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Friday, December 31, 2010

Radical Transparency or Conscious Transparency?


Only intuition, resting on sympathetic understanding can lead to these laws, the daily effort comes from no deliberate intention or program, but straight from the heart.
Albert Einstein


In my recent post about Julian Assange’s idea of “radical transparency”, I stated that the concept has some degree of power, but that it will not free us from many of the hegemonies which restrict so much free thinking in modern society. I said that this was because our essential problem is not merely about information access, but about the way we are able to perceive reality itself. This mirrors Einstein’s oft-quoted statement that problems cannot be effectively solved at the same level of consciousness at which they are created. I believe that to really achieve radical transparency there is a requirement to begin to transcend ego-based consciousness, and for the broader community to activate Integrated Intelligence, or INI. My perception is that Julian Assange is still working at the same level of consciousness that he is trying to overthrow, so his potential to transform that level, that system is self-limited. 
 
In this post I will explain in more detail what true radical transparency would look like, if it included an advancement in consciousness as well as access to more information. However, to distinguish what I mean clearly from Assange’s radical transparency, I shall use the term conscious transparency.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Optimising the World?

Here I am in Beijing again, having just returned from the city of Chaoyang, about 7 hours drive north-east of Beijing. I was in Chaoyang with my wife Ping’s family. As usual they were very kind to me, and even gave me several presents for Christmas. My ten-year old niece gave me a knife and fork set, no doubt inspired by stories that westerners don’t use chopsticks! Very cute. All the love and attention enabled me to endure the weather, which hovered at around -20 Celsius at night, and outside during the day it was often around -6 to -10. Now here in Beijing it is much “warmer”. Around freezing point as the daily maximum. Tonight I head off to Shanghai for a few days. Haven’t been there for seven years, so really looking forward to seeing one of China’s most dynamic cities again.

Once again today’s post is being put up by Dr Alick Lau in Hong Kong, as I am unable to access blogspot through the Great Forewall of China.



Optimising the World?
As I have read more about Julian Assange’s radical transparency, I have become m increasingly interested in the way he sees the world. Here is a man following his “Bliss” (at least in a certain sense), and motivated by a strong sense of justice. In this post I am going to pull together a few observations about Assange, especially in relation to the idea of ways of knowing. Ways of knowing are the particular intelligences which we prefer to use to make sense of the world.

The WikiLeaks Mythology #2: Will radical transparency liberate us?



In something of an irony, I am unable to personally upload this post today. I am in the far north of China for another week, visiting family, and there are many restrictions on the internet here. BlogSpot will not open here (only government approved blog services work). So I am forwarding this onto my friend Dr. Alick Lau in Hong Kong, who is kindly putting it up for me. I can still read all comments because they are forwarded to my yahoo email account. However I cannot respond to them on the blog till I get back to Hong Kong in the new year.

Happy new year!

Marcus

***

Radical transparency is the information revolution that will change the world, according to Julian Assange. The concept appears to be that as much of the information hidden by governments will be released to the public as possible. While WikiLeaks has removed some key names and details from documents to protect people who might become targets for governments or terrorists, it appears as close to a free for all as we are ever going to get. This year alone the organisation has spilled about half a million documents, and will probably eventually leak about 250 000 diplomatic cables. So far, most of the documents have not been of highly secretive classification, but the principle is clear. Get as much out there as possible, to make governments accountable. It is power to the people.

Yet just how transformative would the world be if we had radical transparency? Let’s begin with a fairly mainstream media analysis. But I am not going to end there, as you shall see. The way to appreciate the extent of radical transparency, and its limitations, is by understanding the limits of the rational mind.

A recent online article entitled “The Geek Who Shook the World”, by WikiLeaks dissident Julian Assange’s former colleague Suelette Dreyfus, reveals much about the way that Assange has gone about putting together the WikiLeaks project and building his career as a “dissident”. Dreyfus worked in Australia with Assange for about three years to produce Underground (1997; e-book 2001). The book details the story of hackers in Australia and around the world.

I pointed out in a previous post that the WikiLeaks founder’s has a certain propensity towards grandiosity. The positive side of this is Assange’s desire for reform on a grand scale, as well as to instill that same passion in others. One of his favourite quotes is from the author of The Little Prince, Antoine de Saint-Exupery:

"If you want to build a ship, don't drum up people to collect wood and don't assign them tasks and work, but rather teach them to long for the endless immensity of the seas."

Clearly there is a strong idealism in Assange, directed at making positive change in the world.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

The WikiLeaks Mythology (part 1)

 Computer rationality: shaping the way we see the world

Julian Assange clearly fits the description of a dissident - a person who offers dissent, who questions deeply the way things are, or who rebels against the system. Interestingly, Australia futurist Richard Slaughter (just voted one of the top four futurists in the world by the Foresight Network says it is the duty of all critical futurists to offer dissent. It is not good enough to simply predict the future, but to question deeply what is happening, or what might likely or possibly happen. I am in essential agreement with Slaughter. And although Assange would not describe himself as a futurist, he is a person committed to not only critiquing the way things are run, but also changing the way the future unfolds. In this sense I am sympathetic to his attitude.

Nonetheless, I have argued in previous posts that a vital requirement for a truly responsible action in the world - and that includes activism - is to become more conscious of our inner worlds and connections with the spiritual domains of mind. I argued that Assange, like all of us, is driven by soul issues which will inevitably affect the results of his actions. There is a certain drive for power and control within his psyche. My perception of this comes from my intuitive reading of him via Integrated Intelligence, not so much from observing his real world behavior.

The ways of knowing (WOK) Julian Assange employs in his everyday life and work greatly affect what he is able to perceive and understand about the world he is trying to change. His preferred and habitual ways of knowing also restrict his capacity to fully comprehend the cognitive “systems” in which his consciousness is embedded. In other words, the way he thinks affects his capacity to understand both himself and the world.

Make no mistake. Julian Assange is no different from you and I in this respect.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

The Cool Machine

 Soho at night
The Wan Chai district of Hong Kong is perhaps most famous as being the sleaze capital of the HK expat world, a hodgepodge of kabab shops, pubs and girly bars. There are also plenty of good, “clean” bars and restaurants there to make it a good night out with friends.  So it was that last night I made my way to a certain pub, walked in and sat down at the bar. On a small stage there was a talented Philippina band playing classics of western rock and pop, and I listed in appreciation as I waited for my friends. I was really enjoying the music, when a local Hong Kong man, perhaps my age, sat down beside me at the bar. He ordered a drink and then did what so many men do here in Hong Kong as soon as they sit anywhere. Those familiar with Hong Kong can probably work out what it was.

He pulled out a fancy i-phone-like device and became completely absorbed in it, ignoring everything around him. As far as I can recall, he did not look up once from the device in the 20 minutes or so I sat beside him. Then my friends arrived, and we moved away to a table nearby. We chatted over a drink for 30 minutes or so, then made a decision to move on. As I left I looked over and saw the same local chap at the bar. He was still there, completely absorbed in his device. I seriously doubt that he had listened to even one song the band had played, and he had certainly not talked to anyone.

One of my friends had been told about a certain groovy place across the way, and so it was that I found myself being whisked away by taxi to a quaint little jazz bar in the Soho area of Hong Kong. Soho is cool. Situated just a kilometer or so from the towering high-rises of Central, Soho is very hip and very, very hilly; its short, narrow streets are crammed together below old low-rise buildings. It’s a wonderful and workable mixture of the old Hong Kong and the new. The tiny streets are chock full of restaurants and bars. At night the clientele is mainly twenty and thirty-something expats and local Chinese Hong Kongers.

The street I was taken to was no place for cars – far too steep for that. Instead we climbed some very steep steps, and, after a little confusion, finally made our way down a dimly lit alley.

And there it was: the jazz bar.

Julian Assange: Saviour or Demon?

Julian Assange: looking to come in from the cold (others hope he stays there)

The question in the title is, of course, rhetorical. The tendency in many commentaries has been immediate deification or condemnation of Assange. Yet as I have argued, if we move beyond the immediate judgment of the man and his actions, there are much more fruitful questions to explore.

So Julian Assange is no saint. But who is? In my last post I used the WickiLeaks saga involving Julian Assange as a means to explore the way the male ego tends to project, namely through the Rebel and God-man archetypes. The idea of the Rebel requires little explanation, while the God-man is basically the part of us that likes to believe we can achieve masterful power and control over the world. The Superman character is the ultimate God-man. My intuitive reading of the situation leads me to sense that these archetypes are strongly represented in Julian Assange’s psyche – his subconscious, if you like.

Still, having soul issues which perpetuate drama does not make one’s cause or life a mere waste, or some kind of evil (although it may). It does, though, logically lead to a query. Is there a healthy expression of the Rebel archetype, or even the God-man archetype?

Thursday, December 16, 2010

WikiLeaks & The Matrix: Neo Goes to Jail


 Marcus T Anthony's new web site and blog can be found at: www.mind-futures.com.

For more recent insight into WikiLeaks, Julian Assange and his feud with Daniel Domscheit-Berg, click here; where I have written an intuitive review on Domscheit-Berg's book, Inside WikiLeaks.

My last blog post was a relatively mundane comment on the implications of the WikiLeaks story for anyone who writes personal stuff on the internet, whether using their real identify or their pseudonym (which probably means several hundred million people!). This time I’m going to move into a rather ‘deeper’ level of the whole saga.

Most discussions in the mainstream media, including the blogosphere, examine issues at a fairly superficial level. They probe the surface level, the facts and arguments which define the appearance of a problem.  They will sometimes also explore the systems level of the problem, attempting to uncover hidden determinants which lie behind the scenes. Even the most radical of these, such as conspiracy theories, still tend to remain at a fairly superficial level of analysis. Someone is pulling the strings: the oil companies, the Chinese, the Illuminati, the aliens, whomever. The problem is that such examinations simply shift focus from one part of a system to another, regardless of how “hidden” that part may be.

I suppose you could say my “expertise” lies at another level beyond the systems - the consciousness domain. This is where mostly unconscious drivers and energies are influencing the problem.

The most popular version of the WikiLeaks story sees defenders and attackers lining up on two sides of a divide, ready to save or condemn Julian Assange. He is either a defender of free speech and accountability (the majority), or a criminal threat to social and political stability (governments and minority of the general public).  Defenders say we have the right to know what the government is saying and thinking. Attackers say he is dangerously destabilising the system.

Let’s move to the next level.

Behind all life stories there are deeper narratives which exist at a psychic level. Here I am going to examine some of the psycho-spiritual issues which underpin the actions of Julian Assange, in particular the soul issues which he is facing in this lifetime, including the karmic situations behind them.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

WikiLeaks in Love

Journalists, bloggers and media commentators have been having a field day with the Julian Assange/WikiLeaks case. So much is being written and discussed that it is difficult to keep up with it all. For futurists like me, and those passionate about the development of society and planet, the saga is of enormous importance. In fact there are so many issues, and the information is changing so rapidly, that it is difficult to articulate thoughts on it into any definite narrative. Given, this, I have decided to write shorter posts on the topic, taking one seminal idea at a time.

Julian Assange's OK Cupid photo

Let's begin with another recent development in the case, a somewhat ironic  one. Reporters and researchers (and undoubtedly government operatives) have been trawling the net and information systems in a bid to scrape together any information on Julian Assange. Yesterday, a story circulated through the media about Assange’s profile on the OK Cupid, web site where he (presumably) hoped to connect with women. Calling himself Harry Harrison, he wrote:

# I like women from countries that have sustained political turmoil. Western culture seems to forge women that are valueless and inane. OK. Not only women!
# I am DANGER, ACHTUNG, and ??????????????!
# Directing a consuming, dangerous human rights project which is, as you might expect, male dominated
# I have asian teengirl stalkers. Hello.
# Do not write to me if you are timid. I am too busy. Write to me if you are brave.
But wait, there's more!
What I’m doing with my life. Directing a consuming, dangerous human rights project which is, as you might expect, male dominated. Variously professionally involved in international journalism/books, documentaries, cryptography, intelligence agencies, civil rights, political activism, white collar crime and the internet. Formal background in neuroscience, mathematics, physics and philosophy.

Live by the sword, die by the sword, as they say. One can only imagine how many women would have actually believed any of this to be true, given that it sounds like the ravings of a James Bond wannbe! 

On a more serious note, this does bring to the fore questions about information that we put on the web, even if it is anonymously posted under a pseudonym. This posting from OK Cupid was last updated 4 years ago. Right now the intrepid WikiLeaks founder is probably ruminating over every internet posting he ever made since the web began.

While today’s net trawling technologies are in their infancy, who is to say what will be available in ten, twenty, 100 years time? Perhaps all an amateur will have to do is know an IP address, type it in, then everything ever entered from that address might appear. And that’s just one top-of-my-head speculation. If such technologies become widely available, any person who assumes a position of power or fame might have their entire web browsing history made available to the general public. And this is not to even consider the possibilities of manufacturing fake web histories and postings.

It’s scary, and no doubt the Assange case will show just what is possible in this domain as of the present day. He has plenty of enemies in high places, and any information which even slightly defames him will almost certainly make the rounds.

The other irony here is that whatever does surface about the private life of Julian Assange, it will further suggest that there are limits of freedom of information.  Many in western countries, especially from "freedom-loving"  United States, have been deeply conditioned to think of freedom of information as being a given in a developed society. But just where do we draw the line? Perhaps you (like me) felt a little queasy about viewing Harry Harrison's photo here. 

Marcus

Sunday, December 12, 2010

The WikiLeaks Rebellion

Julian Assagne: Saviour or anti-Christ?

As I write this, I am sitting in Starbucks in Shekou, a satellite city of Shenzhen in southern China, near Hong Kong. Shenzhen is one of the biggest cities in the world. This is interesting for a number of reasons. Firstly, if you are not in China, nor a China watcher, you may have never have of Shenzhen. Shenzhen is actually the richest city in China, which is now effectively the centre of the world’s economy. Think about that: a city as big as London and New York combined, yet few westerners have ever heard of it. The world is changing, and fast.

Yet I am sitting in an American outpost, am I not? Starbucks is the epitome of American economic and cultural influence (some might say hegemony). The d├ęcor is that same laid back style as Starbucks everywhere, and there is some unidentifiable old-style jazz playing through the sound system. The Chinese staff can speak English, albeit rather basic. You can even get that great leveler of worlds and arguably worldviews here - the Internet. With a click I am online and am able to surf the net. But there is something slightly discomforting. My own blog (this blog) will not open. The Chinese government doesn’t like blogs. They don’t like free thought, it must be said. For example, I can’t access much information about the Nobel Peace Prize ceremony (yesterday) awarded to Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo  – although some stuff does show up. For those not in the know, the Chinese government has also generously granted Liu 11 years of free higher education – state funded re-education, that is – for suggesting that accountability might make a nice change around here.

I have no problem though, accessing information on the WikiLeaks saga, and there are certain eerie parallels between the way China has handled Liu Xiaobo, and the way Julian Assagne is being treated in the west. Both dissidents are currently detained by the authorities. Just how free are we really?

What are we to make of the Wikileaks saga? What does it mean for the future? What does it mean for those of us who have a commitment to a more conscious or spiritual path in life? (and many of you reading my blog have such a worldview).

Predictably, governments have been deeply disturbed by the breaches in security. Obama has called Assagne’s actions “deplorable.” Sarah Palin has called them “un-American” – which is one of her more factually accurate statements, given that Assagne is actually Australian.

Others see Assagne as a disciple of free speech, a neo-Neo (pardon the pun), a super-cool geek refusing to swallow the blue pill and be inserted back into the Matrix...

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Synchro Summit at Yale

Yale University

For those of you interested in synchronicity, here's a link kindly provided by 22C+ member Rob MacGreggor (http://www.ofscarabs.blogspot.com). The link will take you to Dr. Christiane Northrup's web site, and is a rundown the first annual Synchro Summit held at Yale University’s Divinity School. The conference was attended by philosophers, scholars, and authors, and was held on October 15-17, 2010.


I almost made it there myself, but a little thing called work held me up - not to mention that I would have had to fly all the way from Hong Kong to east coast USA and back, all within 4 days! Maybe I will get there next year.

Marcus

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Dumb to Smarter


As an undergraduate student at the University of Newcastle in Australia, way back in the age of mullet haircuts (when Duran Duran was cool and Madonna was hot) I wasn't such a great student.  I found study to be a real struggle. Much of the time I just couldn't get into it. I hadn’t found what I was passionate about.

The other problem was that I believed that I was stupid. Well, that’s not entirely true. Part of me believed that I was smart. There were conflicting belief structures held within different parts of the mind. It was a bit like having your car in 4th gear and reverse at the same time. The beliefs canceled each other out. How did this happen?

As a kid growing up I was convinced that I was stupid, which was probably due to the fact that people said so. Quite literally. In fact my older brother Jeffery used to call me "Dope", and there was always a vicious sneer when he used the term (in his defense, he was just passing the "shit" down one level of the system - he had been dumped on by others further up the line). 

In fact I was quite literally developmentally delayed.