by extreme inequalities of wealth, race and gender. 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 human activity driving the sixth great mass extinction of life on Earth.

Solutions based on our current cosmology, rooted in 17th century ideas of the-world-as-machine, simply make things worse.

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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 numinous and scientific, of the whole drama of human civilization growing from an immense, unfathomably 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, but since the vision is not yet center stage, it fails to guide our most important political choices.

 
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The institute is partly based on the work of University of Hawaiʻi - West Oʻahu professor Dr. Louis Herman. 

Click on the book cover to learn more.

The Institute consulted on the Oscar-winning film 

My Octopus Teacher. 

Click here to watch

Dr. Louis Herman discuss aspects of the film during the making of the documentary.

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OUR MISSION

The mission of the Institute is to promote 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 new politics—a better way of life. 

The four primary practices of truth-seeking are intuitively appealing, immediately accessible, and mutually reinforcing. This means the quest itself can function as a cultural catalyst, accelerating self-realization and collective transformation. The result is an ever-expanding, self-reflexive big story, which impels us towards an increasingly ecological way of life. This new worldview makes clear that a truly sustainable civilization requires that the search for truth becomes its core institution and one of its highest political, ethical and spiritual imperatives.

The mission of the Institute is to promote the truth quest in public education and popular culture as both a method of wisdom-seeking and the core of a new politics. Since the practices of the search are built into the dynamics of consciousness, they are immediately accessible, intuitive, and open-ended. This allows them to function together as a catalyst for personal growth and cultural transformation. The current state of the quest reveals the urgency of creating a truly ecological civilization, where the ongoing search for truth becomes internalized as the central political, moral and spiritual imperative.

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We see humanity poised on the edge of a planetary transformation of evolutionary dimensions: either a spiraling down into global collapse 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.

OUR VISION