Australia’s Fascist Attitudes

Keyvan Rahimian has just been released from 5 years gaol for teaching and organising an underground university because Baha’i youth are banned from University in Iran. His brother and sister-in-law were also imprisoned for the same ‘crime’. His wife died of cancer while he was imprisoned, leaving their daughter without her parents.

I recently read a post by a professor of health sciences, here, in Australia, suggesting that the Australian government should force religions to bring doctrines in line with ‘secular’ laws. I am constantly amazed by how supposedly well-educated people in the west are so ignorant of some of the basic reasons why secular democracy works:
1. the separation of state and religion (States should not make religions);
2 states that dictate everyone’s lives and organisational processes are no longer secular nor democratic but fascist or stalinist or maoist.
And yet these same people will parade their ‘professorialship’ to the public as if they are the expert on government, sociology, religion, democracy, and “what is for our own good”. The Iranian revolutionary Council certainly believes that their dictation is “for our own good”. There are some that believe that this attitude only lies with religious extremists. No, it belongs in the attitudes of ordinary scholars here in Australia. We could shrug it off by saying, “so lazy of that scholar” but that “laziness” has much of the current world without worthy leadership from the learned class, and our institutions in Australia fail people every day because of that.

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A BOLD Presentation

March 8 – 12 2017 saw the inaugural BOLD Festival in Canberra, Australia. The BOLD Festival, celebrating the legacy of Dance in Australia, is the brain-child of Liz Lea, dancer, choreographer and event organiser.

As a new comer to the dance theatre scene, a ‘mature mover’ (over 50), and facilitator of dance and performance, I was honoured to present and perform at the BOLD Festival.

The invitation came about through the successful project, “The Forging of Men”, designed and performed with 6 rural men, under the directorship of career theatre-maker, Sue Hayes.

The presentation to The Bold Festival was in the form of a short Pecha Kucha (powerpoint slides presented within 5 minutes). Below is the text to go with the slides. To enjoy the presentation, please open the slides and arrange them beside the text below

Slide 1 Cover slide: This presentation is about my recent journey into dance.
Slide 2 From my years of health work I recognised that a healthy community requires robust empathetic leaders who are the enzymes for bringing that community into integrity and discourse.
Slide 3 ACTUALLY being fully alive, being fully human, is a function of wonder, inquiry, creativity, and performance / action.

Novelty, the surprised recognition of a distinction, is the source of wonder and a vital ingredient for brain development and learning.

Slide 4 Performance is that we are in action in the world and there are witnesses.

Performance is where we get to become adults, leaders, and dancers.

Performance is the wonderful, human thing about life.

Slide 5 The performing arts can be a fantastic access for ethics and leadership training by:

·      supporting the empathetic imagination of the live of others and;

·      the possibilities of self as leader

through the conditions for wonder, inquiry, creativity, and performance.

Slide 6 Over the past 7 years I have designed human sized board games, as a fun approach to movement training, and a way of seeing the world through the body.
Slide 7 2011 – My first dance project with Jess Jones on the Atherton Tablelands.

The project was an awakening for me to the possibilities for facilitating dance theatre work with untrained people.

DANscienCE 2013 was an inspiration – a motivation to develop my own skills as a mature aged dancer, and find that breakthrough into establishing a community dance group.

Slide 8 Mastery – the ability to recognise and perform as by the finest distinctions as a function of performance before increasingly discriminatory witnesses.

Taking any age you were and any skill (technical or creative), plotting novel and masterful experience over time might give some indication of your actual neural and physical ageing robustness.

Slide 9 I have been creating small dance programs for the middle to older aged person for a few years. From that came a vision and a model for an inclusive dance training program that I call rEvolve with connotations for dance as transformative in life.
Slide 10 In my rEvolve program I work with several characteristics of training and design to allow the most embodied expression of an idea. The team works by building through exercises by collaborative feedback until eventually, there’s the performance.
Slide 11 I recently began to feel it is time for me to take a stand for a male culture that is authentic and embodied. At stake is the flourishing of our communities and nations.
Slide 12 In 2015, I found three men who were interested in attending work in dance / physical theatre . We called ourselves ‘Men in Motion’

We won a grant to bring theatre-maker Sue Hayes weekly from Cairns to Atherton to building a performance about our male identity

After we had commenced the development of the work, a further two men turned up, and so a performance was developed, “The Forging of Men”.

Slide 13 The men were, mostly, inexperienced in theatre, dance or any type of performance which gave us a perfect conditions to trial a ‘proof of method’ of the rEvolve model.
Slide 14 There was a moment in the project when Sue Hayes turned to the men and said, “Okay men, tonight you are going to touch each other.”

The contact exercises essential to physical theatre is another potential boon to a transformed male culture.

Slide 15 As the project progressed, one of the men told me, “You’ve been a bit bossy lately. I’m not enjoying myself.” The group conversation that resolved that tension showed up in the performance in what the audience saw about the team work.
Slide 16 I’m now facilitating two groups of about 12 dancers in total:

·      the all-men group for the contribution to male culture that could continue to make; and

·      there’s now an all-in group.

FINE

 

The Big Me Dances

The universe, the world, is how it all occurs to me as a happening, an event, a contingency.

Recalling the words of Baha’u’llah as I would apply them to myself, “… the world is my unawareness of the Godhead and my absorption in aught else…” and that truth is founded in the primary spiritual attitude of the unfettered search: detachment from tradition; avoiding backbiting, boastful people, and evil-doers; cleansing the heart from love, hate, and pride; and living in prayer, patience, resignation, and forgiveness.

My experience gives me the sense that the Godhead operates for me through my declaration (to myself or others) in abandonment of all untrue considerations, for an enthusiasm, passion and joy.

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I believe that I am living in the world, a universe of elementary materials, from which has derived my organic construction as a capability for the flourishing of a metaphysical being. I am the root growing through the soil of human life, drawing sustenance for that budding fractal splicing and looping through all the dimensions beyond time and space, all the dimensions of eternity. I believe I am both contingent and eternal, always to be “unaware” and “absorbed by”, yet also to be a sense of Godhead through how I am in truth.

And so , I dance.

Being Fearless as Being Human

“O Son of Man!
Thou art My dominion and My dominion perisheth not; wherefore fearest thou thy perishing? Thou art My light and My light shall never be extinguished; why dost thou dread extinction? Thou art My glory and My glory fadeth not; thou art My robe and My robe shall never be outworn. Abide then in thy love for Me, that thou mayest find Me in the realm of glory.”  The Hidden Words.” Baha’u’llah

We grow into fear and shame from the earliest days of our lives. Our childhood environments can either minimise or amplify these affects. There is no judgment here, about these affects, just that they are. We could even say they are for good reason. Nonetheless, in the main, fear and shame can distort our growth into fully developed humans, and retard our growth.

Acknowledging fear and shame seems to me to be the first authentic attitude that can lead to it’s disappearance. The hiding of fear and shame is, I think, at the heart of separation, prejudice, scapegoating and war. Baha’u’llah’s words, then, draw attention to that next possibility, that we could be fully engaged as a human being with others, so long as we are able to stand where we might be killed or die because we have no defenses against such happening.

Even after many years since first thinking about this teaching and working with many people at many levels of society and politics, I find myself just much more aware of my own prejudice and separation from others. I have a great fear of being alone. I have a great fear of suffering that even finds me avoiding the step that might lead to a failure to predict the money I have, the resources for the life I want to live, of anything like homelessness or being a burden on others. My independence, therefore, seems driven by separation and, in that I have to question that independence. Can I be truly independent if I cannot face the a life in which tomorrow may have many unknown outcomes for my personal life, many problems requiring solution. I can only say that I don’t know what needs to show up or let go or otherwise happen, to be the person Baha’u’llah invites me to be in this teaching, and maybe in that “I don’t know” is a conversation opening up with everyone, with Baha’u’llah’s teachings, that will lead me to being human, being fearless.

2016 Conference for Global Transformation

This is a late review of the Conference for Global Transformation CGT that I attended May 20 – 22 2016. The CGT is a conference of the Wisdom Area of Landmark Worldwide. Landmark Worldwide is a transformative education business that uses an ontological approach. The following are my meager notes.

Landmark Worldwide CEO Harry Rosenberg raised the enquiry (paraphrasing), “In transforming the business of Landmark Worldwide to take the organisation forward , what is the clearing for an organisation as a democratic conversation”.

The CGT provides a State of the World analysis. This requires some measuring of certain characteristics to provide a scorecard. The measurements are taken of: Economic; Social/Political; and Environmental conditions. They have been taken since 2001 which is called the base year and that year all measures were given a score of 1:00. All years since have then been ranked against that. While many measures have improved since 2001, there has been a steady decline in Freedom of the Press, Political rights, civil liberties, and environmental performance while the biggest improvement has been in the under 5 year old mortality. Rather than dwell on the scores, the spokesperson for the State of the World committee talked to the issue of what measures might mean in regard to an ontological view of the world. Some of the enquiries raised include:

  • How can we tell we (Landmark Wisdom Area) is making a difference in the world?
  • What are the measures that might be impacted by transformation?
  • Are we measuring to make the world ‘wrong’, so we can fix it? What if we considered that the world works and it is complete, yet people can still be in expression and make a difference?
  • What is the ontological world i.e. what is the being that is the world?
  • What world am I interacting? Is it the whole world, with nothing and no-one left behind?
  • What do I include in my occurring of the world?
  • What do I measure, to count and count it all?
  • Is a world that can be seen in unprecedented clarity, a world that counts?

On ‘The Created Self’, presenters raised the possibility of feeling okay and unburdened around what is important to me.

On ‘Leadership as a Natural Expression’, a presentation from the new “Being a Leader” ontological training courses, Jeri Echeverria challenged to inquire how I am as a leader? She pointed to the need for a conversational domain and mastery of that domain, that is opening up a new world, new realms of possibility, new ways of seeing, hearing, perceiving. She encouraged to take risks to get beyond what I have, and for that to transform my relationship with failure.

On ‘Listening to Performance from a place of reflection on your own perspective’, we were encouraged to look at what we recognised as great performance. Offerings included:

  • It is technically proficient, even excellent, perfect;
  • Attractive, transports the audience, is captivating, moving;
  • Bountiful / abundant;
  • Generous;
  • Interactive, listening, engaging;
  • A relationship with beauty, awe, amazement that is distinct from performance.

Looking to an example of great performance in my own life, I am encouraged that reviewing that performance is transformative, giving me courage to step into the next unknown.

Of the inquiry, ‘How does a great performance arise?’ offerings included:

  • In inquiry;
  • in participation as an interdependent group;
  • in listening;
  • In visions to goals to choices (strategies);
  • in passion
  • in promises;
  • in preparedness and pursuit;
  • in reflection, feedback, measurement

Great performance requires a look at failure i.e what didn’t work. It was suggested that we could fail hard, fail fast, and move on as a way to great performance, an expectation of success rather than winning. Great performance can show up as a crazy quiet in action. ‘Doing’ (being) ourselves, could be great performance.

Of the inquiry, ‘What is the nature of great performance, it was suggested look at characteristicsm essential qualities, and basic or inherent features.

Of the inquiry, ‘What access do you see to great performance, as a comittment that shows up as a) talking about what I’m doing as who can contribute, network, directly, through alignement; and b) a focus on the team and the strategy; and c) reflective inquiry through measurement including what does the team see that needs measurement?

On ‘A Promise to the World’ Monica Aring challenged the conference to ‘wake up’, that we can ‘get off it’ every few minutes i.e get of making it either right or wrong. She indicated that there are traps in language, that a promise is not an identity, rather a way to be in play, to be attentive to looking good or an expert around the promise. A promise requires constant inquiry, and a shift from a me to we economy. It may be that we can be nervous around a promise, rather than just my role is my role.

On a personal inquiry, I asked myself, do I complain that I don’t have what it takes to make a shift in life to a bigger contribution and make it work. Am I often looking around to see what everyone els eis doing? Is there something in being that I say ‘no’ to an easier path. I recognised that I would like to develop a creative enterprise for access / participation across many Australian communities. Can I open up a relationship with abundance to cause this?