On Coherence, A Manifesto

The broken state of our world has become so obvious that further efforts to list and attempt to convince those who refuse to recognize it are beyond counterproductive. We are easily distracted by nightmare scenarios, psycho-dramas, playing-out alternative doomsdays, whose only purpose is as a mechanism to keep us stuck, helpless, and increasingly incapable of responding. There are two facts, beyond the destruction of the “Natural” World – the home for all our social, cultural, and private worlds – that demand our attention and have received little or no consideration in any broader arena.

First, we are damaged, psychologically damaged by everything that has taken us so far from what it is to be alive. Our Eco-dramas, all our dramas and battles, take place within the context and under the influences of this fact. We thrash about, proclaiming grievances, looking to place blame, feeling guilty, angry, helpless, hopeless; all because we fail to address this damage.

And secondly, we are addicted to certainty while what is most required of us is to develop a fluency in coherence. This boils-down the Trouble-with-Thought to its most salient aspect. When, as psychologically damaged people, addicted to certainty, we try to come to grips with the Enormity we face; we challenge our customary certainties and they begin to fail us. Since we have no means of coping with uncertainty we pull-back. We get stuck and stay that way.

What this moment requires of us is that we work to heal our selves and each other and that we learn to let our addiction to certainty fall away – Our desire for certainty is irrevocably linked to our damaged condition. What is required is that we develop a fluency in coherence.

We need to develop a fluency in coherence*.

Coherence is both an attribute of the Cosmos as it presents itself to us and, fundamentally, a way of sense-making that does not rely on conditioned belief and a whip-sawing binary opposition between certainty and doubt that characterizes all of our current modes of thought. We could say that perception and proprioception arise as packets of information. We grab for those packets that agree with our preconceptions and deny – or even fail to see – those that challenge them. Or, in a flip-flop amounting to the same thing, we rush to do the opposite, wallowing in whatever feeds our doubt, our loathing, our fears, again ignoring what does not fit.

The new David Bohm documentary, Infinite Potential, among its many gems prods us, in a very Bohmian fashion to see that information is much more than the “data” of reductionism. The term, broken into the words that make it up, points us at the fact that information is that which is in the process of formation, a dynamic, a conversation, a relationship between what-is and what-is-unfolding.

The attitude, the approach of coherence, can help at every step. Both as we work on healing and repairing damage and as we build and establish habits of thought that have nothing to do with the failed, binary approach that keeps us serially chasing after certainty and falling into Nihilism.

We imagine we know what “thinking” is, that we know how to do it, furrowing the brow, pondering after precedents, looking for “ideas.” I would like to suggest that we have no sense of what it means to think. Approaching the question of Coherence is a way to practice a kind of thinking both unthinkable within our current conditioning and essential if we are to have any chance going forward.

Building and establishing a fluency, a capacity to entertain coherence, takes place internally within the individual and also both between and among those entering into inquiry. This is both a way-into understanding and a way-of-life shared within circles of relation, giving practitioners and their practices a place, creating a focal-point of stated intention, which amounts to an act of purpose. Those of us who enter into joint inquiry relate together in ways that promote healing for our selves and for each other. We establish a place to live and a space where we may look further into the questions-of-coherence together, finding ways to meet the challenges our inquiry reveals yo us along the way.

We may call this intention a movement towards starting a school, a community. We might wait, and not call it anything at all, and see what arises as we proceed….

As we struggle with isolation and infection we may actually be in a better position to recognize that such a “place” may not need to be a physical space. At least to begin, all that is required is a commitment to a form of shared attention.

There is one other aspect to be taken as a foundational given. We need to recognize the distinction between Faith and Belief. While every belief quickly turns into a trap; a faith-in-Faith provides us with the humility and Grace to meet whatever comes our way. There is no health without Faith. There is no inquiry without Faith.

A manifesto is a call. We proclaim, “This is a manifesto!” Or, we might say, “A new form is manifesting! Becoming visible, becoming clear, hoving into view.” In this sense, this is a manifesto.

These conditions appear to have an impact on our situation. These insights appear to illuminate our situation and offer a way forward. Not – as with Manifestos as we think of them as documents of Revolution intended to bring us to an end-point, to proclaim a new certainty to replace a broken one. This is not a call to revolve, to overturn, to replace one broken set of certainties with another. This manifesto proclaims that what is coming into view is a new way of looking at our situation, at belief, at certainty, doubt, and confusion. By entering and maintaining a mode of inquiry into coherence we can heal, and we can stop compounding misery and creating suffering. We can stop feeding the forces of destruction and incoherence and we can face what comes with vitality and in Faith.

*Coherence is an approach to the unknowable. The Cosmos is, in its depths, a Mystery. Whether that mystery amounts to an ultimate coherence, beyond understanding or not, is beyond our capacities to perceive and to understand. Our incapacity to accept the depths of mystery without whip-sawing between delusions of certainty and Nihilism keeps us trapped. This may be the ultimate trap….

An attitude of, and an approach to, coherence provides us with a path to navigate between these dangers. Inquiry and the illumination its insights provide do not build chimeras of certainty and belief. They show us a path and provide a light with which to see it.

Nothing more. Nothing less….

Published by

Antonio Dias

We fall for lies because we want to be told what can't possibly be true. If learning is to be more than the acquisition of facts, then it is important that we realize its process is not dominant/passive. No one simply teaches another. We don’t learn what is pushed at us. We take in what we can absorb and we reflect upon insights as they arise. This is a sharing of gifts. To enter into this is to join in collaboration; each/both, teaching and learning in the mutual reciprocity of dialogue.

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