How can we cohere our autonomy and uniqueness to live and create at the edge of emergence?
Can we individually contribute to and collectively tap into a new, synergetic intelligence and awareness?
How do we transcend and include our separate genius to create collective scenius?
For the past several thousand years, humanity in the West has been on a journey to individuate. “Individuation,” becoming an individual distinct from the group, is one of the great achievements of Modernity and Postmodernity. There is a particular kind of freedom, the freedom of choice, which depends on individuation. This capacity of individuation unleashed a torrent of creativity—science, new technologies, new forms of art and music, and more. Individual geniuses unlocked the secrets of the universe, opened pathways of consciousness, and created ways to connect us across vast distances.
And this process of individuation created ever-more radical forms of separation, from deeper dimensions of ourselves, from Nature, from each other. At this point, we have arrived at what could be called „hyper-individuation.“ Everyone asserts his or her relative truth: „You do your thing, and I do mine; You have your truth, and I have mine.”
This extreme individuation is leading us into crisis: nothing holds us together anymore, our societies are falling apart. At a personal level, we can’t integrate our self-sense in the wholeness of life. At a collective level, we are failing to work together on the urgent, critical issues facing us as a species, e.g. climate collapse. Moreover, the destruction of bioregions and disruption of the climate caused by human activity is a result of this separation. The complexity of what we are facing calls for more than individual genius.
Moreover, we don’t want to (and can’t) “go back” to pre-individuated collective identities, whether pre-modern or pre-individuated indigeous cultures.
Where do we turn? Already, human beings are being moved to seek connection and connectedness beyond the separate self. Efforts to end the divisions of racism and sexism are part of this desire. The mindfulness revolution of the last forty years has been a powerful impulse to free the self from separation. And the craving for community, for co-working and co-living and co-creation, is growing stronger and finding new expression in remarkable social and organizational experiments.
The question is less and less „what about me?“ and increasingly „what about we?“
This raises a host of further questions, such as:
- Is there a way to develop beyond separation, where our self-sense and wholeness become integrated? Where we can “transcend and include” the dichotomy between individual and collective?
- Are there specific practices to cultivate a “we-space,” a space beyond and between us and yet where we show up fully ourselves?
- Is there a collective creativity in which the unique contribution of each individual is amplified and integrated into more complex and rich whole?
The answer, in a word, is yes.
If this intrigues you and you would like to experiment with a new potential that transcends and includes our individual creativity, you may now have the question: How do I find out more about this? How do I learn and practice this?
We are excited and honored to announce a 7-day intensive workshop, followed by a 3-week residency, led by the global pioneers of emergent dialogue, Thomas Steininger and Elizabeth Debold. Come and join us to open yourself to the co-conscious creativity of the living space between us, hosted in a beautiful villa in the southwest of France in full-bloom June 2022. More info and application details here.
26/4/22 UPDATE: This residency is postponed and will no longer be taking place in June 2022. Sign up to our newsletter to be the first to know when a new date is confirmed.
This will be the 7th in Life Itself’s series of Sympoeisis residencies, a series of experiential (and experimental) collective residencies where we can explore what practices and social technologies we need to transform our mechanisms and heal together.