How You Can Choose the White Door to Engaged Presence

Imagine you are walking along a road and see a nondescript building with a bright street sign outside saying, “Important Conversations that Can Change Your Life.”

“Hmm,” you think to yourself. “That’s too important to pass by.” So, you walk through the brick archway and enter a short, dimly lit corridor. At the end of the passageway you find yourself facing two closed doors. You have a choice of two rooms to walk into, each containing two very different sets of circumstances.

On the black door to your right, the sign says “Binary Confrontation: Hostile environment where people attack and shame each other. Nothing to learn here.”

The white door on the left says, “Engaged Presence: Exciting exchange of ideas and good-natured dialogue with very interesting people. Everyone learns something.”

You linger for a moment, shifting your weight from one foot to the other. Then you choose the room on the right: confrontation. You twist the doorknob and enter to the sound of yelling and screaming…

Engaged Presence Versus Binary Confrontation
Perhaps you are thinking: “No! I could never be that stupid. I would choose the other door!”

But is that what you actually do in your everyday life, especially in online environments? The truth is that if you look at most online discussion forums, especially ones where there is limited moderation or where people tend to be anonymous, many or most people are choosing the Binary Confrontation door. It’s very likely that you choose the conflict and intolerance option at least some of the time, as do I.

In this article I am going to show you how to find and to choose the white door. But like Neo in The Matrix deciding upon taking the blue or the red pill, you are going to have to want it.

Binary confrontation is founded upon judgment and denunciation of the other. It tends to degenerate into tribalism, as people pick and choose sides. True presence, true empathy becomes impossible. So does logic and reason, because emotionality often usurps data.

The problem with binary confrontations extends beyond chat rooms to the blogosphere and media itself, where commentators and journalists push forward volatile and provocative ideas to stir people up, to get them to click on links and to get them to keep coming back for more.

And we are queuing up to join the fight.

In the real world of flesh and blood people, confrontational binaries appear to be ever-increasing, spilling over from our virtual worlds. We see them in politics, campus protests, public demonstrations, and workplace disputes.

Yet one of the great blessings of life is when we are engaging others in a relaxed state of mind, even if we disagree with them. There is something intrinsically consciousness-expanding about being in open dialogue with others. When we are truly present with others, our minds and hearts seem to become bigger.

Ideas and attitudes can expand consciousness. So can exchanges with others.

Or all these things can contract consciousness.

As a person with a spiritual perspective on life, I have a general rule: move towards that which expands consciousness; move away from that which contracts it. The awareness of the distinction between these two modes of experience requires no college degree or study under a spiritual master. All you have to do is relax and feel what is happening in your body. Is your consciousness expanding. Or is it contracting?

How to Nurture Engaged Presence
There’s a wonderful example of Engaged Presence I stumbled across recently on the internet. The occasion was when Russell Brand interviewed Jordan Peterson on Brand’s podcast.

Now, anybody who knows about even a little about both men would know that there is likely an awful lot that they disagree on. Brand is well entrenched on the left side of politics, and some might even call him a social justice warrior. Peterson on the one hand describes himself a classical liberal (libertarian), and has been openly critical of some ideas on the left, including identity politics and postmodern thought. And yet the dialogue between the two men is possibly the best example of Engaged Presence I have ever come across where the individuals involved have significant differences. I suggest you watch at least some of that podcast, because the conversation embodies precisely what I am going to outline below.

You might like to compare that chat with a conflict-ridden one Russel Brand conducted with Sam Harris just one week prior. Both interviews are long. You can get a good sense of Engaged Presence in the Brand/Peterson chat from minutes 40:00-45:00, and binary confrontation in the Brand/Harris talk at the same point: minutes 40:00-45:00.

What is it that both Brand and Peterson did that permitted Engaged Presence to flourish? The answer is that Brand and Peterson practiced almost all of the following strategies in their ninety minutes together.


Helpful Strategies to Promote Engaged Presence

See Your Agenda. The first thing to do when you engage someone is to acknowledge your agenda. Is there some part of your mind that is trying to force a perspective on the other person, or to discredit or slander them? Do you believe yourself to be morally or intellectually superior to the other? Perhaps you are smarter, wiser or more knowledgeable in some ways, but these attitudes may also be delusional. Regardless, they will likely derail open discussion.

We all have agendas. That’s how minds function. In particular, look to see if you have an aggressive agenda. Acknowledge it to yourself. No need to beat yourself up. Just notice it.

Don’t engage while angry: retreat! The most common way to fall into the trap of binary confrontation is to start talking or writing while angry. If you find yourself being angry, step away (if possible). Or practice some mindful breathing until such time as you are able to assume responsibility for your neurophysiological state. Ideally, step back into the space of dialogue only when you are centered and present.

Begin by agreeing. When you enter a space pf dialogue, find some point with which you agree with the other person, and state it. This will help the other person relax. You might say, “I agree that criticism of Person X is warranted…”

Listen first. You have two ears and one mouth, so listen twice as much as you speak. This is an old maxim. The Dalai Lama said something along those lines. Make sure you take the time to listen to the person you are communicating with. You just might learn something.

Acknowledge and praise. We all like to be affirmed. Acknowledge or praise the other person. This is precisely the opposite to what many people do on the internet (I have done this more often than I’d like to confess). People often begin by angrily denouncing the other person, calling them stupid deluded or immoral. Needless to say, there is no chance of Engaged Presence thereafter. Trust is lost, and once gone, trust is very difficult to recover.

Acknowledging the other person means you show some interest in the other person. A big mistake is to simply see them as an abstract idea that has to be crushed or eliminated. Judgment, by its nature, seeks to annihilate that which it judges. We all know this intuitively, and it’s why we tend to experience fear and anger when we get judged. Judgment destroys presence, both in the judger and the judged. Remember that.

Avoid Declarative Language. Words and phrases that are less harsh and show a willingness to be flexible are more likely to set the other person at ease.

Avoid phrases like, “It is absolutely clear/certain that…”, “Nobody in their right mind can dispute…”, “This argument has been debunked by…”, “Such a point is silly, ridiculous, deluded, crazy etc.”

Instead use phrases like “There is an argument that…”, “Person X has conducted research that indicate that…”

Invite the other person to consider your point. Here you can use questions and phrases that allow the other person to save face, or perhaps even provide knowledge that they already have in favour of your point. “What do you think of the argument that…?”, “Do you think Person X’s ideas carry much weight…?”, “In what ways do you think Position X idea is better than Position Y.”

Admit what you don’t know. Even if you are really, really smart there is still a lot more you don’t know than you do know. Be honest! Are you certain that global warming is a hoax? Are you sure that it is the result of human activity? How do you know this? I choose climate change as an example, because it is a very complex phenomenon which very few human beings today are highly informed about. While I tend to side with the anthropocentric climate change argument, the truth is that I just don’t have the time or inclination to research the topic at the necessary depth to be anything but (reasonably) open minded. What I do know, however, is that the subject is incredibly important and our simply dismissing it could have dire consequences for all our futures.

Admit your uncertainties. Ask the other person to share their opinion and knowledge on the topic, on the areas that you are ignorant or uncertain of. If you are truly present with them, you will sense soon enough if they have a strong agenda at the level of mind top try to manipulate you.

Always leave a space for not knowing. Invite the other person to speak, even when their position differs from yours. After all. You might be wrong.

Avoid moralizing. This is a difficult one for many progressives and social justice warriors, because their discourses are often founded on the idea that they are morally above the other.

Justice and compassion are the foundations of the liberal/progressive mindset, as academic Jonathan Haidt has shown. These values and attitudes can be wonderful things. However, if they descend into an attitude of condescending moralization, they can lead to their own kind of bigotry. They may destroy presence, empathy and open engagement. Nobody listens to someone they are shaming or scolding. And I suspect folks who are being beaten probably aren’t going to listen to those giving them a good thrashing.

Consider this (and yes, I do concede that I am a rather pasty-faced white male). Many people on the political left have had bad experiences with religion. I have noted that many progressives particularly despise being told by religious folks that they are intrinsically evil – born with original sin. Yet they may be guilty of doing the same to others when engaged in political discussions. The entire idea of “white guilt”, as just one common example, has eerie similarities to the idea of original sin. If you are born with whiteness, you are a bad human. One must be cleansed, one must prove oneself to be pure and moral. The Catch-22 for those (white people) who refuse to admit this is that they must be guilty of the sins of racism and privilege. Otherwise, why would they deny it?

Judgments and moralizations, especially those founded on group identity, kill Engaged Presence dead.

Avoid labels and slandering. Slandering is a special form of labeling. Again, this is a big problem today for social justice warriors. You know the game. The other person is a: racist, sexist, transphobe, bigot, Nazi, fascist and so on. Those on the right side of politics have their own put-downs: libtard, commy, communist, Maoist, bleeding-heart liberal etc.

Again, today’s media plays a part in this cultural development, and often promulgates slander in order to get clicks. Slandering those who disagree with us has become embedded in the culture.

If you label someone you will never see them. You will merely see your label, your narrative. Unfortunately, many terms that were once at least reasonably neutral are now commonly used in the pejorative form. Consider the following: liberal/conservative, left-winger/right-winger, capitalist/socialist. Which of these are typically used as negative terms in the circles you tread? Your answer will reveal which tribe you tend to hang out with.

I see no reason why any of these terms should be intrinsically threatening. But they often are used as insults. For example, “right-winger” is often a synonym for “Nazi” these days. In fact, there are many perfectly decent human beings who identify as right-wing or conservative. It’s really only extremists who are a big problem. It is the same with the term “liberal.” Liberals, by definition, are open and agreeable people. It’s only when you get to the far left that you get entrenched intolerance and the slamming of free speech. Not everybody who identifies as “liberal’” is roaming the streets in black masks setting fire to buildings and smashing up cars, trash cans and people with their baseball bats. No. That would be Antifa, who are an extremist leftist group.

Have fun, but not at another’s expense. In the book and movie The Name of the Rose (spoiler alert!), set in medieval times, the villain seeks to literally poison the texts of The Comedies of Aristotle because “laughter destroys fear.” Anyone who thumbs through the text dies because the pages are literally toxic. The villain believes that the fear of God must be driven into people, or the world will degenerate into Godlessness and sinfulness.

In some ways we see a similar phenomenon today. There are those who wish to quash laughter and light-heartedness. They are very, very, very serious. In their quest to build an idealistic future, to impose fairness and equality across all segments of society, they simply cannot tolerate anybody having a joke, especially about culture or social groups (especially “victim” groups).

I understand why they wish to avoid bigotry, but we have to be careful not to become too serious. Laughter does destroy fear! So, have a laugh. If you cannot laugh at the other (admittedly dangerous these days), laugh at yourself or your group. Self-derogatory humor, in moderation, can be a very healthy thing. It can also set the other person and group at ease.

But be warned, humor can offend. And you already know that offending people today can bring swift consequences.

Into the Shadow
There is one other process that can be permitted in order to facilitate engaged presence. Yet this is only for the hard core. It involves allowing vulnerability by exposing one’s shadow – the dark projections that we would prefer others not see. Maybe, we’d prefer not to see them either.

For example, in a New York Times article a few days ago, David Brooks suggested that liberals and conservatives could meet in “trust and respect” to nut out differences over gun culture. Specifically, he referred to a non-profit organisation called Better Angels. Members of that organization travel from town to town and try to bring liberals and conservatives together. Part of the process involves members of both camps acknowledging their own stereotypical prejudices towards the other camp. Apparently is helps people see the other side as being more real. More human.

Yet such vulnerability can backfire badly, because it grants an opportunity for those with a hostile agenda to attack you. And that is exactly what happened with the Brooks article. It drew fire from savage critics almost immediately, suggesting that Brooks wanted to open up a dialogue with violent thugs and bigots.

Therefore, I would encourage caution when unveiling the shadow in public spheres. A watered-down version is advised, such as merely admitting that you have sometimes irresponsibly criticized the other (group), or have previously done the thing you are now finding fault with in them.

Proceed with caution.

You are imperfect
Finally, none of us is perfect, and you’ll probably break at least some of these rules from time to time when you are engaging others. That’s okay. Don’t beat yourself up about that. You might even like to apologize to the other person or group. That was one of Dale Carnegie’s great maxims. Always be the first to apologize.

Again, there is a caveat. When the other person has a destructive agenda, apologizing may be seen as a weakness and as an opportunity to attack you. You have to be careful, both with the media and in online environments.

What does one do, then, when one encounters an extremely aggressive individual or group who simply will not relax into open dialogue? Perhaps they are chronically confrontational, and perhaps annihilating your ideas and your integrity is part of their agenda.
The answer is this. Where possible, walk away. If there is no need to engage such people, don’t. There are literally hundreds or even thousands of other people you can meet and engage productively with over the next year or so. These are encounters that can expand your mind and theirs. Why waste time with haters?

No guarantees
Of course, there is no guarantee that Engaged Presence will produce a positive response. Just a few weeks before his interview with Russel Brand, Jordan Peterson was interviewed by Cathy Newman on Britain’s Channel 4. Peterson was very relaxed and engaged in that interview, while Newman was relentless in trying to derail him via repeated judgments and strawman paraphrasing. She tried to discredit him, to paint him as a sexist and bigot.

Under such circumstances there is not much one can do, but to stay present, and to not fall into the trap of becoming scared, angry and hostile. This is no mean feat, especially if there are millions of people looking on while the other person or group is trying to flush your name down the gurgler.

Sometimes, the other person will have such a powerful intention to confront you or even deceive you that Engaged Presence is not possible. Yet even one person being in presence can be a powerful catalyst learning for those looking on. Peterson won widespread support for his informed, calm and good-natured responses to Cathy Newman in that interview.

When you enter a debate or space where ideas are being contested, you may be the only person there who is consciously attempting to create a truly open dialogue. But the good news is that Engaged Presence tends to make people relax. When you are open and receptive to others it often facilitates the same attitudes and behaviors in the person you are talking to.

Remember the two Russell Brand interviews mentioned above, and the differing consciousness they engendered? Both videos have drawn hundreds of thousands of clicks to date. Jordan Peterson’s approach facilitated Engaged Presence, bringing out the best in Russell Brand. Both men appeared to learn a lot. You can see from the comments under the video that the audience appreciated that, with there being 35 times as many likes as dislikes. There is little or no communal bickering. Sam Harris’ approach, conversely, helped create a binary confrontation. Harris’ style brought out the worst in his adversary (who admittedly did the same). The two men squabbled. The comments section features many fans of Harris and Brand going for each other’s throats. It drew one-third dislikes to likes.

Remember, the expression of consciousness you exhibit (for better and worse) can influence others, even when they do not realize it.

The Price You Pay
There is, of course, a price to pay for choosing the white door. You will need to permit a greater degree of detachment from your thoughts and opinions, and from knowledge in general. You will need to tolerate a greater degree of ambiguity and uncertainty.

This takes practice. Detached thinking does not come naturally to we human beings. We like certainty and closure. We tend to become as attached to our ideas and thoughts as we do to physical things, friends and family. We also like belonging to a group with whom we share a common belief structure. We are tribal by nature.

The benefit of Engaged Presence is not just that it promotes a more peaceful and open dialogue. You will also grow and develop as a human being. You will learn so much more over the next few weeks, months and years than you ever could have if you’d been less open and welcoming of other people and ideas. Better still, you will likely be part of the healing of the cultural divide.

So why not give it a go? Open that white door.

Your Life, Your Power and Jordan Peterson’s “12 Rules”

Pursue what is meaningful, not merely what is immediately expedient. Stand up straight and face the world with courage and confidence. Get your own life in order before you go out and try to save the world. Treat yourself like a person whom you are responsible for. Tell the truth.

These incredibly obvious pieces of advice are some of the aphorisms found in one of the biggest selling books of the moment: Jordan Peterson’s 12 Rules for Life. The success of the book and the “academic rock star” status it’s author has achieved recently suggest just how far we have gone off track in teaching the young about life, when such aphorisms come as revelations to many.

Still, 12 Rules for Life is a very good book, and one that many people could benefit from reading. Peterson, who has a vast network of followers on YouTube, is predominately attracting a younger male audience, and I suspect that the book will appeal mostly to them. I see his influence as being a positive development in the evolution of masculinity, as I argued in a recent blog post. Even I, as an older male, found much of value in the book. And women of any age could easily benefit from it as well.

One theme that runs through the book is that we need to teach responsibility to children by setting appropriate boundaries. We need to let them play and explore the world, to make their own mistakes.

Now, given that so many of we adults have matured with deficient parenting, we must teach ourselves such practical wisdom.

Contained within many of the author’s points are fascinating anecdotes and specific, practical applications. Peterson tells stories gleaned from his own life experience, as well as from his experience as a clinical psychologist. There is a lot of history to draw from. The tales keep the text alive, much as with his online videos.

Jordan Peterson’s background as a psychologist influences his teachings. He draws upon biology and evolutionary theory to help explicate many of his points. He famously compares human neurophysiology to that of the lobster, while making the point that we exist in hierarchies that are at least partly explicable as evolutionary patterns. His advice is then to “stand up straight”, following the example of the body language of dominant lobsters. But Peterson is no biological determinist, as his online videos show. He’s simply acknowledging that we humans are not merely ghosts in biological machines, whereby free will and culture determine all behaviour.


Biblical allusions
Jordan Peterson draws from many religious and spiritual traditions to clarify and expand his insights, but most frequently from Christianity. One aspect of the book which I found challenging to navigate is the frequent biblical narratives. Using a Jungian approach (Joseph Campbell, if you prefer), some chapters in the book ramble a little, and could be made shorter. The connectivity between some points also sometimes seems unclear. Yet that could have been because I read quickly.

Having said this, the biblical allusions Peterson uses have reopened my mind to the Christian tradition. In mainstream, non-ecclesiastical circles, Christianity is often looked upon negatively. On the political left, it is typically criticised and distained, often at levels which would be termed bigoted if such scorn was directed at any other religion. Perhaps a more balanced perspective is required, lest we jettison entirely a formative wisdom tradition which has helped define us.

Peterson is presumably a Christian, just not a fundamentalist one. He has made the valid point that much of the thinking and values which underpin western thought and legal structures are Christian. Many of the stories in The Bible, including the idea of God, are thus archetypal. They are deeply imbedded within our psyches, even if we do not identity as Christian. Still, it may take some degree of self-discipline for some to wade through the religious mythology.

Commandant Peterson?
Jordan Peterson has engendered hostile reactions which border on hysterical in some cases – and that is not an exaggeration. As just one recent example, a Wilfred Laurier University diversity commitee tried to sanction Lyndsay Shepherd, a teaching assistant, for showing part of a television news clip which featured Peterson. Showing the clip as part of a class debate violated the school’s policy on gendered and sexual violence, she was told. One member of that committee compared Peterson to Hitler, even as he scolded Shepherd.

Peterson’s criticism of bill C-61 was seen by some as an attack on LGBT people in general, but a more reasonable assessment is that it was a criticism of compelled speech and a warning about the encroachment of far-left ideology into the legal system of Canada. The publicity his resistance to the bill garnered, launched Peterson into the public limelight.

In my opinion, a fair assessment of 12 Rules to Life and Peterson’s teachings should negate any fear of an impending Nazi apocalypse. The book is not heavily political, making only brief diversions into politics and ideology. Online, Peterson is very clear in his criticisms of liberal progressivism, and its recent authoritarian predilections. Some see this as vindication of the alt-right, which again is an overreaction. I suspect his work is more likely to pull young men away from the alt-right than to take them there, given that he is openly critical of the far right and authoritarianism in all its forms. My sense is that such critics have typically invested much time, professional training or emotional energy into the various ideologies and philosophical expressions associated with progressivism, and are unwilling to bring critical reflection upon those ideas. This is understandable, because at the level of mind, we naturally feel fear (and respond angrily) when our view of reality is threatened. Peterson represents a threat to many on the far left, because he is willing to stand up and speak his mind. Peterson walks his talk.

The truth is that there are now significant problems with progressivism and the far-left in general, and only long-standing, severe political correctness and its threats of personal and professional sanction for dissenters have thus far prevented these issues from being properly identified and corrected. The time is now right for dissent, and Peterson is an appropriate character to lead the way.

One reason why I feel he can be relied upon to responsibly mediate the current cultural divide is that Peterson is an advocate of introspection and shadow work – looking within the psyche to honestly acknowledge what lies within, no matter how dark. His book lays this ideal down clearly. We are all capable of descending into that darkness, and we must be vigilant to avoid the fate. Such honest introspection is precisely what is missing from progressivism today, largely because it has established an attitude of moral superiority over all opposing voices. This is one reason why it has betrayed many of its founding principles, and become intolerant and often authoritarian. It has divided society.

Guru Peterson
Western society has set far too many men adrift, chronically shaming males and defining masculinity via its pathological expression. 12 Rules for Life may help many men to find confidence and direction amidst this extreme turn to the left. And for that we should greatly thank him.

Of course, given the huge amount of publicity Peterson’s media appearances have generated, there are potential downsides to all this.

Peterson is now very much a father figure to many, as well as spiritual mentor. The shift is occurring in the context of a society which has severely shamed masculinity and devalued fatherhood. Acknowledging all this is a healthy development if expressed responsibly. Yet it seems to me that many of his followers are projecting far too much responsibility onto Peterson for their lives. I call this “giving away your power.” It is a common issue in spiritual circles. Indeed, I would say that it is almost a universal phase of personal and spiritual development. I am no exception, and gave my own power away to one or two spiritual and psychological guides as a younger man. Still, it is to be hoped that those who do this will quickly pass through the phase, and assume greater responsibility for their lives. After all, taking responsibility is a central theme in Peterson’s teachings.

The huge and almost fanatical following that Person has now gathered will naturally produce backlash from those jealous of his success, or who find his teaching incompatible with their own ideals. In turn, online clashes are emerging. I’m not sure what can be done about this, expect for individuals to simply refuse to engage unhealthy online projections. Hateful or violent expressions by some of his fans have already been used to create a case against Peterson. Yet it is hard to blame Peterson for this. Should we blame Obama or Noam Chomsky for the Antifa campus and street violence we have seen in recent times, simply because they cite these figures’ ideals?

Severe Peterson
Peterson is heavily influenced by Nietzsche, and at times his worldview expresses a rather pessimistic bent. Life is suffering, says Peterson, and we must acknowledge that suffering. Life will sooner or later introduce us to pain, suffering and death. Resilience is thus required. The philosophy does make for grim reading at times. Yet he is right, at least in a sense. We all die, and all things pass. We should not waste time in idle pursuits, nor victim consciousness.

Peterson’s is thus almost an anti-new age philosophy. The new age tends to deny death, while naively maintaining that that we can control the world via our thoughts and beliefs. Peterson, on the other hand, believes that death is central to life’s meaning. He implores us to focus our intent, to focus on meaningful work and self-work, and to help make the world a better place. For that is the best way that we can move forward and develop lives of power and purpose. He does not promise utopia. He merely suggests that personal responsibility, meaning and purpose should form a central part of the life journey, regardless of the outcome.

And who can argue with that?

12 Rules for Life is imperfect, but I highly recommend it. It contains much wisdom and thought-provoking philosophy. It is not a book you will forget soon.

Jordan Peterson and the New Masculinity

For some time I have considered writing about men’s issues in the modern world. I have not done so simply because I do not want to be drawn into the culture wars, and especially the gender wars. But something has now changed, and I believe that we can all begin to move forward in a positive way. A new wave of mature masculinity  beckons, and it is a very, very good thing.

My inspiration for entering the discourse is the arrival of Canadian professor and intellectual Jordan B Peterson into the public sphere. In this post I am going to explain why I think Peterson’s ideas and his success are so important. Secondly, I am going to outline what I believe to be a conscious and mature approach to men’s issues. Much of what I will say is equally applicable to women and feminism, as I shall point out.

I am going to use the word “empowerment” to describe this way of being. Jordan Peterson does not like the term, and I can understand why. It suggests having or wielding power over others. The truth is that any such “power” is transient, and I do not think it is wise to base our sense of self upon that which may rise and fall like night and day.

Thus, when I use the term “empowerment” it is more about an internal state, a wise and loving relationship we have with our minds and bodies. This can shift the way we move in the world and relate to others, including the opposite sex.

Years ago I worked with some very wonderful female spiritual teachers who were well aware that our dominant narrative on male-female power is simplistic. I have been deeply influenced by one of my greatest teachers, Jessica, a very powerful and wise woman with a mind so sharp and intuitive it could cut through you like a razor. A gifted intuitive, at times she could be terrifying, such was the accuracy of her perceptions. Jessica said that it was men, not women, who were being dominated and controlled within modern relationships, and also across certain aspects of society in general. I worked with Jessica and other dedicated healers who had a deep commitment to spiritual well-being. Healing personal issues with the opposite sex was a big part of what we did. As a result of what I saw there, I came to the conclusion that men have taken on so much guilt and shame that many are now simply unable to stand within their own power. They have become child-men. In the two decades since, I have not changed my mind.

This is remarkably similar to the conclusion that Jordan Peterson has come to today, in his role as a clinical psychologist, and now as something of a celebrity.

It is beyond dispute that women currently control much of the public discourse on gender relations, and men who offer dissent from the dominant narrative face severe repercussions, both personally and professionally. That Jordan Peterson has successfully managed to rebel against this power structure and come through the battle relatively unscathed shows that the climate has now shifted. We are at the point where open discussion of related issues is now at least possible. This is something that men (and women) should be grateful to Peterson for. A social fabric and public discourse which is founded upon the open shaming of masculinity is good for nobody – not for men, not for women, and not for LGTB people.

Jordan Peterson
In case you are not aware of who he is, Jordan Peterson has risen from the backrooms of Youtube to become a social media phenomenon, almost overnight. A recent interview of him on British TV, Channel 4, (conducted by Cathy Newman) for example, has generated over five million views within a few days. In the interview we see a relaxed and vibrantly intelligent man, but also one with a ready smile and compassion for his interviewer, despite the fact that she tries to detail him at every opportunity. I encourage you to watch this interview. I believe it represents a seminal moment in the evolution of the culture wars.

When Peterson first emerged on YouTube perhaps three years ago, he was a rather more severe-looking and nervous individual. Undoubtedly, the ad hominem attacks he received (and still regularly receives) as a result his criticisms of Bill C-16 were partly responsible for his awkwardness. That bill enshrined the “misuse” of gender pronouns into the Canadian legal system. Peterson could easily have become a casualty of the political correctness monster and had his academic career ruined.

But Peterson has survived, and indeed thrived. The attacks continue. He is regularly grossly misrepresented by mainstream media and the political left as “alt-right”, a white nationalist or simply a conservative. None of these is true. For example, after the previously mentioned Cathy Newman interview, the host station quickly released an article linking Peterson indirectly to alleged death threats that the interviewer had received. This appeared to be little more than an attempt to to deflect attention away from the fact that Peterson had come across as perfectly reasonable and indeed charming in the interview, and had intelligently addressed every point that the interviewer brought forward. Her inability to formulate adequate responses made her seem less than competent.

The Plight of Young Men
Approximately eighty percent of Peterson’s audience is male, and the Canadian psychologist is deeply concerned about the well-being of men, and especially young men. He regularly tells stories of lost younger males who write to him or approach him after his public talks, to thank him for helping them get their lives together. The passion that he has for them is clearly seen in this video, where he openly weeps when relating such interactions.

I agree with Peterson at we have to begin to address men’s issues. The problem is reaching crisis point.

Activism and the Shadow
Jordan Peterson does not let men off easily, however, and I believe that his ideas about masculinity can help herald a new era of a more responsible, empowered and ultimately loving masculinity. In this sense, there is a potential for the new wave of masculinity to be more genuinely empowered and enlightened than third-wave feminism. The latter, like virtually all social justice discourses, has become so focused on blame and projection at a perceived “evil other,” that it has all but abandoned introspection. There is a dark rage and highly destructive drive in modern feminism which should be being addressed by its leaders. Instead, the feminist movement tends to ostracise those female and male feminists and critics who display any dissent towards its often misandrist doctrines. It has lost its way. It is no longer about equality, but about power and control. It has joined the long list of hegemonic ideologies in human history, more concerned for the perpetuation of its own narratives than for truth or the greater good of society. This is admittedly a harsh judgment, but it is my honest perception of what it has descended into.

The new wave of masculinity must avoid such mistakes if it is to offer any genuine resolution to the current impasse between the sexes, and between the political divides. This is why Peterson offers hope. He is willing to be combative, is willing to stand his ground, but is also willing to assume responsibility for the shadow (the darker, suppressed impulses within the mind that we would prefer not see the light of day). He appears to be aware of how a failure to address the shadow can prevent integration of the trauma and self-limiting beliefs within a person’s psyche, and in doing so become downright destructive. When entire movements, groups and nations abandon introspection, they can quickly become delusional and destructive.

Cultivating a Love of Women
Shadow work is the missing link in today’s social justice movements, and I will include much of the men’s movemnt in this. It is for this reason that these movements inevitably descend into destructive delusion, adopting a victim consciousness, including addiction to blame and projection. The new wave of masculinity will have to include a greater degree of courage and commitment to truth than that displayed in the social justice movements we have witnessed in recent years. It will require a willingness to permit criticism and dissent. It must inculcate a high degree of emotional and social intelligence within men, such that the movement is able to offer dissent and criticism in ways that are respectful and mindful of those with differing perspectives.

It must not make the mistake of seeing women as the enemy. Instead it should have at its heart the goal of cultivating deep love for women; and for relationships between men and women. It must avoid the culture of blaming and shaming that delimited the greater good that feminism could have brought to the world. In making men the enemy, feminism has effectively stultified the healing of the collective male-female wound. It has developed a consciousness not of love, but of shaming and destruction.

Of course, all is not lost for feminism, nor for other social justice narratives. But there needs to be a greater degree of introspection and honesty if they are to move forward.

Peterson has a huge fan base. Judging by the comments sections under his YouTube videos, many of these people appear to be responsible and well-meaning. The trolls and haters are there, but they do not dominate the boards that I have surfed. Peterson himself seems to be bringing out the best in his audience, granting a voice to a segment of society that we have lost compassion for. That the online forums are relatively civilised is an encouraging sign, as the same cannot be said for all activists in the associated men’s rights groups.

For this reason, I hope that Jordan Peterson can begin to address the issue of healing relationships between the male and female collectives. To date, as far as I am aware, he has not said too much on how to develop genuine love for women, both in individual relationships, and in general. Hopefully in time he can begin to do so and cultivate this attitude in the mostly young men in his core audience.

A New Masculinity
As Peterson has stated, the new masculity will not entail the negative traits that today’s education systems and media typically attribute to men. Peterson’s healthy expression of masculinity is not about domination and control, colonisation, suppression and rape. These impulses, he states, must be acknowledged and incorporated within the psyche, such that the man develops the right relationship with them. Instead men can exhibit the noble qualities that truly healthy masculinity is capable of: high levels of personal responsibility, love and compassion, courage, doing soul-affirming work, sharing the wisdom of the father.

I am in complete agreement with this. I believe the new masculinity can be more restive, more embodied, more present. It will be deeply responsible. It will allow a healthy expression, not suppression, of sexuality. It will honour the fundamental impulses of men, but in a positive way. We must begin by encouraging men to believe in themselves, to create positive visions of their futures where they can embody the hero archetype, finding deep purpose and meaningful work. For meaningful work is a big part of what makes life worth living for men.

If this is done the right way, I believe we can create a generation of men who will exhibit a confidence and “charisma” that will be far more attractive, in every sense of the word, than the enfeebled, guilt-driven, virtue-signalling male that is often found today, an end result of generations of the shaming of men.

In order to do this, we need to begin to trust men again. And to trust them, we (especially women) have to allow a certain space for vulnerability. We will have to allow our psychological walls to come down, at least some of the time. All spiritually healthy relationships are founded on firm boundaries, but they must also allow those boundaries to soften, when friendship, love and intimacy beckon.

What this will look like in any given man will depend upon the characteristics of the individual. I see Jordan Peterson as a fine embodiment of such a creature. Like all of us, he is imperfect. But his exceptional courage, intelligence and wisdom mean that he has continued to grow as a man even into his fifties. Both men and women can now be the beneficiaries of this. Peterson is the right man at the right moment in history. His massive popularity is just reward for the courage and tenacity he has displayed in championing men in an age where it has become an effective taboo to say anything good about them.

Empowered, deeply embodied men and women are not a threat to each other. When Cassie Jay came to Australia in 2017 to promote her documentary The Red Pill (about men’s rights groups) she was savagely attacked by the media, feminists and even men. The savaging was merciless. This destructive mentality is what we all have to rise above to move forward. We need to start listening to each other, being present with each other. Learning how to love again.

Now is the right time to begin. Let there be (genuine) empowerment for men. And women.

Should I Move Abroad? A Letter to Expats

Today I am posting something a little different. I recently wrote a long and considered response to a question on Quora, and I have copied and pasted it below. The question is an important one for the increasing numbers of people who are living away from their country of birth, and are having trouble finding their place in the world, quite literally.
This is the question.
“Should I live in Australia for the rest of my life, or should I go back to my own country, China, and be with old friends or family? What’s good about living in Australia compared to living in China?
And below is my response.
I am Australian, currently happily living in China. I have been back and forth a few times, so I understand your situation.
I have been through phases where I have had positive and negative attitudes towards both countries. At one point I hated China. At some points I have disliked Australia.
Therefore your attitude towards the country where you choose to live is paramount. Avoid “expat syndrome” like the plague. I have lived in five different countries/regions, and you will always encounter a large number of immigrants and expats who loathe their adopted country, and have contempt for the locals. It really doesn’t matter where they are, these people will find a way to belittle, shame and rage against the people. The locals are uncultured. They are uneducated, dirty, stupid! They will never condider me to be a Xcountryman! Oh, and they are so racist! (eye roll).
It doesn’t matter how much their host country has given them, or how good life there is, they still feel contempt for it. For them. They become haters.
If I had a penny for every whining expat/immigrant I’ve met mouthing these words I could retire today, a wealthy man.
Avoid these people wherever you find them (especially online, where they like to go to hiss and spew their venom, because that’s what’s little people do).
It’s OK to have your bad days and to go through this as a phase (I did for a short while in China). But make sure you see it for what it typically is (projection and bigotry) and choose to snap out of it. I knew a person in Australia who had been there for decades who just made themselves miserable regularly ranting about the country on Facebook. They saw themselves as intellectually and spiritually above the disgusting locals. They were miserable. However, the individual just couldn’t see that their rage was self-generated.
Learn emotional and social intelligence. All situations in life are a chance for the development of wisdom. Difficulties are actually good for us. They can help us to grow. But only if you develop the right attitude. Don’t project against the locals. Get to know them. They don’t owe you anything, and have no responsibility to connect with you or embrace you. The lamest lament in the long history of lame laments has to be “They don’t consider me to be one of them! I am always an outsider!” You are a foreigner, dude! Accept it! Ham it up! Have a bit of fun with it. Besides the disadvantages, there are a host of privileges you can embrace.
Having said this, consider your lifestyle preferences. A good attitude is important, but choosing a place that matches your interests and altitudes is equally important. You know what challenges to expect in China: bad air, environmental issues, rudeness in public spaces, pushing and shoving, increasing addiction to mobile phones, internet restrictions etc. But you can weigh those up with the advantages: friendly people (many, not all), lots to do in the evening, professional opportunities, great infrastructure and public transport…
Make sure you know what you want personally and professionally before committing to a place. In 2012 I left a good job in Hong Kong to return to Australia. However, I didn’t consider my professional options carefully enough. I returned to Oz without having a job to go to. This is not an ideal option. You may face a period of unemployment, or be pressured into taking a position you don’t like. I spent some time unemployed, as well as separated from my wife. My mother died. Not fun.
What are your professional goals for the next five to ten years? For the rest of your working life? Can the country support those goals? This is of paramount importance. If you fail to properly assess this area of you life, you are putting faith in the gods for something you’d be better off taking responsibility for yourself. Wherever possible take on extra responsibilities to advance your career. When I arrived at my current workplace I volunteered to develop curriculum for academic writing. Now I have opportunities developing in that area with publishers.
I now have a great job in China at a university, and am with people I really like (mostly!). I get decent pay, great holidays, and have numerous opportunities to travel and expand my connections in the “consciousness movement,” my other passion. I am getting books published in Chinese. I either love or accept the Chinese people I work with. I went through the hater phase, faced my demons and came out of it all a better person. I became prosperous in more ways than one. But to do that I had to take a good, hard look at myself, and become smart about my life and my choices.
In summary, it isn’t only the country you live in that counts. What is it that you can bring to that country? How much can you find in yourself, in terms of attitudes and aptitudes, that can contribute to that place? Can you be bigger than the little people and the great problems you will face, and rise above them?
Good luck with it, and even better planning.
Marcus T Anthony

Finding Gratitude & Abundance in a Disgruntled World

Recently I have been thinking about gratitude, and how important it is to experience abundance, prosperity and happiness in this life. I realise that most of you reading this will understand this already. And I realise that many of you will tend to forget that same understanding from time to time. Maybe even most of the time,

One of the reasons why it is so difficult to live this simple understanding is that we live in societies that focus upon lack, and which exacerbate the state of desire. Such is the nature of capitalism . Every day we are bombarded with reminders that we do not have enough. Are not enough. Every time you walk down the street, turn on the TV or computer or read a newspaper of magazine, we are told there is something we should have to make us feel more complete.

There is also an unfortunate side-effect to the dominant ideology of postmodern thought which saturates our media, universities and education systems. These philosophies instill in us the belief that we are deeply oppressed, that someone or some system is stealing our light. And if you are one who is fortunate enough to have been born into privilege via your skin colour, gender or other innate qualities, you should live in a state of guilt, hourly “checking your priviledge.” Conspiracy theories have a similar effect. Someone out there is cheating us, stealing our lives.

Though the postmodern perspective has a legitimate starting point, and it is sometimes true that governments and institutions can conspire against our greater good, these philosophies have now morphed into a pathological form which is greatly distorting our sense of life today.

The greatest problem is that they instil a narrative which places the mind in a state of perpetual discontent, finding the source of its misery in other people, or in innate qualities which cannot be changed.

I believe it is a mistake to begin with a narrative which teaches lack, fostering constant blame and shame for that lack. In doing this we have conditioned large segments of society into a state of angry discontent. This is despite the fact that most of us live lives which are far longer, more prosperous and safer than almost any in human history.

I believe it would be better to begin by teaching gratitude and compassion. One of the best ways to do this is to teach people how to be present to the truth of life in this moment. It is from this point that compassion and generosity arise spontaneously, and then that compassionate state can reinforce the societal and institutional legal structures which promote justice and equality.

Let me conclude by sharing a quote. The following is from Tony Robbin’s book Money: Master the Game. This is a book about abundance, in its fullest meaning. The following words are worth reflecting upon.

I interviewed Sir John Templeton for the first time when I was 33 years old. Remember, he was the multibillionaire who started with nothing and made all of his money when everyone else was afraid, during the worst times in history: WWII, Japan after the war, and in the late 1980s and early 1990s when massive inflation hit parts of South America. When others were fearful, he went out and invested. I asked him, “What’s the secret to wealth?” And he said, “Tony, you know it, and you know it well. You teach it to everyone. It’s gratitude.” When you’re grateful, there is no fear; when you’re grateful, there is no anger. Sir John was one of the happiest and most fulfilled human beings I have ever known. Even though he passed in 2008, all these years later his life continues to inspire others. If you want to be rich, start rich.

What can you be grateful for today? Who can you be grateful for today? Could you even be grateful for some of the problems and the pain that you’ve been through in your life? What if you took on the new belief that everything in life happens for a reason and a purpose, and it serves you? What if you believed in your heart of hearts that life doesn’t happen to you, it happens for you? That every step along the way is helping strengthen you so that you can become more, enjoy more, and give more. If you’ll start from that place, money won’t be the source of your pleasure or your pain. Making money will just be a fun journey of mastery, and wealth a great vehicle to achieve what matters most in life.



The Two Paths You Can Go By

“Yes, there are two paths you can go by, but in the long run
There’s still time to change the road you’re on.
And it makes me wonder.”
Led Zeplin, Stairway to Heaven.

We live in troubling times. Daily, we twenty-first century hominoids are bombarded with disturbing news about the increasing number of perils that await us as individuals, and as a species. This is a volatile world, and we just have to live with fear and rage, knowing how it may all come to a screeching end at any moment. You want a disaster? Take your pick. North Korea is about to explode, and the kid-empower will take the rest of us with him. There are not only colluding Russians out to desecrate our precious democracy, but there are also them damn Nazis hiding under the bed. Indeed, the brown shirts are around any and every corner.

But even if Adolf’s latter-day descendants don’t dare show themselves, there are storms of unprecedented magnitude bearing down on us, threatening to blow away our houses and our existence. Then, if the gods disappointingly steer the typhoons elsewhere, we can still pop into the cinema where Al Gore will reassure us that the climactic end is nigh. And you betta stash some of that popcorn and coke, because it’s probably too late to do anything. Be careful on the way home from the movie, too, because we live in a rape culture (say some feminists) where a quarter of female university students are sexually violated before their leacherous professors let them graduate.

Finally, if all that doesn’t finish you off, you can just turn on the news and see for ourselves that Donald Trump, the man leading the free world, is Hitler incarnate. Such is the level of pure evil emanating from his black veins. This horror, the horror! And this is the tangerine tyrant with his finger on the atomic button! Oh, and he’s really, really stupid!

In such a world why would anybody even bother to get out of bed?
Let me confide in you that I wouldn’t get out of bed either if I believed this story. But I just don’t. I reckon it’s often bullshit, the nonsense of click-bait journalists and bloggers desperate to get the hits necessary to generate a bit of attention or income.
And those foolish enough to click on such stuff mostly do so because the narrative is what they have come to believe. It’s what they want to hear. “Ain’t it awful! I told you so!”

Look, I know the doomsday story is really popular. It’s a ratings winner. And it gets all the awards at Golden Globes time, where some crusty celebrity (who has taken the precious time to leave her gated community to condemn leaders who build walls) will shed a tear for what has become of the world, and to rage against the monsters who lead it.

Meanwhile, what didn’t make the papers is the story about the old guy who walked down the street whistling, a skip in his step, smiling at babies and the pretty girls he knows fully well he shouldn’t be smiling at (because, as all decent human beings living in this rape culture know, only perverts do such things). No, that old bastard was enjoying himself far too much to make the news. Or perhaps he was just happy that he’s lived so long, given that less than two centuries ago the average lifespan globally was just 28 years of age, with one in three children dying before the age of five.

Consider these strange facts, mentioned by Stephen Pinker in his new book Enlightenment Now. Surveys show that people often think that their country’s economy will get worse in the next year, but they are relatively optimistic about their personal financial future. They tend to believe that crime rates are deteriorating across the nation, but not near their home. And they believe that the environment is going to hell – but you guessed it, not around here.
Why is that? Could it be that the world of experience (our real world) is nowhere near as bad as the narrative that we are sold in the media and in many of our education systems?

Intentional Optimism
So… there is that other story – or those other ten thousand stories. They are the tales that I prefer to listen to. They are stories driven by intentional optimism. And by life itself. Not by the spin of media and social media and their enraged audience.

Intentional optimism is the decision to be fully present in the real world of experience. And the decision to stay there.

The price to pay is a small one. Tune out of the electronic news media and social media and learn how to be present to life.

But make no mistake, this other narrative is not a story of delusion (relatively speaking, as compared to the doomsday narrative that we have all come to know and love). It doesn’t deny evidence or data regarding global warming, rape or political extremism (realizing that problems should be addressed, not obsessed). But neither does it get sucked into the collective projections of the masses, preferring grounded experience. Instead it makes a commitment to withdraw from the fear-driven narratives and their doomsday noosphere and to make lived presence and intentional optimism the basis of life, whereupon an entirely new world unfurls before us as if by cosmic grace. The painful pasts and fearful futures that obsess the minds of the many suddenly disappear, seen as the illusions that they typically are. Abstract narratives are replaced by the fullness of life.

And what is it exactly that becomes real? It is whatever arises in the moment. It is the mother and her baby that you stop to smile at as you walk home. It is the song you choose to sing, regardless of who cares to listen. It is the tang of the orange upon your taste buds as you bite the fruit.

And in such moments these things are often joyful. And enough.
We all know that life is not always “happy.” We all experience a full range of emotions, including fear, anger, sadness, guilt, shame and so on. Intentional optimism doesn’t reject those. It simply addresses their root cause and permits them their natural expression (perhaps crying if you are sad). If action is needed, such as acknowledging that loneliness is creating sadness, then one commits to such action (for example, developing more warm relationships). If addressed in such a way, all such feelings pass in time.

The best thing is that this other story that we can choose comes with a very different attitude, and typically a different experience of life. You don’t live in fear of expected doom. You don’t blame anyone or anything for what is missing. You are just thankful to be here, now. There is little need for affirmation, visualization, or imploring prayer to the deity. Instead there are words that form spontaneously: “Thank you. I love you.” Such words have more power to transform the world than any social justice narrative one can possibly imagine.

Thus, there is a generosity of spirit that seeks sharing of experience.
Will the world be here tomorrow? Will you and I be here tomorrow? To be honest, I just don’t know. But one day soon, and in but the blink of the cosmic eye, the sun will rise and both you and I will not be here. That is an absolute certainty.

”But Marcus!” I hear you say. “My world is going to hell and you just don’t care!” And you would be (mostly) right. Unless you are my wife, someone I’m directly involved with or some twerp knocking on my door trying to sell me some contraption I don’t need, your hell is none of my business. I can’t save you from your misery, and even if I could, I’m too busy having a good time of it to give it much thought.
So, am I against social activism? Against seriously tackling political and ideological extremism? No. Not at all. If we are to consider this from a spiritual perspective (and I realize most people won’t) an essential aspect of engaging such problems is the consciousness that underpins that activism. Social activism can be like the “liberalism” that often drives it. The latter is a nice idea, but not actually commonly practiced – not even by liberals. As far as I can tell, a great number of social activists in 2017 are too busy being morally superior and beating up enemies to truly demonstrate the justice and compassion that their souls (and all our souls) call them to actualize.

Human societies need people to develop good ideas and sound policies to create preferred futures. That includes having to deal with the darker side of human nature and of human propensity. World and local leaders do have to deal with psychopaths, extremists and despots (often in the mirror, it must be said), including those within our societies. My main point here is that working at the essential foundation of problems – their expression of consciousness – can help all of us make more intelligent and wise decisions. It can enhance insight, where upon we can pull out of the psychic dramas that we are so prone to engage in if we do not bring things to full awareness. If we fail to assume responsibility for our fear-based projections, we may fail to tackle perhaps the most essential aspect of the problems we experience. We may end up creating conflict and suffering – a kind of self-fulfilling prophecy.

What I am saying is that the most logical attitude to take in this mad world, under most circumstances, is this. Stop judging and condemning everyone as stupid and immoral. Instead, give thanks, dance and celebrate this moment of existence that the cosmos has very generously granted you.

Yes. Let us give thanks. Let us forgive those damn Trump supporters and those stupid libtards. But most of all, let’s love everyone and anyone who is so generous as to cross our paths and smile, who cares to talk to us or just be present with us for a moment in time. For this moment in time is all any of us have.

Who knows, maybe in a day or two I’ll be singing a song, dancing in the park with some old Chinese ladies here in Zhuhai (South China) or helping myself to a nice big piece of chocolate cake… and I will look up to the sky and see a large missile with a beaming image of our Dear Leaders Kim Jong Un or The Donald on the tail. There will be just enough to think “What the hell was that all about?” before every molecule in my body is incinerated. Maybe the Nazis really will ride into town upon their murderous tanks. Or perhaps the damn Commies will ride in upon black horses, with a bare-chested Vladimir Putin leading the way.

And that will be it.

But at least I’ll know that I stood by what was of the greatest importance for this spiritual journey as an individual, and for this human species. I will know that I refused to live in fear, anger and blame. Not even for a good cause. I will know I took the time to share a little joy and laughter with just a few other souls. All without charging a cent.

And it will be enough.

Integrated Intelligence as Practice

Can we deliberately employ the non-local properties of mind in creativity, business and education? I recently argued that we can in an article published in the Journal of Nonlocality. Here is the full version of the article, with links up front.

J. Nonlocality: Special Issue on Psi and Nonlocal Mind, 2017

Integrated Intelligence as Practice: Ideas, Insight and Inspiration Marcus T. Anthony
Bryant College, Beijing Institute of Technology (Zhuhai)
The PDF file of this article can be found here:

AbsractInspiration and insight in the sciences, education, business and arts are typically assumed to be founded upon neuro-centric cognitive processes. Personal experience and sensory data are often believed to be all that an individual may draw upon in the creative process. Yet the idea of non-local mind invites us to consider the possibility that inspiration and insight may utilize information and experience beyond that of the individual, and beyond the present moment, drawing upon past, present and future information fields. This paper highlights reports and deliberate invocations of non-local mind, including several current applications in the field of Critical Futures Studies. Some of the common tools and applications are briefly described. Finally, this paper identifies some of the typical problems that may arise from deliberate activation of the extended mind. The argument is situated within Anthony’s theory of integrated intelligence.


Integrated intelligence yesterday and today

Integrated Intelligence is the deliberate employment in problem-solving of a wide range of human cognitive abilities spanning not only the scientifically accepted, neuro-physiological cognitive processes, but also including the non-local mind. It is my argument that integrated intelligence is processed through the brain, such that the cognitive functions are similar to those represented in scientifically accepted models of creativity and intuition (Anthony 2008, du Tertre 2012). Integrated intelligence therefore incorporates mental functions which might be deemed “psychic” or “supernatural” by mainstream science, and thus typically derided or simply ignored.

Despite the current predominance of scientific skepticism, integrated intelligence has been widely accepted throughout human history, in all cultures (Markley 2015a). Markley argues that this intuitive faculty is often misunderstood, assumed to be accessible only to the gifted (such as seers, oracles, medicine people, prophets and so on); yet various spiritual disciplines have maintained that it can be developed through meditative discipline (Markley 2015a).

Acknowledgment and deliberate employment of integrated intelligence has featured strongly with many scientists, scholars and philosophers in the western world, including Pythagoras, Plato, Aristotle, Plotinus, Augustine, Aquinas, Kant, and Bergson (Markley 2015a). Even though after the advent of the scientific and industrial revolutions the intuitive mind has tended to be discarded by many modern thinkers and organizations (Markley 2015a), there are many exceptions in recent history. Just a few individuals who have acknowledged the extended mind include psychiatrists Carl Jung and Stan Grof (2000), R. Buckminster Fuller, ecologist Barbara Marx Hubbard (2015), physicist Brian Josephson, systems theorist Ervin Laszlo, and futurists Oliver Markley (2015a,b) and Sohail Inayatullah. Outside of the accepted science of creativity, numerous popular ideas and programs either explicitly or implicitly embrace the ideal of the non-local mind. For example there are thousands of new age, self-and-spiritual development philosophies which hold to this ideal.

Finally, as outlined below, some western (and non-western) governments, organizations and individuals have attempted to tap into the non-local mind to facilitate enhanced foresight, strategy and problem- solving. My practical examples will focus particularly upon some examples from the field of Critical Futures Studies.

My purpose here is not to endorse such teachings as being non-problematic, merely to point out that beyond the accepted parameters of western mainstream science and education, such ideas are widespread. They are commonly found in almost all societies. For example, in the technology industries in Asia, many entrepreneurs and organizations regularly consult the IChing when making important business decisions, as will be outlined below (Chang 2015).

How much of the insights gleaned from such books, programs and apps are actually enhanced by non-local mind? How much can be attributed to neural-based incubation or pure self-delusion? Such questions are left for the contemplation of the reader.

The rejection of integrated intelligence In the western world, integrated intelligence was once commonly accepted as normal. However, with the advent of materialist science and experimentalism (Pickstone 2000), along with the industrial revolution of the mid-eighteenth century, science and psychology turned away from the inspirational, focusing upon physiological explanations for conscious experience. By the mid twentieth century any “parapsychological” or spiritual explanations or experiences were treated with hostility (Sheldrake 2014).
The emergence of the aggressive skeptic communities only reinforced the non-receptive nature of the intellectual environment. Perhaps the most telling case involved the widespread hostile decision which was directed at Nobel Prize winning physicist Brian Josephson, when he publicly acknowledged the rigorous work of the discipline of parapsychology in Great Britain. Josephson has since become a veritable pariah of the scientific community, suffering a virtual excommunication (Sheldrake 2014).

The oft-dismissal of integrated intelligence in modern science and neuroscience has created an unnecessarily delimited model of “mind.” This narrow representation does not acknowledge the greater range of non-local data which may be at the disposal of human beings. It has also been argued that the framing of mind in such impoverished terms is psychologically unhealthy, as the dissociation of “self” from the world creates a sense of alienation. Some have stated that this is central to the dilemma of human beings in the modern age (Sheldrake 2014, Tarnas 2000, du Tertre 2012).

Visionary experience in science, and the peculiar case of de Grasse Tyson A recent case highlights not only the potentially powerful insights that integrated intelligence may provide, but also the difficulty in discussing such ideas in some mainstream scientific circles. In the first episode of the documentary series Cosmos (2014), eminent scientist Neil De Grasse Tyson describes a seemingly psychic experience involving Giordano Bruno, the sixteenth century Italian Dominican friar, philosopher, mathematician, poet, and astrologer.

Bruno was deeply influenced by his visionary experiences. However, at that time the Church was incredibly powerful, and heavily intolerant of any challenges to its sun-and-God-centered map of the cosmos. As in Cosmos, Bruno had a powerful vision which shaped his decision to leave the Church and push for ecclesiastical reform. In the dream Bruno experienced himself leaving his body, and flying out into the universe. There he felt he personally witnessed the limitless nature of the cosmos. What he experienced convinced him that Copernicus was right in positing the sun at the centre of the universe. Cosmos recounts Bruno’s dream as follows:

“I spread confident wings to space and soared toward the infinite, leaving far behind me what others strained to see from a distance. Here, there was no up. No down. No edge. No centre. I saw that the Sun was just another star. And the stars were other Suns, each escorted by other Earths like our own. The revelation of this immensity was like falling in love” (Cosmos 2014).

Thus Bruno became convinced that the God of the Church was far smaller than the extant God of all existence. He believed that the sun was just one of many stars, and speculated that many worlds might lie beyond the Earth and that they too might be inhabited. This got Bruno into a lot of trouble, and he was imprisoned for eight years as a heretic, before being cruelly burnt at the stake by the Inquisition. It is said that his tongue and palate were pierced with iron stakes (Tarnas 2000). Despite years of persecution, Bruno refused to renounce his beliefs, famously stating to his inquisitors, “Perhaps your fear in passing judgment on me is greater than mine in receiving it” (Cosmos 2014). The relative accuracy of Bruno’s vision helped him to develop ideas that would become highly influential in the development of modern science, and in the development of the secular state. Yet in Cosmos Neil De Grasse Tyson dismisses Bruno’s vision as: “…a lucky guess, and like all guesses it could have been wrong.” (Cosmos 2014). De Grasse Tyson’s take on Bruno suggests that he may understand little about the way the human mind functions in non-ordinary states of consciousness.(i)

There are two factors which challenge the claim that what Bruno experienced was merely “a lucky guess.” The first factor is perfectly accepted in cognitive science, and it is the process of incubation (Benedict 2014). The brain can unconsciously process information on a subject matter even when we are not paying attention, when relaxed, or when focusing upon something unrelated. We receive immense amounts of data each moment, and we are unaware of most of it. The brain can go about processing this data, regardless of our conscious volition. The result can be personal insight, the synthesis of connected subject matters and creative inspiration (Benedict 2014; du Tetre 2014). If we consider this incubation process, the relative accuracy of Bruno’s visionary experience may have been the result of his brain taking in all the data it had received, and converting it into the best map of the universe it knew how to construct. Given that Bruno was an obsessive reader of science, philosophy and theology, this vision would have been anything but a “guess.” Perhaps it could be described as a “data-based intuition.”

The second important cognitive function that challenges de Grasse Tyson’s “guess” statement concerns a factor that is not yet widely accepted in modern science: that consciousness is not confined to the brain and is in constant interplay with the world about us, and possibly with the very expanse of the universe itself. This has been given various names including nonlocal mind (Dossey 2014), the extended mind (Sheldrake 2013, 2014), the psychic realm (du Tertre 2014) and so on. If we consider this, then during his dream, Bruno’s mind may not have been delimited by his personal experience, including by his readings of science. What he “saw” in his visionary state may have been his mind engaging the intelligence of the cosmos itself.

Neil de Grasse Tyson’s rejection of Bruno’s visionary capacities in Cosmos is perplexing. How is it possible that such a learned man as de Grasse Tyson, extensively educated and employed at the world’s finest universities (Harvard, Columbia, Princeton) can be so dismissive of the often unconscious nature of perception and creativity via non-ordinary states of consciousness? We could mention the self-limiting nature of the mechanistic paradigm in mainstream science (Grof 2000, Sheldrake 2014, Tarnas 2000). We might suggest the pressure that the Cosmos series producers may have felt to please their “scientifically- literate” audience. Yet the answer may simply be that one of the world’s most eminent scientists has never experienced such states of awareness. After all, our “best” educational institutions also tend to be our most conservative. Science in modern educational institutions is taught and conducted with logical, detached and analytical ways of knowing. The emotive and subjective elements of perception have been systematically and deliberately erased from the scientific method, a process instigated to avoid personal bias and misconceptions (Sheldrake 2014).

Experiences which appear to evoke an integrated intelligence are widely reported amongst mystics in many spiritual traditions and with transpersonal experience in general, although the nature of the knowledge gleaned may not always be along the “scientific” lines that Bruno experienced. The history of science also has many similar reports. Kekule envisaged the benzene ring in a dream. Neils Bohr dreamt a planetary system as a model for atomic structure that led to his Nobel prize (Markely 2015a). Biologist Alfred Russell Wallace, a firm believer in an integrated intelligence in nature, pieced together the essence of his model of evolution while in a fever-induced trance. Wallace did this at the very same time in history that Darwin was finalizing his ideas about evolution. Michael Flannery claims that Darwin plagiarized parts of his thesis from a long letter sent to him by Wallace, just months before Darwin published The Origin of Species (Tsakiris 2014).

Renowned biologist Barbara Marx Hubbard (2015) has recently revealed her own experiences of the spiritual inspiration behind her scientific work, as detailed in another section, below. She argues that the rational mind works best when “higher or intuitive mind receives inspiration, guidance and insights…” (Hubbard 2015 p 111). She also tells of conversations with Buckminster Fuller, where the late architect and inventor shared his experiences of transpersonally-inspired invention. Buckminster Fuller’s integrated intelligence included direct communications with other spiritual realms (Hubbard 215).

What are we to make of this? The easy solution is to dismiss the accounts as delusion or insanity. Yet as mentioned above, many cultures throughout history have had an entirely different relationship with such “other” ways of knowing.

Inspiration as guidance

Inspiration is not necessarily an immediate revelation of data for the purpose of enhancing a specific project. Many scientists and technological experts report a sense of overall guidance across their entire life, as if they are being compelled towards some greater purpose.

Ecologist and biolologist Barbara Marx Hubbard regularly employs integrated intelligence. She rises early and meditates with a “sensitive open consciousness, expectant, curious, but not driven.” She describes getting answers from “the higher mind… expanded knowing” (Hubbard 2015, p111). Hubbard believes that she gets intuitive insights to deep life questions. These can be life changing. She relates one anecdote, when in 1980 she was researching a new book about the future of humanity. While walking by a beautiful monastery in Santa Barbara staring out to sea, she contemplated the question of what kind of person could be entrusted to handle the incredible power and technology that human beings were developing.

“Tired, I sat upon the stone wall, looking at the great arc of the shining sea, the mountainous Earth arisen, and then, mysteriously, magically, hang-gliders – human butterflies – appeared, afloat above the Monastery at Mt Calvary in an ecstasy of freedom and weightlessness. Mass metamorphosis! We shall all be changed. Suddenly an intuition occurred to me – The resurrection was real. He did it. And so will all of us who are willing to do as he did, all who are willing to follow the commandment of love… It seemed to me that Jesus was a future human, an evolutionary template. His demonstration lodged in us an expectation of a personal future in a transformed body, in a transformed world, in a universe of many mansions. The capacities to do as he did have been activated by the expectation. Now is the fullness of time” (Hubbard 2015, p 112).

Hubbard then consulted the Bible, which in turn inspired her to write 1600 pages. “The thoughts were literally coming to me by some higher knowing beyond the mental mind, yet seemingly logical from the point of view of the new powers of humanity”(Hubbard 2015, p 112).

Hubbard then used this inspiration to make great contributions to both futures studies and ecology. She refers to this deliberate employment of integrated intelligence as “intuitions (which) go far beyond ordinary methodology.” For her, this is a kind of co-creative process between the individual and spiritual intelligences. Such intuitive process is a key in collective “conscious ethical evolution,” she writes. It enables us to “infuse our new powers with love,” where “powers,” refers to modern technologies (Hubbard 2015, p. 112).
When Hubbard related her experience in Santa Barbara to Buckminster Fuller one day, Fuller told her that he had had a very similar experience. Fuller then went to the New Testament and wrote “almost the exact same evolutionary interpretation” that Hubbard had written. Notably, he never published them, because language such as “Christ” and “God” were effectively forbidden within the scientific and engineering communities (Hubbard 2015, p 112).

In Hubbard and Fuller’s case, there is a direct sense of personalized spiritual guidance associated with their integrated intelligence. They believe that there are beings in other realms of existence passing on direct and indirect inspiration as they went about creating and innovating.

Whether the source of data is believed to be personalized or impersonal (as with Kekule and Bohr) both kinds of inspiration entail a source that is beyond one’s immediate locale, and perhaps temporal position.

One further aspect of inspiration where integrated intelligence has many possible powerful applications is that of research in general. There are several researchers, thinkers and authors who advocate what I call “integrated inquiry” (Anthony 2012, Ferrer 2000, Hart 2000, Nelson 2014, Puhakka 2000). Integrated inquiry is the deliberate employment of the nonlocal, intuitive mind while conducting research, either formally, or informally. In other words, integrated inquiry is integrated intelligence within research contexts. (ii)

Visionary experience in the arts, humanities and business

Creative and spiritual inspiration are far more readily discussed outside of mainstream science – in the arts, humanities and sometimes in business. There is a long history of creative geniuses claiming to be inspired by spiritual sources and/or altered states of consciousness: Keats, Blake, Coleridge, Huxley, Emerson, Thoreau and many more.

This has varied according to the sway of history and culture, and location. In the US in the 1950s at the height of behaviorism and scientific progressivism, any non-rational experience would likely have been frowned upon, especially in scientific and academic circles. However, in California in the 1960’s, it would almost have been surprising if a creative individual had not claimed some form of spiritual or divine inspiration for her works of music or literature.
Creative inspiration can be deeply personal. Ash Vadher (2015) is a former politician who both served in the British parliament and worked with Nelson Mandela in South Africa. After making the decision to leave politics, he found himself in a difficult financial position, with his family at risk. His two sisters stood to lose their life savings, perhaps around five million dollars. One night during this time Vadher went to sleep in his London apartment, which overlooks the Thames river and the houses of parliament. As the night unfolded he had a dream where he gazed out onto the river, and it was shimmering. It seemed to Vadher as if a great energy was trying to force its way up from beneath the water and communicate with him. Vadher felt intuitively that the shimmering represented wealth, like diamonds and gold.

At that time Vadher had been contemplating getting into the gold trade as a means to address the family debts, and the dream led him to commit to that decision, especially into business opportunities in Africa. Two months later, while in Nairobi pursuing a major investment, he found himself being shown through a great vault, with metal boxes of gold. As he reached into one of the large boxes, he pulled out a pencil box, opened it and saw it was full of uncut diamonds. As he gazed at the sparkling rocks before him, it struck him that what he was seeing was the unfolding of his recent, profound dream. Though there were many setbacks, he was able to experience much success in the business, and earn back the money his sisters had lost (Vadher 2015).

Significantly, for Vadher his Thames river vision was no ordinary dream. For him, as a man of Indian ancestry, it was the grace of God speaking to him. He saw it as a kind of divine guidance, and acted accordingly.

In East Asia the traditional idea of the harmonious society was one where the emperor had access to divine guidance, facilitating great insight, foresight and wise decision-making. According the Taiwanese technology trader William Chang (2015), it is still common for ninety per cent of companies in that part of the world to use divination when making key business decisions. In particular, the I-Ching is often consulted to determine if particular companies and individuals can be trusted to provide harmonious business relationships, and success. The worldview is quintessentially Taoist. Rather than attempting to impose themselves on the world, the wise businessperson listens receptively to what the universe is urging, Chang (2015) observed 2015.

Nowadays, this divination process has evolved into electronic form, using mobile device-based versions of the I-Ching. Chang (2015) finds that such divination is now used by the vast majority of Chinese business leaders and investors, including in mainland China, where he says that business people and leaders are hungry to re-learn traditional Chinese business wisdom. In the West, such practices are perhaps most similar to those adopted by the new age community, in such business teachings as those found in John Kehoe’s Mind power (2007), Rhonda Byrne’s The secret (2006) and in Napoleon Hill’s classic Think and grow rich.

Such divination practice is suggestive of an integrated intelligence, a kind of on-tap synchronicity. If divination is more than simple delusion, then it must entail some form of entangled consciousness, the intertwining of the mundane and the “divine.”

Policy, Strategy and the Future

The focus of this paper now turns toward the deliberate practice of integrated intelligence. Perhaps the most famous systematic employment of integrated intelligence in the modern West was in the Stargate program, a formerly secret government program operated by the US Defense Intelligence Agency, which ran from 1978 till 1995. The purpose of this program, initiated during the Cold War, was to determine whether psychic perception, and in particular remote viewing, could be harnessed to gain military advantage over the Soviets.

The program was abandoned after seventeen years. The official reason given was that it never gleaned any useful data, but several of the remote viewers who worked there including Joseph McMoneagle, Hal Puthoff, Russel Targ and Ingo Swann have come forward to passionately dispute this (McMoneagle 2002, Targ 2012). However, this project has already been widely debated, so the rest of the discussion on practical applications of integrated intelligence will focus elsewhere. In particular, attention will now turn to several practitioners within the field of Critical Futures Studies. This analytical field of Futures Studies focuses not so much upon predicting the future, but on disrupting unchallenged images of the future and in positing possible and preferred futures (Inayatullah 2015). It is important to note that the practitioners referred to below are atypical of the field in that they openly embrace the intuitive mind.

Most critical futurists do not do so in such an open way. In Critical Futures Studies, a number of practicing futurists both acknowledge the importance of the intuitive mind in thinking about the future, and apply practical tools to help organizations and individuals to develop strategy and policy. These futurists tend to draw upon an existing body of literature and practice that has emerged amongst certain ‘fringe’ thinkers and strategists in the western world in recent decades. These include Gawain (2002), Hendricks & Ludeman (1996), Miller & Miller (1976), Carl Simonton, and Elise Boulding (1988).

The Futurists

Futurist Ruth Miller (2015) has employed a process she calls Appreciative Inquiry in her futures consultation business. These are intuitive methods associated with imaging. They “provide access to an inner awareness… and… non-local possibilities that normal processes avoid” (Miller 2015, p 107). Miller employs relaxed states of consciousness, facilitated by breath control. This is followed by focusing upon images and any auditory, olfactory prompts which emerge from the psyche (Miller 2015, p 104). Similarly futurist Jose Ramos (2015) uses guided imagery as a means to use intuition practically with groups of clients.

Sohail Inayatullah (2015) is an Australian-based futurist who regularly incorporates relaxed, imaginative meditations into his futures workshops with organizations, corporations and governments. He gets clients to close their eyes, relax and “feel their way into the future” (Inayatullah 2015, p 116). Inayatullah believes that such a process gives clients permission to move away from the overly “cerebral” aspects of Futures work, and to tap into the collective mind of the group. His visioning process sometimes involves entering a six story building, each floor representing a chakra of Indic lore, with the sixth story representing the third eye of intuition. Here he invites participants to meet their future selves, and to glean wisdom from that wise old man or woman (Inayatullah 2015).

Inayatuallah also deliberately engages his intuition in journal writing, which allows him to gain insight into his life problems. Finally, as he facilitates his workshops, he often brings himself “present”, where he finds he can tap into intuition most readily, “read” the feeling of the room, and make spontaneous decisions about how to proceed next (Inayatullah 2015).

As the author of this article (Anthony 2008, 2015) I have written widely about integrated intelligence, as well as having employed it in my workshops and research. I have long advocated the need to synthesize “rational” and intuitive cognitive functions in modern education. I have also written theoretical and practical papers and books detailing how to activate integrate intelligence, including utilizing it during the research and writing process (Anthony 2011, 2013, 2015). The tools which I have focused upon teaching include activating feeling-based intuition, recording dreams, practicing meditative states, keeping an intuition diary, and harnessing synchronicity (Anthony 2013).

One of the longest-serving futurist practitioners in academic and corporate settings is Oliver Markley (2015a, b). Markley developed a Visionary Futures course at the University of Houston, Clear Lake in the 1980s, where he used guided imagery accessed in relaxed states of consciousness in his Futures Studies programs. The process involved both self suggestion and facilitator-guided instruction. Markley makes clear that he sees consciousness as a non-localized phenomenon which enables human beings to tap into an integrated intelligence, across both time and space, including tapping into minds and fields of collective intelligence far beyond that of human civilization. This includes inter-dimensional and alien consciousness (Markley 2015c).

Notably, Markley was very open about what he was doing. He was able to gain the trust of administrators, and wrote up his methods very clearly in his curriculum documents (Markley 2015b). He reports that students were receptive to his futures programs, which were conducted within an atmosphere of trust and respect for the students.

Prior to his work at UHCL, Markley was also part of “skunk-works” at Stanford University, which worked with organizations in developing strategy and policy. This is where he learned and refined his “imaginal” tools. The participants and senior staff at Stanford included Willis Harmon and Ruth Miller (Markely 2015b, Miller 2015).

On the basis of his long experience, Markley maintains that these future-oriented applications of integrated intelligence can be used for problem-solving, policy analysis and strategic planning, both personal and corporate (Markley 2015b, c).

Markley refers to a pertinent example from his time at UHCL involving a team from a large automotive and electronic data systems corporation. The group had come to the group “to learn the state-of-the-art tools of applied futures research” (Markley 2015b, p 124). The group included senior members of staff. The discussion turned to visionary futures research methods, and the group expressed a desire to experience one of Markley’s preferred tools: Mental Time Travel. The focus of the session was to be the company’s ‘‘Third World’’ policy, specifically the question: What would the future of our company and of the world look like if major ‘First World’ Corporations such as us… strategically embrace the poverty- stricken ‘Third World’ nations and cultures as customers? (i.e., not just as the source of low-cost labor) (Markley 2015b, p 125).

Two UHCL futures faculty and several graduate students and alumni also joined the exercise. All participants were invited to relax and focus. Then two Mental Time Travel journeys, one for each policy option, were facilitated by Markley. The stakeholders imagined journeying through two different futures: the first being the ‘‘do’’ option, then one representing the ‘‘do not’’ policy option. The results were clear- cut. All participants, both corporate team members and academic participants, experienced much the same thing. Writes Markely:

Our conclusion? Globally, ‘‘the chain’’ of human systems is only as strong as its weakest link. In the very long term, sustainable growth and well-being is dependent on the well-being of all nations, not just the ones that have a good shot at becoming prosperous. Thus, it is clear that developing a Third World customer base is essential. The corporate team, in mulling this over came to an additional conclusion: The strategic question that should be focused on is not: Whether or not the corporation should move in this direction; Rather, it needs to be: How might it be feasible to help leaders at all levels in our corporation to experience and see this for themselves, so that meaningful progress in this direction might become feasible to achieve? (Markley 2015b, p 124-125).

In this instance, the work enabled participants to gain new insights, and importantly, to reframe the questions which underpinned their strategy. This ultimately led to a core shift in the organization’s relationship with workers in the developing world (Markley 2015c).

Markley maintains that such work can be framed around secular or spiritual frameworks. Secular models might include Sheldrake’s morphogenic fields, Bohm’s implicate order or quantum physics. Spiritual framework can involve numerous spiritual traditions, including Christianity’s the Holy Spirit, Judaism’s Shekinah, Sufism’s barakah, and the Buddhist’s Alayavijnana (Markley 2015b). These processes do require a skilled facilitator or crafted programs of recorded guided imagery instructions, an appropriate mental set (Ramos 2015) and an appropriate, receptive institution (Anthony 2015; Ramos 2015).

The implications for the art and science of inspiration Human intelligence is not merely a function of the individual, but of the society and social networks that a person is connected to. Prolonged schooling constitutes part of the social setting of most people in the modern world. Modern education facilitates the expression of creativity and innovation, particularly in any domain which requires complex base knowledge, such as in science, technology and mathematics. Similarly is also true that without extensive modern education systems, various expressions of intelligence could not reveal themselves. For example, Russian psychologist Luria conducted research which revealed that Siberian peasants in the early twentieth century had very little capacity for abstract reasoning. Their formally uneducated lives had granted them no exposure to tasks requiring those skills. They struggled to make even essential generalizations about other places in Russia, even when provided with concrete facts about those places. Today the capacity for abstract reasoning is widespread across the developed societies of the world (Flynn 2007). In this case we can see that abstract reasoning is a latent human ability that requires education or at least social encouragement in order to flourish.

Similarly, integrated intelligence is probably a cognitive set that can be enhanced through acknowledgment of the facility, and encouragement (Targ 2012, du Tertre 2012). Having conducted numerous workshops aimed at developing integrated intelligence, and having seen first-hand what is required to do so, it is my belief that the reason why most people fail to develop their integrated intelligence is because modern education systems and other modern social settings typically provide little or no exposure to related ideas, experiences and activities. (iii)

The idea of the non-local mind and socially-enhanced intelligence invites us to contemplate the broader implications for creativity and innovation, including in organizational and corporate settings. How can we deliberately employ these entanglements with other people, places, things and times? The examples posited in the field of Critical Futures Studies, above, provide some insight.

Problems and ethics

Deliberate facilitation of the non-local mind brings forth some problems. These are practical as well as ethical.

An important issue which is sometimes glossed over by those who research or work in fields related to integrated intelligence is that of ethics. If we accept that we really can glean information from other places, times and people, then we are immediately invited to consider the issue of whether it is right or wrong to do so.

Joseph McMoneagle, the former military remote viewer, was adamant that a well-defined ethical system was necessary for remote viewing. He believes that governments will tend to use psi for whatever purposes they feel fit (Broderick & Goertzel 2015). McMoneagle revealed that the original six remote viewers in the Stargate program established their own ethical guidelines founded on the values and limits within the U.S. Constitution. When government representatives wanted to push beyond those, McMoneagle resisted (Broderick & Goertzel 2015). Clearly some other organizations and individuals may also abuse integrated intelligence for their own purposes. So when doing this kind of work, one must set clear ethical boundaries.

A related issue is that of privacy. How will stakeholders feel if they are exposed to a group of people whom they suddenly realize may be able to read their minds, or at least sense aspects of their cognition, including personal pasts, psychological and spiritual issues? The degree of trust required in such settings is immense, and not to be dismissed. I witnessed this personally in the late 1990’s when I worked with a healing group of about forty other people in New Zealand. Integrated intelligence became a vital aspect of the diagnosis of group and individual problems. What I saw is that this level of transparency is too much for many people. It creates a radical destabilization of the worldview, including how we relate to other human beings. With my healing group, some participants chose to leave, and in short time. I personally found it extremely challenging, but persisted because of a strong personal motivation, wanting to work on some of my biographical issues.

Of course, it is not necessary to tear open the heart of every participating individual in groups and workshops exploring integrated intelligence for specific purposes. Markley’s (2015b) work with students at UHCL, and his participation in “skunk works” there and at Stanford were focused on organizational problem-solving. Still, inevitably, once the intuitive mind is developed, personal privacy is reduced.

Another important question to ask if we are to attempt to tap into the non-local mind, and use the data to solve problems or construct strategies and preferred futures, is how are we to know the precise source of the information we are using? If we are indeed entangled within consciousness fields, can we be certain the source of data is reliable? Possible self-limiting non-local input might come from:

• a competitor, work colleague or administrator wishing to sabotage our success. • someone who is unconsciously afraid of our success (say, an elderly parent who fears your success might take you away to another location). • collective fields of intention, such as familial, racial, religious and cultural. These might contain ingrained beliefs which form effective attractor fields. • impersonal, self-limiting “habits” of the consciousness field, analogous to Sheldrake’s (2014) morphic resonance. • discarnate entities with their own intentions.

While the language of the last category might invite immediate incredulity, the idea is not incompatible with the idea of non-local mind. In almost all introspective spiritual traditions there are warnings regarding engaging manipulative disembodied minds or spirits (Grof 2000). Some advocates such as Le Shan (2007), believe that the non-local mind can only be used for the betterment of all, as if some cosmic law has been ordained that it only be used this way. Yet this is a naive conclusion, and my own experience also leads me to conclude that it is incorrect.

There is evidence to support my perspective from reports into near death experiences, where NDEers see or experience thought structures as being potentially harmful or destructive. NDErs often experience expanded, non-local awareness after they sense themselves leaving the body. Some “return” from their experience convinced of the importance of assuming responsibility for one’s emotional projections and judgmental thoughts towards others (van Lommel 2011).

There are other ethical considerations in the deliberate activation of integrated intelligence. Again mirroring the research into near death experience (van Lommel 2011) acknowledgment of the non-local dimensions of mind often leads to a shift in self-concept; and while most new age literature describes this in transformative and positive ways, the reality may be more nuanced. The sense of self may begin to weaken, or dissipate. Should those who are susceptible to mental illness engage in such practices? Are workshop practitioners to be made liable for any mental discomfort or pathology that emerges in the wake of doing such program?

Beyond a possible shift in self-concept, there may also be increased problems in relating to others and to society at large. When one’s personal experience of mind and life is non-local, even as one’s colleagues, family and friends live in a “localized” world, how is one to make sense of that? Does one’s sense of isolation (ironically) expand as one becomes increasingly different from others? This is precisely what Peter L Nelson (2014) reports in Journey of a Seer. For Nelson, this sense of being different emerged in childhood, and became exacerbated in his early university years as he came to conclude that his experience of non-locality was not an illusion, and that it was society that was deluded. This sense of alienation has lasted into his late life (he is now in his seventies).

The limits of intuition Intuition is a fuzzy intelligence. It makes itself known primarily through what I call “the feeling sense” (Anthony 2013). Integrated intelligence may also operate through all the known sense modalities (du Tertre 2012). Yet even with images, auditory and olfactory prompts, the feelings associated with these are often key to their understanding.

Nor does intuition exist in a perfectly demarcated cognitive zone separate from “rational” expressions of intelligence. Many intuitive researchers have pointed out that intuition works best when employed along side the rational mind (Inayatullah 2015, Markely 2015b, Ramos 2015, du Tertre 2012). Further, intuition is particularly susceptible to be led astray by desire (Inayatullah 2015). Others simply call this “the ego.” The key point is that it is not always easy to know from which place within the human mind any given feeling or image has emerged. Therefore, self-deception is always a working issue with the employment of integrated intelligence.
Credibility An ethical consideration for an individual or organization which employs integrated intelligence is whether to acknowledge the process to the broader community.

It has been observed that the employment of integrated intelligence in corporate and educational settings is politically sensitive (Anthony 2015, Markley 2015b, Nelson 2014). Notably, participants from the large motor vehicle and electronics company in the case described by Markley (2015b), above, decided that the process of Mental Time Travel, though practical, was “too politically risky” to bring to their company leaders. So the idea was vetoed (Markley 2015b, p 126) . Nonetheless, the organization eventually adopted the more globally responsible policy initiative that their visionary experience suggested, and with good results (Markley 2015c).

Markely (2015b) advises several ways of addressing the credibility problem when using integrated intelligence with organizations:

1. Production of high quality media materials on the topic. 2. Co-creation of an informal, experiential community of practice where intuition can be explored, developed and mentored by those who are qualified or interested; and using both personal/professional concerns and workplace problems as experiential R&D. Do not publish the outcomes unless, or do only if it is politically expedient. Carefully document them for later possible release. 3. Recruit one or more “champions” from senior staff, professional, managerial and executive ranks. The people should be interested and willing to mentor the community of practice in the tactics and strategy of organizational change management. 4. Talk discretely in increasingly public circles about the work, communicating successes and struggles, while avoiding embarrassing those who might not wish to have their names associated with the work. 5 . Publish in academic and professional circles, communicating notable successes (Markley 2015b, 125-126).


The great irony is that the scientific revolution which Bruno’s visions helped bring about and ultimately died for has also disowned the very cognitive processes which drove many of his insights. This rejection has created the split in the modern mind, where we tend to disown our essential connection to nature and the cosmos, and to our inner worlds. Yet there remains a strong undercurrent of research and practice in science, the arts and business in both the West and Asia, standing in contradiction to this.

Perhaps to bridge the current “split” we need another Bruno to rise like a phoenix from the flames of history and reignite – or at least re-legitimate – our integrated intelligence. We know from history and counter-culture that such experiences and practices are common to all eras, and amongst all kinds of thinkers and creators. Perhaps that day is not far away.


Anthony, M. 2008. Integrated intelligence. Copenhagen, Sense. Anthony, M. 2011. “Integrated Inquiry: Mystical Intuition and Research,” The Open Information Science Journal. 2011, 3: 80-88. Anthony, M. 2013. How to channel your dissertation. Hong Kong, MindFutures. Anthony, M. 2015. “Classical Intuition and Critical Futures Studies.” Journal of Futures Studies. JFS.2015.20 (1): 131-138. Byrne, R. 2006. The Secret. Los Angeles, Atria Books. Broderick, B. & Goertzel, B. 2015. “The future of psi research,” in Broderick, B. & Goertzel, B. (Eds) 2014. Evidence for psi: thirteen empirical research reports. Jefferson, North Carolina, McFarland & Company. Boulding, E. 1988. Building a global civic culture. Syracuse University Press, New York. Carey, B. 2014. How we learn. New York, Random House. Chang, W. 2015. Interview as part of an interview for the Futures of Consciousness project, on 24.09.15., Hong Kong. Cosmos, A Personal Voyage 2014. Television series, Fox National Geographic Channel. Santa Fe, New Mexico, Dossey, L. 2014. One mind. New York, Hay HouseDu Tertre, N. 2012. Psychic intuition. Pompton Plains, New Page Books. Ferrer, J. 2000. “Transpersonal knowledge.” In Hart, T., Nelson P. & Puhakka, K. (Eds), Transpersonal knowing. New York, Suny. Flynn, J. 2007. What is intelligence? New York, Amazon Digital Services. Gawain, S. 2002. Developing Intuition. New York, New World Library. Grof, S. 2000. Psychology of the future. San Francisco, Suny. Hart, Tobin 2000, “Inspiration as transpersonal knowing,” in Hart, T., Nelson P. & Puhakka, K. (Eds), Transpersonal knowing. New York, Suny. Hendricks, G. & Ludeman, K. 1996. The corporate mystic: A guidebook for visionaries with their feet on the ground. New York, Bantam. Inayatullah, S. 2015a. “Intuiting the future.” Journal of Futures Studies. JFS.2015.20 (1): 115-118. Inayatullah, S. 2015b. What works: Case Studies in the Practice of Foresight. Tamsui, Taiwan, Tamkang University Press. Kehoe, J. 2007. Mind power into the twenty-first century. New York, Zoetic Books. Le Shan, L. 2009. A new science of the paranormal, London, Quest. Markley, O. 1994 “Experiencing the Needs of Future Generations.” In Thinking About Future Generations. Kyoto: Institute for the Integrated Study of Future Generations. Markley, O. 2007 “Mental Time Travel.: A practical business and personal research tool for looking ahead.” Futures, 40(1), 17-24. Markley, O. 1992. “Using Depth Intuition in Creative Problem-Solving and Strategic Innovation.” Selection Forty in Sidney Parnes (Ed), Source book for creative problem-solving. Scituate, MA: Creative Education Foundation. Markley, O. 2015a. “Introduction to the symposium on ‘Intuition in Futures work.’” Journal of Futures Studies. JFS.2015.20 (1): 83-90. Markley, O. 2015b. “Learning to use intuition in Futures Studies. Journal of Futures Studies. JFS.2015.20 (1). 119-130. Markley, O. 2015c. Interview with Marcus T Anthony as part of The futures of consciousness project, July 27, 2015. Marx-Hubbard, B. 2015. “Intuition and Evolution – How I find it essential to use intuition in my futures work.” Journal of Futures Studies. JFS.2015.20 (1): 111-114. McMoneagle, J. 2002. The stargate chronicles:Memoirs of a psychic spy. Charlottesville, VA, Hampton Roads. Miller, R. 2015. “Applying intuitive methods in explorations of preferred Futures.” Journal of Futures Studies. JFS.2015.20 (1): 101-110. Miller, J.P., & Miller, R. 1976. Enhancing Policy Development through the use of Intuitive Methods. San Jose, CA: San Jose State University Press. “Neil deGrasse Tyson,” 2016. Retrieved October 26, 2016. Nelson, P 2000, “Mystical experience and radical deconstruction.” In Hart, T., Nelson P. & Puhakka, K. (Eds), Transpersonal knowing. New York, Suny. Nelson, P. 2014. Way of a seer. Nevada, Empiricus. Pickstone, J. 2000. Ways of knowing. Manchester, Manchester University Press. Ramos, J. 2015. “The inner game of Futures Studies.” Journal of Futures Studies. JFS.2015.20 (1): 91-110. Rothberg, D. 2000 “Spiritual inquiry,” in Hart, T., Nelson P. & Puhakka, K. (Eds), Transpersonal knowing. New York, Suny. Sheldrake, R. 2013. The sense of being stared at. London, Park Street Press. Sheldrake, R. 2014. Science set free. Los Angeles, Deepak Chopra. Targ, R. 2012, The reality of ESP. Wheaton, IL, Theosophical.
Tarnas, R. 2000. The passion of the western mind. London, Ballantine Books. Tsakiris, A. 2014. Why science is wrong about almost everything. San Antonio, Anomalist Books. Vadher, A. 2015. Interview with Marcus T Anthony as part of The futures of consciousness project, June 27, 2015. Van Lommel, P. 2011. Consciousness beyond life. London, HarperOne. Washburn, M., 2000. “Transpersonal cognition in developmental perspective.” in Hart, T., Nelson P. & Puhakka, K. (Eds), Transpersonal knowing. New York, Suny.


i It cannot be claimed that de Grasse Tyson is entirely contemptuous of the importance of first person experience when conducting science. On Wikipedia (Neil deGrasse 2016), he is quoted as describing himself as an “agnostic,” and rejects the label of “atheist.” Further, he uses the word “spiritual” in relating his emotive relationship to the cosmos. Yet he makes it clear that he is not referring to religious experience, but a sense of awe and connectivity.

ii Though there is not space to explore this area here, I have written several related papers (Anthony 2011), and a popular book (Anthony 2012).

iii There is an argument that the development of psychic experience emerges as part of collective human consciousness evolution, moving through pre-personal, personal, and transpersonal levels of cognition. The most well-known advocate of this model is Ken Wilber (2000). Washburn summarizes this perspective, arguing that transpersonal illumination occurs as part of “a deep, psychic transformation” (Washburn 2000, p 2007). However, perhaps we need to distinguish between simple intuitive and psychic experiences, and profound personal cognitive shifts. It is my belief and experience that no great shift within the psyche is required in order to tap into human intuition. The fact that most ordinary human beings claim to have had psychic experiences (Sheldrake 2014), is suggestive of the validity of this argument.

The Journal of Non-Locality


For those interested in mind and consciousness, there’s a special issue of the Journal of non-locality just out today, and available online:

The journal is edited by Hong King A.I. expert Ben Goertzel, PhD. Besides building robots he hopes can think, like me Ben is very interested in the non-local properties of conscious. There are great articles by Ben and other experts in the volume, and perhaps I should mention that I have one paper, too: “Integrated intelligence as practice: ideas, insights and inspiration.” The paper includes reference to practicing futurists who either explicitly or implicitly utilise integrated intelligence in their writings, practice and workshops. These include Buckminster Fuller, Barbara Marx Hubbard, Oliver Markley, Jose and Sohail Inayatullah.

Healing the Human Species

What is be done about this existential traumatic rage which sits at the heart of our human collective psyche at this time in our consciousness evolution? The solution is both extremely simple and extraordinarily difficult. What is required is for each of us to relax within the field of this consciousness, and allow a healthy expression of what exists within us. This can be as simple as taking up a discipline of meditative presence, and allowing all emotional contents of the psyche to rise, and to express them without judgment. Just let any judgment, blame, fear, rage, sadness, shame, guilt and belief to surface. The key is to observe it without believing in it. For if we beleive in the story that the trauma projects, both will persist.

There are several reasons why this simple process is also extremely problematic. The first is that the human mind tends to  resist the expression of pain. In a sense, the function of mind is to protect us from pain and suffering, so that we may live here in the world. Over time we tend to build walls to shut out the pain, and to make sure that it does not enter conscious awareness. This is perfectly understandable. All of us sit on at least some repressed pain and suffering. Many, many hundreds of millions of possess deep trauma.

For the latter folk, it may be no simple matter to allow that trauma to find expression. The process requires a great degree of understanding and skill. Most people walking the planet at this time do not possess those capacities. For those who wish to engage in such depth work, it is most likely that they will have to seek out a teacher to assist them.

It takes deep intention and courage. A lot. I have required teachers on my own journey. I could not have done it alone. Our teachers must be wise, committed and skillful. For much can go wrong doing this kind of soul work.

Many simply have little genuine intention to heal. It is much easier to project anger and shame out onto the world than to assume responsibility for it. The psychological immaturity seen in the often hysterical reaction to the rise of Donald Trump is a good case in point. Would any of those ranting and raving about Trump, including feasting on daily fixes of media and social media drama, willingly give that up and instead assume responsibility for that emotional “energy”? In most cases, the answer is no. The addiction to projection through the tribe is simply too great. And it is a great way to avoid acknowledging one’s own pain.

There is a second practical matter which is holding back the human race from healing. It is the simple fact that most of our cultures and ideologies do not understand the problem. Most cultures operate within control dramas, social and cultural procedures which are designed to maintain balance, and maintain power amongst certain groups and institutions. Again, part of the motivation behind our cultural structures is the fear of feeling this deep collective trauma. The fear and mistrust of others, of life itself, tends to create societies and institutions that seek to mandate against the expression of traumatic inner worlds, or at least the unpredictable and volatile behaviours that are associated with them.

Almost all cultures do this at some level. Religions do it. You won’t see too many Christians, Muslims or Hindus allowing deep vulnerability. Buddhists may try to meditate it away. New agers may insist upon “love ‘n light” at the expense of shadow work. Just manifest it away.

The greatest mistake in modern scientific culture is its fundamental misunderstanding of consciousness. Consciousness is not a mere expression of neuronal activity, confined within skulls. It is a pervasive, non-local “field” which transcends the physical boundaries of time and space as we commonly understand them. Our science is making almost no headway on this problem because of “scientific” culture, and the hegemonies within our institutions of learning, work, politics and finance. We have developed a conscousness-denying civilisation which spans increasing portions of the globe. It is no longer confined to the west. I have spent much of my adult life in Asia. Most East Asian countries are now heavily invested in scientific materialism. There are, of course, shadow cultures which defy scientific materialism, and they can be found in every country.

A science which misunderstands consciousness to the degree that ours does is ultimately a science perpetuating a delusion. It is making great progress cutting through the jungle… not realising it is in wrong forest (to use a Stephen Covey analogy). We have lost sight of the big picture. We have alienated ourselves from the cosmos which has spawned us. At a practical level, our scientific and education systems fail to create space for the inner work of connecting with the psyche, because they reject the very existence of that realm of mind.

Thus most of us live within societies and work and learn within institutions which deny the essential nature of consciousness. Therefore it is up to us as individuals to find the ways to work upon ourselves, including the God rage. Still, we don’t have to do it alone. We can find others to travel with. Yet in the end most of us will live and die in cultures that deny our fundamental nature. That is something we must come to understand, without giving our power away to such systems. We must learn to live with this fact. We must also learn to live and love in a world that rejects us. For if we in turn reject the world… we are back into the rage. The rage against humanity, the universe and God.  And the trauma will persist.

Then beyond all this inner work there are better institutions to build, better scientific and spiritual cultures to construct, and a better world to create. But all these must be founded in a deeper awareness of the consciousness structures which will underpin them.


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Death to God!

In my last post I wrote about the disparity between the abundant lives most of us live in developed economies in the twenty-first century, and the anger and blame that sits within many of us. That attitude of rage is seen most often on social media. We may find ourselves surprised at how angry we become when reading or watching things online. Where does that anger come from? I argued that modern cultures, including liberal ideals and the human potential movement, have unconsciously created cultures of pessimism and judgmental condemnation. And I argued that this anger is, for the most part, unnecessary.

At the end of that article I promised to follow up with a post about anger at an even deeper level: the rage at God, the universe and all existence.

The essence of this deep rage is the rejection of the world and its people, the universe and all of existence. It is nihilistic. It seeks extinction of sentience. In other words, it is suicidal. Freud’s death wish holds true for many of us as individuals, and for the human collective.

At its deepest level this rage seeks to destroy God itself. We look around and see darkness painted thick upon the fabric of the cosmos: war, rape, suicide, and suffering in its multiple forms. No matter how much we are granted by kind fate, no matter how great we come to be, it is all taken away… by the hand of God.

Even as we struggle to live and thrive in the world, we may carry within us the polarity of the desire for self-preservation, and self-destruction.

You might say I don’t believe in God, so this doesn’t apply to me and the increasing masses of people in the world who no longer believe in God (or, at least, not in religious versions of God). But you would be wrong. As Carl Jung pointed out a long time ago, God is not just a belief. It is an archetype which sits at the heart of the human psyche. It is a motif which it central to the way we process reality, albeit often at a subtle level. This is why even atheists will curse God when something goes wrong, or thank God when an unexpected joy comes into their lives.

Nietzsche was wrong. The atheists are wrong. God is not dead. We just want that to be so, and we want the bastard to go out with a bang.


How science gets it wrong

Current mainstream dominant psychology and neuroscience is reductionist. It has all but rejected the concepts of the mind and consciousness, and along with them most ideas which are psychological and “psychic” in nature. The ideas of depth psychologists like Jung and Freud are rarely discussed. They have been thrown into the dust bin of history.

In modern cognitive science the mind is nothing but the expression of neuro-physiology. Within such a mechanical model, mental constructs can either be ignored or discussed merely as peripheral phenomena.

But as I have pointed out numerous times in my writings, the reductionist model of mind is faulted. I base this understanding on experience gleaned from several decades exploring consciousness at a first-person level. Conversely, many of today’s experts in the fields of psychology and even consciousness theory have spent little or no time opening these inner door-ways. This lack of experience  and understanding has greatly contributed to the misunderstandings that underpin mainstream mechanistic models of mind today.

Eventually the idea of consciousness will have to return to the fore in our models of mind, and with that we will have to reintroduce the mental world. Some of the ideas of traditional psychology will return, albeit with a more nuanced and scientifically literate integration with neuro-science. We will, for example, realise that although Freud’s essentially pneumatic model of mind was deeply faulted, it nonetheless contains many accurate understandings of the human psyche. Much of Jung’s work will have to be acknowledged, also. Archetypes do reside within the human psyche. They do form collective artefacts which influence human consciousness and behavior.


The turning away

A crucial aspect of our God rage is that many human beings, probably about a third of us, don’t want to be here (exact quantification is unnecessary). They reject the life that they have been given, the world and the cosmos. And they reject humanity. If my figure is right, we have over two billion people sharing psychic space who want to blow the place up. It is a highly volatile collective mental space.

Discovering the God rage within my own psyche was frightening. I unearthed it during inner child work, where I would relax deeply and allow myself to feel whatever emerged within my own mind. What I found was that what underpinned many of the “dramas” I had with other people and the world a was very, very, very deep anger. And fear. There was a terrifying sense of helpless despair within me. I just wanted everything to end, including myself. This came as some surprise, because I was not consciously aware of any suicidal tendencies within myself.

But there it was. And there it may still be. Despite doing much healing work, I have learned not to impose self-concepts on such things. It is better to relax and allow such energies to express themselves, if that is what the moment calls for. Having gone into such dark spaces, and having given that wound loving attention without judgment or desire to eliminate it, I now do not need to be afraid of it. That inner work has granted me courage to face whatever arises from the psyche.


The source of the God rage

The God rage is a mental remnant of both our personal biographies and of collective human history – and the history of all life on this planet. The God rage is primordial. Our psychic evolution through past eons and also through the relatively recent history of human civilization has been bloody and violent. It has been traumatic.

Trauma typically does not dissipate once the physical expression has passed. A child that has been abused by its parents typically retains that pain and suffering at some level, even if the kid grows up, matures, and hopefully manages to build a successful life and relationships. Further, if the individual does not process that trauma it will tend to be deposited onto the consciousness fields of their children, perhaps even before the offspring are born. When the traumatised person dies, his or her consciousness field typically does not dissipate either. It lingers. And along with that the psychic field remains.

A similar principle operates with human collective consciousness fields. Our history books may often substitute undesirable histories for the delusion of flattering narratives, but the consciousness constructs will tend to remain. Every war, genocide, invasion and colonisation remains extant at some level. Those narratives then tend to be reactivated in later generations.

We can tell big lies, but we cannot hide from big truths forever. We can employ misnomers like “Operation Iraqi Freedom,” “The Peaceful Liberation of Tibet” or “the settlement of Australia,” but you can’t lie to the universe. It knows.

We know, deep within ourselves.

Thus it is that at a mental level we hold the consciousness structures of the ancestors, and ultimately of the entire human race.

How this expresses itself varies from individual to individual. Our minds are like hierarchies of concepts and stories, each nestled into greater pools of consciousness which extend beyond the body and into space and timelessness.

This is why the destructive rage at God, the world and its people affects the way we live our lives even into the scientific era. Because our collective pain and anger is so great, we have to invest psychological energy into suppressing it. We have to generate strategies to deny our trauma, our anger. Most typically this generates depression. When anger, sadness sand fear are suppressed they become heavy weights which drag us down. We carry baggage – a lot more baggage that we would like to admit.

The God rage is one of the primary motifs which we humans must negotiate in our psycho-spiritual evolution. Until the problem is fully owned and integrated by us both as individuals and as a species, the God rage will continue to create chaos and suffering. And destruction.

After all this is stated, the question then becomes: what is to be done about the God rage? How can we heal this pain? That will be the subject of my next post.


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Master of the Mind, Champion of the Soul

A More Attractive Law of Attraction

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