7. Time beyond time: ONENESS ITSELF -- The One and all that arises from the ONE
6. Aeons: The community of all living beings on the Planet Earth
5. Millennia: Cultural communities/ cultural epochs - story of humankind
4. Centuries: Structured communities of institutions; network of same
3. Generations: Community of a family over at least 3 generations
2. The Lifetime: Community of two -- seen best as community of two friends
1. The Moment: "Community" of one person; diversity/unity within one person
We are always in these nested times and hold membership in many communities concurrently.
A. The Domains are Interwoven:
The domains are interwoven; they are nested without being hierarchical. Consider the image of the concentric circles of water on the lake. Moving from large to small can be as appropriate as moving from small to large. More encompassing is not better in any absolute sense. We can move from context to context as required. We can expand our vision, our sense of time, the scope of our identifications. We can condense, focus and incarnate vision in each of the distinctive contexts of life.
B. The Domains are both Context and Process:
All but the seventh domain are particular sub-patterns of the total pattern. Each sub-pattern can be seen as a context (defined by the subjects/structures in a "spatial" sense) and a process (as defined by the associated scale of time). Domains have both aspects. Appreciating the temporal or process aspect is valuable to wean us from thinking of the domains (or ourselves in them) as static things.
In Domain One, I am my bodily self in moment-to-moment time. However, I am also much more.
In Domain Two, I am the sum of all the interpersonal relationships over my life to date.
In Domain Three, I am also a unique summation of my family history.
In Domain Four, I play a part in the temporal life of the institutions I serve.
In Domain Five, I am a crystallization of the historical time of
my nation and of the
unfolding of my species' story.
In Domain Six, I am part of earth processes of some 4.5 billion years,
and I realize that
earth's story is but a phase of the cosmic story. The elements in my hand, as
Brian Swimme points out, are born of stars and originated some 14 billion years ago.
Since the domains are nested, each moment of mine is a moment in
my lifetime, family time, institutional time, cultural time, planetary
and cosmic time. I am different ages in different domains.
THE SEVEN DOMAINS -- SEVEN CONTEXTS WITH ASSOCIATED TIME FRAMES
7) THE "DOMAIN" OF MYSTERY -------------------- WITHIN AND BEYOND TIME
The circle whose center is everywhere; whose circumference, nowhere.
6) THE PLANET EARTH DOMAIN ---------------------- COSMIC
(billions of years)
This is a domain where the human is situated in the more than human --where we come to realize our kinship with the animals, plants and elements of our shared earth. Also, we are coming to see the earth as a self-organizing, self-developing organism. Earth's story is embedded in the cosmic story. Consider these six cosmic periods (modified from Berry): (i) from the Fireball to the elements and galaxies, (ii) from the Milky Way to our solar system, (iii) earth in its physical formation, (iv) the emergence of plant life, (v) the emergence of (conscious) animal life, and (vi) the formation of the human and the development of the cultural epochs.
5) THE CULTURAL DOMAIN ------ THE TIME OF THE HUMAN RACE:
MILLENNIA (thousands of yrs)
Culture is seen as that set of meanings, values, purposes, myths and rituals which establish the common sense of reality for a people. Today, we think of the nation as the prime carrier of culture (and we recognize sub-cultures within the nation). We acknowledge national culture as the foreground; we emphasize the history of the race as background. In particular, we find useful Thomas Berry's notion of five cultural epochs: the paleolithic, the neolithic-tribal, the classical, the technological, and the new emerging ecological epoch.
4) THE INSTITUTIONAL DOMAIN ------- THE TIME OF NATIONS: CENTURIES
Particular INSTITUTIONS (e.g. governmental and economic, religious and educational) are part of a SYSTEM OF INSTITUTIONS. This interlocking system presently constitutes the nation state.
3) THE (THREE GENERATIONAL) FAMILY DOMAIN ------------ THE
When we have children (or accept responsibility for "the children"), the time of generations opens up for us. We come to think of our generation, our parents' generation, and our children's generation. We see how the gifts and wounds of family history arise and are passed on.
2) THE (1-TO-1) RELATIONAL DOMAIN ----------------------------------
Here we see the dynamics of pairs, of interactions across a range from enemy to stranger to neighbor to friend to beloved.
Round about adolescence, we begin to have a sense of our lifetime. Our past becomes problematic; our future, uncertain. So it is with others also. With this new sense of time and identity, we have a greater capacity both for manipulation and for friendship.
1) THE PERSONAL DOMAIN --------------------------------------------------
From the "now" of the child through the "now" of dispersed emotions to the "now" of the sage -- the sphere of "inner work".
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