One of the first things I was required to do for my PhD was to write a need (or "problem") statement, describing why this PhD meets an unmet need in the world. Here is my latest draft.
Working Title of Dissertation:
Volution – an integrative theory of the holographic and trans-linear dynamics of life
This dissertation, as an original philosophical argument, explores a way of seeing the life process as a fractal and holographic dynamic pulsing of information and energy (Laszlo & Currivan 2008, Lefferts 2012, Talbot 1991). It seeks to transcend yet include modern rational linear evolutionary perspectives and pre-modern instinctive relational experience, while integrating the latest scientific thinking and wisdom-based traditions.
Ever since humanity moved out of hunter-gatherer ways of living and started working the land, planting crops and planning for the future, we have seen ourselves in the context of linear time (Wilber 1996). This linear perspective grew in its dominance and gave us evolution theory. It fuelled our quest for growth and development, not only in material and economic domains, but also in personal development circles where the idea of a drive to transcend onwards and upwards beyond the limitations of our material reality took root (Cohen 2011).
Yet in recent years that continual drive for improvement has caused people to question it at many levels. The ecological consequences of our on-going push for greater material comfort are being reflected in the growing alarm around climate change and related issues (Lovelock 2006, Lynas 2007, Rischard 2002). In self-development circles, people are realising that the expansion of our consciousness has to go hand in hand with a deepening relationship both to our body and to past traumas that may be withholding energy from our further development (Wilber 2000). As the wisdom traditions point out, the inner and outer worlds reflect each other (Lao Tzu, Mitchell trans.1999).
Current linear ways of understanding the life process in science and cultural studies are inadequate to engaging the ecological and societal complexity that humanity is currently facing worldwide (Laszlo 2001, Wheatley 1999). The combination of these challenges is forcing humanity to seek out new ways of understanding ourselves, the world and life itself. Linear developmental thinking does not accurately reflect the latest findings from the frontiers of quantum science, for example (Laszlo & Currivan 2008). Yet in our predominant worldviews of our own individual and collective development, a linear way of thinking persists (Beck & Cowan 1996, Wilber 1996, 2000). That linear developmental paradigm moves by definition away from earlier levels of development that relate to our physical and instinctive stages to more complex, abstract and refined stages. The implication in the paradigm itself is that the goal and greater value lies in the later stages, de-valuing the earlier stages upon which the later stages actually rest.
However, a simplistic return to pre-modern living also fails to honour the journey we have all made together so far (Wilber 1996). My quest therefore in this dissertation is to identify a way of seeing ourselves, our world and the life process itself so that our deep pre-cognitive felt sense of relationship can be integrated with the dynamic self-organising worldview that the new sciences are describing to us, while honouring the various insights that have been revealed to us along the way. In seeing ourselves through this lens, I believe we will naturally start to act and be in ways that are in greater alignment with the life process itself, and therefore increase the chances of humanity playing a constructive co-creative role with all the forms of life that are part of our worlds.
Cohen, A (2011). Evolutionary Enlightenment. New York: Select Books.
Lao Tzu (1999). Tao Te Ching. (Mitchell, S, Trans.). London: Frances Lincoln Limited.
Laszlo, E (2004). Science and the Akashic Field. Vermont: Inner Traditions.
Laszlo, E & Currivan, J (2008). CosMos. London: Hay House.
Lefferts, M (2012). Fundamentals of Cosmometry, Wisdom University Teleseries.
Lovelock, J (2006). Gaia’s Revenge. London: Allen Lane.
Lynas, M (2007). Six Degrees. London: Fourth Estate.
Rischard, J-F (2002), High Noon - 20 Global Problems, 20 Years to Solve Them. New York, NY: Basic Books.
Talbot, M (1991). The Holographic Universe. London: HarperCollins Publishers.
Wheatley, M (1999). Leadership and the New Science. San Francisco, CA: Berrett-Koehler.
Wilber, K (2000). Integral Psychology. Boston: Shambhala Publications.