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Posts from the ‘Introduction’ Category

Humankind’s Predicament

Welcome to The Mazeway Project. My name is Tony Parrotto. This initiative is based on my book, NAVIGATING THE MAZEWAY: Fulfilling Our Best Possibilities As Individuals and As a Society.

I define “the mazeway” as you, me, and everyone else, functioning within the social process of this planet, situated in the riddle of the universe – a puzzle within a puzzle within a puzzle.

No maps or instruction manuals come with the puzzles. Instead, we are surrounded by many individuals and institutions that offer their perspective about how the world works or ought to work, and how we should model our lives. Unfortunately, those perspectives have largely failed their promise.

Here we are in the 21st century with access to vast libraries of knowledge, brilliant scholars, empowering technologies, and other significant resources. Nevertheless, we are plagued by a wide range of serious problems, including but not limited to environmental degradation, dysfunctional systems of government, corruption, poverty, financial crises, war, terrorism,  inadequate healthcare programs, and antiquated systems of education.

Obviously, there is something wrong at basic levels of the social process that is causing the extraordinary range of serious and persistent problems. The problems we face are so pervasive that it suggests the challenge confronting us is systemic; that is, system-wide. Therefore, it may not matter how many well-intentioned initiatives there may be to treat the symptoms of or help enhance any part of the system. The scope and seriousness of our problems will continue until we discover the basic cause of humankind’s systemic condition and what we can do about it.

S U G G E S T E D  N E X T : The Search For The Cause

The Search For The Cause

It was with this challenge in mind that
I embarked on a mission dedicated to
such discovery. I wanted to determine how we got ensnarled in such an incredible predicament. During my inquiry, over a period of several years, the following observations stood out among the rest:

 

  • We are not informed or it is not emphasized that we are programmable beings whose orientation is shaped by programs encoded on our consciousness by prevailing institutions around which we happen to be situated – religions, governments, schools, etc. As such, an orientation is imposed on us, rather than consciously chosen by us.
  • The programs advanced by prevailing institutions have not been sufficiently coherent, moral, and universal to orient humankind in a manner that inspires us to move forward together creatively, and peacefully.
  • Instead, the programs advanced have led and continue to lead to illusions, prejudices, self-limiting ideologies, and other forms of conceptual imprisonment that diminish us as individuals, separate us into warring camps, and perpetuate the endless cycle of misadventures, destruction, and despair that humankind endures.
  • We are not encouraged to question the programs advanced by prevailing institutions. Instead, we are encouraged to be faithful to the programs and assume that humankind’s highly problematic existence is either unchangeable or caused by the faulty orientation of others, rather than consider the possibility that our own orientation may be faulty.

I believe the combination of these observations defines the crux of humankind’s systemic condition, which prompts the question: Do we possess the wherewithal to transcend illusions, prejudices, and self-limiting ideologies, and generate coherent, moral, and universal programs that will inspire us to move forward together creatively, joyfully, and peacefully? My answer would be yes, if we were educated in a manner that frees and empowers us to become aware of what is possible and what to demand of ourselves and of our institutions.

Unfortunately, due to the highly fragmented, industrial-age modeling of our systems of imparting knowledge, even after 16 or more years in school, very few of us become comprehensive, critical thinking, self-directed individuals. And because we are not encouraged to challenge the programs of prevailing institutions and the manner in which they are orchestrated, most of us remain imprisoned conceptually by illusions, prejudices, and self-limiting ideologies. Consequently, we develop too few leaders with wide-ranging vision and integrity, and we spawn a general population that moves on with their lives as fragmented, incidental cogs in one part or another of the mindless socio-economic machine of their time, largely unaware of the premises that fuel it and frustrated about how to adapt or improve it.

Given this condition, not enough of us have been or will become aware of what is possible and what to demand of ourselves and of our institutions. Such lack of awareness does not bode well for the future. The chances are, like all the other major civilizations that came before us, we will become just another failed one that had taken root and flowered for centuries, but eventually decayed. It would not matter how extraordinary our society had been.

S U G G E S T E D   N E X T: What We Can Do About It

What We Can Do About It

With the preceding observations and challenges in mind, I came to this conclusion. If we are to do better than those who came before us and fulfill our best possibilities as individuals, as societies, and as a species, we must add to systems of education processes dedicated to enlightening us to become (a) comprehensive, critical thinking, self-directed individuals, (b) free of illusions, prejudices, and self-limiting ideologies, and (c) oriented in a manner that is coherent, moral and universal. To show how this can be accomplished, I developed three illuminating processes/courses that are outlined here:

1. Map Your Life is a process that frees and empowers us to direct our life’s journey from our own point of view, rather than thoughtlessly follow the prescriptions and proscriptions of prevailing institutions. This journey of self-exploration enhances our understanding of our self as a unique individual, member of society, and as part of the larger world so that we can orchestrate a more authentic, productive, and satisfying life. The process is energized by a 16-point Life Map Template that helps us assemble our Life Map in an organized and purposeful manner.

2. Social Mapping builds upon the clarity we gained about our self through the life mapping process by encouraging us to assemble a map of our opinions about great issues of our time.  We are asked to write our thoughts and feelings about each of those issues and about any other issue we may wish to add to the list, knowing that we are free to modify what we have written at any time. The sum of our opinions becomes our Social Map. This process helps us understand the dynamics of the social process and, in turn, escape illusions, prejudices, self-limiting ideologies, and other forms of conceptual imprisonment.

3. MetaVisioning is a remarkable process that broadens our perspective further by encouraging us to resolve coherent, moral, and universal premises upon which to build a coherent, moral, and universal MetaVision of how humankind can move forward together creatively, joyfully, and peacefully. As an individual, we build upon our premises and opinions defined in the Life and Social Mapping processes by asking ourselves what they inspire us to envision regarding how humankind can direct its developmental journey forward more wisely. We summarize our premises, opinions, and what we envision within an open-ended essay, which becomes our personal “MetaMap.” And then, collectively, we work together toward reconciling and synthesizing the MetaMaps of the entire class into a coherent, moral, and universal MetaVision of how humankind can move forward together creatively, joyfully and peacefully.

During each of the three courses, there will be access to databases of completed Life Maps, Social Maps, and MetaMaps. Beyond what we learn from the databases and from course assignments, we are encouraged to explore each subject of the Life Map Template and each great issue through scholarly books, academic journal articles, and credible Internet sites. We are also encouraged to share our thoughts and feelings about the mapping and visioning processes with classmates and with family and friends.

At this point, The Mazeway Project is well beyond the idea stage.  The Map Your Life and Social Mapping courses have been taught at Drexel University during the past nine years. (I was a co-teacher several times.) MetaVisioning will be taught for the first time during the coming Spring Term.

I am pleased to report that classroom discussions were vibrant and the feedback from students has been very positive. Actually, what encouraged me the most was when I heard them say in a serious manner, “Why weren’t we told these things before?” From all of that, I came to this conclusion. If the courses become an integral part of our systems of education, it would soon be discovered that an emphasis on empowerment and freedom from illusions, prejudices, self-limiting ideologies, and other forms of conceptual imprisonment would lead to profound enlightenment and development of individuals in our society and beyond. We would be spawning a mental revolution and, ultimately, a global “we the people” social movement that will change our way of living in the world – a ground-up way that is creative, joyful, and peaceful a way that would lead to the cure of humankind’s systemic condition.

Please Note: Within other segments of this website, you will find:

  • Fuller descriptions of the Map Your Life, Social Mapping, and MetaVisioning courses.
  • A syllabus for each of the three courses.
  • Databases of completed Life Maps, Social Maps, and MetaMaps.
  • Feedback from students who have taken the mapping courses.
  • How the project will extend its reach beyond the classroom through the Mazeway Network.
  • The Moving Forward segment defines five specific goals of The Mazeway Project.

S U G G E S T E D  N E X T : Our Life Map