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15 No Hope No Fear

Margaret J. Wheatley Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

 

Many years ago, I was introduced to a phrase that both intrigued and confused me. It is a familiar phrase in Buddhist texts: “the place beyond hope and fear,” a state of awareness that frees us from suffering.

In today’s global culture, where we’re incessantly told to strive for achievement and success, to be positive and hopeful, why would we ever want to give up hope? It seems incomprehensible that this would be a good thing. After all, Dante defined Hell by writing, “Abandon all hope, ye who enter herein.”

Nowadays, we live and breathe hope. It doesn’t matter what religion you were raised in, hope plays a central role, often being the very essence of the faith—hope for heaven, for redemption, for peace, for a good life, for something better than what we have now. The prophets in the Old Testament warned, “Without vision, the people perish.” And of course they’re right. People who lose hope lose their life energy and die, at least spiritually and emotionally. So why would we ever want to give up hope?

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The Best in Art and Life

Margaret J. Wheatley Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub
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4. The Participative Nature of the Universe

Margaret J. Wheatley Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

Penetrating so many secrets,
we cease to believe in the unknowable.
But there it sits nevertheless
calmly licking its chops.

—H. L. Mencken

 

Schroedinger’s cat is a classic thought problem in quantum physics. Physicist Erwin Schroedinger constructed the problem in 1935 to illustrate that in the quantum world nothing is real. We cannot know what is happening to something if we are not looking at it, and, stranger yet, nothing does happen to it until we observe it. Central to the quantum world, Zohar wrote, is the idea that “unobserved quantum phenomena are radically different from observed ones” (1990, 41).

The problem of the cat has not yet been resolved, but here is the thought experiment. A live cat is placed in a box. The box has solid walls, so no one outside the box can see into it. This is a crucial factor, since the thought experiment explores the role of the observer in evoking reality. Inside the box, a device will trigger the release of either poison or food; the probability of either occurrence is 50/50. Time passes. The trigger goes off, unobserved. The cat meets its fate.

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Turning to one another

Margaret J. Wheatley Berrett-Koehler Publishers PDF
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Notes

Margaret J. Wheatley Berrett-Koehler Publishers PDF

23

In the summer of 1990 – Ibid., 309.

24

Bacterial colonies successfully – Lipkin, “Bacterial Chatter,” 137.

29

“Life has been”…Today in Norway – Margulis and Sagan, Microcosmos, 72-73.

30

We know one form – Swimme and Berry, The Universe Story, 24-25.

31

theoretical biologist Stuart Kauffman – see Levy, “God’s Heart,” Artificial Life;

Kauffman, At Home in the Universe.

31

“order for free” – Kauffman, At Home in the Universe, chap. 4.

32

“I like to think” – As quoted in Young, 69.

34

Margulis and Sagan note – Margulis and Sagan, Microcosmos, 17.

34

It explains why bacteria – Wiener, The Beak of the Finch, 257-259.

34

“communicating and cooperating”– Margulis and Sagan, Microcosmos, 17.

35

“Symbiosis, the merging of organisms” – Ibid., 18.

35

Ten percent of our dry – Ibid., 19.

35

“hectic, eclectic, tumultuous“ – Weiner, The Beak of the Finch, 258.

42

Even Darwin believed – As quoted in Weiner, The Beak of the Finch, 143.

43

Recently, researchers – Ibid., entire book.

43

Brutal species – Margulis and Sagan, Microcosmos, 248.

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