A Dream for a Renaissance in Empathic Enlightenment

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This was written a week after the 2016 election following a dialogue held in my apartment reflecting on the election discussed in my apartment and originally published on Medium

Some context → I set up a small gathering at my apartment last Thursday to talk with people about what we were thinking in response to the outcome of this election. Friends who could not attend asked how the discussion went, so I will be using Medium to summarize the vision we’re imagining and the thoughts that were shared.

Our vision is to create open environments, spaces and conversations between all walks of life rooted in the principles of empathy and unity. This will evolve and take new forms. But the inspiration of this gathering was imagined images of a world where the hypothetical BLM activist and the hypothetical Trump supporter could occupy the same space inclusive of comfortable exchanges of words & perspectives with the shared principles of empathy and unity as the bedrock of said aspirational dynamic. The inspiration of this gathering and future gatherings can also be derived from the words of classmate of mine from college who published this piece the day after the election. His words gloomily acknowledged the reality of the erosion of the moral tenants of our exclusive society and the need for civic regeneration notwithstanding political needs. It is pieces like Sam’s that provide optimism that there is still a need for chewable, thought provoking idea positing in the face of the tweet & clickbait driven technology sphere we’re subconsciously whirled into. The truth is still valuable.

Reading between the lines, some of us are calling for an empathy enlightenment that can instrument the ancient and timeless values of decency into our complex modern world in need of unity.

The conversation on Thursday was small. It was only me and two other friends, all of us the same age, all of us in the same industry, all of us with similar educational backgrounds, all of us of different races (White, Asian, African American). We strive for improved diversity in age, social status, educational background, gender and race…..but this was a start. Here are some of the tidbits of our discussion. We were weighing massive ideas at times.

· Our conversation began with a transposition of history, wondering if the world as we know is ripe for a cultural upheaval and renaissance like the rising tensions of the sixties; this idea took an optimistic tone and we focused on the beauty and creativity of the art that could be created; and how no matter what, music could be the content form that could help us empathize and unite and weave into our collective heart beats.

· We talked about how enlightenment philosophers, who were white men, greatly influenced the concepts our forefathers used to craft the constitution. We talked about how religion’s organizing principles are often drivers of exclusivity. We sensed a lack of empathy as a principle that guides the institutions that control us. Mindfulness as a value is underrepresented as a principle of our republic. I am not a philosophy expert, so if anyone who is reading this is or knows someone who is, I would love to connect with you/them to learn more.

· We questioned if there was a common belief system we could all embrace. A code for humanity. Or a baseline guide to extract meaning which strips away everything other than the callings of our souls. A way to help everyone think for themselves and simultaneously harmonious for the greater good. We wondered if there was a way to interweave our idealist lofty concepts into a fabric that exists complimentary to all religions and democracies. Always rooted in unity and empathy. We want to transcend the political and reinvigorate our spiritual to make all the lives around us better.

· We discussed if there were writings outside of religious text which we could compare to our philosophies. We discussed the Four Agreements as an aspiration, an influence, a school of thought on decent ways to live universal to any reader, but interpretative and self-actualized for anyone.

· Were we being too radical? Too crazy? Too messianic? We’re dreamers. Were we offering up ideas that could substitute the function of religion? We realized that the creation of new ideas needs the surface area for constant questioning and challenge. Time is a flat circle. Once you have the answer, the next question appears. The universe has no end.

· Government is a one-fall-swoop solution process at times. And it scales. Our healing needs to come individually. Inside of each other, one another. A self-actualization of strength, balance and comfort in the present moment like the ideas offered by Thole.

Now a deep breath for the heavy-handedness of having to read through that.

*Takes deep breath*

I sincerely thank you for taking the time to read this.

The reality is that we’re contemplative and spiritual beings and there is beauty and hope in that this dark hour can at least inspire pockets of deep self-reflection.

This is the beginning of a new movement. An empathy based unity project to scale the ideals of mindfulness in the name of community building and massive diversity. It is still being greatly defined. It is shared by all of us. We are writing our story together as it’s happening.

If anything inspired you here or you have any ideas or know people on a similar wavelength, reach out to me. If anything angered you, frustrated you, rubbed you the wrong way, please reach out to me too.

We plan on meeting again next week, continuing our conversations, involving mindfulness and philosophy guru’s into the mix and taking it from there.