人物访谈 | Thomas Bruhn：从天体物理到内在探索，秉持爱与敬畏以行动发出共鸣(中英)
嘉宾：Dr. Thomas Bruhn
Dr. Thomas Bruhn is a physicist who has been working transdisciplinarily at the IASS Potsdam since 2012. His key interest is to facilitate the transformation of human relationality in the earth system in the light of challenges around sustainability.
Since 2016 he is leading the research group AMA (A Mindset for the Anthropocene) on the question how the cultivation of mental qualities like mindfulness and compassion can play a relevant role in socio-ecological transformations. He has also been engaged in research on collective learning and co-creation in the context of political decision-making since 2017.
Thomas enjoys bringing together people and stakeholders from diverse backgrounds in reflexive processes and dialogues that allow for the emergence of more integrated perspectives and action pathways. He is also a trained facilitator of group processes in the tradition of the "art of hosting" and a member of the German association to the Club of Rome.
托马斯·布鲁恩博士（Dr. Thomas Bruhn）是一位物理学家。他于2012年加入了位于波兹坦的可持续发展高等研究院（institute for Advanced Sustainability Studies, IASS），并在此开展跨学科研究，其核心关切是：如何辅助地球系统中人类关联方式的转化，以应对实现可持续发展所面临的共同挑战。
自2016年以来，布鲁恩博士带领”人类世的智识模式（A Mindset for the Anthropocene, AMA）”项目小组，探索诸如正念觉知与慈悲等精神品质的培养，以及其在社会与生态改革中所发挥的作用。
同时，自2017年始，他也致力于政治决策中团体学习（collective learning）与协同创新（co-creation）的研究。布鲁恩博士乐于邀请来自不同背景的参与者共同开展反思与对话，以此促发更为整合的视角与行动策略的形成。他还曾受训于“引导艺术（art of hosting）”这一传统，成为了一名团体进程的引导师。在此之外，他也是罗马俱乐部德国协会的成员。
Brief Introduction 我是谁？
Could you define yourself in a brief sentence? Or if you are asked to introduce yourself briefly, what would like to say?
I am a compassionate bridge builder and a transdisciplinary researcher searching for meaning and sustainable modes of living in the Anthropocene.
AMA：A Space for Question
Tom：There are so much we could dive into. I'm curious what you will pick up on.实在有太多可以进一步探索的东西了，我很好奇你接下来会选取怎样的主题？
Yi：I’m interested in many points that you have been touching upon. But first I would really like to hear more about your AMA project. Would you like to elaborate more on it?
Tom: Well, What is AMA？What is the project?
Although I have given responses to this question many times I am always struggling with it. In a way you could say that the project is mainly a space for a question.
NASA, ESA, and M. Livio and the Hubble 20th Anniversary Team
And this question is shaped by my trust in the inexplicable inner dimension of our being. The project is a space where people can explore this inner perception of nature for themselves and explore how that is entangled with the outer challenges they face. Our approach based on the experience that the discourse of the community that is interested in sustainability is very separated from people who are interested in consciousness development.
And our project just started as a community building process.
In the beginning, we started speaking with people like:
”Well, we talk about technical solutions and policy here, but do you think that is ever going to work if we humans stay as little empathic we are or as little mindful as we are？Don't you think our cultivation of our minds should be part of what they are talking about here？” These were the kind of questions we brought into our conversations.
The responses were often like: “Oh, absolutely! For me, personally it's a crucial topic. But I cannot talk about that here. If I do that, I lose my scientific legitimacy or I will be looked at in strange ways.”
There are a lot of prejudices about people who are interested in inner aspects of cultivating the minds even among psychologists and particularly psychology academics. Human-centered psychology is only one trend among many and it seems to me that it is far more spread among practitioners than among academics and researchers.
So we said: OK. Let us just create a space where people who share this interest can meet in a trustworthy atmosphere and find out together where we perceive this dissonance between our inner human experience and the outer phenomena in the world.
And how could we in our own specific context move towards a somewhat greater coherence or harmony. So, connecting these people who are often isolated and felt lost in their context here, that was the key ambition in the beginning. And it's still also the intention that I'm holding most dearly to my heart. I care about those people who are in a systems context, e.g. in a government agency or in a company, and they feel that their practices are not resonating with the deeper sensations for their heart and intuition. But they struggled to integrate this. And what they told us they need is on the one hand legitimacy to make sure their efforts are taken seriously. They also said that they need information or inspiration how could this integration could take place concretely and they were looking for like-minded people with whom to learn together because all alone many people feel overwhelmed.
So what our project is doing threefold:
On the one hand, we do research that gives words to the relevance of this inquiry process. So we ask ourselves: Why does it make sense to look into this connection between inner transformation and outer sustainability？What could be an understanding that actually does not separate the two but sees it as a relational change, meaning a change of our way of relating? This framing around relationality is quite important because it draws on philosophical threads and concepts that are not representing the mainstream here in Europe.
The other thing is community building. We organize events where people can engage in this mutual learning process with people from complementary backgrounds. Some are more from the focus on “inner” cultivation – be it psychologists or people with more spiritual background – and on the other hand people with more of an “outer” focus, such as politicians, people related to technology development and also people who are engaged in cultural practice.
And the third part is a practicing. We see ourselves as a learning group of this integration process and we aspire to grow deeper into that coherence. We see that practice as part of our research. We don't just want to do cognitive research about something but we want to try to live it also in the way how we communicate, how we work as a team with each other, and how we create institutions for us. Lots of that aspiration is in conflict with the dominant culture of the institutions around us. So we see us as a living cell in our systemic context of the topic we are researching about.
One concrete thing maybe interesting to share here is a platform where we are collecting this process.
So this platform collects and visualizes the people, organizations and projects that are interested in this integration process. Under www.ama-project.org you find a visual compass like a navigation tool for this emerging field. We are providing this because many people say that there is nobody else who is doing this kind of work. And actually, there are many people who do this. They are just hidden and each of them believes they are alone. We want to make them visible as a field of agents who work independently, but at the same time are already an emerging field of some new paradigm of this integration.
资料来自Dr. Thomas Bruhn
I think many others are doing similar work, but in our context so close to policy, we are not aware anyone else is doing that.
The Fascinating Tension in
Self & Universe
One thing before it gets lost: You touched on of the topic of the universe. And also you said the that this mingling of cultures is already happening.
For me, the topic of “A mindset for the Anthropocene” is clearly the hope that I hold in my heart that actually this could be part of the emergence of a “conscious planet” so to speak. I have difficulty aligning with any religion in particular. But I feel a deep trust in the nature of evolution, as the intrinsic logic of this path that we are part of. And maybe that is something that is approached with the word Dao – I don't know enough about that but maybe this is something for us to explore together.
I originally started astrophysics, including cosmology which is the scientific perspective around the origins and development of the universe. And I feel trust in these laws of self-organization of nature. I am part of that. From my understanding, there were always the forces that segregate matter into different entities and on the other hand the forces that connect, and they were always in some kind of dynamic——balance or harmony—— throughout the evolution process.
And maybe that's all that we are helping facilitate here: the balance between these forces.The whole process of the universe from the is a continuation of that logic of self-organization into different entities that always stay connected.
Our project is often circling around the phrase “identity in relationality”. We consider identities never to be separate but always in relationship, and the self is always also an embodiment of the whole field. And I have the hope that our current process is like the globalization of this kind of conscious web of life.
我们的项目常常循环往复于“关系中的身份”这个词。我们认为“身份”从来、无法与“关系”割裂，且永远在“关系”之中，而“我”总是被镶嵌于整个场域之中。我有一个愿望是，这种具有意识的生命网络（Web of life 类似于“生命共同体”）能够进入到全球化进程之中。
But that's kind of a very big thing to hold in my heart. And I don't know whether it really makes sense or whether it even really matters, It feels a bit paradoxical to me, because while I hold this hope for a more conscious and harmonic planetary being. I also experience that I am quite happy to shrink into my own small self. I do not only embody the big planet but simultaneously also relax into the small subjective being that I am as Thomas Bruhn sitting here in a park in the shadow of a tree.
图片来自Dr. Thomas Bruhn
I come from a culture that has emphasized this notion of “do-ability” in the sense of making things happen and controlling the physical world. Many people still hold this idea that you can control the earth and you have to develop big technologies to manipulate the world into being this or that. To me, this notion is in many ways super arrogant but I believe it comes from this idea of being separated from the earth. Being a particle of a relational field to me means that I can never control the field. I can just be a conscious part of it – as conscious of the whole as I can but never losing my ability to also be this “small self”. Because only as that small self I am active. So that's kind of the fascinating tension that I’m sitting in.
For me the whole journey starts with being six years old and having a poster of the Earth above my bed and looking at this picture and feeling: How beautiful is this planet? What a miracle is it that I am part of this ball in the universe？And how many miracles are happening on this planet. I still hold this love and this awe for the beauty of this world. And I want to act in resonance with what it means to love this whole planet. And at the same time I am just a small human being and I'm just living my life for a couple of decades. And both notions exist at the same time. That's the learning process I hope to catalyze through the AMA project.
I would like stop here for a moment. There are so many dreams and visions that come up when I speak like this to you. For now I would like to pause and hear what comes up for you.
Resonance in Silence
Yi: I'm super fascinated by everything that you have been talking about. I remembered that last year we were at the conference called Beyond Boundary where the psychologist Dan Siegel has shared his idea of mWE with us (me+WE=mWE), as being individual yet at the same time, collective. There was also a wonderful Russian philosopher who quoted a Sanskrit verse which says that we would first have to be separated in order to be to be collective. That is very interesting. Science has been informing us about the holographic aspect of existence, as each of us reflects the whole. And at the same time, each and every individual is also impacting the whole. In a sense that even by just sitting under this beautiful tree in the shadow, it already does some work for the conscious planet.
There's so many fascinating themes emerging from your sharing. Now I would really love to have fives minutes of silence to digest all of these things. There was a question coming into my mind while listening to you—I see that the process of “relating” has been one of the key elements in your sharing. That seems to be achieved by the practice of “resonance”. While being in the field, you’ve described a process of “turning in,” which for me also implies a certain understanding of our collective being, as what are we tuning in and what could we tune in？Equally important, how could we tune in？Would you mind sharing with us some of your experience, on relating to others and on resonance, particularly concerning the work of AMA in the transcultural and transdisciplinary context?
你的分享中涉猎了太多精彩的主题。我真的希望能拥有五分钟的静默来消化它们。在聆听时，我观察到“与他者相关联”（the process of relating)是一个关键性的主题。它似乎是通过“共鸣/谐振”（resonance）来实现的。而身处场域之中时，你向我们描述了一种调频（turning in）的状态。它似乎揭示了某种对于大我的理解。
Tom：I share your impulse to have a moment of silence.
While we are speaking, I’m always looking around here: The birds are singing and I am sitting in the shadow of the trees, and there is some quality of silence even as we speak as well.
Several things came to my mind. You mentioned about this concepts and the mWE. Some other philosopher speaks of the inter-being… I have mixed feelings.
It's so strange: I see the value of all these new concepts. At the same time, I feel it's just more concepts. It's very difficult for me. Just today I saw a conversation with a German sociologist that I really appreciate. He is a very smart guy. But it's very clear to me from my perception: He's not embodying what he's talking about. And that is something that I'm also sitting with. We can talk about lots of things and there's so much knowing available in this world. The quality that I feel is lacking is the being. And this being for some people it may be access to first know about things. But I'm worried that we worship the knowing so much that we neglect the being. So, personally, I emphasize the being because so much knowing is already there.
And somehow when we spoke, I was reminded of Jelaluddin Rumi, a Persian mystic from the 13th century. There is a poem in which he describes how he is moving around from one tradition to the other trying to find God and wisdom. But he didn't find Him at the Christian cross. He didn't find Him in the temples and pagodas and so forth. And then at the end of all his journeys from one culture to the other he says:
“I then turned into my heart. And it was there where he dwelled that I found him. He was nowhere else to be found.”
I'm sitting with that. So, as much as I appreciate the many beautiful concepts that are being brought to me, I always feel: Let's not over emphasize them.
畅谈之际，我想到了十三世纪的波斯诗人鲁米（Jelaluddin Rumi）。他有一首诗描述自己如何四处遍寻上帝和智慧。无论西方的十字架下、还是东方的庙宇或宝塔里，他都没有找到它。而在这场跨文化探索旅途的尽头，他说: 最后我转向我的心灵。原来它在此安住，从不在别处。
So about AMA: Yes, there are a few learning that I could share. The most important experience for me is: whenever people come together, I witness the tendency to jump immediately into the content we want to talk about, our opinions and positions about a certain topic. People, however, easily get into fights about that.
What I find crucial is to start with the questions: Why are we actually connecting？What are the real motivations that bring us into our conversation？Only if there is somewhat a shared perception of these motivations it makes sense to talk about what is the content we want to talk about.
我认为应该从关键问题开始：我们为何联结? 是什么真正驱动我们开始讨论? 只有当对这些初心建立某种程度的共识后，再进入主题才有意义。
And the second thing is (but maybe there's also cultural conditioning here):
I observed a dominant culture that people meet as roles and representatives of a company or as stakeholders, or as experts of something.Meaningful conversation, however, needs people to become present as persons, as whole beings.
So in the beginning of all the events that I host if I have enough freedom to design it that way, I always emphasize giving people the opportunity to really share their stories about “who you are” and “why you are here”.
But it needs to be explicitly invited, particularly when different cultural contexts are mingling. For example, there was one conference that I hosted here together with Man Fang last October. I think we took about 2.5 hours for the participants to just get to know who is in the room. We made visible from which different parts of the world everybody is coming from, which different perspectives or disciplines people are representing, and gave enough time in small group conversations at the beginning so that everybody could feel comfortable with each other as persons and could feel fully present.
Maybe that is something that you don't need if you can ground on a relational understanding. Maybe in a Chinese context you can take this as a given. Maybe you can just come together and you feel and embody that relationality immediately and be present with your emotional life. Here in my work context, it’s usually not the case. It needs an explicit framing and invitation to give people the question. Who are you and why are you here？And I usually prefer groups of three for these initial conversations because it allows people to connect a bit deeper as human beings.
Process Flow in Events
The processes of our events follow a certain flow.
We start with the real world context that people come from and a concrete motivation, like maybe some specific challenge.
The second phase would be to explore this challenge a bit more. What is the systemic nature of these challenges？And how is my own inner being entangled with it？
The third phase would be providing experience and perspective change. That could be a contemplative practices or a body experience. It can be perspective changing exercises such as role plays but also short inspiring impulses or group conversations about relevant academic knowledge or inspiring story telling sessions.
The fourth phase is visioning. Based on the experience and inspiration from the third phase, we reflect: What kind of visions of your being and of your contexts come to you as new orientation for the future?
In the fifth phase we translate this back into specific action in the context that you are part of. Often, after a beautiful experience like a meditation retreat or an inspiring training you come back into your work and are quickly overwhelmed by your surroundings. So our process has to end with an element of coaching where people support each other in translating their experience and insights into specific action.
And then in the end it is also crucial to say farewell to each other to disconnect from the field. Because when you come together for a workshop for three days, as you enter the field and you invite people to connect, it's also important to make a conscious transition out of this particular field that you've constituted for a couple of days, maybe sometimes only a few hours.
Those are the six phases:
(1) Who are we and why are we here？
(2）What is actually our challenge？
(3) What are experiences we can make to broaden our horizon?
(4) What visions come to us as we have left our comfort zone?
(5) How do these changed visions and experiences translate into specific action in my personal context?
(6) A proper farewell.
That's the rough architecture for the processes I love to facilitate.
(1) 我们是谁? 为何在这里?
Could share with us a motto or some words as the closure of our interview?
There is no teacher who can teach us anything new – (s)he can only help us to remember what we always knew.
Yi：Thanks so much for the sharing. I think today we really had a glimpse of this beauty of a heart and the nature of reality. And I believe this sharing would nourish each and everyone of us who have been listening or will be listening in the future.
Tom：You are so kind. Thank you for your touching wonderful reflections back to me.
I enjoy these conversations with you very much also because they bring more clarity for myself. I think I shared that with you after our conversation on Tuesday. In connecting with you, I realize something about myself. So it's a very enriching experience for me as well. I was looking forward to this conversation and at the same time also curious how I would deal with the format. Now I feel very connected with you and very touched.
Thank you so much in various ways; for taking the time, but also for giving me the space to share these aspects of my own reflections. I admit that there are not so many opportunities where I can share so much also from the heartfelt dimensions of all of my being and doing.
I feel very honored and privileged that the space has been given to me by you and by Man. It is still a rare occasion for me to speak like this. And I hope that it makes sense for others and that it can be a resource for others who have been listening to it. Thank you very much for the attention that you've given to me as a present. I think its late night for you in China, so I wish you all the best and good night.
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人物访谈(中英) | 方曼: 这时刻,请柔以待人,请联结彼此,请臣服于自然
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