Yeshayahu (Jesaiah) Ben-Aharon (born 1955, Israel) is an Israeli philosopher who founded the kibbutz Harduf, Israel. He is married and has two children. He teaches, writes and lectures worldwide on the evolution of human consciousness in the sciences, humanities, and spirituality. He received a PH.d in philosophy from Haifa University in Israel and specializes in Goetheanism, phenomenology, anthroposophy and post-structural thinking. His main goal is to combine spiritual research with social activism in Israel and the world.
Social and Political Activism
In the social field, Dr. Ben-Aharon studies the influences of globalization on current cultural, political, and economic trends and events. A special field of research and activity concerns Israel, its identity and destiny, and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Dr. Ben-Aharon can be considered as a founder and pioneer of the current civil uprising in Israel. His activity in conceptualizing, organizing and activating Israeli civil society, prepared important seeds and impulses for the current social events in Israel. As early as 2000 he started, as part of his co-founding of the global network for threefolding (with Nicanor Perlas), to advocate a new form of the social and political organization of Israeli and global society. (His global social vision is described in his book "America’s Global Responsibility").
In an interview with reporter Yael Gvirtz for the main Israeli newspaper, Yediot A’haronot, Weekend Supplement, June 28, 2002, Ben-Aharon says rather prophetically: “A revolution does not happen overnight...This vision will be realized, only when it has become a question of life and death for Israeli society.”
Gvirtz asked, "How does one carry out a Silk Revolution in a state used to violence?"
Ben-Aharon answered, “This is a revolution in cognition and consciousness. In order to create a deep change of society, the understanding of the simple citizens is required. There are no instant solutions here; it is not about founding another political party. It is not about the politics of parties, but about the original sense of politics, about reshaping social life into a three-fold organism. Everywhere in the world where strong civil institutions are operating, a social revolution is generated. Wherever we find three negotiators seated around the social table and not just two - the politician and the capitalist, who to all intents and purposes are one and the same - this is a total revolution. If the civil voice understands its power and affects democracy and economics, then we shall be in a different story altogether.”
His father, Yetzhak Ben-Aharon, was a leader of the labor movement and labor party in Israel beginning in the 1930s, and supported Dr. Ben-Aharon’s pioneering activism. Yetzhak said: “A new civil movement will arise that will sweep away the rule of generals and return Israel to its real goals and to sanity.” No better words could have expressed what is happening now (2011) in Israel than these words. Dr. Ben-Aharon has also developed far-reaching insights about the political situation of Israel in the Middle East and the unending conflict with the Palestinians. In the interview he says, that the foremost precondition of Israeli-and Palestinian politics, if it ever wishes to emerge from these never ending cycles of mutual violence, is to put an end to their participation in the global fight of Western dominated 'Capitalistan: versus extremist led Islamistan.'
“Dr. Ben-Aharon’s point of departure toward the prolonged crisis in Israel and the world, is the theory of ‘clash of civilizations,’ which he defines as based on the need of a ‘worthy enemy’ as a strategic asset of the first order for the existence of Empires. “The original sin of Jewish and Palestinians leaderships,” he claims, “is their identifying with the clash of civilizations in its western proclaimed version. The Jewish leadership, on the left and on the right, regarding itself as part of the western empire, or ‘Capitalistan,’ poses itself automatically against ‘Islamistan,’ while the Palestinians do the same from the opposite direction. What is more, each of the three western religions: Judaism, Islam and Christianity, has its own messianic “solution” for Israel, their holy land, intended to kill all the others and complete the destruction of the others. And on this ‘Bloody Fault- Line’ in Samuel Huntington’s charming phrase, we and our children, Jewish and Arabs, are constantly, unwittingly, sacrificing ourselves.”
“In a conference he organized last March (2002), on “The Role of Civil Society at a Time of National Crisis,” together with 25 different civil society organizations, was attended, along with globalization experts arriving form abroad, also by Yitzhak Ben-Aharon. The veteran revolutionary, who listened to the discussions and was weary of the theories, declared that unlike others he preferred to talk about the current political situation. Not from the paper, but from the blood of his heart. “I am weary of killing,” he roared in his typical rage. “I am sure that out of thousands of seeds like these there will arise a new civil movement that will sweep away the rule of generals and return Israel to its real goals and to sanity.”
- 1980 - founded Kibbutz Harduf, a center of diverse holistic ecological, therapeutic, and educational institutions.
- 2000 - co-founded, with Nicanor Perlas, The Global Network for Social Threefolding (GN3), to support global threefold social initiatives.
- 2001 - founded Activists for Israeli Civil Society in Israel, an organization dedicated to implementing threefolding in Israel.
Dr. Ben-Aharon’s newest book, published in 2011, is The Event in Science, History, Philosophy and Art.
According to Ben-Aharon’s new book, our time reveals a significant event in which a radical transformation of the whole human being is taking place. This process, which is of universal significance, he calls the Event, and it can be discerned in all areas of human activity. Ben-Aharon’s recent work focuses on how this process is being both discovered and brought about in human culture, and he studies this in his fourfold approach to the event in philosophy, science, art and history (general social life). In each of the areas, science, history, philosophy, and art, he extracts, combines and interprets some of the most creative developments and shows how they contribute towards a new understanding of life, consciousness and social interaction.
The Event in Science
In the science chapter, Dr. Ben-Aharon discusses what is often called “the second scientific revolution,” as an emerging new non-reductionist approach to nature. He demonstrates that all fields of natural science - from physics to evolution - scientific research and philosophy are developing a new understanding of matter, life, intelligence, cognition and creative emergence. A new world picture is emerging through contemporary science. Older pictures of the world, that saw it as mechanistic clockwork or the chance play of arbitrary mutations, not to mention as a work of intelligent design, now give way to more creative ones. It appears now, according to Dr. Ben-Aharon, that the earth, nature and cosmos evolve and develop more like an emerging work of cosmic art. Evolution’s new paradigm, the evo-devo, and its more recent developments emphasize the fact that any genetic change and novelty, past and present, occurs through a highly complex system of mutual interrelationships, in which genome, organism, environment and cosmos share a process of synergetic and creative evolution. Dr. Ben-Aharon summarizes the new world picture created in the new second scientific revolution under five leading trends:
1. Creative Emergence and Becoming, expresses the new concepts through which science seeks today to understand anew matter and the material world. Physics becomes the science of creative emergence par excellence. 2. The Web of Life, is the new paradigm for the life sciences, in which organic and embodied life is a world-wide-web, a living whole, with planet earth as its living and breathing organ of life. 3. Humanity is evolution becoming self-conscious. Humanity is seen as a place in and through which evolution becomes self-conscious. Evolution’s becoming self-conscious through the human, signals a beginning of a wholly new epoch of evolution, but it is evolution that is enhancing and transforming itself through its becoming human. 4. The human as the growing edge of cosmic evolution. This notion sees humanity as an inwardly active co-creative and co-responsible agent in evolution. No more mere spectator, or chance product of blind evolution, the human appears to represent the essence of evolution, and human creativity becomes part of cosmic creativity. 5. Individuation and future cosmic integration. Humans have individuated themselves in modern times, to discover the individual, with her freedom and self dignity. This was however only the first phase of individuation. In the future we will see also the new integration of the human in the cosmos. But this new integration will not be a return to ancient mythic times, and in the new integration the place of the individual will be preserved and enhanced.
The Event in History
Modern history is dramatic because of individuation and its uncertain eventualities. Central to Ben-Aharon's understanding of modern history as a process of individuation and renewed cosmic integration, is the concept of reversal. Modern time is characterized by a highly paradoxical development: individuation on one hand, and universalization, on the other. Human rights are taken to be universal, and so also is the value of the human individuality. At the same time, the universal is appropriated and individualized in an egotistic manner. This is as an unavoidable evolutionarily step, and yet, it is also destructive for the future of humanity. Individuation puts the power of the universal in the hands of free individuals and they structure political and social life and its institutions accordingly. The great political revolutions of the 20th century: Bolshevism, Fascism, and Capitalism, can only be understood as reversal and misuse of this universal power in the hands of individuals. A future healthy personal and social life will be realized when free individuals learn how to apply universal power in a singular, impersonal, and non egoistic manner, and in this way perform a reversal of the reversal inherent in individuation.
The Event in Philosophy
Potentials and tendencies for such truly contemporary transformations Ben-Aharon finds in all areas of modern culture. In philosophy it is expressed most clearly in recent continental thinkers. Ben-Aharon demonstrates how the thinking of some central representatives, especially Deleuze, Foucault, Derrida, Badiou and Levinas, opens a wholly new way of thinking, that can affirm the positive new scientific world picture and confront the challenges of recent history. Holistic thinking emerges in which new conceptualizations of the relation between thinking, identity, and society, reveal profound transformations of the human being and its experience of humanity’s essence.
The Event in Art
Developments in contemporary and 20th-century art reveal similar new creative and refreshing potentials. Here creativity transgresses the traditional forms and disciplines of art, where one can discern a general tendency of artistic practice as a catalyst for a transformation of consciousness. This transformation of the meaning and practice of art is conceptualized by Ben-Aharon through stages of metamorphosis in artistic work and the artist herself. In reaching beyond the confines of physically embodied life and cognition, artistic becoming contributes essential forces to the future stream of spiritual transformation.
The New Experience of the Supersensible – The Knowledge Drama of the Second Coming
In this groundbreaking book, Dr. Ben-Aharon used Rudolf Steiner’s indications to create an individualized method of spiritual scientific research, in order to investigate the central spiritual event of our time. This event can be characterized as a fully spiritual (virtual) meeting with the “Higher Self,” or most concentrated essence of humanity (also called “Christ” in Anthroposophy). This meeting reveals to each human, both her own individual essence and mission on the earth, as well as illuminating humanity’s mission in the evolution of the cosmos as a whole. Dr. Ben-Aharon called his method the new “Cognitive Yoga,” whose aim is to create a direct bridge, a continuous process of metamorphosis, leading from our most ordinary cognition, to the deepest levels of spiritual cognition. For this reason this method starts from our daily sense perception and daily thinking. In daily cognition we instinctively and automatically combine each perception with thinking, and create the ordinary mental picture (representation) of an object. This gives us a stable and relatively speaking reliable foundation for our cognitive and moral life in the physical world. However, at the same time it also blocks our way from entering into the deeper, more virtual-spiritual levels of existence. The process of “Cognitive Yoga” takes it start by separating the two elements from each other, and letting each be experienced in its pure, virtual form and becoming. In this way, pure sense perception leads to the spiritual reality behind the external physical world (to which also our own physical body belongs), and pure thinking, freed from the brain and nervous system, takes us into the spiritual world itself. Both are then reunited in a higher, fully spiritual synthesis, to provide a clear, sustainable, supersensible consciousness and cognition, by means of which various aspects of the meeting with the Higher Self can be investigated.
Ben-Aharon’s book was published in 1995 and a second printing, with a personal interview about his spiritual biography, was published in 2008. It is until today the only first hand, systematic, spiritual scientific and detailed research of this spiritual meeting with the being of the Higher Self of Humanity, which is the most important spiritual event of our time and in the future to come. In a second book, "The Spiritual Event of the 20th Century," Dr. Ben-Aharon investigates the central spiritual event occurring during the Second World War, especially in the years 1933-45, and describes its future consequences.
- The Spiritual Event of the 20th Century
- The New Experience of the Supersensible
- America's Global Responsibility
- The Event in Science, History, Philosophy & Art
- Spiritual Science in the 21st Century (forthcoming 2013)