Ban on holy dots and other silliness



I see that government officials in India are now banned from wearing the tilak, which may be another drop in the ocean of post-911 silliness. (Of course, I don’t know if there is a real connection, but it fits into a pattern of attitudes and behaviors that have turned legitimate in the world following 911.)

Some random, onesided and relatively uninformed thoughts about the banning of burkas, turbans, dots and other signs of religious (or ethnic) affiliations…

  • It serves mainly to polarize. Both sides tend to get more entrenched and oppositional.
  • It target the symbol/symptom more than anything else. If you want to target what you see as oppression and so on, do that directly rather than targeting something as silly as what people wear. (For god’s sake…!)
  • It started with the burka, in the anti-muslim frenzy following 911, and then expanded to other symbols of religion to make it appear fair. As with so much else post-911 legitimized behavior, it has also been used by different groups as an excuse to target traditional enemies.
  • Even the burka is not necessarily a symbol of, for instance, oppression of women. Many women apparently experience it as liberating, as a protection.
  • It is another example of those with a more rational/worldcentric view adopting a flawed strategy in trying to deal with the more absolutist/ethnocentric (orange vs. blue in Spiral Dynamics terms). They are confused, don’t know how to deal with it, and feel threatened, so try this silliness which only muddles and polarizes the situation further. (Or, as maybe in this case, someone wants to be seen as rational and worldcentric, so adopt this strategy without thinking too much.)
  • Finally, by adopting a strategy of banning symbols of religions affiliation, we do exactly what we say we try to remove. We ourselves act in ways experienced as intolerant and oppressive. It is OK when I do it but not when you do it, because I am right and you are wrong. How is that for teaching people tolerance and western values?

The brutality at worldcentric


As our circle of care, compassion and concern expands, it still leaves someone and some things outside. There is still an Us and Them. Until there isn’t.

So even at worldcentric, there is brutality, just because someone and some things are left out of those we see as We and Us.

Brutality at worldcentric

Specifically, there is still the brutality against non-human species, treated as slaves, imprisoned just for being non-human, killed at will, some of them even subject to the equivalent of genocide. And there is the brutality against future generations, making decisions today which will seriously affect them for generations to come, through poisoning the air, water and soil, through destroying ecosystems they are dependent on for their survival and quality of life, through setting in motion massive changes in the global climate, through leaving them to deal with the most toxic substances imaginable (from nuclear reactors and other industries) for thousands and thousands of generations.

This brutality is not resolved until planetcentric, where the circle of “us” includes all species, ecosystems, the Earth as a whole, and past and future generations.

Even here, there is a brutality (which seems very subtle from ethno and worldcentric levels) where only life is seen as we and us, and the rest is left out. This form of brutality is not resolved until Kosmocentric, where all is recognized as Spirit, as awake empty form.

As Spirit beyond and embracing all polarities, including that of nonliving and living, life and death, form and formless, seeing and seen.

Not subtle when seen from the next spiral out

For those at worldcentric, the brutality at ethnocentric, which includes sexism, racisms, homophobia, islamophobia and so on, is obvious and coarse.

For those at planetcentric, the brutality at worldcentric, which includes speciesism and lack of concern for future generations, is obvious and coarse.

And for those at Kosmocentric, the brutality at planetcentric, leaving out Spirit as awake emptiness and form, as seeing and seen, is obvious and coarse.

(For me, I see that the blindness of worldcentric is especially striking to me, especially as it plays itself out in public discourse, politics and the media. The blindness at ethnocentric is of course also pretty obvious, but here the majority of the western world agrees, at least in principle. And the brutality at planetcentric is also pretty obvious, but I don’t expect many to see this one, yet.)

Resolved in one way, not another

Saying that the brutality at one level of centricity is resolved at the next is true in one way, and not in another.

The systematic brutality is resolved. We are no longer blind to it, we have to acknowledge it, we are motivated to find a more real resolution to it.

At the same time, living it is a process. Our motivation and view may be of the Earth and all its parts as Us, but finding real-life choices that takes that into account is messy and deepens over time.

It changes with what options are available to us in the moment, what information and knowledge we have, and it changes with changing circumstances. It is in flux, just as anything in the world of form is flux.

Widening worldcentric


For the lines which goes from egocentric to ethnocentric to worldcentric, mainly the cognitive (view) and moral (care), our leading collective edge seems to rapidly widen and deepen within the worldcentric.

Widening circles of care

For the care line, we see that…

Human rights is a given in the mainstream, at least in most modern western societies (with the exception of Bush, pushing ethnocentric/amber views to erode some of the worldcentric/orange focus on human rights, using fear as a driver.)

A concern for nonhuman species, ecosystems, the Earth as a whole, and future generations is emerging on a larger scale, with climate change and other well-publicized issues as a catalyst.

From we being all human beings alive today, it slowly grows to includes we as the Earth as a whole and future generations.

Moral line fed by the cognitive

And the widening circles of care and compassion is fed by the widening circles of the cognitive line. We know, from science and daily experience, that the Earth as a whole is a single seamless system, and that our own immediate health and well-being is intimately connected with the health and well-being of the larger social and ecological systems.

In today’s world, we cannot afford to not be concerned with the health and well-being of the larger whole, because it impacts us so directly locally.

Deepening into

As these circles widen, there is also a corresponding maturing and deepening coming from lived experience and new information. We become more familiar what it means, collectively and individually, to live from these widening circles of view and care.

Widening into the cosmoscentric

Another leading edge here is within the worldcentric, from the gaiacentric to the cosmoscentric phase. With the public interest in Star Trek and other sci-fi stories, and the public interest and participation in discovering planets and SETI (through PlanetQuest and SETI@home), this phase of the worldcentric is rapidly becoming more real.

For now, since we haven’t made contact with any galactic neighbors, it is mostly the cognitive line exploring the cosmoscentric. If there is contact one way or another, the moral line will be included.


And how will we react if there is contact? It will of course depend on the type of contact: detecting a distant signal will be very different from initiating a dialogue, which will be very different from – the far more unlikely – direct physical contact.

And it will also depend on where we are at the care line of development. At ethnocentric, we are more likely to react with suspicion and fear. At the deepening worldcentric, with interest and curiosity (although hopefully not naively).

Cosmocentric benefits

Already now, by exploring the cognitive cosmoscentric through science and the Universe Story, and the cognitive and moral cosmoscentric through sci-fi, there are some benefits of the cosmocentric.

It helps unseat any assumptions of absolutes in who we are and how we view the world. It helps us open up for a sense of connection with and belonging to the universe as a whole. It helps us open up for a sense of awe of the enormity and beauty of the universe. It helps us open for how unbelievable and astonishing it is that anything exists at all.

Maybe most importantly, widening beyond the Earthcentric makes it easier for us to see the Earth as one small intimate whole. A miracle of life floating in the immensity of space.

It helps us deepen our care and concern for all of us – all humans, all beings, all ecosystems, the Earth as a whole, future generations.

(And then there is of course the kosmocentric, of realizing selflessness and that Existence has a center everywhere and nowhere.)