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Integral World: Exploring Theories of Everything
An independent forum for a critical discussion of the integral philosophy of Ken Wilber
Brad Reynolds did graduate work at the California Institute of Integral Studies (CIIS) before leaving to study under Ken Wilber for a decade, and published two books reviewing Wilber's work: Embracing Reality: The Integral Vision of Ken Wilber (Tarcher, 2004), Where's Wilber At?: Ken Wilber's Integral Vision in the New Millennium (Paragon House, 2006) and God's Great Tradition of Global Wisdom: Guru Yoga-Satsang in the Integral Age (Bright Alliance, 2021). Visit: http://integralartandstudies.com
Last Night I Had The Most Beautiful Dream Beyond War
Last night I had the strangest dream
I ever dreamed before.
I dreamed the world had all agreed
To put an end to war.
I dreamed I saw a mighty room,
The room was filled with men,
And the paper they were signing said
They'd never fight again.
And when the papers all were signed,
And a million copies made,
They all joined hands and bowed their heads
And grateful prayers were prayed.
And the people in the streets below
Were dancing round and round,
And guns and swords and uniforms,
Were scattered on the ground.
Last night I had the strangest dream
I ever dreamed before,
I dreamed the world had all agreed
To put an end to war.
— Singer-songwriter Ed McCurdy, 1950
L ast night I had the most beautiful dream I ever had before. Some might call it an impossible dream or strange; I call it wonderful. It's a dream we all could share. I dreamed I was in a mighty room, and the room was filled with men: military men, political men, capitalistic men, communist men, revolutionary men, even kings, powerful men of all races and nations. There were some women there too, but mostly men, yet the women there were standing beside the men encouraging them to be brave. I wondered if this room was the United Nations, but I knew that place wasn't really united, just a hall for men to fight with words and deceit. This was an even mightier room. Here the men came to lose face, not save face. They were going to do it altogether, all-at-once, no longer demanding revenge or compensation for past wounds and grievances. They were all doing this for their ancestors as well as for themselves and their posterity.
What made last night's dream so strange—but beautiful—was that the whole world had agreed to put an end to war and they would never fight again. It was clear as day this dream, a lucid reality. All those powerful women and men, leaders of the world, were all agreeing—altogether now, representing everybody-all-at-once—that unless human beings come together to formally establish and legally maintain cooperation and tolerance, they will inevitably sink into grossly, inhumane, and universally destructive behavior, as human history has proven time and time again (for centuries, for millennia). In this mighty dream, I was in a room where humankind-as-a-whole were all agreeing to move beyond war. And the papers they were signing said, miraculously, they'd never fight again. Last night I had the most beautiful dream.
By everyone “losing face” together—or surrendering and releasing their own egoic (or national or “tribal”) stance—the collective of human beings will be able to regenerate the moral strength and authority necessary to allow the human species to acquire the ability for cooperation and tolerance for each other and their varied differences. Only when there is first a universal loss of face, where ego-I is set aside (or transcended-and-included)—instead of “saving face” where countless “I”s demand they get their way regardless of anybody else's wants or needs—will we, as the human race, have any hope of finding peace. Otherwise, there will only be constant war and brutal battles for domination and control by different nations or “tribes” (or systems of human gatherings). Only by “losing face” (or transcending ego) will there be the possibility of a universally equalized morality and the justified credibility to serve the future transformation of consciousness, both individually and collectively. This process is the only real way to maintain a legally-recognized universal agreement about creating and generating a truly cooperative and tolerant global human community.
Once we acknowledge we are all in “one boat,” that our prior unity as the human race is a scientific fact, plus it's grounded in our “Prior Unity” or oneness with Real God—not an imagined deity in the sky but the actual Divine Source and Condition of the universe—then all of humankind can operate as a totality, no longer caught in a perpetual battle of divisions or tribalisms. Only then will we all live in recognition of our innate Prior Unity (or as “Not-Two”) with God and ourselves. Only this expansive (and spiritual) view of reality will establish the righteous and necessary conditions for global peace. Recognizing our biological unity as a species, and understanding the indivisible unity of living in a single world, is the key to a new kind of evolved human consciousness. Indeed, it is essential that the universal collective of humankind formally embrace and enact this universal moral disposition of unity-in-diversity. Tolerance—Cooperation—Love—Peace—Justice NOW! That was the vivid feeling I had late last night in the most beautiful dream I ever dreamed before.
By facing reality—and losing face—everybody-all-at-once had recognized the present-time urgency calling for the survival of the world-family of Earthkind (including humans), indeed, calling for the survival of Earth itself. This approach is the best way to deal with and transcend the global mood of political separatism, end-game competitiveness, and endlessly multiplied divisiveness. In this mighty room filled with these authoritative men and women, they all signed a treaty where all had unanimously agreed to thoroughly and universally and permanently relinquish the ego-place of priorly assumed dis-unity (and thus of separateness, domination, and control). Instead, this mighty document declared—this global treaty all had signed—that for all future time, everyone will live from the heart-place of prior unity operating with ego-transcending cooperation and tolerance. Yes, you may say, I am a dreamer but I'm not the only one.
High upon the wall above this mighty room, surrounded by multi-colored flags flying from every nation, was the great yet simple Formula for World Peace: “Cooperation + Tolerance = Peace” (or “C + T = P,” for short), also known as “The Peace Law.” This bright message was being transmitted around the world on every television, computer screen, and smartphone, printed in every newspaper, shared in the streets on every corner. Everybody had all agreed to embrace this truly effective means for establishing a genuine recognition of our unity-in-diversity—e Pluribus Unum (“out of many, one”). This view, therefore, must become the necessary politics for humankind (as-a-whole) to stop all wars and end the endless battles of previous generations. I dreamed I saw the beginning of a “New Age” in thinking, one where everybody-all-together lived in cooperation, tolerance, and peace. As one Spiritual Adept of the times explained:
Love is ego-surrendering, ego-forgetting, and ego-transcending
participation in the indivisible oneness and wholeness
and singleness that is Reality Itself.
Therefore, Love is also right living.
In my dream, people knew that all future generations would also agree because once peace on Earth had been firmly established there would be no need to fight or make war. Everybody altogether had realized (and will realize) that once the ego, or each individual self who feels separated from others, is allowed to Grow Up in peace and to be healthy, then people will naturally Wake Up to the spiritual nature of the universe as a multidimensional Kosmos since this view embodies the living truth of Reality Itself.
When this happens, each and every person will be able to Clean Up their shadows and the dark places in their souls and wounded psyches. Then we will be able to Show Up with creative energy and a free mind, living happily together… in peace. Then humanity will clean up the Earth for all living beings as the atomic periodic table of elements will thrive in harmony, thus assuring our survival on this beautiful blue pearl of life floating in the vast, dark sea of space. People will come to know that every human heart is willing to accept and live by this great Formula for World Peace. After these papers were all signed, they were universally broadcast far and wide so that everybody could join in by cooperating with each other and being tolerant of one another—loving one another as ourselves—thus giving peace a chance. Imagine there are no countries, no boundaries, no divisions, nothing to kill or die for, and no religious wars too; imagine all the people living life in peace. That was my dream last night, yet I'm not the only one… by far.
Such a position is not the search for peace, since all seeking is based on a presumed separation from what is being sought, but the active affirmation and enactment of peace that makes all the difference in the world. The awakened presumption of prior, and always already unity and non-conflict, based upon authentic (and verifiable) spiritual truths, must be the condition to be always affirmed, depended upon, enacted, and preserved. That was what this treaty-paper said when signed in this mighty room. It was a Declaration of Interdependence stating the true and only means for the realization of world peace. In the most beautiful dream I ever dreamed, people had come to realize, in practical terms, that it is only with the active foundation of ego-transcending cooperative tolerance that makes such a perspective even possible for peace and right life to be established among living beings in any form or kind
People only want to be happy, to love their families and friends, to be creatively engaged and work peacefully in the world, to have an equal opportunity to be the best they can be. For in truth, everybody is born free, thus the cultural chains and crimes which have bound them to the past shall be released so everyone—humankind-as-a-whole—can live a life of liberty and justice in the pursuit of happiness and well-being. This mighty global treaty, being signed by all nations representing all people, will declare that this is the future promise and purpose of humankind's life on Earth. What a beautiful dream this was!
Hereafter, everybody will live in good company with one another, regardless of race, ethnicity, religious beliefs, or sexual orientation, so that never again will anyone enter into divisiveness or other forms of destructive behavior without intervention and therapy. Crime and evil will be cured, not locked up. Everyone will treat their neighbor as themselves. All will live under fair laws, voted on by the people and for the people, where no one person will be above the law (no matter how rich or famous). In my dream last night, I saw humanity-in-wholeness agree to end all war and live in peace. Oh yes, it was the most beautiful dream I've ever dreamed.
In this dream, I saw that all children living in every nation on Earth will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character. I had a dream where little black boys and little black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and little white girls as sisters and brothers. I had a dream last night. It was a dream where all of God's children were able to sing together: “Let freedom ring, sweet land of liberty! Let freedom ring!” From the Yangtze River of China to the Amazon and Congo basins, freedom will ring! From Mt. Fuji to Mt. Everest, from Lookout Mountain in Tennessee to the snowcapped Rockies of Colorado, from the peaks of the Andes to the halls of Montezuma, from the Ganges to the blue Danube, freedom rings! From the British Isles to the Islands of Fiji, from the Americas to Afghanistan, from New Zealand to Zimbabwe, freedom is ringing! Great God almighty, let Freedom ring!
And when those papers had all been signed there were billions of copies made, and people, far and wide, here and near, all joined hands and prayed. The exact “price” for freedom and peace—the “treaty cost” for the survival of humankind, Earthkind, and Earth itself—had been paid by losing face and setting I, Me, Mine aside. It was then that We, The People all together now, bowed our heads and grateful prayers were prayed. For when freedom, justice, and peace—with no war no more—are allowed to thrive, then the necessary “new paradigm” for the human design of future effort is permitted to ring aloud. The chimes of freedom will ring from every city and every hamlet, from every nation and every country, in every culture, tribe, and religion as we finally realize that great day when all of God's children, black and white, brown and yellow, Jews and Arabs, Protestants and Catholics, Buddhists and Hindus, people of every faith and persuasion, atheist or agnostic, will all be able to join hands and sing the mighty words: “Free at last, free at last! Thank God almighty! We are Free at last!”
In this dream I dreamed last night, I saw all the people in the streets and countryside below dancing round and round as guns and swords and uniforms were scattered on the ground. They sang, “There's nothing we can do that can't be done. There's nothing we can sing that can't be sung. Nothing more to say if we learn to play the game fairly and happily—it's easy! All we need is love and justice! Love is all we need! All we need is love—all together now—everybody! Love and justice is all we need! All we need is love, love, love! No more war, war, war!” Imagine! Imagine all the people living life in peace. You may say I'm a dreamer—and I am—but we're not the only ones. I hope someday you'll join us and the world will live as one.
Last night in my most beautiful dream I've ever had, all bombs were being dismantled, guns were being melted down, swords turned into ploughshares, and the complex military industry was being turned around. Instead of missiles, death, and war, there would be food, housing, and education for everybody-all-at-once. Health and right-life living habits fed by natural organic foods, with exercise and free healthcare, will become our common tool and goal. Incentives for production and invention, for scientific research and technology, will be balanced by the needs of all Earthkind, not merely made for the desires of the ego-I caught in mindless entertainments and enticing entrapments, as if watching shadows on Plato's cave wall. Fuels and electricity will serve the Earth instead of burning it out and polluting its skies and oceans. Toxins will be removed (“tox-free”) and alternative means will be explored. For generation after generation, uncorrupted by power and lust, the common good will lead the way as people born anew every day will learn about the Wisdom of All Ages, the perennial philosophy of God's Great Tradition, where the truth will always be right at hand. Illusions and delusions will receive compassionate care and insight will see the light of day.
Then suddenly, I woke up from this dream to find a world still at war. So, I got down upon my knees to pray and imagine a world where we hold these truths to be self-evident: that all people are created equal, that they all are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, Justice, and the Pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted by The People, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed. And when, in the course of human events, it becomes necessary to dissolve the political bands which have connected them to Governments that suppress these Rights, or become destructive to these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter and institute new Government. We the People shall lay its foundations upon such equitable grounds, and with such just moral and ethical principles, so as to organize that Government's powers—of the people, by the people, and for the people—to exist in such form as to seem most likely to affect the Safety and Happiness for themselves and their posterity.
Thus have I heard it said, as a great United States President explained, that we all want a genuine global peace, not a Pax Americana enforced on the world by weapons of war. Not the peace of the grave or the blanket of a slave, he pointed out, but the kind of peace that makes life on Earth worth living, the kind of peace that enables people and nations to grow and to hope and to build a better life for their children—not merely peace in our time but peace for all time. Total war makes no sense in an age when nations can maintain large and relatively invulnerable nuclear forces, he warned. This President acknowledged that the pursuit of peace might not be as dramatic as the pursuit of war, yet such peace and prosperity was the necessary rational end of rational people. He told us that some say this is useless and a fantasy (or a deluded dream) to speak of world peace or world law or world disarmament because war is inevitable—that humankind is doomed—that we are gripped by forces we cannot control. Therefore, he maintained that the desire to bring peace should begin by looking inward, and then by examining our own attitudes toward the possibilities of peace and world peace.
Yet, he was wise enough to know that, on a practical level, a more attainable peace would not be based on a sudden revolution in human nature but on a gradual evolution in human institutions. He told us that humanity's reason and spirit have often solved the seemingly unsolvable—and we can do it again. Genuine peace must be the product of many nations, the sum of many acts. It must be dynamic, not static, changing to meet the challenges of each new generation. For peace is a process—a way of solving problems. That it is the responsibility of all citizens in all nations to respect the rights of all others and to respect the law of the land.
For this great man, who himself was brought down by an assassin's bullet, asks, “Is not peace, in the last analysis, basically a matter of human rights—the right to live out our lives without fear of devastation—the right to breathe air as nature provided it—the right of future generations to a healthy existence?... So let us not be blind to our differences—but let us also direct our attention to our common interests and to the means by which those differences can be resolved. And if we cannot end now our differences, at least we can help make the world safe for diversity. For, in the final analysis, our most basic common link is that we all inhabit this small planet. We all breathe the same air. We all cherish our children's future. And we are all mortal.”
By following the wisdom of the wisest among us, then, and only then, will my most beautiful dream—your dream, our dream—become real, no longer merely a dream but a living reality. IF we do it together. Once war and fighting, killing and brutality, has been thoroughly and universally and permanently relinquished, then the entire world-population of humankind becomes enlightened with the heart-positive mind of cooperation and tolerance. Honestly, this is the only true way to “solve” the current world crisis.
By transcending the destructive tendencies of the ego-mind as I, Me, Mine, trapped in dreadful fear of “the other,” and all others, this solution is not merely a political gesture or a psychological healing but is a profoundly spiritual act. Indeed, losing face or surrendering the boundaries of ego-I is itself Spirit-in-action. It is the Heart-in-action. It is the Heart Awakened. It is God-Realized in the Here and Now where and when all people are set free from bondage to self and conditional forms as an addiction, as a self-defeating problem. This isn't just some fancy illusion or a misguided dream but is an attainable reality since it is based in Reality Itself, based on our Prior Unity as the human race and being part of a Divine Process. Such a vision is based on our real developmental growth as human beings actualizing our full potential. Bring forth the light that's within you, it is said, for even darkness leads to God.
We now know, without a doubt—unlike previous generations who did not know this fact for sure—that ALL human beings are created equal as one biological species, regardless of race or culture or religion. Science (or facts and DNA) have proven that ALL people—Homo sapiens sapiens—stood up on two legs and walked out of Africa in a great global human diaspora. All of us have descended with variation from a common ancestor, the mitochondrial Eve in Africa, meaning that everybody's root ancestors were black-skinned. In populating this planet, we are ONE human race who have evolved together into one extraordinary human family of unending diversity. We now have the moral responsibility to accept and assure this diversity in order for the planet as a whole to survive and thrive long into the future. Therefore, as One Human Family, we must and we will and we can co-create this dream together, making it into a living, breathing reality.
Yet, enlightened leaders (not crooks) must lead the way as we all assume integral responsibility for the human species on Earth. This is really the first time in all of human history that humankind has even been in the position to consider this great possibility. Obviously, humankind-as-a-whole has no choice but to deal with it. This change must happen for everybody-all-at-once. We must Awaken and Grow Up NOW—all together now, all-at-once and one-at-a-time—not as a dream unrealized but as a reality fulfilled. Cooperation plus tolerance does indeed equal peace. This is the Peace Law, the natural order of the universe. Join with us NOW and help make this dream a reality. Then this strange dream I had last night will become the most beautiful reality we can imagine.
Beloved, Inmost Heart of every heart,
do not Let our human hearts be broken
by our merely mortal suffering here—
but Make our mortal human hearts break-Free
to an unconditional love of You,
that we may, Thus, love all living beings
with Love's own True, and Truly broken, Heart.
—as Given to the world by
World-Friend Adi Da
T his essay was initially inspired by the anti-war song “Last Night I Had The Strangest Dream” recorded and written in 1950 by Ed McCurdy, which became an anthem of the late 20th-century peace movement. It has served as the official song of the Peace Corps and a group of children sang it during the destruction of the Berlin Wall. Famously covered by Simon & Garfunkel and by such luminaries as The Weavers, Pete Seeger, Johnny Cash, Joan Baez, Garth Brooks, yet my favorite version was the one done by the country-rock band Mason Proffit, who put out an excellent album by the same name Last Night I Had The Strangest Dream in 1971, a band from my high school in Indianapolis, Indiana, USA, hence a long-time love and inspiration of mine [see my accompanying video].
Yet the political content and overall vision was mostly inspired by “the World-Friend” Adi Da Samraj and his amazing, ground-breaking essay “C + T = P: Formula For World Peace,” a re-writing of “The Peace Law” essay (from 1999) now found in Not-Two Is Peace: The Ordinary People's Way of Global Cooperative Order (2007, 2009, The Dawn Horse Press) with an Introduction by Ervin Laszlo, in addition to his unprecedented book Prior Unity: The Basis For A New Human Civilization (2015, The Dawn Horse Press).
Also inspired by the song lyrics of John Lennon's “Imagine,” released in 1971, from his album of the same name Imagine, and by The Beatles' 1967 #1 hit “All You Need Is Love,” a live recording released as a non-album single in July 1967—“The Sumer of Love”—yet also on the Magical Mystery Tour album released on November 27, 1967 (in the USA). This amazing song written for the whole world was recorded live, in one take, in the Olympic Sound studio in London with an orchestra (in costume), during the first worldwide television satellite broadcast called Our World (produced in wake of the 1967 Arab–Israeli Six-Day War) reaching an estimated audience of 400 to 700 million people, the largest television audience up to that date.
This essay has also been inspired by Martin Luther King, Jr.'s “I Have A Dream” speech delivered on August 28, 1963, at “The Great March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom” in Washington D.C., given on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial (which I remember watching on black and white TV). In addition to John F. Kennedy's amazing and prophetic address given on June 10, 1963 at the American University in Washington, D.C., as well as by the Declaration of Independence by Thomas Jefferson (1776), the Preamble to the United States Constitution (1789), and Lincoln's Gettysburg Address (1863). This essay was also inspired by the political message of hope being given by the current U.S. Democratic Presidential candidate Marianne Williamson, who I saw speak in person the other week—and who is the real deal, in my opinion, and thus she should be supported as a genuine visionary of a new political future. May we all continue to be inspired by all of the visionary leaders who embody the reality and truth—and actual possibility—of world peace beyond war.
Essay images were generated by Midjourney prompted by the author on October 29, 2023.