Proposal Abstract | beal institute papers and essays

The following paragraph is an abstract proposal for Bob Logan's initiative to publish a compilation of Beal Institute members' papers and essays.

This Fall Corporate Knights released their ‘Urbanization Issue’. During a visit with the magazine’s publisher Karen Kun, I was able to hear her summary of the zine. Evidently her take on it is also her predominant concern and motivation for compiling articles about sustainability, ranking Canada’s top five sustainable cities, as well as it is the guiding question for her latest passion project Waterlution. “What does corporate responsibility look like in developing countries and in countries who are experiencing extreme transition?” Admittedly the question seemed too loaded during our limited time as we sat there, sipping linden flower tea, that I didn’t make any attempt to answer it. However as I read through the issue, alongside continuing my research around spiritual media, the question keeps finding a way to resound in my mind’s ears. The answer to Kun’s question could in fact be spiritual capital – arguably a more sustainable version of the now broadly advantaged social capital. With the issue of revenue aside, there are a surprising number of signals to indicate a North American realization of sustainability and its intrinsic ethical imagination as an ideal business model for the 21st century. From the likes of Ron Denbo’s Zero Footprint, to every gas and oil company’s fresh new advertising campaign, to Kyoto’s carbon credit strategy, we have no choice but to throw away with the cease and desist attitude that entwines our daily consumption rates and environmental consciousness – though we have yet to see any truly successful innovation in this infantile industry. Can nations like Iraq, Sudan, Pakistan, Indonesia and India be pardoned by our collective imagination power towards global sustainability? What kind of impact does a nation’s ratio of spiritual capital to its level of corporate responsibility have on the global environment and holistic sustainability? Fellow Beal member Isabelle Rousset’s statement “There is no such thing as an environmental disaster, only human disaster” is worth bringing into context here. It seems Kun is on the same page, insinuating that the sustenance of our humanity is also at the risk of human disaster. She quotes Chris Wright in her publisher’s note: “Our humanity depends on our ability to bring together any number of apparently unrelated facts and make a human decision about their significance.” Granted that there is truth in both of these statements, I propose a case study: to apply the perspective of spiritual media to a nation that proves to have a latent desire for stability in the realms of spirituality, technology and corporate ethics.

Here I include sections from 'An Introduction to Spiritual Media' (A. Spencer, 2007) to help provide an immediate foundation for this way of thinking:

'Given the current undeniable signals of spiritual media, there is no doubt that a powerful relationship between spirituality and strategic foresight methods is existential to human behaviour. If we can imagine the affects of a collective consciousness integrated with personal value systems, then we can envision how innovation is possible through new economic models and technological developments relevant to the shape of our enabled future. The secondary purpose of this project is to identify opportunities in which we may innovate around these spiritual themes and maximize the role of one’s spiritual belief system in their lives through the alignment of possibility, capability and desirability.'

'Crucial to beginning this exploration is defining what spirituality is, and what it means to media technology today, taking into consideration the majority view as well as drawing on the research of key contemporary scholars in this field, such as Genevieve Bell (director of Intel’s User Experience Group), Roy Ascott (founder and president of The Planetary Collegium and professor in Technoetic Arts), Jeremy Rifkin and Deepak Chophra. As a starting point for these purposes, spirituality in this context of research should not to be confused with the concept of following a doctrine or religion. Contemporary spiritualist thought values and embraces a multi-media approach to transcending the self. Deciding what constitutes spiritual media is a matter of discovering the points where human spirituality and media technology intersect. This can be defined on a number of levels, and at many discreet moments in time, by looking at phenomenal and fundamental evolutions in areas such human computer interface design and online social networking as well as behaviours compliant with varying states of consciousness or states of mind, in relation to a particular medium.'


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