Nine Theses

MAY 23, 2017

Throughout the six weeks leading up to The Gathering we will be sharing some of our vision for a wiser, weller world. This will includes pieces by Art Earth Tech Institute members Rufus Pollock and Liam Kavanagh on topics like “The Way We Live Now” and “Sketches of a Future Society”.

We want to create an ecosystem and culture in which we can transform both production and our spiritual being. We take from ancient wisdom and apply it to our contemporary age. We take from modern production and use it to support ourselves. With these Nine Theses we aim to show the principles on which such a way of living is possible.

Photograph by Sarah Hickson

The Nine Theses

by Rufus Pollock

  1. Much in our society is sick and unhealthy. We want to find ways of living that are harmonious and balanced. We want to live healthily and wholesomely. We wish to develop ourselves as human beings nourishing and cultivating that which is great in us and eliminating the suffering and harm caused by craving and attachment to self.

  2. We do not wish to live apart from our society but wish to engage and, ultimately, transform it.

  3. Our systems of production contribute to this dislocation and a way of being that is self-attached, competitive and exclusionary

  4. Our growing state of abundance is important. Basic - and often more than basic - needs are increasingly taken care of for a good proportion of earth’s population. The technology and resources needed to produce that baseline are lower. This creates surplus of time and energy for that beyond immediate material sustenance. It makes the material relatively less important - when you are starving your only thought can be for food but when our bellies are full our attention can be engaged with these other matters.

  5. New digital technologies give renewed force to alternate paradigms of living, and most importantly, production. For technology to be used to its best ends we must avoid simplistic stories of progress which hold that all new technological developments are good and useful. We should also be wisely critical and choose the role of the passive recipient of change.

  6. We seek a future built on openness, sharing and collaboration. A future where technology and a way of being align. We believe this model is better both materially and “spiritually”.

  7. We are in competition with the old paradigm. And it will fight us. We actively want to take it over and “infect” it with goodness. We also have to understand and resist the fact that the old paradigm creates “its own environment”, enmeshing us in consumerism, competition and craving.

  8. We recognize that alternate methods of production or organization are not enough. We will need a shared “spiritual” and ethical practices, we will need to combine transformation of being with transformation of production.

  9. We therefore seek to marry the possibilities of abundance and the digital revolution with deep spiritual truth and traditions in pursuit of the transformation of our societies and ourselves.

In summary, we are marrying the digital revolution with a deep spiritual truth and tradition in pursuit of transforming our societies. Both parts are needed: we want to break out of the spiritual “ghetto” and transform broad swathes of society. To do that we have to transform methods of production and organization. The digital provides the means. At the same time, the real transformation is in our natures. Moreover, without the anchor of a deep spiritual tradition, we will only achieve superficial and unreliable change and have the constant risk of dissolution and co-optation.

Edited by Brigitte Arndt