Posts Tagged ‘Gaia’s Reflective Organ’

Principles for a Planet of Cities underlie the Intelligences that enable the generation of Capitals for the Human Hive.

Principles for Planet of Cities

Principles for Planet of Cities

I have written extensively about the Intelligences that are needed to consciously and conscientiously evolve any given city.  Much of the literature on sustainability has addressed the Capitals of the Human Hive. The first three of these emerged from the Brundtland Commission, who identified core Capitals as: Economic, Environment and Social. To these have been added: Cultural, Natural (plus others).

Having defined a Principle, the next question I ask myself is: What are the qualities of Principles that could govern a Planet of Cities? As a core set of principal qualities I suggest we consider these:

Natural – the Principles must be derived from how Nature operates. This would embrace the sum total of our Cosmo-Bio-Anthropo-centric heritage (A-B-C).

Planetary Contexting – the Principles must take into consideration human life in relation to all life on the planet and the context of each city to all cities.

Fractal – the Principles would apply at multiple scales of human systems.  Principles for a Planet of Cities should be applicable at planetary, city, collective and individual human scales.

Living Systems – the Principles would enable the flourishing of human systems so they can survive, connect with their environment and reproduce. Such systems are by definition complex adaptive systems.

Sustainability Principles are the sub-set of Principles that enable Living Principles to operate. They create the conditions for stabilizing structures and capitals to emerge(as noted above).

Resilience Principles are the sub-set of Principles that enable Living Principles to be flexible enough to respond and adapt to changing life conditions (in any and all of the A-B-C spheres) so that a Planet of Cities can continue to evolve. Resilience Principles operate at a deep genetic and memetic level.

Integrating – the Principle of Integration means that the Planet of Cities would be able to integrate the life demands of individuals, collectives, at all scales, evolutionary levels, internal realities (consciousness and culture) and external realities (biological and systemic) in developmental embrace.

Evolutionary – the Principles are based on evolutionary conditions that are evidenced in all of the A-B-C spheres as a continuous unfolding of universal Life through information, energy and matter.

Spiritual – the Principles must embrace the Planet of Cities not only in the A-B-C spheres, but also in the realm of consciousness as a subtle or spiritual energy that underlies all other Principles. This Principle is the core of what enables the planet as Gaia to develop its “Reflective Organ” through the Human Hive.  The Spiritual Principle has a representation in all cultures in all cities, but the most fundamental expression is what we call the Master Code: Take care of yourself, take care of each other, take care of this place, take care of this planet.

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Integral City how do I capture your spirit? Map 5 gives us a glimpse into the spiritual energy of love, that is ever-present in the Human Hive, as we live on the edge of evolution.

Integral City Map 5: Spirituality in the Human Hive

Integral City Map 5: Spirituality in the Human Hive

Where is it possible to sense the spirit of a city? Is it in the quiet of a chapel, or the chanting on a prayer mat? Is it from a vista that discloses the miracle of light and form that is the city at night? Is it while doing good deeds in the service of those in need? Or is it in the tumult and din of a play-off game for our favourite sport?

Of course, spirit is expressed in all of these ways because spirituality is a universal life force that cycles through existence as an involutionary and evolutionary impulse (Wilber, 1995). The first stage of the cycle, called involution, originates at the non-dual “source” that lies at the centre of existence where it descends from the invisible to the visible; from the immanent to that which is presenced; from the unmanifest source to manifest “re-sources”. The second stage of the cycle, called evolution, attracts all creation back to source so that it ascends from the manifest to the source; from the visible to the invisible; from gross physical bodies to subtle and causal energy fields to non-dual source. Spirituality is not outside of city creation but embedded in it as the source, flowing through it as energetic fields and manifest in its emergent re-sources (Hamilton, 2012).

James Lovelock has called humans Gaia’s Reflective Organ. I take his insight one step further and suggest that cities are the actual organs and individuals are cells within it.

As Reflective Organs we may know spirituality (or God) in all four quadrants of our integral reality (reflected in Integral City Map 1) as: spiritual experience (UL) ; action flow state (UR); collective ecstasy or ethos (LL); and collective creation (LR). Spirituality is also an UL and LL intelligence (or line) that is capable of growing from ego to ethno to world to kosmic levels of development for individuals and cultures. As well (paradoxically), it is the Absolute source of stillness at the centre of existence (Map 1) and the Relative evolutionary impulse that drives all city manifestation (Maps 2, 3, 4).

The city as spiritual container holds not only the spiritual lives of citizens at three scales (Self, Culture and Nature), but also the artefacts of spiritual expression including all the systems, structures and infrastructures within the LR built city. Ironically, although we tend to point at the physical cathedrals, mosques and synagogues as centres of spiritual life, in fact these are mere expressions of the mystical “soul” of the city in all its built form and business.  But it is this very busy-ness that incites people to seek the Space, Place and Grace in a spiritual refuge where coherence can emerge from the over-stimulation of the senses, and spiritual reconnection can occur.

As the city matures through the exchange of energy between spiritual Source and Re-Source a spiritual energy Field emerges. Evidence about spiritual behaviors, attitudes, shared practices and systems, suggest that a field effect is emerging in the city (McTaggart, 2001; Sheldrake, 1988). The field probably arises because the city as container causes the multiplicity of chaotic exchanges (Map 3) within and across holons and social holons to converge into patterns that sustain. A kind of “spiritual groove” becomes carved in the energetic field, that through repetition reinforces itself.

Finally, when we admit all three faces of God (expressed as the Master Code) as the essence of spirit in the city, we make room for an ever evolving field of spirituality.

The perennial values that all spiritual wisdoms share appear to contribute to the human hive as a Reflective Organ. Spiritual guides see Beauty, Goodness and Truth as core values that imbue spiritual life at all expressions of Self, Culture and Nature (DeKay, 2011, p. xxvii; McIntosh, 2007, p. 300; Wilber, 2007, p. 70).

Within an integral frame these values co-arise and their interior and exterior modes seem to cross-connect and rotate or even interchange as they stimulate multiple routes to the emergence of Grace, Place and Space. In tracing the cycle of spirituality in the human hive, we come to a final spirituality map that reveals Grace, Place and Space as outcomes from the dynamic interconnections of Beauty, Goodness and Truth. Perhaps it comes as no surprise that the integration of these core spiritual values is apprehended as the meta-value of Love in all the horizontal and vertical zones of the Integral City (as illustrated in Map 5)?

The Source Zone of city spirituality exists as the Absolute, ever-present non-dual infinite ground of spiritual abundance. Here the core value of Beauty may be accessed through the Interior Portal of Appreciation and enacted through the Exterior Practice of Expression. This results in the spiritual outcome of Grace.

The Field Zone of city spirituality arises through the subtle and causal memory patterns created by evolutionary spiritual practise. Here the core value of Goodness may be accessed through the Interior Portal of Stillness and enacted through the Exterior Practice of Service. This results in the spiritual outcome of Place.

At the Resource Zone of city spirituality emerges the relative manifest qualities of the evolutionary container of the human hive. Here the core value of Truth may be accessed through the Interior Portal of Learning and enacted through the Exterior Practice of Teaching and Construction. This results in the spiritual outcome of Space.

Integral City how do I not just capture your spirit – but embrace it?? Map 5 suggests Love is the spiritual pulse through which Gaia’s Reflective Organ makes:

Grace – In Taking Care of Yourself.
Place – In Taking Care of Each Other.
Space – In Taking Care of This City.


DeKay, M. (2011). Integral Sustainable Design: Transformative Perspectives. London, UK: Earthscan.
Esbjörn-Hargens, S., & Zimmerman, M. (2009). Integral Ecology: Uniting Multiple Perspectives on the Natural World. Boston: Shambhala Publications Inc.
Hamilton, M. (2011). Integral Spirituality in the Human Hive: A Primer Trialog. Retrieved from http://www.integralcity.com/wiki.html
Lovelock, J. (1972). Gaia As Seen Through the Atmosphere, Atmospheric Environment, (Vol. vol. 6, p. 579).
Lovelock, J. (2009). The Vanishing Face of Gaia. New York: Harmony Books.
McIntosh, S. (2007). Integral Consciousness and the Future of Evolution: How the Integral Worldview is Transforming Politics, Culture and Spirituality. St. Paul, Minnesota: Paragon House.
McTaggart, L. (2001). The Field: The Quest for the Secret Force of the Universe. New York: Harper Perennial.
McTaggart, L. (2011). The Bond: Connecting Through the Space Between Us. New York: Free Press.
Sheldrake, R. (1988). The Presence of the Past: Morphic Resonance and the Habits of Nature (1995 ed.). Rochester, Vermont: Park Street Press.
Wilber, K. (1995). Sex, Ecology and Spirituality: the spirit of evolution. Boston: Shambhala Publications Inc.
Wilber, K. (2001). Marriage of Sense and Soul. New York: Random House.
Wilber, K. (2006). Integral Spirituality. Boston: Shambhala Publications Inc.
Wilber, K. (2007). The Integral Vision. Boston: Shambhala Publications Inc.

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