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Carter Phipps: Evolutionaries Bridging Creative

--Bindi Dave, on Aug 17, 2015

As I walk down the street, the same street that I do on many days, I can't help but to think today about the purpose of my walk. One foot in front of the other. Moving forwards, not backwards. Why is that? When I raise my thought-gaze from my walking feet to the bustling city around me, I cant help but to think about what this place must have looked like 50 years ago. What progress we, as a community of humans sharing this space on earth, have made. Its evolutionary! At the same time, just as Carter Phipps says “evolutionary is kind of a play on the idea of revolutionary”. We have the concern about what is, within us and external to is. What is in this life for me? What is in this life for my community? These thoughts dance in my mind, as the wind dances with the leaves on this San Francisco morning, I can't help but to be simply wowed at the passion that it took to move us forward into this evolutionary progress. Just as I walk, step-by-step forwards to my bliss, many others have done the same; by steps, actions and this scene of revolutionary progress. To Carter Phipps, this for forward-moving phenomenon is “moving culture forward in some sense, moving [people’s] particular area of culture, their particular passion, forward. You know, improving the world, improving their community, in some very small sense. Or improving their own lives”. This gives me solace in knowing that this is why we were meant to walk forwards, not backwards.

Is everything forward-moving a good thing though? My Dad always says “if it isn't broken, then why break it? To waist your time just fixing it again?” The evolution of our culture is a concern to many, but what are the principles of this evolution that we fear and why? And what is “fear” in itself, is it really a hindrance on our forward-moving evolution?

One of the issues that comes up time and again is that of polarity, “one of [which being] the polarities between individuality and sociality; between the individual and the community”. So how we work with this is very important, according to Carter Phipps “If we fall on one side of that polarity, if we are just concerned about our self and individuals; that is really our main focus. Sometimes we fall into the trap of being over-concerned with the individual. Sometimes we are only concerned about a community, about the social; we lose the sense of individual initiative. We lose ourselves in the community, in the social; sort of getting lost in the collective.” The work in our every day life if that of balance, just as it in this question of polarity or the question of standing on one leg to fall to the other (named walking); “the sweet spot of evolution is that balance between the individual spirit of the autonomous self and letting that spirit be also connected to the community, to the whole”. In a sense, there is no duality, but a oneness that we are all together, walking forwards.

Another issue is that of right (such as set of values, or more simply I-ness or ego, self) or left (such as collective sociology, more communal efforts). But is this an issue at all, or an opportunity to explore boundlessness? Both the right and left described above share similar values and principles. We would not go out of our way to stab a pencil in our own eye, nor in the eyes of our coworkers (actually, don’t answer that, but you know what I mean). Balance is key. With balance, we have the third options of “or”, not versus. We need this balance to keep our culture, society, dreams evolving! Every march in history has been marching forward, with both our left and right-side bodies, finding peace from polarity in our midline (in heart-center even).

So, if this balance seems like a fairly simple concept, one that we practice everyday with our own bodies, then why are we at “this point in culture where there is this hyper-partisan polarization” according to Carter Phipps? We are stuck in muck, if you will, from moving forwards. Let us find balance once more!

Carter’s organization, The Institute for Cultural Integration, is working in this field to refresh, to hit the F5 button, in thinking. One way Carter’s organization is doing this is to “write about the subjects in the way that is original and fresh and gets attention and makes people think about these ideas in interesting ways. We are doing thinking. In writing and putting out white papers and putting out different material”. The organization is also “trying to be more active and trying to work directly with the left and the right”. They are doing this by hosting events, inviting experts in various fields to speak on various issues and raise awareness on regaining the balance that seems to be lost, to “un-stuckify” ourselves.

Carter is also working on Integral Philosophy, “the philosophical field that has begun to notice this evolutionary pattern and tendency in culture and history”. According to Carter, at its root, this philosophy is “trying to integrate many different disciplines to get a full picture of life-of human culture and how we are developing and what it all means. It is trying to integrate, integrate, integrate. That is the nature of integral philosophy.”

Carter Phipps, a small town boy from northern Oklahoma, grew up with intellectuals, interested in life, culture, progressive movements, and more. Carter thrived in all of it, more in the “and more”. From there to Berkley, California, his evolution has not been one paved in silver, but of concrete that is created by the integration of so many parts of the earth. From this earth we grow, unite in balance, integrate in knowledge and walk forward together, as one.