In Volume 1 of this two-volume series, Freedom and the Self, we examined the relationships between personal and societal freedoms, personal and various aspects of the human experience. We looked at some of the philosophical meanderings of teleological theorists who believe that consciousness and its ‘material vehicles’ evolve together. We learned that as the physical bodies ‘housing’ consciousness evolve into more complexity, from the most primitive to the sophisticated bodies of humans and other advanced creatures presently on Earth, the consciousness within these bodies expand toward higher insight and capability. We examined the ‘self’, how it develops and what, moment by moment, perpetuates the sense of selfhood within an individual. We also took a preliminary look at relationship, of the nuances of relational interaction arising from differing attitudes, belief systems and emotional expressions. Change, uncertainty and safety were examined in relation to the need of, or aversion to freedom. We delved into the natures of beauty, truth and love, of how these three are paths on the way to greater freedom, and of how freedom itself is not only the instinctual drive behind self-actualization, but one of the primary characteristics of higher states of awareness and elevated consciousness.
In light of the above, the assumption was also made that we as spirit are on this Earth to engage in creative self-transformation. That self-transformation or actualization finds its reflection in the slowly evolving creation of a possible ‘utopia’ on Earth, a utopia that begins in the minds and hearts of every living being moment by moment and expresses itself outward upon society and the living ecological niche in which we are nurtured. We argued that ‘utopia’ is not a static thing but something that needs to be renewed every moment, within our hearts and minds, our actions and behaviors, in loving, open, perceptive relationship to all life around us. Thus, the first book of this two-volume series examined who we are, what our capabilities might be, and what possible potential lies ahead of us. On a very basic level, it’s concluded that we are ‘spiritual beings having a human experience’, and that the only limits on consciousness are self-imposed; that we create and perpetuate our own realities, our own experiences, moment by moment. As a result, each of us is totally responsible for what fills our awareness and of what fills our ‘experience’ within each moment.
In Volume 2, Freedom and the Ecology of Relationship, we expand this enquiry to what the developing ‘complexity’ of our ‘vehicles’, our human selves, and of the consciousness that inhabits these vehicles have created in the social and ecological milieu surrounding us at our present moment in evolution. From there we will look at how the ever-increasing change in this complexity is currently guiding us in new and unexpected directions toward a future we can only now catch a glimpse of through the yet unrevealed potential of humanity and its creations.
These future changes will, as always be driven by the search for both inner and outer freedom, the freedom to expand and evolve, to self-actualize, not only personally in our beliefs, attitudes and behaviors but in our institutions, which reflect the collective character of those the institutions serve. As past beliefs, levels of knowledge and the institutions grown from them are seen in the light of future creativity, discovery and innovation, their frailties and weaknesses will become apparent. Though once useful, they now must go the way of all outdated ‘tools’ of humanity, tools that have given us so much but now are only holding us back from further advancement.
We are at another crucial crossroads of change now, one made even more crucial than those which have gone before simply because of the incredible rate of change and potential, both humanistically and scientifically. This new crossroads is being created by new ways of thinking about who we are and where we fit in this complex world. It is a crossroads of wonderful new technologies and ways of living and being made possible by those technologies. It is also a crossroads where the possibilities of these new ways of thinking and being come into direct conflict with anachronistic vested interests clinging to past ways of being and doing they find so safe and rewarding. The vested interests have the power of stagnancy and complacency, yet the new and innovative march irreverently into the future. One of the first steps of freedom toward this new world is a global realization of the deep embeddedness of our world with the natural world that surrounds us and the absolute way in which our futures, ours and the natural world, are so inexorably and completely interconnected. What happens to other forms of life on this planet and what happens to us cannot be separated. The only way we can find freedom is by controlling ourselves. The only way we can truly exist within a world of freedom is by giving freedom to all those we share this Earth with.
The Cast and Stage in this Narrative
The characters in this two-part narrative consist of people, circumstances, ideas, theories, environments, histories and time itself as the platform upon which these characters play out their dramas. The reader will see the same characters time and again playing off against other characters in different scenes in the human drama, revealing differing aspects of themselves, allowing the reader to slowly build a deeper understanding of each of their parts in this complexity of relationship.
As in any good story, it is the characters themselves and the interaction of their personalities that create the dynamics of relationship from which the story comes and connects the string of minor narratives that slowly build up to a complete, complex, yet ever-evolving experiential fabric. Within this fabric the differing coloring of the differing characters blend together to create a collage of intertwining rhythms of meaning and message, of history and future, of cause and effect.
With each new essay, each new small plot within the larger story, the meaning behind the actions and effects of each of these characters upon other characters and upon the whole evolving story will hopefully take the reader to a more diverse, holistic understanding. Some of the main characters that travel with us on this journey are freedom, the nature of the self, self-actualization, and sustainability, all of which color the relationship between the self and environment.
Within the interactions between these four characters other characters come to light such as beauty, truth, belief and focus which help strengthen and deepen the color in the fabric. The generic message within the fabric is of who we are, we in the sense of all life, of why we might be here upon this physical plane of existence, of what our possible destinies might be, and of why we are not able to see these most obvious of things in our daily lives. Thus, the journey across these two volumes take the reader from spiritual origins through our personal and societal odysseys toward our ultimate spiritual goal on and with this planet we call Earth.
Although there is a loose thread of continuity of subject and theme throughout the various sections and subsections of these two volumes, each section attempts to be a complete insight into some aspect of freedom and its relation to the nature of self and self-actualization, the ecological matrix in which we all exist, and the kind of relationships which might lead to that magical goal, ecological harmony and sustainability.
Sometimes the same message may be repeated within differing contexts and from differing perspectives to garner differing insights on the part of the reader, insights that will help form that thread of continuity across differing landscapes of meaning. The final insight these volumes hope to purvey is that freedom and the search for freedom permeates our entire lives and and underlie the differing experiences we go through in life.
Both Kindle ($3.99) or paperback ($12.50) editions can be found at Amazon:
Fundamentals of Japanese Emotional Experience: Outer Relations, Inner Realities
Fundamentals of Japanese Emotional Experience: Outer Relations, Inner Realities is the result of a five-year study into Japanese emotional experience using various types of closed and open-ended questionnaires designed to elicit the basic nature of Japanese emotion terminology and to test for the causal and functional meaning contained in emotion terms across differing relationships and situations. Through an ethno-semantic analysis of a set of respondent-elicited emotion terms, emotion concepts were categorized and analyzed from varying perspectives, prototypical, semantic, situational, and relational, resulting in a comprehensive description of how, why, where and with whom varying Japanese emotional states manifest. Results also suggest both similarities to emotion lexicons from other cultures as well as aspects of emotion unique to the Japanese socio-cultural milieu. Detailed analyses are given in numerous tables and graphs picturing the meaning and relational structure of the Japanese emotion lexicon and subsequent explanations and discussions describe how various emotions 'play out' across the Japanese social landscape.
The Author...Richard E Bradshaw
Born in the Mission District of San Francisco, the author, Richard Bradshaw grew up in the high mountains of Colorado. spent sixteen years in Hawaii discovering experientially the meaning of multiculturalism, then lived in Japan for twenty-five years, teaching at universities and doing various kinds of cultural research in Japan and Southeast Asia. During his sojourn in Japan it became obvious to him that within the Japanese culture, emotion was used and expressed in ways differing from any 'Western' culture. After about fifteen years of being embedded in Japanese culture and teaching at Japanese universities the author embarked on a multiyear study of Japanese emotional experience using as his subjects students from three different universities. He was assisted in this endeavor by several university student research assistants who were both bilingual and bicultural, without whom this research and this volume would not have been possible. The author has an M.A. in Asian comparative religion and a PhD in social and cross-cultural psychology. 320 pages.
For further insights into the 'self' and self-actualization see my forthcoming books Freedom: What it is and how to achieve it, Book 1, Freedom and Self, & Book 2, Freedom and The Ecology of Relationship, due to be published in July of 2019.