This is a truly radical and seminal book, ranking alongside the important work of Charles Eisenstein reviewed in previous issues. Dieter Duhms background is particularly interesting, both as a psychologist and sociologist and at an earlier stage as activist with the Marxist left in Germany. His 1972 book Fear in Capitalism was a bestseller. By 1974 he had left both University and political work and began an intensive exploration of religion, spirituality and the nature of consciousness. By the late 1970s he was already a leader in an alternative community, which has reached a new level in what he calls the Healing Biotope at Tamera in Portugal. Here people are trained to live the principles of a new civilisation based on a profound understanding of the sacred matrix.
The 12 chapter headings give a good sense of the scope of the book: a new direction for evolution, the Earth’s cry for help, the legacy of history, the issue of sexuality, the concept of healing, a project for global peace work, the universal state of being, cooperation with Nature, the effectiveness of prayer, community for future, political theory and Tamera and the healing biotope project. He begins by quoting Einstein to the effect that what can be thought can also be done. New ways of life are possible and can be lived. The basic thrust of the book, as suggested by the title, is how to redirect the existing matrix of violence, oppression and fear through suitable shifts into the sacred matrix of universal life and interconnectedness. The 12 basic tenets (p. 11) summarise the argument elaborated in the following chapters. These include the transition from a patriarchal era to a new form of human civilisation, deconstructing global structures of violence and fear, racism and exploitation; the realisation that the inner and environmental crises are two aspects same condition; the healing of love between the sexes, transcending the historical repression of sexuality and showing how sexuality and spirituality are not mutually exclusive; the balancing of masculine and feminine; the realisation that we share one existence, one life and one consciousness; that there is a basic matrix inherent in all beings for a new world based on love and cooperation; that we need to establish new life systems and sustainable communities; that the transition from the matrix of violence to the matrix of life follows its own natural pattern or entelechy; and that the world is fundamentally a web of frequencies and information that connects all beings.
Duhm identifies three principal areas for cultural transformation: our relationship to Nature and Creation, our relationship to community, and our relationship to sensual love, all of which he regards as necessary for the establishment of a non-violent earth. His definition of realistic is far from pragmatic, but corresponds rather to the needs of the Earth and life. Thinkers on his radar include not only Einstein, but also Nicola Tesla, David Hilbert, Walter Russell, Wilhelm Reich, Victor Schauberger and David Bohm – many of these people are unjustly neglected. An essential process in which we can all take part, even in our daily lives, is the shift from fear and suspicion to love and trust. Our communications and news systems are dominated by fear, and we receive very little inspiration from the many wonderful initiatives that are taking place around the planet because we do not hear about them. Duhm regards fear as a virus that is a suppression of life itself and encourages us put up defences against each other and closes down the heart.
Perhaps his most radical proposal is that ‘a future worth living requires a different model of sensual love or it will not come about all.’ Many alternatives have failed because of conflicts around sex, power and money. For Duhm, sexuality is the conceiving power in the universe, which, ‘when it flows through the soul and body of a human being, elicits deep feelings of longing, desire and passion… it is deep communication, deep union and deep recognition at the physical level.’ However, this is the most repressed area in modern society, as is evident from widespread abuses and the enormous amount of hidden activity on the Internet. Duhm quotes extensively from his partner Sabine Lichtenfels, who writes about ‘the longing for the eternal presence of the Goddess and of coming home to her that touches us in our longing for permanent intimacy and partnership.’ The suppression of female sexuality is a particularly important factor related to corresponding attitudes to the body and Nature, especially within Christian traditions. Ultimately, human love and divine love can be experienced as one as we find a deeper and freer basis for our relationships and see them embedded ‘in the universal union with all beings.’ This is not an easy process, as the author learned from demonising press coverage of the community in which he was a part in Germany.
Healing and wholeness are expressions of life itself, and Duhm regards love as the Archimedean fulcrum to open the heart. This love is not sentimental, but rather a divine power, a state of being, connection, surrender and service. Our power can be liberated by freeing up blockages and opening up to healing. This involves working on ourselves and realising the relationship between our own inner states and those of the outer world – Duhm expresses the principles in 10 commandments for peace workers and 10 tenets of healing (pp. 177, 203). We all live in a community of beings and have a responsibility towards them in terms of, for instance, not using food or products that involved cruelty against other living beings. Nature also seeks cooperation with us and will reciprocate in unusual ways, as shown in an extraordinary occasion with rats in the community food store (p. 272).
In his chapter on prayer, Duhm reminds us of the implications of being an intrinsic expression of one life and one consciousness and therefore on the cosmic control circuit. This means that when we pray, central control also prays in us and through us reciprocally. Connecting to our higher self puts us on the correct frequency within the creative continuum so that we are also open to the inner voice – a voice of love and basic trust in the course of things. Trust and connection are also critical in the development of community and in the formation of new fields to inform new ways of life. Embedding this is a process of discipline, ‘engaging in new behaviour in the small details of our lives’ so as to live in alignment with our vision. This is exactly what is happening at Tamera, where personal problems are regarded as your task and inner peace a connection with life, community, universe and divinity that has overcome the fear and violence within us. This brings us back to need to reconnect our lives with the Sacred Matrix, part of the Great Work of our time. It is one thing to criticise the existing system, but another to live from the principles of a new civilisation. This brilliant, inspiring and courageous book sets out a full agenda for doing so.