We present here three examples of a MetaMap.
Anthony J. Parrotto
A.R. (Drexel Student)
My MetaMap by Anthony J. Parrotto
If we are to fulfill our best possibilities as individuals, as societies, and as a species, we must orchestrate our lives and our institutions more wisely than those who came before us.
Up to now humankind has been underachieving. The patterns of history show that there have been many extraordinary civilizations, some prevailing for many centuries. However, no major civilization in the history of humankind has survived the fuller test of time. Their expectation of sustainability was largely an illusion, like being proud of beautiful skyscrapers built on quicksand. And now, during our own time, we are challenged by a wide range of serious problems, including but not limited to environmental degradation, dysfunctional systems of government, corruption, poverty, financial crises, war, terrorism, disease, 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 confronting us are so pervasive that it suggests the challenge we face 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.
After years of research, here’s what I discovered to be the basic cause of humankind’s systemic condition:
- 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, joyfully, 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, self-limiting ideologies, and other forms of conceptual imprisonment, 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, highly specialized, 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.
What I have presented above is, essentially, the core of my MetaMap that I will advance during collaboration with others who are dedicated to the pursuit of a MetaVision of how humankind can learn to move forward together creatively, joyfully, and peacefully. During my effort to unify the group, I would add to the dialog the following insights.
It is important to realize that consciousness is our most valuable asset, since it provides the possibility of enabling us to become:
- comprehensive, critical thinking, self-directed individuals,
- free of illusions, prejudices, and self-limiting ideologies, and
- oriented in a manner that is coherent, moral and universal.
We can accomplish those very important goals by:
- going through the Map Your Life process to gain clarity about our self as a unique individual, member of society, and as part of the larger world so that we can orchestrate an authentic, productive, and satisfying life;
- going through the Social Mapping process to resolve our thoughts and feelings about the great issues of our time, rather than mindlessly following the opinions of others; and
- participating in the MetaVisioning process.
Furthermore, I believe, if we are to do better than those who came before us and envision how to fulfill our best possibilities as individuals, as societies, and as a species, we must step back from the “noise” of our highly problematic existence and direct our consciousness toward showing respect for one another’s individuality and for the cultural diversity of humankind — empathy will lead to safe, truth-seeking, social spaces within which we more readily access the inherent moral and creative sensibilities embodied within us – sensibilities that will help:
- Unite humankind, rather than divide us into warring camps.
- Generate love, compassion, charity, and hope, rather than hatred, indifference, greed, and despair.
- And, realize that, however culturally diverse humans may be on this planet, we are one species of conscious beings on a developmental journey together within the mazeway.
I believe, if we embrace those moral and creative sensibilities and begin to direct our life’s journey from our own point of view, rather than thoughtlessly follow the prescriptions and proscriptions of prevailing institutions, 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. While entrenched institutions will be resistant, they will gradually change and more effectively serve the best interests of humankind because great masses of unified followers will have become aware of what is possible and what to demand of themselves and of institutions in an open-ended, self-catalyzing, and self-cleansing manner.
Please note: This is the first of two MetaMaps. There will be many more, once we begin to teach the MetaVisioning course. I assume that the additional maps will also be different and that we will work together patiently through the Mazeway Network to synthesize all of the MetaMaps into an overarching MetaVision of how humankind can move forward together creatively, joyfully, and peacefully.
My MetaMap by Jason Kunen
If we look at the occurrences in the world, and then observe ourselves, it becomes clear that the world is a reflection of how we are conducting our minds. Our way of minding is projected into the outer world. Therefore, if we wish to change the world, we must start with ourself, with our own inner life. Without Self-knowledge, our actions will perpetuate the cycle of /ego mentalism/, of /objectification/ and /violence/. The world is a projection of our inner life; that is, we are as we mind. And in observing our own psychological process, we begin to realize that we are all interconnected, not as a theory or belief, but as a fact. With the recognition of this fact, we can accept responsibility and take action to be ((R-evolutionary co-creators)) of a new humanity guided by compassion, wisdom, awareness, and understanding. Self-knowledge and understanding free us from self-limiting ideologies and illusions, and therefore, they must be the basis for a coherent, moral, and universal vision of humanity’s evolution to be self-directed, joyful, peaceful, creative, and dialogical beings.
If we look within ourselves, it seems that most of us have accepted self-centeredness, violence, jealously, hatred, anger, escapism in one form or another, apathy, and loneliness as a way of life. Very, very few of us have attempted to understand our own psychological process and truly understand why the world is as it is. We turn to systems, methods, practices, religions, philosophies, belief systems, rituals and prayers, political and economic ideologies, science, or some other set of beliefs to give us the answers. For many, a system is imparted, conditioned, and given to us from birth, but we live with it without questioning it, or we reject as a reaction, not through understanding. When we live according to the doctrines and ideas of another, we become second-hand, mechanical human beings. We repeat what others have said and try to justify, through our knowledge and books, that we are right. We tend to privilege our own framework and believe it to be absolute.
If we want to create a world of peace and collaboration, we must be willing to face ourselves and strive to understand our own psychological process. It is very empowering to realize for oneself that we do have a choice of how we want to process our life and experience. We can be aware of how we are using our mind and observe our reactions, thoughts, beliefs, opinions, judgments, motives, emotions, conditionings, and desires. This awareness does not justify, condemn, judge, or try to escape from what is, but simply watches it without interfering. We can simply watch unobtrusively; once we start judging, condemning, justifying, and interfering, it means we are trying to escape the fact of what we are because we are afraid to look at ourselves and are trying to become something else. If we learn to observe ourselves in this non-judgmental manner, with an interest and an openness to see what we are, then we begin to understand ourselves, and a change happens naturally.
Understanding ourselves requires that we thoroughly examine /ego-mentalism/, the mental framework most of us use that fragments, objectifies, and polarizes all experience. Using a mental technology that fragments, objectifies, and focuses on itself, leads to a breakdown in communication, and damages our relationships with the planet, each other, and ourselves. Our /ego/ sees itself as a self-sustaining, independent entity that is separate from everything else. We have a desire to control everything else according to our own nature and dispositions (based on thought and memory) because at some level, we feel we are inferior, insecure, afraid, and lonely. This is because our /ego-mind/ does not see or understand the interconnectedness, the relationality of all things. In response, our /ego way of minding/ cuts us off from others because the /ego/ tries to assert its own independent space and define itself; it believes itself as a self-sustaining identity, and gives the illusion of independence from all others. In doing this, it creates a void of emptiness and loneliness within ourselves, which is what drives our incessant desire to be something else, or to become like someone else, and we become distracted from really seeing who we are.
As a way to deal with this void, many of us conform to the patterns of society, to a peer group, to this or that ideology, a belief system, in order to feel like we are a part of something greater. When you conform to any pattern, you are given answers, beliefs, expectations, and standards so that you no longer need to question and inquire or understand. As we become more fixed in this pattern, we become more and more attached and psychologically dependent on it, because that becomes our /limited framework/ for understanding the world. We cling to our /identity/ and our /framework/ and are afraid of giving it up, not because we fear the unknown, but because we fear giving up and undermining all that we know. Rather than engaging in inquiry ourselves to see if there is a different way of life that is free of anger, hatred, self-centeredness, greed, suffering, etc., we accept these patterns out of fear. Psychological comfort and attachment to our fragmented, objectifying mental operating system (our way of minding), is a primary cause of our unwillingness and fear to understand ourselves and life.
An ((inner revolution)) is contingent on our capacity to be aware of our psychological process and be open to inquire if there is a profoundly different way of living, not through systems, methods, beliefs, or ideals that are separate from us, but really living in a creative, active, understanding, coherent manner. To that end, there are more and more ((initiatives)), from martial arts to yoga to meditation, that ((empower)) people by showing them that we do have a choice as to how we can use our minds, and that we can become ((aware)) of our way of minding.
Tony Parrotto’s Mazeway Project, through its ((practices)) of Life Mapping, Social Mapping, and Meta Visioning, allows participants to sketch the foundations of their life and thought. This encourages people not only to reflect on their own life, but also to open them to inquire if there is a coherent, moral, collaborative, and creative way of ((living)). These Maps allow us to seriously consider the great issues of our time, and engage in ((dialogue)) with ourselves and others on these matters. The Mapping processes makes us more and more aware of our conceptual imprisonment, and simultaneously empowers us to free ourselves from self-limiting ideologies and illusions to become liberated, reflective, and self-directed global citizens.
Another empowering tool to help people recognize their ability to become aware of their mental framework are the markers developed by Ashok Gangadean. These markers distinguish when one is using /ego-script/ or ((Logos-script)) are highly valuable devices for promoting global literacy and ((dialogue)) across worldviews. The ((Logos-script)) or ((double bracket markers)) are, essentially, used to denote words that are not fragmented, objectified, absolutized, or stuck in a particular framework. Such markers enable people to recognize that they have been lodged in /ego-centric minding/ and conditionings, facilitates inter-faith, inter-cultural, and inter-world dialogue, and provides a unique and universal language to ((communicate)).
We should recognize the fact that when we attribute the problems of our world to some external factor, we are deferring our responsibility to another. When we do that, we separate ourselves from the problem. This leads to apathy and inaction, because now one believes that someone else is tasked with the mission of solving such problems. We turn to our leaders to solve wars, end poverty, change education, and the like, yet we ourselves in our own lives continue to be violent, greedy, and surrender the responsibility of educating our children to another.
First and foremost, we must recognize that we ourselves are responsible for these problems, but instead of feeling guilty and powerless, we must also see that we also have the power to become aware of this way of minding and change it. By ((transforming)) our /ego-centric and self-centered/ mindset and ((evolving)) to a way of ((minding)) that is guided by compassion, love, wisdom, intelligence, understanding, dialogue, and free of fear, we affect the network of relationships around us. Society is the vast network of relationships, and how we conduct our mind affects our relationships thereby affecting the society. Therefore, solving the problems in our world means addressing them within ourselves. If we know how to look at the violence, anger, loneliness, suffering, pain, and the rest of it within ourselves, without judging or condemning it, but observing to understand it, then we can begin to understand others and work to solve these great issues. Once we realize that we have a responsibility to humankind, to the planet, and to ourselves, we take the first step towards ((transformation)) through ((Self-knowledge)).
My MetaMap by A.R. (Drexel University Student)
Looking at the world, from my vantage point, it seems that the expansion of one’s horizons is of paramount importance. Especially for the privileged, spoiled society that I believe we inhabit. To be a vibrant member of the greater circle of people it is important not to judge, nor to view others through a culturally relative lens. This requires effort. I like the words of the song, you want to change the world, you’ve got to free your mind instead. If we change our way of thinking, this will inevitably change our behavior. The butterfly effect dictates that we will have a ripple effect of change on those around us.
It is challenging to question the patterns and beliefs that we are brought up with, but it is worth it in the end. It frightens me to think that of all the characters in dystopic fiction I would be one of the accepting, never questioning, masses. Walt Whitman instructs, “You shall no longer take things at second or third hand, not look through the eyes of the dead, nor feed on the spectres in books. You shall not look through my eyes either, nor take things from me, you shall listen to all sides and filter them from yourself.” To me this means to question what we know and have been told. Our values must be examined, to see if they resonate with our deepest selves. At first, it may be a challenge to see other viewpoints, but beginning to ask questions leads to the right path.
As a species we are not much different than bacteria, growing unchecked and consuming our resources without thought of the future. If we wish our branch of the animal kingdom to survive, and the others with us, we must put aside greed and consumption and learn to live with each other. Our appetites are outrageous, we may need to realize that sometimes it is important to go without for the better of us all. We will have to put aside the ease of drive up windows and disposable everything if we are to have a future to offer our children. This will take a tremendous amount of education and effort on the part of all. Most people feel impatient if they have to wait for anything, we should be able to get it now never mind the cost. The fact is that someone suffers for our ease, and we will have to rid ourselves of willful ignorance and look at the reality of our stuff.
We should recognize the fact that when we attribute the problems of our world to some external factor, we are deferring our responsibility to another. When we do that, we separate ourselves from the problem. This leads to apathy and inaction, because now one believes that someone else is tasked with the mission of solving such problems. We turn to our leaders to solve wars, end poverty, change education, and the like, yet we ourselves in our own lives continue to be violent, greedy, and surrender the responsibility of educating our children to another. First and foremost, we must recognize that we ourselves are responsible for these problems, but instead of feeling guilty and powerless, we must also see that we also have the power to become aware of this way of minding and change it. (Jason Kunen MetaMap, mazeway.org)
Our education system needs to be reimagined. It can no longer be tolerated to teach our children a fairy tale version of history. It is only when we are fully aware of the actions and motivations of our leaders, and those of the past, that we can know the correct direction to proceed. It is a fact that many in our country are more disgusted by a football player kneeling during the anthem, than they are of the history of racial strife that leads to his actions. This misguided emotion is due to ignorance, and the fault is our education system. It is easier to begin in early childhood the true and accurate education than to have to change a life time of misguided beliefs. When we are educated, we will be less likely to be manipulated by corporate media agendas, and in effect, become better people, and therefore, better citizens of the world.
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