Evolutionary Unique Self, Outrageous Love & the Unique Self Symphony (Part 13)

Taken from a first draft text from the forthcoming book The Path and Practice of Outrageous Love by Marc Gafni and Kristina Kincaid, this series elaborates on a critical advancement of the Unique Self Dharma that Dr. Marc has developed after Your Unique Self was published.

Continued from part 12.

Evolving the Narrative of Self-Sufficiency

What you have here is a celebration of interdependence which lies at the heart of the evolutionary progress which is driven by evolutionary Eros itself. Specialization creates innovation based on both the division of labor and what has been called the multiplication of labor. Multiplication of labor is the opposite of self-sufficiency. Self-sufficiency is not actually the root to anything other than poverty. If you’re really self-sufficient, imagine what that means. It means that you actually have to develop everything. You’ve got to build your house, you’ve got to make your clothes, you’ve got to wash them, you’ve got to find water, you’ve got to draw water etc. You’ve got to do every single thing that could possibly be done in your world. Self-sufficiency is a dead-end.

We are rewriting the story; part of the narrative that must change is the narrative of self-sufficiency. To create a world of Outrageous love, we must move our egocentric, self-sufficient model to one of interdependence.

Three Deer by Tina Phillips http://www.freedigitalphotos.netImagine being a deer. You’ve only got a few things to do. You sleep, you feed, you avoid being eaten, and maybe you socialize. That means you mark off the territory and you pursue a member of the opposite sex. What if you’re a human being? Even if you only count the basic things, you’ve got a lot more than four things to do. You sleep, you eat, you cook, you dress, you keep house, you travel, you wash, you shop, you work, the list is almost endless. So the deer should have more free time than you right? But that’s not the case. Human beings have much more available leisure time. Why? Where does the free time come from? The free time comes from exchange and specialization, based on division of labor. A deer gathers some food. A human being gets someone else to do it for her. This creates time to focus in other areas of specialization which in turns fosters innovation. So, self-sufficiency isn’t the route to evolutionary emergence or prosperity.

Although he was just pretending, one of the great American transcendentalists, Henry David Thoreau, generated an alluring but patently false vision of self-sufficiency. He contrasts the boy who made his own jack knife from the ore that he had dug and smelted with the boy who had attended lectures on metallurgy at the Institute and received a Rogers’s penknife from his father. With all due respect to Thoreau, it’s the second boy, by a mile, who’s going to evolve much more profoundly and gorgeously because he had a lot more spare time to learn other things.

Imagine you had to be completely self-sufficient, not just pretending like Thoreau. Every day when you get up in the morning, you must supply yourself entirely from your own resources. How would you spend your day? Your priorities would be food, fuel, clothing, and shelter. Dig the garden, feed the pig, fetch the water from the brook, gather the wood from the forest for the fire, wash the potatoes, light a fire–remember, there are no matches–cook lunch, repair the roof, fetch fresh bracken for clean bedding, maybe whittle a needle, spin some thread, sew leather for shoes, wash in the stream, fashion a pot out of clay, catch and cook a chicken for dinner. No time for book reading, no time for smelting metal, drilling oil, or travel, for sure. By definition, you’re at subsistence level. Although you may mutter in a Thoreau-like way how marvelous it is to get away from all the appalling hustle and bustle, after a few days, you realize as Hobbes did, that life becomes nasty, brutish, and short. It’s pretty grim. If you want to have even the most minimal improvement, (metal, tools, toothpaste, lighting) you’re going to have to get some of your chores done by somebody else. There’s just not enough time to do them yourself and to specialize.

Specialization is required to raise your standard of living. No less important then a declaration of independence is our declaration of interdependence. This is a core principle of reality which the outrageous lover has internalized in mind heart and body.

There is great old essay, written by Leonard Read called I, Pencil. It’s about an ordinary pencil written in the first person of the pencil. The essay describes how it came to be made by millions of people: loggers in Oregon, graphite miners in Sri Lanka, coffee bean growers in Brazil, who supplied the coffee drunk by the loggers, and the list goes on and on. The pencil concludes there isn’t a single person in all these who contributed more than a small bit of know how. However each one specialized. The pencil stands amazed at the “absence of a mastermind, of anyone dictating or forcibly directing these countless actions that bring me into being.”

The pencil exemplifies a vision of collective intelligence. Please understand, collective intelligence does not just imply that you’re consuming someone else’s labor and resources. Collective intelligence involves more than the division of labor and specialization; it actually means that you receive benefit from the multiplication of labor. Therefore, you are consuming all the levels of innovation and creativity which preceded you. Each previous level of creativity and innovation is downloaded into society. You receive the benefit of all that creativity as a given. As modernity unfolds deeper and deeper into the technological era, the inexorable decree of life has crystalized as “contribute one thing and consume many things”. What an enormous evolution! When you think about it, you are served by many more people than ever served Louis XVIII. Alexander Graham Bell, Tim Berners-Lee, Thomas Crapper, Jonas Salk. The list of brilliant people whose commitment, effort and creativity assist you on a daily basis is endless.

You not only receive their creativity, but the underlying source of creativity. As we cited earlier, the great process philosopher, Alfred North Whitehead, demonstrated the self-evident truth that the “creative advance into novelty” is the core nature of reality itself. The Big Bang birthed immensely complex and creative laws of nature in the first nanosecond. These continued to evolve to higher and higher levels of complexity and consciousness producing wonders of brilliant, intelligence and depth beyond imagination. Intelligent creativity moving in a purposeful direction is the inherent nature of reality, and expresses itself through the awakening of Evolutionary Unique Self contributing and deepening the intelligent depth of the cosmos. We are held in the outrageous love embrace of all of that creativity in every moment. We are interdependent with all of reality in every moment. That is not a mystical claim. It is a self-evident truth emergent from the leading edges of science and spirit.

Prosperity, innovation and evolutionary growth in our world, when you actually look at the nature of our reality, are synonymous with moving from self-sufficiency to interdependence. Self-sufficiency by itself is poverty. So it is fair to conclude the cumulative accretion of knowledge by specialists that allows us each to consume more and more by each producing fewer and fewer is a central story of humanity. We do not only consume in the realm of material goods. Rather, we consume every manner of creative human production including all that is good, true and beautiful. Every person’s special perspective creates a new form of evolutionary interdependence that is a vital matrix for the evolution of consciousness.

To be continued…