The Insight of Interbeing by Thich Nhat Hanh

(Bill Ames) #3

This post made me curious so I did some research.


Right now humanity is not part of the universe as we are not dependent on it in any known way. I believe that will soon change.

(denise wheeler) #4

What I got from this is that myth and stories are an important element of life.

It’s what binds us to our families, our communities, and our past. And, in many ways, carries us into the future as well.

The Native Americas did it beautifully, had their own unique creation myths, all those stories that explained how their tribes came to be in the world and their reverence for ancient wisdom and nature.

I can’t express it in the deep way that @Eleprocon did, but I think it is from these myths that the seeds from all learning grows.

Otherwise, what is the point of story if not to preserve what has passed and provide a wind into the future? Monuments come and go, but it is only through story that our legacies continue.

(denise wheeler) #5

I don’t think you can be a parent and not believe that we are all a verb in each other’s lives and continue “to be” in all facets of life.

Einstein spoke of it in terms of the universe, knowing that everything derives from that, every atom and molecule and plume of energy the basis of everything.

So humanistically, of course. We are born, we populate, fertilize each other, and gather strength from each other, as much as we each do from each ray of the sun, and nature as well.

As my grandmother always said, “We are all born beneath the same sun. Some just choose to not accept that.”

(denise wheeler) #6

So interesting you say that, but why? Were you not sitting there breathing as you typed that? Is there no air or light in your home? Is there no tree or flower growing nearby? We are all part of the universe, because everything in us and around us is made up of it, and couldn’t be sitting here typing these things if we weren’t dependent on it.

(Bill Ames) #7

We are part of this solar system but not the rest of the universe. This is our home and we live here and depend on nothing from the places outside of this home. That will shortly change.

(denise wheeler) #8

Technically we are at the center of the universe, at least as far as we can observe. But how do you think that will soon change?

(Bill Ames) #9

Because events we all are experiencing need something to distract us. So many things are being judged as important, but they are not. If we experience something from outside these local events it will allow us to shift our focus. I am always reading the science news daily, so many things are happening. Mostly small things, but new things. Those that follow political news, what new things are they learning? I wonder. Most people believe they understand politics and do not really care about science. Perhaps it is time they had something new to think about? It will just be something along the path we now travel, not really unexpected, there is always something new.

(Mark's Myth) #10

Going deeper into the ideas interbeing and systems thinking with Daniel Wahl…

(Mark's Myth) #11

Another from Daniel exploring interbeing…

(denise wheeler) #12

I suppose it comes down to how you choose to look at things. I personally tend to be much more positive and hopeful, especially about mankind. But science and politics have always been intrinsically linked and always will be. It’s where the majority of scientific funding comes from and all the uses of science driven by it. There’s a reason NASA is located across from the White House and why most presidents, until recently, always had a scientific advisor. So not sure what kind of science books you read, but I know plenty of top scientists in the country and they all spend quite a bit of time talking about the political impact of things – global warming, medicine regulation, research funding, and on and on. Science has been linked to the politics of society since the start of time. Why else was Einstein driven out of Nazi Germany and Newton stomped on by the King?

(Bill Ames) #13

Look here, very little, if any, politics and all the latest science::

(denise wheeler) #14

I surrender. I just gave you a ton of examples of how and why politics and science are always linked. But that’s okay. Adhere to what you want, but always being so closed to things is what prevents anything from moving forward.

(Bill Ames) #15

If your point that politics is involved with science is a fact we would see in all the science formulas, experiments, data, physical laws of the universe, physical constants, a parameter related to politics. Such a parameter does not exist. Science is just the documentation of the universe, and there is no annotation as to the purpose of the universe.

(denise wheeler) #16

I don’t want to argue with you. You’re bent on believing what you will, which is fine. It just doesn’t make for an interesting or worthy discussion, since you’re so opposed to anything other than your own opinion. So have a wonderful day and just leave it at that.

(Justin Brown) #17

It’s interesting that this reading material on the “insight of interbeing” by Thich Nhat Hanh has created a discussion on the relationship between science and politics.

Let’s distinguish between “science” and the “scientific method” for the purpose of this discussion.

I think that the ideals of the scientific method to minimize bias and maximize objectivity. This is what’s supposedly “rational” and “unbiased”.

The scientific enterprise, however, is certainly not “rational” and “unbiased”, and it’s a fanciful myth to suggest that it ever was.

The reality is that scientific research is inherently political. Research requires funding. People make decisions on where to direct funds to. These decisions are made from within a societal and political context.

It’s not just about the politics of what scientific research to fund. It’s also about the politics of what knowledge can be condoned and shared. The Vatican famously imprisoned Galileo and forced him to recant his scientific assertions that the Earth revolves around the Sun to avoid being burned at the stake.

What about in the US, the “land of the free”? In 2001, President Bush imposed a ban on government funding for research on embryonic stem cells – halting the potential development of cure to scores of illnesses. He explained why he did this: “My position on these issues is shaped by deeply held beliefs”.

Finally, consider also the political and societal forces that shape who decides to become a scientist in the first place. Here’s a video where Neil deGrasse Tyson was asked why there aren’t more women in science, explaining the role that societal expectations play:

Let’s bring the discussion back to the original topic. Charles Eisenstein wrote this:

“We are transitioning away from a narrative that holds us separate from each other and the world, toward a new and ancient story that Thich Nhat Hanh calls interbeing. In that world worldview, self and universe mirror each other; whatever happens to any being is also happening in some corner of ourselves. Every act we take ripples out to affect the whole world, and eventually comes back to affect ourselves as well. Rupert Sheldrake articulates the same understanding as the principle of morphic resonance: a change that happens in one place generates a field of change that causes similar changes to happen everywhere.”

@Eleprocon @denisewheeler do you have any thoughts about what the “insight of interbeing” would hold for science and the scientific method?

(denise wheeler) #18

Yeah, it’s funny how things digress. I started off responding to that wonderful piece @Eleprocon shared on creating and evolving the new story, with my thoughts on the importance of story in our lives, then on to Interbeing and how I feel we are, in reality, a verb in each other’s lives, in that cause and effect way.

Not sure how it slid into the other, but thanks @justinbrown for bringing it back around.

As for your question on how interbeing might play into science and that scientific method, well, hmmm, there’s a lot to draw from that.

I spent quite a bit of time with a number of scientists at Caltech, so there was much talk about the scientific method and those who adhere to it and those who stray. For the most part, it seems to be basically a means to explore observations and answer questions, much like this forum. However, like all processes, there is never one set way, even though I know it is generally a fairly defined method.

But how one approaches experimentation is no doubt as varied as how one answers questions. Some do it clearly and succinctly, while others ramble around, and some who steer off course. So in that sense, I think there are a lot of parallels between what Thich Nhat calls “interbeing” and the scientific method since cause and effect are at the helm of both.

In science, it is all about gathering evidence, asking questions, and seeing what other insights/information are available that can help to reach the most plausible answer. So a series of steps basically, and within ourselves the same.

When we’re not certain about something we ask questions, check out the insights of others, scan the internet, whatever, but basically go through a process that helps us to reach a logical answer.

Thus that cause and effect, cause as we saw from this thread things can easily and often get modified. The words of one have an impact on another, and ultimately the initial goal, whether to get an answer to a question or a scientific result. Any new thinking or information we add to something has an impact on it. For scientists it might mean having to take a step back and repeat some of the steps or approach it in an entirely new way,

And the same for us in our own lives and thinking. As soon as you read this thread, you went: “Woah, wait, how did it go from this to that? Let’s take a deep breath here and rethink what we’re really trying to accomplish.”

I believe that’s what Thich Nhat calls interbeing. Newton called it the Third Principle and we just call it being human, cause most people tend to modify everything when they don’t get the results/answers they want.

Was that more on track?

Btw…there are universal questions that are inherent to everyone’s existence. "Why am I here? What will happen when I die? Why is the damn internet so slow? In science and in life some questions never change and the answers always sought.

(Bill Ames) #19

In a way I am puzzled about “Interbeing.” Is this a group think? Something out of 1984? Perhaps it is a way to collect ideas from many perspectives? Or is it just a way of identifying what a political party, a union, a religion, a military all do to keep everyone engaged so they are less likely to think?

I have noticed that the product of these groups is never really controversial from the perspective of the producing group.That is absolutely normal. It does make it difficult for these groups to change as people and technology are constantly changing.

If I have a conversation with someone and i discover they are part of a group that is limiting their ability to express new ideas it is a disappointment. One way I have to use to work around this is to focus on things that are so new that they are not stuck in some groups dogma pile. For example, “dark matter” or “AI”, but the problem is hardly anyone is actually thinking about such stuff, those groups do not attract imaginative types.

I look back at the definition of “interbeing” I posted. What is the product of this discussion, what are we discussing with respect to this topic? Are we to vote on “is it a good/bad idea?” Are we looking at how to make it even more powerful? Should it be eliminated so people can think for themselves?

I can see that science depends on sharing ideas and not limiting these ideas to some approved list published by some group. I can see part of the world saying some research is bad and another part of the world just doing it regardless. If we had a world government would that be the ultimate “interbeing?”

I find the topic both interesting and terrifying. Take for instance a new “interbeing.” It is called Amazon. It is currently in the process of building its own fleet of delivery tools. Soon it will be able to provide everything for everyone. Do we want that? We have political parties that are promoting their version of “interbeing.” Free healthcare, education, and a job. Do we want that? You can see why I find it terrifying. I find it interesting enough that I did this reply. I hope it meets the editorial standards of the collective.

(Preslav Karshovski) #20

@justinbrown @Eleprocon Thanks for this topic, which I think nowadays is more important than ever.

It was interesting to read the whole discussion that @denisewheeler and @BillAmes brought up.

What I got from all of the videos, articles and discussion on this is something that you might find to be a cliche. Two things specifically popped up in my mind - change and education. Now that I’m writing this it actually got clearer - change the education.

These day it is popular to suggest that change in the eduactional system is much needed to combat the challenges of the current time.

So, I wonder why schools and the eduactional system in general are deаf and blind for all the spiritual, self developing, critical thinking stuff and instead propose the idea of economics and competition as the stepping stone of your life.

Thich Nhat Hanh claims that we are continuation of our parents. Imagine parents upbringing their children around the idea of interbeing.

Imagine schools teaching interbeing explaining to the little fellas that we are love and everything is connected. Imagine more mediation classses, imagine teaching them how to garden and basic nutrition.


(Mark's Myth) #21

What a welcomed exchange… in a multitude of ways… in the spirit of the scientist David Bohm reflective of his presence of mind in the fields of quantum theory and his approach to evolving open discussions a’la his Bohm Dialogue.

From the grandest of scales to the minutia we leverage the metaphors grasping for meaning…

What is the difference between "discuss", "debate" and "argue"?
(Bob Copeland) #22

We’re an amalgamation of everything that came before & what we presently contain (microorganisms in gut for digestion). Energy can altered in form but never destroyed. That’s why emptiness doesn’t mean nothing (absence of all energy).