Guest Editor Thomas Legrand | Politics of Being
November 5, 2023 Kosmos Community News

Politics of Being

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from the Introduction, by Thomas Legrand

“It took me ten years to write Politics of Being before it was released on January 22nd, 2022, the day my teacher, Zen master Thich Nhat Hanh, turned into a cloud. Ten years of reading and taking notes, of slowly distilling many different ideas, while also experiencing doubts, frustration and sleepless nights.   

I was looking to answer a simple, yet essential, question – the question of our time I believe:

How can we organize societies to promote the collective flourishing of the whole Earth community and bring about the cultural, spiritual evolution so needed today?

It was an answer that necessarily had to be built on existing works. I was looking in particular for the perspectives of religious and wisdom traditions and found this sentence from the Earth Charter in the interreligious statement at the Rio+20 Conference: “human development is primarily about being more, rather than having more.” CONTINUE READING

Selected Features…

Being Leaders | In Conversation with Christiana Figueres

By Emelina Corrales

Incilius periglenes, Golden Frog

Christiana Figueres | I remember a visit as a child to the cloud forests of the Monteverde Biological Reserve in Costa Rica where I was able to see the golden frog (Incilius periglenes) and being completely mesmerized by its beauty. Fast forward in time, when my daughters were little girls, I wanted to show them this tiny shiny animal and to my surprise the species had been declared extinct. It made me clearly feel that I did not want to leave to my daughters a diminished planet.

This was a direct impact of climate change that I understood would cause the disappearance of a lot of microclimates in my country and the associated biodiversity. This was an epiphany for me, I realized that our success in developing a strong network of national parks in Costa Rica was not sufficient to protect our biodiversity. It was not enough to act locally; I realized we needed to come together as a species to address our common climate challenge. 

This led me to eventually represent my country in environmental negotiations and later on to become the Executive Secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.” GO TO THE ISSUE


Attuned | Global Social Witnessing

By Thomas Hubl

“Modern media sensationalizes news of violence, threat, and danger, profiting off human fear and furthering societal polarization. The massive onslaught of polarizing data we consume is not immediately digestible. In fact, unfettered access to information about active trauma may create what researchers have called secondhand or vicarious traumatization, especially for the highly empathetic person.At the very least, constant news of human struggle, violence, and adversity can result in burnout and compassion fatigue. Yet, the more anesthetized we become to the suffering of others, the less capable we are of responding with discernment and wise action to help end or prevent further suffering in the world. Without knowing it, we may become complicit in the ongoing repetition of humanity’s darkest cultural traumas through unconscious activation of the hidden energies that make trauma possible in the first place.” GO TO THE ISSUE

‘Being’ As the New Paradigm | An Excerpt from Politics of Being

By Thomas Legrand

“The old story of separation that is at the core of our cultural program until now has shaped our development model’s priority: that of “having,” measured in countries’ GDP, which still prevails as the metric for assessing countries’ relative levels of development. This focus has created an imbalance, a relative inner underdevelopment, an ethical crisis that threatens our future. We need a more integral development, which is not merely focused on the external material dimension but a truly human development with the inner dimension at its center. It should represent a second stage of investment in human development, emphasizing not only physical and mental development through health and education, but also emotional, psychological, ethical, and aesthetic—which is to say spiritual—development. We need to move from having to being, which many believe means interbeing.

This need for a more integral development is generally emphasized, among others, by religious organizations. The interreligious statement at the Rio +20 Conference claims that “to make development truly sustainable, our economic, scientific, and technological accomplishments should assist the processes of individual and collective, psychological, and spiritual development. We must reorient our economic bottom line to support this full human development if we wish to live in a flourishing Earth community.”

In the same document, they use a statement from the Earth Charter: “When basic needs have been met, human development is primarily about being more, not having more.” This is congruent with Ronald Inglehart’s observations, according to which, in “developed countries” over the last decades, there has been a transition from materialist to postmaterialist values, and more generally from survival to self-expression values. It is also consistent with the work of American psychologist Albert Maslow, who distinguished “being” (or “growth”) needs and “deficiency” needs.


Deschooling Dialogues

Episode 4 – Alnoor Ladha with Tiokasin Ghosthorse

Alnoor | Say a little more about your conception of intuition, because I think this is also of-course core to the notion deschooling, right? We’ve formalized our abstract thinking and then we’ve married that with vocation where the entire point of education is to get a job, to be a cog in the capitalist machinery. And so what is the role of intuition as part of our, let’s say, initiation into at least attempts at a wisdom culture.

Tiokasin | ‘Common sense culture’, I would say. So intuition, at least to me, my thought process is, “it’s a being.” How are we treating intuition by saying it’s a hunch, it’s a guess. It’s a gut feeling. It’s very disrespectful when we look at it that way or we roll the dice. Intuition already knows where it needs to be. It doesn’t cost anything, right? It’s totally free. And when you’re free, all dimensions are available. And so where’s the language to describe that freeness, that being-intuition?

The human being no longer knows how to be a human being but has become a human doing. That they do so many things that they forget the essence of the silence that they were born from, into, and will go out of this dimension into. It’s to understand that peace with Earth is peace honored and it’s simple. That’s what I could come up with. ‘Peace with Earth is peace honored.’

Now to have an answer for you. The spirits have to tell you this. It does not mean I’m a shaman or spiritual guru or anything like that, a medicine person. I’m just a regular being with common sense. And when you’re in that place, when you see the light beyond what you can describe with the words of this language, even my language, is that we are out of rhythm with nature so much that we have to call it ‘nature’. Nature, or you say Gaia, I say Mother Earth, which is not really what Maka Ina means. In fact, it’s beyond description of this language. So we have a lot of work to do to unlearn, to deschool, to un-Westernize. To take Maka Ina again, to unlearn, to wake up from the coma. ACCESS THE PODCAST