Lawrence Wollersheim on Open Sourcing Spirituality (1): Introduction

As I’m almost wrapping up my lecture tour on participatory spirituality (see here to see what a good time I’ve been having in the Bay Area which is an incomparable microcosm of creative people), I must mention the very important initiative of Lawrence Wollersheim.

I stayed on his Sunset Boat at Marina Plaza Harbour, the first time on my life on a yacht, (Larry lives on his boat), which is also a spiritual center for Integrative Spirituality. I admire Larry’s work as he is both a tireless driver of Factnet, an initiative against the spiritual authoritarianism of the cults and their abuses, and because his brand of integrative practices lacks any of the authoritarian tendencies so typical of Ken Wilber and the Integral Institute.

Larry has written a very important manifesto which can be at the basis of a worldwide integrative and participative spirituality movement. It’s a rather long document, which I’d like to present in different pieces.

The first part addresses the question: what does it mean when we open source spiritual inquiry?

Larry Wollersheim:

What Open Source Means when Applied to a (R)evolutionary Integral Spirituality:

The open source concept and part of the (r)evolutionary integral spirituality process and definition can be stated in many parallel concepts to how traditional open source software functions:

A. For its “source code” the open source integral spirituality movement uses all the available sources from humanity’s great heritage of spiritual wisdom. Because of this quality it naturally is creating and evolving the next evolutionary step in spirituality and religion beyond denominational sectarianism —the era of the new omni-denominational spiritualities and religions. Like programmers who collect any formulas they might need to perform open source software code processes, open source spirituality collaborators and co-creators collect and organize the formulas and principles from humanity’s spiritual wisdom with the intention of sharing wisdom related to performing life’s most vital spiritual tasks as effectively as possible. Specifically, helping the individual expand their direct spiritual experience of the Ever Present Origin, improve their balanced practice of the virtues and achieve spiritual completeness.

B. Just as programmers need to know the minimum technical principles for creating effective software code to make effective software products, individuals in the open source integral spirituality co-creative collaboration need to know the minimum spiritual and administrative principles and processes to work effectively to help expand the global spiritual commons and to emerge or create effective new spiritual visions, perspectives and contributions that can be used by anyone to forward their personal spirituality. The global spiritual commons will be defined in more detail shortly.

C. This assembled open source heritage of spiritual wisdom is then made open, easily accessible, transparent, and free in various online data bases for the spiritual wisdom cross-pollenization benefits for all individuals and all organization to use and further expand, add to, edit and improve. All originators of these collected spiritual source “code” materials can share (cross-pollinate) their spiritual wisdom additions or improvements in this open source collaboration and even be recognized for their contributions, thereby helping to co-create and expand a new type of global spiritual wisdom commons. This collaboration for expanding the global spiritual commons is greatly aided by the fact that there is no requirement of allegiance to some particular religious or cultural ism or particular religious authority to use it, add to it, edit or improve it (This is another significant advance beyond the current functional limits of today’s Interfaith movement). Inside the global spiritual commons is a new supportive global spiritual culture where individuals can, as they so decide, evolve or modify their current beliefs, practices or even denominations to expand and improve their own personal spirituality. This occurs because of wisdom cross-pollenization and graceful questioning interactions with humanity’s vast spiritual heritage.

D. Just as open source software is continually being upgraded with new improvements or capacities as new information is being discovered, the open source integral spirituality process is also a process of never ending integrally-informed upgrades. In summary, in addition to the benefits mentioned above, omni-denominational, open source integral spirituality is a new means of open co-creation to actively co-evolve the collective spirituality of humanity assist each individual expand their personal spirituality, create a better world and improve understanding and tolerance between the religious organizations of the world. Any individual of any denomination or organization who understands the spiritual and administrative principles of omni-denominational, open source integral spirituality and the materials that they would like to work on or contribute to can co-create with all other co-creators and contribute their spiritual wisdom, ideas and principles to help co-evolve this new form of integral spirituality and thereby expand the global spiritual commons.

This also implies that in an omni-denominational, open source integral spirituality, there always will be many different harmonics of spiritual messages and types of spiritual teachers presenting spiritual wisdom from many different evolutionary perspectives. This is exactly as it should be because spiritual wisdom needs to be presented in a digestible manner that is tailored to the differences in individual abilities, learning styles and personality types as well as differences in religious or cultural backgrounds and psychological developmental perspectives.

Part two: Why is this emergence so important today?

Open source integral spirituality is the next step in the evolution of religion beyond the postmodern interfaith processes. In the history of religion, open source integral spirituality appears to hold the promise of being the next logical evolutionary step beyond the interfaith movement not just because it allows for the active expansion and/or cross-pollination of humanity’s spiritual wisdom into a evolving global spiritual commons, but also because it expands and supports personal spirituality.

Open source integral spirituality is a new, evolutionary spiritual process as logical in its appearance at this time as was the evolutionary emergence of open source software. It is an idea whose time has come, and has come just in time to deal with the major religious, environmental, social, economic and political challenges of a “shrinking” world in the 21st century. It holds a real promise of becoming a significant evolutionary trend in the future of religion. It’s free internet based easy access knowledge base for all of humanity’s collected spiritual wisdom, (which can be distributed through multiple delivery systems and channels that will specifically adapt this continuously expanding spiritual knowledge base for more effective and easier user assimilation by tailoring the presentation of this wisdom specifically to an individual’s unique learning style, personality, current psychological development perspectives, culture or other important isms) — may just be be a significant part of a great supportive world-healing spiritual work for our post-postmodern new Integral Age.

Can you imagine how the spread of open source integral spirituality and the global spiritual commons can help the world religions to grow and work together in new ways? Can you imagine how the powerful ideal and values of this collaboration can improve individual lives as well as the world?

More Information:

For more detailed information about the spiritual working principles of the open source part of an integral spirituality, click here.

For more detailed information about the administrative working principles of the open source part of an integral spirituality, click here.

For more detailed information about the Integral Spirituality part of the definition of open source integral spirituality, click here.

Leave A Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.