The Institute For Becoming A Person In The World
The mission of the Institute For Becoming A Person In The World is to explore methods that promote people’s psychological and spiritual actualization while engaging them in solutions to the world’s problems. Growth of the Self helps the world. Helping the world grows the Self.
The good life, as defined by both humanist psychologists and the religious traditions, is characterized by work to uncover the truth of who you really are and then using that truth to help others. It could be said, then, that the good life is about learning how to fully become a person in order to help others also fully become a person.
Science shows that what determines the trustworthiness of a person’s motives, when it comes to helping the world, is is not whether they are Republican or Democrat or rich or poor or gay or straight or any of the other cultural identifiers we tend to lean on but the extent to which they are truly in touch with their own internal valuing process.
In other words, it just may be that the extent to which people can be trusted to care for their communities and global humanity is the degree to which they are in touch with and living in line with their own individual humanity.
For these reasons, the two normally distinct disciplines of promoting psychological and spiritual growth and promoting engagement in social change and the creation of a fair and just society should not be separate. They are complimentary. In the words of the ancient Korean Zen Master, helping oneself and helping others are like the two wings of a bird.
An Experiential Approach To Environmental Ethics:
In general, education in ethics tends to revolve around trying to impose or convince a person to behave in certain ways. But what if a person could be transformed in such a way that they were automatically inspired to behave “ethically” of their own accord, without needing imposed guidelines? This one-week program seeks to cause a change in personality structure through interventions that inspire natural awe, instruct in understanding one’s effect on and responsibility for environmental systems, and deep personal integration of these learnings through psycho-spiritual practices.
Participation in Social Change As A Therapeutic Intervention:
Often, therapists, coaches and spiritual leaders counsel people who are unhappy to change how they think about the things that make them unhappy. What if encouraging a client to work to change the social structures that contribute to their unhappiness could, in itself, act as a therapeutic intervention? A series of conversations is currently underway with therapists, coaches and spiritual leaders to identify methodologies for using participation in social change as a therapeutic intervention.
A Relational Approach To Social Change Communication:
The factors that determine an individual’s engagement in social change are highly personal and depend on temperament, available time, resources, values and more. For this reason, the most effective communications programs are person-to-person, which is highly resource intensive. The Institute’s relational communication initiative experiments with bringing together people in groups to discuss and make legible to themselves their relationship to various societal issues. Because the communication is relational rather than one-sided, it helps individuals determine and be supported in engaging in social change in ways that take account of their individual circumstances. Initial results suggest this approach can result in long-term change.
The Role Of Trauma In Frustrating Social Change:
Humanist psychological theory and brain science both show how emotional trauma can cause individuals to disproportionately focus on perceived personal dangers and insecurities. Social conflict may be experienced as dangerous and cause people to seek safety from non-extant dangers. Studies show that trauma is a key predictor of materialistic and consumerist behavior. The Institute will study how reduction of conflict-based communication as well as modologies that heal trauma can help engage people in social change.
Collaboration and support
The Institute is at its foundational stage. It is actively seeking volunteers, collaborators, partners, and logistical and financial support. It also seeks to find itself a home at a larger institution such as a foundation, university or think tank. If you are interested in pushing forward an integrated approach to psychological and spiritual development and engagement in social change, we should talk!