Category Archives: Education

The Stickiness of Soul Stories (and how to become unstuck)

I like to think of we individual human beings as bits of consciousness, embedded within greater fields of consciousness. Each of us is potentially evolving in awareness and understanding. Yet many of us remain stagnant, stuck in the world of the mind and it’s stories and beliefs.

This is very important to understand, because right now the human species is in a vastly accelerated transition phase of physical and consciousness evolution. This present time represents an incredibly rare opportunity for personal growth for the soul. To be unaware of this – and instead remain stubbornly locked in a rigid and inflexible story – is tragically wasteful.

The physical aspect of this evolutionary expansion has emerged via the technology which now allows us to manipulate genetic codes. This, combined with a massive and exponential capacity to store and process information via computers, means that evolution is no longer merely in the hands of the “gods.” We all have incredible power in our hands, a power that our ancestors could never have dreamed of.

The question then becomes: can we match this incredible physical evolution with a corresponding mental and spiritual evolution? This is of vital importantance. If we do not balance these two domains of evolution, then there is a strong possibility that we will abuse the power that we are being given. We are already abusing it in so many ways, as we all know from reading the daily news feed. How then, can we correct this imbalance?

Our education systems must make curriculum time for psycho-spiritual development. This must include not only conscious-mental reflection, but must help the young practice mindfulness and meditative presence. Without the capacity for meditative presence there is no chance for a person to be able to develop the capacity to witness the mind. And without the ability to witness mind, one remains imprisoned in whatever story the mind puts forward. And in turn that story will almost certainly be the one that reflects the trauma contained within our personal and karmic history.

When we fall for the delusion that we are the mind, we become stuck in the stories of the mind, in the pain of the past. And stories are very, very sticky.

From a grand cosmic perspective, you as an individual being trapped in a self-limiting story for a lifetime or a hundred lifetimes is a mere twinkling of starlight. Cosmic time dwarfs human mind-time. This is important to grasp, as there is no emergency from a grand perspective. And that means your getting stuck in the evolutionary mud is perfectly permissible in the greater scheme of things.

The truth is that most of our stories are a bit nasty, rather unpleasant and with more than a little suffering. There’s something wrong with me. I messed up. I’m not good enough. Basically, I suck and I got to try like hell to unsuck!

We also carry a story about the the world, and the themes tend to be repetitive. People can’t be trusted. They are mean and stupid, and trying to repress me. I’m a victim. The world is cruel, and we have to fight for survival. What is the point of trying anyway, when we all die?

The great news is that in perfect presence our stories dissolve, and along with them the suffering and fear that emerges from remembered pasts and fearful futures. So it is that our most empowered expression as individual humans arises in the present moment. The present moment permits a resplendent intelligence to emerge, a wisdom that simply cannot flower when we are stuck in the mind. In a seeming irony, perfect presence permits a far greater sense of the unfolding future. This is why wisdom is a natural expression of presence. We have a potential to make far smarter choices while in presence.

Most of us remain fixed in the world of story, and mostly this is because we are not present. We are not really in the wold when we are not present. We are living in an imaginary world of illusion, painting the world with such thick, dark colours that it’s natural light cannot be seen.

The mere acknowledgement that you are operating in the world of story is enough to dissolve the story, if only for a short time. The great news, as spiritual teacher Leonard Jacobson often says, is that presence never leaves us. It is we who leave presence. Yet the mere realisation that we are not present is an invitation to presence. With just a little understanding of what is required, we can return to presence whenever we wish. It truly is simple. Just be present with the body, the breath, or whomever or whatever you are with.

Once we are free of the story, we may begin to consciously construct a new, more desirable story, if that is what we wish. We can then play in the world of time and space again, only with greater awareness, joy and wisdom.

What story will you choose? And why?

Video Talk: The Split in the Modern Mind

This is a short four minute extract from my talk at the Futures of Cities conference in Perth, Western Australia in November 2012. Here I talk about the way that our minds have been conditioned to think and react in very restrictive ways by the modern consumer society and education systems. Apologies that the footage is from a handcam, so not the best quality.

Marcus

 

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Free-Form Writing: The 4 phases

In my previous blog post I described how writers and researchers can use a stream-of-consciousness tool which draws upon Integrated Intelligence (similar to spiritual intelligence) to write up a thesis or book. I call that process Freee-form Writing. But what does that actually look like when you go about completing the thesis or book? In this blog post I am going to get more specific and show you exactly that. What follows is an extract from by Kindle book How to Channel a PhD (which can also be found in multiple formats on Smashwords.com). Enjoy your studies!

Marcus

 

*          *          *

Here I am going to briefly outline the stages of thesis writing that you will go through, as you employ Free-form Writing. For more details on each of the phases, I strongly suggest you purchase Joan Bolker’s (1998) Writing your Dissertation in Fifteen Minutes a Day. Bolker describes a similar process. The following scheme will be most suitable for those using a qualitative methodology. If you have field work and data collection, obviously there may be some differences. But these are the basic phases.

  1. Free-Form Writing. Write, write, write! As soon as you have made a decision to enroll set aside at least fifteen minutes a day, at least five days a week, to do Free-Form Writing. Alternatively, set a minimum word count, as I did. I wrote five hundred words a day. I describe this stream of consciousness approach to writing in Part 4, above. The key is to JUST WRITE! The only rule is that it has to be about your intended thesis topic. If all that comes to you is a bunch of gut feelings or “I don’t knows”, well, that is what you write. If you can’t remember the citation or writer’s name, it doesn’t matter. It might look something like this:

“Phil Wots ‘Is Name? made a similar argument about evolutionary psychology, I think? But is he talking about the same point?? I’ll have to read his book “The something? Syndrome?” to clarify that. But I really like Phil’s stuff, and I could write about that in a later chapter. Education systems are too rigid, and I really want to find more thinkers who have practical suggestions about how to fix that. Professor L at uni would be good to talk to in that respect.

Remember though, you should be reading extensively during this early phase of your enrolment. The more you read, the more you will have to write about. Quite often what you write will be a lot clearer and more detailed than my example above, and that is great. In fact some of it should be good enough to form part of your first draft. By all means, file the daily writings under headings (or in different files) to keep it all organized. Just don’t worry about dotting the “I”s and crossing the “T”s at this point. It’s going to be messy, and that’s okay!

2.      First drafts. At some point you will want to begin to put together a draft of a chapter of your thesis. The time frame will vary, depending on whether you are a part-time or a full-time student, and also according to all the variables that go with embarking on a thesis. Generally, I think the sooner you start writing a first draft the better. If you have more than fifty thousand words of free-form writing stashed away on your computer, that probably means you are ready to start putting together a first draft. Naturally, you will have to modify your writing to make it more precise, focused, and academically rigorous. Of course you can still continue to do Free-form Writing during this time if you want. It could be related to your chapter, or not. That’s up to you.

When you have your chapter done, there then comes the moment when you send it off to your supervisor. Expect criticisms. There are usually plenty of them. Don’t take them personally, and don’t let them sap your confidence in your intelligence and intuitive wisdom. Listen, and make the required changes. If your confidence takes a beating, try some of the Affirmations and Creative Imagination, as I outline in Part 6.

3.      Later drafts. When you have made the requested changes to your first draft, it doesn’t end there! You will most likely have to re-submit the chapter(s) to your supervisor repeatedly. I think I probably did ten to fifteen drafts for all my thesis chapters! Yes, this is the dry end of thesis production, and the bit where many candidates start to go a bit batty! But bear with it. It does end – eventually.

I highly recommend you find a third party (other than your supervisor) to read your thesis before you submit. This should be someone you trust, who has a doctorate themselves and knows what they are doing. I did just this, and the comments were priceless. I ended up cutting thirty thousand words out of my thesis. The finished product was a whole lot tighter and more readable as a result!

Finally, get an academic editor to proof-read your thesis, to make sure it adheres to all the academic protocols. They will also pick up all the typos and grammar errors you and your supervisor have missed (and you will miss some).

4.      Changes after examination. It’s quite likely your examiners will ask for changes after submission of your thesis. Hopefully they will be minor, but major changes are often required. Again, don’t take it personally. Just keep working away, one day at a time.

As your candidature progresses, the whole process will become less creative and inspirational, and more about the nuts and bolts of thesis production. This is inevitable. This can be slightly torturous for creative and intuitive types (and if you are reading this book, you are probably one of them). But don’t you dare think of quitting just because this part is not as much fun! It’s just the price you will have to pay if you want the tile of “Dr.”

Having said this, listen to your intuition throughout the duration of the thesis, even towards the end. You will probably still get bits and pieces of inspiration, maybe even dreams and visions in meditative states. Keep writing them down in your Intuitive Diary – and honor them!

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Marcus T Anthony’s PhD thesis: Integrated Intelligence

ACADEMIC:  This is my doctoral thesis, which I completed in 2006. It examines dominant mainstream theories of mind and intelligence, and contrasts them with alternative Eastern, mystical and indigenous conceptions. In particular the thesis presents the theory of integrated intelligence: that the mind extends beyond the brain, and that individuals can tap into that greater intelligence to live more meaningful lives and develop greater wisdom.

Thesis Title: “Representations of integrated intelligence within classical and contemporary depictions of
intelligence and their educational implications.”

Author:
Marcus T Anthony

 

Click on the link below to download the PDF

Marcus T Anthony thesis
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Education For Transformation: Integrated Intelligence in the Knowledge Society and Beyond

ACADEMIC ARTICLES: The purpose of this paper is to introduce several possibilities and potentials regarding the implementation
of integrated intelligence into the modern pubic education system and the knowledge economy which it serves.
There are thus two seminal questions. Firstly, what general uses might integrated intelligence have in the modern
secular public education system? Secondly, what place might integrated intelligence have in the long-term
development of education and society?

Title: Education For Transformation: Integrated Intelligence in the Knowledge Society and Beyond

Author: Marcus T Anthony (Director of MindFutures, Austraia)

Publication details: Journal of Futures Studies, Feb., 2005.

Click on the link below to download the PDF.

INI in Knowledge Economy

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Deepening Russian Futures

ACADEMIC ARTICLES: This conceptual paper expands upon the concept of Deep Futures (DF), as introduced in a previous volume of Foresight. It shall be argued that Deep Futures is part of the emerging discipline of Postconventional Futures Studies (PFS)

Title: Deepening Russian Futures (Deep Futures, part 2)

Journal: Foresight (Russia – translated into Russian)

Date: Upcoming, late 2012

Paper type: Conceptual

Author: Marcus T. Anthony, PhD

 

For the PDF version, click on the link below. Or read the text, below.

 

Deepening Russian Futures

 

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This conceptual paper expands upon the concept of Deep Futures (DF), as introduced in a previous volume of Foresight. It shall be argued that Deep Futures is part of the emerging discipline of Postconventional Futures Studies (PFS).[i] A prime purpose here is to outline more specific applications for Russia, especially in terms of the deepest levels of awareness of any given problematique – worldviews, paradigms, and the expression of consciousness (or mind). The recent issue involving Russian punk band “Pussy Riot” is used to exemplify the way DF might deepen policy and the way we view future. DF utilises recognised Futures methodologies and philosophies, but expands the depth of analysis and insight by incorporating additional tools and other ways of knowing not traditionally utilized by Futures practitioners.

 

As I argued in a previous paper here in Foresight journal, mainstream and conventional Futures work can often operate with implicit and unchallenged assumptions. In particular, there is often a focus on technology and economics: what I call “money and machines futures.” This assumes that the future is mostly about science and technology; and progress in a western materialistic sense. The concept of Deep Futures (DF) challenges those assumptions, and introduces tools and methods to “destabilize” business-as-usual thinking about the future. Therefore, a prime purpose of DF is to act as a provocation to dominant discourses. It provides an enhanced capacity for dissent – to challenge conventional Foresight and Futures work, as well as other fields of knowledge it turns its gaze upon. It thus presents the possibility of deepening the way we view the past, present, and future.

In brief, futures with depth contain these elements:

 

  • They inspire. They instill us with passion, and ignite something deep within us.
  • They are the big picture. They encourage us to see things in broader perspective, including the cultural, national, civilisational, the Gaian, and the spiritual.
  • They honour both the head and the heart. They permit rational and intuitive ways of knowing and living to co-exist.
  • They permit expression of multiple cultures and worldviews, not just dominant ones.
  • They are deeply meaningful, not merely interesting, amusing, or engaging.
  • They permit deep connection with each other, with nature, and with inner and spiritual worlds.
  • They honour universal human values: peace, beauty, freedom, justice, and love (including freedom of thought and information, and financial freedom).
  • People and Gaia lie at the heart of the future, not merely money and machines.

Futures Methods with Depth

Below I outline several Deep Futures methods and approaches. They can be applied by futurists in presentations, workshops, institutional settings and in research. Some of these are methods in development, and require further application before their genuine value can be determined.

 

Causal Layered Analysis (Sohail Inayatullah 2004, 2009)

Causal Layered Analysis (CLA) is a poststructuralist Futures method developed by futurist Sohail Inayatullah (2004). CLA can help examine the deeper meanings imbedded within problems, texts, and discourses through an exploration of four specific levels. It is particularly useful as a means to conduct inquiry into the nature of past, present, and future. It opens up the present and the past to create the possibility of alternative futures.

In other words, it can deepen our understanding of the future.

CLA is an extremely flexible tool, and the focus of analysis can be upon different levels according to the aims of the research, the gathering, and the audience. Many other Futures methods can be used alongside it. For example, my Harmonic Circles method (Anthony 2007, 2010a) can be used as part of the worldview/paradigm level, as it encourages participants to reflect upon their worldview and biases.

These are CLA’s five levels: [ii]

 

The litany examines the “surface” of the issue—empirical and verifiable data, what can be readily seen and measured, or what is typically seen when there is no attempt to look deeper. Data at this level can be useful in making immediate changes, but may be limited if participants lack a broader understanding of the problem.

The social/systems level identifies underlying systemic issues. The greater depth allows stakeholders to deepen their understanding of the situation and place the data in greater context.

The worldview/paradigm level examines the paradigmatic and civilisational factors which affect the issue. Futures thinking which addresses this level can help create the conditions for a paradigm shift. We can envisage new futures and devise new strategies.

The myth/metaphor level uncovers the myths, metaphors, and deeper psycho-spiritual drivers of issues. It is at the mythic and metaphorical level that postconventional methods come into play. Most notably, other ways of knowing can be used.

The consciousness level opens a space for the emotional, intuitive and spiritual aspects of the mind to be explored and find expression. Deep meanings and ultimate causes can be honoured at this level, including spiritual guidance.

 

Integral Futures (Richard Slaughter 2003, 2006).

This approach to Futures uses Ken Wilber’s (2000) Integral Operating System and Four Quadrant system to deconstruct and analyse futures. The four quadrants are the social, the cultural, the empirical, and the first-person. Most notably, Integral Futures acknowledges the transpersonal realms and the perennial philosophy of the Eastern world. This sees consciousness as evolving from pre-personal (unconsciousness), to conscious/rational, and then to transpersonal.

 

Visioning

Visioning, where idealised futures are imagined and planned, is in itself neutral in terms of the application of ways of knowing, but is an ideal situation to allow intuitive and emotive cognitive processes to be employed.

 

Scenarios

Scenarios may work best where deeply reflective work is done beforehand, opening spaces for alternative futures to emerge (Curry & Shultz 2009). Causal Layered Analysis, in combination with creative and intuitive thinking, can be used here.

 

Harmonic Circles (Marcus T. Anthony 2007, 2010a).[iii]

This tool invites deep reflection upon the individual’s worldview and biases, via a depth-psychology approach, and meditative insight. It employs a free association method to assist the user in tapping into the unconscious, and utilises non-ordinary states of consciousness.

 

Integrated Inquiry (Marcus T. Anthony 2010b; 2012b).

This recently-developed alternative research method combines intuitive and rational ways of knowing, as the researcher goes about investigating his subject matter. The researcher pays as much attention to the inner world of thoughts, feelings, intuitions and dreams as to the external environment. The entire approach to knowledge transcends the strict subject/object dichotomy of modern and postmodern though, and invites exploration of Integrated Intelligence (see below). Integrated Inquiry does not necessarily require a mystical worldview (though it helps); it can be employed as a provocation designed to stimulate creativity and insight. Foresight and Futures practitioners can use Integrated Inquiry during their research. I employed this approach during my own doctoral studies, as outlined in my eBook How to Channel a PhD (Anthony 2012b).

 

Integrated intelligence and other ways of knowing (Marcus T. Anthony 2008, 2010c).

The concept of Integrated intelligence (INI) rests upon the presupposition that the mind extends beyond the brain, and that some information that is “out there” can be consciously accessed via feelings, intuitions, images, dreams, auditory prompts, and so on. The process incorporates non-ordinary states of consciousness, achieved through deep relaxation and physiological self-control. As with Integrated Enquiry, INI can be employed as an assumed genuine human capacity, or used as a provocation. In the latter case, it is not necessary to “believe” in it, merely to go about Futures work employing specific INI tools and using them as prompts toward the end of achieving more innovative and creative thinking.

 

The Purpose of Postconventional Approaches

What is the purpose of allowing such alternative thinking and cognitive depth to be part of Futures and Foresight work? Sohail Inayatullah puts it this way:

“Futures thinking ultimately can go as far as mapping and changing memes and fields of reality.” (Inayatullah 2008)

This is a contentious issue, but one with which I concur. There is a great deal of scientific evidence to support the ideas of non-local fields of consciousness and collective intelligence (Grof 2000; Sheldrake 2003; Radin 2006; McTaggart 2007; LeShan 2019), and just as much skepticism (Dawkins 2006, Blackmore 2003, de Glasse Tyson 2001). However, it should be pointed out that the purpose of the employment of Deep Futures tools should not be used as a means to change people’s belief structures or worldviews. Such an approach would be a violation of participants’ rights, and an abuse of the role of teacher/futurist as facilitator. Instead, Deep Futures can be used as a way to incorporate a broader range of perspectives and types of data, to act as a deliberate provocation, and to break through entrenched ways of thinking about and perceiving the world and its many possible futures. It can thus help to subvert cognitive dissonance and what Edward de Bon0 (200( calls “The knowledge trap”. This is where we make the self-limiting mistake of becoming too comfortable with our knowledge and approach to learning, and fail to embrace a greater diversity of cognitive tools, mental states and ways of knowing.

Much of what is true of Causal Layered Analysis is also true of Deep Futures in general. Inayatullah (2008b) points out that the goal of CLA is the integration of all its levels of ennquiry, to honour each, and allow the expanded understanding which emerges to help us better prepare for, and consciously develop, our futures. As Inayatullah writes:

 

Each level is true, and solutions need to be found at each level. Thus policy solutions can be deeper. Litany interventions lead to short-term solutions, easy to grasp, packed with data. Systemic answers require interventions by efficiency experts. Governmental policies linked to partnership with the private sector often results. Worldview change is much harder and longer term. It requires seeking solutions from outside the framework in which the solution has been defined. And myth solutions require deepest interventions, as this requires telling a new story, rewiring the brain and building new memories and the personal and collective body (Inayatullah, 2008: 9).

 

Deep Futures in general can be used as a framework for examining the future of any given problem (and analyzing the depth of any given Futures idea, text, organisation or thinker). It is thus an approach which seeks to facilitate the deepening Futures Studies, for specific analyses, and to expand the processes used in workshops and seminars. The focus of Deep Futures is upon depth and bringing forth data and perspectives from within different layers of the problem, and it permits other futures methods to be used alongside it. In this sense it is reminiscent of de Bono’s (2009) “six thinking hats” method, which allows a place for a broader range of cognitive processes than are typically permitted in modern education and organisations.

Taken together, CLA, interwoven with the other methods referred to here, can potentially deepen our appreciation of the forces driving change and futures. The processes create the potential for insight and for greater awareness of the forces which shape the self, from within and without. This may potentially lead to better foresight.

 

 

Effective Policy vs. Deep Policy

Deep policy goes deep, by definition. How, then, do standard policy guidelines about delivering effective policies compare to Deep Futures? As one example, the British government has developed the following criteria for policy makers (Ching 2009). We may assume that the goal of the approach is to be inclusive and comprehensive. I list the general guidelines here, and indicate what level of Inayatullah’s Causal Layered Analysis (CLA) they primarily address. Recall, level one (L1) is the surface/empirical, level two (L2) the social/systems, level three (L3) the worldview/paradigm, level four (L4) the myth/metaphor, and level five (L5) consciousness/mind.

 

  1. It clearly defines outcomes, taking into account the likely effect and impact of the policy in the future, five to ten years and beyond. L1
  2. It takes full account of the national and international situation. L2
  3. It takes a holistic view, looking beyond institutional boundaries to the government’s “strategic objectives.” L2
  4. It is flexible and innovative, willing to question established ways of dealing with things and encourage new and creative ideas. L3 (potentially)
  5. It uses the best available evidence from a wide range of sources. L1
  6. It constantly reviews existing policy to ensure it is really dealing with problems it was designed to solve without having unintended detrimental effects elsewhere. L1-L2
  7. It is fair to all people directly or indirectly affected by it and takes account of its impact more generally. L2-L3
  8. It involves all stakeholders at an early stage and throughout its development. L3
  9. It learns from experience what works and what doesn’t through systematic evaluation. L1-L2 (Ching 2009)

 

At first glance, this list looks reasonably comprehensive. It potentially allows for the first four levels of CLA, but with a weakly represented level four – myth and metaphor. Notably, level five – consciousness – is completely absent.

There are often problems in the implementation of policy guidelines. Firstly, governments and organisations often fail to follow their own guidelines. The United States and its allies, for example, did not invoke a “deep” approach in invading Iraq, despite a record of historical failures in invading other nations with little foresight of the consequences (e.g, Vietnam, the Bay of Pigs). They didn’t consult the Islamic World, and we can assume they did not examine their own civilisational biases. And this is not to mention the obvious lack of foresight in failing to think very far beyond the fall of Baghdad.

My second issue is in regard to the methods that can genuinely make policy go deep. To do this we need tools which allow policy makers to be poked and prodded into seeing things at deeper levels. Simply saying, “Let’s include the Muslims,” for example, may be limited if there are no ways for mutually respectful communication to unfold, for worldview assumptions to be addressed, and for prejudice and judgment to be acknowledged. This is where CLA, used in conjunction with other methods such as Harmonic Circles, might be of great benefit.

The third observable point about the above effective policy guidelines is that they do not address much of level four of CLA, and nothing of Level five—where deeper psycho-spiritual factors and introspection come into play.

 

 

The “Pussy Riot” controversy

In this next and longest section of this paper, I shall address a specific policy issue in Russia – the Pussy Riot problematique – and see just how deep policy and analysis tends to go in government, selected media outlets and the blogosphere.

Pussy Riot is a now-notorious Moscow-based feminist punk-rock group. The band has staged several rebellious performances, typically in unauthorized locations, such as Lobnoye Mesto in Red Square, on top of a trolleybus, and on a scaffold in the Moscow Metro. The performance which came to the attention of the Russian authorities – and subsequently the international media – occurred on February 21, 2012, when five membersof the group enacted a very brief performance on the soleas of Moscow’s Cathedral of Christ the Saviour, before they were stopped by church officials. They invoked the Virgin Mary to rid Russia of President Vladimir Putin and threw insults at both Putin and the Moscow Patriarch of the Russian Orthodox Church.On March 3 a video of the performance appeared online, and subsequently three of the group members were arrested. They were found guilty of “hooliganism motivated by religious hatred” and given two-year sentences with heavy labour (Pussy Riot, 2012). Much international media attention has focused upon the story, most of it critical of the Russian authorities. Putin has stated that this is an orchestrated foreign plot designed to discredit him (Pussy riot, 2012).

Yet opinion in Russia has been more subdued. A series of Levada Center polls (an independent polling organisation in Russia) indicated that 44 percent of Russians felt that the trial was fair, and only 17 percent believed it was not impartial. Only 18 percent believed that the verdict would be influenced by the state. Just six percent of those polled sympathised with Pussy Riot, while 41 percent felt antipathy towards them. It can be noted that 58 percent of those who responded to the poll believed that the band members would receive an unduly harsh punishment (Pussy Riot 2012).

Speaking at a liturgy in Moscow’s Deposition of the Robe Church on March 21, the Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia, Kirill I, condemned Pussy Riot’s actions as “blasphemous”, saying that the “Devil has laughed at all of us.” He said that “We have no future if we allow mockery in front of great shrines, and if some see such mockery as a sort of bravery, an expression of political protest, an acceptable action or a harmless joke.”

 

 

CLA and the Pussy Riot incident

Within this situation, Causal Layered Analysis provides a framework which enables us to observe the depth of the Russian government response to the issue. Since we do not know precisely what is going on in the minds of officials and media outlets, I focus here upon the actions they have taken.

An obvious issue is whether policy has addressed all stakeholders. What about the youth of Russia itself? Are their needs being met? Throwing youngsters in jail and calling their actions “blasphemous” does not do so.

 

The Litany: At this level we get descriptive reports of the event. In practice, it is not common to find reports and texts of any event which are purely litany. Most media and policy reports cover the litany and at least touch upon the social-systems level. However headlines, search engine results pages, summaries and extracts may have a dominant focus on this level. This can be seen in snippets in foreign media reports which merely stated that Russian authorities had imprisoned members of Pussy Riot for its criticism of Putin. Where texts contain short references and quotes about specific individuals and organisations, this may also be superficial. An example is the following.

 

The Russian Orthodox church criticized the band’s actions as “blasphemous”, and said they displayed “crude hostility towards millions of people”.[iv] (Elder, 2012).

 

In fact the Church also made pleas for leniency for the group members on trial (Pussy riot, 2012).

 

The social/systems level: Here we can note youth culture, which is quintessentially rebellious, at least in Western and Caucasian-dominant countries. [v]

In regard to youth rebellion in Russia, shallow policy initiatives begin by asking how to punish those who transgress moral norms or legal systems. The very lack of depth in such policy may reflect the authoritarian nature of modern government in Russia (a level two issue). Putin is often perceived as the archetypal strong man. It is an image he has deliberately sought to convey. The Church too, is conservative and hierarchical, with power structures mediated by a largely inaccessible and seemingly other-worldly elite.

Seen in this context, the shallow response of government and Church reflects top-down, hierarchical power structures which lack genuine relationship with the people. Deep policy in an ideal world would consider a more holistic range of causal factors for the actions of Pussy Riot, or at least acknowledge the impact of rigid authoritarianism on young people.

Reports in international media have tended to be critical of the treatment of the band by the Russian authorities, focusing upon the political implications for Putin and the issues of human rights and freedom of expression. For example Engalnd’s The Guardian wrote that:

 

Three members of the Russian feminist punk band Pussy Riot are facing two years in a prison colony after they were found guilty of hooliganism motivated by religious hatred, in a case seen as the first salvo in Vladimir Putin’s crackdown on opposition to his rule. (Elder, 2012)

 

Meanwhile British and American officials have raised concerns about human rights and international norms regarding transparency of judicial proceedings (Elder, 2012).

Putin has alleged that foreign powers have been behind the protest movement against him (Elder 2012). Like much political ‘spin’, Putin’s response focuses upon an emotional issue designed to rally listeners around his cause. There is no reference to underlying issues.

It can be seen that each of the above deals primarily with societal and systems factors – and we may assume quite deliberately so, as deeper analysis would make clear that the problem is not as simple as good versus bad/us versus them. Political discourse and much media analysis nearly operates in this way, and rarely moves beyond it. For it is beyond the second level of CLA that introspection begins to come into play; and then the enquiry has to turn inward to gaze upon the knower/perceiver.

 

Worldview/paradigm level:

This level identifies deeper systemic and epistemological issues. The greater depth allows stakeholders to deepen their understanding of the situation and place the data in greater context. To allow worldview and paradigmatic perspectives to emerge and become part of the discourse, stakeholders have to permit a “distancing” process to emerge (Inayatullah, 2002), where they step back and view their discourse, their organisation, their nation, and their civilisation from the perspective of an outsider.

Much discourse at the litany and social/systems levels contains what Inayatullah (2008) calls “the used future”, adopting themes unconsciously borrowed from someone else; or as I would argue, projected from unconscious elements contained within the human psyche. For example, the implicit “us vs them” mentality that underpins both Putin’s and often (implicitly) Western news reports of the Pussy Riot incident retains a Cold War worldview.

The West tends to see Putin as the archetypal, hard-faced, Cold War Kremlin dictator. Yet this is not entirely without substance, given Putin’s Kremlin background. Most tellingly, this is the very image that Putin has tried to convey to both Russians and foreigners. Carefully managed photos showing him bare-chested and engaging in very physical pastimes live kayaking and wrestling have been deliberately and widely circulated. Here Putin is the archetypal strongman. It is a quintessentially masculine and authoritarian image he has sought to project.

In contrast, Pussy Riot has strong feminist, Western and egalitarian influences (Pussy Riot 2012). There is a clear rejection of the status quo. The patriarchal/authoritarian way is to punish and crush such resistance.

A Deep Futures approach to the problematique moving to level three of CLA would permit a deep questioning process (Inayatullah 2002). We might then ask:

 

  • Are egalitarianism and freedom of expression only ever “Western” ideals, or are they also part of Russian (and broader human) history and experience?
  • “How can a more empowered and feminine consciousness rise peacefully in Russia; along with more empowered women?”
  • “Does Russia really require a strongman leader? If not, what other possibilities might there be (including that of a female leader)?
  • “Is it possible that power can be shared more equally and responsibly in Russian futures?”
  • “How can we educate people to accept their power and responsibility in a more egalitarian society?”

 

The reality is that for a peaceful Russia and a peaceful world to emerge, all parties must find ways to create new futures. The alternative is to continue to go along with the used future. This used future will probably recreate the past. Inayatullah’s CLA moves the analysis into deeper civilisational, global and (ultimately) psycho-spiritual considerations. Litany and limited social/systems-level analyses and the interventions which emerge from them are likely to be largely impotent in creating lasting positive change if they cannot penetrate beyond superficialities. This is the level of much political and media discourse, both in Russia and beyond.

 

The myth/metaphor level:

At this level we can note several important issues.

The most notable perhaps is that of rock/pop music itself (and punk music can be seen as one branch of this). Since the time of Elvis Presley rock ‘n roll has always featured two predominant aspects: sexual expression and rebellion against authority. The rock singer is the quintessential angry teenager raising the finger at authority. In the West it is James Dean and Elvis’ hip-shaking (banned from the waist down!). Infamous British punk band the Sex Pistols sang about “anarchy in the UK”, and one of their music videos featured singer Johnny Rotten shooting concert audience members, including The Queen. We might note the obvious sexual references in band names like the Sex Pistols and Pussy Riot.

But what is sexuality? In the Indic tradition the genital area is the base chakra (or energy centre). This is the centre not only of sexuality, but also of personal power. The base of the spine is also commonly associated with the psychic storing of anger. Some rebirthing processes that I have personally engaged in encourage the expression of repressed anger, which is literally “screamed out” while focusing upon the base chakra. In this worldview, trauma, anger, rebellion and sexual expression are all intimately connected. Perhaps this is why sexuality, anger and rebellion are such strong themes in rock music. [vi]

Rebellion is also a strong theme in modern Russian history. Twentieth century Russia had some of the most famous rebellions in History – the February and October 1917 revolutions and that of 1925. There was also the more peaceful power shift of 1989. The so-called Russian oligarchs – who came into their power after 1989 – have alleged connections with illegal activities. They can be seen as rebellious, challenging the authorities; and having their power challenged in return by the state. Oil magnate Mikhail Khodorkovsky, perhaps the most well known internationally, has been serving a fourteen year prison sentence since 2003 (Russian oligarchs, 2012).

Thus “the rebel” is both part of punk music, youth culture, and is mythic and archetypal to modern Russia. It can be seen as overlapping with the social/systems level, as it ties into modern Russian social structures.

For the Western world and media, the fear of Big Brother has moved from a mere social and political concept, to the point where it can now be deemed mythic. It was perhaps Orwell’s classic book 1984 (published in 1948) which turned the idea of evil government into a deeper motif within the Western psyche. Yet distrust of – and rebellion against – authoritarianism has long been a part of Western societies. The modern Western, democratic ideal emerged from acts of rebellion. We can trace this back to the deep questioning of Socrates and the ancient Greek philosophers; Martin Luther’s 95 theses (which challenged papal authority); and the French and American Revolutions, just to mention a few incidents. Distrust of authority now finds its common expression in the typical American distrust of government. Perhaps its most neurotic expression is now found in the contemporary conspiracy theorist, who finds authoritarian deception and hegemony at every turn, even without definitive evidence.

It is important to note that the mythological and paradigmatic can only be transcended when the dominant narrative becomes conscious. Only then can it be questioned and challenged. This is where Inayatullah’s (2002a) “deep questioning” can be most powerful. The Pussy Riot incident might bring forth questions like these

 

  • Is it always “blasphemous” to challenge a sacred symbol or icon?
  • Has the sacred symbol run its course; and is it time for a new symbol?
  • Can democracy have multiple expressions, not merely the Western or “our democracy”?
  • Are non-democratic political structures better for some countries (such as in China, where the Communist Party’s “scientific development” has seen the country become the world’s economic engine)?
  • What are the limits of freedom of expression?
  • Are there means to rule our country beyond the strongman archetype?
  • How can women be truly empowered in our country?

 

It must be remembered that paradigms and worldviews delimit the range of questions that are permitted to be asked. When we begin to delve into the paradigmatic level (and beyond) and answer such deep questions, the future can be challenged more deeply. We are deliberately inviting dissent, which futurist Richard Slaughter (2006) says if the responsibility of good Futures practitioners. After deep questioning, what Inayatullah (2008) calls “disowned futures” can be brought forward. These are the possible futures that we have discarded, forgotten, or dare not contemplate; either out of fear, because they are seen as forbidden, or because they have become too alien for us to understand.

 

The consciousness level: At the deepest level of consciousness, we begin to address psycho-spiritual aspects of an event, concept, thinker or text. It is here that the most profound and spiritual questions can be asked and contemplated; and where the ways of knowing employed can incorporate a strong introspective and meditative component. Ultimate questions – especially those involving the meaning and purpose of events and life itself – cannot be answered only through empirical observation and scientific methodology. This is even true for modern mainstream cosmology, which can trace the physical origins of the universe back to the big bang, but is powerless to provide data for the ultimate source of that event; or whether an intelligence of any kind underpins it.

At the consciousness level dreams, daydreams, visions, epiphanies, intuitive feelings and transcendental experiences can give us insight into what drives us at the deepest level.

Ideally, while addressing the Pussy Riot situation in a workshop setting, or even in the private – and when moving into the final level of CLA – all stakeholders (Russian and foreign) can contemplate, mediate, reflect and pray about what the Pussy Riot incident means; including how to best deal with it and all those involved. They should reflect upon their own perceptions, reactions and biases.

We might note that Russians have generally become richer since 1989, and that the Church has resumed an important role for many in society. However, we might then ask if modern life in Russia genuinely addresses the deeper psycho-spiritual needs of human beings. This is where other ways of knowing, inner worlds, passions, feelings, a sense of connection and deeper meanings come into play.

 

 

A deeper perspective on the Pussy riot problematique

A personal anecdote provides a good clarification of how meditative reflection and non-ordinary states of mind can help an individual come to a deeper appreciation of a problematique. When I lived in China I found myself feeling some resentment at the authoritarian government. Then one night I had a dream which shed light on a deeper narrative which lay behind my anger. In the dream I was scrolling down a computer screen. But the computer screen was divided in two. On left side were images of severe-looking Chinese Communist party leaders dressed in their black suits; on the right side of the screen were images of my father; equally angry and severe and punitive. That dream told me something important. That my attitudes towards China’s leaders was in part a projection of unresolved anger I had with my father. After this event I was able to assume a greater degree of responsibility for the way I thought, spoke and wrote about the Chinese Communist Party.

At the deepest level of consciousness we come to the realization that much mental construct tends towards projection – especially personal judgments and opinions. Our mental concepts tend to create binaries and oppositions while investing these dichotomies with emotional energy. Finally, the mind tends to fight for the justification of its mental constructs, once it has invested emotionality in them. It is for this reason that I created the “Harmonic Circles” process to help individuals and groups come to an awareness of the subjective nature of their judgments and projections (Anthony 2007, 2010). Once the awareness is present, individuals can then learn to take more responsibility for the way they create their subjective world.

As a mystic and deep meditator I also believe that we all carry “the sins of the fathers”. The consciousness of the ancestors trails behind us, potentially pulling us back into their pain and trauma, as well as the ‘memory’ of glory and success. Just as one example, during World War Two Russia lost some twenty million people. This ‘pain’ does not evaporate, but continues to haunt the psyches of the individuals involved. There is a danger that such subtle psychic forces might help recreate the same dominant narratives that underpins its origins – in this case violence and war.

Clearly “psychic” influences in people and populations is a highly contentious area to explore, and these forms of knowledge and understandings lie far off the official maps of reality that dominate education and society. This is the domain of Dean Radin’s “psi taboo”. Yet my experience is that they form part of the awareness of many people in greater society. People may not talk about such things in public, but many believe they are at least possible. Finally, there is a definitive but problematic body of evidence for the existence of the extended mind (Radin 2006; Sheldrake 2012) and I believe that the evidence will only grow stronger as the years pass.

The existence of the psi taboo is supported by at least some surveys into the way academics view psi experience. In Entangled Minds, Radin (2006) writes that less than one per cent of academic faculty members in the USA are willing to publically admit to a belief in the existence of psi. Yet Bem and Honorton (1994) cite a survey of over a thousand college faculty in the USA. That survey found that over fifty-five percent of natural science faculty members either strongly believe that telepathy is an established fact or feel it is a strong likelihood. The figure for the Social Sciences was sixty-six percent, while seventy-seven percent was the figure in arts, humanities, and education.

The question then becomes: how can futurists honour this consciousness level and heal it when most of our institutions do not permit its expression? The following represents my perspective, taken from years of experience with Deep Futures.

 

  • The futures practitioner must ground his/her arguments/workshop in the first two levels of CLA, including the scientific; and using familiar Futures tools and processes. This will provide a firm grounding before the deeper levels are explored.
  • The practitioner must keep in mind his/her audience; and remain vigilant to the atmosphere in the room. This way processes can be modified according to the audience’s receptiveness to Deep Futures tools. For example, the kinds of processes that will work with an audience of predominantly male engineers at a sandstone university will differ markedly with what might work with a female-dominant group at the university yoga centre.
  • Where permission is denied in the mainstream, Deep Futures work can be conducted in alternative and permissive institutions, organisations and settings – perhaps discretely. I have conducted workshops (which incorporated the consciousness level) in many settings. One such event I conducted in 2011 in association with a major university in Hong Kong. This workshop was affiliated with the Hong Kong Consciousness Festival and incorporated practical participation in experiencing Integrated Intelligence. I also modeled the intelligence before the group. Further, I organized and hosted an international conference – “Shifting Hong Kong” – in 2010, where I invited systems theorist Ervin Laszlo to that city. The conference was centred around the idea of Deep Futures. However on that occasion the ideas were explored more theoretically than practically, due to the academic audience present.

 

I have been privileged to be part of workshops and healing groups all over the world which explored consciousness at a deep level. Mnay of these were not specifically centred on human futures, but they have helped me gain an understanding of how these processes can be practically utilized.

 

The importance of presence

One of the key factors in teaching people about the way ego/mind works is to invite them into a deeper experience of mind – a place where many in the modern world have never ventured. Rather than talk about lofty, abstract and culturally-defined ideas like “enlightenment” and “transcendence”, I prefer to use terms like “presence” and “mindfulness”. If I were to tell an audience that “I am going to invite you into a transcendent state”, many would immediately become nervous or doubtful, as the self-concept of many people probably does not include the idea of being an enlightened spiritual master. So I keep it all very simple. To move into a state where the workings of the mind can be witnesses from an “outside” position (distancing), all that is required is for the person to actually be fully present in the moment. It is in presence that mental chatter stops, and ego-identification lessens.

A key distinction here is coming to the awareness that mind tends to function in imagined futures and remembered pasts. Imagined futures tend to be anxiety-laden, while remembered pasts tend to activate guilt and the pain body. When the mind is silent and fully present, we get to experience this idea directly, rather than merely as an intellectual understanding (by merely reading or thinking about it).

When the mind is brought into presence something remarkable happens (and sometimes this may be experienced as being unpleasant). The emotional body begins to “speak”. It seeks release. The pain of childhood and past hurts may try to make its way up from the depths of the psyche. We may want to cry, scream, vent anger and so on. Yet this is how healing can be facilitated, and the past released. The key is that individuals be taught how to develop the right relationship with their pain; what I call “the wounded child”. A key part of this is coming to a deeper understanding that the story of pain and suffering that the wounded child believes in is not actually real in the present moment. And in order for that to be fully appreciated experientially, the person has to be taught not only how to become present, but how to remain present. The following anecdote provides a good example.

 

A Chinese healing

In August 2011 I attended a four day workshop/retreat near Beijing by Australian mystic Leonard Jacobson (2008). It is Jacobson more than any other individual who has taught me most about the importance of presence, and how to facilitate it.

There were about 130 people at that workshop. I was the only foreigner in attendance, with all other attendees being Chinese. Leonard does not speak Chinese, and most of the audience members did not speak English, so there was an interpreter on hand who translated everything. Once Leonard’s workshop started, I was amazed at how receptive most of the Chinese people were to Leonard’s teachings and the simple – yet powerful – processes he used. Leonard’s workshops focus on one central motif – bringing people into deep presence. His entire teaching centres on the single premise that “enlightenment” happens now, and that attachment to the past and thought of the future ensnare us in the mind and ego.

Incredible as it may seem, Leonard does no preparation for his workshops. Not even a four day workshop like that one in Beijing. The entire event unfolds spontaneously, as he brings people into presence.

As the audience began to relax into presence on that day, the same thing began to happen as happens with all Leonard’s workshops. Put simply, people’s repressed emotional pain started to spontaneously emerge. I was quite surprised. I really did not think Chinese people would allow themselves to be so emotionally vulnerable in public, due to cultural restrictions there.

Typically, what would happen is that Leonard would begin to talk about an emotional issue at a personal or social level, then someone in the audience would begin to sob or wail as their emotional energy began to surface. Leonard would (on most occasions) then address the person. Sometimes he would invite them out the front of the group. Leonard would then help them to express whatever emotional pain they felt. This in turn would trigger some emotional release in other audience members.

On one of the retreat there was a middle-aged woman sitting directly in front of me who kept putting her hand up. I could see and hear that she was scared, from sobbing and shaking. She kept putting her hand half up, but not high enough to actually attract attention. Finally, Leonard saw her and asked her what her problem was. The woman then stood up and began speaking between sobs. She was terribly distraught, telling of how childhood was “a nightmare”. Leonard invited her out the front, and allowed her to express what she felt (the whole process was incredibly loving and gentle). Then the little girl inside her started raging against what happened during the Cultural Revolution (an extreme social movement started by Mao Ze Dong, lasting a whole decade, 1966-76). As she allowed the pain to surface, she raged about how everything around her was darkness and pain and suffering, and nothing was safe. She was reliving her childhood before the group.

Other people started to shift uncomfortably in their seats. All talk of this period in Chinese history is effectively banned in China, right to this day. But this didn’t stop this courageous women. She clenched her fists and began to rage with full fury against the government and the Communist Party for the living hell she felt they had created. She simply let loose her murderous wrath, expressing what the wounded part of herself had been wanting to “do” for forty years – to kill and destroy, to take revenge against those who had hurt her and those she loved.

Then, crucially, Leonard Jacobson helped her bring that wounded part of herself into the present, which is so vital for healing (as long as we are stuck in the pain, the suffering and the blame, we cannot heal). The purpose of this was to allow the pain and its accompanying story to surface, then to arouse the deeper understanding that the story is not real anymore. It is only the pain that is real. After a time the woman began to relax, and her mind slowly became present as Leonard held her hand. After a while she relaxed and began smiling. She returned to her seat, and the workshop moved on.

The next morning I was walking to breakfast at the retreat centre, and the woman just happened to be coming out of her villa at the same time as me. So I started talking to her, and told her how brave she was, and how China needed more people like her who could face the pain inside themselves and express it responsibly. She agreed. She told me that she had talked to a friend beforehand and decided it was okay that she brought it up.

The whole workshop made me realise that there are many people in China (and many other parts of the non-Western world) who are now willing to explore consciousness at a deeper level. Other Chinese people I spoke with at that retreat told me that these kinds of ideas are booming in China now, and in the last year or two they have really taken off. One aspect of this is that life coaching using spiritual or intuitive consciousness is now increasingly in demand. I was told that there were many middle class people in their 30s and 40s who are well off, but who are asking themselves why they are not happy and fulfilled. It is our educational and scientific institutions which are lagging behind the general public, lacking in the courage to move beyond the safeness of intellectuality and book knowledge.

Presence work at the level that Leonard Jacobson facilitates is clearly a highly skilled process, and requires a facilitator who can “walk the talk” – who is also able to allow deep presence within himself at will. I cite this story here – and the concept of deep presence – not because such deep processes are a requirement for Futures practitioners and participants, but as an example of where deep consciousness work can lead when taken to its full depth. Similar processes can be facilitated at the consciousness level in Deep Futures work, although in practice the depth will often be less marked than in the example above. The simple facilitation of relaxed presence is often enough to give participants a taste of consciousness at a deeper level, and bring about the awareness of how mind typically constructs reality; and is trapped in the painful pasts or fearful futures which are not real.

 

Self-awareness

In order for the deeper layers of a discourse to open up, there needs to be a deepening of awareness, especially self-awareness. This requires an inner journey, as I have tried to convey in this paper. Unfortunately it is this domain of mind that modern education systems are failing to address. In the hard sciences, even the concept of social and cultural influences on science is often scorned as irrelevant.

 

 

Conclusion

What will come of Postconventional Futures Studies remains to be seen. Its central processes and other ways of knowing may become more acceptable to governments and educational institutions in the future. Or it may be that the other ways of knowing will remain “other,” limiting Postconventional Futures to a position on the fringes of mainstream discourse.

Nonetheless, it is my contention that PFS methods may potentially enhance Foresight and Futures practice, including policy-making processes for organisations and perhaps even government in Russia. PFS may help us create Deep Futures. Money and machines are not enough to fulfill hearts and minds. We can no longer afford business as usual. Something subtle yet crucial is missing from modern cultures (including Russia’s), with their rush to achieve material gratification. The critical/rational worldview which trumpets these values has created an impasse in the development of materialistic, economically developed cultures. A shift in thinking is required. Yet even this may not be enough. We may also require a shift in feeling (as a way of knowing) – in relationship, in education, and in the way we perceive and create our futures. It is my hope that we can all be part of this shift in Russia, and right around the world.

 

 

 

References

Anthony, Marcus (2007). “Harmonic Circles: A New Futures Tool.” Foresight, 9 (5), 23-34.

Anthony, Marcus (2008). Integrated Intelligence. Rotterdam: Sense Publishers.

Anthony, Marcus (2010a). “Civilisational Clashes and Harmonic Circles.” Futures, 2010.

Anthony, Marcus (2010c). Extraordinary Mind: Integrated Intelligence and the Future. MindFutures, Hong Kong.

Anthony, Marcus (2012b). How to Channel a PhD. MindFutures, 2012 (available in eBook formats only).

Bem, Daryl and Honorton, Charles (1994), “Does psi exist? Replicable evidence for an anomalous process of information transfer,” Psychological Bulletin, 115, no. 1 (1994).

Blackmore, Susan, (2003). Consciousness: An Introduction. Oxford: Hodder & Stoughton.

Braud, William. (2003). Distant mental influence. Charlottesville, VA: Hampton Roads.

Curry, Andrew, and Shultz, Wendy (2009). “Roads less travelled: Different methods, different futures.” Journal of Futures Studies. 13 (4), 35-60.

Dawkins, Richard (2006). The God Delusion. London: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.

De Bono, Edward (2009). Think! Before it’s too Late! London: Random House.

de Grasse Tyson, Neil, (2001). “Coming to our Senses.” Natural History. New York,  110(2),  84.

Elder, Miriam (2012). “Pussy Riot sentenced to two years in prison colony over anti-Putin protest”. The Guardianhttp://www.guardian.co.uk/music/2012/aug/17/pussy-riot-sentenced-prison-putin. Accessed 24.08.12.

Grof, Stan (2000). Psychology of the Future. New York: Suny.

Inayatullah, Sohail. (2002a). Questioning the Future. Taipei: Tamkang University Press.

Inayatullah, Sohail (2004). “Causal Layered Analysis: Theory, Historical Context, and Case Studies.” In Inayatullah, Sohail (ed.) The Causal Layered Analysis Reader. Taipei, Tamkang University Press.

Inayatullah, Sohail (2008). “Six Pillars: Futures Thinking for Transforming.” Foresight, 10 (1), 4-21.

Inner Truth (2012). “Emotional understanding”. http://www.inner-truth.net/emotions/anger.html. Accessed 26.08.12.

Jacobson, Leonard (2008). Journey into Now. Sydney: Conscious Living.

Ching, Frank (2009) “Learning From the Past.” South China Morning Post, 29.07.09.

Kundalini Yoga (2012), http://www.kundaliniyoga.org/kyt09.html; accessed 26.08.2012.

LeShan, Lawrence. (2009). A new science of the paranormal. London: Quest Books.

McTaggart, Lynn (2007). The Intention Experiment. New York: Free Press.

Moffett, James, (1994). “On to the past: Wrong-headed School Reform.” Phi Delta Kappan, 75(8), 584-590.

Pink, Daniel (2005). A Whole New Mind. New York: Riverhead Trade.

“Pussy Riot”, Wikipedia.    ttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pussy_Riot#cite_note-39 23.08.2012. Retrieved 22.08.12

“Pussy Riot reply”, RT (online) http://rt.com/art-and-culture/news/pussy-riot-clash-patriarch-567/ , retrieved 23.08.12.

Radin, Dean, (2006). Entangled Minds. New York: Paraview.

Russian oligarchs (2012), Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Russian_oligarchs. Retrieved 24.08.12.

Sheldrake, Rupert (2012). The Science Delusion. Hachette, Little Hampton. Kindle Edition.

Slaughter, Richard., (2003). “Integral Futures—a new Model for Futures Enquiry and Practice.”

Available from: http://foresightinternational.com.au/catalogue/resources/Integral_Futures.pdf

(Retrieved 7 July 2006).

Slaughter, Richard. (2006). “Beyond the Mundane—Towards Post-Conventional Futures Practice.” The Journal of Futures Studies, 10 (4), 15-24.

Tarnas, R., (2000). The Passion of the Western Mind. London: Pimlico.

Weingarten, Gene (2007). “Pearls Before Breakfast”. Washington Post (online), 08.04.07. www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/04/04/AR2007040401721.html. Accessed 20.10.09.

Wilber, Ken. (2000). Sex, Ecology, Spirituality. Boston: Shambhala.

 

 

Endnotes

 


[i] I have used upper case for “Foresight”, “Futures” and “Futures Studies”, where the reference is to the disciplines of Foresight and Futures, but lower case where referring to “foresight” as a verb, and “futures” in the general sense (as the plural of “future”). I have also used upper case for the various branches of Futures Studies, and the formal concepts and tools of Futures Studies, including the tools which I have developed.

[ii] The fifth level – consciousness – has been added by the author (Marcus T Anthony) as a means to deliberately explore consciousness  and the experience of mind itself.

[iii] I have used these three tools extensively in my own research and futures work. However, they are in the early stages of development, and require more extensive application in real time and space.

[iv] The Church did ask for leniency for the group before their sentencing. (Elder, 2012).

[v] This is not true in all cultures. In Confucian cultures teenagers tend to be quite respectful of elders, and often defer power to family, teachers and adults.

[vi] Indic and yogic philosophy is not an empirical science, and interpretations can differ. However many practitioners subscribe to similar views to mine (e.g. Kundalini yoga, 2012; Inner truth, 2012).

 

Crisis, Deep Meaning & the Opportunity for Change

ACADEMIC ARTICLE: The world has been in a state of economic uncertainty since the 2008 financial crisis. Despite efforts by governments worldwide to stabilise the system and return to business as usual, the future remains uncertain. Times of crisis are opportunities to introspect and to question deeply the foundations of society, culture and education. In this paper it is argued that we can no longer found futures and develop educational curricula centred upon immediate economic considerations. This paper begins with an ethnographic perspective, then introduces the concepts of Deep Futures and “money and machines” futures. The discussion centres upon their possible relevance to the current world economic situation. It is argued that the foundations of the current dilemma are, in their essence, psycho-spiritual.

Title: Crisis, Deep Meaning & the Opportunity for Change

Author: Marcus T Anthony

Publication details: December 2011, 16(2): 47 – 64

Journal: Journal of Futures Studies

Paper type: conceptual

 


Click on the link below to read the PDF.

Crisis Deep Meaning & the Opportunity for Change

 

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Deepening Russian Futures

This conceptual paper expands upon the concept of Deep Futures (DF), as introduced in a previous volume of Foresight. It shall be argued that Deep Futures is part of the emerging discipline of Postconventional Futures Studies (PFS)

 

Title: Deepening Russian Futures (Deep Futures, part 2)

Journal: Foresight (Russia – translated into Russian)

Date: Upcoming, late 2012

Paper type: Conceptual

Author: Marcus T. Anthony, PhD

 

For the PDF version, click on the link below.

Deepening Russian Futures

 

 

 

 

This conceptual paper expands upon the concept of Deep Futures (DF), as introduced in a previous volume of Foresight. It shall be argued that Deep Futures is part of the emerging discipline of Postconventional Futures Studies (PFS).[i] A prime purpose here is to outline more specific applications for Russia, especially in terms of the deepest levels of awareness of any given problematique – worldviews, paradigms, and the expression of consciousness (or mind). The recent issue involving Russian punk band “Pussy Riot” is used to exemplify the way DF might deepen policy and the way we view future. DF utilises recognised Futures methodologies and philosophies, but expands the depth of analysis and insight by incorporating additional tools and other ways of knowing not traditionally utilized by Futures practitioners.

 

As I argued in a previous paper here in Foresight journal, mainstream and conventional Futures work can often operate with implicit and unchallenged assumptions. In particular, there is often a focus on technology and economics: what I call “money and machines futures.” This assumes that the future is mostly about science and technology; and progress in a western materialistic sense. The concept of Deep Futures (DF) challenges those assumptions, and introduces tools and methods to “destabilize” business-as-usual thinking about the future. Therefore, a prime purpose of DF is to act as a provocation to dominant discourses. It provides an enhanced capacity for dissent – to challenge conventional Foresight and Futures work, as well as other fields of knowledge it turns its gaze upon. It thus presents the possibility of deepening the way we view the past, present, and future.

In brief, futures with depth contain these elements:

 

  • They inspire. They instill us with passion, and ignite something deep within us.
  • They are the big picture. They encourage us to see things in broader perspective, including the cultural, national, civilisational, the Gaian, and the spiritual.
  • They honour both the head and the heart. They permit rational and intuitive ways of knowing and living to co-exist.
  • They permit expression of multiple cultures and worldviews, not just dominant ones.
  • They are deeply meaningful, not merely interesting, amusing, or engaging.
  • They permit deep connection with each other, with nature, and with inner and spiritual worlds.
  • They honour universal human values: peace, beauty, freedom, justice, and love (including freedom of thought and information, and financial freedom).
  • People and Gaia lie at the heart of the future, not merely money and machines.

Futures Methods with Depth

Below I outline several Deep Futures methods and approaches. They can be applied by futurists in presentations, workshops, institutional settings and in research. Some of these are methods in development, and require further application before their genuine value can be determined.

 

Causal Layered Analysis (Sohail Inayatullah 2004, 2009)

Causal Layered Analysis (CLA) is a poststructuralist Futures method developed by futurist Sohail Inayatullah (2004). CLA can help examine the deeper meanings imbedded within problems, texts, and discourses through an exploration of four specific levels. It is particularly useful as a means to conduct inquiry into the nature of past, present, and future. It opens up the present and the past to create the possibility of alternative futures.

In other words, it can deepen our understanding of the future.

CLA is an extremely flexible tool, and the focus of analysis can be upon different levels according to the aims of the research, the gathering, and the audience. Many other Futures methods can be used alongside it. For example, my Harmonic Circles method (Anthony 2007, 2010a) can be used as part of the worldview/paradigm level, as it encourages participants to reflect upon their worldview and biases.

These are CLA’s five levels: [ii]

 

The litany examines the “surface” of the issue—empirical and verifiable data, what can be readily seen and measured, or what is typically seen when there is no attempt to look deeper. Data at this level can be useful in making immediate changes, but may be limited if participants lack a broader understanding of the problem.

The social/systems level identifies underlying systemic issues. The greater depth allows stakeholders to deepen their understanding of the situation and place the data in greater context.

The worldview/paradigm level examines the paradigmatic and civilisational factors which affect the issue. Futures thinking which addresses this level can help create the conditions for a paradigm shift. We can envisage new futures and devise new strategies.

The myth/metaphor level uncovers the myths, metaphors, and deeper psycho-spiritual drivers of issues. It is at the mythic and metaphorical level that postconventional methods come into play. Most notably, other ways of knowing can be used.

The consciousness level opens a space for the emotional, intuitive and spiritual aspects of the mind to be explored and find expression. Deep meanings and ultimate causes can be honoured at this level, including spiritual guidance.

 

Integral Futures (Richard Slaughter 2003, 2006).

This approach to Futures uses Ken Wilber’s (2000) Integral Operating System and Four Quadrant system to deconstruct and analyse futures. The four quadrants are the social, the cultural, the empirical, and the first-person. Most notably, Integral Futures acknowledges the transpersonal realms and the perennial philosophy of the Eastern world. This sees consciousness as evolving from pre-personal (unconsciousness), to conscious/rational, and then to transpersonal.

 

Visioning

Visioning, where idealised futures are imagined and planned, is in itself neutral in terms of the application of ways of knowing, but is an ideal situation to allow intuitive and emotive cognitive processes to be employed.

 

Scenarios

Scenarios may work best where deeply reflective work is done beforehand, opening spaces for alternative futures to emerge (Curry & Shultz 2009). Causal Layered Analysis, in combination with creative and intuitive thinking, can be used here.

 

Harmonic Circles (Marcus T. Anthony 2007, 2010a).[iii]

This tool invites deep reflection upon the individual’s worldview and biases, via a depth-psychology approach, and meditative insight. It employs a free association method to assist the user in tapping into the unconscious, and utilises non-ordinary states of consciousness.

 

Integrated Inquiry (Marcus T. Anthony 2010b; 2012b).

This recently-developed alternative research method combines intuitive and rational ways of knowing, as the researcher goes about investigating his subject matter. The researcher pays as much attention to the inner world of thoughts, feelings, intuitions and dreams as to the external environment. The entire approach to knowledge transcends the strict subject/object dichotomy of modern and postmodern though, and invites exploration of Integrated Intelligence (see below). Integrated Inquiry does not necessarily require a mystical worldview (though it helps); it can be employed as a provocation designed to stimulate creativity and insight. Foresight and Futures practitioners can use Integrated Inquiry during their research. I employed this approach during my own doctoral studies, as outlined in my eBook How to Channel a PhD (Anthony 2012b).

 

Integrated intelligence and other ways of knowing (Marcus T. Anthony 2008, 2010c).

The concept of Integrated intelligence (INI) rests upon the presupposition that the mind extends beyond the brain, and that some information that is “out there” can be consciously accessed via feelings, intuitions, images, dreams, auditory prompts, and so on. The process incorporates non-ordinary states of consciousness, achieved through deep relaxation and physiological self-control. As with Integrated Enquiry, INI can be employed as an assumed genuine human capacity, or used as a provocation. In the latter case, it is not necessary to “believe” in it, merely to go about Futures work employing specific INI tools and using them as prompts toward the end of achieving more innovative and creative thinking.

 

The Purpose of Postconventional Approaches

What is the purpose of allowing such alternative thinking and cognitive depth to be part of Futures and Foresight work? Sohail Inayatullah puts it this way:

“Futures thinking ultimately can go as far as mapping and changing memes and fields of reality.” (Inayatullah 2008)

This is a contentious issue, but one with which I concur. There is a great deal of scientific evidence to support the ideas of non-local fields of consciousness and collective intelligence (Grof 2000; Sheldrake 2003; Radin 2006; McTaggart 2007; LeShan 2019), and just as much skepticism (Dawkins 2006, Blackmore 2003, de Glasse Tyson 2001). However, it should be pointed out that the purpose of the employment of Deep Futures tools should not be used as a means to change people’s belief structures or worldviews. Such an approach would be a violation of participants’ rights, and an abuse of the role of teacher/futurist as facilitator. Instead, Deep Futures can be used as a way to incorporate a broader range of perspectives and types of data, to act as a deliberate provocation, and to break through entrenched ways of thinking about and perceiving the world and its many possible futures. It can thus help to subvert cognitive dissonance and what Edward de Bon0 (200( calls “The knowledge trap”. This is where we make the self-limiting mistake of becoming too comfortable with our knowledge and approach to learning, and fail to embrace a greater diversity of cognitive tools, mental states and ways of knowing.

Much of what is true of Causal Layered Analysis is also true of Deep Futures in general. Inayatullah (2008b) points out that the goal of CLA is the integration of all its levels of ennquiry, to honour each, and allow the expanded understanding which emerges to help us better prepare for, and consciously develop, our futures. As Inayatullah writes:

 

Each level is true, and solutions need to be found at each level. Thus policy solutions can be deeper. Litany interventions lead to short-term solutions, easy to grasp, packed with data. Systemic answers require interventions by efficiency experts. Governmental policies linked to partnership with the private sector often results. Worldview change is much harder and longer term. It requires seeking solutions from outside the framework in which the solution has been defined. And myth solutions require deepest interventions, as this requires telling a new story, rewiring the brain and building new memories and the personal and collective body (Inayatullah, 2008: 9).

 

Deep Futures in general can be used as a framework for examining the future of any given problem (and analyzing the depth of any given Futures idea, text, organisation or thinker). It is thus an approach which seeks to facilitate the deepening Futures Studies, for specific analyses, and to expand the processes used in workshops and seminars. The focus of Deep Futures is upon depth and bringing forth data and perspectives from within different layers of the problem, and it permits other futures methods to be used alongside it. In this sense it is reminiscent of de Bono’s (2009) “six thinking hats” method, which allows a place for a broader range of cognitive processes than are typically permitted in modern education and organisations.

Taken together, CLA, interwoven with the other methods referred to here, can potentially deepen our appreciation of the forces driving change and futures. The processes create the potential for insight and for greater awareness of the forces which shape the self, from within and without. This may potentially lead to better foresight.

 

 

Effective Policy vs. Deep Policy

Deep policy goes deep, by definition. How, then, do standard policy guidelines about delivering effective policies compare to Deep Futures? As one example, the British government has developed the following criteria for policy makers (Ching 2009). We may assume that the goal of the approach is to be inclusive and comprehensive. I list the general guidelines here, and indicate what level of Inayatullah’s Causal Layered Analysis (CLA) they primarily address. Recall, level one (L1) is the surface/empirical, level two (L2) the social/systems, level three (L3) the worldview/paradigm, level four (L4) the myth/metaphor, and level five (L5) consciousness/mind.

 

  1. It clearly defines outcomes, taking into account the likely effect and impact of the policy in the future, five to ten years and beyond. L1
  2. It takes full account of the national and international situation. L2
  3. It takes a holistic view, looking beyond institutional boundaries to the government’s “strategic objectives.” L2
  4. It is flexible and innovative, willing to question established ways of dealing with things and encourage new and creative ideas. L3 (potentially)
  5. It uses the best available evidence from a wide range of sources. L1
  6. It constantly reviews existing policy to ensure it is really dealing with problems it was designed to solve without having unintended detrimental effects elsewhere. L1-L2
  7. It is fair to all people directly or indirectly affected by it and takes account of its impact more generally. L2-L3
  8. It involves all stakeholders at an early stage and throughout its development. L3
  9. It learns from experience what works and what doesn’t through systematic evaluation. L1-L2 (Ching 2009)

 

At first glance, this list looks reasonably comprehensive. It potentially allows for the first four levels of CLA, but with a weakly represented level four – myth and metaphor. Notably, level five – consciousness – is completely absent.

There are often problems in the implementation of policy guidelines. Firstly, governments and organisations often fail to follow their own guidelines. The United States and its allies, for example, did not invoke a “deep” approach in invading Iraq, despite a record of historical failures in invading other nations with little foresight of the consequences (e.g, Vietnam, the Bay of Pigs). They didn’t consult the Islamic World, and we can assume they did not examine their own civilisational biases. And this is not to mention the obvious lack of foresight in failing to think very far beyond the fall of Baghdad.

My second issue is in regard to the methods that can genuinely make policy go deep. To do this we need tools which allow policy makers to be poked and prodded into seeing things at deeper levels. Simply saying, “Let’s include the Muslims,” for example, may be limited if there are no ways for mutually respectful communication to unfold, for worldview assumptions to be addressed, and for prejudice and judgment to be acknowledged. This is where CLA, used in conjunction with other methods such as Harmonic Circles, might be of great benefit.

The third observable point about the above effective policy guidelines is that they do not address much of level four of CLA, and nothing of Level five—where deeper psycho-spiritual factors and introspection come into play.

 

 

The “Pussy Riot” controversy

In this next and longest section of this paper, I shall address a specific policy issue in Russia – the Pussy Riot problematique – and see just how deep policy and analysis tends to go in government, selected media outlets and the blogosphere.

Pussy Riot is a now-notorious Moscow-based feminist punk-rock group. The band has staged several rebellious performances, typically in unauthorized locations, such as Lobnoye Mesto in Red Square, on top of a trolleybus, and on a scaffold in the Moscow Metro. The performance which came to the attention of the Russian authorities – and subsequently the international media – occurred on February 21, 2012, when five membersof the group enacted a very brief performance on the soleas of Moscow’s Cathedral of Christ the Saviour, before they were stopped by church officials. They invoked the Virgin Mary to rid Russia of President Vladimir Putin and threw insults at both Putin and the Moscow Patriarch of the Russian Orthodox Church.On March 3 a video of the performance appeared online, and subsequently three of the group members were arrested. They were found guilty of “hooliganism motivated by religious hatred” and given two-year sentences with heavy labour (Pussy Riot, 2012). Much international media attention has focused upon the story, most of it critical of the Russian authorities. Putin has stated that this is an orchestrated foreign plot designed to discredit him (Pussy riot, 2012).

Yet opinion in Russia has been more subdued. A series of Levada Center polls (an independent polling organisation in Russia) indicated that 44 percent of Russians felt that the trial was fair, and only 17 percent believed it was not impartial. Only 18 percent believed that the verdict would be influenced by the state. Just six percent of those polled sympathised with Pussy Riot, while 41 percent felt antipathy towards them. It can be noted that 58 percent of those who responded to the poll believed that the band members would receive an unduly harsh punishment (Pussy Riot 2012).

Speaking at a liturgy in Moscow’s Deposition of the Robe Church on March 21, the Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia, Kirill I, condemned Pussy Riot’s actions as “blasphemous”, saying that the “Devil has laughed at all of us.” He said that “We have no future if we allow mockery in front of great shrines, and if some see such mockery as a sort of bravery, an expression of political protest, an acceptable action or a harmless joke.”

 

 

CLA and the Pussy Riot incident

Within this situation, Causal Layered Analysis provides a framework which enables us to observe the depth of the Russian government response to the issue. Since we do not know precisely what is going on in the minds of officials and media outlets, I focus here upon the actions they have taken.

An obvious issue is whether policy has addressed all stakeholders. What about the youth of Russia itself? Are their needs being met? Throwing youngsters in jail and calling their actions “blasphemous” does not do so.

 

The Litany: At this level we get descriptive reports of the event. In practice, it is not common to find reports and texts of any event which are purely litany. Most media and policy reports cover the litany and at least touch upon the social-systems level. However headlines, search engine results pages, summaries and extracts may have a dominant focus on this level. This can be seen in snippets in foreign media reports which merely stated that Russian authorities had imprisoned members of Pussy Riot for its criticism of Putin. Where texts contain short references and quotes about specific individuals and organisations, this may also be superficial. An example is the following.

 

The Russian Orthodox church criticized the band’s actions as “blasphemous”, and said they displayed “crude hostility towards millions of people”.[iv] (Elder, 2012).

 

In fact the Church also made pleas for leniency for the group members on trial (Pussy riot, 2012).

 

The social/systems level: Here we can note youth culture, which is quintessentially rebellious, at least in Western and Caucasian-dominant countries. [v]

In regard to youth rebellion in Russia, shallow policy initiatives begin by asking how to punish those who transgress moral norms or legal systems. The very lack of depth in such policy may reflect the authoritarian nature of modern government in Russia (a level two issue). Putin is often perceived as the archetypal strong man. It is an image he has deliberately sought to convey. The Church too, is conservative and hierarchical, with power structures mediated by a largely inaccessible and seemingly other-worldly elite.

Seen in this context, the shallow response of government and Church reflects top-down, hierarchical power structures which lack genuine relationship with the people. Deep policy in an ideal world would consider a more holistic range of causal factors for the actions of Pussy Riot, or at least acknowledge the impact of rigid authoritarianism on young people.

Reports in international media have tended to be critical of the treatment of the band by the Russian authorities, focusing upon the political implications for Putin and the issues of human rights and freedom of expression. For example Engalnd’s The Guardian wrote that:

 

Three members of the Russian feminist punk band Pussy Riot are facing two years in a prison colony after they were found guilty of hooliganism motivated by religious hatred, in a case seen as the first salvo in Vladimir Putin’s crackdown on opposition to his rule. (Elder, 2012)

 

Meanwhile British and American officials have raised concerns about human rights and international norms regarding transparency of judicial proceedings (Elder, 2012).

Putin has alleged that foreign powers have been behind the protest movement against him (Elder 2012). Like much political ‘spin’, Putin’s response focuses upon an emotional issue designed to rally listeners around his cause. There is no reference to underlying issues.

It can be seen that each of the above deals primarily with societal and systems factors – and we may assume quite deliberately so, as deeper analysis would make clear that the problem is not as simple as good versus bad/us versus them. Political discourse and much media analysis nearly operates in this way, and rarely moves beyond it. For it is beyond the second level of CLA that introspection begins to come into play; and then the enquiry has to turn inward to gaze upon the knower/perceiver.

 

Worldview/paradigm level:

This level identifies deeper systemic and epistemological issues. The greater depth allows stakeholders to deepen their understanding of the situation and place the data in greater context. To allow worldview and paradigmatic perspectives to emerge and become part of the discourse, stakeholders have to permit a “distancing” process to emerge (Inayatullah, 2002), where they step back and view their discourse, their organisation, their nation, and their civilisation from the perspective of an outsider.

Much discourse at the litany and social/systems levels contains what Inayatullah (2008) calls “the used future”, adopting themes unconsciously borrowed from someone else; or as I would argue, projected from unconscious elements contained within the human psyche. For example, the implicit “us vs them” mentality that underpins both Putin’s and often (implicitly) Western news reports of the Pussy Riot incident retains a Cold War worldview.

The West tends to see Putin as the archetypal, hard-faced, Cold War Kremlin dictator. Yet this is not entirely without substance, given Putin’s Kremlin background. Most tellingly, this is the very image that Putin has tried to convey to both Russians and foreigners. Carefully managed photos showing him bare-chested and engaging in very physical pastimes live kayaking and wrestling have been deliberately and widely circulated. Here Putin is the archetypal strongman. It is a quintessentially masculine and authoritarian image he has sought to project.

In contrast, Pussy Riot has strong feminist, Western and egalitarian influences (Pussy Riot 2012). There is a clear rejection of the status quo. The patriarchal/authoritarian way is to punish and crush such resistance.

A Deep Futures approach to the problematique moving to level three of CLA would permit a deep questioning process (Inayatullah 2002). We might then ask:

 

  • Are egalitarianism and freedom of expression only ever “Western” ideals, or are they also part of Russian (and broader human) history and experience?
  • “How can a more empowered and feminine consciousness rise peacefully in Russia; along with more empowered women?”
  • “Does Russia really require a strongman leader? If not, what other possibilities might there be (including that of a female leader)?
  • “Is it possible that power can be shared more equally and responsibly in Russian futures?”
  • “How can we educate people to accept their power and responsibility in a more egalitarian society?”

 

The reality is that for a peaceful Russia and a peaceful world to emerge, all parties must find ways to create new futures. The alternative is to continue to go along with the used future. This used future will probably recreate the past. Inayatullah’s CLA moves the analysis into deeper civilisational, global and (ultimately) psycho-spiritual considerations. Litany and limited social/systems-level analyses and the interventions which emerge from them are likely to be largely impotent in creating lasting positive change if they cannot penetrate beyond superficialities. This is the level of much political and media discourse, both in Russia and beyond.

 

The myth/metaphor level:

At this level we can note several important issues.

The most notable perhaps is that of rock/pop music itself (and punk music can be seen as one branch of this). Since the time of Elvis Presley rock ‘n roll has always featured two predominant aspects: sexual expression and rebellion against authority. The rock singer is the quintessential angry teenager raising the finger at authority. In the West it is James Dean and Elvis’ hip-shaking (banned from the waist down!). Infamous British punk band the Sex Pistols sang about “anarchy in the UK”, and one of their music videos featured singer Johnny Rotten shooting concert audience members, including The Queen. We might note the obvious sexual references in band names like the Sex Pistols and Pussy Riot.

But what is sexuality? In the Indic tradition the genital area is the base chakra (or energy centre). This is the centre not only of sexuality, but also of personal power. The base of the spine is also commonly associated with the psychic storing of anger. Some rebirthing processes that I have personally engaged in encourage the expression of repressed anger, which is literally “screamed out” while focusing upon the base chakra. In this worldview, trauma, anger, rebellion and sexual expression are all intimately connected. Perhaps this is why sexuality, anger and rebellion are such strong themes in rock music. [vi]

Rebellion is also a strong theme in modern Russian history. Twentieth century Russia had some of the most famous rebellions in History – the February and October 1917 revolutions and that of 1925. There was also the more peaceful power shift of 1989. The so-called Russian oligarchs – who came into their power after 1989 – have alleged connections with illegal activities. They can be seen as rebellious, challenging the authorities; and having their power challenged in return by the state. Oil magnate Mikhail Khodorkovsky, perhaps the most well known internationally, has been serving a fourteen year prison sentence since 2003 (Russian oligarchs, 2012).

Thus “the rebel” is both part of punk music, youth culture, and is mythic and archetypal to modern Russia. It can be seen as overlapping with the social/systems level, as it ties into modern Russian social structures.

For the Western world and media, the fear of Big Brother has moved from a mere social and political concept, to the point where it can now be deemed mythic. It was perhaps Orwell’s classic book 1984 (published in 1948) which turned the idea of evil government into a deeper motif within the Western psyche. Yet distrust of – and rebellion against – authoritarianism has long been a part of Western societies. The modern Western, democratic ideal emerged from acts of rebellion. We can trace this back to the deep questioning of Socrates and the ancient Greek philosophers; Martin Luther’s 95 theses (which challenged papal authority); and the French and American Revolutions, just to mention a few incidents. Distrust of authority now finds its common expression in the typical American distrust of government. Perhaps its most neurotic expression is now found in the contemporary conspiracy theorist, who finds authoritarian deception and hegemony at every turn, even without definitive evidence.

It is important to note that the mythological and paradigmatic can only be transcended when the dominant narrative becomes conscious. Only then can it be questioned and challenged. This is where Inayatullah’s (2002a) “deep questioning” can be most powerful. The Pussy Riot incident might bring forth questions like these

 

  • Is it always “blasphemous” to challenge a sacred symbol or icon?
  • Has the sacred symbol run its course; and is it time for a new symbol?
  • Can democracy have multiple expressions, not merely the Western or “our democracy”?
  • Are non-democratic political structures better for some countries (such as in China, where the Communist Party’s “scientific development” has seen the country become the world’s economic engine)?
  • What are the limits of freedom of expression?
  • Are there means to rule our country beyond the strongman archetype?
  • How can women be truly empowered in our country?

 

It must be remembered that paradigms and worldviews delimit the range of questions that are permitted to be asked. When we begin to delve into the paradigmatic level (and beyond) and answer such deep questions, the future can be challenged more deeply. We are deliberately inviting dissent, which futurist Richard Slaughter (2006) says if the responsibility of good Futures practitioners. After deep questioning, what Inayatullah (2008) calls “disowned futures” can be brought forward. These are the possible futures that we have discarded, forgotten, or dare not contemplate; either out of fear, because they are seen as forbidden, or because they have become too alien for us to understand.

 

The consciousness level: At the deepest level of consciousness, we begin to address psycho-spiritual aspects of an event, concept, thinker or text. It is here that the most profound and spiritual questions can be asked and contemplated; and where the ways of knowing employed can incorporate a strong introspective and meditative component. Ultimate questions – especially those involving the meaning and purpose of events and life itself – cannot be answered only through empirical observation and scientific methodology. This is even true for modern mainstream cosmology, which can trace the physical origins of the universe back to the big bang, but is powerless to provide data for the ultimate source of that event; or whether an intelligence of any kind underpins it.

At the consciousness level dreams, daydreams, visions, epiphanies, intuitive feelings and transcendental experiences can give us insight into what drives us at the deepest level.

Ideally, while addressing the Pussy Riot situation in a workshop setting, or even in the private – and when moving into the final level of CLA – all stakeholders (Russian and foreign) can contemplate, mediate, reflect and pray about what the Pussy Riot incident means; including how to best deal with it and all those involved. They should reflect upon their own perceptions, reactions and biases.

We might note that Russians have generally become richer since 1989, and that the Church has resumed an important role for many in society. However, we might then ask if modern life in Russia genuinely addresses the deeper psycho-spiritual needs of human beings. This is where other ways of knowing, inner worlds, passions, feelings, a sense of connection and deeper meanings come into play.

 

 

A deeper perspective on the Pussy riot problematique

A personal anecdote provides a good clarification of how meditative reflection and non-ordinary states of mind can help an individual come to a deeper appreciation of a problematique. When I lived in China I found myself feeling some resentment at the authoritarian government. Then one night I had a dream which shed light on a deeper narrative which lay behind my anger. In the dream I was scrolling down a computer screen. But the computer screen was divided in two. On left side were images of severe-looking Chinese Communist party leaders dressed in their black suits; on the right side of the screen were images of my father; equally angry and severe and punitive. That dream told me something important. That my attitudes towards China’s leaders was in part a projection of unresolved anger I had with my father. After this event I was able to assume a greater degree of responsibility for the way I thought, spoke and wrote about the Chinese Communist Party.

At the deepest level of consciousness we come to the realization that much mental construct tends towards projection – especially personal judgments and opinions. Our mental concepts tend to create binaries and oppositions while investing these dichotomies with emotional energy. Finally, the mind tends to fight for the justification of its mental constructs, once it has invested emotionality in them. It is for this reason that I created the “Harmonic Circles” process to help individuals and groups come to an awareness of the subjective nature of their judgments and projections (Anthony 2007, 2010). Once the awareness is present, individuals can then learn to take more responsibility for the way they create their subjective world.

As a mystic and deep meditator I also believe that we all carry “the sins of the fathers”. The consciousness of the ancestors trails behind us, potentially pulling us back into their pain and trauma, as well as the ‘memory’ of glory and success. Just as one example, during World War Two Russia lost some twenty million people. This ‘pain’ does not evaporate, but continues to haunt the psyches of the individuals involved. There is a danger that such subtle psychic forces might help recreate the same dominant narratives that underpins its origins – in this case violence and war.

Clearly “psychic” influences in people and populations is a highly contentious area to explore, and these forms of knowledge and understandings lie far off the official maps of reality that dominate education and society. This is the domain of Dean Radin’s “psi taboo”. Yet my experience is that they form part of the awareness of many people in greater society. People may not talk about such things in public, but many believe they are at least possible. Finally, there is a definitive but problematic body of evidence for the existence of the extended mind (Radin 2006; Sheldrake 2012) and I believe that the evidence will only grow stronger as the years pass.

The existence of the psi taboo is supported by at least some surveys into the way academics view psi experience. In Entangled Minds, Radin (2006) writes that less than one per cent of academic faculty members in the USA are willing to publically admit to a belief in the existence of psi. Yet Bem and Honorton (1994) cite a survey of over a thousand college faculty in the USA. That survey found that over fifty-five percent of natural science faculty members either strongly believe that telepathy is an established fact or feel it is a strong likelihood. The figure for the Social Sciences was sixty-six percent, while seventy-seven percent was the figure in arts, humanities, and education.

The question then becomes: how can futurists honour this consciousness level and heal it when most of our institutions do not permit its expression? The following represents my perspective, taken from years of experience with Deep Futures.

 

  • The futures practitioner must ground his/her arguments/workshop in the first two levels of CLA, including the scientific; and using familiar Futures tools and processes. This will provide a firm grounding before the deeper levels are explored.
  • The practitioner must keep in mind his/her audience; and remain vigilant to the atmosphere in the room. This way processes can be modified according to the audience’s receptiveness to Deep Futures tools. For example, the kinds of processes that will work with an audience of predominantly male engineers at a sandstone university will differ markedly with what might work with a female-dominant group at the university yoga centre.
  • Where permission is denied in the mainstream, Deep Futures work can be conducted in alternative and permissive institutions, organisations and settings – perhaps discretely. I have conducted workshops (which incorporated the consciousness level) in many settings. One such event I conducted in 2011 in association with a major university in Hong Kong. This workshop was affiliated with the Hong Kong Consciousness Festival and incorporated practical participation in experiencing Integrated Intelligence. I also modeled the intelligence before the group. Further, I organized and hosted an international conference – “Shifting Hong Kong” – in 2010, where I invited systems theorist Ervin Laszlo to that city. The conference was centred around the idea of Deep Futures. However on that occasion the ideas were explored more theoretically than practically, due to the academic audience present.

 

I have been privileged to be part of workshops and healing groups all over the world which explored consciousness at a deep level. Mnay of these were not specifically centred on human futures, but they have helped me gain an understanding of how these processes can be practically utilized.

 

The importance of presence

One of the key factors in teaching people about the way ego/mind works is to invite them into a deeper experience of mind – a place where many in the modern world have never ventured. Rather than talk about lofty, abstract and culturally-defined ideas like “enlightenment” and “transcendence”, I prefer to use terms like “presence” and “mindfulness”. If I were to tell an audience that “I am going to invite you into a transcendent state”, many would immediately become nervous or doubtful, as the self-concept of many people probably does not include the idea of being an enlightened spiritual master. So I keep it all very simple. To move into a state where the workings of the mind can be witnesses from an “outside” position (distancing), all that is required is for the person to actually be fully present in the moment. It is in presence that mental chatter stops, and ego-identification lessens.

A key distinction here is coming to the awareness that mind tends to function in imagined futures and remembered pasts. Imagined futures tend to be anxiety-laden, while remembered pasts tend to activate guilt and the pain body. When the mind is silent and fully present, we get to experience this idea directly, rather than merely as an intellectual understanding (by merely reading or thinking about it).

When the mind is brought into presence something remarkable happens (and sometimes this may be experienced as being unpleasant). The emotional body begins to “speak”. It seeks release. The pain of childhood and past hurts may try to make its way up from the depths of the psyche. We may want to cry, scream, vent anger and so on. Yet this is how healing can be facilitated, and the past released. The key is that individuals be taught how to develop the right relationship with their pain; what I call “the wounded child”. A key part of this is coming to a deeper understanding that the story of pain and suffering that the wounded child believes in is not actually real in the present moment. And in order for that to be fully appreciated experientially, the person has to be taught not only how to become present, but how to remain present. The following anecdote provides a good example.

 

A Chinese healing

In August 2011 I attended a four day workshop/retreat near Beijing by Australian mystic Leonard Jacobson (2008). It is Jacobson more than any other individual who has taught me most about the importance of presence, and how to facilitate it.

There were about 130 people at that workshop. I was the only foreigner in attendance, with all other attendees being Chinese. Leonard does not speak Chinese, and most of the audience members did not speak English, so there was an interpreter on hand who translated everything. Once Leonard’s workshop started, I was amazed at how receptive most of the Chinese people were to Leonard’s teachings and the simple – yet powerful – processes he used. Leonard’s workshops focus on one central motif – bringing people into deep presence. His entire teaching centres on the single premise that “enlightenment” happens now, and that attachment to the past and thought of the future ensnare us in the mind and ego.

Incredible as it may seem, Leonard does no preparation for his workshops. Not even a four day workshop like that one in Beijing. The entire event unfolds spontaneously, as he brings people into presence.

As the audience began to relax into presence on that day, the same thing began to happen as happens with all Leonard’s workshops. Put simply, people’s repressed emotional pain started to spontaneously emerge. I was quite surprised. I really did not think Chinese people would allow themselves to be so emotionally vulnerable in public, due to cultural restrictions there.

Typically, what would happen is that Leonard would begin to talk about an emotional issue at a personal or social level, then someone in the audience would begin to sob or wail as their emotional energy began to surface. Leonard would (on most occasions) then address the person. Sometimes he would invite them out the front of the group. Leonard would then help them to express whatever emotional pain they felt. This in turn would trigger some emotional release in other audience members.

On one of the retreat there was a middle-aged woman sitting directly in front of me who kept putting her hand up. I could see and hear that she was scared, from sobbing and shaking. She kept putting her hand half up, but not high enough to actually attract attention. Finally, Leonard saw her and asked her what her problem was. The woman then stood up and began speaking between sobs. She was terribly distraught, telling of how childhood was “a nightmare”. Leonard invited her out the front, and allowed her to express what she felt (the whole process was incredibly loving and gentle). Then the little girl inside her started raging against what happened during the Cultural Revolution (an extreme social movement started by Mao Ze Dong, lasting a whole decade, 1966-76). As she allowed the pain to surface, she raged about how everything around her was darkness and pain and suffering, and nothing was safe. She was reliving her childhood before the group.

Other people started to shift uncomfortably in their seats. All talk of this period in Chinese history is effectively banned in China, right to this day. But this didn’t stop this courageous women. She clenched her fists and began to rage with full fury against the government and the Communist Party for the living hell she felt they had created. She simply let loose her murderous wrath, expressing what the wounded part of herself had been wanting to “do” for forty years – to kill and destroy, to take revenge against those who had hurt her and those she loved.

Then, crucially, Leonard Jacobson helped her bring that wounded part of herself into the present, which is so vital for healing (as long as we are stuck in the pain, the suffering and the blame, we cannot heal). The purpose of this was to allow the pain and its accompanying story to surface, then to arouse the deeper understanding that the story is not real anymore. It is only the pain that is real. After a time the woman began to relax, and her mind slowly became present as Leonard held her hand. After a while she relaxed and began smiling. She returned to her seat, and the workshop moved on.

The next morning I was walking to breakfast at the retreat centre, and the woman just happened to be coming out of her villa at the same time as me. So I started talking to her, and told her how brave she was, and how China needed more people like her who could face the pain inside themselves and express it responsibly. She agreed. She told me that she had talked to a friend beforehand and decided it was okay that she brought it up.

The whole workshop made me realise that there are many people in China (and many other parts of the non-Western world) who are now willing to explore consciousness at a deeper level. Other Chinese people I spoke with at that retreat told me that these kinds of ideas are booming in China now, and in the last year or two they have really taken off. One aspect of this is that life coaching using spiritual or intuitive consciousness is now increasingly in demand. I was told that there were many middle class people in their 30s and 40s who are well off, but who are asking themselves why they are not happy and fulfilled. It is our educational and scientific institutions which are lagging behind the general public, lacking in the courage to move beyond the safeness of intellectuality and book knowledge.

Presence work at the level that Leonard Jacobson facilitates is clearly a highly skilled process, and requires a facilitator who can “walk the talk” – who is also able to allow deep presence within himself at will. I cite this story here – and the concept of deep presence – not because such deep processes are a requirement for Futures practitioners and participants, but as an example of where deep consciousness work can lead when taken to its full depth. Similar processes can be facilitated at the consciousness level in Deep Futures work, although in practice the depth will often be less marked than in the example above. The simple facilitation of relaxed presence is often enough to give participants a taste of consciousness at a deeper level, and bring about the awareness of how mind typically constructs reality; and is trapped in the painful pasts or fearful futures which are not real.

 

Self-awareness

In order for the deeper layers of a discourse to open up, there needs to be a deepening of awareness, especially self-awareness. This requires an inner journey, as I have tried to convey in this paper. Unfortunately it is this domain of mind that modern education systems are failing to address. In the hard sciences, even the concept of social and cultural influences on science is often scorned as irrelevant.

 

 

Conclusion

What will come of Postconventional Futures Studies remains to be seen. Its central processes and other ways of knowing may become more acceptable to governments and educational institutions in the future. Or it may be that the other ways of knowing will remain “other,” limiting Postconventional Futures to a position on the fringes of mainstream discourse.

Nonetheless, it is my contention that PFS methods may potentially enhance Foresight and Futures practice, including policy-making processes for organisations and perhaps even government in Russia. PFS may help us create Deep Futures. Money and machines are not enough to fulfill hearts and minds. We can no longer afford business as usual. Something subtle yet crucial is missing from modern cultures (including Russia’s), with their rush to achieve material gratification. The critical/rational worldview which trumpets these values has created an impasse in the development of materialistic, economically developed cultures. A shift in thinking is required. Yet even this may not be enough. We may also require a shift in feeling (as a way of knowing) – in relationship, in education, and in the way we perceive and create our futures. It is my hope that we can all be part of this shift in Russia, and right around the world.

 

 

 

References

Anthony, Marcus (2007). “Harmonic Circles: A New Futures Tool.” Foresight, 9 (5), 23-34.

Anthony, Marcus (2008). Integrated Intelligence. Rotterdam: Sense Publishers.

Anthony, Marcus (2010a). “Civilisational Clashes and Harmonic Circles.” Futures, 2010.

Anthony, Marcus (2010c). Extraordinary Mind: Integrated Intelligence and the Future. MindFutures, Hong Kong.

Anthony, Marcus (2012b). How to Channel a PhD. MindFutures, 2012 (available in eBook formats only).

Bem, Daryl and Honorton, Charles (1994), “Does psi exist? Replicable evidence for an anomalous process of information transfer,” Psychological Bulletin, 115, no. 1 (1994).

Blackmore, Susan, (2003). Consciousness: An Introduction. Oxford: Hodder & Stoughton.

Braud, William. (2003). Distant mental influence. Charlottesville, VA: Hampton Roads.

Curry, Andrew, and Shultz, Wendy (2009). “Roads less travelled: Different methods, different futures.” Journal of Futures Studies. 13 (4), 35-60.

Dawkins, Richard (2006). The God Delusion. London: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.

De Bono, Edward (2009). Think! Before it’s too Late! London: Random House.

de Grasse Tyson, Neil, (2001). “Coming to our Senses.” Natural History. New York,  110(2),  84.

Elder, Miriam (2012). “Pussy Riot sentenced to two years in prison colony over anti-Putin protest”. The Guardian, http://www.guardian.co.uk/music/2012/aug/17/pussy-riot-sentenced-prison-putin. Accessed 24.08.12.

Grof, Stan (2000). Psychology of the Future. New York: Suny.

Inayatullah, Sohail. (2002a). Questioning the Future. Taipei: Tamkang University Press.

Inayatullah, Sohail (2004). “Causal Layered Analysis: Theory, Historical Context, and Case Studies.” In Inayatullah, Sohail (ed.) The Causal Layered Analysis Reader. Taipei, Tamkang University Press.

Inayatullah, Sohail (2008). “Six Pillars: Futures Thinking for Transforming.” Foresight, 10 (1), 4-21.

Inner Truth (2012). “Emotional understanding”. http://www.inner-truth.net/emotions/anger.html. Accessed 26.08.12.

Jacobson, Leonard (2008). Journey into Now. Sydney: Conscious Living.

Ching, Frank (2009) “Learning From the Past.” South China Morning Post, 29.07.09.

Kundalini Yoga (2012), http://www.kundaliniyoga.org/kyt09.html; accessed 26.08.2012.

LeShan, Lawrence. (2009). A new science of the paranormal. London: Quest Books.

McTaggart, Lynn (2007). The Intention Experiment. New York: Free Press.

Moffett, James, (1994). “On to the past: Wrong-headed School Reform.” Phi Delta Kappan, 75(8), 584-590.

Pink, Daniel (2005). A Whole New Mind. New York: Riverhead Trade.

“Pussy Riot”, Wikipedia.    ttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pussy_Riot#cite_note-39 23.08.2012. Retrieved 22.08.12

“Pussy Riot reply”, RT (online) http://rt.com/art-and-culture/news/pussy-riot-clash-patriarch-567/ , retrieved 23.08.12.

Radin, Dean, (2006). Entangled Minds. New York: Paraview.

Russian oligarchs (2012), Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Russian_oligarchs. Retrieved 24.08.12.

Sheldrake, Rupert (2012). The Science Delusion. Hachette, Little Hampton. Kindle Edition.

Slaughter, Richard., (2003). “Integral Futures—a new Model for Futures Enquiry and Practice.”

Available from: http://foresightinternational.com.au/catalogue/resources/Integral_Futures.pdf

(Retrieved 7 July 2006).

Slaughter, Richard. (2006). “Beyond the Mundane—Towards Post-Conventional Futures Practice.” The Journal of Futures Studies, 10 (4), 15-24.

Tarnas, R., (2000). The Passion of the Western Mind. London: Pimlico.

Weingarten, Gene (2007). “Pearls Before Breakfast”. Washington Post (online), 08.04.07. www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/04/04/AR2007040401721.html. Accessed 20.10.09.

Wilber, Ken. (2000). Sex, Ecology, Spirituality. Boston: Shambhala.

 

 

Endnotes



[i] I have used upper case for “Foresight”, “Futures” and “Futures Studies”, where the reference is to the disciplines of Foresight and Futures, but lower case where referring to “foresight” as a verb, and “futures” in the general sense (as the plural of “future”). I have also used upper case for the various branches of Futures Studies, and the formal concepts and tools of Futures Studies, including the tools which I have developed.

[ii] The fifth level – consciousness – has been added by the author (Marcus T Anthony) as a means to deliberately explore consciousness  and the experience of mind itself.

[iii] I have used these three tools extensively in my own research and futures work. However, they are in the early stages of development, and require more extensive application in real time and space.

[iv] The Church did ask for leniency for the group before their sentencing. (Elder, 2012).

[v] This is not true in all cultures. In Confucian cultures teenagers tend to be quite respectful of elders, and often defer power to family, teachers and adults.

[vi] Indic and yogic philosophy is not an empirical science, and interpretations can differ. However many practitioners subscribe to similar views to mine (e.g. Kundalini yoga, 2012; Inner truth, 2012).

 

Milojevic’s Educational Futures

In Educational Futures: Dominant and Contesting Visions educational futurist Ivana Milojevic has written a compelling and readable volume. This review provides a brief description of the contents, while giving an overall evaluation of the volume. The text is particularly useful in that it highlights some of the strengths and typical problems with critical futures. The problem that I focus upon in the latter part of this paper is Milojevic’s representation of East and West. (click on “pdf” icon at top right to read full article).

The West, The East and Milojevic’s Educational Futures

The purpose of this paper is to critically review Milojevic’s Educational Futures. Firstly I outline the contents of the text and some of its strengths and weaknesses. Secondly I take to task some of the features of the text that represent typically problematic aspects of critical futures, in particular the concept of “The West.” I compare and contrast certain aspects of Eastern and Western education, with a particular emphasis on Chinese education. A seminal point is that the portrayal of these concepts in Milojevic’s text is simplistic, reflecting the need for an updating of postcolonial, poststructural and critical futures thought.

Text name: Educational Futures: Dominant and Contesting Visions

Author: Ivana Milojevic

Subject: Educational futures

Publication details: Oxon: Routledge

Reviewer: Marcus T Anthony

What distinguishes hegemonic futures narratives from other, counter or alternative, ones is their capacity to convince others of the inevitability of a particular future. (Milojevic 2006 65)

In Educational Futures: Dominant and Contesting Visions educational futurist Ivana Milojevic has written a compelling and readable volume. Here I shall provide a brief description of the contents, while giving an overall evaluation of the volume. There is not space here to offer a complete examination of all parts of the volume, so I shall focus upon what I consider to be the most salient points. The text is particularly useful in that it highlights some of the strengths and typical problems with critical futures. The problem that I shall focus upon in the latter part of this paper is Milojevic’s representation of East and West.

The text

The title is a good indication of what lies within the covers. This is a critical futures text, where ideas and images about “possible, probable and preferred futures” (p. 2) are examined. It “provides an overview and detailed analysis of arguments about where education, particularly state-based education systems, is and should be going” (p. 4). Yet as Milojevic states, it is neither about prediction nor prescription. Instead she sets out to destabilise the dominant narratives and offer alternative perspectives from other largely silenced discourses.

The book is divided into four parts. In part one Milojevic outlines historical futures discourses in education. This includes an analysis of how constructs of time and the future have been used to colonise and educate “the other.” Several alternative histories are outlined with indigenous and Eastern concepts featuring heavily.

In part two Milojevic highlights the two most dominant narratives in contemporary state education – globalisation and “cyberia” (“WebNet”). These are two closely related discourses according to Milojevic. Modern education – and particularly globalised education – is criticised as being “essentially practical training for a globalised market place” (p.57). The central issue with these images of the future is that they tend to be seen as “the future” (p.64) rather than as one of many possible futures.

Milojevic’s approach is not simply to criticise the dominant discourses and highlight the benefits of alternatives. Rather she outlines the strengths and weakness of all the dominant and contesting visions. This approach gives the text balance. The weakness of such an approach is that the detached perspective often leaves the reader in a space of uncertainty. Which of these discourses, and in what combination, represents the best way to take us forward? Typical of critical futures, Milojevic chooses not to take a definite stance. A related problem is that the text at times becomes descriptive, as Milojevic outlines numerous theorists regarding the particular subject matter at hand. Nonetheless it does provide a sound review of related literature. The text will therefore prove valuable for researchers and educators looking to gain an overview of the relevant discourses.

In the third part of the book Milojevic posits three alternative approaches to education – the indigenous, the feminist, and the spiritual. These represent important perspectives which are still largely absent from cotemporary public education. The final section then attempts to weave all the visions together and looks to the possible future of an expanded discussion of state education in The West.

The feminist vision, according to Milojevic, challenges the patriarchal presuppositions of the dominant educational discourses, highlighting the importance of emotional connection, nurturing, and internal transformation (pp. 146-147).

Milojevic remains critical of utopian thinking, but maintains that is it nonetheless important. She believes in the importance of “eupsychia” – “a prescriptive and improved imagined state of not only collective but also individual being” (p. 50). This includes the psychic and spiritual unfolding of the individual (p. 54).

However the text clearly privileges certain religious perspectives. For example Milojevic’s discussion of spiritual alternatives focuses upon Eastern (especially Indian) and new age perspectives. The role of traditional religious approaches is left unclear. Milojevic leans away from conventional religion. Quoting O’Sullivan (1999) she writes:

Religion does not only attempt to institutionalize spirituality; in many instances this is done ‘for the perpetuation of the institution rather than for the explicit welfare of the individual’ (p.191).

The three alternative education approaches are in many ways related, as Milojevic herself states. They remind us that the future is not inevitable, that there are other options available to educators in the present age. This I feel is the greatest value of this book. Let us not forget that – as Milojevic states bluntly – all education is informed by cultural values.

West, East and stereotypes

One point that I would like to take up with the text is its representation of ‘The West’. For example Milojevic finds that The West has forgotten indigenous, feminist and spiritual education. Yet as one who has lived and traveled widely throughout East Asia, such a criticism is not exclusively relevant to modern Western education systems. It may come as a surprise to those filled with romantic images of the Far East, but in Beijing, Shanghai, Tokyo, Seoul and Hong Kong, Milojevic’s educational alternatives are even more distanced from mainstream education than they are in the West. These Eastern cultures seem all but completely possessed by cyber culture, materialism and the push for greater globalisation. Schools are dominated by rote learning, are heavily text-book based, teacher-centred, and there is an almost-obsession with “the test.”

There may be a temptation to (once again) blame the West for the increasing materialism and left-brained, linear ways of knowing that now dominate state education in East Asia. We might suggest that Asia is simply copying Western-style society and education. The issue here – and with postcolonial interpretations in general – is whether the West is itself being stereotyped and partially misrepresented in these depictions. Consider the following statements made by Milojevic:

Lawlor argues that it is thus western logical habits that cause us to fall into static, uniform, quantitative interpretation and make us fail to see qualitative process-related differences (p.480).

Milojevic also points out that indigenous critiques of contemporary education find a central focus upon “western knowledge and education” (p. 174). Further, as with so many other critiques of Western ways of knowing, Milojevic finds unfeeling Cartesian rationalism as the defining thrust of Western cognition (p. 147). Finally she follows Griffiths as she concludes:

The current hegemonic approach to time can be described as western, Christian, linear, abstract, clock-dominated, work orientated, coercive, capitalist, masculine and anti-natural. (p. 223)

Yet is such an approach to history and time – and these preferred way of knowing – predominantly and peculiarly Western at all? Chinese ways of knowing are often seen as being based on holistic concepts such as the Taoist yin and yang, and Lao Tzu’s fluid water metaphors (e.g. Capra 200; Jiyu 1998; Talbot 2000). But there is a tendency to romanticise this. My experiences (having taught in schools in Taiwan, urban and rural mainland China and in Hong Kong) have led me to conclude that such ways of knowing are (sadly) largely extinct in modern public education in the greater China region. Text books, rote learning and cramming for exams dominate pedagogy.

The key is that in Chinese culture at least, the linear, patriarchal, verbal/linguistic and mathematical approach to education has a long tradition which precedes Western influence. Within Confucian education, the copying and memorization of the classics formed the basis of an education system that was literally designed to create products that would fit neatly into an “harmonious” society. In particular the emphasis was on producing public servants for the state (Fairbank & Goldman, 2006). Passing the examination for the public service could lead one into the higher strata of Chinese society, and scholars were revered. Candidates were literally placed in neatly arranged box-like cubicles to do the public service exams (Gardner, Kornhaber, & Wake 1996), epitomising the conformist, linear and boxed-in ways of knowing. The examination system was seen to be of greatest importance, and able students put themselves to the task of memorizing vast amounts of information for a purpose no greater than regurgitating it in the public service exams (Fairbank & Goleman 2006).

To this day a virtual obsession with examinations stifles Far Eastern public education to a degree difficult to contemplate in The West. Finally, it should be noted that the proportion of Chinese tertiary students presently majoring in maths and science is several times greater than that of developed Western nations such as the United States (Friedman, 2006). From my experience, pantheistic, mystical and indigenous ways of knowing are totally absent. Further the Chinese degradation of the environment and subjugation of Tibetans and indigenous peoples proceeds at breakneck speed.

Of further consideration in being more accurate to the concept of “The West” is that if we look at the history of Western civilisation we find a long tradition of mystical and intuitive ways of knowing that have spanned numerous cultures from the time of the ancient Greeks to the present day (Anthony 2006; Tarnas 2000). Even the fathers of modern science such as Newton, Galileo and Kepler held deeply mystical conceptions. According to Kepler himself, astronomers were not mere observers:

… in all acquisition of knowledge it happens that, starting out from the things which impinge upon the senses, we are carried by the operation of the mind to higher things which cannot be grasped by any sharpness of the senses (quoted in Huff 2003 p 353).

The irony is that even as Milojevic (following Krishnamurti) critiques dominant Western education because its focus upon “information and knowledge” does not lead to “intelligence”, “goodness” or “flowering” (p.201), the same critique is now even more relevant to education in China and East Asia, where the spiritual has been leached from the curriculum. The discrepancy arises because Milojevic draws heavily upon Indian thinkers such as Krishnamurti, Sri Aurobindo, Tagore, Gandhi and Sarkar. These men taught and wrote much of their work before the economic explosion of East Asia in the latter decades of the twentieth century.

I therefore see the need to make a clear distinction between the Indian episteme and the current East Asian episteme, and especially to acknowledge the social and economic developments of Asia in recent years. This in no way illegitimates Milojevic’s essential argument that spiritual, feminist and indigenous perspectives may be enormously beneficial in modern education. It simply means that (ironically) hyper-capitalistic East Asian cultures themselves are the ones that are in most need of such perspectives.

The issues highlighted here are equally relevant to an emerging domain of futures studies – integral futures. This field tends to valorise the spiritual and The East, drawing heavily from the work of Ken Wilber. Such figures as Sohail Inayatullah, Richard Slaughter, Chris Reidy, Marcus Bussey and myself can be said to be influenced by, or actively involved in this field (see the Journal of Futures Studies May 2006 to read all these theorists). Ivana Milojevic has also been influenced by this movement, and uses the term “integral education” to describe a curriculum more deeply imbued with holistic and spiritual perspectives. The key point I wish to make here is whether such a movement (and critical futures literature in general) is tending to romanticize and champion the exotic and alternative – in Milojevic’s case The East, indigenous cultures and feminist perspectives? I find Friedman’s (2005) critique of transpersonal psychology for these very same issues to be relevant here. It must be noted that Wilber (2000) himself has drawn great inspiration from the transpersonalists and Eastern philosophy – and his followers have been accused of being a “cult” (Bauwens, n.d.).

In conclusion to these concerns I would like to state that from my direct experience in working in education in The East and also in Australia, New Zealand, and visiting schools in the United States, I strongly believe that our terms of cultural reference need clarifying and upgrading in the twenty-first century. The world can no longer simply be dichotomised into West and East. With the increasing prosperity of Asia, the power shift that has begun may continue to a point where Asia will drive the world’s economy within a few short decades (Friedman 2006). The dramatic social shifts in Asia which are accompanying these changes mean that references to The East as a culture founded upon spiritual and mystical precepts is now more stereotype than actuality. It would be something of an irony if Integral Futures were to take greater influence in The West in years to come even as Asia continues to “Westernise.” We may find at some point that futures conferences are filled with “Eastern” mystics from Western countries and “Western” theorists from Asia.

Final remarks

Despite these significant issues, Milojevic’s work is recommended. It highlights the important role of critical futures studies. Without the identification of the hegemonic and contesting discourses in education those hegemonic discourses will tend to remain implicit, invisible and viewed as inevitable.

Milojevic stops short of offering a definite prescription for our educational ills. Instead she concludes with a list of questions. She believes that an engagement with the central questions she posits and a deeper reflection upon “the full diversity of worldviews” and ways of knowing will lead to the greatest beneficial changes in education and society (p.257). This leaves the reader less than certain about where she stands. Yet such an uncertainty may well be a necessity for any revision or shift in perspective and paradigm. It may be that the didacticism that tends to be inherent in dominant social, political and educational narratives is what prevents us from broadening our visions. Discomfort and unease may be the price we have to pay as we challenge our imagined futures.

Milojevic has made a solid contribution to pedagogical theory here. Personally I would like to see such a text form part of teacher training in B. ed, Dip. ed and masters courses. Future teachers and educational administrators should be engaging with these issues. As Milojevic indicates (p.45), our images of the future guide our current actions. Finally, according to Milojevic a paradigm shift is beginning whereby indigenous and Eastern conceptions of education are becoming more accepted (ibid.) As Kuhn (1970) so aptly pointed out, paradigms delimit not only particular domains of enquiry, but also the kinds of questions that are permissible. Milojevic broadens both the domains of knowledge and the range of possible questions. The possibilities might be uncomfortable to consider and the choices destabilising – but this is by necessity.

Selected References

Bauwens, M., n.d., ‘The cult of Ken Wilber. Available from: www.kheper.net/topics/Wilber/Cult_of_Ken_Wilber.html.  [Accessed 13 January 2006].

Capra, F., 2000. The Tao of Physics (25th anniversary edition). Boston: Shambhala.

Inayatullah, S., 2004. Deconstructing and Reconstructing the Future: Predictive, Cultural and Critical Epistemologies. In: Inayatullah S., (Ed). The Causal Layered Analysis Reader. Taipei: Tamkang University Press, 55-82.

Fairbank, J., and Goldman, M. 2006, China: A New History. Cambridge: Belknap.

Friedman, H., 2005. Towards Developing Transpersonal Psychology As a Scientific Field. Available from: www.Westga.edu/~psydept/os2/papers/friedman.htm. [Accessed  6 July 2005].

Friedman, T., 2006. The World is Flat. London: Allen Lane.

Gardner, H., Kornhaber, M.L., & Wake, W.K., 1996. Intelligence: Multiple Perspectives. New York: Harcourt Brace College.

Huff, T., 2003. The Rise of Early Modern Science. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press

Jiyu, R., (ed.) 1998. The Book of Lao Zi. Beijing: Foreign Languages Press.

Kuhn, T., 1970. The Structure of Scientific Revolutions. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

O’Sullivan, E. (1999) Transformative Learning: Educational Vision for the 21st Century, Toronto: OISE, University of Toronto Press.

Talbot, M., 1992. Mysticism and the New Physics. New York: Arkana.

Tarnas, R. 2000. The Passion of the Western Mind.

Wilber, K., 2000c. Sex, Ecology, Spirituality. Boston: Shambhala.

Integrated Intelligence

BOOKS (ACADEMIC): This book is an exhaustive coverage of a crucial but poorly understood subject  matter. Marcus T. Anthony examines theories of intelligence and consciousness, and the way in which they represent (or exclude) intuitive, spiritual and mystical experience. It will satisfy the more academically rigorous reader.

Marcus T. Anthony’s argument identifies the way narrowly defined ‘rational’ definitions of mind have come to dominate and restrict contemporary discourses in science and education. He develops the theory of integrated intelligence, an expanded model which incorporates the non-rational elements of human intelligence, long missing in mainstream western discourses. Anthony indicates how and why they should be incorporated into modern education systems.

 Available on major online book retailers such as Amazon.com and Barnes and Noble.

 

Words of praise for Integrated Intelligence

Integrated Intelligence is an exceptional book. I am most impressed by the fact that Anthony has forged ahead and got to where the discourse will, if we are lucky, arrive in maybe another decade or more.

DR DAVID LOYE, ex-faculty Princeton University.

 

This book is a highly ambitious one which succeeds in presenting a well documented, intelligently structured, convincingly developed concept which could well make an original contribution to thought.

DR FELICITY HAYNES, ex-Dean of Education, The University of Western Australia.

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