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Welcome to the information site for the Cultural Revival Dialog Zagreb 2008


Cultural Revival Dialog Zagreb 2008

Held in Europe House Zagreb on June 6, 2008
The Cultural Revival Dialog - Building the Europe of the Future Together - was organized by the European Movement Croatia in cooperation with the University of Oslo Knowledge Federation Project, on occasion of the 60th anniversary of the International European Movement. The invitation letter was sent to prominent Croatian researchers, policy makers and media workers, inviting them to a free and open dialog about the prospects for contemporary cultural revival.

As always, the purpose of this Key Point Dialog was to come closer to the Key Point - an inspiring vision of the cultural revival, which The Club of Rome considered to be the solution to our global issues, or to the world problematique as they called them. This time we began our dialog by reflecting about a specific theme, the Sheng Zhen Qigong. The intention behind this reflection was to become aware of the nature of our present cultural turning point, of the obstacles that hinder us from changing course, and of the opportunities that a new direction may make available.

Sheng Zhen Gong was introduced by Master Li Jun Feng, the Headmaster of Sheng Zhen Gong, and Li Jing, his daughter and the prospective headmaster.

What follows is a description of the procedure of the dialog as the participants received it.

Setting the Stage

We sit in a circle, ready to begin our dialog. In a moment, we will place the Sheng Zhen Qigong (symbolically) into the center of our circle and reflect on its implications. Our focus will not be on Sheng Zhen Qigong as such, but on its message that a sweeping positive change is possible for us, and on the reaction it creates in us.

At first, the ideas reaching us through Sheng Zhen Qigong may seem unreal:

  • Qi - the origin of life, the essence of life, permeating the universe.
  • Slow body movements, postures, attitudes and meditations - a way to increase the flow of Qi in the body, and thereby improve health.
  • A radical change of emotions ('unconditional love') - the main aim and result of the practice.

Are not those ideas incompatible with everything we have learned about ourselves and about the physical world? Our mind refuses even to consider them. It rushes ahead to its next meaningful task. So why bring them up on a serious academic gathering?

One of the reasons why we place Sheng Zhen Qigong into the center of our circle is that we want to use it as a mirror. It will reflect an obstacle to the cultural revival that is inside us. By becoming aware of this obstacle, we will also realize that we might not need to search much—the seeds of the next renaissance may already be around us, ready to grow, provided that we can become aware of them and give them attention.

Before we can begin our dialogical meeting of cultures, a solid common ground needs to be created. We will do that with the help of our four tacit invitees - Aurelio Peccei, Werner Heisenberg, Werner Kollath and Aldous Huxley. We place those four historical people as edges of a square around our circle. They will symbolize the four walls of the mental space we have created for our dialog. We may think of it as 'the frame of mind of the 21-st century'. Our tacit invitees will place us into that frame of mind by telling us about some key insights that have been reached during the century that has just ended.

Anchoring Our Dialog in the 21st Century

Werner Heisenberg and Quantum Physics

Werner Heisenberg, a founder of quantum physics, will tell us that the worldview that we still commonly consider as scientific, is really the worldview of the 19th century physics, which has been disproved through quantum physics experiments. The conclusion is clear: We must learn to think in a new way. And this new way of thinking, which has been developed through modern physics, is now guiding us towards inter-cultural understanding, and towards a worldview that is closely similar to the one that is reaching us through Sheng Zhen Qigong.

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Aurelio Peccei and the World Problematique

While the climate change has recently brought the environmental and other global issues into the focus of the public eye, the warning of The Club of Rome that: “piecemeal approaches to solving the individual problems will not be successful” is all too easily forgotten. The Club of Rome advocated focusing on the world problematique rather than on any of the problems. A solution to our problems, claimed Aurelio Peccei, the Club's co-founder and the first president, must include a radical cultural change, to a culture whose primary concern is human quality.

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Werner Kollath and Political Hygiene

Werner Kollath, a pioneer of medical hygiene research, will tell us that our present direction of 'progress' is putting at risk not only our planet, but also directly ourselves, by causing our health or well-being to decline. To arrive at a safe and meaningful course, our values must change, and based on them, also our way of living. The issue of understanding our civilized and more generally human condition accurately is, however, profoundly political, because the established power depends upon our values and preferences remaining as they are.

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Aldous Huxley and Perennial Philosophy

Aldous Huxley will tell us that in a variety of the world traditions, with surprising consistency, practices and attitudes similar to the ones reaching us through Sheng Zhen Qigong, and different from the ones that characterize our mainstream culture, brought adepts to a pinnacle of well-being.

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Reflections Inspired By Sheng Zhen Qigong

At this point we are ready to place Sheng Zhen Qigong into our center and reflect on it. To begin, we will witness a brief Sheng Zhen Qigong demonstration by Master Li Jun Feng or by his daughter Li Jing.

Our dialog will develop by weaving our ideas about the following sequence of themes that Sheng Zhen Qigong brings up for us.

First Reflection: Awareness

We begin the dialog by contemplating our own emotional reactions to Sheng Zhen Qigong and its messages. Our mind resists those messages. Our first task is to become aware of this resistance.

Is Werner Kollath right when he claims that the question of worldview and lifestyle change is profoundly political? Have we been 'socialized' to accept a certain view of ourselves and our world that reduces our repertoire of thoughts and actions?

The purpose of our first reflection is to become aware of the subtle obstacles to our awareness.

Second Reflection: Responsibility

We, the academic community, are responsible for the integrity of our tradition, and also for the planetary wellbeing.

Can we develop a scientific worldview that leaves room for phenomena that science has not yet been able to explain?

Third Reflection: Freedom

Freeing our mind from a rigid worldview brings us to a wealth of possibilities. We do not need to struggle with resolving our problems by thinking as we did when we created them. A key to solution may well be a new way of thinking and acting.

Fourth Reflection: Renaissance

Can we begin the cultural revival—now?

What might the emerging culture be like? In what ways can each of us contribute to its realization?

Is there anything that we might learn from Sheng Zhen Qigong that could help us direct our efforts?

Key Point Dialog Continues on the Internet

During our physical dialog our circle will begin to resonate with a message of positive change. The Key Point Dialog will continue through the Internet, and through the media, spreading the wave that was created in our midst.

Experiencing Sheng Zhen Qigong

In the last hour (20 -21), the participants may choose to experience the Sheng Zhen Qigong practice, guided by Master Li Jun Feng.

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