Chaos and Complexity; Magic and Mystery

Welcome to the World of Victor MacGill PhD

Victor MacGill
When the Dragon Stirs
Gonna LAy Down my Sword and Shield
Gonna Lay Down my Sword and Shield
Monika de Neef at The Wayfinding Entrepreneur

About Victor

I came into this world on the 9th of November 1955 at Bethany Hospital in Wellington, New Zealand. My parents had recently split up, so my mother immediately shifted back home to Nelson to her parents’ house with my older sister and I. however, by the age of three months I was living in a foster family. I have always been the outsider; the liminal edge dweller, who never quite fits.
My parents were also edge dwellers. my birth father lived on a dairy farm in Northern Taranaki in the 1930s. He chose to become a vegetarian and started a life-long passion with Esperanto, the International Language. My mother was a Theosophist. They met at the Wellington Theosophical Society Lodge. After reading a book on Buddhism in the Theosophical Society library my father became Buddhist. It is in my blood. The life of the edge dweller is a life of isolation, separation and pain. But the edge dweller is a seeker, ever prompted by an urge to know and to understand.

My childhood in my foster family was stable and totally supportive, and the relationship with my birth family always open and positive. I was brought up within the Anglican Church, but eventually my blood would call me to widen my search. I had a natural bent towards intellectual pursuits. My interest in science began at an early age.

In my early 20s I spent years immersed in the Māori community around Christchurch, speaking in Māori at formal occasions such as tribal gatherings and tangihanga (traditional funeral rites). It led me on a journey of spiritual discovery into strange liminal realms,which totally changed my life. I learned that there was a whole new window through which to see the world I found myself thrown into. I had found difference; something to compare my life against to reveal unexplored possibilities from which I had been shaded. I was very fortunate that this began a journey of spiritual exploration at a young age, so I now have decades of spiritual practice to support my being in the world. I became a deacon in the Māori Anglican Church which linked my childhood world and the Māori culture I had come to love.
I was involved in the co-operatives movement in the early 1980s, attending a number of gatherings and networking between groups. Even then I had a clear awareness of the iniquity of the dominant societal paradigm and a picture was emerging of a better possible future. My journey of exploration took me into New Age beliefs and, from around 1985, into the newly formed Convergence gathering, which I attended four or five times. That also led to looking at alternative currencies (Green Dollars).
My reading of Māori mythology and experiences in the Māori world spread to reading mythological stories from around the world, from which themes and patterns emerged. Joseph Campbell and Carl Jung were key influences in those days and my explorations led to the publication of my first book, When the Dragon Stirs: Healing our Wounded Lives through Fairy Stories Myths and Legends in 1995.

The Māori concepts of living with ancestors took me into the Spiritualist Church and from there to finding Theosophy for myself. I found it to be anything other than the dry, boring, old fashioned religion I had presumed from looking at my mother’s books years before. I was very impressed that, whilst Theosophy has some guiding principles and a substantial body of wisdom writings, there are no set beliefs to be followed or obeyed. Buddhist beliefs, also linking me back to my father, have had a large impact on my life.
I married and shifted to Dunedin, where we had my daughter Emerald. I lived in Dunedin for 27 years. I broke up with Fran and later married Pam, who was a minister in the Spiritualist Church in Dunedin, who died of cancer at the age of 46.
In 1995 I saw a television programme about fractals called The Colours of Infinity narrated by Arthur C Clarke. I saw in this a connection between the scientific view of the world and the holistic, spiritual perspectives I had been immersed in. I felt like it had broken the ‘Galilean spell’ for me, and science no longer needed to be only involved with breaking the world into smaller and smaller pieces. Beyond a linear viewpoint, a wider, non-linear way of seeing the world that embraced relationship and connectedness became possible. The dynamic interconnectedness of everything in our world had a scientific explanation. From fractals I soon moved to Chaos Theory and Complexity Theory, opening a treasure box of theories and concepts that resonated so well with my being.
Chaos and complexity spoke of a world where chaos, uncertainty and even catastrophe are inherently woven into the fabric of life as a necessary part of the magic of the dynamic nature of the world we live in, rather than being an evil or sinful intervention. Chaos and complexity, particularly in the early days, was very much at the fringes. I had found this wonderful treasure, but nobody I could discuss it with. I had to travel to Australian conferences, where I would find like-minded people who could understand my enthusiasm. There I found a home and a supportive global network of people with a similar vision.

My spiritual journey led me to the conclusion that our willingness to use violence was the greatest impediment to our spiritual development as human beings. My working life then interestingly took me into the world of violence, first working as a probation officer, then as a programme facilitator, facilitating rehabilitation programmes mainly in prisons, and facilitating programmes to reduce domestic violence. I became increasingly aware of the more subtle forms of violence, so intricately woven into our social structure that we no longer recognise them for what they are.
My second book, Gonna Lay Down my Sword and Shield, A Complexity Perspective on Human Evolution from a Violent Past to a Compassionate Future was published in 2012. It explored the roots of violence arising from our early evolutionary beginnings and how as we have evolved, the subtleties of how we perpetrate violence on each other have also evolved. It pointed to a brave new world where we might find other ways of resolving difference.
In 2011 I shifted to Australia with Sonja and lived in Wagga Wagga. I began my PhD through the University of the Sunshine Coast in 2012, bringing together so many of the thread of my life's journey. After around two years I returned home to Nelson, New Zealand, where I started working for SVS living Safe in the field of domestic violence. 

I completed my PhD, graduating in 2016. I lived with my foster mother until I met Monika, my present partner. We shifted to Christchurch for two years to get Monika's residency and have now returned to Nelson. We came back in our first motorhome, a 5.3m 1990 Mazda Titan. We finally decided to live permanently in a mix of motorhoming and house sitting, so we recently upgraded to a 7.7m Volkswagen Crafter.

Monika and I work on building internet-based business ideas both separately and together that can operate out of our motorhome. We have many plans for the future to fit around the lifestyle that we choose for ourselves. There are many more adventures waiting for us!

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