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Life Mapping

Life Mapping is an empowering process that enables us to gain an overall sense of who we are as a unique individual, and how we can orchestrate an authentic, productive, and satisfying life. The process is energized by the following template and by the curiosity and discussion that each of its subjects generates.


Identify Your Page Zero Premises            Define Your Personal Community
Summarize Your Values and Beliefs        Define Your Role in the Larger Community
Define Your Aspirations and Purpose     Organize a Financial Plan
Plan for Further Education                        Develop Body Wisdom
Examine Your Career Path                         Develop Your Emotional Intelligence
Describe Your Ideal Partner                      Develop Social Wisdom
Outline Your Desired Lifestyle                  Explore Spiritual Wisdom

Fulfilling the potential of this template requires that we question the premises of our present orientation and begin to think and feel and consider what our own moral compass suggests about these major aspects of our existence. This systematic exploration helps empower us to become comprehensive, critical thinking,
self-directed individuals who areliberated from illusions, prejudices and self-limiting ideologies, and coherently oriented in a complex, rapidly changing, global environment. No one is demanding that we must change or adopt any particular orientation. Since it is our life to live, it is suggested that we direct it
from our own point of view.

We begin by writing our thoughts and feelings about each subject of the template, knowing that we are free to make changes at any time. To review what others have said about the subjects and to see what completed Life Maps look like, we will have access to a Database of Life Maps. Beyond what we can learn from the database and from class assignments, we are encouraged to explore the various subjects of the template through scholarly books, academic journal articles, credible Internet sites, and other recommended resources. We are also encouraged to share our thoughts and feelings about Life Mapping in the classroom and with family and friends.

As we go through the process of assembling our Life Map:

  • We begin to discern connections among disparate elements of knowledge that we have learned in school and from our experiences during the course of everyday life.
  • We become much more motivated to understand the world and our role within it because learning has become a personal affair, rather than what may have been largely an impersonal, tedious process of trying to make sense of an endless number of disconnected facts.
  • We realize that the mapping process is designed to help us arrive at our truth and our true identity as unique individuals, who are becoming whole, free, and empowered to shape our existence consciously from our own point of view.
  • We understand that we as individuals are the basic unit of the social process. Therefore, if not enough of us become comprehensive, critical thinking, self-directed individuals, who are coherently oriented in a complex, rapidly changing, global environment, we should not expect that we will have enough effective leaders and judicious followers to sustain a flourishing democracy.

Please note: The Life Mapping process, as well as the processes of Social Mapping and MetaVisioning,
are advanced as college courses initially, and then simplified in a manner that is appropriate for students
in high school and grade school. They are also designed for those of us beyond schools years – lifelong
learners who choose to stay awake, continue to learn, and make the most of our lives. Accordingly,
when I refer to “students” or to “we” or “us,” I am referring to all four groups of learners.

S U G G E S T E D  N E X T :  Social Mapping


This glossary defines key terms used to explain major aspects of the project.

Coherent. The quality of being logically or aesthetically consistent, with all separate parts fitting together to form a harmonious and credible whole.

Conceptual Imprisonment. A perception of self and of the world diminished by illusions, prejudices, and/or self-limiting ideologies.

Illusion. A false idea, conception, or belief.  Something that deceives the senses or mind by appearing to exist when it does not, or appearing to be one thing when it is in fact another.

Malleable General Masses We are part of the malleable general masses within the social process when our minds and hearts can be shaped and perhaps reshaped by the programs of the mind advanced by prevailing institutions and individuals.

Mazeway constitutes 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.

MetaVisioning is a process dedicated to resolving coherent, moral, and universal foundations upon which to build a coherent, moral, and universal vision of how humankind can move forward together creatively, and peacefully.

Moral — concerned with the principles of right and wrong behavior and the goodness or badness of human character.

Open-Ended. A strategy easily modified and having no determined limit or boundary.

Page Zero Premises. These are basic premises that underpin programs of the mind. At the core of each program, on its page zero, is a set of premises that empowers the program.

Prejudice. A preconceived opinion that is not based on reason or actual experience.

Programs of the Mind constitute thought patterns we acquire through exposure to our culture. Religion, government, schools and the family are the institutions primarily responsible for inculcating programs of the mind.

Self-catalyzing and Self-cleansing. An institution designed to function organically with checks, balances, and internal feedback loops that help catalyze and cleanse the system in a manner that spawns creativity, sustainability, and further development. Currently, most institutions function bureaucratically, with a traditional top-down organizational construct that lacks these attributes.

Self-Limiting Ideology. Body of ideas and system of beliefs shared by a particular social class or social movement that is not open-ended, self-catalyzing, and self cleansing.




Moving Forward

After co-teaching the Map Your Life and Social Mapping courses at Drexel University many times (in the classroom and online) and reviewing encouraging feedback from a wide range of students, I came to this conclusion. If the three courses become an integral part of systems of imparting knowledge in the U.S.A. and abroad, 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 meaningful, joyful, and peaceful — a way that would lead to the cure of humankind’s systemic condition.

  • As such, the Mazeway Project is moving forward with these goals in mind:
  • Encourage colleges and universities worldwide to add the Map Your Life, Social Mapping, and MetaVisioning processes to their curricula.
  • Encourage prep schools with strong, imaginative leadership to add the mazeway processes to their knowledge imparting system because Life Mapping, Social Mapping, and MetaVisioning would help empower their students to become: (a) comprehensive, critical thinking, self-directed individuals, (b) free of illusions, prejudices, self-limiting ideologies, and other forms of conceptual imprisonment, and (c) oriented in a manner that is coherent, moral, and universal.
  • After success getting the processes added to a few prep schools, focus on getting the processes added to high schools.
  • Because the mazeway courses will do well as MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses), I will pursue getting them established on one of the major providers that offer them, such as Coursera and edX.
  • Participate in a longitudinal research initiative that tracks the effects of the courses on the lives of students who had taken them and on institutions that may be influenced by them.

I hope those goals are satisfied quickly because we are probably in a race against time. That is, unless we address the basic cause of humankind’s systemic condition, conceptual imprisonment, we will continue to endure a highly problematic existence and run the risk of irreversible decline. Fortunately, we are now in a position to address the basic cause because (a) conceptual imprisonment has been clearly defined, and (b) we know what can be done about it.


Book Reviews

“I found Navigating the Mazeway to be deeply perceptive and informative in a wide range of academic fields.  … In this undertaking the author has drawn upon an impressive range of intellectual, academic disciplines: historical, philosophical, psychological and sociological. Of particular importance for the book as a whole is the call to the reader to examine critically and to perceive fruitfully the nature, sources and range of one’s knowledge. … This book has the potential to contribute to students and scholars fresh and deeper understanding in the natural and social sciences, in art, literature, history, medicine and law. It provides insights for personal and group identity, and for perceiving the aims and values in one’s career.”

Howard Clark Kee, Ph.D. Professor of Religion Emeritus of Graduate Studies and Religion at Boston University and a Visiting Scholar at the University of Pennsylvania. He is the author of several acclaimed books, including The Beginnings of Christianity: An Introduction to the New Testament; and The Cambridge Companion to the Bible.



“What causes this book to stand out among the rest is that the author gently and creatively guides readers through ‘the Mazeway’ so that they actually discover their deepest and most authentic selves. With erudite scholarship, down-to-earth practicality, psychological sophistication, and a coherent moral compass, Mr. Parrotto guides seekers through the Mazeway so that they may reach their potential as human beings. Parrotto accomplishes in this ingenious book what our educational and societal institutions have not been able to. A visionary masterpiece that may be just what our civilization has been looking for.”

Judith S.Miller Ph.D. Adjunct Professor of Human Development at Columbia University, Teachers College. She is the author of Direct Connection: Transformation of Consciousness.



“Navigating the Mazeway is a remarkable call for us to move beyond narrow, technical reason and to think more broadly about the directions in which we are collectively moving. The book is written in plain language accessible to all. Most important, Parrotto’s templates for ‘Life Mapping’ and ‘Social Mapping’ provide valuable tools for us to reason together on the major issues of life.”

Douglas Porpora, Ph.D. Former Chairperson in the Department of Culture & Communications, College of Arts and Sciences at Drexel University. Author of Landscapes of the Soul: The Loss of Moral Meaning in American Life.


S U G G E S T E D N E X T : Home Page


MetaVisioning is a collaborative process dedicated to resolving a coherent, moral, and universal vision of how humankind can move forward together creatively, joyfully, and peacefully.

To prepare ourselves to meet this extraordinary challenge, it will be useful to:

  • step back from the noise of modernity and beyond the confines of our specialty, our social role, and convention;
  • place faith in our own moral compass, rather than submit thoughtlessly to the moral certainty of traditional programs; and
  • rely on science to distinguish truth from what is false, but appreciate that creativity and new truth involve more than the reductive process of science.

We begin the MetaVisioning process by examining the perspectives of major historical visionaries. In each case, we want to determine if their vision was: (1) based on coherent, moral, and universal page zero premises, (2) institutionalized in a manner that is open-ended, self-catalyzing, and self-cleansing, and  (3) orchestrated by ethical leader dedicated to adapting to change and to serving the best interests of humankind.

As we proceed with this inquiry, we wonder whether what we learn can be applied to the reality within which we find ourselves today, a “global village” challenged at its core by demanding questions, such as:

  • Do we possess the humility, resilience, and awareness to dialog constructively with individuals from a wide range of cultures to reconcile differences and agree upon page zero premises that are coherent, moral, and universal?
  • How does a society adapt to change peacefully, if leaders of prevailing institutions are dedicated to maintaining the status quo and their power and control?
  • In the pursuit of a unifying vision, are we defining correctly and applying appropriately the terms “coherent,” “moral,” “universal,” “open-ended,” “self-catalyzing,” and “self-cleansing”? Do they represent the basic criteria that should guide us? If not, what should be the criteria?
  • Are we asking the right questions? If not, what questions should we be asking?

We write our thoughts and feelings about these questions and discuss them in the classroom, and, if we wish, with family and friends.

At this point, we begin the pursuit of a MetaVision by working at two levels, individual and collective. As an individual, we build upon our own page zero premises that we defined during the Life Mapping process, and upon our opinions about great issues of our time that we defined during the Social Mapping process. We build upon those premises and opinions by asking ourselves what they prompt us to envision regarding how humankind could direct its developmental journey forward more wisely. We incorporate our premises, opinions, and what we envision within an essay that becomes our personal “MetaMap.” To review what others have written within their MetaMap, we will have access to a Database of MetaMaps. Beyond what we can learn from the database and from class assignments and discussions, we are encouraged to explore the perspectives of contemporary visionaries through books, academic journal articles, Internet sites, and other recommended resources.

Collectively, we work toward distilling the combination of MetaMaps that were composed by the class into an overarching MetaVision of how humankind can move forward together creatively, joyfully, and peacefully. While this might not be accomplished by the end of the term, we are graded on our individual effort.

Many of us will want to continue this noble quest beyond the classroom through MetaVisioning Worldwide, an online initiative of The Mazeway Network.

S U G G E S T E D  N E X T : Database Of Life Maps