Welcome to the premiere of the Continuum Center Blog. I found it fitting to “reprint” the intro to our premier edition of the journal we published long ago…printing and postage costs were hard for our small organization to manage. We are eternally indebted to the internet (which we see as both the 3D manifestation of and the portal for the interconnectedness we’re moving towards).
Reprinting entries from our Journal almost 30 years ago is a great way to go back to the future. We’re headed to a bright one and hope you join us for the ride! Jane Barrash August, 2015
“Reprint” from Continuum journal, Science, Society and Self-fulfillment: an historical perspective:
“The continuity with the past is inescapable. The classic American theme of self-improvement stands out prominently. What is new is the shift in the object of all this energy, a shift from the external to the inner world. It is not that the new philosophy of life rejects materialistic values: Americans are far too practical for that. But it broadens them to embrace a wider spectrum of human experience.
Cross-section studies of Americans show unmistakably that the search for self-fulfillment is an outpouring of popular sentiment and experimentation, an authentic grass roots phenomenon involving, in one way or another, perhaps as many as 80 percent of all adult Americans. It is as if tens of millions of people has decided simultaneously to conduct risky experiments in living, using the only materials that lay at hand – their own lives.” From the book “New Rules: A Society Searching for Self-fulfillment in a World Turned Upside Down” Daniel Yankelovich –developed the well-known market research firm of Yankelovich, Skelly and White, and initiated the New York Times/Yankelovich Poll http://www.viewpointlearning.com/about-us/who-we-are/daniel-yankelovich/
“A society is characterized by the prevailing understanding of the human being (our needs and capabilities), of the universe (hostile or friendly, random or purposeful) and of the relationship between the two. Such understandings are typically represented by the prevailing views of science or religion, or perhaps it is more accurate to say that they are typically determined by those views.
For the last three hundred and fifty years since the time of Rene Descartes, science has adopted and promoted what is called a materialistic view of the world. In his landmark “Discourse on Method,” Descartes outlined a process that would bring order to the quest for truth concerning the nature of reality…Up to that time, “science” on the one hand lacked any procedural framework, and on the other hand had progressed little Aristotle.
The basic thrust of the materialistic view is that the universe is all physical matter; that it can be looked at like a big machine and that by observing, dissecting and testing its parts, we can come to know the truth about the world and all that is in it.
This kind of science tends to deny or ignore the existence of things not amenable to observation. Hence the subjective and intuitive aspects of knowledge and the inner world of thought, feelings, dreams, and insight were lost to empiricism and a focus on things external.
As science has emphasized a materialist approach to life and truth, so has society developed a materialistic perspective; we tend to look outside ourselves for answers concerning the world and concerning self, we focus on product rather than process, on having rather than being, and on things measured rather than things felt.
However, a fundamental shift is occurring. In science, the illusion of an objective world “out there” has slowly been giving way to the discovery of a reality shaped in part by individual awareness; and understood as much by reference to subjective, personal experience as it is by logical analysis. These changing views have triggered a not-so-quiet revolution in science and, in like manner, society has been experiencing significant transition.
The American dream, the drive for personal gain, has been historically characterized by a preoccupation with security and wealth in the material sense, and measured against external standards and status quo.
Lately, we’ve become increasingly aware of the difference between success and self-fulfillment and we’re becoming more self-directed (or self-organizing), as opposed to other directed. It seems we have come to a point of fundamental re-evaluation, formulating a new understanding of what it means to be fully human.”
Jane Barrash, Executive Director Fall/winter 1987
28 years later, this blog seeks to support these new understandings that have been further substantiated by science and tested in everyday life. We take a very interdisciplinary, cross-cultural, and perennial wisdom approach to the investigation of consciousness, human capacity, and the continuity and interconnectedness of life. Thank you for tuning in…please enter the conversation!