Willis Harman


American Engineer, Social Scientist, Academic, Futurist, Writer and Visionary, President of Institute of Noetic Sciences

Author Quotes

Every few hundred years in Western history there occurs a sharp transformation. Within a few short decades, society -- its world view, its basic values, its social and political structures, its arts, its key institutions -- rearranges itself. And the people born then cannot even imagine a world in which their grandparents lived and into which their own parents were born. We are currently living through such a transformation.

The core of the current challenge to the scientific worldview can be taken to be 'consciousness,' which has come to be a code word for a wide range of human experience, including conscious awareness or subjectivity, intentionality, selective attention, intuition, creativity, relationship of mind to healing, spiritual sensibility, and a range of anomalous experience and phenomena.

Global Business Network (GBN) is a consulting think-tank formed by veterans of Stanford Research Institute and Royal Dutch Shell. Exemplary of the 'California Ideology', they offer corporate management consulting based on the usual cybernetics systems theory background... [Paul] Hawken's 'Natural Capitalism' is based partially on the work of corporate management 'transformation' guru and systems theorist Peter Drucker, who was an early leader in establishing group dynamics methodologies like Total Quality Management (derived from Tavistock 'T-groups').

The epistemology we seek will recognize the partial nature of all scientific concepts of causality... In some ultimate sense, there really is no causality - only a Whole evolving.

I had a series of experiences that resulted in concluding that we only seem to be separate in one level but that we are all connected and all part of the whole. We can learn some things about that whole by looking outward and we learn quite a different sort of thing by looking inward... When you look inward, it seems to me that the universal conclusion is that we are here to discover, to learn and to act in the service of that whole.

The Higher Self Gets Down to Business: Visualizing the future, several businesspersons at a Manhattan hotel are acting out what the ideal corporate board meeting will look like in 2012. 'May all the decisions we make today be guided by values and by love,' the board chairman says. 'Let's meditate on it. Tune in to your intuition on all levels.'

I taught engineering systems at Stanford University for a good many years and then I became a futurist at Stanford Research Institute for 16 years and then I was invited to come up to the Institute for Noetic Sciences, and I have been here since 1977.

The preferred term within the movement, emerging mainstream, is telling. Into the mainstream, indeed, basic New Age tenets are flowing through the culvert of business...

If the world that science tells us about is reality, how does it happen that we don?t feel more at home in it?

There never has been a more lucid interpretation of New Age consciousness and what it promises for the future than the works of Willis Harman.

In his Introduction to Metaphysics the eminent French philosopher Henri Bergson said of the 'much-desired union of science and metaphysics' that it would 'lead the positive sciences, properly so-called, to become conscious of their true scope, often far greater than they imagine.'

They mean many things by the term shift in consciousness, including the notion that businesspeople should rely less on rational thought and more on intuitive 'inner wisdom.'

In the emerging perspective, seemingly empty space is not empty, but filled with immense amounts of energy. Our cosmos is seen as a living, unified system. This new paradigm moves from a view of separation and isolation to one of profound wholeness and interconnection. At a fundamental level, people are viewed not as separate beings, but as intimately involved with one another in the deep web of life. If everything is intimately interconnected, then the quality and integrity of all kinds of relationships are of paramount concern. A natural expression of this paradigm is to bring into balance all the key relationships in our lives -- inner and outer, masculine and feminine, personal and global, intuitive and rational, and more. This perspective tends to bridge differences, connect people, celebrate diversity, harmonize efforts, and look for higher common ground. A reflective/living-systems orientation brings a unifying approach and offers hope in a world facing deep material, social, and spiritual fragmentation.

This emerging trans-modern worldview, involves a shift in the locus of authority from external to 'inner knowing.' It has basically turned away from the older scientific view... and trusts perceptions of the wholeness and spiritual aspect of organisms, ecosystems, Gaia and Cosmos. This implies a spiritual reality, and ultimate trust in the authority of the whole. It amounts to a reconciliation of scientific inquiry with the perennial wisdom at the core of the world's spiritual traditions. It continues to involve a confidence in scientific inquiry, but an inquiry whose metaphysical base has shifted... to a more holistic and transcendental metaphysical foundation.

In the last decade of the twentieth century, it has become clear that the ?invisible hand? is faltering. It depended upon a consensus of overarching meanings and values that is no longer present. So business has to adopt a tradition it has never had throughout the entire history of capitalism: to share responsibility for the whole. Every decision that is made, every action that is taken, must be viewed in the light of that kind of responsibility.

This Spirit in Business conference is one of a cluster of conference organizers unifying the disciples and doctrines of a constellation of neopagan and panreligious philosophers, metaphysical futurists, and self-proclaimed gurus who recognize the power of business in today's society...

'It is not enough to be intellectually aware that at this point in history, nationalism is a suicidal course... Educational experiences must be contemplated which are akin to psychotherapy... that result in a felt realization of the inevitability of one inseparable world, and a felt shift in the most basic values and premises on which one builds one's life.

To the empowering principle that the people can withhold legitimacy, and thus change the world, we now add another: By deliberately changing the internal image of reality, people can change the world. Perhaps the only limits to the human mind are those we believe in.

It's the Spirit in Business World Conference, where more than 500 businesspeople and assorted 'change agents' have come to help unleash each other's inner powers. They will spend three days spurring each other on to positive thoughts at the Sheraton New York Hotel and Towers, a sanctuary from the grit and litter outside. Then they will go to the ends of the earth as part of a fledgling movement to transform the world.

We are living through one of the most fundamental shifts in history- a change in the actual belief structure of Western society. No economic, political, or military power can compare with the power of a change of mind. By deliberately changing their images of reality, people are changing the world.

A re-spiritualization of society is taking place, but one more experiential and non-institutionalized, less fundamentalist and sacerdotal, than most of the historically familiar forms of religion. Such a change in the basic picture of reality must inevitably be accompanied by a long-term shift in value emphases and priorities. As a result all institutions can be expected to go through major changes, including particularly the industrial, economic and financial ones.'

Many companies have moved operations to places with cheap, relatively poorly educated labor. What may be crucial, they say, is the dependability of a labor force and how well it can be managed and trained -- not its general educational level, although a small cadre of highly educated creative people are essential to innovation and growth. Ending discrimination and changing values are probably more important than reading in moving low income families into the middle class.

We must realize that thoughts are not merely a reflection on reality, but are also a movement of that reality itself. The mapmaker, the self, the thinking and knowing subject, is actually a product and a performance of that which it seeks to know and represent.

All societies, ancient or modern, primitive or sophisticated, have guided themselves by values and goals rooted in the experience of ?deep intuition?.

Most of us are living at the periphery of consciousness while intuition invites us into the center.

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American Engineer, Social Scientist, Academic, Futurist, Writer and Visionary, President of Institute of Noetic Sciences