When we create a context, there’s a shift in the space in which things are held.
It’s that shift in the climate, the space that makes things suddenly workable.
The Hunger Project is a natural consequence of the experience of individual and personal responsibility, of our Self’s experience that hunger and starvation exist in our space, in our world.
Werner Erhard, The End of Starvation: Creating an Idea Whose Time Has Come. 1977, at http://www.wernererhard.net/thpsource.html
The Power of Context
There isn’t a person reading this who does not know the power of context in his or her own life. Whether you were conscious of it or not at the time, there have been times when you created a context in your life.
As a consequence of your doing so, suddenly things started to work: That which previously did not work, that which was stuck and not moving, suddenly began to move and start working. When you create a context, it’s not that you are now doing something very much different from what you were doing before or even that you now know something very much different from what you knew before. It is that there is a shift in the climate, the space (specifically, the context) in which you work, that makes things suddenly workable.
I tell you that the power of context is real. True, it doesn’t seem very real if you operate out of a system of reality that says that the body of the person over there is more real than the love that that person experiences. My love for you is a lot more real to me than your body is. Your love is an experience more real for me than your face.
The context (the end of hunger and starvation on the planet in two decades) is very real for me. It’s more real than the “yes-buts,” “how-abouts,” the confusion, the doubt, the controversy, the conflict. This context is now more real for me than the facts regarding the persistence of starvation. For me, the context created now has a power greater than those facts. It has the power to generate a process, to generate a set of forces which are aligned with the end of hunger and starvation and which will create the circumstances within the next 20 years for the end of starvation.
I have something I want to tell you which is very delicate. Perhaps delicate things should not be said in public because they are apt to be misunderstood. This is something so delicate it requires intimacy. So I say this to you not as a public statement but in the intimacy of the relationship which we have now established as beings.
Until now, each time someone has died as a consequence of starvation, that death was further evidence of the persistence of hunger and starvation. The instant you create a context (the end of hunger and starvation on the planet) then deaths resulting from starvation occur in that context, and suddenly the same deaths that had been a manifestation of the persistence of the problem become a manifestation of, virtually a contribution to, the end of the problem.
When a space in which something happens is transformed, the same happening takes on a different meaning and therefore leads to a different result. No one would ask anyone to die as a contribution toward the end of death and it is a fact that when you create a context around death and make that context real, it does shift the meaning and result of the event.
A person can die as evidence of the persistence of hunger and starvation, in which case that person’s life and death have been reduced to meaninglessness. A person can die in the context of the end of hunger and starvation, and the context affords meaning (almost purpose) to that life and death.
What can the little individual do?
There are four generating principles of The Hunger Project and I want to discuss them now.
The first generating principle comes from a question Buckminster Fuller asks. Bucky’s question is: “What can the little individual do?” What can you do as an individual that some big organization or government can’t do?
What you can do that no other entity can do is create a context. Only you have the power to create a context. It cannot be done by a group. It cannot be done by an organization. It must happen within the Self. The home of context is Self. Only within your Self can you create the context: The end of hunger and starvation on the planet within two decades. That is what the little individual can do.
I know that underneath our facades, underneath the junk that we bother ourselves with in life, right underneath the surface (and I have been underneath the surface of tens and tens of thousands of people) is the experience of an innate and natural responsibility for the world in which we live. It is not something you have to jam in there or convince people of.
I want to convince you of nothing. I have nothing to convince you of. The experience of responsibility already exists within your Self. All you have to do is experience your Self as the space of your experience and you will automatically and necessarily experience responsibility for everything within your space. The Hunger Project is a natural consequence of the experience of individual and personal responsibility, of your Self’s experience that hunger and starvation exist in your space, in your world.
Now as a practical expression of that, you will ask: “What can I do?” The Hunger Project does not answer that for you. It goes out of its way to not answer that question for you. Instead, it creates a context in which you get to answer that question yourself, so that the answer is your own answer.
The first generating principle of The Hunger Project is that it is a project of individual and personal responsibility.
It has nothing to do with guilt. If you want to feel guilty, fine. Keep it to yourself. It’s not part of the project. The Hunger Project has nothing to do with feeling sorry for starving people. I consider feeling sorry for those people demeaning to their humanity. If you want to feel sorry, please don’t get it on me.
The project is not about being ashamed. You do not have to be ashamed about what you eat, even about what you waste. Being ashamed of what you waste is a mere gesture. It’s a cop-out. It’s cheap.
The project is not about blaming anybody. It’s not even about your personal interest. Of course, it is very much in your personal, selfish interest to eliminate starvation. If people don’t get fed, your life is going to get very miserable in about 20 or 30 years, according to the experts. And this project is not about your selfish interest.
People have said to me: “Sure, you can talk to 40,000 people and get them all fired up. How long will that excitement and commitment last? What will happen after it wears off?”
If I have to keep people fired up, this project is a joke. If this project isn’t natural to your Self, this project is a fraud.
This project is about you, and I suggest that if you get in touch with your Self, you will experience a natural, spontaneous sense of responsibility.
(To be continued tomorrow.)