14 January 2007
Last Friday evening, I attended a short seminar organised by a friend of mine that I got to know via an organisation of counselers that I am a member of. The person presenting dealt with the post-modern society and the need to take a step further into the Integral level of consciousness in order to get out of the issues today's society is facing. Well-known territory for whomever read any of the latest books by Ken Wilber.
There was a thing that bothered me, though. The subject matter was clear, but it was more the way of delivering that bothered me. What it was exactly escaped me for a while until I put it into the context of one of the cornerstones of Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP), namely Ecology. The guy just dealt totally unecologically with his audience.
At the same time, I realised that the word Ecology is somewhat vague to most people, as it is commonly used to denote all kinds of environmental issues, from environmental pollution to Al Gore-type of issues. In NLP, Ecology is used quite differently, as I will explain shortly. So here is a translation of something I had written for the book on Integral Counseling that I am writing to make it more clear what the word Ecology means to me.
The classic definition of Ecology is the one we know from Biology and the environmental movement. Here, Ecology is part of Biology that studies the relstionships between the various species of plants and animals and their environment. A step further, Ecology is explained as anything that has to do with the (biological) environment and specifically with the preservation of it. Ecological agriculture and ecological shops are an example of this definition. Even further, the means of production of food, the transport of it and the social situation of farmers are made part of ecology. All in all, this mainly deals with the biosphere, being the whole of living creatures and their environment.
In NLP, the definition of Ecology is somewhat different, for it is not only aimed at the biosphere, but at the human being as a whole: acting ecologically involves avoiding harming yourself or others or the environment in which you function. This is what needs to be kept in mind in anything you do and is also where the presentor of last Friday's session went wrong. You need to ask yourself questions such as, “What is the positive intention of my acts?”, “What are possible side-effects?”, “Is the well-being of others helped by what I am doing?”, “What are the ethical implications?”. In this definition, Ecology comes down to having respect for the other as a human being and keeping in mind the needs of both yourself and the other and the environment you function in.
A third, and most encompassing definition of Ecology goes
beyond these two and not only sees man as part of the biosphere, viz.
living being among living beings, but also as part of the noosphere,
meaning that we are also with our minds part of a shared whole
of interactive minds. This is what a movement called Deep Ecology
says. But even beyond this, we are also part of the Theosphere, viz.
the spiritual sphere of influence that we are all part of. We all
have spirits that are part of Spirit, being the ground and goal of
life. Being part of something automatically means that you have
influence on it. Therefore, Ecology should be extended to encompass
also these parts of reality and we should
Note, by the way, that these realities are organised in a way in which higher realities transcend and include lower realities, i.e. they are holonically organised. The first definition dealt with the biosphere, which is all living beings. The biosphere includes the geosphere, which is all matter on earth. The biosphere itself is part of the noosphere, which contains all cognitive beings and their cognition. The noosphere in turn is included by the Theosphere, which contains everything created by Spirit. Spirit includes all aspects of life. As long as Spirit is honored in everything we do, we can say we act ecologically at all levels of existence.