HOW WE GOT HERE
This book, like many literary works, was birthed out of a conversation. Like most conversations, I had no idea where the talk would take us. I was developing a strong relationship with a potential vendor and through his harmless pitching and my constant questions, we built a friendship. One day, after a sizable conversation on music, life and philosophy, he asked if I could give him some sort of idea that would change his life. It’s not the type of question you get every day. I knew I needed to make my answer count.
“Well,” I said, “I’m not sure what to tell you, because I don’t know what you believe.” He mentioned that he was seeking answers to life’s biggest questions, that SOMETHING was out there bigger than himself, but he didn’t know what.
I think that is where many people are; they would agree that there is something bigger than themselves out there. But their determination of the validity of that thought is then based on the lives, attitudes and declarations of those claiming this or that belief. In other words, seekers are often looking to those who have already sought - and the evidential lives of those ambassadors determine if these seekers want to venture any further into this or that belief system.
Therein lies the tragedy. For many that claim to believe in this or that, offer little to humanity by way of evidence. They may believe something, but it doesn’t create a winsome enough life that it draws others in. Now, worldviews and beliefs are bigger than just their supporters. Many come to this or that worldview based on the insights and wisdom presented by the worldview alone.
But we don’t live among insights or wisdom. We live among people. People that broadcast, emmenate and declare what they believe through their daily conversations, through their posts on social media, through their actions. Culturally, we exist inside a community - and how that community acts, and interacts, determines what the community accepts and rejects. Eventually, the collection of individual people with many different beliefs, creates a sense of cohesive community for or against a particular belief or set of ideas.
It is important to note that it is not often the worldview that makes this determination. Instead, the acceptance or rejection of a belief is often based on the people who are acting out of it on a daily basis. The worldview is validated or discredited by its followers.
This can present a problem.
When you are presenting a worldview, you are also being associated with all of the past stories and circumstances that others have had with “believers” of that worldview. Your statements and even passion, can, and often is, tarnished by their past history. For some, it is an impossible task to transcend the belief over the past actions of its believers.
Which brings me back to my vendor’s conversation. In discussing anything with him, I would have to circumnavigate past experiences. I would have to fight his previous “listening” to get him to ever listen to anything I could say or promote to benefit his life.
What followed in the conversation is where this book took us. How to communicate to the masses in a way that transcends their past listening. And in doing so, we discovered something more powerful, applicable and winsome than we could dare dream possible. To elevate beyond their listening required me to disassociate with my particular point of view. Rather than attempting to validate a worldview, we transcended it. In doing so, you are merely left with “reality.” What we found is that reality actually validated a particular worldview. But more than that, it exposed its wonder. Wonder that could eclipse past experiences, angry social media posts, judgemental behavior and anger-laced rhetoric and protests.
Now, let me state that I (David W Litwin) am no way some sort of hero or sage of this idea. I have failed in my life far more than I have succeeded, and far more than my compatriot and co writer. To quote Wayne’s World, I am “not worthy.” But I am not looking for validation, affirmation or accolades with this book. It was not written to garner success, I don’t deserve it compared to the many that I know whose lives are amazing testaments to their beliefs. Men and women whose lives reflect great “listening” or evidence of their faith, that promotes a worldview, not tarnishes it.
This book is meant to stand on its own. Better yet, it is meant to transcend its pages. If you are a believer, it is designed to become a part of your own language and passion. If you are a seeker, it is crafted to approach a particular belief system in a way that can transcend your (understandable) pre-judgement. Either way, it’s designed to bring wonder back to a story that was always meant to remain in wonder. This book starts that conversation; my hope is that you will continue it. That it will coat your conversations, your interactions and, as you will learn, your future discoveries.
If that happens then we believe that cultural transformation is possible, relevant and within reach. It is not a conversation that needs to take centuries. The broadcast mechanisms to communicate such wonder are available to you now. You can change culture in nano-seconds today. We believe an idea can make that kind of impact. We believe it can stir that level of passion.
Remember, we interact everyday with those around us. Those interactions, beliefs, ideas, actions, etc. create culture. Culture has shifted its direction. Many of those subscribing to this or that belief system would consider this tragic. But the true tragedy may be discovered when you understand who is mostly responsible, as you will soon uncover.
But culture is made of hopeful human beings. Wanting the very best out of life. Wanting to know if there is more out there. Wanting to know if it looks better than many in this or that belief system make it out to be.
We believe that it is. And maybe, when you finish this book, you might just agree with us. It is our desire that it will fill you with a wonder that's too wonderful not to share with others.
This is how an idea or belief system creates true cultural transformation - through cultural relevance and, I believe even more importantly, through personal resonation. It has to connect to the heart and soul of a culture and its people. Because, whenever we hear a belief being presented, the internal skeptic in many of us screams, “so what!?”
The answer to that question is why we wrote this book. Because “So What?” (which is relevancy) was soon combined with, “So Why?” (which is objective evidence) which pointed us to, “So Who?” The answer to those questions, in this conversation, evokes wonder, beauty, passion and grace. But to see it we had to come at it from a place of impartiality. We had to look at this worldview from outside of the worldview itself. What we discovered along the way, we believe, is that this was always how it was meant to be.
The conversation I had with this fine young salesperson lasted about fifteen minutes. I only delved into about three chapters of this book (that hadn’t been written yet). When I was through, he was so overcome with amazement, dare I say wonder, at the discoveries… that he exclaimed in that wonder:
To which I said, (and you will soon discover logically, inspirationally and wondrously; without bias, without judgement, without shame, and without needing worldview validation,)