A Return to Wholeness

November, 2005

In this issue:
1. NEW! “Ponderable” of the Month
2. Reader Feedback
3. November Editorial: “A Return to Wholeness”
4. Preview: Next Month’s Editorial
5. Quote of the Month: Meg Wheatley
6. NEW! Hot Link of the Month
NEW: “PONDERABLE” OF THE MONTH* (pull quotes from John’s writings):

“The person who never makes an ass of themselves leads a very dull life.”


Feedback Was Clear, and Fast!

When I asked last month about renaming this newsletter “Futureshapers,” the response was fast and very clear. Almost everyone liked it. One reader even wants to “steal” the term. So look for the title to change in the coming months, perhaps as soon as the first issue of the new year. And thanks to everyone who responded.

The Inquiry Continues

My editorial on fundamentalism touched off some interesting commentary. As I mentioned in the piece last month, this subject intrigues me … so my inquiry continues into this emotionally-charged subject. I participated in The Presidio Dialogues last week, again on this subject, and gained even more perspective. One insight (among many) was how difflicult it is to see another’s perspective when one is holding a fundamentalist’s position, fixed and inflexible by definition.

(This editorial was excerpted from John’s book-in-process with the working title of The New Human: Beyond the Naked Ape)

[NOTE: Last month I previewed the title of this month’s editorial as “The Potential Greatness of Humanity” but, to my chagrin, I discovered that material had already been used earlier this year. This month’s soapbox matter is from the Prologue of my new book, at least the Prologue as it now stands…the book is far from being finished!]


Most people have experienced at least one transcendent moment in their lives, perhaps even more than just a moment; a time when life was so precious, filled with wonder and awe, that the experience became indescribable and unforgettable. They may have occurred in Nature, or during the birth of a baby, a state of meditation, some form of altered state, or being with a special group of friends when we felt extraordinarily safe and secure; these experiences were probably quite palpable, so they were felt in our bodies, perhaps like dizziness, or unique lightness or weightlessness. We may have felt connected to everything! And this feeling of connection was not at all limited to just the material-physical plane.

Most of us have had these highly personal experiences. Few of us talk about them. I’m confident most of you reading this can relate to at least one moment when you experienced this transcendent state.

Through the ages, humans have yearned for a connection with something beyond themselves, something called many different names, taking many different shapes. There has been this quest for all human existence. It is part of being human. Let’s call this our spiritual dimension as human beings.

Meanwhile, we live in a material world with physical needs. While these needs may demand our attention, sometimes over-riding our spiritual needs, the physical dimension of our existence cannot substitute for the spiritual.

So we see ourselves as having two dimensions: physical beings living in a material world while yearning for connection with a power greater than ourselves. Both dimensions reside in us, one very obvious to our senses and one less so; one quite visible and tangible and another invisible and intangible. To make it more challenging, the latter is also impossible to describe in words. While we have trouble verbalizing the spiritual, we nevertheless seek it out.

We humans have dealt with these two aspects of ourselves throughout our time on Earth. On occasion, there have been episodes where some of us have seen the possibility of integrating these two dimensions and ending this schism, this separation.

The founders of the United States saw this possibility when they defined liberty as the freedom to seek both spiritual AND material wealth. This is true liberty, the original American Dream.

A popular tendency has been to pit the two aspects against each other, like one is better, one is worse. This is common practice and, in the extreme, leads us to either disowning the material or disowning the spiritual. One or the other. Not both. An all-or-none position. Either point-of-view, however, is akin to standing on one leg.

This can show up as a business mogul completely fixated on the endless accumulation of material wealth while mildly professing to believe in some religion. It can also show up as a radical religious zealot who refuses to own anything material.

While compartmentalizing these two dimensions of human existence may be quite popular, it is artificial. Each position inserts a boundary between the spiritual and the material. This boundary is a construction. We made it up.

Why have we done this? Why do we insist on there being a divide between the two? I suspect it is largely because it is more convenient for our thinking. It is easier for us to comprehend. We can make better sense of them in our rational minds if they are separate. Everything makes better “sense” if we can study them separately, like laboratory rats. Never mind that the spiritual and material are both part of the human experience; never mind that it is unnatural to subdivide our essential beingness. We do it because it appears to make sense to the rational mind, which often ranks quite high, even God-like, in our consciousness.

Does this really make sense? Look at the world. Look at Nature. It should be obvious, with some pondering: this divide we have insisted upon imposing on ourselves is bogus. Yet we persist in reinforcing it through adamant attachment to our thoughts, those sacred core beliefs that will surely lead us to extinction unless we take another path, transform our consciousness and integrate the spiritual and material aspects of our humanity.

It is time to stand on both feet!

NEXT MONTH’S EDITORIAL: “Professionalizing Socially Responsible Investing (SRI)”

Proofing Team Members Wanted

If any subscribers would like to join my small group of writing preview-ers I’d be pleased to add you to my team of proofreaders and critique providers… the understanding is that any member of the team who has the time and the inclination to preview the draft pieces I send out to the team does so within the deadline (usually a week or so turnaround). Not everyone on the team will be able to respond to every draft. But I gain the additional perspective of several folks each time, frequently different ones. I expect you’ll receive roughly two pieces a month, the newsletter editorial plus an average of one additional third-party article. Let me know if you’d like to be added to the email list for the proofing team.

QUOTE OF THE MONTH: “It’s not differences that divide us. It’s our judgments about each other that do.” – Meg Wheatley


The Center for Leadership Studies offers an accredited Masters of Arts in Organizational Leadership (MAOL) degree. If you inquire, tell them John sent you.


John delivers keynotes talks to corporations, associations and conferences. A list of his topics can be viewed at Keynotes That Make You Think! For references check: What people have said about John as a speaker.

John is a San Francisco writer and businessman-futurist. His latest book is Getting to the Better Future: A Matter of Conscious Choosing. More about John can be found at About.

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John Renesch

John is a seasoned businessman-turned-futurist who has published 14 books and hundreds of articles on social and organizational transformation.

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