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Global Mind Changes

Here is an Idea Incubator post from new member Bill Gellerman…

Over the last several years, a number of people have published books about a fundamental change in our worldview. The most recent I know of (2008) is “Global Shift: How a New Worldview is Transforming Humanity” by Edmund J. Bourne, Ph.D. Others include:

  • “Global Mind Change” by Willis Harman (1998)
  • “Towards A New World View: Conversations at the Leading Edge” by Russell E. DiCarlo (1996) reporting interviews with 27 well known people, including Richard Tarnas (“The Western World View: Past, Present and Future”), Joan Borysenko (“The Changing Face of Psychology”), and Jacqueline Small (“Principles of Transformation”)
  • “The Global Brain: Speculations on the Evolutionary Leap to Planetary Consciousness” by Peter Russell (1983);
  • and “The Mind Field” by Robert E. Ornstein

I would like to explore: what “worldview” means, our current worldview, how that view may be changing, and our role (participants in NCDD) in relation to that change. In his book, GLOBAL SHIFT (cited above), Bourne describes how “a remarkable change is taking place that will profoundly influence the way we see ourselves and our world…This shift will revolutionize both the way humanity interacts on a global scale and how we live on a day-to-day basis…” I would like to explore what that means.

New NCDD supporting member Bill Gellerman posted this to the Idea Incubator. Bill is a retired consultant on organization and human systems development, with a Ph.D. from UCLA’s Graduate School of Management. He has been on the faculties of several universities, including Cornell and CUNY.


Bill Gellerman can be contacted at gmann [at] earthlink [dot] net, but please also share your thoughts via the comments field for this post.

This post was submitted by a member of the NCDD community. NCDD members are leaders and future leaders in the fields of public engagement, conflict resolution, and community problem solving. You, too, can post to the NCDD blog by completing the Add-to-Blog form at www.ncdd.org/submit.

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  1. Bill Gellermann says:

    One conceivable shift in our worldview is suggested by Peter Russell in The Global Brain: Speculations on the Evolutionary Leap to Planetary Consciousness (published by J.P. Tarcher,1983). Questions raised by the book include:
    *Is our planet truly a living organism in its own right?
    **Could we be on the verge of a quantum leap in evolution as
    shatteringly significant as the emergtence of life from matter?
    Is there scientific evidence to support this view?
    ***What can the individual do to stop the negative trends evident in
    society today?
    What is the connection between individual consciousness and the
    fate of the planet?

  2. Bill Gellermann says:

    Some of Russell’s thoughts at the beginning of his book “The
    Global Brain” (pp. 19-20) are:

    “The view of Earth from space brought with it yet another insight: the possibility that the planet as a whole could be a living being.”

    “The whole planet appears to be alive — not just teeming with life, but an organism in its own right.”

    “If the idea of the Earth as a *living being* is initially difficult to acceptm, it may be due partly to our assumptions about what can and cannot be organisms. We accept a vast range of systems as living organisms, from bacteria to whales, but when it comes to the whole planet we might find this concept a bit difficult to grasp.”

    “This hypothesis is all the more difficult to accept because this living Earth is not an organism we can observe ordinarily outside ourselves; it is an organism of which we are an intimate part.”

    BG Note: I am not saying I agree with Russell. I am saying that I think his ideas are worth thinking about — and I think our NCDD conversation is a good place for such a conversation.

  3. Bill Gellermann says:

    The Russell book (from which I have quoted in the two messages above) was published in 1983. The most recent book in the list cited aboves was by Edmund Bourne (published in 2008). A couple of quotes suggest that he is looking in the same direction as Russell.

    “… a major shift in worldview involves a fundamentally new way of perceiving the world, the environment, each other, and ourselves…
    Stated most briefly the shift involves a movement away from a material view of the universe and our place in it to a more spiritual view… consciousness is beginning to be understood as the underlying foundation of reality…It is a sacred order infused with intelligence and purpose — one with which humanity needs to cooperate…”

    “The Scientific Revolution and Enlightenment left humanity with … a world disenchanted, a world devoid of purpose, meaning, or spiritual significance…This disenchantment of our world underlies underlies our present emphasis on unlimited (and thus unsustainable) economic growth and placing the needs of multinational corporations over the needs of the environmen and impoverished peoples.”

    [BG note: So this leaves me with the question, "Where do we go from here?" and, more fundamentally, "What do 'we' mean by 'WE'?" I am hopeful that dialogue and deliberation will help us explore answers to those questions.]]

  4. Bill Gellermann says:

    One of the interviews in *Towards A New World View* (cited in the list of book at the beginning of this Idea Incubator) was with David Gershon (an organizer of the 1986 Earth Run). He raises a possibility that may apply to us and NCDD. The interviewer (Russell DiCarlo) asks “So if you could create an environment which would allow for a group of empowered people to work together in a synergistic way they would be able to significantly increase their creative capabilities?” And Gershon answers, “Yes. To an extraordinary degree. It could be within a community, or any sphere of endeavor. … We need to really open up our vision to what is possible to be absolutely clear about the world we want to create…” (p.193)

  5. Bill Gellermann says:

    The key element in what I think is central to the “global mind change” is that WE are not only in process of shifting our consciousness from being I-centered to We-centered, WE are in process of EXPANDING our individual consciousness from being self-centered to being BOTH SELF-CENTERED AND WE-CENTERED (that is BOTH I-and-WE CENTERED.

    Can you imagine what that would mean for your consciousness?

  6. Bill Gellermann says:

    Another way of looking at being I-and-We-centered is that it involves an expansion of our consciousness so that we are motivated by BOTH EGO and INTUITION (which comes to us from what Jung called the “collective unconscious”).

    I cannot testify to the “truth” of this way of thinking, but, as I have been conscious of it, I am experiencing my being in a different way. And, as I experience it, it is less ego-centered. What else, I’m not yet clear about.

    What are others thinking about this focus on “global mind change”? And what are others experiencing?

    • Lucas Cioffi says:

      I’d like to hear more about what it means for intuition to come from the collective unconscious. Without knowing anything about what Jung wrote, it’s not self-evident to me.

    • Bill Gellermann says:

      I think I have responded to Lucas’ second reply and David’s message in messages above. [I'm still trying to figure out how this system works.]

      In brief, to summarize my current world view (under the influence of views cited above) I would say:
      We (all human beings) are both an individual self (ego) and
      a member of the global mind (which can communicate to us through
      our intuition).

      I think I am beginning to experience both my individual identity and my connection to our collective identity. [I'm not sure about this. I'll let you know as we move on. I hope others will share their experience as our conversation progresses.]

      Note: This involves a major shift in my world view. Even a few months ago, this was inconceivable to me.s

  7. Bill Gellermann says:

    If it is possible for each of us to open up to our “collective unconscious” by “listening” to our intuition, then, if several of us did that, we might open ourselves to the possibility of what might be called “collective collaboration.” I don’t know what that would mean (or if it is possible), but I am intrigued by the idea.

    At the same time, we need to be aware of what Willis Harman said about intuition; namely — “…Of course, intuition is unreliable — it’s as unreliable as your eyesight. You can be fooled by optical illusions and you can be fooled by listening to something you thought was your deep intuition and it turned out to be your internalized mother or something else. And there are ways of checking. We don’t believe everything we see…We check it in various ways. Similarly, you don’t believe everything that is perceived as some sort of inner vision or inner voice. You apply appropriate tests. And in that sense intuition can be extremely reliable, but it’s not necessarily so. Especially if you haven’t been using it much…” And then, after being asked if intuition has played a significant role in his work, he said, “Oh, it’s been absolutely central. I think that’s probably true of leaders in almost any field although they don’t always say so.”

    What do you think? Is it conceiveable that we (the NCCC community) could develop our ability for “collective collaboration” by opening to the possibility of listening to our individual intuitions (with their connections to our “collective unconscious”? [For me it is conceivable, but I'm not clear about whether or not we can do it.]

    • Lucas Cioffi says:

      Yes, I believe there’s a substantial number of people within NCDD who are interested in exploring new ways of collaborating. I expect that most people would want to know that there is a leader who will take responsibility for designing a worthwhile process where they can “plug-in” and contribute ideas at varying levels of commitment. What next steps did you have in mind?

    • Bill Gellermann says:

      Lucas’ reply above speaks of “exploring new ways of collaborating” and “people would want to know thatthere is a leader who will take responsibility fordesigning a worthwhile process whereby they can plug in…” And he asks me “What next steps do you have in mind?”

      My answer: I’m still trying to figure this out. But, as I see the world now (based on my current understanding of a new world view, as described by the authors I’ve mentioned above) some fundamental points are: 1) We are all members of a living system of all life on Earth; 2)Our system is conscious; 3)Our system communicates to us through our intuitions; 4) Our self-oriented egos can get in the way of our listening to or understanding communication from our intuitions; and 5)The more of us who are open to communication from our intuitions, the more effective *WE* can be. [Read the books yourself and make up your own mind.]

      {Next, but later, I plan to respond to David Kimball’s message.]

  8. David Kimball says:

    I’m not sure that this is a “world view” yet or not, but I would like to see some progress made towards this. I no longer think of myself as an American. I prefer to think of myself as a Global Citizen. As such, I do not see myself belonging to any tribe or nation.

    In putting this idea to work, outside of my regular job, I have become very involved with the United Nations. Not the work with the government sector (the General Assembly and the Security Council), but the Agencies of the UN such as UNICEF, UNESCO, WHO, and their collaborative work with the over 25,000 Non Governmental Organizations (NGOs) around the world. I attended workshops and am certified by the UN in Reconciliation Leadership. I have also become very involved with the United Nations and thier Global Compatc. This is the UN’s work with the business sector for Sustainability (financial, environmental, and Social Corporate Responsibility – CSR)

    Anyone can become a Global Citizen on their own and work out how they want to set their own direction. If I considered myself still an American, I know that I would have become a cynic by now. Being an active Global Citizen allows me to still be positive.

    David Kimball

    • Bill Gellermann says:

      As I understand it, David’s view of himself as a “global citizen” does involve a shift in his world view. And in my view the most important element in that shift is moving from ego-centered to being globally-centered (with emphasis on being a UN oriented global citizen).

    • Bill Gellermann says:

      As for whether David’s viewing himself as a Global Citizen is a change in world view, my understanding is that it is a change of the kind I am exploring if David’s view expands beyond himself to view all Global Citizens as one being. An analogy may help — the cells of our body combine to make up the elements of our body and ultimately to make up our separate “selves.” The Global Mind Change that I am exploring is the shift to re-cognizing that our separate “minds” can combine to make up the Global Mind of which we are all “parts” (like the cells of our bodies combine to make each of us individually.

      I’m still exploring this possibility and hope others will join in.

  9. Bill Gellermann says:

    Rushed now, but here’s a brief answer to Lucas’ interest in hearing “more about what it means for intuition to come from the collective unconscious.” All of the people mentioned in the books cited above seem to be in agreement that humnity is in process of a shift in our world view that recognizes that in addition to our individual consciousness we are also connected to a collective consciousness (of which we are individually unconscious — hence Jung’s concept of our “collective unconscious”). As I understand what these authors are saying, it is possible for us to tune in to the collective by listening to our intuition (but, as Willis Harman points out, we need to be careful that it is intuition we are listening to).

    The important thing, I think, is to be open to the possibility of communication from your intuition.

    I’ll respond to Lucas’ second “reply” and David Kimball’s message later.
    For now, let me say that I like the track we are on.

  10. Dave Magnani says:

    Just thought I’d add that this idea of a global consciousness has been advanced by many. My own perspective was most influenced by Teilhard De Chardin, a French paleontologist priest who studied in China for decades and posited the Omega Point – and the existing of something he calls the “noosphere” sum total of consiousness/awareness of our “species being” – the idea of a consciousness connection has been recently explored by researchers who measered the amount of “transferrance from one person to another when they were entirely separated – physically and visually. The recent episode on this on the Science Channel with Morgan Freeman was fascinating and desrves more exploration. My impression is that the recent field of noetics has begun such exploration as well.

    • Bill Gellermann says:

      As I understand it, the challenge we face is re-cognizing the “consciousness connection” that David Magnani refers to.
      I will try to describe what that might mean — and I ask that you think about it from a point of view of “non-belief.” In other words by neither believing or disbelieving, you can concentrate only on understanding. Belief or disbelief can come later.

      As I understand the “consciousnes connection,” it is more than our being connected as separate entities. It is that WE are also one entity. Just as the cells of our bodies are separate, they also collectively comprise one being (one entity). So, too, our individual entities can be conceived as comprising ONE CONSCIOUS ENTITY.

      This is not a completely new idea. Carl Jung introduced us to the “collective unconscious.” The consciousness that is involved in this “new world view” is available to us through intuition (conceive by some as “spirit”).

      Many of the people whose views are covered in he collection of interviews in “Towards A New World View” (mentioned in the first entry of this site). I urge you to get the book and check out those views before you decide to “agree” or “disagree.”

  11. Bill Gellermann says:

    As I understand where we are now, the territory we are exploring is reasonable clear — including *global mind, **global consciousness, and ***our intuitive/spiritual connection of our “personal selves” with our “global Self.” The question is not do we agree, but DO WE UNDERSTAND?

    With shared understanding as a foundation, we can then explore possible agreement or disagreement. The number of us involved in this conversation so far is relatively small. I urge you (the current participants) to encourage others to join in our conversation.

  12. Bill Gellermann says:

    The global scope of the Occupy gatherings may reflect the global mind I am calling attention to.

    • Bill Gellermann says:

      Does this idea of a “global mind” to which we are all connected (if we listen to our intuition) make sense? Yes or no and why? If we can establish consensus on that worldview, then we can go on from there, I think. And I hope you&we can and will engage others in this conversation.

      What do you think?

  13. Bill Gellermann says:

    I have found the book, GLOBAL SHIFT, by Edmund J. Bourne, Ph.D., extraordinarily clarifying of the worldview being explored in this site. In fact the book’s subtitle is “How a New Worldview is Transforming Humanity.”

    The widely shared worldview at the time of Columbus was that: the earth is flat and anyone who sails off into the ocean will fall off the edge.” According to the view of the Bourne book, we are living in a time of a shift of even greater magnitude. This site is pointing in the direction of that shift — check the book and find out for yourself.

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