Monday, November 5, 2012

Guy Burneko, C. V. 2016

Guy Burneko, Ph. D.
The Institute for Contemporary Ancient Learning
Whidbey Island, Washington USA
and Antioch University Midwest

Doctor of Philosophy in Interdisciplinary Studies, Graduate Institute of the Liberal Arts(ILA), Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia.
Dissertation Title: "Light Conversation, Exchanges of Life," a study in comparative modes of thought. Examination Areas: Literature, Philosophy of Science, Evolution of Consciousness, Interdisciplinary Essay “Guerilla Hermeneutics.” Dissertation Abstracts International 42, no.5 (1981): 2192-A.

Master of Arts in English, University of Alaska at Fairbanks, 1971

Bachelor of Arts in English, Philosophy Minor, Fordham University, Bronx, NY, 1968

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University of New Mexico Summer Seminar “Examining Key Scriptures of the Zen Buddhist Tradition,” Jemez Bodhi Manda Zen Center, New Mexico, 2002

Certificate in Permaculture Design, Occidental Arts & Ecology Center, Occidental, California, 1998

Certificates in “The Human Element” (FIRO), Will Schutz Associates, Mill Valley, California,& “From Conflict to Collaboration,” The Institute for Personal Change, San Bruno, California, 1998

Languages: French; introductory Chinese (Putonghua)

Academic & Professional Honors:
Academy of Consciousness Studies Fellow Princeton University (Princeton Engineering Anomalies Research Laboratories), 1994

Elected Alaska Pacific University Faculty Assembly Chair; 1992-1994, Received Alaska Pacific University Service Merit Award, 1994

National Endowment for the Humanities Summer Fellow The University of Hawaii: Madhyamika Buddhism; (declined, 1989)

National Endowment for the Humanities Summer Fellow Stanford University: Chinese Literature in an Interlingual Context, 1985

National Endowment for the Humanities Summer Fellow The Claremont Graduate University: Myth, Symbolic Modes and Ideology, 1974

Full-Tuition Scholarships Emory University, The Graduate Institute of the Liberal Arts, 1977-1979

Teaching & Professional Experience:
Director, The Institute for Contemporary Ancient Learning, Langley, Washington, 2004-present

Adjunct Faculty in Individualized Master of Arts Program, Antioch University Midwest, Yellow Springs, Ohio, 2011-present

Adjunct Faculty, Cultural Anthropology, Skagit Valley College: South Whidbey Center,  2015

Adjunct Associate Professor in Transformative Studies Department, School of Consciousness and Transformation, California Institute of Integral Studies, San Francisco, California, 2010

Core Graduate Faculty in the Center for Creative Change Whole Systems Design & Environment and Community Programs, Antioch University, Seattle, Washington, 1999-2004

Associate Professor in the Department of Humanities and Director of Graduate Liberal Studies, Golden Gate University, San Francisco, California, 1995-1998

Associate Professor in the Department of Humanities and M. A. in Liberal Studies Program, Alaska Pacific University, Anchorage, 1988-1994

Assistant Professor in the Adult Degree Program at Roanoke, Mary Baldwin College, Staunton, Virginia, 1987-1988

Visiting Assistant Professor in the Graduate Institute of the Liberal Arts, Emory University, 1986-1987

Adjunct Assistant Professor in the Departments of Humanities and of Philosophy, The University of North Carolina at Asheville; Part-time Reference Librarian, Pack Memorial Library, Asheville, 1985-1986

Instructor in the Department of English, Syracuse University, New York; Instructor in the Department of Anthropology, Utica College of Syracuse University; also Instructor in Syracuse University College of Continuing Education, 1984-1985

Assistant Professor in the Department of English, Mohawk Valley Community College, Utica, New York, 1983-1984

Foreign Expert (Interdisciplinary Liberal Studies) in the Department of Foreign Languages, Liaoning Teachers’ University, Dalian, People’s Republic of China, 1981-1983

Related Experience: 
*Instructor, Contemplative Ecology: A More-than-Sustainable Future, Senior Services of Island County (WA), Autumn 2014
*Electronic Documents Review, American Para-Professional Systems (APPS), Seattle, Washington, 2006-2008
*Writing invited book for Hampton Press; Consultant; Assistant at Meetings by Design, Inc., Berkeley, California; Permaculture Design Certification; “The Human Element” Certification, 1998-1999
*Educational Consultant, Action Coalition for Global Change/Model City, 1995-
*Fellow in Princeton University Academy of Consciousness Studies; Writing invited work for Routledge Press; Writing for Integrative Explorations; Educational Consultant, Teaching in Anchorage, Alaska public high school system, 1994-1995

Predoctoral & Volunteer Experience:
* 2015-Present Guest Collaborator, City of Langley, WA Parks, Open Space and Trails Commission  
*2015- Present  Consultant, Board of Directors, Whidbey Island Community Education
*Teaching Associate in the Department of Religion; and Teaching Assistant in the Liberal Studies Program, The Graduate Institute of the Liberal Arts, Emory University, 1980-1981; (Ph.D. program 1977-1981)
*Travel, Western Europe 1976; Head Custodian, Northgate Apartments, Reston, VA, 1976-1977
*Librarian, Kuskokwim Consortium Library, Bethel, Alaska, 1974-1975
*Community Information Specialist Fairbanks North Star Borough Library; Instructor in Literature and in Liberal Studies, Kuskokwim Community College of the University of Alaska at Bethel; Jesuit Volunteer Corps Bethel--Conscientious Objector doing Alternate Service, 1972-1974
*Teaching Graduate Assistant in the Department of English, the University of Alaska at Fairbanks, 1969-1971
*Teacher in the Department of English, Rome Free Academy, Rome, New York, 1968-1969

Courses Taught, Undergraduate:
Language and Literature: Approaches to Literature; Comparative Ancient & Classical Literature; Introduction to Literature; 20th Century American Literature & Culture; Survey of Literature; English Composition (all levels including ESL); Intensive Reading; World Literature; Science Fiction; Asian Literature & its Philosophical Background
Religious Studies: Contemporary Religious Thought; Religious Studies: Autobiography & Dreams; Dreams & Social Ideology; Buddhism, Daoism & Global Consciousness
Social Science/Philosophy: Cultural Anthropology; Symbolic Anthropology: Healing & Religion; Anthropology: Magic & Religion in Preliterate Societies; The Philosophy of Science; Ancient Wisdom & Modern Science; Evolution & Unity; Paradigm Studies; Introduction to Philosophy; Eastern Philosophies
Interdisciplinary Core Courses: Discourse & Social Meaning; Interdisciplinary Liberal Studies; Business & the Humanities; Individual Environment; Social Environment; Integration; The Future & the Individual; In Search of History; Shapers of Modern Thought; Identity, Youth & Self; Dynamics of Civilization; Origins of Civilization; Critical Thinking

Graduate, Literature & Theory: The Nature of Language; Comparative Literary Theory & Criticism; English Literature; Literature of the Pacific Rim; Literature of the Pacific Wilderness; Myth, Meaning & Literature; Blake’s Critique of Modernism; History of English & American Literature; Literature & Ideology; Children & Literature; Poetics & Politics: The Languages of Law, Dissent & Protest; Postmodernism in Literature & Culture; Myth, Literature, Archetype: Sustainable Systems & Meanings; Writing & Interpretation; Voice, Place, Principle
Evolution, Consciousness, and Systems Theory: Transformative Learning; Systems Thinking; Contemplative Ecology; Interpretive Cosmology: Daoist Philosophy & Jungian Psychology; Teacher Education; Ways of Knowing; Ancient Mind, Modern Medicine; Alterity, Relation, Cosmology & Meaning; Immersion into Whole Systems Design; Ever-Present Origin; Who Designs? Who Is Asking the Question?; Authenticity & Spontaneity in Consciousness, Culture & Natural Systems; Autopoiesis: Myth, Science & Self-Organization; The Evolution of Consciousness; Ecosocial Mindfulness; Systemic Theories & Approaches; Sustainable Community & Contemplative Leisure; Philosophical Perspectives on Environment & Community; Religion, Ecology & Ecohumanism; Critical Inquiry; Evolutionary Theory & Self-Organizing Systems; Ethics & Environmental Justice; Cultural Thematics of the Sixties

Teaching and Research Interests: Interdisciplinary, Transdisciplinary and Intercultural Interpretation•Symbolic & Biocultural Anthropology/Shamanism•Philosophy of Science• History/Evolution/Future of Consciousness•World Literature & Mythopoeia/Theory of Literature•Intercultural Religious Studies•Philosophical Hermeneutics/Hermeneutic Ontology•Interpretive/Axiological Cosmology•Ecophilosophy & Ecohumanism•Ecology & Religion•Social Justice•Holism/Nondualism•Nature of Language•Analytical and Archetypal Psychology•Daoist, Confucian, Neo-Confucian & Comparative Philosophy/Zhuangzi•Jean Gebser•Thomas Berry•Deconstructionism•Critical Theory•William Blake•Theory of Self-Organizing Systems•Interpretation of Religion•Intercultural Noetics•Sustainability•Contemplative/Learning Community

Selected Scholarly Publications:
Book: By the Torch of Chaos and Doubt: Consciousness, Culture Poiesis & Religion in the Opening Global Millennium. Advances in Systems Theory, Complexity, and the Human Sciences Series. Alfonso Montuori, Editor. Cresskill, NJ: Hampton Press, 2003

Articles, Chapters, Presentations etc.:
“Anthropocosmic Communitas for Long-Term Sustainability, ” presented in absentia at Transgressing Boundaries:  Interdisciplinary Culture, Psychoanalysis and Anthropology, A Festschrift in Honor of Robert A. Paul at Emory University, Atlanta, GA, February 29, 2016

"It's Child's Play: Contemplative Anthropocosmic Creativity" World Futures: The Journal of New Paradigm Research 70: 8 (December 2014): 496-514

“The Starry Night Sky” World Futures: The Journal of Global Education 69: 4-6 (July 2013): 231-247 and   and in Montuori, Alfonso Ed. Journeys In Complexity: Autobiographical Accounts by Leading Systems and Complexity Theorists. New York: Routledge, 2014

“’Reflections on Things at Hand’: Contemplative Conduct as Self-Organizing Sustainability” at the Washington Center Curriculum for the Bioregion Conference on Sustainability and Contemplative Practice, Whidbey Institute at Chinook, Clinton, WA, November 3, 2012

"Contemplative Ecology: An Intercultural Story," in Designing Ecological Habitats: Creating a Sense of Place. E Christopher Mare and Max Lindegger, Eds. East Meon, UK: Permanent Publications, 2011: 47-52 and

"Sustainability: Syllogism, Synchronicity and Yijing" at the Pacific Northwest Regional Conference of the American Academy of Religion, Gonzaga University, Spokane, WA, May 13, 2011

Yijing for Sustainable Ecosocial Mindfulness,” in absentia, invited at World Conference on the Yijing, Wuxi, Jiangsu, China June 14, 2010. Abstract at

“Contemplative Ecology: Guan for a More-than-Sustainable Future” Journal of Chinese Philosophy 37:1 (March 2010): 116-130

“Contemplative Conduct as Self-Organizing Resonance: Notes for a Future Beyond Sustainability” at the Pacific Northwest Regional Conference of the American Academy of Religion, George Fox University, Newberg, OR, May 3, 2008.

“Ecosemeity in the Global Noetic Repertoire” at The Institute for Contemporary/Ancient Learning, Seattle, WA, January 13, 2007

Creatio Continua,” World Futures: The Journal of General Evolution. 61:8 (December 2005): 622-628

“Coworlding and Ecoworlding” at the EcoVillage Design Institute Conference; Kendall, WA, July 29, 2005

“Integral Yoga and the Future Paradigms of Science” panelist at the Aurobindo Association Conference, Port Townsend, WA, June 12, 2005

“Teilhard de Chardin, Thomas Berry and Kong Zi” at the Pacific Northwest Regional Conference of the American Academy of Religion, Seattle University, April 30, 2005

“Sustainability and Self-Knowing: Cosmology, Politics and Poetics” at the Institute for Contemporary/Ancient Learning, Seattle, WA, March 12, 2005

“Ecohumanism: The Spontaneities of the Earth, Ziran, and K=2” Journal of Chinese Philosophy 31:2 (June 2004): 183-194.

“Rhythm, Meaning, and Vision: The Theory and Practice of Hermeneutic Ontology” at the Antioch University Seattle Center for Creative Change Symposium, April 4, 2001

“As We Are, So We See: Social Virtuosity as Discourse and Concourse” at the Antioch University VIIth Annual Faculty Conference, Yellow Springs, OH, November 11, 2000

Review: Words from the Soul: Time, East/West Spirituality, and Psychotherapeutic Narrative by Stuart Sovatsky. Integralis: Journal of Integral Consciousness, Culture, and Science 1.0 (October 2000)

“Wheels within Wheels, Building the Earth: Intuition, Integral Consciousness, and the Pattern that Connects.” Intuition—The Inside Story: Interdisciplinary Perspectives. Eds. Robbie E. Davis-Floyd and P. Sven Arvidson, New York: Routledge Press, 1997: 81-100.

“All That We Are Is The Result Of What We Have Thought: Deficient Magic and Child Abuse,” Integrative Explorations: Journal of Culture and Consciousness 3.1 (January 1996): 18-51.

“Structures of Consciousness and the Work of Jean Gebser” at the Academy of Consciousness Studies, Princeton University, NJ, June 28, 1994

“Anointed with a Complex Delight” at the XIIth Annual Jean Gebser Conference, University of Windsor, Ontario, November 11, 1993

Review: The Embodied Mind: Cognitive Science and Human Experience, by Francisco J. Varela, Evan Thompson, Eleanor Rosch. World Futures: The Journal of General Evolution 37 (1993): 219-223; and (revised) Cybernetics & Human Knowing 9.2 (2002): 84-86.

“All That We Are Is The Result Of What We Have Thought” at the XIth Annual Jean Gebser Conference, Shippensburg University, PA, November 13, 1992

“It Happens all by Itself: The Tao of Cooperation, Systems Theory and Constitutive Hermeneutics,” World Futures: The Journal of General Evolution 31 (1991): 139-160; and in Cooperation: Beyond the Age of Competition, Allan Combs, Ed., World Futures General Evolution Series vol. 4. Philadelphia: Gordon and Breach, 1992: 96-117.

Review: The Inner Limits of Mankind: Heretical Reflections on Today’s Values, Culture and Politics, by Ervin Laszlo. World Futures: the Journal of General Evolution 32 (1991): 45-47

Review: Coming to Our Senses: Body and Spirit in the Hidden History of the West, by Morris Berman. World Futures: The Journal of General Evolution 30 (1991): 279-280.

Review: From Reductionism to Creativity: rDzogs-chen and the New Sciences of Mind, by Herbert V. Guenther. World Futures: The Journal of General Evolution 30 (1990): 101-103.

Review: Heidegger and Asian Thought, Graham Parkes, Ed., Pacifica 1:2 (September 1989): 133-138.

Review: Buddhist Hermeneutics, Donald S. Lopez, Ed., Pacifica 1:1 (January 1989): 125-132.

“Interdisciplinary, Transdisciplinary, and Intercultural Education: Postmodern Noetics and Guerilla Hermeneutics.” IS Journal/International Synergy 3:1 (No. 6, July 1988): 64-99.

“Interdisciplinary, Transdisciplinary, and Intercultural Education” at the Conference on Interdisciplinary Baccalaureate Education, University of South Carolina at Columbia, March 7, 1988.

“Jean Gebser: A Transdisciplinary Interpretation of the History of Consciousness” at the University of North Carolina at Asheville Noetics Group, March 6, 1988.

“Tao, Psyche and the Implicate Order” at the West Georgia College Symposium on Mind, Matter and Meaning, at Carrollton, GA, April 11, 1987.

“Experiments in Learning” at the Conference of the International Society for Individualized Instruction, Atlanta, GA, October 11, 1986.

“Chuang Tzu’s Existential Hermeneutics.” Journal of Chinese Philosophy 13 (1986): 393-409.

“Global Learning.” Scholar and Educator 9:2 (Fall 1985): 40-46.

“The Future of Consciousness and World Order” at the Conference of the Popular Culture Association, Louisville, KY, April 6, 1985.

“Future Studies and Evolutionary Humanism” at the Conference of Educators and Scholars, D’Youville College, Buffalo, NY, September 28, 1984.

“Therapeia and Noogenesis.” The Teilhard Review 14 (Winter 1979): 15-18.

Selected Journalistic Publications:
“Collapse” in Swans Commentary, October 4, 2004;
“We Eat Our Young,” The Radical 1:3 (March/April 1993): 19-23;
Review: The Dream of the Earth, Thomas Berry. Alaska Bioregional Journal 1:3 (Summer 1989): 14-15;
“Cynosure,” editorial column in Tundra Drums, Bethel, Alaska, Fall 1974-Spring 1975; Library Journal Book Reviews: Gebser, J. The Ever-Present Origin, 109:20, 1984, p. 2284.; Hayles, N. K. The Cosmic Web, 110:2, 1985, p. 98.; Thompson, W. I. Pacific Shift, 111:7, 1986, p. 83; Hofstadter, D. R. Metamagical Themas, 110:9, 1985, p. 72; Pearce, J. C. Magical Child Matures, 110:10, 1985, p. 133.; Goleman, D. Vital Lies, Simple Truths, 110:10, 1985, p. 132; Campbell, J. Fisherman’s Guide, 110:12, 1985, p. 75; Altizer, T. J. J. History as Apocalypse, 110:12, 1985, p. 75.

Work under Review and in Progress: New Reflections on Things at Hand: Contemplating Ecohumane Sustainability, book••

Selected Professional and Service Activities:
Simplicity Circle, Convener•Food LifeLine, Volunteer•Academy of Consciousness Studies, Fellow• American Academy of Religion, Member•Jean Gebser Society, Member•Integrative Explorations Editorial Board, Member•Integralis: Journal of Integral Studies Editorial Board, Member•Action Coalition for Global Change Educational Advisory Board, Member•Interconnection: Computer Re-Use & Learning Center, Volunteer; Forum on Religion and Ecology, Member

References, etc., on request

Abstract/Precis “Reflections on Things at Hand: Contemplative Conduct as Self-Organizing Sustainability”

“’Reflections on Things at Hand’: Contemplative Conduct as Self-Organizing Sustainability” at the Washington Center Curriculum for the Bioregion Conference on Sustainability and Contemplative Practice, Whidbey Institute at Chinook, Clinton, WA, November 3, 2012. 
I wonder about an attentiveness so complete that its self-rewarding or autotelic practice leaves little left over of ego restlessly questing to extract reward from nature by unsustainably imposing on natural systems. In sharing such contemplative conduct and consciousness, we real-ize ourselves in analogy with and as resonating the event of cosmogenesis -- as being what Thomas Berry calls a dimensionality of the universe with and as which contemporary science and intercultural wisdom alike give evidence of our participation, evocation and performance. With the emergence of a correspondingly celebratory ecosocial mindfulness, “we should” in the words of  Mengzi,  “anticipate the will of the poets in our thought.”

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Abstract: Sustainability: Syllogism, Synchroncity & Yijing

Sustainability: Syllogism, Synchronicity & Yijing
©2011, Guy Burneko, Ph. D.
American Academy of Religion Pacific Northwest Regional Conference: Asian and Comparative Studies
Gonzaga University Spokane, WA May 13, 2011

Earth-Human sustainability requires an integral ecology of aptitudes and resources beyond those most utilitarian or rationalistically approved. In choosing skilful and appropriate means to sustainability, we must look beyond syllogistic logics premised on anthropocentrism, dualism, objectivistic atomism and linear cause-effect mechanism. Practicing synchronistic Yijing and the kind of spontaneous, nonimposing (wuwei) existential resonance (ganying) we come to learn through it is performing, and not merely interpreting, the sustainingly self-renewing potentials of a universe irreducible to any single category of existence, value or ontohermeneutic method. A precautionary ecosocial rectitude is found in relativizing instrumentalist, discursive, propositional agenda by a measure of nondualizing appositional, contemplative thinking and correspondingly synchronistic circumstantial conduct which, suggest both the Neo-Confucian Wang Yangming and the systems theorist Edgar Morin, acts according to the need of the moment and not overmuch by relying on the template of ego-interest or of a rationalized system, program and policy. Embodying with Yijing what Thomas Berry calls the “spontaneities” of the Earth, we demonstrate the self-adjusting and self-organizing resonance of a nondualizing guan (comprehensive, contemplative attentiveness) that sustains the productive and reproductive life of compresencing Heaven, Earth and Humankind. From Chung-Ying Cheng’s interpretation of guan, we understand that its precautionary rectitude or zheng coinheres with optimally sustaining dynamic complementary interrelations amid ourselves, Earth systems and sidereal rhythms in what Morin calls ontoepistemological “self-eco-re-organizing.” This evokes the potentials of a coconsciously evolving universe as suggested by quantum cosmological, archetypal psychological and eco-evolutionary-religious views.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Abstract: Yijing for Sustainable Ecosocial Mindfulness

"Yijing for Sustainable Ecosocial Mindfulness"
Invited at the World Conference on the Yijing in Wuxi, China June 2010 (not presented due to scheduling conflicts)
© 2010, Guy Burneko, Ph. D.

Yijing and the kind of existential resonance we come to learn through it models the sustainingly self-renewing potentials of a universe not fully reducible to any single category of existence or ontomethodology.

This paper emphasizes interculturally and transdisciplinarily diverse notions of how we may cocultivate spontaneous, lived resonance with the patterns of life and affairs expressed by Yijing in ways that are ecosocially mature in sustaining mutually beneficial, optimal, Earth-human relations in the life of the inner-connected universe

Ecosocially mindful rectitude is found in complementing fixed habits of thought and social conditioning with creatively spontaneous ones relativizing exclusively discursive, propositional agenda by a measure of appositional thinking and circumstantial or strategic conduct which, according to both Wang Yangming and the systems theorist Edgar Morin, acts according to the need of the moment and not overmuch by relying on the template of a rationalized system, program and policy.

Becoming embodiments of Yijing-like-conduct in everyday life through what Thomas Berry calls the spontaneities of the Earth, we demonstrate the self-adjusting or self-organizing rectitude, the resonance of a nondualizing guan that sustains the productive and reproductive life of compresencing Heaven, Earth and Humankind

From Chung-ying Cheng’s interpretation of guan, we understand that its sustaining rectitude or zheng coinheres with our optimally participating dynamically complementary interrelations amid the field including ourselves, Earth systems and sidereal rhythms through the ever-unique centrality (zhong) of what Morin calls its “self-eco-re-organizing” through our ontoepistemological focusings.

Since this is the one life/body we share with all living beings and natural systems, this opportunity for action and judgment understood in a sustainable ecosocial context is the opportunity, as Berry puts it, for the Great Transformation, the da hua, of reinventing the human through resonantly according our conduct and our consciousness with the spontaneities of the Earth and the universe. This evokes the broad and deep potentials of what we now understand to be in some real sense a coconsciously evolving universe as suggested by quantum cosmological, archetypal psychological and eco-evolutionary-religious views.

The life of universe is too vast, complex and changeful for programmatic and simplifyingly rationalistic abstract and either/or thinking alone to be sustainably adequate. We need headings and resources that are guanlike in their strategically pliant, processual, nondual and nonreductionist ontoepistemology. Yijing and Yijing-like resources complement and compensate our normative ego-consciousness and conduct in the im-mediacy of the currents of life unreduced, unessentialized and no longer simplified and fragmented into habituated dichotomizations, instrumentalisms and unsustainable abstractions.

Attentive participation with the “incipience” of change without one-sidedly imposing imperial programs and anthropocentric, utilitarian, absolutist or reductive ontoepistemes sustainingly engenders lived solidarity and a spontaneous, nonformalized responsiveness with the movements of nature and ecopolity in whose taiji, “the whole is in the part that is inside the whole”

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Contemplative Ecology Seminar

Contemplative Ecology: A More-than-Sustainable Future--Draft Syllabus
©Guy Burneko, Ph. D.
The Institute for Contemporary Ancient Learning
Seattle, WA

Course Description and Course Hypothesis:
Mainstream environmentalism calls for finding ways to continue to live as we have done, but in ways that sustain the resources of Earth. This seminar proposes that sustainability rests in a transformation of consciousness altogether, along the lines of what Thomas Berry calls reinventing the human. This implies living in resonance with the self-organizing patterns of cosmogenesis, in the archetypal, quantum, ecosocial and macrocosmic environments, not seeking solely and objectifyingly to manipulate the world for gain. The heart of this transformation in our way of life and in the structures of ego and consciousness is in finding satisfaction and delight in experience-as-such before it is dualized into subjects looking over the shoulder of every object for rewards external to the interaction itself. Contemplative traditions show us ways this nondualization takes place, and notable among them are philosophical Daoism and Neo-Confucian thinking that teach the heart/mind (xin) of the sage contemplative is the heart/mind of Heaven and Earth. One significance of this nonobjectivizing alignment or coinherence of self with the greater Self of universe-unfolding (Heaven, Earth, and Humanity) is that it allows seamless participation in/as the coevolutionary process trending towards the kind of self-organizing systems creativity-optimization described by Morin’s complexity theory and Kauffman’s idea of reinventing the sacred. It also demonstrates eco-contemplative conduct as a self-similar fractal or microcosm of cosmogenesis. In short, in contemplative – though not necessarily inert or quiescent – orientations, we find the kinds of intrinsic reward that surpass, or dehabituate, compulsions toward external gain. And thus we stamp less of an egocentric footprint on the natural systems of Earth to the degree we attune, resonate and integrate ourselves with, and as, cosmic cocreativity.

Facilitator Bio:
My foremost relation with this material comes from having lived in China and Alaska as well as diverse US settings including my present home in Seattle. I have been an amateur explorer, and I love the terrains of cosmos and Earth. Connected with this have been publications such as “Ecohumanism: The Spontaneities of the Earth, Ziran, and K=2,” in the Journal of Chinese Philosophy, a book on consciousness and culture titled By the Torch of Chaos and Doubt, another book underway on the theme of contemplative cosmogenesis, and a forthcoming essay, on Contemplative Ecology. My previous graduate teaching has been in transdisciplinary and intercultural liberal studies including Whole Systems Design and Environment and Community programs.

Requirements, Objectives, Activities, Criteria:
The major aim is an animating, creatively critical and knowledgeable interaction on the theme of a contemplative reorientation for extreme-long-term sustainability. A related aim is individual and community learner praxis bearing on contemplative sustainability. I’ll ask each participant to be present to online discussions with substantive comments at least 3 times weekly, or oftener, to read the assigned materials listed below, to write two critical/interpretive papers (20 pages, total), and to complete and report on a paired or group experiential activity directly relevant to the course—this may be an ecosocial project, ritual or celebration, a shared contemplative practice and/or a scientific experiment. I will look for creative thinking more than an accumulation of data. The criteria are graduate level exposition and participation – e. g., think about the possibility of writing for publication in doing your papers. I’ll look for a developing thesis or hypothesis, effective use of our readings and other resources, and a creative, sustained, thoughtful interaction with the material wherein you develop your own ideas. Make the course materials your own in a way others can share, and place your thinking in a creative and a critical context with what others have written. Find in the seminar what makes your heart sing and articulate it with suitable references and composition. Sing your song.

Required Readings, Sources; (The amount of weekly reading will be tuned and moderated according to learners' individual interests and topics of general interest, TBD):

Berry, Thomas. The Dream of the Earth. San Francisco: Sierra Club, 1988

Burneko, Guy. “Ecohumanism: The Spontaneities of the Earth, Ziran, and K=2” Journal of Chinese Philosophy 31:2 (June 2004). 183-194

_____. “Contemplative Ecology” TBD

Callahan, William A. “Cook Ding’s Life on the Whetstone: Contingency, Action and Inertia in the Zhuangzi” in Roger T. Ames, ed., Wandering at Ease in the Zhuangzi. Albany: SUNY, 1998: 175-95

Coyle, Daniel. “On the Zhenren” in Roger T. Ames, ed., Wandering at Ease in the Zhuangzi. Albany: SUNY, 1998: 197-210

Csikzentmihalyi, Mihalyi “Play and Intrinsic Rewards,” Journal of Humanistic Psychology 15. 3: (1975): 41-63

(From) Guenther, Herbert V. From Reductionism to Creativity: rDzogs-chen and the New Sciences of Mind. Boston: Shambhala, 1989: Foreword, Introduction, Chapter 13, Epilogue, ix-8, 223-248, 276-83

Jones, David and John Culliney. “The Fractal Self and the Organization of Nature: The Daoist Sage and Chaos Theory” Zygon 34:4 (December 1999). 643-654

Laughlin, Charles D. and Jason C. Throop. “Imagination and Reality: On the Relations between Myth, Consciousness, and the Quantum Sea” Zygon 36:4 (December 2001): 709-36

(From) Kauffman, Stuart. At Home in the Universe: The Search for the Laws of Self-Organization and Complexity. New York: Oxford UP, 1995: Preface, Chapter, vii-viii, 1-30; read any parts you care to of Kauffman’s Reinventing the Sacred (not required, listed below).

Morin, Edgar. On Complexity, Trans. Robin Postel. Cresskill, NJ: Hampton Press, 2008

(TBD From) Tucker, Mary Evelyn and John Berthrong, eds. Confucianism and Ecology: The Interrelation of Heaven, Earth, and Humans. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press/The Harvard University Center for the Study of World Religions, 1998
(TBD From) Girardot, N. J., James Miller and Liu Xiaogan, eds. Daoism and Ecology: Ways Within a Cosmic Landscape. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press/The Harvard University Center for the Study of World Religions, 2001

Course Itinerary:

Weeks I - IV, Please begin reading Berry, Kauffman and Morin (BKM). What they have to say will offer a matrix for subsequent discussions. Focus on “functional cosmology,” the “spontaneities of the Earth,” the theory of self-organizing systems and “complex thought”

V Callahan, BKM; Think about how Chinese philosophy optimizes situations in the context of self-organizing spontaneity and anthropocosmic resonance

VI (From) Tucker & Berthrong (TBD), BKM; What might be the sustainably ecosocial and ecocosmic significance of the trinity of Heaven, Earth and Humanity? Of Neo-Confucianism in general? Read in Wang Yangming (below, but not required) if you have the time and interest

VII (From) Girardot, et al.(TBD), Csikzentmihalyi, BKM; Play and contemplative conduct as intrinsically rewarding; What might be the ecocultural (egocultural?) implications of “flow”; Please let me have your first paper.

VIII Coyle, BKM; What do zhenren and sages have to say to us about sustainable, and noninstrumental participation in the self-organizing processes of the universe? To what extent is ego/intentionality a necessary constituent of sustainable self-eco-organization, to what degree and in what ways can it be transformed? Breathe from your heels.

IX Jones and Culliney, Girardot et al.(TBD), Tucker & Berthrong (TBD), BKM; Is the fractal self green?

X Guenther, BKM; How does contemplative consciousness/conduct reveal “experience-as-such”?; and how does the self-organization of such experience conduce to resonance with the holomovement? What is green about yoga?

XI Laughlin and Throop, BKM; Here is enough rope to hang yourself.

XII Burneko, BKM; Is this a logic of discovery or of verification? What are the implications of the question, and how do they bear on the prospects for extreme long term ecohumane sustainability?

XIII Berry, Burneko, Cheng in Tucker & Berthrong, KM; What is the significance of intercultural learning and experience for “functional cosmology”?; Can the spontaneities of the Earth be taught? Cultivated?

XIV Jones and Culliney, Tucker & Berthrong, (TBD), Girardot et al. (TBD) BKM; What are the ethical implications?; What is ethics/ethos?; Please submit reports on your projects

XV “Play,” Tucker & Berthrong (TBD), Girardot, et al. (TBD); Please let me have your reports, final papers and any late work. And thank you!

Selected Eclectic, Recommended and Background Readings + Websites to be provided

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Review of "Not-Two Is Peace"

Book Review:
Adi Da. Not-Two Is Peace: The Ordinary People’s Way of Global Cooperative Order, 3rd ed., expanded and updated. Middletown, CA: Dawn Horse Press, 2009.

©Guy Burneko, Ph.D.
The Institute for Contemporary/Ancient Learning
Seattle, WA
Revised, March 28, 2009

This book is valuable in so many ways that writing a review of it is a pleasure; its limitations are only the result of its considerable virtues and, its author might add, of the times we live in.

It elucidates in diverse ways the immense value of profound nondualist experience for humane and ecohumane well-being. And while in doing so it does not rely on scholarly references, anyone who has encountered traditional teachings of the inherent unity of being from the Vedas, Sutras, mystics or indigenous sources will recognize basic similarities in concept and import. For instance, where we read in Adi Da that “The restoration of sanity and Truth – or the restoration to Reality Itself – requires the overcoming of the ‘self’-deluded process. . . of ‘self-objectification,’” we hear echoes of ancient teachings about the avidya or ignorance that obscures and deludes our understanding (of ourselves as essentially not-twoed from “prior unity”). Our ignorance, he explains, is in thinking of ourselves as separate egos which, therefore, in turn objectify All (including one another) as something separate from ourselves. From this derive the "tribalisms," competitiveness, fears and lack in peace and composure that afflict our unsustainable lives. Our self-alienating presumption of individual ego eclipses the basic Self-realization that we are, finally, non-individually selfless in (and as) the not-two of never-completely-objectifiable “Reality Itself.”

Adi Da is both clear and tonic in showing the extent to which the contemporary “world is deluded by its own artifacts” and that we continuously blind ourselves to the fact that “the egoless human being fully participates in Reality Itself” by our persistently assuming that we do not do so via our repeated “egoic” assertions. In other words, it is in assuming and instantiating the unity of the reality that is prior to all egoing (rather than assuming duality in our interpersonal and geopolitical interactions) that we embody Reality. “Egolessness is the self-organizing energy of prior unity.” We have put the cart of separateness before the horse of not-two, and in the process let ourselves be “reduced” to the status of “consumers” or, worse, of commodities – much like the bounty of the natural world we are using up at an unsustainable rate.

One miscue in the development of Adi Da’s thinking may be in using the term “individuation” to accentuate the confrontational hyper-individualism of contemporary social psychology. Compare his criticism of it with Jung’s richly developed use of the term individuation to characterize a process of psychospiritual “integration” of opposites tending towards what Adi Da himself seems to propose. Consider also that characters and images in dream, myth and ritual drama often provide useful bridges for understanding how competing opposites reveal as well as conceal a manifold coincidentia oppositorum, or marriage of opposites. Examples are in the reciprocities of yinyang or in the unconditioned unity behind the battling armies of Bhagavadgita where Krishna, in the form of a charioteer, reminds us to “be free of the pairs of opposites. Poise [our] mind in tranquility . . .Be established in the consciousness of the Atman, always.” Adi Da and his followers might reach readers more readily if they used the imagery of myth, parable and poetry to refresh the occasional abstruseness or aridity of his exposition. By the same token, what Adi Da writes is entirely germane to (nonreductive and, in particular, nondual) philosophical, religious, political and scientific understandings worldwide, and it merits critical and appreciative interpretation in those contexts.

Attempting to clarify the self-presencing of undivided Reality-experience, what Adi Da calls “prior unity,” i. e., the unity that is “senior” to everything that we usually experience as divided into us and them, this and that, pro and con, and all the exaggerated brouhaha of the “daily news,” he devises innovative tactics of language, (including punctuation and capitalization). These are briefly distracting, but in no case is his use of language ambiguous or unclear. Such a statement as that: “Love Is The Inherent (and, thus, moment to moment) Transcending of the separate ‘subject’ (or the egoic and divisive ‘self’) and the separate ‘object’ (or the illusory ‘not-self’)” would by itself be a show-stopper. But the book explains its use of novel forms of expression, provides a glossary and an astute introduction by Ervin Laszlo, and the reader is made familiar with terms as they arise. (The 3rd edition, 1/09, is some 100 pages longer than that of 6/07). The overall experience is one of thinking together with and, ideally, as genuinely seminal being-consciousness – sometimes in tradition signified by sat-chit-ananda.

Occasional generalizations demand some support, for example, the declaration that: humans created language-based systems of knowledge in a collective effort to “protect. . .the. . . ego-position on which human cultures are traditionally based.” This is congruent with Da’s overall argument (throughout which, as I recall, he provides only one reference). But there are thoughtful linguists, psychological and biocultural anthropologists and others who might demur or offer refinements here. I’d mention Benjamin Lee Whorf or Laughlin et al., in their Brain, Symbol & Experience

It is not initially easy, if ever easy, to bespeak indivisible prior unity in a world of mind and speech that is everywhere premised on ego-born duality and the dramas of often antagonistic multiplicities. As Zhuangzi suggests, there is the One, then there is somebody, and then that somebody is saying something about that One—which makes three; already the calculations are adding up fast. Again, however, we are asked to read Adi Da not foremost as an “author” or as a “writer,” and far less as an academic, but as an expression of a presumably integral consciousness that is often eclipsed by the divisiveness of “Narcissistic holocaust” in our “dark time.”

Adi Da gets right to work, in a “no nonsense. . . .only business handled” way forgoing the humor, irony, fun and sweet affection we find in the writings of such illuminated ones as Zhuangzi or Hafiz. In fact, as incontrovertibly valuable as Adi Da’s teaching is in this book, its exposition is sometimes nigh unto hieratic, even pontifical. And this is especially so when his apostrophe is to “you” (meaning you, me, the readers) as if he were not also one among us: “You -- the people of the world. Every one of ‘Everyman’ must be changed, and restored to the non-dissociative circumstance. . . .” There is nothing offensive about this kind of address, and in its didactic or even hortatory context it is understandable. But neither, even though written in the name of compassion, does it savor of the inclusive love of, say, the self-deprecating Hafiz who writes to a similar end: “To your deepest sensibilities my Beloved has asked Hafiz to sing with all of my millstone’s talents.” The univocity of Avatar Adi Da Samraj sometimes verges on that of the Abrahamic traditions he not unreasonably critiques.

Yet “World-Friend” Adi Da offers real gifts of trenchancy and camaraderie in his work to help us grow “to relinquish the ego-principle and to embrace the Prior-Unity-Principle” and become politically free. “To be thus grown is, itself, to be (inherently) politically free.” And a major way to this is through our “intimate cooperation” in effecting locally, and also -- notably via internet resources -- a “Global Cooperative Forum” for the future conduct of life on earth. This “does not require disassociation from one’s nation, one’s birthplace, or one’s particular citizenship. Rather, it requires the discipline of always exercising a disposition that, fundamentally, transcends any kind of particularity of orientation.” It is thinking and living in terms of all of us, not just of the ego, clan, state or other corporate body we have divided ourselves into. “The disposition of always (and inherently) being part of humankind first implies a kind of egolessness.” “Cooperation and tolerance” accompany this, “the necessary ‘new paradigm’ for the human design of future effort,” and the necessary, ensuing peace.

The author also alludes to the practical value of contemplative practices, generically meditative or, as appropriate, “esoteric,” for the widespread development of “self-organizing” peace and world justice. The technique of the esoteric teaching is not made explicit, but there is extensive reflection on the value of a disciplined pedagogy he calls “zero-point education” in the “restoration of the principles of egolessness and prior unity to the course of human life.” He tellingly affirms that, The Global Cooperative Forum is, itself, the “activism,” the “institutional manifestation of ‘zero-point’ education.”

Adi Da refers to the Forum as a new kind of human “institution” throughout his work, one that is vitally apt to the crises of our times. Yet with this word he also evokes unfortunate connotations of the kinds of self-limiting tribal institutions -- Church, State and Party – that he hopes for us to outgrow. This choice of words may be another miscue to the average reader in a couple of ways. In the first, the word “institution” in colloquial American English still connotes a reified thing more than a transformative process and event varying with time and participants. Second, despite referring to the Forum as a “movement” characterized by “spontaneous” global “egolessness,” (and expressly saying of “the pattern of cosmos” that “there is no single ‘anything’ in charge”) he speaks of the Forum’s institutional need to have “a unique group of responsible and capable individuals who know how to connect with everybody-all-at-once” in this, “the ‘end-time’ of ego-culture.” These “converted” and “esoterically” trained “servant-heroes,” (in roles that seemingly combine the better features of Plato’s guardians, “mature contemplatives” as mentioned in Laughlin, et al., and, perhaps, the Jesuits), would ably abet the “global systematization of humankind.”

A problem here is that Adi Da’s welcome intentions for “something new [that] can only emerge from everybody-all-at-once” in an “ecstasy” of egolessness as we “relinquish the old civilization” seem repeatedly to be subverted by his use of the old vocabulary of a (seemingly hierarchized) “core institution” led or overseen by cognoscenti for the “systematization of the totality of the human world on Earth.” Something as truly refreshing, if not actually soteriological, as Adi Da’s project needs to be poetically redeemed from its prosaic echoing of Total System language familiar since, say, Nebuchadnezzar. We do indeed benefit by teachers and wise guides, but more “institutionalization” seems not the remedy these days. Yet as say the Sufis, let us take the wheat and not the measure in which it is contained.

Teilhard’s notion of the “noosphere” might help here, or Gebser’s idea of “integral consciousness.” Indeed, one good choice of a conceptual and rhetorical complement to Adi Da’s discourse is in rDzogs-chen Buddhism, an “esoteric system” of non-twoing wonderfully interpreted in light of contemporary systems theory by Herbert Guenther’s From Reductionism to Creativity. At this point, it’s natural to suggest that the www advent of the Global Cooperative Forum heralded by Adi Da deserves for support and context not only a library of interactions with texts and traditions but a planetarily-tuned, transdisciplinary and intercultural (not just dutifully multi-cultural) practical/contemplative/learning community.

Whether with a university, in a journal, among websites and webcasts, in ongoing seminars, symposia, conferences, dialogues or gentle late-night FM radio, the Forum is more likely to escape any parochialism (of originating vocabulary or method) if it is enhancingly hybridized, seasoned and invigorated (i. e., rendered tasty, musical and easy to dance to) by the resources of the entire global noetic repertoire, contemporary and ancient – and spices and tunes these resources up at the same time. (See Bohm, On Dialogue; Herman, I and Tao; Hall, Eros and Irony; “weak ontology” in Stephen K. White; see also the prescient discussions of ars contextualis, acosmological understanding and single-ordered metaphysics in Hall and Ames and again in Kuang-Ming Wu who also shares with us the “musical hermeneutics” of the nondualism of Zhuangzi who “was always smiling in his sentences”; and Girardot offers up a deliciously appropriate hermeneutics of existential soups, stews and wontons.)

If I understand today’s need aright, characterizations of the timely, fluid and fluent practice of the Global Cooperative Forum that Adi Da proposes might better emphasize it as the vibrant event or “ritual process” of shared “liminality” and “communitas” described by Victor Turner, for instance, than as the inert thing “institution” suggests. And the descriptive notion of the Forum as a “self-organizing system” might benefit from a greater emphasis on its far-from-equilibrium “openness” to the environment and on its ateleological performance (as described by, for instance, Jantsch) or its axiological expansion of systemic goal seeking (as in Kauffman). Adi Da does well to essay a language of whole systems, but he does so as if the connotations of “systematization” were the same as those of the “self-organizing systems” to which he so beneficially but cursorily alludes. The institution GM is systematized; the irreducibly mysterious universe self-organizes.

Altogether, some of the totalism implicit in the author’s prose and concepts (including a sprinkling of “must,” “insist,” and “require”) might be relieved and humanized by a complementary dose of dynamic and processual themes -- for instance, Thomas Berry’s “celebratory cosmology” of Earth-human relations as a “communion of subjects” -- not to mention some Hermes-Trickster-Dada playfulness.

I don’t care to infer that Adi Da intends literal enforcement of anything by elite initiates so much as that he seems with visionary clarity to believe that the strength of his arguments and tutored, meditative realization among followers will carry the day. But charisma can get routinized into rote. And such Adi Da assertions as that, “Everybody other than everybody-all-at-once is merely a faction. . . .merely an egoically ‘self’-interested consumer” may only fuel the fires of missionary polemics among those whose education for the “new global order” of “sanity and wisdom” is only piecemeal or secondhand, however sincere. Such assertions simultaneously create and convict the category of the “others.”

The alchemy of “authentic human existence” Adi Da bids us to, and the always-already “harmonious event of prior unity and cooperative peace” proceed inclusively amid, not platonically outside, the vagaries of the passions, differences, worries and doubts of all of us – “humankind-as-a-whole activates itself in the context of time and space.” Klesa is Bodhi, to invoke another nondualizing metric. Therefore, to “participate in indivisible prior unity with all-and-every-one and each-and-all-of-every-‘thing’” is to engage with the languages (and the problematics) of sister traditions in reducing what someone once called the sins (and the worries) of this world. We can understandingly work on these by using language that means something to each us where we are.

The egolessness we learn of in this book is devoid of the high drama of our usual knee-jerk assertions, national and individual, of I, me and mine as if these were not “always already” one with, and as, you and yours in the ecology of mind and nature. Absent the agon of adversarial concupiscence and violence, the no-drama politique of a Global Cooperative Forum convokes a mode of global community organization. It is refreshingly reminiscent of the cadences of “No Drama Obama” and the emerging global mystique of new age aloha. Adi Da writes from Fiji; you don’t need a weatherman to know which way the Pacific wind blows.

I haven’t in a long time read a book that hits so many nondual nails on the head so neatly, to make a bad analogy. There were parts of this work that, in the words of a classical Chinese scholar-sage, made me so happy I felt like I was “dancing with my hands and feet.” There were a few where I sensed a suppressed rancor. Reminded along the way of Plotinus and Eriugena as much as of Advaita, I heard also a refrain of transformative urgency not sounded quite so singularly or penetratingly since the millennial aspirations of Joachim of Fiore. It is well worth reading twice—I’ve read the 2nd and the much-enlarged 3rd editions. It deserves a place on both public and university library shelves.

I recommend it highly with the qualification that it requires concentration, patient attentiveness, and some allowance for a note of outraged idealism. Adi Da studied literature and philosophy, and the book reproduces some of his artwork. His gifts, I intuit, include the longing for a lost (w)holiness that well antedates Milton, Genesis, Rig Veda, the caves at Lascaux – or many of the other things he learned about as a budding humanities student. His work offers a diagnosis and remedy for a world culture of peaceless “mummery” and violence. Seriously to put it into practice, we “must surrender” and “lose face” of the egoic kind we are used to saving, that we may “All-and-all-at-once” reveal the glad countenance of Reality.

Google offers multiple references to Adi Da (some problematic, others gossipy, some giving different names he has used, e. g., Da Free John); and the book itself directs interested readers to, site of the Global Cooperative Forum.

Interested readers might also appreciate: Jean Gebser’s Ever-Present Origin, Sri Aurobindo’s The Future Evolution of Man, David Loy’s Nonduality, N. K. Girardot’s Myth and Meaning in Early Taoism, Thomas Berry’s Dream of the Earth, Mary Evelyn Tucker and Duncan Ryuken Williams,’ eds. Buddhism and Ecology, Beatrice Bruteau’s Evolution toward Divinity, Peter D. Hershock’s Liberating Intimacy, Ervin Laszlo’s The Connectivity Hypothesis, Charles Le Blanc’s Huai-Nan Tzu, Gray Kocchar-Lindgren’s Narcissus Transformed, John Weir Perry’s The Heart of History, Erich Neumann’s The Origin and History of Consciousness, Ken Wilber’s No Boundary, Wilhelm Fränger’s The Millenium of Hieronymous Bosch, Robert A. Paul’s Moses and Civilization, D. B. Sleeth's Integral Therapy, William Blake’s The Marriage of Heaven and Hell, and the projects of The Association for Contemplative Mind in Higher Education, of The Forum on Religion and Ecology, and of Harvard’s Religions of the World and Ecology Series of books.