Posted by: Andrew G | May 19, 2010

The Transformation Movement

While doing some good ol’ fashioned surfing, I recently came across the World Transformation Movement. Have you heard of this group?

The founding members seem to be from Australia. And I have not watched all the videos or made a real considered effort of analysis or anything like that. But at the same time, their brief description of the Human Condition did intrigue me. (The second video on site. Their videos are a bit lengthy and drawn, so you can scan through the introductory video and not miss much.)

When it comes to worldviews, I like to use four words as kind of helpers. Generally speaking, worldviews come with these four things: symbol, story, ritual and community. Each part is important in the sense that the individual can use each to relate to the larger society or group or even the world, but also the world uses each of these four things to relate to the individual. Relationships go two ways. Sometimes. With any luck…

Anyway, the Transformation Movement has developed a new worldview. All I’ve seen so far is what I think could be put under the story category. They are trying to remove the idea from our psyche that we are eternally bad. Instead, we are made up of a kind of duality that can be understood with the light of science and the guru of nature.

For the complete description, please go to the website and make up your own mind. But in it’s simplest form, here is their story and message:

Genes can orientate but are ignorant of nerve’s need to understand.

Yep. That’s it. Nothing to do really with good or evil, or soul management.

Jeremy Griffith, the main writer for the movement, does have an extended analogy to explain further this story, or our Human Condition. He uses the migration patterns of storks to illustrate the genetic orientation we have as living things (which was neat for me because Shannon did a Happy News story about a couple of storks in love a little while ago). But, a conscious brain is essentially unsatisfied with the genetic routines in place and seeks new paths, new curiosities, and better understandings.

Like I said, I haven’t examined all of their material or measured their evidence in the balances yet. I will say this, however; Jeremy Griffith, as their spokesperson, does not come across as a natural-born public speaker. This isn’t a slick, greasy-smooth delivery or pitch at all. This guy hasn’t been to the Seminary of Sales, if you read me.

It’s funny, but for some reason I tend to take people more seriously when they are uncomfortable or when they stumble on words. That’s just me though. I’ve been hoodwinked by all sorts of shams all the same…

In first impressions, my mind went immediately to ideas of hero mythology and Joseph Campbell during the explanations on how our conscious nervous system seeks out new understandings and new paths. So in many many ways, this is not the creation of a new story at all. It is framing some of the old ideas within a few biological terms and a modern understanding.

The Movement does not seem too concerned with the spiritual side of humanity, but it does seem to want to address the emotional side of humanity. And so I do reserve the right to change my impressions after I see the rest of their story, of course. I really don’t like the use of the word “orientate“. I admit it —  I’m prejudice against that word. What kind of a word is “orientate” anyway?

Please, by all means explore for yourself and then tell me what you think.

Do we need a new story?

And does this satisfy our needs?

Is it just too dangerous to see things under new lights?


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Responses

  1. I am currently reading the transcript of the videos explaining their ideas. (I am about halfway through it.) While seemingly well meaning, and probably not totally devoid of truth, there is a tendency to quote mine: that is to quote partial quotations out of context in order to prove their point. They also seem to be unopen to any dialog that doesn’t support their philosophy, although they claim it to be “scientific” truth. Science, as most of us probably know, is not a form of truth, but a methodology of arriving at truth, which by definition, is open to testing and inquiry.

    Not only do they unscientifically assume alot of untested information as “scientific”, they villify many who have written down thoughts not in line with their philosophy as liars ( rather than possibly just mistaken). If you were to actually question their “science”, I would expect you to be verbally beaten into submission, rather than encouraged to contradict the “truth” and “science” of their dogma, in case they had missed something.

    Also as a disciple of Yahshua and believer in God, I note that their philosophy violently attempts to replace God with man and nature, and if you were to try to reason with them otherwise, I would expect them to tell you that either you really mean something else by “God”, or that you are a liar in clinging to something that is unnecessary and that you know isn’t true.

    I encourage anyone who is interested in the WTM ideas to download the transcript, and find the quotes they use as evidence, in context, to see if, as they often assert in the transcript, the original speaker “really meant” what the WTM asserts that they meant, or, as often seems the case, they meant nothing of the kind, or even exactly what the WTM just said they “didn’t really mean”.

    Rather than admitting that science is a slow and laborious process that requires extensive testing and clear definition, and therefore is limited in helping us to know what is true, often requiring us to find other ways to decide what is true, in order to function daily in a conscientious manner, the authors at WTM choose to classify real, provable science as, “mechanistic”, while calling their philosophy,”holistic science,” rather than ideas that are open to testing.

    Throughout their monolog, I suspected that they were quoting people out of context. Then I came on an easily provable quote from the bible that took seconds to check for accuracy. They assert that Solomon, in the Book of Proverbs, chapter 6, verse 6 is not talking about the tendency of the ant to work hard, but “really” is promoting the cooperation of the colony, despite the fact that the context is clearly promoting action over being a “sluggard”( a word they intentionally skip, along with the rest of the passage, that is clearly to the contrary of their point.)

    This use of this quote to say the opposite of what it means in context, is even more meaningful, when you couple it with their own assertion that to tell the opposite of the truth is often the most effective way to lie. (They were accusing someone who disagreed with them of this.)

    Are they horrible people? Not knowing them personally, I would probably say that they are like alot of people that have an idea that they like, and for which they want to find evidence. Rather than promoting it as a hypothesis, patiently try to find out if there are flaws in their idea, and adjust it, accordingly, they leave inquiry and honest questions behind, believing in their idea so much, that everything must back their idea or be false. They then proceed to justify their thoughts that back their idea, seeing only what they choose to see, colored by their mental certainty that they are right, rather than being open to any truth that might seem to be contrary. That doesn’t seem like a good idea in any search for truth, and by definition, is the opposite of scientific method.

    If they were honest, they would just admit to being a religion where man, nature, and their holistic science are god, rather than science. As it is, apparently their creator is random gases, like their speeches that are full of misleading quotes and pseudo science.

    I freely admit the failure of modern “Christianity,” in it’s present form, to address the world’s problems. (Many people have fallen into errors similar to those of the WTM.) That is why I left it. If you want to know about the difference between that and the simple life and truths of the early church, see: http://www.christian-history.org/index.html . Or to see people working to recapture that life: http://www.rosecreekvillage.com/. Peace.

    • Hey John,
      That’s a pretty thorough comment on the WTM!
      Thanks for sharing.
      I got about as far as the explanation of the role of genes and the role of nerves. I appreciated how they were trying to ‘absolve’ the whole original sin fiasco of Christianity, but I didn’t see much point in going further with it. It’s a little disappointing to hear they are as adamant about being ‘right’ as so many others out there…

  2. It’s been good and provocative to read what you’ve both written, Andrew and John. I’m presently concerned as a determinedly atheistic and mutating intelligence myself with what might be termed ‘the divine human’ who is in reality a proliferating and half-minded, intrinsically enlightened and unenlightened being incapable for the moment of comprehending everything he or she pursues consciously and unconsciously. Half the point of responding to you here is to request that you look at the half dozen posts of my blog thus far and respond according to your own lights. I’m finding it a little depressing being ignored and I want to argue, debate and retrieve information by the processes of the blog. I’m particularly fascinated to know what you make of ‘scientism’ as a form of belief since that’s an especially raw concern at present. Thank you both.

    • Frank, I love your honesty!
      I’ll check out your blog in just a moment.
      However, since I’ve moved I’m shutting off the comments at this site and archiving this blog.
      Hope to continue the conversation maybe on your site. And with any luck John will come along as well. I’m not much of a debater, however. Instead, I’m a consummate conversationalist.
      🙂


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