My teacher defined humor as “freedom from the implications of experience.” It seems to me that this liberating stance is precisely the orientation we need if we are to meaningfully engage our crazy time and wicked problems — ecological, political, social and cultural.
Last fall, as part of the We-Space Summit, I explored this idea of light-hearted sobriety with my friend and student, Grant Hunter, along with many other themes from my upcoming book, A New Republic of the Heart: An Ethos for Revolutionaries, to be released by North Atlantic Books on March 6.
During our lively, insightful (and yes, sometimes playful) dialogue, Grant invited me to demonstrate how I use the relational practice of “3-1-2” to confront the impossible question of our time, the conundrum that the very engines of human progress and accomplishment are destroying our planetary host.
3-1-2 refers to adopting third, first, and second person perspectives and it’s a process I use to catalyze passionate contact between practitioners willing to engage a deep inquiry into the meaning of the world crisis and healthy responses to it.
In 3rd person, we face the aspects of our global situation that we don’t want to think about, talk about or feel. Something shifts when we take that honest look.
In 1st person, I express my inner work to be with the fact that I’m alive at a time when human civilization is undermining our planetary ecology. I confess my deep caring. I confront the fact that (even as I do all I can to contribute to a solution) much is beyond my powers. And yet, I sense intuitively that if I stay in this question there can be breakthroughs.
2nd person is where the true gold lies; that’s when I turn to “you” tenderly. This is one of the main thrusts of A New Republic of the Heart. It’s also what excites me most — experimenting in human collectives with a different kind of consciousness, cooperation and altruism, such that we can begin piloting little nodes of inter-subjective awakening.
Separately, these nodes catch fire, and then they synergize. Whatever is valid in the experiments that I’ve been innovating can interact creatively with whatever is successful and sustainable in your experiments. Something emerges that is bigger than anything we could have done separately.
I invite you to view the video here. The interview begins at the 1-minute mark and is about an hour long.
To our evolution,