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Session 1 of 4: Summer with Daniel Christian Wahl – New Ways of Seeing, Living & Being Together
June 21 @ 6:00 pm - 7:30 pm
Holos Earth Summer Programme 2023
An Evolutionary Pilgrimage Towards A Holistic Future
CONVERSATIONS ON THE WAY
Session 1 – 21 June 2023
NEW WAYS OF SEEING, LIVING & BEING TOGETHER
6pm – 7:30pm BST 1800 – 1930 London Time
There is no cost for your attendance.
All the sessions in this series are free of charge.
Our stated mission with the Holos-Earth Project is to support the global shift to the holistic perspective. This we consider to be the critical planetary need at this time. That is why we are so grateful for the opportunity of interviewing holistic practitioner Daniel Christian Wahl.
We were honoured to meet and engage in a series of rich and deep conversations with Daniel Christian Wahl, author of ‘Designing Regenerative Cultures’ (2016). These took us into unexpected deep places and uncovered insights which merit sharing and reflecting on more widely as they identify some of the crucial questions of our age: What is the holistic perspective is really about and what are potential practical applications?
In this Session 1:
In this first interactive session, to be facilitated by Egon Hus and Joshua Malkin, core insights from the interview will be unpacked in conversation. We’ll also break into chatrooms to share and explore our own insights arising from Daniel’s perspective, and then we’ll bring them back into a general plenary session to be shared for the enrichment of all.
Please, in preparation, watch the video below and make a note of key insights and question that might arise for you. Then come share that with us. Come anyway – even if you have not had the chance to watch the video.
In this first video, members of the Holos-Earth team ask Daniel questions around the topic of ‘new ways of seeing, living and being together’. Firstly, Daniel speaks about how his personal journey began and where it has led him. He outlines the contemporary human story of separation that we have created and how we can move beyond it.
He suggests: “Through language, words and categories and our technology, which has a level of magic to it, we have created a notion of progress that solves problems in the future but has separated us from the processes of nature and from being in the present.”
Summary Session 1
1. From a Modern Story of Separation to an Old-New Story of Connection
In the first video, members of the team ask Daniel questions around the topic of ‘new ways of seeing, living and being together’. Firstly, Daniel speaks about how his personal journey began and where it has led him, starting with a poem by Drew Dellinger, which asks the question, ‘ What did you do once you knew?’
He outlines the story of separation that we have created and how we can move beyond it. He suggests:
“Through language, words and categories and our technology, which has a level of magic to it, we have created a notion of progress that solves problems in the future but has separated us from the processes of nature and from being in the present.”
“Literate people learn words; illiterate people learn worlds: boom.”
Daniel believes we have cut ourselves off from our mystical past and the participatory universe. Rather than bringing forth the world, we have made ourselves an object separate from it.
More hopefully, Daniel suggests that we are rediscovering new ways of seeing, which essentially are ancient ways of being in the world, beyond this culture of separation.
2. Becoming Indigenous
Whilst many people realise that the environmental and climate crisis means that it is way past midnight on the doomsday clock, Daniel explains all is not doom. We have the power to change this story. He suggests perhaps we needed such a story of separation to recalibrate, appreciate and re-find humanity’s original experience of participation, which amazingly is still available to us within the natural world, which we can rediscover by ‘becoming indigenous’.
This new story involves the notion of meta design and a new understanding of who we are, what our relationship is to the world and how we can bring forth the world together
3. Salutogenic Design
We asked what becoming indigenous means, how creating regenerative cultures and reconnecting with an underlying pattern of health, fits with this new story? Daniel suggests that the notion of salutogenic design is central to a regenerative perspective and practice.
He cites Antonowski’s study – Health Stress & Coping in which originated the concept of salutogenic health and resilience.
A salutogenic approach in dealing with challenge and crisis require that we have:
- a sense of belonging and
- a narrative of meaning
Crucially instead of seeing health as a perfect state that we fall out of through showing symptoms of disease, Syntropic Health is an ongoing learning journey or process of becoming.
4. A Holistic Perspective Allows Alignment with Emergent Properties
“You cannot create a perspective without creating a blind spot.”
Life, health and abundance are emerging properties of a complex dynamic system at all levels of wholeness – at the cellular level, body systems level, at the individual level. in the family, in the community, at the bioregional and planetary level. These are all are interrelated.
This can be described as a field phenomenon of how the field relates to itself. In this sense we are not systems healers. Health is an emerging evolutionary holistic systems story with which we need to align ourselves.
We are affecting everything at every second by how we think and act. Consequently, praxis involves our dynamic participation in an already existing ongoing story of wholeness. Our individual and collective task is to align with this already existing, underlying pattern of health.
5. A Cosmic & Karmic Rite of Passage
We are reaching a bifurcation point in human history. Thoughts & conversations have agency, so becoming indigenous is re-storying in practice by bringing forth the world by finding different ways of connecting and thereby finding a higher ground. How do we find the courage to be differently? We are uncertain if we will make it but if we are to do so it will necessitate a higher level of maturity.
There is much written about the maturing process. It is difficult for humans to grow into maturity without rites of passage. We are living through a unique period of history that requires a species level rite of passage.
We may only have a few decades more left to do so without our fate being sealed on a downward trajectory. One might say then that ultimately, the reality is that we are living out our karma as a species.
We have the potential to heal the systems we have impoverished by healing ourselves but the outlook is not as positive as it was a few decades ago.
6. An Ancient New Story
All this does not mean to say that we need to throw out our western heritage in terms of holistic spirituality. Just as Eastern teachers such as Tich Nat Hahn offer perspectives and practices of alignment and fraternity with all life. We can find these also in the western tradition in our own heritage. Daniel mentions key influences in his own journey, one of whom was Owen Barfield, who in turn had been influenced by Rudolph Steiner and CS Lewis in terms of an esoteric of Christian practice.
During the interview we frequently reference the work of major thinkers whose work represents a navigational thread without which we could not have reached where we are. We list below some of these influences that are referenced in the first episode.
Literature References (Session 1)
- Owen Barfield Saving the Appearances: A Study in idolatry 1957
- Ian McGilchrist The Divided Brain and the Making of the Western World 2009
- Peter Kingsley In the Dark Places of Wisdom 1999
- Arthur C. Clark Profiles of the Future: An Inquiry into the Limits of the Possible 1962
- Richard Tarnas The Passion of the Western Mind 1991
- Humberto Maturana Autopoiesis: The Organization of the Living (with Francesco Varela) 1972
- Alfred North Whitehead Process and Reality 1929
- Aaron Antonovsky Health, Stress and Coping 1979
In response to our Holos-Earth invitation, Daniel engaged in a rich and deep conversation about holism and the holistic perspective with us. It took us into unexpected deep places and insights which we are now excited to share and discuss with the wider Holos-Earth network. The conversation consists of 5 recorded episodes with each episode hosted by two of the Holos-Earth core team members.
As one of the catalysts of the rising reGeneration and the author of Designing Regenerative Cultures, Daniel works as a consultant, educator and activist with NGOs, businesses, governments and global change agents. With degrees in biology and holistic science, and a PhD in Design for Human and Planetary Health, his work has influenced the emerging fields of regenerative and salutogenic design. He was winner of the 2021 RSA Bicentenary Medal for applying design in service to society and was awarded a two-year Volans-Fellowship in 2022.