1. Melanie Mortiboys interviews Dr Nicholas Beecroft for this Progress Report on the project exploring the Future of Western Civilization in the light of the interviews so far.

    Melanie is a writer, artist, Pilates teacher, Bowen therapist, mother and Nicholas' girlfriend. She has been a key catalyst of the Future of Western Civilization behind the scenes, offering her wisdom, support, encouragement and judgement throughout. She studied Drama, Film and Television at Bristol University and has since explored the world of personal development, psychology and health. She is currently working on her first novel.

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  2. “You're not as crazy as I thought. (but you're still wrong) Conversations between a Devoted Conservative and a Die-Hard Liberal” by Phil Neisser & Jacob Hess is an inspiring attempt by its authors to show how we can move beyond the energy sapping conflict between left and right, conservative and liberal and other political polarities. They demonstrate that at the very least it's possible for liberals and conservatives to come to a position of mutual understanding and respect. They show that it is possible for us to integrate the best, the healthy strands of different political dimensions into an integrated whole.

    Phil describes himself as a leftist and a liberal (in the American sense of the word) and Jacob is a Christian Conservative and proud Mormon. They had both grown tired of the culture wars in which the left and right have become ever more polarised, sometimes to the degree of mutual hatred and always to the detriment of America. Similar processes are found around the world. They set about the disciplined process of identifying the many subjects about which they had strongly opposing views and, one by one, they patiently listened to one another until they fully understood each other's positions.

    The subject which they found most contentious was the case for gay marriage. We took that as a case example in which each set out their view and then described the process they went through. In fact, as the interviewer, I had quite a hard job to try to stimulate any tension, emotional triggers or conflict as a way of demonstrating their positions and polarity original. This is because they've done such a good job of working through the issue that they can now very comfortably discuss it in a very mature, reasoned, nuanced way in which they fully respect the position of the other. They could even see some ways forward on the subject which may offer breakthrough.

    I invited them to explore the challenges faced by the West, particularly Europe, as a result of high levels of immigration of Muslims at a time when Islam is going through a very turbulent phase of its adaptation to the modern world. As a Mormon, Jacob is a member of a religious minority which is quite traditional and conservative, yet successful as living as prosperous, democratic, patriotic Americans. I asked him whether there were any lessons for Muslims in Europe as to how best to make a success of integrating into Western society without compromising their religion and values. He said that Mormons had suffered a great deal of persecution both historically and currently and he felt that Christians and Mormons in particular have a lot in common with Muslims. If anything, he felt that globally that the fault line was not between Christians and Muslims but rather between religious people and secular people. He felt that one of the key things in enabling successful integration is to see the humanity in the person and group with which one does not agree. He gave examples of that and showed how it had softened his position on many subjects whilst still remaining true to himself and his beliefs.

    I asked Phil to say how he navigates between being open, tolerant and accepting of diversity whilst also being willing to assert some values as better than others. He draws the line at the use of coercion and violence. He believes that people should be free to live as they choose including living according to their religious beliefs but that they should not be permitted to impose those upon others. We discussed the reluctance of some of us to assert our values for fear of being accused of being racist, Islamophobic or similar.

    Jacob described how he, as a Mormon, has learned to have great self-confidence in asserting his beliefs as the truth. He spent 2 years traveling around Brazil knocking on doors to share his truth. He believes that everybody should be confident to do that as well as also being free to disagree. In fact, that was one of the common themes throughout the conversation that a healthy political culture needs us to enshrine the willingness to disagree. Having said that, there are some things upon which we need to agree in order to live together as one community. Jacob gave a very practical example of a swimming pool in his community which is largely Mormon. The majority of the community will vehemently against the use of the pool on a Sunday, the sabbath. The minority were determined to use the pool on a Sunday as an expression of their freedom and rights. They managed to find a compromise through dialogue which enabled both sets of people to retain their own beliefs and protect their way of life.

    They finished off by saying how the lessons from their conversations could be scaled up to improve our political culture and institutions.

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  3. Helen Titchen Beeth is an evolutionary leader operating at the heart of Europe as a linguist and change consultant in the European Union Commission headquarters in Brussels. She is a committed European and describes herself as a student and practitioner of individual and collective evolutionary living. In practice this means that she has been learning and experimenting with ways of introducing and scaling up practices that can unleash collective intelligence in large organisations. She is part of a community called Dorpsstraat which is itself an experiment in evolutionary living. Helen describes herself as a committed European but after many years at the heart of EU institutions, she is very much a realist about the major challenges faced by the European institutions.

    She believes that is an old world is dying and a new one is emerging. Many of the problems we are experiencing are the death throes of old ways of being, as she puts it, rather like a rooster still running round even though its head has been cut off. We are far from having a new civilisation up and running into which we can leap but there are plenty of people experimenting and innovating.

    Europe is much more than its formal institutions. Europe is its land, its people, the communities, the culture, the identities and its deep consciousness. Whilst Helen is very comfortable in many places around the world, she feels fully at home in Europe. At the same time she is both a European, very British and someone who lives on the earth. She believes that our European institutions have done their best to paper over the cracks of past conflict but there remain under the surface deep attachments to our national identities, many shadow parts and healed wounds.

    Helen believes that the European experiment in transnational integration as an arena with potential for inventing, discovering and testing patterns that can offer humanity valuable guidance on its road to becoming a sustainable, global society. However she doesn't wear any rose tinted spectacles and is fully aware that the whole system may well unravel and take us to a dark place. In personal terms she walks her talk. She is investing her time and money into building a sustainable community called Dorpsstraat.

    However, everything mentioned so far really is superficial. Helen senses of something much deeper is going on. She believes that there is deep shift from the Piscean age to the Aquarian age. This means that the something deep in the structure of the consciousness of our cosmos which shapes both the physical, mental and consciousness structures which we are experiencing. She senses that this is moving to a much more interconnected and flowful state. She observes that many of the structures and institutions which are currently in trouble are those based on an old parent-child model of interaction and those which are emerging tend to take self organising and peer-to-peer forms.

    One of the deep shifts which she senses is the re-emergence and re-assertion of the deep feminine within us particularly, of course, in women. She doesn't subscribe to the idea that women have somehow been passive victims in the suppression of the feminine in the last centuries. She believes that women need to show up fully in their deep feminine power and lead rather than try to occupy the space of masculine power, leaving men nowhere to go. As a mother of 2, she observes that her children are experiencing a world very far from that which she grew up in. They are exposed to hugely more influences, potential ideas, role models and opportunities. She leaves the question open as to whether or not they have leapfrogged the egocentric and ethnocentric levels of development into the world-centric level and whether or not they will miss not having a stronger, more deeply rooted national identity. She finds her children provide a mirror for her, often challenging and a source of growth.

    Helen thinks that we have lost contact with our ancestral roots so much that we are having to relearn and reinvent them. We don't really know how to live in community and men women don't really know how to embody the masculine and feminine or to be parents. We try to learn from books, but in the end, we're going to have to learn from experience, wisdom and intuition.

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  4. Peter Merry is an evolutionary leader who operates at the evolutionary edge of our civilisation. He spent many years facilitating a leading change in a variety of organisations including traditional corporates and leading-edge transitional organisations. He has been pioneering the practical application of energetics and wisdom including the new technique of systemic energy tuning. In this interview with Dr Nicholas Beecroft, Peter says that his big picture vision for the state that were in, the painful death of an old civilisation, and the parallel emergence of a new one. He believes that we are best off if we put our energy fully into the creation and experimental emergence of this new civilisation. There is no guarantee of a positive outcome but there are enough signs of evolutionary change to be optimistic.

    Peter strongly believes in the theory of Spiral Dynamics Integral which expects that people will exhibit the values system appropriate to their own developmental stage, adapted to the life conditions in which they find themselves. At the leading edge, people are beginning to understand that we are truly connected as one whole living system which includes the Earth itself. Peter says that by making this perceptual shift we more easily understand the feedback which the Earth is giving us through, for example, climate change so as to enable us to live more in tune with life itself.

    He believes that there is going to be a rebalancing of consciousness towards a more natural order with healthy, conscious expressions of masculinity and femininity, healthy hierarchies, healthy boundaries within an increasingly self organising living system. By this, he does not mean a reactionary, traditionalist revival but rather a deeper tuning in to a true nature, fully lined with the underlying natural order. A more enlightened approach to science which integrates wisdom, intuition and complexity is going to be essential in that endeavour. Peter describes how we can integrate the shadow, dark parts of our consciousness as individuals and as a whole in order to liberate our full potential.

    Peter describes how he uses technique of systemic energy tuning to work with organisations to maximise the potential through aligning closely with life force and nature. He discusses how that might be applied to harness capitalism for good. Our world has become so complex that to take a mechanical, problem-solving, reductionist approach becomes ever more complex and difficult. He believes that, amongst others, this technique is part of the simplicity on the other side of complexity.

    Peter gives his view on the healthy integration of the fast-growing Islamic population in the Netherlands. He does not agree with the ethnocentric solutions offered by Geert Wilders and other “right wing” politicians. However he believes that they provide a useful service in bringing the attention of the previously complacent post-modern political elite to the need for Holland to have a healthy identity, strong structures and conscious, world-centric strategies to make a success out of immigration whilst defending democracy, freedom and pluralism. He is optimistic that the Netherlands will provide a positive role model for other countries in this respect.

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  5. Mark Walsh is an expert on embodiment. He trains people globally on integrating their bodies into their leadership and way of life. He has done this with people across a whole range of settings from Western corporate life through to the slums of Brazil, and HIV awareness charity in East Africa and conflict resolution on the Middle East with the United Nations.

    Mark believes that Western civilisation is disembodied. By that, he means that we tend to live in our heads as if our bodies were a taxi to carry around our brain. We do not have a body, we are a body. He says that really matters because being fully integrated with our body is essential for optimal health, happiness, empathy, judgement, decision-making and a successful civilisation. He traces the process of disembodied and through our history and describes how a baby, which is instinctively embodied, grows up in a world which educates it to become disembodied.

    In this interview we discuss many examples of how increasing our connection with our bodies could bring substantial benefits to our way of life with some surprising examples including the financial system, medicine, education, inner-city gangs, wisdom and intuition.

    Mark describes his experience of training leaders to become more embodied and how that yields benefits space for the individual and their organisation. He suggests ways in which we can stay in touch with our bodies even when spending hours at a desk or in front of the computer. He talks through the wide range of different practices from martial arts to dancing and simple breathing exercises which one can choose to increase the level of embodiment.

    He gives some cross-cultural examples from his experience around the world of cultures which are much more embodied than ours and from which we could learn.

    Mark gives some tips on how to use one's body whilst making judgements and taking decisions.

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The Future of Western Civilization

Future of Western Civilization

I’m Dr Nicholas Beecroft, a Consultant Psychiatrist in London. I’m exploring the Future of Western Civilization through a series of interviews. I want us to rejuvenate our energy, direction and self-confidence as a Civilization. My mission is to create…

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I’m Dr Nicholas Beecroft, a Consultant Psychiatrist in London. I’m exploring the Future of Western Civilization through a series of interviews. I want us to rejuvenate our energy, direction and self-confidence as a Civilization. My mission is to create a positive, appreciative space in which leaders at the evolutionary edge of our Civilization can share their experience and set out their vision for our future to inspire others. They are visionaries sowing the seeds of future transformation, all genuine, creative, courageous people who care about whom we are and where we’re going.

By “Civilization," I mean Western Civilization-the one I’ve lived in; to one that is transformed the world over the last 500 years; the one that has gone global; the one that faces enormous threats, challenges and has the unprecedented opportunity to evolve to an amazing future. When there’s so much changing all at once, old structures failing and a huge array of emerging threats, that all generates a lot of anxiety, pessimism and fear which distract us from putting energy into creating new solutions, generating new ideas and envisioning a better future.
Behind the News Headlines, usually quietly, under the radar, there’s a lot of good stuff going on; the seeds of the future taking root in the present. There are lots of evolutionaries trying out new ideas, new technologies, new ways of organizing and more integrated, conscious and balanced ways of thinking and being.

Western Civilization has been supremely successful in all kinds of ways of which we should be enormously proud. Science, technology, industrialization, democracy, individual rights, personal freedom, property rights, the rule of law, Christianity, humanism, organization, capitalism, feminism, civil rights, philosophy, music, art, even Imperialism have all, on balance, transformed the world for the better and have created new life conditions with new challenges and problems. In some cases, these advances had nasty side effects and some have become imbalanced. In others, they have replaced older structures and beliefs, and many babies have been lost with the bathwater.

Human Civilization is made up of human beings who are conscious beings and physical animals, all interconnected like a shoal of fish or a flock of birds. I’ve interviewed a huge variety of people across a variety roles, professions, beliefs, politics, status, nationalities, religions, social classes and backgrounds. What is crystal clear to me is that whilst the world we live in is hyper-complex, we operate in it using a kind of mini-map of our Civilization in our minds which we use to navigate through the world, guided by our inner compass of intuition and rational thought. It is astonishing how similar these inner maps are, and the patterns are clear. This is how we self-organize in what is a complex living system-just like a beehive or wildebeest migration.

Now we are super-connected by the internet, media and travel. We carry in our pockets access to billions of people and to just about all the knowledge that ever existed. Turning inwards we have access to instinctive intuition, heart, wisdom, common sense and judgement. Put together, that represents vast human potential and the most amazing opportunity for personal and cultural evolution ever. Looked at like that, just about all of our shared challenges and threats are solvable and a much better world is highly realistic. We’re engaged in conscious evolution of ourselves and our Civilization.

There is a huge range of threats and challenges to The West and to the whole World. People focus their attention on different ones depending on their situation, beliefs and emotional make-up. The list is pretty depressing and overwhelming-so I’ve turned it into a list of positive questions instead.

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