Monkfish Publishing Company, 2004
Reviewed by Karen Eberhardt-Shelton (abridged from the original)
In one sense, reading Out Of the Labyrinth has been an enlightening kind of torture; a bit like having to watch bears in cages being milked for bile 24 hours a day or the levelling of an entire rainforest, or the torpedoing of whales—without being able to intervene. My heart grieves for the fractured world at an even deeper level than before because my journey through this Labyrinth has guided me to a fuller understanding of why it’s all happening.
This book addresses the elements in human nature that either propel one in the direction of living in harmony with the earth or, as is the usual case, carry on as though a connection didn’t exist. It confronts the basement level we need to start at in order to be able to make sense of all the rest. You can legislate and create improvements in external set ups, but to change attitudes on a deeper plane where the force for good becomes self-motivating is an complex exercise in alchemy.
Labyrinth is about coming to understand and absorb what’s beneath what one already knows in general terms; beneath the standard mix of education, law, commerce, politics and even religion; beneath the rules, strivings and mandates; the organisations, movements and rules.
It goes to the heart of the ignorance, distortions, assumptions and posturing that alienate us from the fundamentals of living and lead us dangerously deeper into the labyrinth. It’s about a deeper kind of knowledge and insight that for the most part is both misinterpreted and overlooked in society. It explores the mysteries of consciousness and brings the reader to a point that enables them to realise how we can make the most of our differences and also share and balance our understandings about life, culture, society, the establishment, the arts, the work place, and defines with infinite patience how through the process of integrating the triad of strategist, citizen & seeker, essential connections with each other and the earth become possible.
It explores our specific roles and explains how they relate primarily to one of those three spheres: the objective dimension (the strategist), the social dimension (the citizen), and the depth dimension (the seeker), and emphasises that each is as important as the other and together they bring about an integral way, an inclusivity principle capable of fostering what Frankel terms ‘right balance’. If you don’t know how things are interconnected, then often the cause of problems is what were thought to be ‘solutions’. On the other hand, if you understand the hidden connections between energy, climate, water, agriculture, transportation, security, commerce, and economic and social development, then you can often devise a solution to one problem that will also create solutions to many other problems at no extra cost.
How can we best transform deep responsibility and deep awareness into effective action? His answer is by practicing ‘deep strategy’. Frankel claims that ‘shallow strategies address symptoms, deep strategy attempts to get at the causes underlying them,’ but ‘Reflection without action can be as damaging as action without reflection, so for transformative results to be achieved, reflection must be married to action.’