An Integration

September 29, 2008 | 2 Comments

Category: Activism, Auto-Biography, Web

Early in July of last year, Marcia and I were driving back from the United States Social Forum (USSF) in a rented convertible, top down, at night.  Stars out, wind whizzing by, Marcia sitting beside me, an integration hit me as if in a desert landscape it started pouring and isolated lakes were linked by river flows.  Connections between different sections of my life were made.

USSF was a powerful, positive, difficult experience.  Over the period of its several days, we made numerous presentations from our booth and conducted a workshop.  We talked about the Actions Options Tool (AOT) web application and the network of networks using the AOT for free that was quickly growing across the country.  I thought we were about three months away from being ready to introduce the unique new features we were presenting at the conference, such as SNAPAP (see previous entry).

A number of organizations and individuals expressed interest in either the programming or the statewide networks going up that were using the programming.  We met and talked with national organizations, international organizations and local activists.  It was exciting, interesting and exhausting.  It had been a long time since I’d felt that immersed.

Ten years ago, I was deeply absorbed in the details of an alternative theory of human evolution that had grown out of my studies of the origin of dragon mythologies.  See humanevolution.net for details.  It had all started as an illustrated book of dragons I was writing and designing.  I got distracted.  Deeply distracted.  For almost two years, I consumed evolutionary theory, exploring evolutionary biology and then following trails into the connected disciplines primatology, anthropology, neuropsychology and language development.  Previous passions that had included communications theory, psychology, hypnotherapy, comparative religion and studies of spiritual experience linked up with my studies of evolutionary biology.  I was experiencing an integration of several disciplines with an accompanying cascade of insights.

During this intellectual bender, my twenty-year career running a sales firm came to its conclusion.  It had been a decade since I’d put much energy into it, and I was coasting on its ability to provide me many hours to peruse other interests.  I needed a new profession.  With both a design and sales background, I started a business that required both those skills, website design.  My tech skills were terrible.  I muddled through a couple years until I could afford to hire people that knew tech.

I did some writing on the relationship between autism and evolution.  I got a paper published in an obscure New Zealand psychohistory newsletter by an academic excited by my work. I drifted away from my intellectual inclinations.

I was devoting most of my time to getting a new business going.  I let my evolutionary studies languish.

Then, the Iraq war.

As the war grew longer, my involvement with the local anti-war movement grew to involvement with justice and environmental issues.  Marcia joined me as we focused on action design and execution.  Marcia and I were sharing the same passion.  A vast new variety of friends entered into our lives.  My curiosity began to seek an understanding of the dynamics of social change.  Then, my vocation merged with my avocation as I guided my firm to develop a web application that could encourage social change.

My wife and I were experiencing an attraction to the same devotion.  My business and my interests had converged.  Driving back from Atlanta, I was cruising through a Georgia nighttime living a life characterized by an unusual amount of integration. And then, the integration descended another level as if an isolated aquifer had burbled up and linked with the lakes and rivers where I lived.

What emerged was the realization that principles of evolutionary biology, specifically heterochrony and its evidence in humans as neoteny, were principles fully engaged in social transformation.  This connection was uncharted territory.  Having realized almost ten years before that autism was the manifestation of evolutionary biological principles, I realized in the convertible that night that the principles of societal evolution operated according to the same dynamics as biological evolution.  Specifically, during the process of working out how a web application could encourage social change, I had been unconsciously working out practical applications of the biological theory I’d developed the decade before.  This connection had not been clear to me until that night, sitting next to my wife, after a weekend of making human connections with activists from the world seeking ways to encourage transformation.

Then, four days later, I felt the future.


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This entry was posted on Monday, September 29th, 2008 at 7:25 am and is filed under Activism, Auto-Biography, Web. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.
2 Comments so far

  1. Dan Guinan on October 1, 2008 5:31 pm

    So where is neoteny taking us?

  2. Andrew on October 2, 2008 6:58 am

    Several essays address this issue. Proceed to http://www.neoteny.org/?s=future and bounce around.

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