With Dr. Jeffrey Mishlove
Gail Bernice Holland
A Call for Connection
April 6, 1999

JEFFREY MISHLOVE: Hello, Wisdomland! We have a program today that is whole and wholesome, that is integral and integrating. My guest, Gail Bernice Holland, is author of A Call for Connection, Solutions for Creating a Whole New Culture. She is also on the staff of The Institute of Noetic Sciences, where she is the Editor of their magazine, Connections. She is a journalist who worked for many, many years for the San Francisco Examiner. She is the author of a book called For Sasha, with Love, an Altzheimer's Crusade.

Welcome, Gail.

GAIL BERNICE HOLLAND: I'm very happy to be here.

MISHLOVE: It's a pleasure to be with you. We were talking earlier about how we actually have had occasion to know each other for about twenty-five years.

HOLLAND: That's a long time. We've been travelling along similar paths, I think.

MISHLOVE: I remember meeting you back when you were working as a journalist, exploring parapsychology. In fact, the articles that you wrote for the Examiner and Chronicle back in the early seventies did a lot to awaken the whole Bay Area community to what was going on in parapsychology research.

HOLLAND: At that time, there was some very important research being done but unfortunately, when journalists wrote about this research they usually took a cynical and laughingstock approach. I didn't. I went to the conferences and listened to the scientists, and I thought there was something important to say, and so I reported it matter-of-factly.

Happily, the Examiner-Chronicle printed it.

MISHLOVE: I think those articles had a big impact, and you've been, in effect, on the path all of that time, and now your new book is amazing in its breadth. It's an effort to look at our whole culture and say in healing and education, in family life and economic dealings with each other, how can we create a whole -- and by that you mean, holistic -- society.

HOLLAND: I have been interviewing people in different segments of society all these years, and Iíve been fortunate in being able to talk to so many people. But I also found that as a society we tend to segregate everything. People become specialists and they don't always know what's going on in other fields.

The cover of the book is a jigsaw puzzle, and I specifically asked the art director to do this image. There's so much pessimism and fear about what is occurring in society. People just keep looking at the negative, and when they hear something positive, they look at it as just that little "piece." Maybe there's some change happening that they know about in education, but they will say, "That's fine but it won't change the world."

What I want people to do is see this piece in education that is positive, and see this piece in business that's positive -- and in the arts and in religion and science -- and so on and so forth. And suddenly they'll see the jigsaw puzzle; they'll start to see the connection and realize how all these pieces are coming together and how they are truly shaping a new culture.

MISHLOVE: One of the sources of inspiration for this new book, I gather, is the work of the sociologist Paul Ray _ _ _ _.

HOLLAND: That's right. I didn't know about his work until almost towards the end of my research, but as you know, he has done a survey which finds there are 44 million Americans -- that's a quarter of the population -- which he calls "the integral culture."

What he means by that is there are 44 million people who have an interest in social issues, have an interest in the spiritual and environmental issues -- people who do care about what is happening to society. And that is a very, very exciting number that he tapped. When I talked to him, he also stated that this doesn't mean that society is just going to spin on its wheels and instantly change for the better, but it is a large enough number that it can happen.

MISHLOVE: He calls these people the "transmodern cultural creatives".

HOLLAND: That's right.

MISHLOVE: As I understand his work, he suggests that you can basically divide a culture --American culture, or North American culture -- into three groups of people, based on their orientation to time. You have the traditionalists, who, when they are confronted with the stresses of modern life, look to the past, the old religious values, fundamentalists, for example, are traditionalists.

Then you have the modernists, very much focused in the present: business as usual and they're kind of the materialists of our culture.

And then the transmodern cultural creatives really seem to be, in effect, focused on the future.

HOLLAND: These are the people who are really making a difference. And these are the people who I interviewed. They don't necessarily know that they belong to this culture, for they're all working independently. This is grass-roots effort.

MISHLOVE: One of the things that Paul Rey mentions about them, as I understand, is that most of these people think of themselves as loners, and they have no idea that they belong to a segment of our culture that's 44 million strong.

HOLLAND: Most people don't have any idea a new culture is emerging. If you tell people society is changing, that there's a great big shift in consciousness, they'll raise their eyebrows because what's happening is not revolutionary; it's a subtle evolution of consciousness. It's not making the headlines in the newspapers.

There are no massive marches to show that these people are on the move. People are working in their offices, they're working in their homes, they're working in schools, they're working in their art studios. People are acting on their own, but together they're making a massive difference in society.

MISHLOVE: Marilyn Ferguson called this movement The Aquarian Conspiracy. And I liked her definition of the word "conspiracy", coming from con-spire, meaning, "to breathe with", a sense of people breathing together!

There's a subtlety to that.

HOLLAND: There is a subtlety to that, and this movement doesn't even have a name yet, unless you want to use Paul Rayís term of the integral culture. The main thing weíre seeing is a shift away from our materialistic society. What people told me when I interviewed them is that they're suddenly realizing what's been missing in every area of society. And what's been missing is the best in human nature. So in many ways, what we're returning in each area of society is the heart and human spirit. For instance, we've been educating our youngsters to get a job, but not how to lead a life. In business, we've been working to make a profit, but not how to profit society.

Medicine has changed dramatically during the last twenty years. Medicine was based on a mechanistic model and now we're treating patients holistically. And this holistic concept is affecting our business world too. It's going into every area of society because we're realizing that focusing on the materialistic is not working for us. That is the difference -- this return to wholeness and the yearning to cultivate the best in us.

MISHLOVE: That's beautifully put, Gail. And it seems to me you're taking it a step further, because you're noticing the connections among these very diverse areas of our culture.

HOLLAND: When I started this book, I was lucky enough to get a grant from the Institute of Noetic Sciences. I went into their offices one day, and said, "As a journalist, I notice something happening in society, but I'm not sure what it is. Do you know what's happening?"

And they said, "Well, we think something's happening, too, but we're not sure either."

With their grant I had the luxury of just listening to people. I went to conferences all around the United States. I went to conferences on education, on business, on the arts, religion, science, and I just listened. After a while, I realized that people were taking idealistic concepts and turning them into pragmatic reforms.

That's what excited me. For years I've listened to philosophers and people talking about their visions and hopes for society, but what I found were some very grounded, specific reforms that were happening and that I think is what's needed right now. These reforms can easily be replicated.

MISHLOVE: We're going to go into each of them in the course of the two hours that we have ahead of us, but maybe you could give us one or two examples, now.

HOLLAND: In education, one of things that I mentioned is that we havenít been educating children to lead a life because people have been concerned about introducing character education. But what they're doing in Missouri is that they are introducing character education in a very simple way. They're getting parents, teachers, and the community together and they're saying, "What character values can you agree on?" It's very easy to come up with a consensus. For instance, do they want students to develop honesty, integrity, responsibility? If somebody doesn't agree on a value, if it gets into an area that seems religious, then they just drop it.

Then they interweave these values into the curriculum. Individual teachers have always done this, but when you have a whole school doing this it can really make a difference -- and is making a difference in these schools.

MISHLOVE: That's a very exciting example, educating people to fulfill their potential as human beings rather than just to fill a job.

HOLLAND: Absolutely. In a history class, for example, the teacher will stop for a moment, and say, "What does that person teach us? What values does that teach us?" Or if a young student does something special, the teacher will say, "I recognize you have just done this." The idea is to honor those values, to honor the character-building aspect of the child.

MISHLOVE: I know, in ancient times, in the Roman world, for example, what little science they had, when it was taught, it was taught with the idea of, "What moral lesson can we draw?" from the things they were observing, floods and tornadoes, earthquakes and the like, volcanic activity, all of these things, to the ancient people, were there because they had something to teach us about the way we conduct ourselves.

HOLLAND: If we just teach history from the point of view of dates and names that's not a lesson at all -- not a lesson about life, not a lesson about the past, not a lesson for the future.

MISHLOVE: We're talking with Gail Bernice Holland, author of A Call for Connection. I'm Jeffrey Mishlove, host of Virtual U. We'll be back after these messages from WisdomRadio.

[Break #1]

MISHLOVE: Gail, for me, one of the most fascinating areas of the integral culture that I see emerging, is the relationship that is being uncovered between areas that oh, fifty or a hundred years ago were thought to be quite distinct. Spirituality and science.

HOLLAND: That's true. Science is verifying spirituality which is really intriguing. They've done studies that show that people who have spiritual values and believe in some aspect of God, are more likely to recover from an illness and are more likely to stay healthy.

There are some other very interesting things that are happening regarding understanding our consciousness. There are scientists who are now seriously considering that consciousness is primary, or in other words, it's causal. I interviewed Amit Goswami and Nobel Laureate Brian Josephson of Cambridge University and found they're willing to explore this possibility.

MISHLOVE: They're two physicists.

HOLLAND: I think what's exciting is that people of this stature are open-minded enough to be able to say that consciousness could be causal and then conduct research in this area. Twenty years ago this wouldn't have been possible.

MISHLOVE: It's interesting because in general, it seems as if science is based upon a metaphysical assumption of materialism, that ultimate reality is based on matter, and that mind, if it has any role at all, is sort of an epiphenomenon of matter. However, scientists acknowledge that metaphysical principles cannot be proven through the scientific method, it's an assumption, it's a starting point, and one could choose a different starting point, that mind is primary, and matter secondary.

Many cultures do that, particularly the Asian spiritual traditions take that point of view.

HOLLAND: The implications are extraordinary and that's what I'm interested in too. It's one thing to say that the mind is causal, but what does that mean for our lives? What does that mean for the way we behave?

Some of the research, for instance, focuses on prayer. Psychiatrist Elizabeth Targ at the California Pacific Medical Center in San Francisco is doing research on AIDS patents. She's having people pray for these AIDS patients, and also having healers who are not in the area, do distant healing.

Itís a double-blind study and the patients who are prayed for and have distant healing have

a better recovery rate than the control group. Dr. Targ is very excited about the preliminary findings.

But again, what does that mean if our consciousness can influence another person physically? And what do we do about that?

Interestingly, today I had Email for Scotland. This Email was travelling all around the world, and they were quoting some of the scientific research about how prayer can affect other people, and they were saying, "If that is true, then let us all pray for peace, right now."

They're convinced that if we, as human beings, can put our energy into this type of thinking and this type of behavior, then we can make a difference.

MISHLOVE: I encourage our listeners to hold peaceful thoughts, and have healing intention towards the global situation every day.

HOLLAND: That's true, and we should do that. What is interesting is that technology now allows us to think this way, too.

MISHLOVE: Yes. This knowledge means that we have a certain responsibility.

HOLLAND: Email and the Internet allow us to not only think globally but act globally ---instantly.


HOLLAND: If we are that interconnected from a technological point of view, we can start being interconnected from a consciousness point of view.

MISHLOVE: Indeed! It's nice to know, for those of us who appreciate the value of empirical data, that you can get empirical data that points to a reality different from the materialistic metaphysics upon which most of modern science is based. Not by virtue of research and testing, but by virtue of the historical way in which science evolved hundreds of years ago. It had to fight for its existence against the dogmatic religious establishments of that era.

HOLLAND: It's the research that's backing these ideas and these concepts. So you've got two things going hand in hand. Youíve got people absolutely fed up with a materialistic society, and people becoming spiritual. And that doesn't necessarily mean dogmatic in any way.

When I interviewed Archbishop Tutu, he said, "There is a spiritual movement," and he said it with a huge smile on his face. And he's absolutely right. There's this wave of spirituality, not necessarily connected to the churches.

And this wave of spirituality that is occurring is being backed by scientific research that is showing we're interconnected -- that our minds are far more powerful than we've ever thought.

MISHLOVE: I think that particular development is a fascinating cultural development, one that I love to follow, but there are many others, and we'll explore each of them during the coming segments, with Gail Bernice Holland. And we'll be back after these messages.

[Break #2]

MISHLOVE: We're back with Gail Bernice Holland, author of A Call for Connections, Solutions for Creating a Whole New Culture. It strikes me, when I think of one word that might unify all of the trends that exist toward higher consciousness, I'm reminded of the *Buddhist ideal of compassion. As I recall, the Buddhists say that there are many, many wonderful states of consciousness that we can attain, but the highest of these is compassion.

It seems that, if we're going to look at a trend in our culture that's worthy of taking note, it would have to do with the growth of compassion.

HOLLAND: The growth of compassion and understanding of compassion. One of the things that has stopped us in the past is that psychologists really did think that there was no such thing as altruism in our society -- which negates compassion in many ways.

They thought that humans only did things for others from a self-serving point of view. They thought that they only did things just because they were being forced to do it, or they got something from doing it, and they didn't really believe that they did things from pure altruism or from pure compassion for others.

But now research is showing that is totally not true. People do act purely from compassion. I think that is exciting, too. It's crazy it has taken us all this time to recognize that this is an important part of a human being.

MISHLOVE: As I recall my studies of psychology, it was Alfred Adler who came up with the idea of the Will toward Compassion. He's the same one who developed the idea of the Will to Power, that was his first contribution, and then later in his life he said, "Well, there's more than just the Will to Power, there's also the Will toward Altruism."

HOLLAND: Look at how many volunteers there are in the United States alone ñ the number is 93 million, I think,

MISHLOVE: That's practically half the population!

HOLLAND: That's the figure that I have.

MISHLOVE: That's even more than the transmodern cultural creatives do.

HOLLAND: That's what I had from my research. And also, I've got 60 pages in the back of the book listing "nonprofit" organizations.

MISHLOVE: And that is a tiny listing.

HOLLAND: I feel Iíve hardly touched it. So if you want to understand what is happening throughout the United States, know that people are working and volunteering their time on causes that they really care passionately about.

They're not getting money for it, they're working purely on their own, they're working long hours just trying to make a difference. And that in itself is extremely encouraging. I don't think people realize how many people are doing so many different projects on so many different levels.

MISHLOVE: Is it different now than it has been in past generations?

HOLLAND: I think it is. I don't know the numbers, but I believe the numbers are growing greatly -- again because we have the ability now to network with each other. I think there is this amazing urge right now to change things, because things aren't working.

My book shows what is working. What's important is to realize there are people who are volunteering their time, and also people who are working in regular jobs who are able to make a difference.

MISHLOVE: One of the issues around compassion and caring, what's sometimes called "knee-jerk liberalism" or "the do-gooders" of the world. Sometimes when we try to do good, we try to be helpful, if we're not really conscious, we end up causing more problems.

HOLLAND: That's true, too. I've seen it in many areas. We can dwell on that or we can dwell on the fact that we can also be very successful, and there are millions of examples. As a journalist, I've documented these examples over the years, and I know you have too. Yes, we can say, "Why do this?" or we can say, "It's absolutely crucial."

When it works, even if it's a small program, that small program needs publicity. Because if it is working, other people need to know about it so it can be replicated.

MISHLOVE: The Institute of Noetic Sciences, that you're involved with, offers a grant every year, an award, the Temple Prize for Altruism. People who are doing outstanding work in that field gets noticed, and their work gets a wider audience.

HOLLAND: That's really crucial. People need to understand that altruists are our heroes. Our heroes aren't necessarily the people in the movies who are doing these violent acts, or people who are getting tremendously wealthy. Our heroes are people in our neighborhood who have found a way to work for the community.

MISHLOVE: Do you have some favorite examples?

HOLLAND: I did some interviews for the Altruism Award this year, and one is a young girl, Amber. She started at eight years old to work with homeless people. She's now a teenager and spends her weekends giving meals to the homeless. On her birthday she also celebrates by giving gifts to the homeless. When other people ask her, "Why are you doing this?" She says, "Because when you volunteer, you get so much from it."

That's what I hear over and over again from the people who do these acts -- that in giving their love, in giving of themselves, the reward is tremendous. So it isn't sacrificing from that point of view. If more people realized the pleasure of giving, perhaps more people would be able to do this too.

MISHLOVE: Many years ago, I interviewed Ram Dass and his attitude toward compassion. He pointed out that if we're doing it out of pity or because we feel superior to those people we're helping, it's not as valid as if we're there to learn, and to allow them to give to us.

HOLLAND: That's right, it's a two-way street.

MISHLOVE: We'll be back with Gail Bernice Holland after these messages.

[Break #3]

MISHLOVE: In our last segment, Gail, we talked about people who are volunteering and who are serving out of compassion, and the important work that they do in so many different areas of life, another chapter in your book A Call for Connection deals with people who builds their careers, their professions, around serving society. Not just as volunteers, but as doctors, lawyers, as researchers, as other professionals.

HOLLAND: Business is changing in many ways. The health field -- the concept of holistic medicine and the fact that we have to look at the whole person -- has also influenced how we look at business. I will give you an example from the lawyers' point of view.

Lawyers have an extraordinarily high abuse rate and depression rate in their personal lives.Their profession is a very antagonistic, confrontational profession.

MISHLOVE: They're sort of like professional wrestlers

HOLLAND: Well, it's worse than that!

MISHLOVE: But they're doing it for real!

HOLLAND: They have to be hostile most of the time. They take that home to their wives, and it's paying a terrible price, not just in their personal lives, but in the way we view lawyers, and the whole profession.

Lawyers now are stopping and saying, "Look, there has to be another way." Recently an organization was formed called The International Alliance of Holistic Lawyers". Don't you love it?

MISHLOVE: I love it. And they happen to be aligned with a branch of my organization, The Intuition Network. We have The Intuitive Bar Association.

HOLLAND: That's wonderful. I also did an article about them and several other lawyers in my magazine, Connections, at the Institute of Noetic Sciences, and we got a tremendous response. And the Fetzner Institute is doing a study on healing and the law.

This is a movement that is just getting off the ground. Just as doctors managed to change their profession -- not all of them but enough that it made an impact -- these lawyers are very serious about introducing different ways of being able to handle problems so people can take responsibility for their actions, and see why problems occurred, and can also find different ways of resolving them -- non-confrontational ways.

It's very exciting what's happening in the field, and it's a reflection of what's happening throughout society -- this need to look at different ways of handling life so that it works for everybody.

MISHLOVE: Law is a very good place to start, because when you think of it, there's almost nothing in our experience that is not in some way affected by the law. The streets, the utilities, the housing constructions, everything physical, in one way or another, is affected by regulations and laws.

I think if lawyers are beginning to think holistically is a very encouraging sign.

HOLLAND: It's a very important sign. Instead of laughing at it, we should applaud them and hope that they will be very successful.

MISHLOVE: They certainly have my support, and you pointed out, other professions are also beginning to develop a holistic approach. There's the holistic nurses and the holistic doctors and environmentalists are beginning to think more and more in holistic terms.

HOLLAND: Another area that we need to stop dividing so much is the line between a family life and work life. There is an organization called The Families and Work Institute that's looking at this area. In certain offices you arenít supposed to talk about your personal life. The two areas were are totally separate.

Also, people are working such long hours. There's an organization called The Shorter Work Time Group. We have to ask ourselves: Why are we working these long hours? Again, are people working just to make money? What is important in our lives? That whole area is being studied far more because we've lost track of what is important.

MISHLOVE: One of the movements which I'm aware of, which I see as an antidote to this, is what's sometimes called "the experience economy". My wife, Jeanelle Barlow, is writing a new book which will be called Emotional Upgrades.

HOLLAND: I love it.

MISHLOVE: And she's suggesting that when people interact now in a business environment, they have much higher expectations than they have had in the past. They expect to be acknowledged as individuals. They expect to be able to be authentic, emotionally speaking. In the workplace.

Which doesn't mean dumping on people, but it does mean having a wider range of self-revelation and expression, and being able to have more discussion about their personal lives in the workplace, not just employees but customers as well, expect to be treated as individuals.

HOLLAND: That's very important.

MISHLOVE: Individuals on the path, so I think a movement in all areas of business. In customer service, employee relationships, in management training, that businesses today understand that we're in this enormously competitive international environment, consciousness, awareness, is a competitive asset. If you want to succeed, you have to have the best possible people and the best possible people are not people who can be alienated from their work or incomplete in the context of doing their work. Whole people.

HOLLAND: You have to be able to cultivate the best in them. If you cultivate the best in them, then you will get the type of employee that will be happy, content and willing to work.

MISHLOVE: That, to me, is one of the major -- I would almost think of it as -- revolutionary trends that we're witnessing now. Well, Gail Bernice Holland, we've nearly completed an hour of discussion. We'll be back for a little bit of wrap-up in a moment, and then we'll be back for another hour of discussion, after these messages.

HOLLAND: We've still got a lot to cover.

[Break #4]

MISHLOVE: ...Listeners, I trust, will be back for our second hour, but would you like to leave them with a thought to conclude our first hour of discussion.

HOLLAND: What I want people to realize is that a more compassionate culture is emerging. And that there are some wonderful projects that are occurring, idealistic concepts turned into pragmatic reforms, programs that can easily be replicated. Far too many people are cynical and they need to understand what is working, and that we can truly make a difference in the world.

MISHLOVE: And the information is here, in your book, A Call for Connection, Solutions for Creating a Whole New Culture, not only your journalistic summary of these things, but as you pointed out earlier, about 60 pages worth of organizations that are right out there on the leading edge, paving the way for setting role models that we all need.

HOLLAND: It doesn't matter what you're interested in, there's an organization that can match your interest. So if you have an urge to help society, an urge to make a difference, there are ways that you can readily do it.

MISHLOVE: When we return, at six and a half minutes after the hour, we'll cover many other areas. We'll look at the environment, we'll look at healing, we'll look at education, and see what are some of the exciting leading-edge developments with Gail Bernice Holland. I'm Jeffrey Mishlove, host of Virtual U.


MISHLOVE: ... My guest tonight, Gail Bernice Holland, is the author of A Call for Connection, Solutions for Creating a Whole New Culture, and she's also the Editor of Connections, the magazine of The Institute of Noetic Sciences in Sausalito, California.

Gail, why don't we talk a little bit about noetics. It's really quite a seminal organization, and an unusual one, I think. When we think about solutions for a whole new culture, Noetics comes to mind as a model organization.

HOLLAND: It's a nonprofit organization. It was founded by astronaut Edgar Mitchell 25 years ago. We've just celebrated our 25th Anniversary. He was the sixth man to walk on the moon and when he returned to the Earth he had one of those moments as he was looking at the Earth: He experienced a different form of consciousness -- a connection with the whole planetary system.

And as a scientist, he said, "There's something more to our consciousness than I have been taught, and we need to conduct research in this area." I had the pleasure of meeting Dr. Mitchell 25 years ago, just as he was forming this Institute. I have great respect for his initiative.

Willis Harmon was the President of the Institute and he was a futurist at Stanford Research Institute. The Institute is very well respected throughout the world. We fund research into human consciousness and healing, and different aspects of our consciousness that can help us understand how we can have a more just, sustainable and compassionate culture.

What interests me is that we have 50,000 members internationally. As a staff of about thirty we ourselves are not going to make a huge difference. The people who are going to make this huge difference are our 50,000 members. We have extraordinary members. One of the reasons I started this magazine Connections for the Institute, is to write about what the members are doing. It's so inspiring to see and hear and listen to these individuals and what they're doing.

MISHLOVE: I had the privilege of being at The Noetics Institute for two years myself, when I first became President of The Intuition Network in 1993. We merged, for two years, and my time as Noetics was like an incubation period before The Intuition Network established itself as an independent nonprofit [organization].

I was struck by the fact that this is an organization very much in the spirit of your book. Looking at leading-edge cultural activities that are on the frontiers of expanding human mind and spirit. So The Intuition Network fit in. But at the same time, there was a project on meditation, and there was a project on the leading edges of biology, on metaphysics and science, and on healing, on consciousness research and on consciousness in business, all going on within this one organization.

HOLLAND: We are definitely covering cutting-edge research. However, if we were just covering the research that would be one thing, but our goal is to understand our consciousness, to understand all ways of knowing so that we can lead a better life, and so that we can build a better society.

So it's not just understanding the human consciousness for its own sake. Willis Harmon often talked about the "implications and applications". What do we do with this knowledge? What does it mean for how we are live? That's what's exciting. The more we understand ourselves, the more we realize our potential, then we can understand how we can make a difference in society.

MISHLOVE: That seems to be what it's all about. It's a very exciting organization and I will remind our listeners that if you want to connect with that Institute, you can link to it from my website, www.mishlove.com, as well as many other organizations and many other guests.

I'd also like to remind you that if you'd like to call in, and talk to Gail Bernice Holland, you can do so on our toll-free line, (800) 655-2112. Or you can send us Email at virtual@williamjames.com.

Let's talk about the environmental movement, Gail. It seems to me that the whole science of ecology has wholeness implicit as one of its assumptions. In a way, ecological science is a template of a holistic science.

HOLLAND: And we haven't understood that for a long time. Weíve segregated everything, but biology in particular is now realizing we have to look at the whole picture.

In addition, we have seen so such divisiveness over environmental issues. People are saying that we have only so many years before a catastrophe will happen. Other people say, "That's nonsense. You're just crying wolf."

People aren't acting because everybody's quarreling about what is going to happen and what isn't. In Sweden, Karl-Henrick Robert started this program called The Natural Step. He looked at the fact that people were arguing and bickering over environmental issues, and he compared it to firemen watching a house burn down, and sitting on the sidelines wondering whether it was a big fire or a little fire, how long it would take to burn down, or whether the house could be saved -- and not doing anything, or acting.

So he got scientists together and said, "Can we come to a consensus? Are there specific facts we can all agree upon? " After many drafts and many meetings, these top scientists did agree on certain aspects of the environment that indeed were being threatened.

They passed this information around to the different universities, and publicized it through the media. This Natural Step process was then able to get corporations and universities to start acting.

This process has now been brought to the United States by Paul Hawken. He's using the same collaborative process to get businesses to act. Again, we can spend so much time arguing about problems, but if we can come to an agreement, if we can learn to build a consensus and realize we all have to start working together to save the environment, then progress can take place.

MISHLOVE: And this is called The Natural Step?

HOLLAND: The Natural Step. Paul Hawkins brought it to the United States.

MISHLOVE: Paul Hawkin is the person who wrote some books on entrepreneuring.

HOLLAND: That's right, he is a well-known author.

MISHLOVE: I think he had a PBS TV series, and he's the President of Smith & Hawkin Company.

HOLLAND: He's a very respected businessman and author and this process he's using is making a difference right now.

MISHLOVE: What are some of the other leading-edge areas in the environmental movement, things that really impressed you?

HOLLAND: Another thing that's happening is there's a National Religious Partnership working to save the environment. This alliance is trying to reach their congregations, using their own influence to say, "Let's work together, and help on these issues."

MISHLOVE: That's very important. I know when Vice President Al Gore wrote his book on the environment, he criticized the religious organizations for not taking a leading role here. I suppose many of them didn't know what to do because environmental problems aren't in the Bible!

HOLLAND: And you also have individuals like Jane Goodall, who started a program called "Roots and Shoots". She started this program in Tanzania, East Africa and it's now being introduced in schools throughout the world. Jane Goodall is the scientist who studied the chimpanzees, and she is now trying to teach young people through this Roots & Shoots program to understand and respect all of Nature. She hopes young people will connect with the environment, understand the importance of the environment, learn

compassion for animals, compassion for our world. And if you can start with young students, then maybe we won't have so many environmental problems later on.

MISHLOVE: What you're saying reminds me of the eco-psychology movement led by people such as Theodore Roszak, who are suggesting that the environmental movement cannot succeed by preaching at people and telling everybody, you're misbehaving, that it's more important to get underneath the causes for the environmental degradation, and he says, one of these is our self-image, that we see ourselves as separate from Nature, apart from Nature, rather than intimately connected, so he's developed psychological concepts to show people what an intimate part of Nature we are.

Every molecule of our body is produced in the explosion of distant stars. We're part of a vast dynamic natural system.

HOLLAND: As we understand our interconnectedness with each other, from one human to another - which is what is happening to us -- that goes to the other level of our interconnectedness with the whole universe. That's part of the spiritual movement right now.

There's this awesome feeling of when you look at the sky you understand why we have to preserve this world.

MISHLOVE: Yes. As a child, I remember being with friends, and talking about How do you prove the existence of God? Somebody would say, Look at the sky! How can you not look at the sky and [not] know that God exists?

When I'm with people from the Institute of Noetic Sciences, I find something very interesting, and that is, they're very very interested in spirituality, but when you ask them about religion, very few of them are religious. People in Noetics, in particular, not exclusively, but largely, are people who are searching for a common spirituality, a universal spirituality that is independent of organized religion.

HOLLAND: That's probably true. We've talked about Natural Step process -- building a consensus to help the environment -- but a collaborative process is also happening in religion.

Bishop William Swing, head of the Episcopal Diocese in California, has started a United Religions Initiative, and I'd like to talk about that after we return.

MISHLOVE: Yes, we'll come back to that after our break. I've been talking with Gail Bernice Holland, author of A Call for Connections and Editor of Connections, the magazine of The Institute of Noetic Sciences. I'm Jeffrey Mishlove, host of Virtual U.

[Break #6]

MISHLOVE: Gail, one of the chapters in your book, A Call for Connections, is called "Living as a Work of Art", and it reminds me that more and more people are getting in touch with their inner artist, and they're getting in touch with the art of living.

HOLLAND: The arts have been one of the things that have been totally left out of society. But before we get into that area, I'd like to get back to the United Religions.

MISHLOVE: Oh! Yes, indeed! That's fascinating too because I often think that religion is an art.

HOLLAND: Religion is an art. An art of getting along _ _ _ _ _.

MISHLOVE: All the great religions, with their myths, with their paintings, with their music, in effect, they are like ganglions of artistic complexes.

HOLLAND: They are, indeed. What I think is the main concern, and always has been are the conflicts between the different religions, and the wars that have happened in the name of religion. If you just look at what's happening in Yugoslavia, you understand that totally. Different cultures, different religions, different beliefs.

MISHLOVE: And in Ireland.

HOLLAND: And in Ireland. Everywhere, throughout time.

MISHLOVE: And in India. And in Israel.

HOLLAND: It's incredible, the deaths and the horror that have occurred in the name of religion. We have to look at why that has happened, and how we can stop it. If we're going to talk about changes in the world, one of the areas where we need to start is with religion.

MISHLOVE: It makes me, frankly, much as I love all the religions of the world, and I truly do, I've spent a life studying the world's great religions, I'm still very sympathetic to John Lennon's song in which he says, "Imagine no religion".

HOLLAND: Or imagine, at least, the religions getting along. So what has happened is that Bishop Swing of San Francisco has started a United Religions Initiative. When you look at the problems that are occurring in the world, believes Bishop Swing, part of the problem is that the different religious leaders do not talk to each other on a regular basis.

He is now trying to bring these leaders together.

MISHLOVE: Like a United Nations.

HOLLAND: Yes, itís partly modeled on that concept. People can even come together and communicate on a regular basis through the Internet. The idea is not to start preaching to one another, or to start trying to persuade people that their religion is better than the other religion, but to look at what all the religions have in common.

The bottom line. What are we all trying to do? If you look at the bottom line of every religion, there is indeed an incredible amount of goodness. Layers piled on top are the layers that man has put there.

If you look at the layers of goodness and start with those layers and then just say, "How can we work together?" and not just "How can we get along?' Take the process one step further with the question: How can we as moral leaders try and help direct social issues and stop these types of confrontations in particular?

MISHLOVE: There have been ecumenical movements, and the World Council of Religions and various religious conferences over the years. How is this different?

HOLLAND: Because the conferences will meet every year or maybe once every five years.

MISHLOVE: Or once every hundred years.

HOLLAND: Or once every hundred years, as The World Parliament of Religions did. But the idea today is to have a regular meeting place, regular talks, so that issues don't get out of hand. You stay in communication. That is what's really important.

MISHLOVE: And is that happening?

HOLLAND: It is beginning to happen. It is a movement that is just getting off the ground. They have several million people involved. They do not have the clout yet, they do not have the built-in momentum yet, but it's another idea that is working.

MISHLOVE: The funny thing about, I guess it's the archetypal myth of the fighting brothers, Cain and Abel, [is] that the religions that are most hostile to each other are often the ones that are really closest to each other in their outlook. You have the Shiite and the Suni Muslems, or you have the Catholics and the Protestants. You have different Protestant groups, you have different Catholic groups, and within Judaism, the different branches of Judaism are quite hostile to each other at times.

HOLLAND: But the hostility is taught, Jeffrey. So many times in countries that I've been in, they teach the children this hostility. And you grow up with it. So what we have to do is teach brotherhood, or teach another way, and that, I think, has to be done and can be done.

I think we have to overcome the stumbling block that we "can't do it." Because of the Internet itís easier to exchange ideas from country to country. We can stop the patterns of hostility and hatred and distrust far more quickly if we address the problems more quickly.

MISHLOVE: The Internet is a very powerful tool. Electronic media such as we're now using and sharing with our audience. But it strikes me, Gail, frankly, that various hate groups, various groups that spread divisiveness and spread intolerance and spread anger and hostility are using the same media. They react just as quickly. They're able to mobilize their people just as rapidly.

HOLLAND: They can, they do.

MISHLOVE: They do!

HOLLAND: The point is, what do we do? We can say, "They're doing it so what's the point of us doing it?"

MISHLOVE: What I'm wondering is, it just becomes, they're doing their thing, we're doing our thing. Are we failing to reach deeper? Isn't there some kind of inner discipline that is really required in terms of confronting the shadow?

HOLLAND: I think you're probably correct, Jeffrey, and I think that we will have to tackle all of this. We're just at the point of understanding these issues. What is encouraging is that at least there are organized efforts to do this now. On a very high level, with our leaders.

MISHLOVE: There have always been leaders who teach compassion, who teach tolerance, and I think we're at a point in human history where we have to do more than just teach it. We have to live it, and radiate it.

HOLLAND: Absolutely. I couldn't agree more.

MISHLOVE: We'll be back after these messages.

[Break #7]

MISHLOVE: We're back with Gail Bernice Holland, and now we're going to get into the area of living life as art.

HOLLAND: Throughout my book I keep talking about what is missing in life -- the need for Wholeness -- and the arts are definitely an area we keep leaving out in our society. And I want to read something from my book.

"The arts are the open passageway to our hearts and souls, the direct route we can take to decipher the mysterious and ambiguous, and the direct means to express all that needs a voice and a vision. Yet we've had to plead for the schools to include the arts in their curricula. We've also had to listen to others tell us that they aren't creative, can't draw, paint, write, play an instrument, carry a tune, can't even dance.

"Not only do too many of us deny our own creativity, many can't appreciate the creativity of others; they haven't been taught how to comprehend the subtleties and complexities of a story, poem, or painting. Worst of all, we don't mourn this loss."

And that's what I think is amazing. The fact that the arts can even be left out of the schools, and that people do not understand the importance of the arts. In other cultures, we have understood this, but in this culture the arts are "entertainment". Paintings are to be put on the wall. They're not a spiritual connection with our souls.

People truly do not dance and do not sing because they feel they can't. And what a loss that is. What is happening now is that research is revealing the incredible importance of the arts as a way of not only expressing ourselves and our visions but also as a way of becoming more whole.

MISHLOVE: You mean, fewer schools are teaching the arts?

HOLLAND: Fewer schools ñ and yet research shows that if you teach young children music at an early age, it can expand their mental ability. It's actually related to how they do math. Now we wouldn't drop math from the schools but we've dropped the arts ñ

which, ironically, can help math.

MISHLOVE: I recently interviewed Dr. Michael Samuels, who is working in the movement called "Art Therapy", and something called "Art as Healing" which is to bring artists into hospitals, and there are now hundreds of hospitals which are putting artists on their staffs, to work with patients!

HOLLAND: They are. The arts are being used as a healing technique with patients in hospitals, and in therapy. Through the arts we can have direct communication to what we cannot express verbally. As much as I am a verbal person, there are many things that can only be expressed through movement, or through drawing. If we're going to capture that wholeness, that's what we need to do.

MISHLOVE: There is a sense, and I think a most important sense, in which each person has an artistic genius. Not just the artists.

HOLLAND: How often have you sung and somebody said, "Oh, you're a little flat!" I know, I've been told that!

MISHLOVE: It happens from time to time but you know, when I'm alone, by myself, I love to sing.

HOLLAND: I love to sing, I love to dance, and it's incredibly important that you do so, and are encouraged to do so.

MISHLOVE: Every ten years or so, I actually create an artistic production. There's one on the wall right here, and our listeners who are clairvoyant can tune in to it. It's important to me to live a life in which, if I don't create art, I'm surrounded by art.

HOLLAND: I think it's important to everybody because if we leave that part of ourselves out, we're leaving out an expression for understanding life. The artist has always been clairvoyant in many respects. The artist is the visionary. The artist tells us the possibilities of life. And so we should all be artists.

MISHLOVE: Artists are technicians of the sacred. They deal with the life of the soul and that's why I think they're effective in the healing context. It's now well recognized in the medical community that just having artists around a hospital is good for the well being of that hospital.

I'm sorry we're losing that in our educational system.

HOLLAND: Research is showing the importance of the arts. Educators are beginning to understand that maybe they are losing something important when they cut the arts.

MISHLOVE: It was partially, I suppose, as a result of budget cuts, the feeling that something had to go.

HOLLAND: Partly because of budget cuts, and partly because of priorities. It's part of this materialistic society again. What are we teaching our children? As long as we keep saying that what we have to teach our children is just math and English, and ignore what makes us fully human, we'll leave the arts out.

But once we start understanding the importance of the arts as an integral part of how we live our lives, then the arts will be returned to education.

MISHLOVE: I remember some years back, there was a big debate about art for the sake of art vs. art for the sake of a larger social movement, like art to support the socialist countries, and the socialist vision, or art for social reform. Where do you stand on that?

HOLLAND: Insofar as expressing art?

MISHLOVE: You were talking about all these leading-edge cultural movements. Right? Do you see that art has a role to play?

HOLLAND: I think the artist has always had a role to play. It's the individual artist who's been calling out for years to become more aware of opening up our consciousness.

So the individual artist is always crucial.

MISHLOVE: I know Theodore Roszak in his work in eco-psychology works with his wife Betty Roszak to create poetry and art that helps to imbue that feeling of interconnectedness with all of Nature, and it's very much related to his theories of eco-psychology.

HOLLAND: Yes, art can express what science is trying to tell us.

MISHLOVE: We'll be back after these messages from WisdomRadio.


MISHLOVE: This is our final segment with Gail Bernice Holland. We've talked about so many different areas --religion, the environment, the arts, education, health, science, business -- all of these areas are ones in which there is a movement towards wholeness, a movement towards human potential. I think there's a sense that people in each of these areas want to be and do the best that they can.

Now let's talk about putting it all together. I think most of us feel in our lives more connected to one of these areas than others, and yet we also recognize a need to live holistically.

HOLLAND: We need to live holistically, and I think we need to stop feeling so separated in our fields, and such a specialist in each field. If there's a way we can start reading and understanding what's happening in other areas, it would help our own field.

So we must learn about not only the problems that are occurring in other areas but the solutions. Because the solutions that are occurring in other fields could possibly be adapted to our own work.

MISHLOVE: There is a strong tendency for the various disciplines, even subdisciplines, not to talk to each other, if you're in a big field like medicine. You're really mostly discoursing with the people in your narrow specialty, and there are other specialties where you don't know what's going on at all, because we're in the era of information explosion.

It's hard enough to keep up in your narrow area.

HOLLAND: "It's hard enough to keep up in your narrow area" and it's also accepted that you're supposed to specialize, you're supposed to just focus on your discipline.

If you and I, as interviewers, can absorb what's happening in different fields, and get excited about what's happening in other fields, surely other people can do the same thing.

MISHLOVE: Well, we're professional generalists.

HOLLAND: "We're professional generalists"--- but other people can also open up their eyes and see the connections, see the solutions, and see the positive changes that are occurring.

Think about how holistic medicine has influenced lawyers to initiate an international alliance of holistic lawyers. See how the changes in medicine have actually influenced business, and helped us understand the importance of the mind, body and spirit. And realize you can't educate children without tapping into their hearts. In other words, if the emotions aren't involved in education, the mind is not likely to be either. Realize that the best in human nature can be developed in every single field.

MISHLOVE: It sounds to me, Gail, as if you're saying two different things. On one level, it seems as if the message is one of time management: to take some time to be a generalist and some time for your specialty. That's sort of on the professional level.

But on a deeper level, what I hear you saying is that when we get in touch with our own heart, with our own soul, with our own spirit, with the depths of our being, that then we are able to apprehend the soul level, the heart level, the spirit level of wherever we turn our attention.

HOLLAND: And it's necessary to have that aspect. Not to say, we understand that the heart and human spirit are involved in our health, but they're not involved in business. Somehow that doesn't matter in business, or somehow that doesn't matter in education.

MISHLOVE: It used to be the case,

HOLLAND: But we have to realize it matters in every single field, in every single part of our lives. And, more importantly, these areas are changing because of that realization. In all these fields we are understanding our wholeness and utilizing those aspects of ourselves far more than we've ever done, and that's what's really exciting.

MISHLOVE: That's a very hopeful message. It gives me good reason to feel optimistic and even proud of the human race.

HOLLAND: We have a long way to go, Jeffrey, but there are many positive things that are occurring. There are idealistic concepts, there are pragmatic reforms, they can easily be replicated, and we're at a turning point in our culture. We can keep going or go back. I think we're going to keep going.

MISHLOVE: Because of the awesome power that we now have with our science and technology, power that no generation in humanity has really had before us, it's incumbent upon us to learn how to wield that power more wisely. Because the risks are greater.

HOLLAND: The risks are greater for our environment. We really are at a turning-point. And the risks are greater for our children. We can play "catch-up" with adults, but the knowledge that we have right now needs to be taught to our children. That is the most important thing. The changes that are happening in education are probably the most important changes.

MISHLOVE: And we've just barely touched on education.

HOLLAND: I know.

MISHLOVE: Unfortunately, we're just about out of time now. Gail, I hope to have you back again some time. This has been a real pleasure, and I know that your work on Connections is an ongoing thing, because in addition to your book there is the Connections magazine. So I hope you'll come back again.

HOLLAND: I'd love to.

MISHLOVE: Thank you so much. We'll be back to wrap up our program after these messages from WisdomRadio.

[Break #9]

MISHLOVE: Well, Gail, we have about a minute left. It's been a joy being with you this evening, and I truly extend an invitation to you to return often to Virtual U. Perhaps there's a final thought you'd like to leave with our listeners.

HOLLAND: I would just like to encourage our listeners to turn away from being cynical. I see far too much of that, and for good reason. As a member of the media, I'm still very much aware that the media just presents the news that is rather tiresome and horrific. But what I'd like people to do is understand the wonderful projects that are occurring throughout the world and w-hat is working and what can be done and our possibilities.

MISHLOVE: Each one of us can make a difference at any moment, by how we focus our attention.

HOLLAND: Absolutely.

MISHLOVE: Thank you, Gail Bernice Holland, and goodnight to all. We wish you well.

[End of WisdomRadio Show, Virtual U, of April 6, 1999]

Transcribed by Joyce Rosenfield

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