DEFINING SELF-TRANSCENDENCE

          In the frame of reference in which we are operating, precisely what is it that constitutes the definition of “self-transcendence?” It is the attempt to explore as fully as is feasible the objective social reality of our lives, with particular regard to  the nature, content, and sources, of the discontent, unhappiness, and lack of fulfillment, that is present in our diurnal activities. 

The second element of this activity is the cognitive construction of a prospective alternative existence which would fully liberate and empirically actualize our talents, aptitudes, and passionate creative impulses.

          In addition to these efforts a crucial related endeavor, to isolate and identify those cognitive and behavioral patterns that we manifest that are responsible for the suffering we cause and the harm we inflict upon our fellow citizens, is an  imperative task.

         For it is through this examination of that which is absent in our existence that causes us great consternation, and the unleashing of our muse,  our capacities, and our fervor, as well as those deficiencies of character and ethical deportment that provokes irritation and outrage among others, that we may embark upon a professional engagement that will sustain us.  Moreover, it is these subsequent  spiritual and psychological exertions which will liberate us from our imprisonments, and achieve a life of meaning, purpose, and an impact on those with whom we interact, that is salutary and uplifting.

          When we complete this process does it become possible and imperative that we begin the effort to transform our lives and our actions to conform to ethical standards that were previously cited, in the initial portion of this commentary.

          The final task is to initiate the labor to create those social, economic, political, and esthetic involvements, that will stimulate the fullest possible actualization of one’s capabilities and fervor, and  by so doing significantly augment our sense of self-worth, joy, contentment, and personal tranquility.

A PARTIAL LIST OF ORGANIZATIONS

           Recently, increasing numbers of incubators in which technical and financial assistance is accessible to those who wish to create various enterprises in the realm of technology, biomedical,  software, and most recently in New York, an incubator to stimulate the pursuit of artistic activity, gallery exhibitions, and a commercial viability to support these artists in the longer term have been implemented.

            These repositories of expertise and monetary resources that can assist individuals in the establishment of commercial and non-profit ventures have been established beneath the banner of state governments and municipal jurisdictions, as well as under the aegis of private innovators.    

          For those who are predisposed to contribute their intellectual, artistic, financial, or political skills, to thousands of existing for profit, not for profit, and non profit organizations, and public – private partnerships, that are addressing any aspect of those efforts required to create a humanistic multi-dimensional society, your computer and all the massive troves of information to which it allows access  will provide a road map for your journey, and an eventual gateway to your professional future.      

          For those who have established a commercial enterprise as your company evolves in terms of both revenue and profitability you may wish to avail yourself of the Benefit Corporation Statutes that exist in a number of states, that permit corporations to consider a matrix of intense concerns in their operations beyond the exclusive concern of profitability.

            Such factors as levels of compensation to employees which permit them to attain a robust middle-class status and beyond, to environmental considerations that mitigate negative impacts, to the provision of affordable housing for those in your employ who may require it, and a general continuing interest in the larger communities in which you are located in terms of their challenges and welfare, are among those relevant considerations.

           By availing yourself of the protections these statutes afford you are insulated from the legal obligation of many corporations who must maximize their profits lest they provoke litigation from disgruntled investors.

              In Brooklyn, N.Y. and in other urban areas  a substantial proliferation in the artisanal activities of specialty food produce and beverages both alcoholic and non-alcoholic, been occurring.  For-profit, not-for-profit, and nonprofit, community economic development organizations, are allocating billions of dollars annually to public-private partnerships, to rehabilitate distressed neighborhoods, and create employee-owned and managed companies.

           These entities  provide both products and services and occupational training programs, as well as equipping the unemployed with the requisite skills to obtain jobs that may culminate in a lengthy and remunerative career trajectory within the private sector.

          Within the community of individuals who are dedicated to the reform of both corporate and political macro-institutions, are those who are engaged in broadening the representation of employees, citizens, and unions, on the board of these trans-national entities, for the purpose of  attaining greater equitability in the relationship between the compensation levels of senior executives and their infinitely more numerous subordinates.

           In addition their agendas are concerned with the diminution of those corporate activities which impact the environment negatively, and who are committed to broad and continuing support and assistance in and involvement with the communities in which they are situated.  Moreover, there is an unceasing effort to insure that employees have access at a very negligible financial cost to equity ownership in these organizations, be it in the form of  common shares or stock options.

           Beyond the previous initiatives is the crucial matter of democratizing hierarchical chains of administrative command, so that employees may exert  greater influence over the operations of the production processes and service obligations they are expected to discharge.

          For in the final analysis so much of the alienation and estrangement these individual employees experience in the daily performance of their duties, is the fundamental sense of the dehumanization they experience and the lack of dominion over their current assignments and the future that awaits them in their workplace.

           An additional aspect of their current discontent is the distribution of the increases in productivity which these employees  achieve in concert with technological innovations, that are allocated disproportionately to senior management.

          Broader dimensions  of political economic and social innovation can be found on such websites as Basic Principles For A New Direction, which posits the essential specific actions that are required to  create an equitable and sustainable economy.

          Community-Wealth.org presents the crucial forces which are gathering ever-greater momentum within local communities, as the result of numerous public initiatives at the municipal and state echelons of government, and in unprecedented relationships between anchor institutions and local community based organizations such as hospitals and other health care facilities.

           In these companies equity ownership by their employees is substantial and their impact and influence in administrative and operational spheres of its management are significant and continuing.

          In addition, various organizations, programs, and policies, which link in a bi-lateral posture university and community institutions, are stimulating the creation of community wealth and the increased abilities of citizens within these areas to attain a responsiveness from local governments, that was previously unobtainable.

          Moreover, beneath the umbrella of the New Economy such entities as the Institute For Policy Studies, Economic Policy Institute, The New Economy Working Group, and the Levy Institute at Bard College,  are formulating new paradigms of economic development that are community based. attempts to provide alternatives to those models  which operate as traditional hierarchical systems

           In the realm of intellectual activity which seeks to supplement and supplant traditional structures of public and corporate governance, such groups as the Alliance For Democracy, Center For Corporate Policy, Demos, and the Center For Digital Democracy, are vigorously engaged in the conceptual creation of new mechanisms, systems, and standards of measurement and evaluation.  When implemented these entities will remediate the grievous inequities and oppressive character of much that comprises the current American social reality.

           In addition, these organizations will continue the rigorous critical analysis of existing institutions that are the ideological impediments that obstruct our nation’s progress to a more egalitarian distribution of wealth, and the actualization of a vibrant multi-dimensional civilization.

          One additional component of research, i.e. the techniques to successfully organize impoverished communities to transform our  national consciousness are such entities as META, Political Economy of the Good Society, Center for Community Change, Center for Third World Organizing.

       

 

A Strategy For Transforming America

  At this juncture of your review of this document many among you will determine that the sentiments and prescriptions contained in my presentation, though laudable and relevant to our quest to create a more equitable society and humane cultural framework, do not address the critical matters that are central to a secular existence in this the second decade of the twenty-first century in the American national experience, and you would be correct.

However, it is my intent to commence the formulation of this agenda for a personal and a social renaissance in very comprehensive and specific terms in this portion of my cognitive musings.

           Perhaps the most critical of considerations regarding this mammoth task of humanizing this civilization must we address the individual who wishes to commit to this  laudable effort and the matter of how they might attain and retain in the longer term, a situation in which they and their families economic viability is preserved.

           To withdraw from various involvements in transnational corporate behemoths in order to reclaim the potential of participating in a lived experience that is multi-dimensional and self-actualizing is a crucial first step, but by so doing we are not relieved of our personal financial responsibilities to ourselves and our spouses/partners and our children.

            What are possible destinations for these courageous and  noble pioneers that shall provide both the requisite stream of revenue, as well as the organizational structures that are humane, innately equitable, and provide the possibility of equity positions and profit sharing  in which a maximally democratic system of administrative supervision is extant?

            Armed with the results of your self-transcendence  inventory  does it become possible to chart a course of social entrepreneurialism where you are the master of your economic aspirations. The mission statement  and strategic plan you formulate  will reflect the fullest possible flowering of your normative system and the muse you wish to allow  the greatest possible empirical expression. 

             

Effective Modes Of Psychological Treatment

        The conversion of which I speak can only be accomplished through either spiritual or psychological processes and protocols. Within the clinical realm the arduous efforts to confront and neutralize their pernicious, false, and horribly negative self-perceptions, is achieved with the continuing assistance of a skilled therapist, initially in exploring the content of the individuals unconscious where these atrocious messages and warped notions reside.

         These communiques of misinformation have frequently been placed there over decades of reiteration by parents who themselves have sustained substantial scarring and cognitive deformities, as the result of the nuclear family environment in which they were reared. Subsequent to this investigation are attempts at behavioral modification implemented to remediate the self-destructive patterns of activity in which these individual are ensnared.

         In the absence of a successful intervention by clinicians or by continuing immersion in a program of spiritual enlightenment, the intergenerational transmission of pathologies continues ad nauseam, ad infinitum.

          However, within such spiritual practices as those found in twelve steps fellowships, ever-lengthening sobriety often produces beyond abstinence from drug or alcohol use, a mentality of substantial and warranted self-regard. It is as the result of the implementation of these steps in daily behavioral actions and the cognitive alternations which are possible by the retrieval of sanity, and the crucial task of invoking the assistance of a capability which transcends their personal resources, that this spiritual transformation is enabled.

         In addition, it is by the application of these modalities that the toxicity of self-loathing is supplanted by the awareness that we are deserving of self-esteem, intrinsically by virtue of our inherent status as sentient beings, as well as by the recognition that our conduct has been transformed from exploitive, manipulative, narcissistic, contemptuous, and self-absorbed, to a pattern of interacting with others that is customarily  considerate of their priorities and concerns.

          Moreover, this interpersonal modality is also kind and respectful in tone and tenor, and reflects a continuing desire to be of service to our fellows in a selfless manner, seeking no recompense other than the awareness  that these acts of kindness produce an extraordinary sense of well-being and  contentment, which far exceeds the pleasure they derive from any efforts predicated on self-seeking or ego inflation.

          The fundamental truth of the human experience is the sublime irony that the greatest happiness we can experience is attributable not to those efforts which seek as their objective  the augmentation of rewards or accomplishments for ourselves, but rather are derived from the exertion and actions we undertake to assist our fellow human beings.

           Those attempts to both mitigate the suffering they are experiencing whatever its causes, and augment their opportunities to live fulfilling and meaningful  existences, is the primary source of our contentment. It is in these acts that salvation and self- -transcendence can be found  beyond all other locations in the human experience.

          

Psychological Profiles

   Surely the group of CEO’s who comprise the Forbes 400 who are experiencing lives of unparalleled accomplishment, and who reside at the epicenter of an orbit of professional associates and reverential acolytes, must have acquired a peace, contentment, and sense of self-worth, that few others have known.

           However, for the vast majority of those who occupy those exalted locales at the pinnacle of these corporate and financial institutions, a quite different and in fact regrettable dynamic characterizes the fundamental essence of their awareness.

          Many of them who have devoted extraordinary effort in their quest to become CEO’s of these corporate behemoths, or in postures of a rabid entrepreneurialism have created companies that through their unrelenting efforts now reign supreme in their respective areas of commercial activity, are propelled toward these heights as the result of enormous insecurities and nuclear family pathologies.

          These disease syndromes have produced self-images that are deformed and reflect a primary sensibility of self-loathing, and an unremitting sense of inadequacy and deficiencies that often relate to physical characteristics of homely countenances, diminutive stature, and anemic or corpulent physiognomies.

           Thus, what frequently fuels their  desire to succeed is the transcendent need to demonstrate to detractors  that their assessments of their abilities were flawed, and their predictions of failure or mediocre destinies were in error.

           In the final analysis their vindication will be derived from their triumph to amass personal fortunes that exceed those other plutocrats, who are also engaged in the ruthless and all-consuming exertions to ascend to an ever more rarefied status on the holy grail of annual financial rankings, the Forbes 400.

           It is these rankings in their view which will demonstrate to other captains of industry and the general public the accomplishments for which they are responsible, and thus empirically demonstrate to all their superiority and the incomparable qualities they represent and embody.

          The crucial question which must be posed at this juncture is as the result of expending herculean energy and  virtually every waking moment of their consciousness in the pursuit of these financial objectives, when they have achieved their objectives and reside virtually alone on the apex of Mount Olympus, do they then experience  a sensibility that is joyous, passionate, creative?

        Are their lives  populated with loving family relationships, and substantive and rewarding sources of friendship, that nourish their capacities to become empathetic, selfless, compromising, and affectively vibrant, (all of which are required to create and sustain mutually beneficial human arrangements)?

           Regrettably, in most instances they assuredly do not experience that marvelous eventuality. For those who are compelled to demonstrate their fundamental self-worth and by the accumulation of wealth and the influence that flows from it, the traits of solipsism, self-absorption, narcissism, and obsessive-compulsive behaviors, as well as arrogance, contempt, and condescension, become ever more entrenched and preeminent as the central hallmarks of their consciousness and behavior.

            Continuing forays into episodes of alcoholic and pharmacological excess to anesthetize the isolation and boredom and emptiness of life in their palatial but sterile residences, recur with frequent regularity.

           Often in the quest to resuscitate a meaningful and substantial sensorial dynamic, repetitive immersion in  sadomasochistic sexual practices in which orgasmic and violent rituals commingle, are recurring requisite activities.

            However, the most tragic and cruel irony about the lives of those who are committed to this mode of existence is that regardless of the magnitude of wealth they acquire it is never sufficient to satisfy their appetites, or silence the insatiable demons that reside in their consciousness.

           It is patently impossible in the material realm to achieve the conversion of a state of frantic desperation and alienation into a consciousness in which serenity, Agape, and the joy of a leisurely immersion in  human fellowship emerges.

          Moreover, the profound yearnings and self-exploration of the wounds and vulnerabilities of an experiential compilation, in the both the past and current segments of their life, will continue to elude them as well in this physical environment.

 

 

 

Social Deficiencies (Economic)

   Examining contemporary American society through the lens of those moral prerequisites, what we discover is a civilization that in so many regards and contexts fails abysmally to translate these ethical underpinnings into institutional realities.

          Though various elements of our population are beset with disparate challenges that are endemic to their economic status in our financial hierarchy, all are buffeted by the evolving negative impacts of  ever-increasing concentrations of wealth among ever-decreasing miniscule numbers of our citizens, by the declining employment opportunities within our society as the technological juggernaut continues to replace human labor with computers, as well as by corporations that relocate manufacturing elements of their organizations to overseas locales where labor costs are less expensive.

           These trends trigger the unremitting, reality of unemployment statistics which when such categories as underemployment, part-time, and positions that have been stripped of health and other forms of traditional employee benefits are included,  impact approximately one-fifth of our fellow citizens.

          Among those who live in poverty, the struggle to  survive demands herculean efforts to obtain the meager  salaries of multiple minimum-wage jobs, as well as navigating the challenges of public assistance programs, to supplement these anemic wages.  Health care even with the advent of the Affordable Health Care Act remains beyond the financial capacity of millions of Americans.

           Drug and alcohol dependency are escalating in all segments of our nation, but particularly within our deteriorating urban cores, where the physical environments  continue to crumble and become uninhabitable. As a result residents desert their unsafe homes and deteriorating neighborhoods, awash in crime and single parent households, and a disintegrating social and religious fabric that reflects the harsh, cruel, lawless, communities that these regions have become.

         Ultimately the hopelessness that afflicts these individuals depletes their will to escape this imprisonment, and they become resigned to futures that are bereft of joy, achievement, happiness, and material adequacy. When those for whom a life that is comprised of sorrow, emptiness, and extraordinary anguish, becomes insupportable, they exit from this human circumstance by their own hand.

          And if the plight of those who dwell in these society’s basements of impoverishment is appalling, the contemporary circumstances of the middle-class is not a significant improvement. Declining median incomes, stagnating wages, evaporating jobs, are cumulatively eroding both the material platform and psychological serenity of this segment of our fellow Americans.

          Moreover, the supreme irony is the financial circumstances of those who have succeeded in attaining an asset base which places them in the upper-middle class and beyond, (with the exception of the miniscule numbers who comprise the apogee of our pyramid of wealth) is the intensifying pressures to retain their privileged status in an economy that continues to shed employees and reallocate to ever fewer senior executives in the corporate and financial communities, remuneration packages comprise of salaries, stock options, perks, and retirement incentives that dwarf in some instances their average employees income by a multiple of 300.

          

Content Of Ethical Values

          From these three points of consideration i.e. major religious traditions and Humanistic, and Existentialist philosophy value systems other equally critical necessities flow. The crucial obligation to view human beings as inherently deserving of unqualified respect, and personal sovereignty, as innately capable of contributions to our collective welfare, and as demanding by simple virtue of our human status, environments in which ample opportunities are provided to enable these individuals to experience the full richness of a robust and dynamic spiritual and intellectual consciousness, as well as a social atmosphere that will make provision for the satisfaction of their basic requirements.

         

 

Sources Of Social Wisdom

Social wisdom can be detected within both the theologies of the ancients and the more contemporary assertions of those who embrace the central tenets of the philosophical system of Humanism, and that aspect of existential epistemology which embraces the teleological dynamic. In these realms whether the source is a prophetic Judaism or the Christian gospels, the revelations of Mohammed at the center of an Islamic consciousness, or the assertions of primary texts within Buddhism, and in sacred Hindu pronouncements, can a normative predicate be discovered.

In other sources which are secular in character such as Aristotelian and Kantian epistemological prescriptions, and within the optimistic life-affirming existentialism of Camus, can we unearth a commonalty of vision and moral definition that speaks to the most imperative requirement of all civilizations; i.e. to regard both the individual human life and the collectivity of mankind as inviolate entities and sentient beings of unparalleled intrinsic value.