‘Tastings’ from the Winter Edition of Kosmos Journal Quarterly

Excerpts from Global Citizen | Global Spirit


Painting by Charlotte Salomon | Kristallnacht

In Breaking Out of the Domination Trance | Building Foundations for a Safe, Equitable, Caring World’

By Riane Eisler

We only escaped from the Holocaust by a hair’s breadth. Shortly after that takeover, on Krystal night, so-called because of all the glass shattered in Jewish homes, businesses, and synagogues that night of the first official terrorism against Jews, a gang of Austrian and German Nazis broke into our home, and I watched in horror as they dragged my father away.

So that night I saw cruelty and violence, but I also saw something else that profoundly impacted me, what I call spiritual courage.

My mother displayed that spiritual courage, the courage to stand up against injustice out of love. She recognized one of the Nazis as an Austrian who had been an errand boy for the family business, and confronted him angrily, asking how could you to do this to a man who has been so kind to you. Now she could have been killed; many Jews were killed that night. But by a miracle she wasn’t; and by another miracle she obtained my father’s release that night, of course money passed hands. And a short time later, in the middle of the night only with what we could carry, my parents and I left Vienna.

And because they had been able to purchase exit visas and also entry permits to Cuba, one of only two nations that let in Jews fleeing the Nazis at that time, I grew up in the industrial slums of Habana, because the Nazi’s confiscated, official word for armed robbery, everything my parents owned. And there I experienced and observed dire poverty, until my parents were able to get back on their feet again.

All these experiences, and yes, they were traumatic, led me to questions, questions many of you have probably asked at some point in your lives, like, Why when we humans have such an enormous capacity for consciousness, caring, and creativity, why has there been so much insensitivity, cruelty, and destructiveness? Is it inevitable, or are there alternatives? And if so, what are these?

These were the questions that many years later animated my research, writing, and activism.

Read the Article on December 21.

‘Cosmic Sea’ by Nyako Nakar

In Evolving Toward Cooperation | David Sloan Wilson’s New Evolutionary Biology

By Kurt Johnson

“…If the world’s religions could move away from the atmosphere of competing creeds, dogmas, and end-time scenarios, and take up their role as the world’s true Wisdom Traditions, they could help spur positive world transformation. It is not too late for the religions to take on this role, employing the “unifying” or “Archimedean points,” already identified through the world’s interfaith dialogue process. The four principles include (1) the possibility of a common core to human mystic experience; (2) fundamental teachings held in common by all the world’s religions; (3) the shared ethical implications of the teachings of all the great traditions; and (4) the inevitable mutuality across the religions regarding commitment to social and economic justice.

Integral philosopher Ken Wilber characterizes this natural progression as the joining of “Waking Up” with “Growing Up.” “Waking Up” is the personal, internal awakening (specifically nondual awakening) that has been available to human persons since the early millennia of spiritual teachers and teachings. “Growing Up,” however, demands the building of a world that reflects these values, something Wilber says has only been perhaps possible in the last century or two.  These monikers, and everything in between (as in UNITY EARTH’s compilation with multiple contributors, Waking Up, Growing Up, Cleaning Up, Showing Up, Linking Up, and Lifting Up”), reflect this wider realization that Wilber’s Integral Spirituality initialized. The conclusion is that in our globalizing and multicultural world, it is not one’s theory (theology, philosophy, vision) that counts but the developmental level of the behavior with which one is acting on these views—the consequential actions that Wilson includes in “worldview.” In fact, in the editing process of this book, I noted that of 70 prominent contributors, few cited specific religious beliefs or end-time scenarios, as the context of their views. Instead, nearly all of them cited basic principles from across the world’s diverse Wisdom Traditions along with the social behaviors that these high ideals and values imply. Immediately, I was struck by this apparent transition from “ideas about” to “actions implied.”

Indeed, as reprised at the recent 2018 Parliament of the World’s Religions, Interspirituality is now afoot worldwide under many names: spiritual but not religious, nones, unaffiliated, etc.; those cultivating universal, world-centric, trans-traditional, integral, holistic, or cosmic spirituality (to name only a few); and in the sociological movements and experiments of multiple belonging, transcultural community, ecovillages, and the like. In fact, the current definition of Interspirituality is a rather pragmatic one—any activity that reflects what becomes of religion and spirituality in the process of globalization and multiculturalism.”

Read the full Article on December 21.


In LIFEBOAT, Refugees Adrift at Sea | A Talk with the Director, Skye Fitzgerald

Kosmos Journal | In 2015 your team produced 50 Feet from Syria, focused on the civilian impact of the Syrian conflict. Lifeboat bears witness to refugees desperate enough to risk their lives in rubber boats leaving Libya. What was different for you personally about making those two films?

Skye Fitzgerald | I think what’s different about them for me…is me. Because each project, in my experience, changes you some, as it should. In filming 50 Feet from Syria, we worked in an operating room environment, which in some ways is much more contained because at least there’s a medical facility there which provides a framework and a system for the people we’re filming. And that structure gave us some security in terms of how we operated.

With Lifeboat, it was truly a triage situation. As you saw in the film, thousands of people were floating on the ocean, and here we are in one small 30-meter rescue craft, sometimes alone, there to try to help thousands of people.

We were constantly faced with this question: When do you intervene as a human being? When do you put your camera down and pull someone out of the ocean—which we did over and over again. That immediacy of need was very different and very powerful, and we had to constantly negotiate it on a moment-to-moment basis, genuinely plucking people from the ocean who might otherwise die. Hands are at a premium, literally, hands are at a premium on that boat because the hands are used to pull people out of the ocean and to operate the Zodiacs and everything else that needs to be done.

Screen the film, free for a limited time here.

Read the rest of this interview December 21.



In Three Poems from The Rebel’s Silhouette 

By Faiz Ahmed Faiz, translated by Agha Shahid Ali

Don’t Ask Me for That Love Again

That which then was ours, my love,
don’t ask me for that love again.
The world then was gold, burnished with light—
and only because of you. That’s what I had believed.
How could one weep for sorrows other than yours?
How could one have any sorrow but the one you gave?
So what were these protests, these rumors of injustice?
A glimpse of your face was evidence of springtime.
The sky, whenever I looked, was nothing but your eyes.
If you’d fall into my arms, Fate would be helpless.

All this I’d thought, all this I’d believed.
But there were other sorrows, comforts other than love.
The rich had cast their spell on history:
dark centuries had been embroidered on brocades and silks.
Bitter threads began to unravel before me
as I went into alleys and in open markets
saw bodies plastered with ash, bathed in blood.
I saw them sold and bought, again and again.
This too deserves attention. I can’t help but look back
when I return from those alleys—what should one do?
And you are still so ravishing—what should I do?
There are other sorrows in this world,
comforts other than love.
Don’t ask me, my love, for that love again.

Read more from The Rebel’s Silhouette on December 21.


In Farming for the Long Haul | It Takes a Village

By Michael Foley

The following excerpt is adapted Michael Foley’s book Farming for the Long Haul: Resilience and the Lost Art of Agricultural Inventiveness (Chelsea Green Publishing, February 2019) and is reprinted with permission from the publisher.

“Providing food for all is the natural challenge facing the farmers of the coming decades. With food stamps and the market match program that currently brings food stamp customers to farmers market both on the chopping block, it will be important for more of us to consider how we can give back to the larger community that is our home. Maverick agricultural economist John Ikerd actually suggests we establish “food districts” on the model of school districts and fire districts to pay farmers to provide food for the community. If we manage to move in that direction, the new institutions will have to be a good deal more accountable than their models, but that depends largely on the willingness of ordinary citizens and farmers to get involved. More informal projects, like the FrutaGift free farm stand in Fruitvale, California, or the neighbors’ food exchange in suburban Altadena that climate scientist Peter Kalmus describes, can distribute food without the sometimes arcane rules and cash economy of our farmers markets. We will look more closely at the sorts of economic and political organizations farmers will need to grow as the century unfolds in the next two chapters.

For now it’s enough to note that democracy is not the hothouse plant of ancient Athens, revived for the world to emulate with the American Revolution. It is the common heritage of humankind, to all appearances our most primitive form of social organization, an impulse deeply embedded in our consciousness. Its exercise is essential to community and essential to providing for ourselves in a world in which the illusion of rational government at the service of all citizens equally has long since lost its conviction.

Just as much as farmers will need vibrant economic and political organizations, we will need, and need today, the everyday community that includes our friends and neighbors, our buying public, our school district and fire district, our local government, our downtown merchants. Everyday community depends for its vitality on organizations of all sorts, from fraternal orders to food banks. And in the best of cases, these, too, are democratically run. Joining those older community efforts is one thing we can do right now to begin to revitalize and steer our communities toward resilience for the long haul.”

Read the full excerpt and an interview with Michael Foley on December 21.