Oneness – the Holy Grail for governing the Anthropocene?

Oneness – the Holy Grail for governing the Anthropocene?

European School of Governance, position paper #141  by Dr. Björn Pospiech

On the search for another aspect, another idea and concept that should be included in all projects, research activities, workshops, events, keynotes etc. of the European School of Governance (EUSG), I found the concept of Oneness. It feeds into the need for us humans to find ways to successfully govern the Anthropocene – but not only that. It would also serve as a common foundation on which the activities of the EUSG can be understood. This text was developed with the influence of Doris and Julia, who both discussed and a lot with me. Let me explain my understanding of this idea and how Oneness could be an essential factor for Anthropocene thinking and thus for the EUSG. 

In the area of the Anthropocene, we as humans have a special responsibility for the earth with its biological, geological and atmospheric unity. It is us, who have the possibility and responsibility to design the world into a place worth living on. If we are successful, we create a future in which we live in harmony with everything that exists on our earth: humans, animals, plants, biosphere, geology, atmosphere, oceans, climate and so on.  

Julia explains in her article on the three crises of humankind that we lost our connection to the earth (nature and animals) in the Neolithic Revolution; we lost the connection to each other in the Industrial Revolution and now we are about to lose ourselves and our higher self. She states that we need to regain these connections (to oneself, to the earth and to our higher self).  In this article, we will explain the same basic idea starting with everyone’s own personal development, which a human need to experience. This article will explain the human Oneness-development on five levels and thus describe a journey from the inside to the outside, to the living earth, to the non-living earth, to the beyond and to the higher self. 

The Oneness concept

Oneness is when one feels or is in a state of unity and lives in balance. It acts on five different levels of one’s consciousness.  

  1. On an individual level, Oneness means trying to be one in a mental (brain) and physical (body) sense – or in other words – forming a unity of mind, soul and body. On this level we can feel Oneness by being connected to our body and heart, feeling the connection to us as a whole person and by trying to embody whatever we do, say and feel. Having a sense of consciousness towards ourselves, feeling ourselves.
  2. The next level of Oneness is to be socially integrated among other people and in society. Trying to be conscious of ourselves and of other people. Feeling the connection to other people. Opening our hearts, putting humanity up on a pedestal. 
  3. The third level of Oneness is the level of integration and coexistence of all humans with the living earth. Here it means to respect all living beings on this earth, independent whether it’s an animal, a plant or something we can’t describe using our scientific point of view.  
  4. On the fourth level we talk about the Oneness with the non-living earth and everything on it, for example with its geological and atmospheric structures or with its biosphere and living beings.  
  5. Finally, and this is definitely spacy for some of us and commonly found in the spiritual world: Oneness among humans, earth, the universe and everything beyond. In this case, we understand a unity not only of all tangible things, but also of the non-explored and the transcendental. Spirituality in this sense means to think beyond any limitations, to strive for transcendence and a greater purpose in life. The circle is completed by finding our higher self and thus returning to our very own self, just in another state of consciousness. 

Let’s explain this more in detail.  

Our human body and mind have such a strong connection that a disruption in one of these systems always has an impact on the other one. The connection is so strong, that we can even change one system by manipulating the other. For example, if our body language is negative and less confident, our level of self-confidence will lower, and we might start a negative spiral. Of course, this works in both directions. If we are sad for any reason (e.g. our beloved pet dies), our face and body muscles react immediately, and we begin to radiate sadness. But we are also able to imitate this. Just imagine you were to take a confident stance (like Superman/Superwoman) or you smile happily in the mirror. Your mood will directly become more confident or happy. 

It is not only about trying to establish Oneness in the body-mind connection. With the proper setting, we can become one with our own spectrum of personalities, emotions, parts of our mind, we can become one as a whole being. It starts with generating a sense of unity between different or even contradictory parts within us. While establishing these senses, we must accept them, as they are. We have to learn to live in the moment, while accepting the past and looking confidently into the future. Once we manage to grow this consciousness for Oneness and coexistence within us, we are no longer fighting, and we begin to live in peace instead: we have a great power of change with regard to ourselves. We can start to create our very own way of life and can thus gain a deep level of satisfaction. We gain Oneness on a very individual level (body and mind).

By reaching such a state of satisfaction for our own being, we start to strive for more. If we are not already practicing some consciousness developing art, such as forms of movement arts (e.g. Yoga, martial arts or dancing), meditation, bodywork or other methods, we probably will start doing so. This means we develop inner practices that evolve to our self-conception and in due course determine how we interact with our surroundings. We start to gain respect for other human beings. By treating ourselves with respect, we start to gain Oneness with other human beings. 

If we love ourselves and if we treat ourselves with respect, there is no reason for feelings like hate or disrespect; differences or war make no sense. Why should one have such feelings or act violently towards others if you love yourself and allow others to have such feelings, too? Later this evolves further, and we start allowing those feelings and thoughts also for all living beings on this earth, may it be animals, plants or anything else. This means by being mindful of ourselves, we become mindful of other beings (humans, animals, plants). By treating our own resources with respect, we can become respectful towards other beings. By adopting an attitude of our own limitless, we allow others to be without limits, too.

Why not empower everyone, every being, to gain such a positive and uniting attitude in his or her life? Let’s phrase it this way: Once one has reached Oneness, he or she starts to feel Oneness with all beings, and we start to become one tribe. As one tribe, we start to respect other living beings, as they live on the same planet, share the same air and nature and live the same natural circle of life and death. Once we experience Oneness, respecting others and our planet won’t feel like expending effort or giving up on something. Instead, it will feel natural. We gain Oneness with the living earth.

The Dalai Lama said, “It is our collective and individual responsibility to preserve and tend to the environment in which we all live.” If there is no place to live on this earth, there will be no life on earth. If we overexploit parts of our earth, it will harm the living earth. There is a natural harmony in between everything that exists on this earth. If everything that lives depends on each other, why shouldn’t there be an impact if we change the environment?

The Asian philosophy of Yin and Yang states, that there is black and white. Within every white is black and within every black, there is white. But black and white are symbolized as drops that flow. Furthermore, they flow in a circle, they are mutually dependent on each other. Speeding up this flow means, that from black and white, grey emerges. Transferred to life, this philosophy means, that one has to know black, one has to know white, but to live a mindful life, one has to find his or her own happy medium. We have to live a balanced life between black and white. Life might be better, if we take what we need from nature and the environment, but this leads to a one-sided imbalance. Following these ideas, we have to take responsibility for the earth with its geosphere, atmosphere, oceans etc. We have to gain Oneness with the non-living earth and respect it as our own self, if we want to live on it. 

We are scientists, we are philosophers, we are thinkers, we probably believe in The Big Bang Theory, where everything comes from the same void. But also, like most religions, we might believe in a single source for everything that exists or has existed (name it God, Allah, Jahwe, universal energy or anything else). This means, that we are all children of the same source, the same stardust, the same energy or the same emptiness between all the small particles. Following this idea, we all have the same origin, are connected to each other and everything that exists. Throughout the millions or billions of years since it all started – by accident or by destiny – everything has evolved to bring us to this moment – you are reading this article and probably thinking about how it applies to you. And it does not matter how you reached this moment. Just accept it. All of your decisions, all of your actions led you to this moment. And it is a good one, it is the only thing that could have happened to you. We gain Oneness beyond every life, beyond all that exists. We will eventually realize that time doesn’t exist, that the only moment that really matters is the current moment, while the current time does not exist. This is when we realize that there might be a bigger plan that we are part of. Everything that happens matters, so why complain? Let things just happen and trust. It has needed probably millions and billions of years to come to this point and everything is good. 

With this knowledge, you must accept, that everything has its ‘raison d’être’. Everything is meant to be. By accepting this, the only conclusion would be to agree to the exceptional position humans have to create a world worth living, to create a world where humans have the responsibility to influence the earth in a meaningful direction. We must make sure that the negative impact we’ve created over the past centuries will cause a positive outcome. To name only some:

  • Plastic pollution in nature
  • Carbon dioxide in the air
  • Melting ice of the arctic regions
  • Loss of biodiversity
  • Destruction of the forests

If we want to live with dignity on this planet, we must be in solidarity and treat the available resources with respect. Let’s create wild ideas, implement them experimentally, learn and finally find working solutions to create a better tomorrow. Let’s become One!