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About the blog

This blog is about both scientific, societal/political, and yoga-related issues - individually and considered as different aspects of the same problem/solution. A longer description is found in the first blog entry, and all old posts are found in a structured way here. The blog is an extension of my main home pages and Twitter: @gunnarcedersund

The unquencheable fear of security hunting: lessons from a Christmas Carol

from fear to love Posted on Mar 20, 2012 22:24

One of the things I really love is to have a more zoomed-out look at our culture, to see what we can learn – and change – about our cultural myths, since it is these myths that underlie all our other decisions.

On this, I want to re-post a comment from facebook, which I made a few months ago. It was after watching a wonderful filmatization of the musical version of Charles Dicken’s “A Christmas Carol”. This is the classic story where an old greedy geezer, Ebenezer Scrooge, gets a flash of self-awareness, when he on Christmas eve is visited by the three ghosts: of Christmases past, of Christmases present, and of Christmases yet to be. What makes this, and so many other similar stories so engaging is the stark contrasts, and the evoluation of character. It is because everything is so dark in Scrooge’s life, and in his heart, that the opening of his heart is so beautiful. It is because he sees life as he had forgotten how to, that the re-awakening into caring again is such a strong experience. It is a bit like Martin Luther King said, in his last speech (called “I’ve been to the Mountain Top“): “Only when it is dark enough can you see the stars.” Or another classical attitude is this: condemn not evil, but be a light unto it.

In this picture, to the left we see a young and still vibrant Scrooge dancing with his
sweetheart Emily (Jennifer Love Hewitt) on the night when they got engaged. To the right we see
old geezer Scrooge (Kelsey Grammer, aka Fraiser) reliving the memory, through the graze of the “Ghost
of Christmas past”, who stands behind. This is the scene where old
Ebenezer’s heart starts responding to things again – a truly wonderful

However, the scene I really wanted to show you is the following:
This is a little bit later in to the same movie, when Emily is breaking up the engagement. She says that he only loves his gold. He says that he is collecting all the money to keep them both safe and secure. She replies
that she never wanted anything but his love.

misunderstanding says something very profound about the most common
mistake there is – and which is very much affecting our world
also today. An unsoundly cautious search for safety and security will
almost always lead you astray, and away from love and freedom. We see it
in all the recent surveilance laws that are poisoning our democracy so
much these days: they are very often argued for in terms of “increased
security”. Base a decision on fear, and the search for security, and it
will almost always lead you wrong. Base a decision on the search for
freedom, *true freedom*, and it will almost always lead you right.

This particular trend we are seeing right now is of course not new. My
favority quote on the topic is probably by Ben Frankling, the ingenious
founding father of the US declaration of independence: “Those who would
give up Essential Liberty to purchase a little Temporary Safety, deserve
neither Liberty nor Safety [and will lose both]”

Vision for this blog & yoga in general Posted on Mar 20, 2012 15:55

recently had a commercial where they celebrated some of the geniuses of our
time: Einstein, Martin Luther King, Mahatma Gandhi, Pablo Picasso, etc (link). The ad
said that all of these have been viewed as misfits, rebels, [sometimes even
terrorists], and that they have had no respect for the status quo. The narrator
also says that you can glorify or vilify these people, but you cannot ignore
them – because they change things. I
was very inspired by this text, and I very much feel like such a catalyst
myself – in my own little slot of our joint history – and I have always felt
like a rebel who finds it very natural to challenge the status quo. I mean,
things are always changing, and they will always keep changing; the only
question is therefore who will be most influential in deciding how and into what these changes will
occur. I have always had a very clear view of how I think that our society most
beneficially should change, including us living in it, and this blog will be a
part of this process.

One of the
most controversial aspects of this blog will be to merge the two sides of my
life that I think needs to merge also within society: love and spirituality,
with intelligence and science. I think that these two sides of us tends to be
unbalanced in us as individuals to the one or to the other side, and that the
current unharmonious and mutual mis-understanding between people from the
corresponding two groups in society is one of the key things to overcome, in
creating a more well-functional and harmonious society. I also think that our
long-term developments lead towards a state where both these two sides are
fully and equally developed, and that it is only then that either of the two
aspects fully are understood. To put in the words of the – to some of you –
quite controversial Danish philosopher Martinus Thomsen: “Love that is not
Science is not Love, and Science that is not Love is not absolute Science.”

In fact I
think that what we need to mature and heal is the following broken triangle,
consisting of the three corners: “Science”, “World-view”, and “Society”, and
that this needs to be done both on the individual and on our joint global and
semi-global levels. In our current understanding of these words, they are not
the same thing, but – what is worse – these aspects are not even working
harmoniously together. My blog will try to contribute to the healing of this
triangle, which includes explaining more in detail what I mean by this healing.

Those of
you who know me from facebook know that I am nowadays quite active in societal
and political unfoldings. Many of the links and small comments that have
appeared on facebook (concerning e.g. the war on terror, intellectual property
rights, democracy, human rights, etc) will now appear here instead, since I can
from here open up to a wider world and more direct societal impact, which
includes not only double posting to facebook, but also to twitter and other
online forums. Nevertheless, because of the above mentioned mutually exclusive
field of interests, many of my politically active friends have a simultaneous
disinterest, and not seldom even an open hostility, towards emotional and
spiritual things. To you I now only want to say that I will never try to impose
any kind of thought system or world-view or practice or anything like that on
you. I will, however, on this blog spend some time explaining how I think that
a scientifically consistent worldview does not necessitate a materialistic world-view.
Similarly, I will also argue that an over-simplification of the transition from
Science (especially physics as we now understand it) to a complete world-view
easily and often leads to the same kind of dogmatism and narrow-mindedness that
many of you rightly criticize in conventional religions. In short, I think that
the most important thing to intellectually understand is when the intellect should not be used, and I will spend some time on this blog
trying to explain what I mean by that. In those cases I am looking forward to a
debate. However, as a consequence of this view, there will be some types of
blog entries that are not meant as intellectual entries – since they might be
poems, or written to those among my readers who are not threatened by a
spiritual language, mostly to convey a subtle or inspiring feeling – and these
blog posts will then typically not be meant as an invitation to intellectual
nit-picking (and might often be closed to comments altogether).

Regarding those
of my friends who come from a spiritual background (which can but does not have
to include a background in yoga) I will present almost the opposite view-point.
You will here, much more than you have on facebook, find things that I think will
inspire and inform you. However, it is my experience that people who wants to “live
in love”, often let this be restricted to a sort of touchy-feely love, that on
many issues equals “living in denial”. It is not a loving thing to ignore structural
problems in a society that leads to the suffering and even death of millions,
even billions of people. A lack-of-action is also a chosen action, and we are
all responsible for how our society evolves. A common response to that is
something like the following: “I will live in my little group of people, in a
loving way, and then that vibration will spread to others, and in that way
change the society at large as well”. I think that this “vibrational spread” is
true, in more ways than one. I will even go so far as to say that it is easy to
lose track of this aspect of changing a society, by involving yourself in
political debates, and sometimes you might be the one who is changed, instead
of the system. Nevertheless, a too non-political attitude leaves the job of
responding to those “loving vibrations” and then changing society to somebody
else. And until that has happened, needless suffering and deaths, deaths that
you could have hindered, are maintained.

those in the final corner of the above triangle, Science, my view is the
following. We in the scientific community have not done our job of serving
society in a nearly good enough fashion. We need to be much better at
communicating within the different parts of science, and act much more as one
clear voice outwards, so that we can prepare for solutions that politicians and
companies then can choose to act upon. Conversely, we also need to fight much
more for our right to do true basic science, which is unrelated to any kind of
short-time gain on a societal level, but is just driven by pure curiosity, and
the love of Truth. I will write much about those things as well on this blog.

There are of
course some people that have and are doing similar things already. One of them
is Einstein, who not only revolutionized physics as few others have, but also
wrote frequently and eloquently on both spiritual and political/societal
issues. I agree with him on many of his views, although there are some exceptions,
and I am therefore sorry that he has not been more listened to regarding his
non-physics views.

person who has done similar things is Ken Wilber. He has brought together
frameworks that point in a very similar holistic direction as I also strive
towards. One of those examples is his theory of holons, and their developments
(see figure above). I am bound to come back to those theories from time to
time. However, unlike Wilber, I want to stay within Science, since otherwise
people within the system can just ignore these views. I generally want to
change all systems from within, instead of the much more inefficient approach
of standing outside, trying to convince the people that still are inside to
change, because you tell them to. I therefore similarly want to build up direct
links to political processes and decision-makers, and really teach and practice
yoga and meditation myself on an as high level as possible.

On this
blog I will therefore deal with such different topics as internet surveillance
laws; tantric sex; open relationships; new economic theories; music, dancing,
and poetry; applications of complexity theory to biological and societal
problems; environmental problems; good news; inspiring quotations; my views on
yoga and meditation; and – least but not least – practical matters concerning
my yoga-courses, TED-evenings, publishing, piano concerts, contact
improvisation evenings, and all sorts of other events that will be arranged
here at yoga-link: the yoga place in Linköping, that seeks to link up with the