Phone Interviews of Salon Participants

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1. What's at the heart of this subject that makes it so fascinating and important to you?

2. When did you fall in love with the subject of evolution, emergence; what influenced your interest? Tell me about the event, or person, or idea or whatever mix of them all over time affected you, setting you up for this passion.

3. What do you value most about yourself as a contributor to the field of evolution, emergence? What gifts do you see yourself bringing to the salon?

4a. If your highest expectations for this salon were met and it had a truly profound impact on the world, what would be different ten years from now? Imagine you're in 2015 and tell me what you see.

4b: Now, from your viewpoint in 2015, reflecting on the salon held ten years ago in May 2005, what did you and others do that contributed so much to how all this turned out?

Please take a few minutes when you are finished to send a short summary to Connie at . She will post your response on this page. Here are some questions you can use to organize your thoughts, if you wish:

1. Was there a story or quote that stood out for you in this interview? If so, please share it. (You can share more than one, if you'd like.).

2. What surprised, challenged, inspired, and/or delighted you about the interview?

3. Would you like to do another interview? Do you have any other thoughts about what's next?

Juanita Brown & Michael Dowd

Michael's report:

These pre-salon calls are a wonderful way to begin the synergistic work of the salon and build excitement and anticipation!

My call with Juanita was relaxed and thoroughly stimulating. We discovered, among other things, that we both had a passion for helping ordinary people embrace big ideas and act on them in ways that benefit the whole, nourishing themselves in the process. I was especially impressed with Juanita's down-to-earthness (her primary spiritual teachers have been birds) and her gifts and extensive experience in making visible the power of conversation as a core evolutionary process.

The most memorable quote of hers came when we discussed the last question — the one that asked us to look back from 2015 and imagine what happened at the Hacienda in 2005 that helped make such a difference over the last ten years. In response, Juanita said, "We developed friendships and had a really, really great conversation, one that was so alive that we couldn't help but 'go forth and multiply.'"

Russ Genet & John Stewart

Hi John,

Fun talk! And I so much look forward to talking with you in person. We are supposed to report, so here is my fast report:

Very interesting that we were both struck by Desmond Morris' The Naked Ape. A fun, early evolutionary look at humanity. And of course de Chardin. As I mentioned, Harlow Shapley's Of Stars and Men was influential in my teenage years.

I was struck that we both thought, early on, that evolution could supply a universal explanation of everything -- how it all came to be.

David Sloan Wilson's book is the best I've seen on the cultural evolution of religion. I must admit that I see religion and spirituality as a cultural evolutionary phenomena.

We both seem to have an interest in planetary organization and, logically, at larger more cosmic levels eventually. As an astronomer I always like the cosmic angle.

You mentioned world governance several times. I can relate my experiences with the Student World Assembly. With the advantage of 20/20 hindsight, we should have invited Paul Raynault to the Salon. Michael, is it too late? A few people have dropped out, perhaps we can stuff a few back in?

We probably disagree somewhat on to what extent science has tackled nonlinear and complex systems, as opposed to being in a total linear, reductionist mode. I think the latter is mainly a red herring tossed out by nonscientists. As you pointed out, scientists are an intuitive lot even if their formal papers sound pretty linear.

You would enjoy the book, Not by Miracles Alone, on universal Darwinism and many wonderful examples.

I look forward to the exchange between you and Pete Richerson. Should be fun to listen to.

Finally, as I mentioned, luckily for all concerned, Connie quickly killed any ideas I had of a typical science paper session (and I've willingly gone along with doing something different). So we'll mix the spiritual and touchy-feely with the scientific and see what pops out. Should be every so much fun.

All the best,


Connie Barlow & Tom Atlee

Connie's report:

1. Please share a standout story or quote.

Tom's "highest expectations for ten years from now" include that:

A. The evolutionary relevance of events, policies, technologies, etc. would be a major subject of political decision-making.

B. People with wealth and power would use those tools for furthering the evolutionary shift, rather than for personal aggrandizement or for simply ameliorating the human suffering and ecological damage that result from the status quo.

2. What surprised, challenged, inspired, and/or delighted you about the interview?

I was surprised to discover that what Tom Atlee valued most about his perspective/work was not how I pictured his contribution. The theory of co-intelligence, particularly how intelligence has evolved in individuals and communities throughout the evolutionary journey, are what he most wanted to share; yet, as I had already spent many years understanding evolutionary dynamics and academic contributions in that realm, what I thought most important were the exciting and novel applications Tom is making to diverse human groups, grounded in the theory.

I was delighted to discover that the works of Julian Huxley (the author who has influenced me the most) were part of his mother's personal library. Also, that Tom and I were so in tune on the importance of "emergence" in all situations that we both were disinclined to specify WHAT we hoped might emerge at the conference; rather, we were excited that surely much would.

Overall, I was surprised and inspired by how much the "interview" was more like a very meaty conversation, and grateful to have "gotten to know" Tom in an intellectual and heart way.

Tom's report:

Environmentalists care about nature, but few of them see it in evolutionary terms. As an "evolutionary emergentist" Connie sees her task as waking the environmental movement — and, ultimately, society — to an awareness of the great deep-time Story of Evolution (in which we are potential heroes) and to an appreciation of evolutionary dynamics and a personal mystical immersion in emergent evolutionary reality. For this she weaves together science and spirit, ritual and activism — and she particularly loves working with kids, who (she finds) really get it and therefore may grow up to be profoundly influential in society's evolution. As she so evocatively put it: "What would emerge in consciousness if you were raising people who knew they were stardust, that the stars were their ancestors, and that they had a heroic role to play in the future on Earth?" She hopes we in this Evolutionary Salon will see ourselves as part of an amazing community, and that we will trust and thrive in the mystery of emergent co-intelligence.

Connie's vision for 2015 includes the following: Evolution would be taught in every church in North America. Striving for monetary wealth and security would be the lowest item on the list of priorities in American opinion polls. The sixth great mass extinction would officially be declared over with. The drug makers making antidepressants would go out of business. And kids would be thriving in all realms of outdoor play, community involvement, technology, etc..

Connie and I found a strong connection both in M. Waldrop's book COMPLEXITY (which was a breakthrough document for both of us) and in the fact that she sees Julian Huxley as her guiding philosopher, where my mother was a dedicated fan of Julian as well as the other famous Huxleys (Thomas Henry, Aldous, and Laura). I loved Connie's language of wilderness as "self-willed land". Connie also opened my eyes to other thinkers who are thinking some of the key ideas in my own work — including Karl Popper's view of intelligence as internalized evolution. I definitely want to learn more from her about these people.

Peggy Holman & Michael Dowd

Peggy's Report:

My interview with Michael Dowd was great fun. I was delighted by how, from very different life experiences and fields, we have come to some very similar insights about evolution/emergence.

I was impressed by the work he is doing — going into evangelical environments with a story of evolution that they actually hear. It gives me hope that someone who sees the powerful implications of emergence has meaningful connection with people who are so different from me. (And such a political force in the U.S. right now.)

A quote from Michael:
"I see myself as an evangelist of this perspective, scientifically accurate, my focus isn't on the details, it's on the broad strokes, communicating them to liberate & fund so that they are inspired to co-create a life-giving world view. I call myself an evangelical by sharing a story of good news and hope while not ignoring the bad news, the break downs, that are catalysts of creativity."

The interview makes me curious about who else is coming and what perspectives they bring.

I was struck that our stories had common world views; that we each saw evolution/emergence in both scientific and spiritual terms.

Both of our stories brought out the importance of conflict or disonance in creating openings for something new to emerge, that what is usually resisted, when it is embraced is actually quite productive for creating ideas and relationships.

Michael's Report:

Peggy and I had our pre-salon phone conversation back in early January and, unfortunately, I didn't take any notes. So all I'm left with now (mid-April) is the awareness that I thoroughly enjoyed our conversation, was delighted by our similar trajectories and shared values, and found myself thinking, "Wow, I already love this woman and I've not even met her yet!"

Barbara Marx Hubbard & Peggy Holman

Barbara's Report:

I very much enjoyed the conversation with Peggy Holman.

We experienced a real meeting of minds. I was touched when we both shared our spiritual experience of the evolutionary story as important in our lives. We spoke of our desire to develop a new language and place the new meme of our capacity to evolve consciously into the larger global mind and heart.

I especially liked both of our passionate statements of what we might look back on 10 years from now as our accomplishment.

Peggy said: "We created the most profound map of the territory that draws people in. A Map of the collective dynamics of emergence."

We both promised to bring our maps and to share them at the Salon.

I saw that within ten years this group would form a "strange attractor" to draw the large number of people who want to activate their spiritual, social and scientific capacities for the common good beyond the limits of the current box of Liberal and Conservative, Religious and Secular. I saw this group developing, eventually, a larger gathering that would bring the evolutionary story powerfully into this suffering and chaotic world as a process of participation and hope.... we become "an island of coherence in a sea of social chaos."

I look forward to the evolutionary salon with great anticipation.

Peggy's Report:

The experience was a treat! There were a number of quotes, I caught a few:

  • "Whenever you create social synergy, you always get the unexpected."
  • "Evolution is contantly creating crises leading to greater freedom."
  • "What made me fall in love with evolution: I was a spiritual being brought up in an agnostic house. When I discovered some impulse that didn‰t have to be called God, that was the beginning for me."
  • Without a spiritual base, social change isn't sufficient.

    I was quite struck by how much similarity we share in world view! As I listened to Barbara, I kept thinking, "she just said what I would have said only much more articulately."

    It seems that we are both map makers and agreed to bring our maps. And this is an invitation for others to do the same.

    I was challenged by the boldness of Barbara's image for the impact of the conference: In 10 years, by 2015, we have catalyzed an awakening that is drawing people from every discipline — health, education, science & technology, etc. — into a world view that guides us. This group would be so excited about the potential of our participation in social, spiritual, and scientific evolution, that we‰d catalyze an uprising as a true alternative to religion. We plant a new meme in the global mind.

    Michael Dowd & Jay Earley

    Michael's report:

    My conversation with Jay was a wonderful experience. We talked for about an hour and the time passed very quickly. Before we each responded in turn to the suggested questions, we shared a few key aspect of our personal and family stories with each other, which was quite a bonding experience. I resonated with the value he placed on evolution, personal and social transformation, psychology, and spirituality, and found myself wanting to learn more about the Diamond approach (his spiritual path) and Internal Family Systems Therapy (a cutting edge psychotherapeutic approach he's involved with).

    We discovered that we've been inspired by some of the same people: Duane Elgin, Ken Wilber, and (most recently) John Stewart, among others. I enthusiastically recommended Robert Wright's book Nonzero: The Logic of Human Destiny (which Bill Clinton was evangelistic about during his last year in office), and Joel de Rosnay's international best-selling book, The Symbiotic Man: A New Understanding of the Organization of Life and Vision of the Future. I asked Jay to send me a copy of his book, Transforming Human Culture: Social Evolution and the Planetary Crisis, which I'm greatly looking forward to reading.

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