The totality of our inner worlds
We think it’s useful to posit three worlds - systems, souls and society - within one world, because there are at least three fundamentally different kinds of ‘stuff’ (ontology) that are known to us in different ways (epistemology).
We are particularly motivated by the unfolding of inner life, from emotional development to psychological integration and the experience of transcendence.
Reclaiming the language of soul is important, not least to acknowledge the pervasive human need for spiritual experience and direction, which can be informed by religion, but need not be subsumed by it.
This perspective is grounded in viewing the human nervous system as a complex, open, and self organizing process that continually adapts and develops; not only from species to species in evolution, but within the life-time of each individual.
This process we know as 'growing up' or maturation has been formulated by Jean Piaget and Robert Kegan and many other psychologists and was made popular recently by Frederic Laloux who distilled its centrality for the task of reinventing organisations. Perspectiva's task is to show why it is so fundamental to the broader challenges we face.
"I am not religious any more, but I like the spiritual observances that religion is mindful of. If you believe that life has an inside as well as an outside, then how shall we honour that truth? How shall we find time for contemplation, imagination, turning the mind away from daily worries towards the word, "soul"? You don't have to believe in God or an afterlife to believe that human beings are more than their material purpose."
- Jeanette Winterson
We think more than we can say. We feel more than we can think. We live more than we can feel. And there is much else besides (Eugene Gendlin). Perhaps the soul is what we mean when we reflect on that 'much else besides'.
- Iain McGilchrist
The kind of hope that I often think about...I understand above all as a state of mind, not as a state of the world. Either we have hope within us or we don't; it's a dimension of the soul, and it's not essentially dependent on some particular observation of the world or estimate of the situation...Hope is not the conviction that something will turn out well, but the certainty that something makes sense, regardless of how it turns out.
- Vaclav Havel
We can say that there is in every organism, at whatever level, an underlying flow of movement toward constructive fulfillment of its inherent possibilities.
- Carl Rogers
“I cannot experience your experience. You cannot experience my experience. We are both invisible men. All men are invisible to one another. Experience used to be called The Soul.”
- RD Laing.