Maximizing personal and global happiness & fulfillment / Flow state science
One of the biggest problems of present society is the effect of overall change and acceleration on human psychology. Neither individual minds nor collective culture seem able to cope with the unpredictable change and growing complexity.
Stress, uncertainty and frustration increase, minds are overloaded with information, knowledge fragments, values erode, negative developments are consistently overemphasized, while positive ones are ignored.
The resulting climate is one of nihilism, anxiety and despair. While the wisdom gathered in the past has lost much of its validity, we don’t have a clear vision of the future either. As a result, there does not seem to be anything left to guide our actions.
What we need is a framework that ties everything together, that allows us to understand society, the world, and our place in it, and that could help us to make the critical decisions which will shape our future. It would synthesize the wisdom gathered in the different scientific disciplines, philosophies and religions.
Rather than focusing on small sections of reality, it would provide us with a picture of the whole. In particular, it would help us to understand, and therefore cope with, complexity and change.
At the same time, taking into account all the limitations in understanding such a “big picture” of the whole, we must resort to the best possible and still digestable concept.
A paradigm that would give best outcome while increasing our individual and collective chance of survival. On top of it, it is of outmost importance that the paradigm is meaningful, inspiring and fulfilling.
Flow paradigm attempts to take into account as much as possible all aspects of our experience. Although this construction expresses itself in a language that includes intrinsic limitations, these inherent constraints need not condemn our enterprise.
Paradigm construction is always connected to a culture in which “meanings” are circulated, types of behavior are passed from generation to generation, socio-political problems are produced, and styles of art confront us. The material used to construct a paradigm shift comes from our inner experience and our practical dealings with things, as well as from the interpretation of history and of scientific knowledge about our world.
All these aspects are necessarily related to particular cultures, which are not monolithic entities, but which are always in a process of change. In this sense flow/unity paradigm does not relate to fixed images or copies of the world, but tries to capture, as much as is possible, all the aspects of this world. Therefore new paradigm always starts with small groups or sub-cultures, and prepare, step by step, new concepts of reality.
Paradigm construction, as we see it, consciously aims at collective work that is not identifiable with one person. It groups specialists of divergent disciplines, and aspires to ultimately express itself in forms that can reach a large public. In this sense, worldview construction inevitably has a collective dimension.
Each human is part of a whole larger than one self. Both philosophy and religion have reflected on this awareness, and on the final nature of reality as a whole. Such ultimate questions cannot be avoided in the process of a paradigm construction.
Indeed, they form the driving force behind the religious, philosophical, ethical, aesthetic and political quest of humanity. But unique solutions are not possible in this domain. Religions, differentiated internally and externally, generally emphasise the necessity of personal conversion or inner transformation, and usually rely on the experiences of a founder.
In this respect, faithfulness to tradition is important for most religions. Flow paradigm differs from religion in that it shows a fundamental openness towards different interpretative models of reality, allowing agnosticism and a higher degree of uncertainty. It illuminates the varied world in which we live, and must therefore take into account the multiformity of the religions, even those that are neither ecclesiastical nor theistic.
Since Wittgenstein, Austin and Searle, we know that our language allows us to play many different language games, each having its own criteria of meaningfulness and validity. Describing, telling stories, deliberating, evoking legends and myths, writing poems are all activities that combine in different ways the functions of language.
Is it possible to talk about a myth, an art or a religion to a public that has no intimate connection with them, without distortion?
The sciences of literature, theology and of mysticism can only develop to the extent that diversity in truth claims and truth conditions is realised.
Still, it remains necessary to talk in a way that transcends the frontiers between the language games if one wants to avoid misinterpretations based on cultural background. This is why it is a must to develop forms of interpretation that can easily be accepted by the vast majority of general public.
The final point on the agenda is not meant to answer any fundamental question. It takes into account that a paradigm cannot be developed from scratch. You need building blocks to start with.
These building blocks can be found in existing theories, models, concepts, guidelines and values, scattered over the different disciplines and ideologies.
The core tenet of the flow paradigm …
Maximizing personal and global happiness & fulfillment.
… promoting activities that increase our own long-term individual and social survival,
taking into account the ecosystems to which we belong in an organized fashion.