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Bee Spiritual: Evolver – A New York City Spiritual and Cultural Event

Posted Sunday, May 31st, 2009 at 11:56 pm by kim in Cultural Bees. More in 10009

A few hours ago I emerged from the subway, weary but very much excited as I just returned from the Evolver Town Hall Meeting at St. Mark’s ChurchEvolver, as defined on their website, is a gathering of people who belong to the regenerative culture of the future, being born here and now.  How I’d translate that is a gathering of people emerging from the post-modern, new age culture seeking meaning and purpose beyond hedonism and the “I’m OK, you’re OK” mentality.   I did not see energy crystals, affirmation mirrors or pet rocks shaped like hearts at the Town Hall Meeting and thank God!  What I did encounter were bright, inquisitive individuals, interested in topics such as complimentary currency, permaculture and collective consciousness.  Both guests and speakers alike were genuinely interested in change and how we can make a positive difference individually and collectively.

At around 1:30 about a hundred or so of us gathered inside the clean and humble church on the corner of 10th and 2nd Ave.  Johnathan Philips, co-founder of the Evolver project briefly introduced the day.  The next speaker to help kick off the day was No Impact Man (a/k/a Colin Beaven).   He seemed like a nice guy, but I didn’t like his name.  No Impact Man.  I mean, I get what the name means, but why would anyone not want to have an impact?  What about names like Positive Impact Man or Radical Impact Man or Challenge to the Existing Way of Life Impact Man? Even his voice was soft and impact-less as he told stories of his extreme, environmentally friendly way of life.  For example, for an entire year, he used organic, cloth diapers for his baby, his family did not produce any trash and they did not use air conditioners.  Despite the meek delivery, his stories did inspire that human spark for creativity, and ways to make things better.  What I liked best about his talk was that even though he and his family had to make sacrifices, the changes they made not only were better for the planet, but better for themselves too.  His baby daughter got less rashes from the cloth diapers, and his family became much more social as they cooled down in Washington Square park as opposed to sitting inside an air conditioned home.

Throughout the day there were a total of twelve breakout sessions with four going on at any given time.  Out of those twelve, seven were about sustainability, taking back our land or the green movement…which is good, but definitely not new as it speaks to our more survivalist impulses.  Sustainability does not point us to a new, not yet fathomed future where our genius, creativity, innovation and technology can combine with nature to reign in a new, enhanced and environmentally friendly culture (See the Bright Green movement).

Time Interchange of New York

I attended the sessions on complimentary currency and collective consciousness.  These were great talks, not too laborious or drawn out.   The session on complimentary currency was very good — the panelists were three individuals who are making a real difference in their communities.  One of the panelists, Jordan Schachter spoke about his organization, Time Interchange of New York.  If you join this group, you can sign up for free services being offered by other members and can offer services your self.  Everything is on the list from babysitting, to handy work, to singing lessons to graphic design.   It is like a local bank of service hours.   Another panelist, Kristine Flones helps run a similar time bank in upstate New York.  Kind of cool to imagine life without money which (as another panelist, Douglass Rushkoff explained) is really a throwback to the middle ages when royalty decided to tax every exchange of goods and services by forcing people to use their money.

The  session on collective consciousness was equally interesting.  There was some chanting and loud breathing in the beginning, which was amusing and I think helped people to feel better if not light headed from all the breathing exercises.   I really appreciated Daniel Pinchbeck and Andrew Faust speak about increasing our perspective and our ability to selflessly give to important cultural and spiritual movements that are bigger and more important than ourselves.   Only by changing our values together can we create a better future for everyone and tackle some of the very complex and challenging issues that face us today.

I have to say though; the two highlights that day were the chance to meet two people who I have admired for a long time: Douglass Rushkoff and Daniel Pinchbeck.    I’ve seen videos of Rushkoff talking about media, messaging and capitalism and he is a fierce speaker.  He is clear, decisive, passionate and scary smart.  I have to admit I was a bit nervous shaking his hand, but he was so warm, approachable and friendly he put me at ease in an instant.  I bought his new book Life Inc. and although I may not agree that corporations are necessarily a bad thing, am looking forward to reading it.

It was also a treat to meet Daniel Pinchbeck.  He has presence, and is transmitting a depth that most human beings simply don’t. When he was speaking in the collective consciousness seminar, I loved his non-new agey requests to the audience for us to keep our questions brief and not to ramble.  He helped moderate the questionnaires and even fellow panelists that went on too long.  He has a sense for flow and timing and what will help make group discussions the most beneficial for all involved.  During the seminar, I asked him what is new about collective consciousness as opposed to merely cooperating together and he said that it is people acting for the benefit of something larger for themselves without traditional dominator hierarchies or egoic motives.   He was also very friendly and open to working together on projects and seminars in the future, which I am very psyched about.

Reality Sandwich

Overall, the day was beautiful.  I ran into a bunch of people I knew and reconected with old friends and connections.   The crowd at the Evolver Town Hall meeting is the edge of postmodern.  Still self absorbed, still hedonistic, but are allowing something new to percolate.  This culture is small in number here in New York City but we are a stable group…and judging from today’s Town Hall Meeting, we are only going to get stronger.

Keep checking the evolver site for new posts and updates.

 
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