Phoenix Functions takes an ontological approach to the tranformative possibilities of the individual and the community. The ontological approach begins with the question "Who are we Being?" and follows with the question, "Who, then, could we Be?' In general, we are, more than anything else, meaning-making or story-telling machines. Who we are being at any moment is a function of the our story that we are playing in.
Before and outside of story there is phenomenae of the world that can be understood as exists as it IS, without description nor meaning. Being present to what IS, is the foundation for creating a clearing in the mind for creative possibilities. Meditation is a practice that is concerned with being present. From the practice and the awareness of phenomenae as it IS, we can find that there is a clearing, an opening, a nothingness about phenomenae. And of that clearing, we can enter in choice, to create new possibilities.
The phenomenon of the human being is that we are as we interact through our story and develop our identities through our story and the choices we make around those stories. A common responses to what IS, is to embellish the description in a complaint. The complain often supports a particular way we are being in the world that we have begun to feel is who we are, and think that how we see the world is how the world really is. Pride among the characteristics of our stories, is that they utilise our emotions especially those that contribute to our defence or domination, our fight or flight. Often, in our development from childhood, we harness particular emotional responses to particular circumstances, and then react with these well-worn pathways as our decisions in the world. Our success is built on that circumstances that look the same are the same as when we where first successful with our reaction. Our repetitive failures are based on that the circumstances in which we were first successful with our reaction is never repeated, no matter how much they look the same. A choice of how we are being often gets little light of day.
All the same, who we are being IS what it IS. From that place, seeing how we are, as we ARE, including our story that we are playing, allows a stripping away of story to create clearing(s) or openings for a great many possibiliites and ideas of what could be, how we could be, to be created in choice. There is an effort in allowing ourselves to be present to how we are being about ourselves or others or the world. Yet that effort is the beginning of the disappearing which is around personal restraints and habits. As these disappear then a clearing is created into which we can move with creative possibilities for a life we love to live.
Transformation is the condition in which something disappears so that something new, appears. In this sense, transformation is real MAGIC.
The philosophy of transformation deals with why things seem to exist and how could something new appear.
In short, things seem to exist because the human mind/brain has been able to receive external information, via our nervous system, which can be mapped as a pattern onto pre-defined brain networks that give us a conscious perception of certain qualities. Our own brain deals with our own thoughts in much the same way.
However, because of the specialised nature of our brain and the manner it works, it is conceivable that a great deal of what actually exists, either does not register via our nervous system or is not mapped onto our perceptual brain.
Transformation often occurs as a function of noticing something exists that wasn't previously evident. This can occur through developing a new tool or skill for 'looking' at possibilities. In noticing that 'hidden' aspect, the un-noticed thing appears. Once it appears, it's open interaction with what was previously noticed, creates something new altogether. What had previously existed, still exists but not in the precious form. The old form can even seem to totally disappear. The new form can seem to be completely new.
Transformation relies on an effort in seeing it as it 'IS'; acknowledging that it doesn't need fixing (although sometimes something needs cleaning up); allowing the wonder for new possibilities to rise up; allowing yourself to Be the person that can create a new possibility; choosing and declaring that new possibility; and entering into conversations around the possibility that can support its reality.
As a philosophy of human social relationships, Phoenix Functions supports the view that empowerment is a function of accountability.
From that view RIGHTS might be ideally seen as only applying to three categories: Children to age 15; The environment; and Animals.
RESPONSIBILITY applies to humans over the age of 15 years, in an accruing attitude until full maturity at 21 years of age.
In this framework, any view that RIGHTS have been infringed is an indication of where RESPONSIBILITY and ACCOUNTABILITY among the adult population, has failed. This is not to imply that everyone is equal in this responsibility, nor to excuse the level of responsibility that lies at the feet of political leaders. However it does imply that mere complaint about the failure of leaders is a failure of the complainant to be accountable for their own responsibility in contribution to the world. In otherwords, if complaint, then action.
CHILDREN All children have a RIGHT to be fully supported and nurtured in the community. Key to their development is the incremental training into contribution, accountability and responsibility.
YOUTH The transitional period from childhood to maturity, from the ages 11years to 15years, demands mentoring into teamwork for community contribution. The minimal benchmark for all 15 year olds is competency in teamwork. For some, leadership will show up as an excellence.
The transitional period from maturity to adulthood, from ages 15years to 21years, demands further mentoring and coaching in empowerment and leadership. The benchmark for an adult is a fully independent being, materially, spiritually, socially, rationally, and in action.
ADULT The adult is a fully fledged learner and contributor in society. During the energised years of their life, say from 21-50years, the adult takes on increasing comittments to others and themselves, as development of their own contribution to their community and the world.
WISDOM The getting of wisdom can occur early in life, however this may be a less common condition. The great opening that is possible for many people in the latter half of life (50-100 years) is a place of significant creativity, contribution and leadership.
Other specific philisophical questions that are considered include:
Phoenix Functions recommends for philosophical reference: