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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?

Guerrilla War, Unfair (part 1)

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This is the first part of a three posts I am writing about this topical issue.

 In this post I will introduce the problem.

  • In the second post I will make some general points about what should be done, and why. I will also write why certain approaches are likely to be counterproductive – and potentially spiritually regressive.
  • In the final post I will provide some more practical tools and strategies, and suggest how this entire situation can be of great benefit to anybody on a path of awakening.

 

There’s a story doing the rounds amongst the pro-psi crowd at present (The pro-psi folks are those who take the affirmative side in the debate about the existence of psi phenomena such as ESP, telepathy and clairvoyance – I include myself in that group). The story involves the recent activities of the Guerrilla Skepticism on Wikipedia group. The guerrilla skeptics are a well-organised group of self-appointed online vigilantes whose prime mission is to attack and discredit all claims of the validity regarding spiritual, intuitive and alternative truth claims (including alternative and complementary medicine).

The notable issue with the guerrilla skeptics is the revelation that they have taken to Wikipedia in an to attempt to discredit wiki pages that they find contradict their way of seeing the universe. Robert McLuhan wrote a good account of the problem on his paranormalia blog about six months ago. Rupert Sheldrake and Craig Weiler, who have discussed the problem together, have recently written about the issue.

Sheldake is a favourite target of hard-core skeptics in general, and his Wikipedia page is one that has been targeted by the Guerrilla Skeptics. Here’s what Sheldrake wrote about them in his recent newsletter:

Guerrilla Skepticism on Wikipedia have been subverting Wikipedia in areas concerned with spirituality, psychic phenomena and complementary medicine…  a squad of guerrilla skeptics captured the Wikipedia page about me, and have controlled it… editing it in the most biased possible way. Several other editors have tried to restore a more neutral point of view, in accordance with Wikipedia policies… Wikipedia has strict rules against editors working in groups and against people advocating a particular point of view. The Guerrilla Skeptics have been flouting these rules for more than two years, coordinating their groups through secret Facebook pages. It’s time their activities are brought to a halt, because they are undermining the basic principles of Wikipedia, and rendering hundreds of entries untrustworthy.

Wikipedia is – in theory – publically owned and controlled. It portends to allow free editing of its pages, according to certain protocols. For example, if a credible citation is given, then one can challenge a point made on any given page. In this way alternative viewpoints are posited side-by-side.

As Sheldrake points out, here are guidelines on Wikipedia which are aimed at preventing vested interest groups in targeting pages in order to control and overpower free speech, or deliberately distort the information to suit their own agenda. For example, if a Japanese conservative group attempted to edit the Wikipedia page on the notorious Nanjing Massacre (which was perpetrated by the invading Japanese forces in 1937) and filled it with nonfactual propaganda, it would obviously be considered unacceptable. That would be a case of one group attempting to distort history because it did not have the moral courage to face up to the atrocities that its ancestors perpetrated.

The actions of the Guerrilla Skeptics are not dissimilar to the hypothetical case mentioned above. As Sheldrake writes:

The Guerrilla Skeptics are well trained, highly motivated, have an ideological agenda, and operate in teams… (There are now) over 90 guerrillas operating in 17 different languages. The teams are coordinated through secret Facebook pages. They check the credentials of new recruits to avoid infiltration. Their aim is to “control information”… They have already seized control of many Wikipedia pages, deleted entries on subjects they disapprove of, and boosted the biographies of atheists.

The actions of Guerrilla Skepticism on Wikipedia are clearly inappropriate and contravene the site’s regulations. This is given more significance because the Guerrilla Skeptics appear to have connections with militant skeptics organisations like the James Randi Foundation. These are organisations which have a very clear agenda, and vested financial interests in ensuring that certain data and knowledge claims are not permitted free expression. Skeptics have a long history of deliberately distorting and misrepresenting information about psi-phenomena, spiritual experience, and alternative medicine. For example, Richard Wiseman, one of the most influential skeptics, appears to have deliberately misrepresented the positive results he obtained when he attempted to replicate a Sheldrake experiment. This involved an allegedly telepathic dog that seemed to know when its master was coming home, regardless of any sensory cues.

Given the political agenda of militant skeptics groups, they are about as far from being impartial arbiters of truth as is possible to imagine. I am in strong agreement with people like Sheldrake, Weiler and McCluhan that the situation is unacceptable in that it distorts information about a very significant realm of human enquiry. There needs to be a fair and open discussion of these subject matters, free from bullying, personal harassment and misrepresentation of the data.

 

My position

The question that really interests me is this: what is to be done about this deliberate and aggressive attempt by the Guerrilla Skeptics to discredit ideas that contradict their worldview and beliefs? I will address this more clearly in my next post.

But before I sign off for today, let me make my general position on the issue of psi-phenomena, alternative medicine and so on quite clear (for those who have never read any of my work on the subject). After years of intensive first-person introspective investigation, working with some very gifted spiritual teachers, and having written and researched many books, papers and a doctoral thesis on the subject, I am now certain that psi phenomena like ESP, clairvoyance, precognition and so on are genuine. They represent perfectly normal human cognitive capacities, despite the fact that they are not readily on tap for most human beings.

I am hardly a neutral party in this anymore, as I now teach people how to develop what I call integrated intelligence – expanded intuitive perception which engages the extended mind.

It is my conviction that current mainstream psychology and neuroscience are founded on the false presupposition that consciousness in merely a product of neurochemistry. I maintain that consciousness has non-local properties which are essential to understanding the human condition and our place in the universe. Science has made tremendous progress in human understanding and technology since the 1700s, and the benefits are obvious. But we have become obsessed with technology and abstract cognition to the point that we have bought into a false universal story – that human beings are biological machines. I call this the Deckard Confusion, after Harrison Ford’s character in the movie Blade Runner. Deckard wasn’t sure whether he was a man or a robot (in fact it is somewhat ambiguous in Ridley Scott’s director’s cut).

Similarly, contemporary science has become deeply confused about the essential nature of consciousness and the human condition. Science and society have become obsessed with the machine, so much that it now confuses the entire universe for a machine. The mechanistic paradigm which dominates science and much of modern society is a direct result of this. Skeptics organisations and hardcore skeptics in general are thus a product of the modern era, and have bought into the Deckard Confusion at such depth that they have completely lost the capacity to access Integrated Intelligence.

They have lost touch with the human spirit.

The problem is not that science is intrinsically wrong or evil, nor that the so-called left-brained mental functions need to be erased. It’s all a question of addressing the limitations of science, and also of analytical reasoning.

And while the limits of science is often a topic for discussion amongst scientists (who are generally very interested in the topic), the issue is rarely addressed at the required depth within mainstream scientific institutions, and within mainstream education.

In part two of this discussion, I will say a little more about this as I address what can be done about the problem of Guerrilla Skeptics on Wikipedia.

Marcus

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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Australia: The lucky country, or just pissed off?

Is Australia becoming a better country, or a worse one? There is no doubt that it is changing, that it has changed greatly in the sixteen-odd years since I left these shores to explore New Zealand and Asia as an educator and adventurer. It’s a question that I have to ask myself now, a mere three months after my return here from my self-imposed exile.

I never left Australia because I didn’t like it. In fact, quite the reverse. I left because I was too comfortable here, and at the age of thirty had never been overseas. It was time to move out of my comfort zone. I didn’t imagine that after taking up a job at an international school in NZ that I would then go on to live in east Asia for a dozen years. That wasn’t the plan. It just happened. I have always enjoyed exploring new things and challenging myself.

The reason I pose the question about whether Australia is getting any better is two-fold. Firstly, as a futurist with a general interest in helping to contribute to the future of Australia, I have a strong professional interest with deepening my understanding of how the country now operates.

More immediately, just this morning I read a fascinating article by John Silverster in WA Today. “The salad days of a white-bread kid” begins by describing Silverster’s 40th anniversary school reunion, and then moves into comparing Australia at the time of his high school graduation, and as it is today. His conclusions are not positive. He writes that we are less happy, less grateful, and much more angry. And yet..

We as a community have no right to be so angry. We largely escaped the global financial collapse, have good weather, a sound education system, one of the best public-health models in the world and more assets in the ground than a Mokbel on bail.

There is little generational unemployment, no massive ghettos in our cities, low crime rates and we live in a safe, democratic society.

But that is not sufficient for some. This is not so much about the haves and the have-nots but the haves and have-not-everythings. We want the biggest plasma, a spot at the front of the queue and the closest park at the supermarket. Our time is more valuable, our problems more severe and our stories more important than anyone else’s. We try to stuff suitcases the size of a Chevrolet Impala in aeroplane overhead lockers because we are too time poor to stand at a luggage carousel for more than two minutes.

We drive like extras in Death Race 2000 and see any move to be overtaken as an attack on family honour that must be thwarted immediately.

Perhaps Silvester generalises a little more than necessary, but much of the behaviour he describes can be observed relatively commonly.

Silverster also writes that he feels compelled to find the reasons for these changes. He takes a novel approach and asks police officers, and comes up with the following summary of general reasons for increasingly anti-social behaviour.

1) Deadbeat dads who disappear. Many young male offenders have grown up without a male role model in their lives. ”No one has ever shown them how to be a man,” one policeman said. ”We see 25-year-olds carrying on like spoilt 12-year-olds,” said another.

2) Ice. The spread of the drug has led to a serious spike in street violence. Police say male and female users become spooky-violent, leading to an increased use of capsicum spray and foam.

3) Internet. Increase in racial and sexual vilification, easy access to hardline pornography, hate-filled blogs on (un)social media, open invitations to crash parties and the new phenomenon of online bullying have left police to deal with a whole new culture of bad behaviour.

These are some observations well-worth thinking about.Certainly i have noted that people seem to complain a lot about things that are really not so bad. In Hong Kong, if you are unemployed or very old and have no income or family to fall back on, it is quite likely that you may end up as one of the 100 000 “cage people”, living in a metal cage not much bigger than the size of a single mattress, crammed into a room with as many as 16 others – and all without air conditioning in Hong Kong’s sweltering, humid summers. Indeed the median wage in Hong Kong is about the same money as you would get on the dole as a single person in Australia. And Hong Kong is not a cheap city to live in, often rating as one of the most expensive in the world.

The young in Australia also have an easy ride, relatively speaking. In Confucian societies it is typical to have four hours of homework after school – and then tutoring classes to top it off. It gets worse when you get into high school!

But people love to complain in Australia. I was standing next to a fellow about my age the other day, and he was swearing away, complaining bitterly that he had had to wait five minutes in line at Centre-link (the social welfare agency) before being attended to. I was severely tempted to tell him that in many countries you get little or nothing if you do not contribute to society. I managed to restrain myself. If I was getting something for nothing, I wouldn’t be biting the hand that feeds me because the food came slowly.

So much of the problem can be traced back to the nature of mind/ego, and the way it constructs the world, and constructs ‘self’.

I won’t attempt to explore the issues further at this point, but leave this discussion for a later time here on MindFutres.com. Feel free to add your own comments, below. I would be happy to hear them, given that I am now looking into this area.

You can read the rest of Silvester’s story via the link below.

Marcus

Read more: http://www.watoday.com.au/opinion/society-and-culture/the-salad-days-of-a-whitebread-kid-20121207-2b0om.html#ixzz2EVb8SSaR

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The changing living spaces of the future

How will our living spaces change in the future? According to Amanda Talbot, author of Rethink: The Way You Live, many people are now choosing to change the nature of their homes and the spaces within them. Many are making the choice to live in smaller homes closer to the city CBD and their workplaces. Given this, the whole concept of having rooms with one specific purpose – such as sleeping or relaxing – is also shifting. One increasingly popular choice is Japanese style homes, where sliding walls can be moved about as required during different times of the day. An article by Sue Green in the Sydney Morning Herald explores this idea further.

Personally, having lived in tiny apartments in Hong Kong for eight years, I am pretty much over tiny living spaces. At the very least, I believe that it is vitally important to retain a connection with the earth and nature. Nothing beats a backyard with some lawn, a garden and some trees. Most Australians are extremely fortunate to have these.

Marcus

http://smh.domain.com.au/real-estate-news/traditional-rooms-are-changing-20121201-2anhx.html

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Put your writing out there! Why not?

Amazon.com now sells more ebooks than hard covers. You might know that already. But did you know that you can also publish your articles on Kindle? This can be a very good way to get your ideas to a broader audience. I decided to go this route for an academic paper I wrote recently: Entangled Minds: the idea that will change everything?. It’s already sold a few copies, at 99 cents (although Amazon adds $2 in some regions). It is now in the ‘best-seller’ list for its categories, but I know from previous ebooks this doesn’t necessarily mean it has sold anything more than a few copies. It is actually very easy to publish on Amazon. But once you have done so, you will need to use the web social media to promote it.

The key is to write something interesting and readable. I like to personalise my academic papers, and some journal referees don’t like that (that’s basically why two journals wouldn’t publish Entangled Minds without my changing its essential nature – so I declined). Depending on copyright issues, you could also publish parts of articles, or just modify them for a popular audience.

Finally, here’s a great little ebook which will tell you all you need to know to get start: How to publish and sell your article on the kindle, by Kate Harper.

Another great resource is Jason Matthews’ How to Make, Market and sell Your ebook – all for Free, by Jason Matthews. Jason also has a very useful FaceBook page, with regular updates on how to write and publish ebooks, which is equally relevant for article writers.

All the best,

Marcus
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Asian focus is vital for Australia’s future

Australia’s economic future is intimately tied up with Asia and China, Australian foreign minister Bob Carr stated today, as reported in the Sydney Morning Herald. As the mining boom slows, Australia needs to take advantage of the growing middle class in Asia, and provide them with desirable goods and services.

It’s pure common sense. Having spent over a decade in Asia myself, I have seen first hand the Asian economic ‘miracle’. Our (Australian) education systems and industries are lagging behind. As the mining boom winds down, now is the perfect time to act.

 

Marcus

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Asian focus is vital for economy’s future, says Carr

September 25, 2012

Phillip Coorey, Sydney Morning Herald chief political correspondent

 

The Foreign Minister, Bob Carr, has had to deliver a major speech on behalf of Julia Gillard in New York last night after the Prime Minister fell ill.

The speech  was designed as a pitch to foreign investors to see the Australian economy as being about much more than just mining.

There were no immediate details on Ms Gillard’s condition.

Senator Carr described the prosperity generated from the mining boom as ‘‘low hanging fruit’’ as he warned today Australia must become Asia-literate and Asia-capable if it is to sustain the economy well into the future.

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In a speech in New York to the Asia Society and the Economic Club, Senator Carr also impressed upon investors that the economy today is less reliant on mining than generally thought.

At the same time, he will stress the importance of ongoing Chinese demand for minerals and declare ‘‘Australia’s mining boom has long to run’’.

But to prosper over the longer term, Senator Carr will say the nation needs to be able to think beyond the boom and cater to the rising Asian middle-classes. To do so, ‘‘we’ll need to know Asia’’.

‘‘We’ll need Asia literate policies and Asia-capable people,’’ he said.

Senator Carr said more important than China’s growth rate next year is ‘‘what the basket of consumer goods and services will be for middle-class Asian consumers later this Century’’.

‘‘The most challenging risk to Australia, and to countries like Australia, isn’t China growing more slowly than we predict in 2013,’’ he said.

‘‘The most challenging risk is if we can’t make and sell the things that Chinese and Indian and Indonesian and Thai consumers are buying in 2033.’’

‘‘Growth for us requires enormous sophistication. We’ve picked the low-hanging fruit, we need to be smart to find our future.’’

Senator Carr’s speech is a prelude to the imminent release domestically of the Australia in the Asian Century White Paper which will contain several recommendations to ‘‘lift the Asia capabilities’’ of the government and the people, including a stronger focus on education and learning Asian languages.

But Senator Carr’s speech also looked to spruik the Australian economy to the international investment community an impress upon it that the economy is about more than just mineral prices.

Senator Carr stressed that as important as mining has been and will continue to be, the economy now is more resilient than most in the world due to other factors.

‘‘Australia’s economy today is less reliant on our natural resources and our mining boom than you might believe,’’ he will say.

Australia has a strong services sector and over the next four years, ‘‘we expect three times as many new jobs to be created in health care, social assistance, education and training as will be created in mining’’.

Senator Carr said mining is an important part of a bigger picture and he will seek to ease investor fears over commodity prices by calling for perspective. He said iron ore may be forecast to drop from US$126 a tonne this year to US$101 next year but, 10 years ago, ‘‘we got around US$20 per tonne’’.

It is similar with coal and Senator Carr said ‘‘pretty good examples of where the wide view gives you a very different impression from the close-up’’.

‘‘Clearly we’d prefer prices to stay higher for longer and the easing in prices squeezes profits, meaning slower revenue growth for government and hard decisions in the expenditure side,’’ he said.

‘‘But, clearly, if you’d offered us today’s price 10 years ago, we’d gave grabbed them with both hands.

‘‘And if you offered any country Australia’s fiscal position, they’d grab it with both hands too.’’

This is the third successive overseas trip which has not gone to plan for the Prime Minister. She came home early from the Cook Islands when five soldiers were killed in Afghanistan and she left APEC after only one day when her father died.
Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/opinion/political-news/asian-focus-is-vital-for-economys-future-says-carr-20120924-26hi4.html#ixzz27RSjMfye

 

Are bookstores becoming extinct?

Are bookstores becoming a thing of the past as epublishing and mobile devices become the norm? trish and rob MacGreggor discuss this on their fascinating syncrosecrets blog.

http://www.synchrosecrets.com/synchrosecrets/?p=9467 

Personally, I love being able to read hard copy books – but I also love being able to instantly download an ebook. It will be fascinating to see where the industry goes in the next decade. As the MacGreggor’s point out, many major bookstore retailers have gone bust in the last few years. Will all of them go this way?

 

 
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Are the Chinese coming to get us?

Is China coming to devour us? An alarming article written by John Garnaut in the Sydney Morning Herald  (“Australia counters Chinese threat) brings to attention the views of Edward Luttwak, described as a “strong an influential adviser to the Pentagon.” Luttwak says that Australia and the US see China as their biggest threat, and regardless of official statements, their policy is designed to counter the rising influence of China in the Pacific region. China, it is stated, is flexing its muscles, expanding its regional and international power in lieu of its rapid economic rise.

Luttwak, who probably failed Diplomacy 101, had the following to say about China:

”The rapid accession to prosperity has been a very common way for countries to lose their sanity,” Mr Luttwak told the Herald. He said China suffered from ancient and new foreign policy weaknesses. ”The Chinese are autistic in dealing with foreigners, they have no sense of the ‘other’,” he said. ”They think they are incredibly brilliant strategists as if they had been conquering other nations, when in fact it’s been the other way around for 1500 years.”

Is there any truth to what Luttwak says? Yes, it’s all true actually. China has long had a poorly developed sense of its place in the world. There is a strong civilisational sense of superiority, and Chinese leaders often overestimate their own capacities. These things are common arguments found in many books on Chinese history, including many written by Chinese people themselves. In fact there are a lot worse things commonly written about China, but let’s not get into that here.

Here is my essential point. All nations, cultures and religions have a dark side. And certainly we should acknowledge those and develop proactive policies to address those where necessary. Yet if we are to build a future world where nations and cultures are going to live together in peace and mutual respect, we need to introspect and acknowledge our own attitudes and prejudices. And Edward Luttwak has a whole heap of those in terms of his attitudes towards the Chinese. Luttwak’s mental projections towards the Chinese can be summarised as follows

“Sneaky little bastards! You can’t trust these people. They’ll stab you in the back first chance they get. Get them before they get us! You Chinese think you are superior? We are the superior race. Fuck you!”

Likewise Australia billionaire James Packer wants to open every door to every Chinese investor. Packer who has been highly critical of Australian policy towards China. Yet he has his own agenda: money and power. He owns half of Macau, the tiny Chinese territory near Hong Kong which has now become one huge casino.

You don’t need to be a self-proclaimed intuitive like me to pick this stuff up. (You can read my intuitive profiles if you want to understand how I do this).

It’s equally important that when we listen to leaders and political experts, especially when there are important futures at stake, that we don’t get sucked into their projections. When we don’t assume responsibility for our individual mental projections, the result is “Drama” – conflict with those around you. When groups and nations fail to acknowledge their collective “issues” you get people, cultures, religions and countries punching and scratching each other’s eyes out.

Introspecting on our own projections is simple. Anybody can do it. It just takes a little courage to expose your shadow – to yourself. That so few of our leaders and the general public are capable of doing this points to a failure of our education systems, and our parenting skills. If Lutwak had done this, he would not have been ranting about how “autistic” China is. Instead he would have proudly announced to his assembled audience: “The following views are those of an old knob with unresolved trust issues ,and who still has his head stuck in the nineteenth century. So here I go…”

But in the absence of the proper guidance, you still have one potent weapon of insight. Your own intention. Nobody can stop you looking in the mirror. Nor, as an intuitive, into the souls of others. Trust your gut instincts. Too many people listen to old twerps telling them who they should hate.

Marcus

PS if you are interested in knowing how to develop intuitive intelligence, I go into this in detail in my book Discover Your Soul Template.

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Here’s the link and article in full.

 

 

Date

September 22, 2012

 

John Garnaut

John Garnaut is The Age and Sydney Morning Herald’s China correspondent.

AUSTRALIA has been quietly building a regional defence coalition to restrain China’s increasingly ”aggressive” and ”autistic” international behaviour, an influential adviser to the Pentagon says.

Edward Luttwak bluntly contradicts Australian and US denials that they see China as a threat or want to contain its rise.

”Australians view themselves as facing a strategic threat,” he writes in his coming book, The Rise of China v The Logic of Strategy.

The emerging latticework of regional defence arrangements augments ”the overall capacity of the US-Australian alliance to contain China”.

The book praises Australia’s strategic initiative in forging ties with countries such as Malaysia, Indonesia and India that lie beyond America’s natural security orbit, as well as broadening the defence networks of close US allies such as Japan

”Each of these Australian initiatives derives from a prior and broader decision to take the initiative in building a structure of collective security piece by piece, and not just leave it all the Americans,” it says.

Mr Luttwak is a consultant to the Pentagon’s in-house think tank, the Office of Net Assessment, and has high-level access to Chinese and US military officials. His book, to be published in November, stems from a research project commissioned by the ONA’s 91-year-old director, Andrew Marshall, the Pentagon’s ”futurist-in-chief”.

China’s impact on Asia-Pacific security has been on display this week after it hardened territorial claims over the tiny Japanese-administered islands known as Senkaku in Japan and Diaoyu in China. The dispute weighed on financial markets in both countries as investors factored in a risk of war.

”If necessary, we could make the Diaoyu Islands a target range for China’s Air Force and plant mines around them,” said General Luo Yuan, in the state-run Global Times.

A professor of Japanese studies at Beijing Foreign Studies University, Zhou Weihong, said China was ”testing” its new-found economic and military power and the results were not yet in.

The Australian National University’s Hugh White has argued that the US needs to ”share power” with what is going to be ”the most formidable power the US has ever faced”. But for Mr Luttwak, the ”logic of strategy” dictates that neighbours will naturally coalesce against the new rising threat, thus preventing China from realising anything like the relative military power that has been projected.

”The rapid accession to prosperity has been a very common way for countries to lose their sanity,” Mr Luttwak told the Herald. He said China suffered from ancient and new foreign policy weaknesses.

”The Chinese are autistic in dealing with foreigners, they have no sense of the ‘other’,” he said. ”They think they are incredibly brilliant strategists as if they had been conquering other nations, when in fact it’s been the other way around for 1500 years.

While Mr Luttwak’s critique will challenge prevailing understandings in Western policy circles, it echoes criticisms in China itself.

A spokeswoman for the Defence Minister, Stephen Smith, said: ”It is not possible for a country or countries to contain another country with a population of 1.3 billion. The shifting strategic influences must be managed by the international community …”

Mr Luttwak also took James Packer to task for urging Australia to show more ”gratitude” towards China.

Mr Packer, whose casino businesses in Macau and Australia are underpinned by Chinese gamblers, told a conference last week that ”China has been a better friend to us than we have been to China”.

Mr Luttwak praised Australia’s top diplomat, Dennis Richardson, for rejecting ”Packerism”. ”Packer should shut up … because if a country as prosperous as Australia has to compromise its values for the sake of business then what is it that we can ask of poorer countries.

”If a country as rich as Australia needs to appease the Chinese when the Chinese misbehave then, then it has no dignity.”

Mr Luttwak said: ”I don’t know anybody important here who wants to start a war with China, and I don’t know anybody important who wants to follow the Packer line.”

 

 

Arctic ice melt initiates resources grab

This very relevant piece was circulated amongst the World Futures Studies Federation email list. The thawing of the polar regions is creating new economic opportunities as receding ice unveils mineral and energy wealth that has been buried for millennia. It also creates concerns. Are we going to rape and exploit these pristine regions of the planet in th same way we have plundred the rest? The answer appears to be “yes”. nations are already gearing up to ensure they get their slice of the arctic pie.

Race Is On as Ice Melt Reveals Arctic Treasures

Marcus