Posts Tagged ‘personal growth’

Virtual reality as an “empathy machine” and force for good?

Virtual reality.  For those of us who still enjoy THIS world, the idea of opening the floodgates of truly immersive virtual reality can seem like the ultimate triumph of the screen-mediated life, an abandonment of the core virtues of human relationship.  If computers have sucked us further down the rabbit hole than TVs, then won’t these new systems—covering our eyes and ears, even stimulating our vestibular responses—create even more separation between us?  Not necessarily, say a slew of folks who are tracking this nearly-inevitable and soon-to-arrive evolution of computer technology.  Check out this collection of videos and articles from SingularityHUB, all of which explore the ways that more immersive virtual reality interfaces could actually increase our empathy and engagement, rather than leading to atrophy of these core aspects of being human.  The promise here starts with recent studies on “mirror neurons” and goes on to ways that empathy-sparking VR could deepen journalism and enliven civic engagement.  A real mind-bender for any of us with lingering Luddite tendencies.

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What if it really is too late?

Much of what we share here is coverage of projects, research, and news that’s relatively encouraging—ideas and actions that might spur your own constructive engagement in these challenging times.  Recently, we’ve shared evolutionary/breakthrough techno-optimist visions, close-to-home/tangible in-the-dirt initiatives, and muddling-up/market-based optimism about carbon.  But hovering there in the background, as it has been with increasing intensity for at least a couple of decades, is the specter of questions that many of us can’t quite bear to face: Did we wait too long for any of this to make a real difference?  Is catastrophic climate change now baked into the system?  Have economic elites stubbornly steered the ship onto insurmountable shoals of social inequity and ecological overshoot? What if it really is too late?

Addressing this possibility has been among the hardest parts of putting together our book and this ongoing chronicle of resilient investing resources.  But we, too, have grappled with the darker questions, and have to some degree prepared ourselves, at least internally, for the possibility that we are indeed in the early stages of a significant societal and/or ecological decline.  None of the four of us who put the book together are ready to abandon ship,

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Integral Life Practice

Integral Life Practice is an evolutionary tool that provides a foundational framework and set of practices to gain more perspective and transform all aspects of your life: mental, emotional, physical and spiritual. Created by well-known author and teacher Ken Wilber, the website provides access to a Practice kit as well as audio and video tools, books, forums, etc, all in pursuit of developing a comprehensive approach to life. Visit website.

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Book: “Evolutionaries: Unlocking the Spiritual and Cultural Potential of Science’s Greatest Idea.”

Carter Phipp’s book Evolutionaries surveys evolutionary thought with the aim of integrating our understanding of how a new “evolutionary” perspective can integrate consciousness, cosmology, and evolution, building bridges between the physical sciences and spiritual traditions. Builds on Ken Wilber’s integral theory/worldview. Visit the book’s website.

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Self-tracking tools on the Quantified Self website

The Quantified Self website is an Evolutionary tool, a collaboration of users and makers of self-tracking tools, with the aim of helping people derive meaning from their personal data. The website is part of Quantified Self Labs, a California-based company founded by Gary Wolf and Kevin Kelly, which offers all kinds of tools and events in support of the Quantified Self. Visit website.

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RTracker: A Generic, Customizable Personal Data Tracker for the IPhone

We offer RTracker as an example of a burgeoning new trend of “lifelogging for the Quantified Self,” here via an iPhone app focused on flexible personal data tracking. A user can create and use his or her own trackers, for topics such as exercise, sleep quality, car travel, patient progress, etc. We haven’t used this or any of the similar products; this is sure to be a rapidly-evolving product category. Visit the app’s website.

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Stories of Great Transition open-source website

Great Transition Stories is an open source wiki, initiated by Duane Elgin. The purpose of the site is summarized as follows: “The stories we tell shape our view of ourselves and the path we take through this time of collective awakening and global turning. We have the ability to consciously choose narratives that offer realistic beacons of hope to guide our way through the Great Transition. The following stories are drawn from many sources–biology, psychology, cosmology, mythology, and more–and offer a wide menu to choose from in crafting guiding narratives, whether personal or organizational.” There is also a resource list of leading articles, reports, and books giving credence to the idea of a Great Transition.

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