This is the conclusion to my new book Extraordinary Mind: Integrated Intelligence and the Future. The book will available in about a month.
Some people ask me why my blog is called “22C+”. The short answer is that “22C” stands for the twenty-second century, and the “+” symbol represents ‘more’, or perhaps ‘beyond’. So my blog, like my writing in general, is centered upon thinking about the future within a timeframe extending beyond our current century. Sociologist Elise Boulding developed the idea of the 200-year present – thinking of this moment in history as spanning a timeframe from 100 years ago, to 100 years in the future. Boulding’s perspective has much merit, and the same kind of thinking lies behind the way I view the future, and particularly the idea of Integrated Intelligence. When we look at our place in both history and the future, we tend to think in relatively short timeframes. In part this is because it is so hard to speculate about what is going to happen much beyond the present decade, and also because it is difficult to think outside the worldview in which we are embedded.
I trust that your reading this book has helped you understand that the way you think, and your very expression of consciousness is conditioned by the society you live in, and the education systems which have shaped your mind. Science too has changed its ways of knowing. The fathers of modern science used quite different mental processes than do most modern scientists, when they formulated their paradigm-shifting theories of knowledge. The idea of God was central to Copernicus’s, Newton’s and Descartes’ worldviews, and Copernicus was actually a priest. Newton’s spiritual bent included a fascination with astrology, occultism and alchemy. He did not think that the universe could be explained from material causes, but only through reference to God. Descartes also believed that only the direct perception of God created the objectivity in the universe. Darwin was far from being a dry empiricist, and believed that there was a higher moral order to human life. A belief in Divine intelligence was therefore at the core of worldviews of the first ‘scientists’.
I trust that Extraordinary Mind has communicated my belief that something important has been lost in the increasingly narrow expression of mind and intelligence in the modern world. Inner worlds and Integrated Intelligence are not just important, but vital for the development of futures that are aligned with the deeper spiritual purpose of humanity.
It is very difficult to see this from the viewpoint of being a typical person in the modern consumer society. What chance does the materialistic, driven, busy person of today have to understand that there is a deeper world than this? The answer is, not much.
Imagining the future is also difficult. How well would a person in the second decade of the twentieth century have gone if they’d been asked to predict the world that we live in today? I recall that when I was a primary school kid in Australia back in the late 1970s, picking up a book about future from our little school library. Like many public school libraries, it had a limited range of volumes, and this particular futuristic book was probably about three decades old. I still remember the precise first sentence of the book: “It is the year 1974…”. Of course for the writer, 1974 was decades into the future, while for me, the reader, it had actually already passed. The most fascinating thing was looking at the images on the facing page, which showed rockets firing off to space, and men living in fancy orbiting space stations akin to 2001 a Space Odyssey. Even today, in 2010 as I write these words, there are no space stations to equal those depicted in that book.
So, I am not going to make any specific predictions about the future here. Instead, like any good futurist, I am going to think of futures in terms of their potentialities and possibilities. Let’s not forget preferences either, because Foresight practice is all about moving towards the kinds of futures that we would prefer to live in.
My idea of Deep Futures is a general idea, rather than prescriptive. I have not suggested any particular political structure or ideology. Deep Futures is more about what people do at an individual level to transform themselves, and thereby lift the consciousness of the human race as a whole.
Interestingly, just as I finished writing that last sentence here in a little coffee shop facing the sea in Discovery Bay, Hong Kong, my attention was captured by something I saw out of the corner of my eye. On the table immediately beside mine, near my copy of the South China Morning Post, a little green plant was sticking out from under the paper. I’m wasn’t quite sure what it was. It seemed to be a type of grass, with a light green stem, and three blades of grass sticking out from each side.
That plant becomes a perfect symbol for Deep Futures, if we just change the image into a tree with branches. A tree takes its sustenance from the Earth and its immediate environment, as well as the celestial warmth of the sun. Deep Futures are intimately connected to Gaia and Spirit. The Earth and the environment keep us grounded to our roots in nature, and stop our consciousness from becoming too dissociated and fragmented (as when we are lured into the IT Trap (http://22cplus.blogspot.com/2010/05/it-trap.html) or the enticements of the ego. The Spirit is the guiding force of universal mind, which oversees all of life, and gently invites us home. It is a gentle energy, but not beyond allowing us to go down the road of suffering, if that is our choice.
The branches of the tree can represent the seven pillars of Deep Futures. Integrated Intelligence potentially plays a role with each pillar.
· They inspire. Deep Futures instill us with passion, and ignite something deep within us. Once we reconnect with the psyche and Spirit, it is only natural that we become more creative. As previously stated, to be inspired is to breathe Spirit. It is the breath that becomes restricted once we forget who we are, and unconsciously attempt to blot out the trapped energy within the psyche. This is why Creativity is one of the core cognitive capacities of INI.
· They are the big picture. They encourage us to see things in broader perspective, including the cultural, national, civilisational, the Gaian, and the spiritual. As psychiatrist and mystic David R. Hawkins points out, because the rational mind works in linear fashion, it is incapable of properly contextualising the full depth of human experience. INI, and in particular, Integrated Perception grants an immediate and deeper realisation of the connectivity of mind, life and cosmos.
· They honour both the head and the heart, permitting rational and intuitive ways of knowing and living to co-exist. Integrated Intelligence is not anti-rational. It allows the full expression of the rational mind. It is true however, that at advanced states of enlightenment, that certain cognitive abilities associated with rational intelligence may decline. This may not be an inevitable process, but a result of the fact that such cognitive functions are no longer necessary, and therefore wane from lack of use.
· They permit expression of multiple cultures and worldviews, not just dominant ones. Many of the conflicts and power plays of modern culture are fueled by the machinations of the ego, which is predominantly a ‘selfish’ bi-product of evolutionary processes. INI encourages the movement into presence and in the higher stages of spiritual; development such projections naturally dissipate, along with their associated dramas. Therefore Deep Futures are permissive of other cultural expressions. Another question altogether is whether other cultures are permissive of Deep Futures.
· They are deeply meaningful, not merely interesting, amusing, or engaging. With the application of INI, the individual is able to get in touch with her soul. In particular, as I pointed out in Sage of Synchronicity, there is a greater recognition of Soul Issues which require addressing; and the Soul Aptitudes (particular unique skills and abilities that the person possesses). Many people walk through life completely unaware of either, and thus never leave the starting blocks of the spiritual journey, nor live their Bliss.
· They permit deep connection with each other, with nature, and with inner and spiritual worlds. Deep Futures therefore value and permit the nurturing of stillness, patience and presence. For genuine connection can only occur when one stops being busy, and comes to rest in the moment.
· They honour universal human values: peace, beauty, freedom, justice, and love (including freedom of thought and information, and financial freedom). Some postmodern relativists argue that values are random attributes that societies make at convenience. This is not true. INI and the higher levels of consciousness permit a deeper awareness of the guiding presence of Spirit, and this guidance contains definite, intrinsic values. If one acknowledges the reality of spiritual guidance and synchronicity, then it logically follows that there are fundamental values which Spirit espouses. Otherwise, why would Spirit bother?
· People, community and Gaia lie at the heart of the future, not merely money and machines. Money and Machines societies tend to be neo-Darwinian, hyper-competitive and materialistic. The profit motive typically drowns out higher human drives and the call of Spirit. Where lives become rushed and aggressive, human relationships suffer, and community tends to disintegrate. Deep Futures put people and their relationships with each other and the planet first.
The obvious question to ask then is, “How do you, the reader, initiate the journey from here to there, from the materialism of the modern age towards Deep Futures?” Given that most government polices and corporate agendas are about Money and Machines, and power and control, what can you possibly do to make any difference?
At a purely individual level, the key is your personal evolution. It is almost always the refinement of your consciousness field that will do more for your personal evolution and that of humanity, than any specific real-world action. This is why the focus of the journey becomes an inner one. Instead of seeing the world as ‘real’, one turns one’s attention to the space where perception and thought arises. This is what I teach people in my Champion of the Soul workshops. Here the Champion does not wield power over others through the expression of his physical superiority, but through the mastery of his own mind.
Real world actions, including Community work and social activism are not discouraged either. As just one example, the activism of Western human rights practioners has done much to assist in the development of modern China (though perhaps not as much as they’d hoped). However one must be careful not to get caught up in the consciousness of judgment and anger, which is very easy to do when one becomes an activist. Remember, the energy of judgment destroys presence and thus reduces your consciousness field to a lower level of expression. Thus the worthy goal of trying to make a better world may result in a paradoxical continuation of the same consciousness that has been central to the existence of the problem all along. Remember, it is not so much the action, but the energy behind it that becomes crucial as one hones Integrated Intelligence. Integrated Intelligence allows you to sense, or even measure, whether a specific action is aligned with Spirit.
Deep Futures, as I envisage them, may not unfold in the foreseeable future, and maybe not for thousands of years. This is because their evolution requires a considerable shift in the consciousness level of humanity. One cannot force visions upon people, as the many disastrous utopian projects of history tell us. Mao Ze Dong’s Great Leap Forward, for example, ironically almost sent China back to the stone age, and resulted in the collapse of the economy and tens of millions of deaths. The consciousness level of the Chinese people was simply not evolved enough at that time to accommodate Mao’s vision.
A key point to remember though, is that even utopian thinking is useful if it instills a powerful, consciousness raising vision within the mind. The vision can implant seeds of a better future within the oversoul of humanity. As long as the vision stays true to universal values like love, peace and harmony, it’s energy will manifest in the long term (though not necessarily in the precise physical form any given individual may imagine).
If a man or woman earnestly commits him/herself to the development of Integrated Intelligence, the voice of Spirit will guide them in the general direction of Deep Futures.
The invitation is always there, for you, and for us. But don’t delay, as there is no better time than right now to live with Spirit.