Category Archives: Futures

How to REALLY Unite Europe

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Most of you who read this are committed to some kind of psychological or spiritual process which you believe enhances your life. You probably like to think the world is also a better place for your doing this self-reflective work. Given this, let’s take this fantastic opportunity to expand our minds, hearts and souls. You might not share my idea of fields of consciousness. If so, just think “cultural mindset” or meme. It doesn’t really matter.

You know that there is a great opportunity for expanded wisdom and consciousness whenever your buttons get pushed. And these past few days there have been buttons pushed so hard they are melting. My social media pages have been doused in outrage after the result of the Brexit referendum.

Most of my friends are liberals. I adhere neither to modern liberalism, nor to conservatism, but I am attracted to the spirit of liberalism (You will find out what I mean by that as you read on). Despite my attraction to liberalism, it is obvious to me that much of what passes for liberalism in the modern world is actually conservatism dressed up as the former. There is an inherent degree of intolerance and bigotry which is commonly being expressed. Many liberals are inflexible, and deeply attached to ideals that they will not allow themselves to examine critically. If we really want to embody the spirit of liberalism, we need to admit that this is happening, and avoid being pulled into the wake of this ship of foolish people.

What is the spirit of liberalism? All ideals have an inherent consciousness field. In the case of the liberal ideal that mindset is typified by love, acceptance, compassion, equality, generosity and peace. It is no coincidence that these are also associated with the higher stages of consciousness evolution. Of awakening – or enlightenment, if you prefer.

Although conservatism is not intrinsically “bad,” it tends to be correlated with consciousness structures which resonate at a lower level. Moderate forms of conservatism can be quite “enlightened.” Yet far-right conservatism is associated with the very lowest expressions of consciousness: fear, intolerance, greed, projection of rage and shame.

No doubt your buttons are already being pushed – if not detonated – if you are a conservative, while liberals are nodding in agreement. Yet the truth is that liberalism has increasingly fallen to the far-left in recent times, and has also become infused with lower expressions of consciousness: fear, intolerance and irresponsible projection of shame and rage. It has become destructive.

The outrage that is being expressed after the Brexit vote is a wonderful opportunity for us to acknowledge this problem, and correct it if we so desire.

My Facebook page contains numerous examples I could put forward. One FB friend posted a map of Great Britain, highlighted in red and blue according to whether specific regions were “leave” or “stay” areas. He wrote: “Now at least we know where all the bigots, racists and fascists live. Let’s share this so that everyone will know.” Not surprisingly, some people who live in those places responded angrily to his update. So what motivated this post? What is the energy structure, the agenda that sits behind it? The answer is that it is the projection of shame; and shame is perhaps the lowest expression of consciousness.

The following poster has also been widely circulated on social media. Take a look at it.

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Again, the essential expression is the projection of shame. It also recreates many of the problems that liberalism is supposed to stand against. It stereotypes the other, asking us to rage against a monolithic evil other who have to be eliminated. The actual point being made is naively simplistic, since it is unclear how many British people are critical of immigrants. Given that nearly half the voters elected to “stay”, it seems likely that well over half the population does not hold the said view. Further, nobody living in Britain today did any colonising. Those people are long dead. Many Brits did not even have ancestors in Britain during the colonial age. Huge numbers are from families that immigrated to Britain in the past century or so, including from ex-colonies.

Most notably, neither of the cases above systematically addresses any of the issues associated with the Brexit debate. They are not analytical nor considered. They are irresponsible projections, dragging all concerned down towards base expressions of consciousness.

 

The debates

So there are important things to be considered in this referendum. I have said that the expression of consciousness is important. Is the system also important? Yes, of course. But the level of consciousness that people bring to it is more important. For example, it is difficult to imagine a peaceful and integrated society emerging in the society we saw in industrial revolution England. Workers, women, and children were disenfranchised and exploited. Many men were terribly exploited too. The elderly were often put into labour camps if they had nowhere to live, where they usually soon died from exhaustion and depression. This was not a society where higher states of consciousness can easily flourish.

So which would be better for mind-soul expansion in Britain: leave the EU, or stay? I will just mention a few considerations here.

The answer may not be as simple as some liberals think, because big government can be hegemonic, striping people and cultures of their individual expressions. There is an argument that big business and the multi-nationals are benefiting most from the EU project, while the lower classes are being left off the map. It is these lower classes who tended to vote against it. In England, their lives were being increasingly controlled by a far-distant entity in Brussels, whom they had little connection with, or understanding of. In fact, there is strong evidence that this is the way the entire world is being structured. Wealth is being channeled into the hands of fewer and fewer people.

The liberal ideal is what lies behind the idea of the EU. A united Europe can potentially move consciousness beyond the dangers of nationalism and racism, and away from the tribalism seen during the World Wars. In its ideal expression, there is long-lasting peace and prosperity, with people free to travel across borders and mingle with whomever they desire. Trade barriers can be a thing of the past.

Yet there is the concern that a monolithic, centralised European government is a contradiction to the plural society.

There is an important consideration in all of this. Technologies and the internet are rendering centralised government less important. City-states may eventually replace nations as the most important economic and political entities. National boundaries are more fluid, regardless of what government we sit under. Kevin Kelly points this out in his excellent new book, The Inevitable. In the rage against the Brexit vote, maybe we are missing the big picture. Decentralisation of big government does not necessarily lead to fascism, racism, war. In fact the exact opposite may occur.

It all depends upon the expression of consciousness which we bring to the system. Whether there is an EU or not is not the most important thing. Both scenarios can have positive or dystopian expressions.

What consciousness will you bring to the subject?

 

Shaming the other

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Shame can control people, but it can never heal. Shame is one of the most base levels of human consciousness, associated with worthlessness, guilt and self-loathing. It seeks to diminish or annihilate the other. The archetypal embodiment of shame is to be on one’s hands and knees, grovelling. This is the energy structure which you are attempting to pose on the other when you shame them.

There is another problem. Even if the shame is successful in controlling the other, that control will not last. The movement of consciousness evolution is towards gradually higher levels of expression. Thus if you shame someone and they assume the grovelling position, one day they will inevitably rise up through anger – and you had better watch your back.

Anger is of a higher energy than shame. Anger is actually empowering for those stuck in shame and guilt. Gandhi, MLK and Mandela employed anger responsibly (usually). But these men all embodied higher expressions of consciousness. Unfortunately, anger employed at a lower level of consciousness can be destructive. It wants to hit out, to beat, to kill, to destroy. If you shame most people, you don’t get Gandhian peaceful non-resistance (Satyagraha). You get a punch in the face. You get “F.ck you!” This is the inevitable response from many of the British who voted leave. And it is why shaming them is merely pouring petrol on to the fire. Shaming them is a stupid, destructive and infantile response.

Would any of the three great men above have responded to the Brexit vote in the way many outraged people have in the past few days? What would they have done?

 

The victim game

As I wrote above, the modern liberal tradition is founded upon noble sentiments. Compassion, inclusion, integration, equality. These are all noble ideals. They represent higher levels of consciousness. However, there can be problems with the way we seek to implement these ideals.

It is not possible to be truly compassionate at certain lower levels of awareness and consciousness. This is particularly so when we are coming from the victim state.

Perhaps the greatest obstacle to human consciousness evolution and awakening at this time is the victim mindset. The mental position can take very clear forms, such as when people lament “”Poor me!” “The world is so cruel!” “Look what they did to me!”

And liberalism as it exists today is trapping many in the victim state.

The victim consciousness field is of a low vibration. It lacks the willingness to introspect or assume responsibility for its mental or life experiences. Blame represents its essential relationship with the world, and with the other. Self-pity and the projection of rage and hatred are its natural expressions. It is apathetic, unwilling to move.

There is a payoff for all this, of course. One gets to reside in a self-made story with “me” as the star. The star victim, that is. It’s an easy ride. One does not have to do much. In fact, doing something may be undesirable, as this could shift the narrative, bringing the individual into unknown territories. Fear, uncertainty and the possibility of failure then emerge. So many simply choose to remain in victim.

The victim game always comes with an agenda, and that agenda is usually to shame and establish moral superiority (status) over the other.

A related problem is that identity politics tends to impose victim and persecutor narratives upon entire groups. The intention is a good one – to get the society to take note of past and present oppressions, such that the dark story does not repeat itself. Ideally, the oppression ends and the victim and oppressor can then be equals.

The problem is that some groups identify very strongly with the victim identity they are assigned. They may develop a deep collective apathy, blaming others for their situation, refusing to take responsibility for their situation. Outsiders may see this, but identity politics prevents the truth from being spoken. In fact the truth is often punished. To point out that an oppressed group has developed a regressive consciousness structure is to invite immediate criticism, even ostracism. So the victim narrative often goes unchallenged. Meanwhile the “persecutor” group begins to feel aggrieved. They are blamed and shamed for the situation. They become angry, resentful. Aspects of victim consciousness may then break out in that second group. “”We are the real victims here!”

The agenda of the victim is to retain victim status while shaming the other so that all remain trapped in the narrative, at lower levels of consciousness expression. This is not smart.

What we are seeing in Europe is following this narrative (and also with the rise of Donald Trump). Many lower class white people have not prospered under the current system. They not only do not get the goodies, they are told they are bad people. Middle class whites may engage in virtue signalling, shaming their own people (in reality the disgruntled, silenced lower classes).

Morality is the preferred weapon of choice for modern liberalism. These people are good, those people are bad. What he is doing is right, what she is doing is wrong. Again, there is a noble motivation in this, but individuals given status within the system tend to take this position and assume moral superiority over others. The result? You guessed it? Shame and blame. “You are a racist, bigot, fascist!” So we are back to square one as the system stagnates at lower expressions of consciousness. Healing and resolution are impossible.

No doubt many of you reading this are already steaming at the ears. No matter which group you belong to, you probably either see yourself as being right, or being the victim. The real victim, that is.

 

A possible solution

What can be done about all this? Should we scrap the whole system and just say “”Everyman for himself?” “Everywoman for herself?”

The only genuine way to address what is happening while elevating our consciousness is for us to introspect, and to examine the shadow. The shadow is our unexpressed and often unacknowledged darkness: rage, shame, guilt and so on.

Once the shadow is seen, then what? The answer is that we gently and loving develop a relationship with it. If we judge the shadow (shame it) it will not heal, and it will tend to run amok. This is why shaming entire groups is counter-productive. It locks all into a base level of consciousness.

When we integrate the shadow our consciousness expands. The light we bring to the darkness is healing. That light attracts more light, more prosperity. It is its own reward.

Given that the existence of the shadow is not well understood in today’s world, and that the work required can be frightening and demanding, it is not likely that your school or organisation is going to be embracing these ideas anytime soon. We will have to do the work ourselves.

Now, you might protest. “What about me and my people! We are oppressed! We were raped, murdered, humiliated! F.ck you and your privilege!” Well, that is an acceptable choice on a universal level. God is not going to punish you. Your tormented consciousness field will be its own punishment.

I am not telling anybody what to do. That is not how it works at this level. People can be invited, but they must not be coerced to do this kind of work.

You can work in groups. Many (including me) have done this, and it can be very tough work: highly vulnerable, naked, frightening; yet uplifting stuff. When I worked with my group we had a very deeply introspective process. We learned to channel each other’s shadows: the hidden parts within. Can you imagine being totally vulnerable and transparent before other men and women, unable to hide anything from them? It was often terrifying.

In fact such nakedness is how we are before God, and also before higher spiritual entities. They can see right through us. There are no privacy laws with spirit!

Alternatively, you might simply prefer to work with a single teacher. This may be suitable for those who find the group exposure too much.

Ultimately you will be able to do it yourself, at will. The work is actually quite simple. Just allow all that is within you to express itself. Give it a voice. Let it rant and rave and bawl. Lovingly witness it all without judgment. Don’t believe a word of what the shadow says, just feel its pain. The emotionality is the only thing that is real here. Then return to presence.

 

We are all liberals, all conservatives

The truth is that in a certain sense all of us are both liberals and conservatives.

We are conservatives in that we want our mental narratives to remain unchallenged. Our biological hardware has evolved to detect threat and danger at a physical level. However, over the last few thousand years we human beings developed an extensive and abstract mental world. Now that same survival-inclined biological function is employed in the mental realm. We are on the alert for mental threats, those who might annihilate our opinions, beliefs and ideals. There is an innate tendency to strike out against them. So it makes no difference whether you support the EU or are against it. Your mental hardware will tend to defend against – and attack – those who disagree with your ideas.

Yet in the end we are all liberals, too. Love, compassion, forgiveness, and peace are natural expressions of our higher states of being. This is true even if you wear a tattoo of Putin, Trump or Tony Abbott. All people seek love and acceptance, and ultimately peace.

So it is true that the ideals of liberalism represent higher psycho-spiritual states than that of the cognitive functions that tend to underpin conservatism. But as I have shown, another truth is that modern liberalism can easily become self-deceptive, wrapping darkness up to look like it is the light. And what we might consider to be conservative ideals (at least some of them) can also be held by those with expanded consciousness. For example, being entrepreneurial and money-oriented is neither intrinsically good nor bad. The healthy expression of the conservative mindset is typified by willpower, individualism courage, determination, generosity and future-vision. Its negative expression is what gets the bad press: segregation, xenophobia, selfishness, materialism, disdain for and violence against the other.

You see, the mental world is somewhat limited. We like to see things in black and white. The EU is good. The EU is bad. Those who oppose it are bad conservatives. They are fascists and racists. Those who support it are naïve liberals. And so on.

Any ideal can be infused with the energy of “fascism”. And modern liberalism is not immune from this consciousness structure.

If we consider ourselves to be genuinely committed to higher expressions of consciousness, we have to begin to loosen attachments to ideals, and instead learn to read the energy of people and situations. Words can deceive. Therefore the acknowledgement of the consciousness expression contained within an individual, group or idea should be the first consideration. Only then should we determine whether the speaker’s ideas and actions are aligned with those ideals. If we do not do this, if we espouse liberal ideals while our minds are infused with rage and blame, we are spiritual frauds. Spiritual fraudulence is common. We all do it. This is because of the nature of mind.

To minimise the power of mental projections over us, we can apply the following means.

  1. Acknowledge that your feelings are the primary evidence of your consciousness state. Your thoughts and words are secondary, so learn not to identify with them. If you are speaking words of love and tolerance while all you want to do is strangle the other person, the truth is that in that moment you are out of alignment and frauding. Take a little time to centre yourself, or better still, just pull out of the situation if you can.
  1. Do not engage other people’s projections, or at least minimise your exposure to them. If you repeatedly stare into the mental projections of others, you will become lost there. Never forget this. At a practical level, stay away from emotional projectors on social media, or in the real world. Whether they are conservative or liberal, or agree or disagree with you is irrelevant.
  1. Make presence your default state of being. Learn to connect with your body and breath so that you can return to presence at will. Then you will be able to pull out of dramas and projection exchanges immediately, when you choose. This is where your true power lies.

 

How to be a conscious liberal

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The reason I have become increasingly critical of modern liberalism is because it is often about projection of the shadow. It often creates hierarchies which permit shame and blame to be projected at some groups, while forbidding the same to be done to others. In other words, it is now recreating many of the problems it has sought to alleviate.

The principles of liberal tradition are noble, and represent higher stages of consciousness. But they cannot be forced upon people. They emerge naturally when one embraces the shadow and assumes responsibility for one’s emotional life. This is the key to the true unification of Europe, and of the human species. Not the policing of borders and the outlawing of thoughts and opinions, but in the natural flowering of connection that deep presence permits. The border might be open and the foreigners may be pouring through, but if we cannot be present with them and see beyond our mental frameworks and narratives, we can never truly receive them.

How does this work in practice? Presence is the key. When you are present and in a state of deep connection with the body and the place where you find yourself in the moment, you are automatically free of the narrative of your mind and your past. This includes the past of your people. But are you willing to let that go? There may be deep attachments to such identities – as well as the narratives you personally adhere to and impose upon others. If it is a victim narrative, you might ask, “Why should the other people just get away with it without paying?” (You have just identified a revenge drama). If you identify as part of a persecutor group you might say, “It’s our fault. We can’t just walk away from this!” (Self-flagellation founded on guilt).

Now that I have said all this, the reality is that it is important for our societies to acknowledge the unresolved energy structures within them. There is something somewhat similar to the idea of collective karma which seeks resolution. There are bio-fields embedded within societal dramas; deep pools of emotional energy that remain locked into the collective shadow of peoples, cultures and countries.

What is to be done about this? The answer is that it is the same as what needs to be done with the healing of your personal emotional body. You feel and witness the shadow without judgment, loving it, allowing it to be what it is. When we release judgment, blame and guilt, we transcend the karma. Given that these emotions and attitudes tend to arise within the mind periodically, there may be a need to observe them more than once. They may not simply go away. You just have to be responsible, much in the same way a parent has to look after a troublesome child.

Then there will be socially responsible actions that need to be taken by governments and citizens to ensure the wrongs of the past are acknowledged and addressed.

Unfortunately, unless you are a black, transgender, sexually abused dwarf with a disability, there are times when you will be identified as part of a persecutor group. Worse still, some people will abuse the situation to attack you and your group. Yet if you approach this mindfully, you will acknowledge the truth behind narrative, even as you refuse to buy into any “drama” that is associated with it. Compassion (rather than anger) will tend to follow.

Once we assume responsibility for the shadow, many of the same liberal policies and ideals which may have been applied unconsciously or imperfectly will automatically be applied more responsibly, and at a higher level of consciousness expression. Healing will follow naturally.

 

So…

Do we really need a centralised government in Europe? In the world? Truthfully, it might help in many ways. It may help economically, in terms of facilitating free movement around the globe, in the exchange of cultures and ideas… Yet all these things can still remain even if governments are less centralised. And as humanity awakens more, there will be less requirement for control and power organisations like the EU.

If all parties simply assume responsibility for their projections, regardless of race, sex, nationality or station in life, Europe and Great Britain (and the world) will eventually unite as a New Earth, as Eckhart Tolle might call it. Whether your government sits in Brussels or closer to home will not be that important. No government can remove the power of an individual or group that is committed to awakening.

So it is that you don’t have to wait for any government to give you permission to release your story and embrace presence. You can also release your idealism. You won’t be needing that. All you have to do is have a high enough intention, and also have the understanding of the process required. Then follow through and do the work.

Are you ready, willing and able?

Consciousness Hacking With Mikey Siegel

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On this episode of The Consciousness Files you will find out how artificial intelligence will be superseded by artificial wisdom intelligence; how Facebook can connect not only our thoughts and words, but our consciousness; and how the hearts and brain-waves of people within corporations can be synchronised to create compassionate business futures.

Today I am chatting with Mikey Siegel who is one of a growing number of consciousness hackers, a movement which he has helped found. He has also co-founded the transformative technology conference and the consciousness tech design studio. He has worked with robots at places like MIT, NASA and Audi. Situated on the west coast of the United States, he works to create tools that facilitate people’s paths toward higher consciousness, self-realization and awakening. This involves the creation of technologies which can help us to be more mindful, present, and accepting. Mikey draws upon the great wisdom and spiritual traditions, but seeks to adapt that understanding to modern contexts so that it is accessible to modern human beings.

Mikey’s web site is http://mikeysiegel.com/

Mikey’s TEDx talk is: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nG_chQK9iGc

 

 

PODCAST OUTLINE

1:50 Mikey describes moving into a single house with nine others: the intentional consciousness hacking community.

5:40 The consciousness hacking community as it is developing in California and across the world.

7:50 The goal is transformation of world consciousness, to solve world problems.

9:40 Inner peace and compassion lie at the heart of the movement.

10:50 How can we use technology to address significant psycho-spiritual problems in the modern context?

12:00 The heart-sync technology synchronises the heart beats of groups.

14:30 This technology is being extended to include brain waves.

16:10 Maybe we could make a Facebook-style platform, but one which connects us more deeply than current social media

18:10 These technologies are now making waves in corporations. They are in demand.

20:00 “How have you found the experience of transferring from engineering to a more fringe field like consciousness hacking?”

22:10 “Will these technologies free us?” Kevin Kelly’s argument.

23:00 There is an evolutionary drive to what is happening.

24:20. We can create not only an artificial intelligence, but artificial wisdom.

25:40. Creating from wisdom, not fear.

27:20. “What technologies are going to transform us in the next twenty years?”

28:50 We could develop a wisdom technology which could bring together all old and new healing technologies to assist us.

31:10. The dystopian dangers of new technologies.

33:30 The technological wild cards which will surprise us. Technologies which transform conscious experience, and why they will be in demand.

37:20. “Is a dark age necessary before we see the light?”

40:00 “Is there one thing we can call enlightenment?” There is an evolutionary arc.

41:20 “What is consciousness?”

43:30 Why consciousness has non-local properties.

45:00 Technologies will be able to assist us to tap into the extended mind.

46:00 Mikey’s experience with mind-reading.

48:50. We can learn to develop expanded cognitive abilities like ESP.

Futurist Tom Lombardo and Future Consciousness

Podcast link: http://mindfutures.libsyn.com/rss

On Episode 2 of The Consciousness Files I speak with futurist Tom Lombardo, Ph.D.

In this episode you will find out the best science fiction novel of all time, why cyborgs are an inevitable part of the future, why Ray Kurzweil’s idea of consciousness being uploaded onto computers is limited, and why the Benjamin Libet free will experiments are wrong in suggesting we do not have free will.

Tom Lombardo is the Executive Director of the Center for Future Consciousness, the Director of The Wisdom Page, the Managing Editor of Wisdom and the Future, and Professor Emeritus and retired Faculty Chair of Psychology, Philosophy, and the Future at Rio Salado College. He is a national and internationally recognized researcher, writer, and speaker, and he has published six books and over fifty articles on topics including: the history of scientific and philosophical thought; the future of education; future consciousness and contemporary futurist thought; and science fiction as the mythology of the future.

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Tom is also an award-winning teacher and educator with over thirty-five years of professional experience in college teaching.

Tom’s web site is: www.centerforfutureconsciousness.com

PODCAST TIMELINE

4:40 Tom outlines his brand of futures – futures of consciousness, including wisdom.

6:30. How Tom first got into futures studies, seeing an Alvin Toffler book in a department store.

8:50. How Tom became interested in the subject of consciousness – with the mind-body problem.

12:00 Tom’s solution to “the mind-body problem.”

13:00 What is consciousness?

14:00 How Tom’s theory of consciousness can assist mainstream science.

16:00 The physical environment is not separate from our interpretation of it.

18:30 Tom’s book Mind Flight discussed.

20:20 What experiences have influenced Tom’s understanding of consciousness. How weight lifting played a part.

22:50. Meteorite synchronicities.

23:50 Olaf Stapledon’s novel “Starmaker,” and why it is the best science fiction novel ever.

27:30. Why Stapledon influenced Tom’s understanding of mind and the future.

29:30. Australian sci-fi writer Greg Egan, and his novel “Diaspora.”

33:00 Sexuality in Stapledon.

34:00 Tom’s critique Ray Kurzweil and the transhumanists. They focus on technology, but fail to consider mental and spiritual evolution.

38:10. Evolution moves towards greater complexity.

40:10 Cyborgs, mobile technology and the human future. Tom relates his enthusiasm for detachable body parts.

45:50. “The Last American”. Sci fi Novel written in 1880. Persians sail to New York City in the 23rd century, only to find it has been destroyed.

47:40. The evolution of consciousness and the current American political crisis.

50:20. America lacks cultural icons of higher consciousness expression.

53:10 How can we create a more positive attitude towards the future? Collapse may be required.

55:20 Who are the positive role models we can look up to?

59:20. Does the universe have any purpose? We have begun guiding evolution.

1:02:10 We are participating with the universe in its evolution.

1:08:10 The brain operates within a cosmic ecology.

10:10.40 Thomas Nagel’s argument about consciousness as being intrinsic within the nature of the universe.

1:12:10 Spinoza and the possibility of free will.

1:15.00 Critiquing Benjamin Libet’s free will experiments. Why Libet is wrong.

1:19:40 Tom’s recommended reading and contact details.

Theme music by bensound.com

How Not To Simulate a Brain While Wasting A Billion Dollars

Take a look at this fascinating TED talk by Henry Markram. The talk is about six years old, and he outlines how we can build a mathematical simulation of the human brain by mapping all the neurons and their interconnections. Once we can do this we will be able to simulate consciousness, he says. It may also help us find answers to mental disease and mental degeneration.

Markram was involved in developing a simulation of part of a rat’s brain. Now he’s on to people. Not long after this talk Markram was given 1.3 billion dollars by the European Union to turn this dream to reality over a period of one decade, via the Human Brain Project.

The thing is, as you watch the talk with any critical capacity, it is easy to see that there are numerous guesses and unquestioned presuppositions posited about the way the brain functions, and about the nature of consciousness. The computer metaphor appears again and again and again, as if it is unquestionably true that the brain operates like a computer. If you get the founding principle wrong, there’s not much chance anything else is going to go right.

That mathematical description will yield the secrets of consciousness is about as valid as believing that positing a simple equation to describe two oranges tells us the nature of oranges. OR 1 + OR 2 = 2OR. All you really have is an abstract representation of a couple of pieces of fruit.

And little did go right in the Human Brain Project. In 2015 Markram was fired as the project head, after the entire project became a “brain wreck” a mere two years after it began. The whole story is testimony to how far into delusion both neuroscience and popular perceptions about the brain have descended. Fancy computer graphics reify the delusion.

It is a giant ego fall. We just don’t know very much about the brain, and very, very little about consciousness.

Maybe it’s time to start asking some new questions.

Mind and Futures in the Media This Week, # 2

the-new-mind Here’s a roundup of some Important and relevant news in the media this week, all related to mind and the future. This page may be updated with new links over the coming week. The link to last week’s Media report is here.

IT and Big Data

Mike Elgan, Forbes, “Tom Hanks’ Captain Phillips Says The High-Tech World Is A Shocking Delusion”.

Main Idea: The future will not be a simple high-tech one where all have access to big data, but one increasingly defined by the digital divide.

Marcus’ insight: The same is also true of intuitive knowledge, with high-tech distraction and verbal-linguistic cognitive overload retarding human capacity to access integrated intelligence. There will be opportunities there too. But will we become so lost in high-tech obsession that nobody acknowledges it?

“Any successful company interfacing with customers, shipping products, and training employees must shed the delusion that we live in a high-tech world. The reality is that we live in a technologically divided world. Advancing technology is increasingly defining our world by the gulf between people who have access to it, and people who don’t. This presents an opportunity: to bring access to technology’s benefits to those who can’t currently afford or understand it, finding ways to bridge the growing gap between technology haves and have-nots.”

Mindfulness and Meditation

Science 2.0, “Mindfulness Meditation Helps With Mild Anxiety And Depression, Finds Review”.

Significance: More empirical data which supports the idea that mindfulness and meditation promote wellbeing.

“A Johns Hopkins University of research suggests that about 30 minutes of meditation daily may improve symptoms of anxiety and depression, without medication.”

Gauri Rane, DNAIndia.com, “Lead with spirit”

Main Idea: Emotional and spiritual intelligence help leaders and executives to access their inner power and become better leaders says Marko Saravanja, chairman, Regenesys B-school.

Significance: A good summary of the value of spiritual and emotional intelligence for leaders. Also, Regenesys Business School India is teaching spiritual intelligence. Is there a demand for this kind of intelligence training?

“Managers/ leaders who are more evolved in terms of emotional and spiritual intelligence tend to be more authentic, happy and intuitive. Their locus of control is internal. They are better at building interpersonal relationships, managing teams and fostering trust, which is a prerequisite of any successful business relationship. Successful leaders exhibit qualities of empathy, compassion, and respect, which are all aspects of emotional intelligence.”

Books

David Loye, Darwin in Love (and related books)

Main Idea: Darwin is often misrepresented in the media and mainstream science. He had a far more “moral” and spiritual view of humanity and life than is often understood. This book has been around a year or two, but David Loye has drawing attention to its importance again this year.

Significance: Darwin in Love is suggestive of the way that paradigm blindness tends to place ideas and people in predefined categories and misrepresent them, telling only part of the full story.

“The long ignored, but rediscovered new story of the life and full theory of the Darwin who in The Descent of Man wrote only twice about “survival of the fittest”  but 95 times about the evolutionary drive of love. This is the  first book for Darwin’s New World View Ebook Series exploring the powerful, original, but long lost love and moral action-oriented completion for his theory and the much better future it opens to us.”

Blogs

Dean Radin:, deanradin.blogspot.com, “Electrocortical activity associated with subjective communication with the deceased”.

Main Idea: Summary and link to a recent paper by Arnaud Delorme, Julie Beischel, Leena Michel, Mark Boccuzzi, Dean Radin and Paul J. Mills, which assessed correlations between brain activity and impressions of communication with the dead. Significance: Suggests that the impression of communicating with the deceased may be a mental state distinct from ordinary thinking or imagination.

The way out of the TED mess, #1: The Problem

 

Summary: The debate/drama which has arisen as a result of the recent TED saga, whereby two TEDx talks were sanctioned by TED, reveals that a strong split remains between mainstream science and skepticism on the one hand, and those with a more spiritual or holistic perspective on life on the other. The question is, how should we proceed to heal this conflict? In the remaining posts on this topic I argue that anger and projection need to be handled responsibly, because if it isn’t it will simply entrap us within the very system we seek to rise above.

Given that this subject requires a longer discussion, I am posting this as three separate blog posts. I have included sub-headings, so you can choose which sections you wish to read.

 The second (“This moment in time”) is here, and the third and final (“Beyond the struggle”) is here.

Feel free to share any of this content wherever you see fit.

Marcus

 

 

Click here for an overview of the TED drama if you are not familiar with what has happened. The debate on Sheldrake’s talk is here, the debate on Hancock’s is here.

 

If there is one thing shown by the recent online drama which arose when TED decided to censure TEDx talks by Rupert Sheldrake and Graham Hancock, it is that there is a strong split in the modern world –  and the modern mind – where two opposing camps are battling for power. On the one hand we have the conservative establishment camp of scientific materialists, and on the other we have more free thinking individuals and organisations with have a more holistic or spiritual way of looking at the world, including a rather different means of processing reality. I realise that this dichotomy is very general, but for the sake of simplicity I will call the split “the materialists versus the idealists”.  Materialists tend to insist that what is measurable and observable through empirical scientific method is the basis of reality, and that everything else is either not real, or not significant. Idealists tend to have a more intuitive and spiritual take on life, and believe that modern science is only scraping the surface of life and the cosmos. They generally believe that human consciousness is an essential part of the of the universe, and that life is purposeful.

In case you are not a regular reader of this blog, I am with the latter camp (as are most people who read this blog and my books), but input is welcome from everyone if it is polite.

 

Are we coming closer, or moving apart?

One that interests me here is whether there is anything in the recent TED saga which suggests that things are shifting, and that the two sides are coming closer together, that they might eventually form a united worldview which will accommodate both science and spirituality.

First it has it be acknowledged that even despite its “quarantining” of the two talks, TED has permitted open discussion of the topic, albeit on a special part of its site which does not show up on its home page. TED has also made a general statement admitting it had misrepresented the talks, and wrote a very general response to the speakers’ requests for clarity (although they did not respond to Sheldrake’s post outlining supporting evidence for some of the ideas in his talk). Still, TED could have just kept the whole thing quiet and waited for it to go away.

Nonetheless, what is very notable is that no TED representative engaged in the discussion, other than one or two short comments on the first day or two. Absent also were any notable critics from the materialist camp, other than a very small number of rather fanatical skeptics who used pseudonyms to post. These people did little more than keep repeating  the same mantra about “woo” and endlessly restating  “Where is the evidence?” This was despite the fact that both talks were heavily philosophical, and Sheldrake’s consisted primarily of asking ten questions about the foundations of science. Probably 95 percent of the comments on the four discussion threads were dominated by idealists, many of them venting anger.

So far TED has not responded to Sheldrake’s request for an open debate on the issues he bought up in his talk. Personally, I doubt that they will. They have little to gain, and it is difficult to find scientifically literate individuals who have Sheldrake’s extensive knowledge of the subject matters he raises. Most of the criticisms it raised of Sheldrake’s talk are simply unsubstantiated, and defending them would be close to impossible. TED, and its science advisory board, risk looking rather foolish in any public debate. The support that Sheldrake and Hancock have received over this issue has probably spooked them, I suspect. Still, I would love to see such an open debate. I just don’t think it is going to happen.

So what panned out on the TED discussion boards has featured a swathe of mostly indignant idealists talking to themselves, or addressing an anonymous group of  TED “science advisers” who have remained silent. Given this, the “open dialogue” about censorship on the TED site has so far been not so much a discussion as a monologue. I have the impression that TED has simply cordoned off the plebs and placed them in a virtual corner where they can shout themselves hoarse (which many did), and not bother anyone – anyone important, that is.

To put it bluntly, there is little reason to believe that TED is in any way interested in the views of the idealists. The open discussion is a chimera.

 

The skeptics versus the idealists

Of course it hasn’t all been dogs howling into the wind. The presence of a handful of skeptics did create some excitement on the TED boards. For those who haven’t been reading any of these discussions, I cut and paste a section here from the initial TED blog, where one skeptic was battling it out against a number of idealists. I have changed the user names, and left the typos and other errors in the posts.

 

Skeptic 1

The non-spreading of ideas not worth spreading is a good thing. What is censorship? Is it a bad thing? This is not a witch hunt; former pothead Graham has been very open about his crankery.

Idealist 1

Wow, if TED is truly responding to “scientist” Jerry Coyne’s blog by censoring the work of consciousness pioneers like Granham Hancock and Rupert Sheldrake, then TED is turning away from real human evolution and toward the Dark Ages. Sad. I look forward to reading TED’s responses to Graham Hancock’s posts below.

Idealist 2

At first I thought it was an isolated case of poor judgement on the part of Chris Anderson and his friends. Now reading his and other reactions to our criticism of this censorship, together with new evidence now coming to light has revealed a systemic, oppressive editorial policy driven by an elitist agenda humanity can no longer afford. TED is finished.

Skeptic 1

What is censorship? Is it a bad thing? TED has gained credibility by moving the relevant talks.

Idealist 3

How dare you? How dare you insult our intelligence like this? How can you possibly dare to be so demeaning? How can this possibly be iseen as anything other than blatant, biased, politically motivated, anti-intellectual CENSORSHIP?

What does it feel like to have no shame? Please answer, for the sake of science.

Skeptic 1

Human evolution happens through many generations. Events like this change nothing.

Idealist 4

TedTalks has lost ALL credibility for me. Censorship is crass and does nothing to move the conversation forward. Instead of fostering open debate, TedTalks has chosen the weaker route. I refuse to give any more time to sham that is TED.

Skeptic 1

Not spreading ideas not worth spreading should be commended.

Idealist 5

“Not worth spreading”

According to who? Substantiate your loose claims by answering Mr Hancock’s five simple questions. So far, the only thing that is “not worth spreading” are TED’S unsubstantiated claims & responses on this “debate”. Wake up TED!

An intelligent, structured response from you would help everyone understand your views & actions re. this matter. Childish, immature comments only serve to prove that TED is in no intellectual position to judge anyone’s work!

Wake up TED!!! This is the REAL world!!

Skeptic 1

Caps lock and exclamation points surely increase one’s credibility, which is why sane people use them all the time. I speak with great amounts of sarcasm. The childish and immature comments are the ones whining “censorship”.

Idealist 6

the irony is not lost on me you are projecting your own puerile attitude onto others instead of dealing with the valid points raised:

 

It can be seen that the exchange has been typified by accusation and counter-accusation, put downs and insults, with a general air of moral and intellectual superiority on both sides. I made a few posts myself, and got the standard “low IQ” insult from a skeptic or two. Of course not all the engagement between the two camps was like this, but the vast majority was.

This suggests that few people are listening to anyone else. Despite the insistence from many idealists that they are coming from a higher perception – call it spiritual, psychic, transpersonal or whatever – the fact is that many of their posts have been emotional projections from the “mind” (call it “ego” if you prefer). They were predominantly coming from the world of belief, not what I would call “deep knowing”. This is always a problem for a person who has had a first-person mystical experience, whether through introspection or drugs. As soon as the person resumes their normal state of consciousness, the mind tends to take control and they are again in the world of beliefs – and beliefs need to be defended.

Some idealists assume their position because of an intellectual or philosophical insight. This is the case, for example, where someone has examined the data from experiments into telepathy and concluded that they represent sound proof. Nonetheless, these people are still operating from belief, as their position is not based on deep knowing of the subject matter, which can only be gleaned through direct experience.

Skeptics are in the same position. I can only think of one skeptic or conservative scientist offhand who has engaged in regular meditative or spiritual practice. This precludes them from a deeper awareness of the very subject they are so passionate about. To me this seems to be akin to an expert in Indian History who has never been to India and refuses to travel there because it is just too primitive. Personally, I would listen to someone who has been to India before I took notice of someone who has simply read books and journal articles about it.

I do not consider the dismissal of spiritual and psychic experience – including the evidence gleaned in laboratories and via the experimental method – to be a matter of “rationality”, as most skeptics insist. Firstly, there is too much evidence available both scientifically and anecdotally to dismiss the concepts a priori. The most rational take is either acceptance that there is something important happening here, or that we should proceed to gather more data; or for the brave of heart, to engage the subject matter experientially through meditation or some other spiritual discipline. This would the equivalent of our India expert’s getting his head out of the books and traveling to India.

Secondly, the attitude of hardcore skepticism exists within a very clear historical context, as I discuss in one of the following blog posts on this topic. Skeptics are not free thinkers, but products of a specific and narrow culture and cognitive mindset that exists within an historical context.  This in turn is influenced by psycho-spiritual evolution. As is true for all of us, much of a skeptic’s thinking is not directly in his control, but has been conditioned by his environment.

The TED drama therefore remains locked at the level of mind and within the narrow cognitive confines of this historical moment; resulting in a situation where people are defending beliefs even as they attack other people’s beliefs – while denying that their perspective is belief-based at all.

 

On the blogosphere

Across the blogosphere there has been plenty of discussion on the TED censorship issue. On Jerry Coyne’s blog  Why Evolution is True , there has been a steady stream of self-congratulations. The censorship was a victory for rationality over the dreaded “woo”, it has been claimed. Coyne was one of the prime advocates behind the two talks being pulled down, so this is not surprising.

I wrote two posts on Coyne’s blog, pointing out how sloppy TED’s work was in misrepresenting almost everything in the two talks (nobody on the blog had seemed to notice this, or just didn’t care). I stated that in a democratic society, and in democratic institutions, we should not be stopping philosophers asking big questions about big issues. They posted the comments on the blog – which they should have, given they were firmly but politely worded. However, in response to my comments the blog moderator (Coyne, I assume) told me publicly to go away, because “…you will not convince any rational thinkers here”. This is typical of skeptics’ groups in my experience. There is simply nobody listening to anything that challenges the status quo, and they are overtly hostile to anybody with a divergent viewpoint.

There has been no shortage of discussion on blogs by idealists, either. Craig Weiler lists a whole heap of them on this blog post. Again, there has been an air of outrage in many posts and comments by idealists. The discussion remains polarised everywhere, as far as I can see.

 

The posts to follow

I think this is enough on the subject for the time being! In the following two posts I will detail what I consider to be the defining facets of cognitive development at this time in history and how this is affecting the drama; and then I will suggest a way out of the problem. I hope you will have realised by now that even though I am defending Sheldrake’s and Hancock’s right to be heard and am sympathetic to their ideas, I am not letting the idealists off scott free here!

Marcus

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TED, knowledge, and power

I wrote this oped article (below) shortly after TED made the decision to remove two talks by Rupert Sheldrake and Graham Hancock from its main site and YouTube. I sent it to many newspapers, but unfortunately nobody responded. Still, the good news is that I can share it with you here (feel free to share it wherever you like).  I also made further comment about the TED saga here.

 

 

 

Summary: The TED organisation’s decision to take down two videos by radical thinkers Rupert Sheldrake and Graham Hancock raises genuine questions about the way knowledge is now created and distributed. Length, 1000 words.

Zen Buddhist Shunryu Suzuki observed that “In the mind of the novice there are many possibilities, but in the mind of the expert there is but one.” Suzuki may well have repeated these words if he’d been alive over the past few days, even as a quiet storm brewed on a very modern forum: the internet. The online drama has involved the TED organisation’s decision to take down two videos by Rupert Sheldrake and Graham Hancock from YouTube and the main TED site. Sheldrake’s talk was about “the science delusion”, and questioned ten fundamental assumptions which underpin modern scientific thought. These included the presumption that consciousness resides only in the brain, whether the universal laws such as the speed of light are constants, and whether the total amount of matter and energy in the universe always stays the same. Hancock’s talk “The war on consciousness” delved into the uses of drugs in raising human consciousness.

TED’s decision emerged after strong criticism of the talks by committed skeptics Jerry Coyne and PZ Meyer (It is unclear whether other vested interests lie behind them). They protested that the talks were unscientific. TED opened the debate to the public, and there were hundreds of mostly supportive comments posted for Sheldrake and Hancock. However, the videos soon disappeared from YouTube and TED’s main video section, and were placed in an obscure location. TED commented that the decision was made “after due diligence, including a survey of published scientific research and recommendations from our Science Board and our community”. The speakers had “crossed the line into pseudoscience”. Both talks, TED claimed, “contained serious factual errors that undermine TED’s commitment to good science”. Only a few days had passed since the issue had gone public.

Sheldrake wrote to TED asking why he wasn’t consulted. Hancock went very public and commented on the TED site itself. He alleged that TED had made several blatant errors describing the content of his talk. Accusing the organisation of defaming him, he demanded the organisation address his concerns.

Public support for the two rogue philosophers has continued to be overwhelming, with nearly a thousand comments posted on the TED site. They almost universally condemn the move. On reddit.com a similar discussion produced 173 mostly supportive comments. A comment by a poster named Samual Bielski typified the reaction: “Shame, shame, shame (on TED). You have lost all credibility with me and I’m sure to many others.”

Sheldrake is a former Cambridge academic with a PhD in plant physiology. He first came to prominence in the 1980’s when the editor of Nature called Sheldrake’s A New Science of Life “a good book for burning.” Sheldrake has always been radical. He has conducted experiments into human and animal telepathy. He once tested the popular idea that you “just know” who is calling before you answer the phone. Sheldrake’s research found that people can “guess” who is calling forty-five per cent of the time, when there are four different callers. This is massively above chance.

The great irony in this saga is that it only adds weight to the argument put forward by Sheldrake that establishment science has become the new Church, ready to silence those with new ideas that challenge the entrenched scientific materialism of so many public, educational and scientific institutions. Notably, Sheldrake and Hancock’s talks were given at a London TEDx event in January entitled: “Visions for Transition: Challenging existing paradigms and redefining values for a changing world.” The implications are disturbing. If one cannot legitimately ask open questions about the way science is conducted, or about discrepancies in data, then science is no longer open inquiry. It is a set of unquestionable dogmas founded in an unconscious paradigm. Tellingly, this was the central point in Sheldrake’s talk that has been removed.

The truth is that many of those in the scientific community making truth claims about Sheldrake’s domains of expertise are poorly informed. On his website, Sheldrake mentions an incident where he agreed to meet with skeptic Richard Dawkins, as part of the latter’s television series, The Enemies of Reason. Sheldrake came prepared to discuss the scientific evidence for the existence of telepathy, including his own, having conducted several peer-reviewed experiments. But according to Sheldrake, Dawkins refused to address the science, saying that this was not the purpose of the program. Sheldrake states that Dawkins simply had not read the literature on the topic. Ironically, Dawkins is the former Emeritus Professor of the Public Understanding of Science at Oxford.

What is the reason for this aversion to open discussion of such matters in many scientific communities? The answer, in part, is paradigm blindness. Science has increasingly ignored intuitive ways of knowing over the last few centuries. Thomas Kuhn noted in the 1960s that paradigms not only restrict conclusions; they also delimit the kinds of questions deemed acceptable. And there is nothing which will kill open debate faster than silencing those who wish to ask questions.

Then there is the serious issue of science and academia’s ties to government and big business. Science, as practiced today, is not so much open as constrained by the organisations and markets which feed it. The relationship is uncomfortably symbiotic. The corporations and government funding bodies have the money, while the universities have the prestige. With the current TED issue, what is happening with vested power groups behind the scenes is simply not transparent.

Perhaps it is time for science to loosen its materialistic shackles and begin to see the cosmos afresh. The mechanistic universe is what I call a “used future”. It is merely an unconscious repetition of a past that has already outlived its usefulness.

I discuss many such ideas in Futures Studies, and I generally get a very open reception. Then again, scientific conservatives and skeptics don’t tend to enrol in Foresight classes or attend Futures Studies conferences. They don’t like talking about the future – it’s too uncertain, and you can’t control it.

 

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Flynn Coleman on mindfulness & the future

Here’s a relevant article by Flynn Coleman, entitled “Yoga, meditation and mindfulness: trends that could change everything.” Coleman describes herself as a “mindfulness consultant, lawyer and yoga teacher”. Coleman believes that mindfulness can be part of the futures of work and business – just as I do. Check it out.

She doesn’t go into numbers about how many people are taking up these practices, but in his book A Whole New Mind, Daniel Pink does just that. The evidence suggest that modern society is freeing people up to explore their inner lives in greater depth.

Marcus

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/flynn-coleman/yoga-meditation-and_b_2855336.html?utm_hp_ref=business

Eddie Obeng on London Real

Here’s another great podcast by the London Real team, (headed by Brian Rose), talking with Eddie Obeng. Eddie Obeng describes himself as an educator. He argues that organisations – including corporate and educational – teach outmoded views and processes, which are already obsolete by the time the individual puts them into place (say, 2 years down the line). He suggests that we not only have to teach people how to learn, but how to be smart enough to see things (problems, opportunities, ideas) that they may not realise exist. He also touches upon work/life balance, the idea of virtual workplaces, and the influence of China/India.

Obeng makes a lot of sense. But is it a deeply critical future he is talking about? I’ll let you decide.

Best of all, Eddie smiles and laughs a lot! Now there’s a desirable future!

Eddie’s website is http://worldaftermidnight.com/

Enjoy – and if you don’t, why bother? 🙂

Marcus

 

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Timothy Ferris on London Real

I seem to be posting or writing about the London Real podcast a lot lately. So why change now? This time they are interviewing Timothy Ferris, variously described as a professional vagabond, the world’s greatest self-promoter, and life hacker. I’m not into the – shall we say – neurological and physiological enhancement that Nic and Brian (and Timothy) are. Nor am I intrinsically against it. What I do like about these guys and many of the people have on the show, is that they think outside the box. You are not going to get politically correct angles and safety first questions from them.

Timothy Ferris is someone you can learn a lot from. I call myself a futurist, and as far as I’m concerned the kinds of things that Timothy Ferris talks and writes about are very important to human futures. He represents a growing community (in the loose sense of the word) of cultural creatives.

As an intuitive, however, there are certain aspects of his “energy” which I feel are projections of the mind (and this is difficult to write without sounding like an arrogant jerk or as if I’m judging Ferris – which I am not). These projections emerge from the alienated mind, or the mind as it exists in a state of separation, coming from a desire for control and power. This is something that would be hypocritical of me to condemn, as it as an aspect of human consciousness evolution at this time that it virtually pervasive, and I am not immune from it myself. The key point is that when the alienated mind is in control of the individual, the mind will tend to refuse to relax into the deeper states of presence where certain kinds of knowledge are accessible. Those with a scientific worldview or heavily left-brained cogntive style are particularly susceptible to this. But nor are mystics or “spiritual” people immune, even those who “think” they are. It’s just part of having a “mind”.

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