I finally grasped the wisdom of a mentor’s words:
“By nature, we are conversational beings. Conversation relies on the existence of a community, which, in turn, implies a shared consciousness among its members. Our sentience provides us with the capacity for both creativity and destructiveness, whether manifested through discourse or social actions.”
Yet, this process requires a unique space and method—one that our society mostly fails to provide. Without a professionally curated access to the transformational space I could not engage in my “missing conversations” that had occupied my inner world. Authentic dialogue represents a collective commitment to engage in conversation where individuals temporarily suspend their personal opinions and ideologies. This shared journey creates a unique social space, a realm of “betweenness,” where people come together in a spirit of exploration to uncover fresh meanings and gain deeper understanding.
In this context, I recognize our species’ profound responsibility for shaping its own future. This recognition carries the imperative of nurturing genuine dialogue as a means to fulfill our obligations in the global society and for the well-being of our collective future. We are duty-bound to cultivate the conditions necessary for such dialogues to flourish, enabling us to comprehend one another deeply. This leads to the need to develop spaces where individuals and collectives can elevate their consciousness through conversation. Elevating consciousness in this context, I found, simply means to reach higher levels of sophistication how to interpret the world, both cognitively and emotionally. It is the antidote for the accelerating destruction of our mental agency by social media and artificial intelligence.
The realization of this vision hinges on our capacity to engage in transformative dialogues, conversing in and synchronizing the different languages of all three realms, enabling each individual to empathetically stand in the shoes of others. This transformative process is at the heart of our collective journey towards a more conscious and interconnected existence. It is the journey that will allow us to transcend beyond the simplistic promises of the transactional world. Instead, we will learn to “saying yes to life both shadow and light, my suffering is done and I come alive” as the young Swedish singer Fia coined it brilliantly in her song “Shedding Skins”.
Without such a dedicated space, process, plus supportive peers, I noticed that I constantly risk engaging in unhelpful conversations with my unexamined inner self. This internal dialogue can become a chaotic cacophony, distorting my perception of reality and causing me to confuse feelings with facts. As a result, the inner child, trapped within a grown man’s body, takes control, manifesting a deficiency-driven victim mentality based on fear. The immediate consequence is that I perceive life as happening to me rather than for me.
Moreover, I found myself increasingly wrestling with imposter syndrome. I learned that I, like many mission-driven entrepreneurs, was a prime example of the challenge of living a divided life and thereby being out-of-integrity with myself. It became evident how often my “expert-achiever” mindset and language unintentionally still lead me into a pattern of making unconscious judgments as a standard copying mechanism while continuing to seek immediate gratification. Consequently, I favored the release of dopamine and testosterone over the embrace of serotonin and oxytocin, or unconsciously opting for a state of deficiency over one of growth. It’s important to acknowledge that transitioning from the standard transactional to the transformational to the transpersonal state and back carries risks. These states lack institutional frameworks and corresponding best practices, and they are not inherently ingrained in the structures of our economies and societies. The risk of entirely losing oneself in one state, or at the very least, losing focus and jeopardizing one’s achievements in the transactional world, could have significant personal and economic consequences in a society that places a strong emphasis on individual achievement.
I learned this lesson the hard way. The existing economic system relies on measurable growth tied to the ego and self-interest. However, as my identification shifted away from this self-centered perspective, traditional economic principles were quickly put into question. Deeper transformational and transpersonal experiences helped shift the focus from resource control to collective well-being, offering a new perspective on economic dynamics. These experiences revealed the illusion of the story of separation between the inner and outer world. Yet, the emergence of a new narrative has not yet found its place in our modern world, hence not yet in mine. This presents a challenge as the connection with others and business in general who are still rooted in the transactional realm, only, begins to fade. For an alignment of this journey within our societal system, I believe, it must commence with the systematic and professionally crafted incorporation of the transformational space, forming the bedrock for the vertical expansion of the transactional mindset.
Eventually incorporating both the transformational and transpersonal spaces harmoniously would create the potential for an exponential expansion in our internal capacities to navigate the external escalating complexities we face. We gain conversational fluency, the coherent harmony of our inner and outer realities in all three realms. This means a vertical development of collective mindsets, in contrast to the mere horizontal development of individual skillsets. It means a collective elevation of consciousness. Therefore, depending exclusively on the transpersonal space, as championed by the advocates of the new psychedelic movement, will not suffice to bridge the gap and to provide a coherent solution that seamlessly integrates into the framework of our contemporary society. What I believe is needed is a comprehensive yet non-dogmatic but evidence-based „toolbox“ for all levels of our humanness. And it is to be based on the overarching framework of a philosophy of aliveness that can be integrated into our existing social structures and processes. The transpersonal space has existed as the domain of the mysteries, shrouded in secrecy for thousands of years, and for good reason. In ancient Greece, the Eleusinian rites remained enigmatic ceremonies for over 2,000 years, never to be breached by private intrusion under the threat of death. These rites continued until they were brought to an end in the late 4th century AD with the onset of the Christianization of the world, which prohibited these practices in the new quest for spiritual dominance in the Roman empire. Access to the mysteries, meaning access to both the transformational and the transpersonal space, was taken away from people and became monopolized by a single religious institution that was intertwined with the state. This monumental paradigm shift resulted in the gradual disappearance of the ancient wisdom, when the Apollonian imperative of “know thyself” or self-awareness was last considered the highest aspiration of humanity.
In any case, I firmly believe that bringing back this wisdom and making it publicly available needs to be approached with the utmost care and a scientifically rigorous methodology of best practises. It is not a domain suitable for impulsive, quick-fix approaches advocated by new age gurus or driven by the temptation of rapid financial gains through IPOs. There will never exist a magical pill that provides instant salvation, regardless of its allure. Life is not meant this way.
The transpersonal space establishes profound anchors deep within the inner and spiritual world, and these anchors must be aligned with and processed via the transformational space, which, in turn, corresponds to and correlates with our transactional world. It is akin to a symphonic concert structured in acts or movements rather than a series of separate parties.
Without a holistic approach, crucial neurotransmitters in the brain and our psychological well-being would remain undersupplied, and our brain’s neuroplasticity would fail to reach its full potential as intended by nature. As a result, we will consistently revert to the default transactional state of our modus vivendi, both at the individual and societal levels, misinterpreting transpersonal experiences as mere hedonistic diversions and keeping our brain potential in a deficiency state of being.
This repetition invariably results in the familiar spectrum of adverse outcomes, spanning from burnout, depression and addiction to the deterioration of our interpersonal bonds and ultimately our ecological system. It echoes the exploitative ideals of the “Master and Possessor of Nature” embedded in René Descartes’ “I think therefore I am” imperative that have influenced our thinking since the 17th century. On the positive side, there are ample signs that lead to believe society has entered into a second phase of the Enlightenment project. While the first phase was defined by humanity’s mastery of its cognitive intelligence faculties and the departure from superstition, this new phase represents a revival of the emotional and spiritual dimensions of human existence, and independent from incorporating those within religious frameworks.
In my personal journey, I’ve come to the realization: for genuine transformation to take root and merge Erichs Fromms’ approach of “having” and “being” to “being fully alive”, a coordinated triple leap that embraces all three spaces, mindsets and languages, is not just desirable, but essential. It is a challenge to be undertaken with great humility and respect for these mysteries. In harmonizing the transactional, transformational and the transpersonal with one another as each one is a pillar of human existence holding the same roof, we can become conversationally fluent in all three realms. It is a philosophy of aliveness put into action. When faced with brittleness, we build capacity and resilience. In the presence of anxiety, accepting responsibilty and nurturing empathy becomes essential. Confronted with non-linearity, we will embrace context and adaptivity.
And when encountering the incomprehensible, we can rely on transparency and intuition. This holistic approach is the key to creating a new, integrated or integral “operating system” for human connection and interaction.
This framework constitutes a collective elevation of consciousness encompassing the “mind-, soul- and spiritset”, that benefits not only individuals like myself but would impact society as a whole. It is the path to achieving a genuinely sustainable way of life.
This approach would have the potential to evolve into a societal framework crafted to navigate the intricate challenges of our era, prioritizing sustainability with nature while nurturing humaneness, collaboration, and a deep sense of interconnectedness. Growing from a deficiency state to abundance being with awareness, responsibility and empathy.
Embodying a Culture of Aliveness.