In ritual contexts during a fieldwork period with the Huichols in Mexico, I experienced repeated breakthroughs into a dimension of consciousness beyond our ordinary, everyday reality. In this dimension, all ethnic, cultural and paradigmatic differences were suspended. These were experiences of oneness that felt completely different from everything I had read up to that point. But the reverse was true also: only on the basis of these experiences was I able to understand the deeper dimensions of the literature.
During this time I realized that scientific theory and subjective experience are two completely different things and yet can constitute a unity. I came to understand that – in particular in the inner sciences – consciousness research, psychology, therapy, comparative religion and theology – but also in the humanities and cultural and social sciences, the subjective access must not under any circumstances be excluded. Where objective research and subjective experience are not brought into a direct relationship with each other, pigeonholing and all-too-exact concepts arise that prevent unbiased access and instead lead to clichés and prejudices. Potential creativity and inner orientation are blocked!
Our western civilization is chock-full of concepts that are simply imposed on reality as needed, like a convenience product. This is why we in the west are packed solid with knowledge and yet are intellectually extremely brittle and inflexible. In particular, the modern world with its information overload and abundance of contradictory theories is in need of fluid, non-dogmatic knowledge management.
Since my dissertation on the Huichols’ vision of life and the cosmos, I find myself in the camp of those maintaining that we need a new way of dealing with knowledge and a whole new way of transmitting it. We need a new type of learning. A kind of learning that places us in a living relationship with the material of which theories, concepts, models and maps are made. We need new criteria in scientific methodology and general didactics.
Through my work, I would like to show how this can be practicable and what it all has to do with self-realization. Indeed, I would like to show that the “new learning experience,” no matter in what area, even leads to self-realization.
I no longer have to be a priest, scholar, yogi or shaman to be able to follow the spiritual path to its profoundest depths. Through the right type of learning I can attain enlightenment in any profession. I can find my way to essence from any point in the world, no matter what the circumstances.
“The merciless evaluation of individual achievements will make way for the appreciation of the human being as a whole.”
Foundation Work >