Tag Archives: Integrated Intelligence

The Journal of Non-Locality

 

For those interested in mind and consciousness, there’s a special issue of the Journal of non-locality just out today, and available online:
“THE OTHER SINGULARITY: PSI AND THE NONLOCAL MIND”.

http://journals.sfu.ca/jnonlocality/index.php/jnonlocality/article/view/75.

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

What is Integrated Intelligence?

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I often refer to the term “Integrated Intelligence.” For example, it is a central part of The Future of Consciousness project and book of the same name, as well as my podcast The Consciousness FilesHowever, not everyone who visits this blog has read my books or knows what I mean by this term. So in today’s post I am going to give a succinct little summary of what Integrated Intelligence (or INI) is. I’m also going to outline what you can actually do with it, and give some fascinating examples.

Before we even begin to define Integrated Intelligence, we should stop for a moment to ask what intelligence is.

Intelligence is the mental ability which allows you to function successfully in a given situation

– and nothing more. Academics and philosophers have been arguing about this for centuries, and still can’t agree on much more than the definition I give you.

It’s from this definition of intelligence that I define Integrated Intelligence as:

The ability to draw on the extended mind and all its intuitive capacities to function successfully and solve problems.

The extended mind, in turn, is:

Consciousness that extends beyond the individual’s brain, and connects us with spiritual realms.

So basically Integrated Intelligence is using more of your mind, including the intuitive, to do what you really want. This does not exclude the “rational” functions of the mind, because both the intuitive and the rational have their valid functions.

It also follows that Integrated Intelligence is not the same thing as “enlightenment” or spiritual evolution. Nonetheless, Integrated Intelligence can be employed towards these ends. INI is typically described as being part of higher states of consciousness, as reported in many spiritual traditions. And the more acute these states, the more developed Integrated Intelligence tends to be.

Using INI
Let’s get a little more practical. How can you actually apply INI? There are at least seven core mental functions that INI allows you to perform.

Connectivity. This is the ability to sense the connections between and amongst things. Connectivity has several forms, and is probably not a single cognitive process (perhaps I will break it down in later writings). It includes the higher order enlightenment experiences where the individual‘s sense of self expands out beyond her immediate body.

A classic example comes from Maurice Bucke’s Cosmic Consciousness (1905), where he reported a profound mystical experience.

I was losing my consciousness, my identity, I was powerless to hold myself. Now came a period of rapture so intense that the Universe stood still, as if amazed at the unutterable majesty of the spectacle! Only one in all the infinite Universe! The All-loving, the Perfect One! The Perfect Wisdom, truth, love, and purity! And with the rapture came the insight. In that same wonderful moment of what might be called supernatural bliss, came illumination… What joy when I saw there was no break in the chain — not a link left out — everything in its time and place. Worlds, systems, all bended in one harmonious whole. Universal light, synonymous with Universal love!

Location. This is the capacity to sense where things are, without necessarily having prior information.

This can occur through a feeling, or might be visual in nature. Once I lost my credit card, and couldn’t find it for days. So I did meditation, putting myself into a light trance state. I kept asking where the card was, and after a few minutes a clear image came to me of the back pocket of a black pair of jeans. I got up immediately and went to the cupboard where my only black pair of jeans was hanging, and found the credit card in the back pocket.

Diagnosis. Diagnosis is the ability to intuitively find the cause of problems.

A friend of mine who worked for steel giant BHP some years back, reported that he used his intuition to repair machinery. Rather than trying to rationally analyse why a machine had broken down, he would often just stop, and allow the answer to come to him. He claimed he could do this anywhere, and referred to an incident when he was on a friend’s boat, and the engine stopped. He told the boat owner what he felt was wrong, and as soon as the problem was investigated, his hunch was proven to be correct.

Recognition is being able to immediately know some­body or something without ever being told about them or it.

In Autobiography of a Yogi, Paramahansa Yogananda tells a story from his childhood. One day he was walking along a street and saw a yogi (Indian wise man) walking towards him. He was filled with a deep and immediate knowing that this yogi was to be his master. He fell to his feet, and was full of tears. This began a teacher-student relationship which lasted many years till the yogi’s death – and even after, according to Yogananda (He was able to communicate with his master in spirit form).

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Precognition. When you sense what is going to happen in the future, this is Precognition.

A few years ago when I was on the phone to a friend of a friend. We were trying to arrange a meeting to discuss a certain issue which could help my wife. The guy in question told me he’d ring back to see if he could find the time to meet me that afternoon. When he hung up I asked my wife if she felt he would meet us (I was encouraging her to develop hr intuition). She said she had no idea. I then told her there was more chance of Dalai Lama becoming the next president of China than that guy taking the time to meet us. I could feel his complete lack of intention. He called back three hours later to say he was busy.

Evaluation. Evaluation involves being able to intuitively determine the wisdom or value of different options and choices.

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In Discover Your Soul Template I tell the story of a very long and protracted meeting at a school I worked at in Hong Kong, where we teachers and administrators sat through a tedious four-hour meeting, listening to representatives of text book companies give their pitch. After a couple of hours, and almost falling asleep, I simply felt the energy of the four options, and saw straight away that there was only one real choice. There was another meeting the following week before the admin finally chose that same book.

Inspiration. This term refers to creative knowledge and ideas that come to you from spiritual sources, not your conscious mind.

Many creators, artists writers and even scientists have reported being guided by inspiration that was beyond their conscious volition. William Blake, for example, said that angels inspired his poetry. For the writing on my thesis, I used a process I call Integrated Inquiry, which allowed me to write prolifically.

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There are also two outcomes which emerge from the successful application of INI.

Wisdom. Wisdom results from the capacity to use INI to create a life that is deeply meaningful and in alignment with a person’s highest needs.

Transformation. A core shift, lifting the person towards greater wisdom and intelligence, and creating a higher level of consciousness. This causes a transformation of hisa/her entire being.

So that, in a nutshell, is Integrated Intelligence

Marcus

The Future of Consciousness

Some of you might recall a book I was working on which I was tentatively calling The Great Mind Shift. I then changed the title to The Great Transition. The main idea of the book is to explore the futures of the extended mind – and especially what changes might occur once this idea becomes accepted by mainstream science. I kind of became stuck on this project for a while. I didn’t give up, just put it on the back burner.

Well, I’ve had a genuine breakthrough recently, and am going great guns on the project. The shift has been simple. I have clarified the title and the audience. I am now calling it “The Future of Consciousness: Towards an Integrated Intelligence.”

Rather than try to make the book water-tight for the scientific community (which would make it too dry and detailed) I am going to aim at a more popular audience. I am going to address the science, but also move beyond scientific convention. I will focus upon practical applications of integrated intelligence in education, business, IT and social development, and even bring in a few extraneous futures such as with mental health and the military. This will allow me to combine research, critical futures studies and personal insight.

I am in the process of interviewing experts in relevant fields. I will turn the first 12 of these into podcasts – probably under the title “The Consciousness Files” – which will be made available to the general public. If the podcasts go well, I will continue to produce them. You will hear more about this soon. I hope you can join me in this adventure. It should be both fun and a great learning experience for me and my audience.

PS, if you think you have something to share in this area, especially in terms of possible practical applications of integrated intelligence, send me a message here on Facebook, and I will see if we can turn it into a podcast – and if not, it might be able to incorporate your ideas into my book, fully referenced to you, of course.

Feel free to share this post! Marcus.

A Great Wave Descends

I’ve been busy writing my new book The Coming Consciousness Revolution (edit: note it was previously called The Great Mind Shift). Below I’ve posted the introduction to the book (thus the title of this blog post), which covers some of the main themes, and tells you a little more about what is in the book. I’d be grateful for any feedback. Books don’t get written in an instant. They are a real work of art, and what you see below will probably change quite a lot before the book appears on the shelves. Any comments you make – positive or critical – will definitely be noted by me.

PS: If you wish to be kept up to date about research and developments regarding The Coming Consciousness Revolution (interviews, videos, the book project, important links to other works etc.) just email me at newsletter@marcustanthony.com, and I will send you updates every month or so.

Regards,

Marcus

The Great Mind Shift: The revolution is coming by MarcusTanthony

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 True Cost of Living Your Bliss (2)

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(Cartoon image by Paul MacLeod)

In my previous post I wrote of my own difficult experience in making my way in the world using spiritual principles. I am an educator, futurist, writer and speaker whose passion is for Deep Futures – futures where the technological and economic is more evenly balanced with the deeper spiritual aspects of human existence.

In that article I wrote of how, in the years after I begun my own spiritual journey, I had more than a decade of largely positive outcomes and experiences. But this was followed by several difficult years where I struggled, primarily at a professional level. During the “good” years I found work easily, almost effortlessly gained a PhD, successfully published books, academic papers and articles. Money flowed to me easily.

Then, during the difficult years I experienced a lot of professional rejection, mostly from mainstream educational institutions. I found that all my work and passion for Deep Futures had rendered me almost unemployable in mainstream institutions. To be honest, after years of things going well, I wasn’t psychologically prepared for the challenge of being effectively unemployed. I was not quite homeless and penniless, but was forced to rent a single room and my income stream withered away to barely a trickle.

I also separated from my wife during this time, and my mother was diagnosed with a terminal illness. So it was a great challenge to my sense of self and to my relationship with life and the universe. At times I became depressed and angry. It was difficult not to think that the future was bleak, and that all my years of hard work and creativity had come to nothing.

However there is no such thing as failure as long as you learn from it, or so the success gurus say. And I have certainly leaned a great deal from this period in my life. Most of all I learned of some of the unconscious errors that people who undertake a consciously spiritual life can make. And I am going to share them with you here. My hope is that you can be aware of these common pitfalls that spiritually-inclined professionals often make, and take positive action if you see any of these limitations appearing on your own journey.

Distinctions

The key distinction I have come to clearly acknowledge is this.

Just because you follow your bliss it does not guarantee you worldly success.

This is a bit of an affront to the Romantic notions of Thoreau and the new age movement, but I have concluded that it is true. Note that I did not say that success is not possible, nor even likely. I simply said that there is no guarantee.

Think about it. If worldly success inevitably follows passion, then almost every musician, artist and writer on the planet would be an international success, because the vast majority follow their heart’s calling.

A related point is that many spiritual seekers carry with them a barely-conscious delusion that “God” will reward them professionally and financially for doing “God’s work” (which they of course, define for themselves). They might even think God will grant them special dispensation for making personal sacrifices or experiencing suffering upon their journey. Sorry to break it to you, but it doesn’t work that way.

I know that in many churches and also in the movies suffering is given great value. But it has no intrinsic reward. “God” doesn’t care if you suffer! That ought to be obvious if you look at the enormous amount of suffering in the world. So if I were you I’d ditch this idea and start having a good old time of it.

Here is my second distinction.

Just because you develop psychologically and spiritually does not mean that financial and professional success will automatically follow.

For many naïve new agers and spiritual seekers there is an unconscious expectation that this will be so; and many of them get angry at God when personal success does not follow right after they became more mindful, peaceful, intuitive or whatever. Let me be clear on this. There is no guarantee one will follow now other! Spiritual maturity is not necessarily related to professional and business success. If this was the case the local Taoist monk would be a billionaire, and Donald Trump would be a homeless beggar.

Spiritual development and spiritual maturity should be valued for what they are intrinsically, not for what leverage they can grant you in the marketplace. The new age tends to conflate financial and spiritual intelligence, as do some Christian and esoteric traditions right across the world. This mindset tends to include a great deal of magical thinking – just believe it enough and it will happen.

The greatest value of spiritual development is that it awakens a new relationship with the mind, and with the world. It is a journey of love and compassion.

It is not a journey of cash. Well, not necessarily.

When naïve spiritual folks experience failure and rejection, they often take it very personally. (This is what I did, too – for a time.) They think that they didn’t believe in their dream enough to make it happen. They typically believe that they are being punished by God. They may even believe that they have become a spiritual failure. The self-talk goes something like this.

“I must have done something wrong.”

“I haven’t been spiritual enough.”

“I didn’t believe enough.”

“I didn’t clear my blocks.”

“I didn’t get rid of doubt and fear.”

In short the message they send to themselves is: “There’s something wrong with me!”

I have another take on things. Consider this another key distinction.

“God” doesn’t give a toss about your bank account or career standing.

Life rarely goes as planned. Nor does it always attune itself to our conscious expectations. As I have written elsewhere, I do believe that there is some general truth to the idea of the law of attraction. Life does generally reflect back to you your deepest beliefs and attitudes. But this is not the same thing as saying that you can always control what happens simply by focussing upon it.

We are all embedded within a greater cosmic story. We need to accept that there are many external influences upon our lives. These include social systems, cultural expectations, consciousness fields and perhaps even the very will of God itself. This is why it is important to allow yourself to mindfully acknowledge the eddies and currents of life, and to align with those currents without taking it personally. And if you go against those currents? If you judge and condemn and blame and complain? Well, by definition, there will be resistance. And when the mind resists, there will be suffering.

I am not saying that you should not challenge systems or embedded energy structures. Many of the great minds in history did just that. Sometimes it is actually necessary to do so. Steve Jobs, Einstein and Rupert Sheldrake are just three admirable figures who have challenged “the system”. Each was/is very successful; but each has had to endure some systemic persecution in order to achieve that success.

This brings me to my final distinction;

There is a price to pay for working outside the accepted worldview of dominant society. You have to be prepared for the possibility that worldly success and acceptance may not come your way. Almost certainly, such acceptance will be denied you many times and in many situations – even if you are personally and professionally successful in the long run.

So choose your battles wisely.

Listen to your intuition before embarking upon on a great conquest. Listen to your inner voice at all steps along the way, too, as it is easy to go astray. Correct your course where necessary.

Failure is often temporary, and it pays to keep in mind that the end of one story often opens up a new story. And it is often only when the new story emerges that we realise that the old story was no longer serving us. So when one story is ending, don’t hold onto it beyond its used-by-date. Don’t invest it with meaning beyond what it deserves. Judgments such as “I am a failure”, “That’s the end of everything for me!” and “I blew my chance” only lock you into the past and prevent a new story opening up.

Let it die.

Perhaps the most powerful thing I have learned so far upon my journey is how to be present to life. Presence grants the capacity to align your mind with the truth of life – not resist it. And the truth of life is whatever lies before you in the moment. If a person can ground themselves in the wonder and beauty of presence, then personal successes and failures do not have much power over him or her. The moment is where the grace of God is found, and the moment can never abandon us. It is only we who abandon the moment – through judgment. It is only we who abandon God.

Follow your excitement, but learn from your mistakes. Acknowledge your weaknesses and shortcomings. Be grateful to life for showing you these, even if the lessons are sometimes tough!

Most of all, be here now.

If you do this, your falls will be shorter in duration and less painful. Most of all you will grow in grace and wisdom.

Such an attitude is enriching. But even all this is not enough wisdom if you want to move out into the world and play games in society and in the market place. You need a little practical know-how. And that will be the subject of my third and final instalment in this little series about the price of spiritual engagement in the world.

Blessings,

Marcus

 

 

The True Cost of Living Your Bliss (1)

So you want to dive in at the deep end and get into this alternative philosophy business? And by “business”, I do mean business. Perhaps you have had a few personal experiences which have led you to deeply question the way dominant science and education represent the human condition. You might have had a spiritual experience or an intuitive foretaste of something extraordinary – a glimpse of what have been labelled the “supernatural” or “paranormal”. After such revelations the wise words of the American transcendentalists and Eastern mystics have no doubt been jumping out at you from behind metaphysical corners that you didn’t even know were there.

It could be that things have begun to gather momentum for you – not so much like a giant snow ball rolling downhill, but a great wave of mystical light cascading from the heavens. Reading a few books about things like “spiritual business” and “the law of attraction” may have begun to stir creative juices within your mind. You could be forgiven for starting to think of the possibilities. What if I put all that spiritual knowledge into this idea??

So now you are all set to go, full of excitement at the journey ahead – as a writer, public speaker, social media expert, researcher, healer, entrepreneur… Those famous words of perhaps the greatest of the American transcendentalists, Henry David Thoreau, never felt truer.

“If one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with success unexpected in common hours.”

So it all looks pretty good from your current perspective, doesn’t it? Success seems almost divinely guaranteed. But before you step off onto the road less traveled, before you take that first step on the journey of ten thousand steps, you might like to consider the price.

“The price?”, you say. “What price? Everything’s cool!”

Please allow me to backtrack a little. Let me give you some advice from a traveller of both mystical and worldly waters. Permit me to return to where it all began for me…

Twenty years ago I made the big decision to resign from my job as a secondary school teacher in Warren, a tiny, remote town in western New South Wales, Australia. I had had enough of the mundane world of chalk and talk. My decision had been initiated a few months earlier when I had stumbled across Wayne Dyer’s new age tome You’ll See It When You Believe It in the local newsagent. Reading that book gave me the courage to quit. So I packed my stuff into my car and headed for greener shores – quite literally. I landed in Coffs Harbour, a nice little town on the north coast of the same state. As I outline in my book Discover Your Soul Template, my newly acquired mystical proclivities then led me to join a meditation group fronted by Lesley Halverson, a middle-aged woman with some obvious intuitive gifts. One evening after her meditation class had wound down, Lesley announced that she had dreamed of UFOs the previous night; and based upon that dream she predicted that UFOs would be observable at around 2.00 am that night. Although it seemed preposterous to me that anyone could predict such a thing based upon a dream, I challenged myself to get up at that ungodly hour and take a look around.

My naive mystical worldview was well rewarded, for that cool and starry winter’s morning I witnessed two very different UFO phenomena – one a great ball of shimmering light that glided silently across the sky, and the other a flotilla of disc-like objects which flew over my head at a distance of a few hundred metres.

You can imagine how this event forever changed the way I viewed life, science and education. No longer could I buy the dominant western worldview which depicts human beings as biological meat machines trapped without meaning and purpose in a mechanistic universe. Nor could I continue to commit to a nine-to-five mundane existence in my home country. Instead I embarked on a long journey of self-discovery that saw me live and work in five different countries. It also included exploring exhaustive spiritual disciplines and emotional healing that necessitated enormous courage and commitment.

Throughout this period I explored the mystical and spiritual realms via meditative and mindful practice, shifting my new worldview from a “belief” into lived experience. My innate intuitive abilities expanded and I developed cognitive capacities that had believed to be science fiction only a few years prior to that. I found that I could sense the future, channel creative energy, interact with spiritual dimensions and tap into consciousness fields of both individuals and groups.

During this time I did not ignore the more “rational” side of human experience. Eventually I earned a PhD, developing the concept of “integrated intelligence” – the idea that the human mind is not limited in space and time, and can draw upon non-local information. In my thesis I argued that consciousness is not confined to the brain, nor even to physical systems. Thus the notion of integrated intelligence was developed from both personal experience and formal research.

I kept working in mainstream education to pay the bills, even as I developed my esoteric and intuitive proclivities. Eventually I established a niche for myself as a researcher, writer and speaker. I became the futurist with a passion for Deep Futures, speaking and writing about how an unnecessarily delimited model of cosmos and consciousness was retarding human social and spiritual development. I published widely in magazines, newspapers and journals and successfully published my doctoral thesis. I was elated when I also got my first mainstream book contract.

Some fifteen years passed between the time I left my first teaching job until I published Discover Your Soul Template. In many ways it was a time of incredible excitement. I was following Thoreau’s advice and pursuing my dream. Success seemed to come easily. As I travelled from country to country I managed to earn a very good income, taking jobs that were high-paying but undemanding. This is what allowed me to pursue my doctorate and to write and present at academic conferences and in public domain.

It is not that there were no challenges during this period. Perhaps the greatest was acknowledging that I carried a huge amount of pain and self-limiting belief structures within my psyche. Working with that energy was often excruciatingly difficult. But overall I can say that everything fell together in what seemed to be divine perfection. As my wife noted, things just kept getting better and better.

Perhaps it was that this success had created a little naivety within me. I had conveniently forgotten something that Lesley Halverson had told me all those years ago when I had attended her mediation group. For one day she had passed on a message to me “from spirit”. It was the most simple communication imaginable.

“Remember that there is a price to pay for everything,” she had said.

That was it. The words had been spoken seemingly out of the blue in the middle of a meditation class. They were directed specifically at me. I suspect Lesley has probably forgotten about those words, but somehow they lingered in the back of my mind.

It took me many years to appreciate what they mean. I’m a slow learner.

So let me get back to my story. I haven’t quite finished yet.

It was only after I completed my PhD that I began to experience setbacks in my professional and personal life. The first and obvious problem was that my impassioned focus upon researching and writing about the spiritual and mystical had become a roadblock to my academic and public career. No university or academic institution would touch me. I got hundreds of rejections. I looked on with an increasingly despairing gaze as I saw some of my futurist colleagues (who did their doctorates in more mainstream fields) snap up university jobs with little or no effort. My papers were rejected at many academic conferences; and when I attended such conferences at my own expense, I often saw rather robotic and soulless presentations by professors who were just going through the motions of the academic system. I sat there thinking, “I know I could do a much better presentation than this!”

It was frustrating. It was disheartening. I felt angry and abandoned by the system.

When I returned to Australia from Asia things got even worse. Not only was I getting rejected by the universities; suddenly even public high schools would not hire me. My CV was a confusing mishmash of mundane public school teaching combined with extensive, self-funded academic qualifications and publications. I recall one interviewer looking at me with a rather puzzled expression. “It seems like you have even living two very different lives,” he said. I laughed. But the smile soon faded when he turned me away.

I experimented with different approaches. I submitted CVs leaving off all forty or so of my academic publications and erasing the PhD. But that just made me look like a middle-aged school teacher who had been too lazy to invest in career development for the previous twenty years.

The low point came when I had used up all my savings, and could no longer even afford to rent a house. While I was receiving an income stream from books and publications, it was nowhere near enough to live on. My wife and I were forced to move into a single room, sharing a house with three others.

I had to make a choice. Would I give up all that I had invested in my soul journey? Would I recommit to a mundane life of nine to five?

I’ll let you know what happened in the second part of this article, and I’ll also share with you some of the key distinctions I have taken from my setbacks.

Marcus

Gurerilla War, Unfair (Part 3 – Engaged Presence)

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

In the first post I described the problem regarding the presence of hard-core skeptics group Guerrilla Skeptics, and their undue control of Wikipedia pages related to spiritual and psi phenomena.

In the second post I outlined three different approaches to the problem, and the merits of each. I also wrote why certain approaches are likely to be counterproductive – and potentially spiritually regressive. I introduced the idea of gentle engagement.

In this final post I will describe the practical application of engaged presence – which can be employed in any kind of debate or discourse, both online and in real world situations. I also suggest how “conflicts” can be of great benefit to anybody on a path of awakening.

 

Engaged presence

Engaged presence is simple. It is a process which involves attending to debates, online discussions and personal differences while remaining present and mindful. You can also use it in public talks, meetings, and media interviews. It enables you to access the analytical and intellectual mind while also retaining the equanimity of mindful presence. The greatest benefit of this approach to intellectual discourse is that it prevents you from getting lost in petty squabbles – the kind that tend to dominate public discourse, especially online.

You can employ engaged presence in any kind of debate or “argument” with someone. Of course, engaged presence does not feel anything like what you might think of as an “argument”. Arguments are confrontational in nature. Engaged presence is light. It is not a matter of life and death, which is how most intellectual confrontations feel – because the mind is so attached to the outcome.

For example, should anyone be foolish enough to take up the challenge of attempting to challenge the Guerrilla Skeptics on Rupert Sheldrake’s Wikipedia page, they could use engaged presence to minimise the level of insanity that might be expected to overcome any normal human being undertaking such a task.

Engaged presence does not require any pronounced altered state of consciousness. It is true that it involves a relaxed state of mindful presence, but this is not much different from, say, having a relaxed chat with a friend in the evening.

In short, the key difference between engaged presence and normal intellectual discourse is that the individual has a greater level of mindfulness – and indeed, playfulness. They maintain an awareness of the mind (or ego) even as they engage the other person.

In practice

This is very, very simple, no? It is unnecessary to complicate this.

1. Bring yourself present

In the minutes or moments before you are about to engage the other person (in a real world situation or via electronic media) bring yourself fully present. Sit or stand quietly. Take note of your breath moving in and out of your chest. Feel yourself fully in your body. Relax as you bring your attention to your breath, releasing any tension you might feel. With any thoughts that come into your mind, simply observe them, and then gently return your attention to your breath. Do this for five breaths, and you should then be present in the moment.

Alternatively, bring your awareness on to something that is physically with you. Anything will do – a cup, a chair, the desk before you. Allow your mind to become fully present with the object. Just gently observe it for thirty seconds. Again, if any thoughts come into your mind, just observe them, and then return your attention to the thing which you are observing.

2. Agenda awareness (optional)

For those who are proficient at working with the shadow or who have previous experience with meditative processes which involve introspection and self-reflection, you can add a few moments of “agenda awareness”. If you are proficient at bringing yourself into mindful presence you will automatically be able to sense any barely conscious or overt agendas you have regarding the people or situation you are about to engage.

The first part of agenda awareness is to take note of any emotions you feel within yourself, both those projected at the people you are engaging, and at yourself. Pay careful consideration of any aggressive feelings you have towards the people you are engaging. Common projections to note are thoughts and feelings such as the following

“You are an idiot! You don’t know anything!”

“I know best. I am smarter than you!”

Take note also of your agendas for power and control over the situation, or in trying ensure a particular outcome.

“I am in control here!”

“I must take control.”

“He must not be allowed to speak!”

“They are going to try to get me! I must strike first!”

Agendas like these are many. Just because they are half-mad doesn’t make them go away!

You can self-dialogue with such agendas if you like. But this takes time, and you may not have time in any given situation – see this summary of specific useful tools). A more efficient way to neutralise agendas is just to confess your agendas to “God”, the universe, or whatever greater intelligence you may perceive (see the fifth tool). If you are not spiritually inclined, just confess them to the chair or the pot plant if you like. The key is to fully admit the agenda. Remember, this is a non-judgmental process. You are not beating yourself up or finding that you are “bad”. In fact just laugh or smile. You are only human!

3. Engage mindfully

As you sit with the other person, or engage with them via image or word on a computer screen, keep mindful presence by regularly focussing upon your breath, body, or something solid within the room. Observe your own judgments, feelings and thoughts mindfully.

If during your engagement you find yourself being dragged into the mind, reacting with anger and judgment, pull back silently from the other. Bring yourself present again by focussing upon a single breath or something within the room. Observe the feelings of anger and judgment within you. Don’t believe in them and don’t make them the other person’s fault. They are your projections. If you do this, your projections will lose their power over you.

Give yourself permission to smile and laugh. Be light.

4. Disengage

As you leave the engagement, bring yourself to mindful attention again. Note any judgments, feelings or agendas that linger. Allow yourself to surrender to the outcome, whatever it may be. Let go.

It is easy to know if you have successfully employed engaged presence. You feel relaxed and possibly joyful. You feel at peace. If you feel angry, resentful or annoyed at those whom you have just engaged, then you have failed to employ the process successfully.

Agendas of mind

Note: Here the term “agenda” refers to subtle intentions of power and control over the other person or situation. It does not refer to any conscious intention you may have in the engagement, e.g. wanting to correct misrepresentations of Rupert Sheldrake on his Wikipedia page.

Having worked on being mindfully present for many years, I have come to observe several common agendas that tend to arise when people are confronting others, and when they are battling for control of ideas. It might pay you to reflect on these. Being able to catch the mind when it develops agendas is very useful if you want to practice engaged presence. As long as you have an agenda, you are not fully present. You are bringing some past hurt to the table, or some intention or motivation about the future. It is not possible to listen deeply if this is the case.

I call the modern, preferred way of fighting others for control of ideas “confrontational binaries”. The following agendas are commonly experienced during such engagements.

1). The mind is very serious. The mind sees the maintenance of its own worldview as a kind of life and death struggle. With engaged presence you relax in the knowledge that beliefs and ideas are ephemeral. Engaged presence is light and playful.

2) Attachment to one’s beliefs and opinions. In engaged presence you acknowledge mental attachments, and gently release them.

3). Identification with ones beliefs and opinions. The mind typically has trouble distinguishing itself from its own thoughts. In engaged presence, the individual is familiar with a deeper level of awareness beyond thought. This means that you are not so identified with the content of thought.

4). There is an incessant need to be right. The mind is often like a dog at a bone, and just won’t let go. In engaged presence you let go and allow the process to unfold (but are still mindful of what you understand – and believe to be true).

5). The mind sees the other as a threat. There is fear and anger. This is not as irrational as you might think, because in confrontational binaries the other person is also engaged in judgment, and the barely conscious agenda is to overpower and destroy you and your opinion. Debate and argument are inherently violent mental processes. In engaged presence you are mindful of this tendency to strike out at the other. In presence you see the other at a deeper level, beyond the opinions and arguments they are presenting.

6) The mind seeks approval from observers and opponents. In states of presence the need for approval diminishes.

7) The mind is attached to the outcome of the discussion. In engaged presence you release the outcome.

8) There is an agenda for power and control over your opponent, or in regard to the purpose of the discussion, how you are perceived etc. In engaged presence you gently acknowledge any need for power and control.

9) Typically, there is an attempt to be seen as clever – intellectually, morally or spiritually superior. This is often part of an implicit power struggle which attempts to place you above your opponent. Naturally, this tends to create fear and anger in the other person, even when the agenda is unconscious. With engaged presence, one releases the need to be seen as smarter or morally superior to the other person. If you are brilliant, good for you. There is no need to turn this into a game of “I am better.”

How is it possible to be mindful of all this in any given situation? It would be very difficult indeed if you had to consciously focus on all of these factors simultaneously. But in practice that is not actually necessary. These perspectives – and the awareness that goes with them – tend to emerge naturally from the presence that you bring to the situation.

However…

Engaged presence doesn’t excuse you from becoming informed about the subject matter you are discussing. Be careful. The ego might attempt to employ engaged presence with an aloof agenda to remain in control and to avoid being challenged. Nor is the purpose of engaged presence to impress people about how Buddha-like you are. That would be an agenda – and more approval seeking.

Employing engage presence doesn’t mean you will win the debate or argument. Sorry, but you might lose the debate! Observers might decide that your opponent’s arguments or opinions are stronger. People might retain their prejudices and biases.

Nor does gentle engagement guarantee systemic change – at least not in the short run. In the situation with Guerrilla Skeptics, Craig Weiler has blogged about his frustration at trying to fairly edit Rupert Sheldrake’s Wikipedia page when the editors appear to be heavily favouring skeptical input. If a person were to employ engaged presence in trying to balance that discussion, it would not change the Wikipedia system in the short term. However it would grant the person a greater degree of equanimity as he went about his work. It would also allow him to relax and be mindful of his own agendas, and what lies behind them (there is often trauma and anger behind our personal agendas).

Of course in the long run our imaginary Wikipedia editor might slowly influence the discourse on that site, and he would be able to keep his wits about him as he did so.

Nor does engaged presence guarantee that others will not conspire in a power game against you (which sometimes happens online, in the media or in public meetings and interviews). But it does pull your ego out of the game. This tends to disengage the other person’s ego, helping them to relax. They will feel less threatened by you, and logically they will feel less need to eliminate you from further discussions, or exclude you from any power within the given situation.

But again, there is no guarantee. Just be careful that your mind does not set up the agenda that it is owed something merely because it has employed a “superior” means of dialogue – seeking recognition or a God-guaranteed victory. Engaged presence does not guarantee outcomes. It merely permits a specific kind of engagement.

Mastery of mind

Of course, in order to access gentle engagement simply and easily it is best that you understand and are familiar with the experience of presence. If you do not experience presence regularly in your normal life, it is unlikely that you will be able to master engaged presence in a debate. As Leonard Jacobson has so often said, the awakening process requires not just the ability to bring oneself into presence. It also requires mastery of mind (which enables you to stay present at will). And being a master of mind means that you understand yourself well enough to be able to realise how your mind attempts to bring you out of presence and into the world of drama and projection.

There is one final benefit to employing engaged presence which I will share with you. In the state of alert presence you will increasingly notice subtle things about the people you are engaging with. Because you are no longer judging the other person or trying to control them, you will be able to sense the agendas of their minds, including their striving for power and control over you, their attachment to the need to be right, their wanting to be seen as clever and so on. If you are very relaxed, you may also see auras and energy structures about the person, and you might even see glimpses of their soul story. I often sense such things when I am in relaxed presence with others.

The wise man or woman will not use these intuitive insights to affirm an agenda – such as gaining power over the other. In fact, if you are deeply present, compassion and forgiveness arise spontaneously – even for your “opponent”.

I suggest you experiment with engaged presence. You don’t have to be in a formal debate to use it, you can just use it during normal discourse with someone you know or love.

Go ahead. You might be surprised at what you learn.

Blessings,

Marcus

Guerrilla War, Unfair (Part 2)

three-paths

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

  • In the first post I described the problem regarding the presence of hard-core skeptics, and their undue control of Wikipedia pages related to spiritual and psi phenomena.
  • In this second post I will outline three different approaches to the problem, and the merits of each. 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.

Before I get down to business and make some suggestions about how to approach the problem of Guerrilla Skeptics on Wikipedia, allow me to clarify a personal position which is central to my perspective.

In my own life I have gone through phases of personal development. At first I was a skeptic, refusing to take anything seriously that dint have hard science behind it. But over time that attitude slowly softened. In my mid-twenties I explored the visionary realms through dreams and meditation. Several years later, when I finally admitted to myself that I had spiritual and psychological which issues I needed to address, I worked on self-healing and the emotional body. This involved a great deal of inner child work. Finally, I came to appreciate the importance of mindful presence.

One thing I learned in recent years is that a belief in the spiritual or psychic realms keeps one locked in “the mind”. Simply adopting a spiritual worldview – as opposed to, say, a scientific materialist worldview – is not enough to transcend the dichotomies that have created the split in the modern mind (reason vs intuition).

Developing intuitive, visionary or psychic cognition is not particularly beneficial in itself. It is true that these abilities will let you know that the modern world and science has got the big picture very wrong. And they can be helpful in decision making, especially regarding the big life choices. But they won’t free you from the grip of mind (ego, if you prefer). All visionary experiences and even the most profound peak experiences quickly pass, leading one back into the mind’s world of doubt, fear and separation. Unless a person becomes fundamentally established in presence, the mind will always cut back in.

This brings me to my specific point about what to do about Guerrilla Skeptics. Here I am going to simplify things and present just three distinct possible approaches, and the benefits and drawbacks of each. The points I make here are going to be general. I will keep more specific suggestions for my next post.

Fight the bastards

This is – either explicitly or implicitly – the stance that many advocates on either side of the “psi wars” adopt. The idea is to take up effective arms, man the computers, and start hacking your opponent. The benefit seems to be that you can get out there and really get your teeth into your opponent. There is the sense that you can make a genuine contribution, and stand up for the truth. It is, in theory, a noble path. But there is a problem.

The danger with this approach is that it tends to ensnare the individual the mind, in a battle for control and power. In other words, it can lock you in the little world of the ego, and all its suffering.

Pro-psi folks on a wisdom path who start fighting skeptics and “unbelievers” may pay the price of sacrificing their own spiritual awakening. I maintain that you cannot fully awaken into presence while you are fighting anyone or anything, or rejecting the world in any way. Those who fight the darkness typically become ensnared in it.

I saw a classic example of this recently on Facebook, where an influential psi-psi proponent let loose with a torrent of rage that was so obscenity-laden I thought I was reading a script from a porn movie. He must have used the word “fuck” a dozen times in one short post. It was fuck him, fuck that, fuck them all. His rage against the other was obvious and extreme.

Here I use an extreme example, but if many pro psi-proponents are perfectly honest, they will admit that at times their own minds degenerate into similar waves of rage and hatred – against critics. In other words, they are still playing the same game as the fundamentalists and skeptics – “Destroy the other guy, because he is deluded and evil!”

Are you really willing to sacrifice your own awakening, your own peace of mind, just to satisfy your mind’s need to be seen to be right? Personally, I don’t think it is worth it.

Let them be. It’s all in divine perfection

It is not uncommon for mystics and spiritually-inclined people to prefer to avoid confrontation with people, society and ideas. A common position is that the greatest gift we can offer the world is our own awakening (I agree with this last point). Because all minds are connected, by merely awakening from the dream of mind, you already help shift the world in a very powerful way. Indeed, by fighting the world, you may lose your own awakened state, and thus delay the conscious evolution of our species, if only by a little. Perhaps then, the greatest contribution you can make, looking at the big picture, is not to fight people like the Guerrilla Skeptics (they are not going to listen to anything which challenges their position anyway), but to enlighten your own mind.

There are other rational reasons for just letting mainstream science, society and even the skeptics coast along as they are, or at least with minimal resistance. It is my conviction that eventually the evidence and arguments for the reality of many so-called “paranormal” cognitive abilities will win out. They will win out because there a profound truths which underpin the arguments and the evidence will only get stronger. History also tends to go in cycles, and when waves of development become unbalanced – as with the Deckard Confusion and the mechanistic paradigm – eventually people tire of the extremes and things begin to rebalance. This is already clearly happening in regard to the public acceptance of psi phenomena, as we saw with the huge backlash against TED organisation when they (effectively) censored talks by Sheldrake and Graham Hancock. So it is logical to assume that this trend will continue.

But then again, how long will that take?

Engaged presence

What if there are more specific issues at stake, such as the professional credibility of hard-working and brilliant people like Rupert Sheldrake and Dean Radin? Should Wikipedia just be permitted to be overrun with misguided and power-crazed skeptics who do not understand many of the discourses they seek to control?

In at least some cases, it is both desirable and necessary to take concerted action. My position is that the key is to engage, but gently, and from a position of genuine power. And the kind of power I am referring to here is something that comes from within. This mirrors my preferred way of dealing with unconsciousness in others, and the various social, political and institutional problems which emerge from it.

It is possible to confront much ignorance and aggression with a powerful yet non-confrontational approach which I call engaged presence. This is essentially the same means that underpinned the non-violent resistance of Gandhi and MLK. Here you engage those who are committed to disempowerment, destruction or colonisation, but from a default position of peace – what I call profound presence. But before I describe this, let me make an important point.

A multi-layered perspective

I like futurist Sohail Inayatullah’s approach to dealing with change and the creation of possible futures. Inayatullah acknowledges that problems and discourses are multi-layered.

First there is “the litany” – the readily observable or measurable aspects of the problem. With Guerilla Skeptics on Wikipedia, this would be arguments over the data.

Then there is “the system” in which the problem is embedded. Referring to debates about psi phenomena, we might point out that academic journals and universities tend to have rigid systems and political structures which make it difficult to challenge the status quo.

Thirdly, we have “the paradigmatic level” – implicit and often invisible knowledge structures. We might note that the mechanistic paradigm is implicitly accepted are being “real” by the Guerilla Skeptics, including its founding presuppositions (e.g. that matter is the foundation of the cosmos, rather than say, intelligence or consciousness).

Finally we have “the myths and metaphors”, which are again embedded within the discourse and often unacknowledged. If you read many science magazines, they often use the term “hard-wired” when describing genetic encoding in the brain. This tends to reinforce the idea that the mind/brain is a computer – without actually acknowledging that this might be a self-limiting metaphor which obfuscates important dimensions of the subject matter.

I personally like to add a fifth level to Inayatullah’s model, that of “consciousness”. This is where much of my writing is focussed. The fifth level is where you work on your own fundamental nature, the way you employ your mind. Engaged presence is grounded at this level. Mindfulness requires self-awareness, including of the way that the mind seeks power and control over the world and information. The mind’s goal is to ensure that its worldview is not threatened.

The most important aspect of Inayatullah’s way of examining problems at depth is that both analysis and action can occur at all levels. Indeed, in order for the most powerful insights into a problem to occur, all levels need to be addressed. Long-lasting and powerful change occurs when we address an issue deeply, not just at the superficial or surface level.

In this sense, typical challenges to Guerrilla Skeptics on Wikipedia often involve just two levels. They involve debating the data, and also working at the systems level – as Wikipedia is part of the system. Such an approach can be useful, but it remains limited if the deeper levels of the problem are not accessed.

Engaged presence is profound because it not only incorporates the deepest levels of a problem or discourse – it is grounded in the deepest level – consciousness.

Beginning with presence – not power and control

There is an expression of consciousness which exists beyond mental construct. It is silent and peaceful, and requires no attachment to beliefs, ideas or ideologies. Those people who develop the capacity to access this embodied presence rarely feel the need to overpower or control others at the mental level. They can begin any engagement from a position of silent power, because they do not need anything from others, and there is little or no desire to wrestle for control of information or interpretation.

Engaged presence is not possible while you remain deeply attached to your beliefs, regardless of how truthful you might think they are. If you have a spiritual worldview and an aggressive skeptic attacks your idea or work, it is perfectly normal to feel afraid – and then angry. My experience leads me to conclude that this is a physiological process, and it is hard to avoid. I personally find such a reaction to be automatic when anything that I have a belief about is threatened by an aggressive other.

Such reactions tend to be strong because the opponent is aiming at nothing less than destruction of your “mind” – your thoughts and beliefs. Likewise, when you attack your opponent, she will typically feel frightened and angered. The result is that both of you take offensive mental positions, and the whole thing just descends into “drama”.

If you begin with an agenda to overpower an “opponent”, then you are engaging in an act of cognitive violence.

With engaged presence you begin with stillness. If you do not begin with this – if you are not fundamentally grounded in presence – you will simply be fooling yourself – faking engaged presence while harbouring an agenda to annihilate the other. And destruction of the opposition is the covert agenda behind all judgment.

With engaged presence you begin by accepting that the person you are engaging is entitled to their own belief structures.

You also accept that you have the right to maintain and express your understandings.Engaged presence also assumes that you have the right to create preferred actions and preferred futures that you see as being more truthful or of greater wisdom than other possible intellectual stances and life paths.

Perhaps I should state that engaged presence does not guarantee victory in a debate or conflict. You may still “lose”. You might even find out that you did not have the complete story, that you have been partially or wholly misguided. But because you begin with peace, this is not taken personally.

Imagine that! Imagine that you could begin a debate or conversation topic with someone who holds diametrically opposed views to you – while feeling no threat from them – nothing but complete acceptance. Imagine that you could feel completely at peace, empowered and untouchable even when discussing the most evocative of topics! Imagine that you could listen to the other guy instead of fighting him, instead of hating him!

That would be engaged presence.

But how is that possible, at a practical level?

That is the topic of my next post.

Marcus

Guerrilla War, Unfair (part 1)

killzone_shadow_fall_021

 

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