From Alienation to Aliveness

Part 1: Reinventing Human Connection in Three Realms of Human Existence

In his essay “From Alienation to Aliveness: Nurturing Human Connection,” Argonauts Founder Stefan Beiten explores his journey of shifting mindsets, spaces, and languages in pursuit of a new way of thinking that promotes unity and celebrates life.

In this era of escalating alienation, I find myself at a pivotal juncture, reflecting how our societies have evolved from the “VUCA” environment of the past decades to the current “BANI” landscape: Volatility, which I was still in the process of adapting to, has now shifted to a brittle and unpredictable state. The uncertainty that was a constant has morphed into pervasive anxiety. Complexities in the world no longer adhere to a straightforward path but instead move in unpredictable, non-linear ways. And the ambiguities that used to cloud understanding have become incomprehensible. It has become increasingly evident to me that the existing thought system guiding our societies has found itself inadequate when facing these remarkable challenges. As I navigate the convoluted landscape of human interactions amidst all the turbulence, I’ve observed a profound transformation in the dynamic interplay of mindset, space, and language in my own life.

It’s a personal journey that has led me to see the need for a new thinking-model. A being-model rather than one of thinking, one that creates unity and celebrates life itself. It’s about offering a fresh perspective on the essence of “religion” in its original Latin meaning of the word – to find oneself or simply put: “awareness”. In this context, one primary guiding question has evolved as my North Star: “What makes me feel truly alive?”

The conventional Cartesian thinking model of the world, particularly in its utilitarian form prevalent in Anglo-American thought, has fallen short delivering a sustainable response. I believe it is high time to issue a call for a worldview embracing “aliveness” that transcends the confines of religions and ideologies—a philosophy that embraces the fullness of life beyond traditional structures. One that allows us to embrace unpredictable non-linearity as the norm rather than the exception.

Part 1

Reinventing human connection in three realms of human existence: Harmonizing three mindsets, three spaces, three languages.

In light of this shift, an idea for a hypothesis came to my mind: “From mind-set to soul-set to spirit-set within a culture of awareness”.

Let’s explore the foundational structure of this concept:

 

1. The Transactional Mindset (Mindset)

This is the mindset I once primarily embraced—a mindset of transaction, characterized by the traditional mechanistic worldview, making cognitive intelligence and knowledge, my IQ, the only relevant imperative. It focused me on activities of the outer world such as hunting, gathering, building, and administrating, prioritizing a utilitarian and individualistic approach:

A mindset that constitutes a superficial, ego-driven “what’s in it for me” view on life.

 

2. The Transformational Mindset (Soulset)

Over time, I found myself gravitating to a different mindset—the transformational mindset. It centers on the inner world with continuous self-reflective inquiry within a collective context, embracing EQ, my emotional or empathetic intelligence. It has encouraged me to explore the depths of my cognitive and emotional landscapes, nurturing a sense of curiosity and collaboration:

A “let’s create together” mentality with a collective view on life.

 

3. The Transpersonal Mindset (Spiritset)

As my journey continued, I discovered the transcendent nature of the transpersonal mindset. It transcends personal identity to nurture a profound connection with something greater, creating interconnectedness and CQ, the collective wisdom, making IQ and EQ merge into CQ. It cultivates a sense of unity and collective well-being: An “us” state of being with a holistic view on life.

When these three mind/soul/spirit-sets are brought together in a coherent and consistent way, it would be fair to call this evolution a being-set: We evolve from a human doing to the human being. Or better: “I realign with my true self: religio”.

Yet, a new mindset does to appear out of nowhere. This would be too simplistic. To fully embrace the transformational and transpersonal mindsets, I found that I needed to understand and experience not only these two additonal mindsets, but two different spaces in addition to my standard model to be essential to hold and integrate these insights. These spaces facilitated novel experiences and language skills, enabling me to engage with the world in a more profound and meaningful way. How to intertwine and integrate them in my normal life, though, remained a mystery.

 

Let’s look at all three:

 

1. The transactional Space: “The Mechanistic Model of the World”

This space I was once entrenched in accommodates activities aligned with transactional thinking and knowledge above all. It holds the narrative I was born into and is the manifestation of my mechanistic, understanding of the world, living and expanding on the narrative I was born into: It is the knowledge-based What and How of life, one project after another.

 

2. The Transformational Space: “The Campfire-in-the-Cave Conversation and Connection”

The transformational space served as a platform, and more, a sanctuary for my continuous, challenging and often exhausting self-reflective inquiry within a collective of like-minded peers. It has encouraged deep and meaningful conversations supporting emotional and cognitive growth in how I interpret my worlds: Finding my own narrative through the principle of dialogue:

It’s the space for the Why of life and wisdom to develop, one courageous conversation that truly matters at a time.

 

3. The Transpersonal Space: “The Manifestation-of-the-Soul Experience”

As my journey progressed, I ventured into the transpersonal space. The one that in Greek means soul manifestation or psychedelic. It offered experiences that transcended personal identity, anchoring a profound connection with something greater than myself, all without the need for religious contexts.

It is the space that nurtures a shift in perspective, one experience at a time.

In essence, these shifts in mindset and the associated neurological responses served as a profound journey of self-discovery. They reshaped the very fabric of my being, influencing not only how I perceive the world but also how I engage with it. These transformations have prompted a deeper understanding of the intricate relationship between mindset, spaces, and the complex interplay of psychology and neurobiology, ultimately shaping my path towards greater self-awareness and harmonious existence. Furthermore, the transformation manifested itself in the evolution of my inner dialogue, with a distinct inner language emerging at each level. These languages were shaped by the evolving mindsets and spaces I embraced, illustrating the dynamic interconnectedness between mindset, space, and language:

 

1. The Transactional Language: “I am right, what is in it for me”

This language of cognitive intelligence, which I once spoke fluently, was driven by dopamine and testosterone, emphasizing seeking solutions, of self-interest, judgements, competition and a need to be right.

I am coming from a state of deficiency.

 

2. The Transformational Language: “I am curious, lets create together”

As I embraced the transformational mindset, this new language, enriched by serotonin and oxytocin, was promoting curiosity, collaboration and trust, opening the heart. The language of empathy, vulnerability, intimacy, and emotional associations-the diametrical opposite of the IQ based transactional language.

I am and we are in a state of growth.

 

3. The Transpersonal Language: “I transcend, a shift to a unity of Us”

In the transpersonal mindset, I discovered yet another different language—one of unity and interconnectedness, nurturing all my reward neuroreceptors and my heart.

I am and we are in a state of flow.

 

So here we are – three realms that in a harmonious and balanced combination hold the essence of what human life can be: Transactional, transformational and transpersonal. All three needed to feel fully alive.

And then, as is often the case in life, I noticed the obvious. These mindsets, spaces and languages, which I had come to see as novel in my own experience, are anything but new. The dynamic shift from a state of scarcity to a state of abundance and back has been central to human development across all times and cultures. This process and its knowledge have simply been obscured over time in my world, as a consequence of the Western societal narrative of the mechanistic worldview that I had exclusively subscribed to.

In part two of this essay, we will look at the antidote in the era of alienation: Awareness, Responsibility, and Empathy.

About the author

Stefan Beiten

Stefan Beiten is Initiator and CEO of The Argonauts. His essence is to inspire the human spirit in innovators, entrepreneurs and leaders worldwide. He supports change makers and paradigm shifters to empower others and be empowered by finding their own meaning outside of the story we are all born into.

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