Volution – the Pain and the Promise

This talk gives a summary of Volution Theory and focuses particularly on what I call the Pain and the Promise – the split that happened between humanity and the Earth, and the healing that is required for us to access the subtle realms that will enable us to successfully navigate this transition. It was originally hosted by Puria Kästele for the Conscious Evolution Summit 2020.

Impersonal Productivity

Here’s an interview around a question I get asked a lot.

Q. Peter, how do you get so much done? I mean, you are a co-founder at Ubiquity with the university and UbiVerse, you’ve got a new book coming out end of November and two more in the pipeline, you’re teaching three courses this Autumn, you are helping the folks at Broughton with their business strategy, creating an intuition experience centre, you sing in an anglo-celt folk band and are learning the tin whistle, and you’ve just completed the first brew of a herbal ale to protect people from that-which-may-not-be-named-in-case-this-post-is-deleted-by-facebook. To say nothing of being a father to three sporty boys…

A. (pause – at this point I risk succumbing to the fate of the millipede who is asked by the bird how he co-ordinates all his legs at which point he stops to think about it, falls over, and never walks again). Well… I guess the reason I find this so hard to answer is that the question doesn’t fit how I experience it. You see, it doesn’t feel like me doing all that but rather it being done through me.

Q. That sounds a bit hippy-dippy…. What do you mean?

A. Yes, I guess it does, but that is actually how it feels. Life flows through me rather than me trying to run my life.

Q. Ok…

A. Would scientific language help? It’s like space-time moves through me rather than me moving through space-time. The main difference is that with the former all you can do is be curious whereas in the latter you try to control your destiny. Did you know that linear time is actually a relatively recent way of experiencing reality? The thing is you can’t control your destiny so all you do is get stressed by trying. In the other experience as things flow through you it’s like you attract things that are resonant with your frequency, like you’re a gravity well in the cosmos…

Q. Woah, now you’re getting hippy dippy again. Let’s get grounded here – how do you organise your day?

A. Well, I have a diary in which I put appointments and if they end up staying there I trust they are meant to be there even if I am not quite sure why. I also use a productivity tool called asana where I list my projects and to do’s.

Q. Ok, that sounds more normal. But doesn’t that contradict your whole go-with-the-flow thing?

A. No. In fact it is critical to be able to drop things onto a list as they come in to your mind, so that your mind stays clear and doesn’t keep chasing that thought. You see, the ideas and insights come in through the intuitive channel, and you need to capture them otherwise when you flip back to the rational mind you often lose them. Then you can come back to the things that came through intuitively when you are in your rational doing state.

Q. Don’t you just end up with a huge list of to do’s?

A. Yes, it is pretty long.

Q. How do you decide what to do when, then?

A. I review the list in an intuitive state and notice which items seem to have energy, and prioritise those. Obviously there are also things that just need doing because other people depend on them. You see, there are all sorts of things going on that we can’t know about but that information is there in the information fields. So we just have to trust that what feels right to do next is what needs to happen in the context of the bigger whole – even though we might not rationally understand it. Usually you find out what later on.

Q. That all sounds like a lazy way to just doing the stuff that’s easy and putting off the rest…

A. (laughs) Yes, there is that risk. You do need to be able to distinguish between your ego’s instincts and unattached intuitive knowing. And that comes from disciplined inner work. No way around that…

Q. So, why did you agree to this interview?

A. It came to me while I was soaking in a bath of magnesium salts just now and seemed to have energy to it. I also believe in sharing anything that might be useful to others in navigating these challenging times – which is why I am getting all the books out and teaching the courses now.

Q. Fair enough. Thank you for your time.

A. Sure. You’re very welcome.

The Evolution of Spirituality

Just posted the latest dialogue with Nish Dubashia. This time we focused on the evolution of spirituality, exploring how spirituality has expressed itself through the different stages of human development – using the Spiral Dynamics model. Fun!

Dialogues on Science and Spirituality

Nish Dubashia and I have been having a series of great dialogues inspired by the dialogues of David Bohm and J Krishnamurti. Nish met Bohm who appreciated his model that integrates the world’s religious and mystical traditions. We recorded the dialogues and have decided to share them with the world via this YouTube channel. And we’re not done yet! Enjoy!

Time, Thought and the Human Condition

I have recently been reading the dialogues between David Bohm and Krishnamurti and have been particularly intrigued by their interactions around time and thought. A key part of volution theory (www.volutiontheory.net) is that linear time as an experience and construct is an inadequate expression of how life works. The concept of evolution itself is part of that linear mindset, hence my proposal that volution – that integrates linear and cyclical in the spin-based toroidal image – is a more encompassing way to describe our individual and collective development.

Continue reading

Three Policy Pillars of Economics for Planet and People

One of the positive things to come out of the pandemic is some radical questioning of our current economic system. Fundamental flaws have been exposed in terms of what is valued and how money is used. In the Why Work book I identified three main pillars in terms of policy that would set us on a course for a more sustainable economics: Eco-tax reform, Basic Citizen’s Income and Redistribution of Work.

Eco-tax Reform

At present it is more economically efficient for a producer to intensify energy use and cut back on human labour, due to the relative expense of the two. The present taxation system encourages the use of scarce natural resources and discourages the use of abundant human labour. Eco-tax reform aims to reverse that situation. It involves:

  • the phasing out of taxes on incomes, profits and value added;
  • taxing unsustainable energy at source;
  • taxing the unimproved site value of land;
  • taxing the use of other common resources (e.g. oceans).

Basic Citizen’s Income

The Citizen’s Income (also known as a Basic Income) is, in its purist form, an income, sufficient to meet basic needs, paid unconditionally to all individuals, independent of all other income and without any requirement to work.

The ideal Citizen’s Income would be unconditional, permanent and cumulative. In more detail, it would be:

  • tax-free income paid by the state to every man, woman and child as a right of citizenship;
  • unaffected by other income, wealth, work, gender or marital status;
  • age-related (higher for adults than children, and higher for the elderly than those of “working age”);
  • a replacement for all existing benefits and pensions, but would include additional supplements for people with disabilities and for housing for low-income families.

Redistribution of Work

Bertrand Russell illustrated clearly the ridiculous logic of the present system:

Suppose that, at a given moment, a certain number of people are engaged in the manufacture of pins. They make as many pins as the world needs, working (say) eight hours a day. Someone makes an invention by which the same number of men can make twice as many pins as before. But the world does not need twice as many pins: pins are already so cheap that hardly any more will be bought at a lower price. In a sensible world, everybody concerned in the manufacture of pins would take to working four hours instead of eight, and everything else would go on as before. But in the actual world this would be thought demoralizing. The men still work eight hours, there are too many pins, some employers go bankrupt, and half the men previously concerned in making pins are thrown out of work. … Half the men are idle while half are still overworked. In this way, it is insured that the unavoidable leisure shall cause misery all round instead of being a source of universal happiness. Can anything more insane be imagined?

Sharing out the paid work that is available more widely would appear to be the more logical solution. A number of different methods could be stimulated to achieve this. They include:

  • job-sharing;
  • shorter working week/year;
  • overtime restrictions;
  • longer holidays;
  • more part-time work;
  • V-time (trading time for income in employee/employer negotiation);
  • flexitime (employee fixes start and finish times);
  • sabbaticals;
  • mid-career training;
  • opportunities for earlier retirement.

For more on each of these areas see the Why Work book.

See my other post of the creation of a parallel economy focusing on what we can all do at the community level (as opposed to policy proposals like the above).

How to Build a Parallel Economy

(Originally posted on the UbiVerse)

It has always puzzled me how we seem to accept our current economic system when it is clearly so fundamentally flawed. It only values those things that generate monetary exchange, diminishing the value of non-monetized activity carried out amongst family, friends or community. It externalises the negative impact of any of that monetized activity – such as the environmental or social cost of producing stuff – meaning that the real cost is not reflected in the actual price, and that other people and life on earth have to carry those costs. It has become such an abstract system  – another part of the expertocracy – that people feel very little ownership of it. And in crises such as corona, it stops working.

The thing is, it is such a huge system, embedded in all kinds of governance and processes globally, that it feels impossible to change. That is why I think we need to build an alternative economy in parallel to the existing one that better meets our needs as people and planet, and will still function when the next crisis hits – which it will. It should be an economy that reflects true cost, which people have an understanding of and which is connected to our local needs and experiences.

When I wrote the Why Work book, I researched what the various parallel economic solutions were, and connected them up to provide a coherent picture of how each and every one of us could engage in creating an alternative on our doorstep. Here is the summary graphic. I will describe the different elements briefly below.

The Community Economy, from Why Work by Dr. Peter Merry

Currency: clearly there needs to be a means of exchange that enables more flexibility than direct barter (although that can of course play a role). What is important is that the money that is generated keeps circulating as much as possible locally, and isn’t siphoned off to companies elsewhere who have no interest in the community’s well-being. Examples already abound of systems that can be used for this: community banks, credit unions, local currencies and Local Exchange and Trading Systems (LETS). The Blockchain of course offers possibilities here too.

Business: for our resilience and sense of ownership, we need to meet as many of our core needs as locally as possible. Food, energy and housing would be good examples. All of these can be run through community businesses that make sure the interest of the community is at the heart of the business. The cooperative structure enables that to happen. There can be an overarching community cooperative to focus on the local interests. Community Supported Agriculture where people subscribe to a weekly package of locally grown food supports local farmers and makes us less dependent on decisions taken by large food corporations whose primary driver is to increase the financial return to their shareholders.

Land: who owns the land determines what can be done on the land and at what price. Often land is owned by speculators whose interest is to make as much money off it as possible. Community Land Trusts enable the community to own and govern the land in the interests of the community – be it for housing, recreation or agriculture. 

As you can imagine, there are many other areas in which we can reclaim local ownership of currently outsourced domains – e.g. education, healthcare. The three main aspects outlined above and the graphic lay the foundations.

During Humanity Rising our team have become inspired by the Parallel Polity strategy, that emerged with Vaclav Havel and the Charter 77 movement in the transition of Czechoslovakia. The idea is to just get on and build the alternative in parallel to the current system, enabling people to choose which they want to adopt. Once mature enough, the old system that everyone knows is breaking anyway is able to let go. People can withdraw their consent from the old system and channel their resources and energy into the new. This gives us some ideas on how to do that with the economy. Proceed until apprehended!

Volution Deep Dive

This is a deep dive into the volution philosophy, recorded originally as part of Integral European Conference 2020. Peter takes people on a journey through the emergence of volution, the core aspects of the theory and its implications for the world of today.