It's the future, Jim, but not as we know it...

There's more to tomorrow than robots, flying cars, and a faster internet.
22C+ is all about Deep Futures, futures that matter. Welcome to futures fantastic, unexpected, profound, but most of all deeply meaningful...

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Entangled Minds

Nancy made an interesting comment about yesterday’s post (which discussed out-of-body experiences). This what she wrote:

Just one that I can remember. It happened about 2 or 3 months ago.

I was sleeping and felt myself out of my body and somewhere near my head. I could see my body sleeping. Someone was with me, but I couldn't see anyone. They were talking to me. There was a very loud buzzing and the "person" was telling me that this is what it felt like to be connected to the "whole." I felt very happy and relaxed but was worried about my body. I asked if they were sure that my body was okay, because I have had episodes of sleep apnea. But I noticed that my chest was rising and falling with my breath. I remember waking up and telling myself that I would never feel "alone" again. This euphoria lasted for several days, but eventually the feeling of connectedness went away.

Nancy’s experience seems to have been a spiritual as well as a metaphysical one (you can have one without the other -  the later helps you understand something or evolve/mature, whereas the first may not). The kind of out-of-body experiences which are actually unhelpful or harmful, are those where you just flip out of your body, and where there is no real spiritual function to it. These usually happen because you are not fully connected to the physical body, and especially the pain-body. This results is a desire to ‘escape’.

The experience of having someone near you while sleeping (even if there is no one there), is also relevant as far as some OBEs go. In Nancy’s case, the voice was probably that of a spirit guide. The easiest time for spirit guides to communicate with you is during sleep, or in trance states, because the clutter and noise of the conscious mind is shut down. Most people are just not present enough to be able to sense or hear spiritual guidance.

If you are committed to spiritual development, it is crucial to realise that you - and most people - have become hopelessly entangled in other people’s energy. 

The essential reason for entanglement is that people are not assuming full responsibility for their emotional energy. (The average level of energetic responsibility for human beings is around 4% at this time in human psycho-spiritual evolution.) Thus, this entanglement is akin to co-dependence. People take control of parts of each other’s emotional energy, especially the hurt parts from their respective childhoods. To put this another way, we give our power away to others at a metaphysical level. 

The most common players in these psychic “dramas” are our parents, siblings,  childhood friends, as well as past and present friends and lovers. Here is where we get into areas that are difficult to explain (and could get me into trouble, as this is a public blog!). Quite often the game being played out is very destructive, such as when we allow someone to manipulate our sexual energy, or where we sexually abuse someone else energetically. 

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

The Night They Came for Me: Out of Body, Out of Mind?

Out of body experiences are often romaticised in New Age literature. Yet the truth is that there are numerous kinds of OBEs, and some of them are more harmful than good. In today’s post I recount a few of my own OBE’s including a rather interesting experience where I was pulled out of my body and operated on by a team of “psychic surgeons”.
As I reported in my book Sage of Synchronicity, when I first began to get into meditation and explore other ways of knowing in the 1990s, I began to have a lot of out-of-body experiences. It seemed that every time I went sleep, or had an afternoon nap, I would go flying off. For me, the OBEs began with a whooshing type sound, and I would feel my energy moving out of my body in fast and furious fashion. These were primarily kinesthetic experiences, characterised by the physical sensation of movement. I didn’t see myself floating above my body, as in some near-death experiences.
There were often visual aspects to my OBEs, though. Since the physical eyes are not used during these times, the mind will often construct an image of what is “seen”. I eventually realised that I could not take what I “saw” during OBEs on face value.
Often there was no visual component at all, just the sense of flying through blackness. I suspect that my consciousness had dislocated from the body, and was moving through a “nearby” astral plane.
There were times, though, when I saw quite clearly where I was, though it was not always somewhere I recognised. One time I left my body and found myself flying over power lines above a road, dipping up and down with the rise and fall of the lines. It was like riding a roller coaster ride. Later I read Robert Monroe’s Journeys out of the Body, and noted that during his self-directed OBEs he was sometimes attracted to electricity. I’m not quite sure why this is, but I do know that electrical fields greatly affect consciousness fields., and often not in a positive ways (hint, never sit a laptop computer on your lap – one of the worst things you can do to your energy field). More about that in later post.
Another time, when I was having a drama (read “conflict”) with a friend of mine, I found myself flying out of my body, and descending into his bedroom, where I grabbed him by the neck, and started strangling him.

Monday, April 26, 2010

They Come to Feast

 You may have read about Stephen Hawking’s new documentary, Stephen Hawking’s Universe. Hawking has warned us to be careful of contact with alien species. They might be very, very nasty.
.. a few life forms could be intelligent and pose a threat. Hawking believes that contact with such a species could be devastating for humanity.

He suggests that aliens might simply raid Earth for its resources and then move on: “We only have to look at ourselves to see how intelligent life might develop into something we wouldn’t want to meet. I imagine they might exist in massive ships, having used up all the resources from their home planet. Such advanced aliens would perhaps become nomads, looking to conquer and colonise whatever planets they can reach.”

He concludes that trying to make contact with alien races is “a little too risky”. He said: “If aliens ever visit us, I think the outcome would be much as when Christopher Columbus first landed in America, which didn’t turn out very well for the Native Americans.”
It is an interesting contention. Would aliens want to dominate and control, exploit, rape, and colonise? Maybe they will set up alien-type fast-food outlets.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Piled Higher and Deeper

I'll get to that later... much later  
    On my desk there is a little cartoon which I have drawn. It is a mock newspaper headline, and under it the head of a “grey” alien. The headline reads:
  Aliens deliver first vital message to Earth
    There is a speech bubble emerging from the appropriately tiny mouth of the alien, and the following words are uttered as the first inter-galactic wisdom from our interstellar friends.
    “Doing something unimportant well does not make it important.”
    It’s actually a quote from Timothy Ferris’ book, The 4-Hour Work Week (which I reviewed on 22c+ a few weeks back).
    This statement has particular significance in education systems in many countries. Policy makers and educators set curricula that are often meaningless and irrelevant. They then set about rewarding students who “succeed” in them.
     And they love to pile it on. Take a look at the photo above. I took it at a certain school where I used to work in Hong Kong. This is an actual teacher’s desk; not his second desk, nor the desk in the corner where a teacher might pile all the stuff he never uses. At one time there used to be a teacher at this desk. Then one day he just disappeared under all the crap, and no one ever saw him again.

Video Review: Shenk's "Genius"

Last week I reviewed David Shenk's The Genius in All of Us. Here is the video version.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

What will be the Next Big Idea?

People are getting smarter with every generation, according to IQ testing. In part, this is because of revolutionary concepts like "evolution", "falsifiable" and even "percentage". We are so used to these ideas that we don't realise that previous generations were barely aware of them. So, what will be the next big idea that makes us all smarter, and how can you leap frog everyone to be smarter first?

People are getting smarter, and that’s a scientific fact. Skeptics might protest that people can’t even get their cash from the ATM machine in less than ten minutes. They might point out that there is a privately sponsored museum in The USA which shows Jesus riding a dinosaur. And they might lament that you can’t have a conversation with anybody without their feeble attention being diverted by an incoming sms. But they are wrong – at least according to the Flynn effect.

He gets in His early morning ride before breakfast

As I pointed out in my review of David Shenk’s The Genius in All of Us, the Flynn effect is that curious feature which emerged from the history of intelligence testing, namely that IQ scores keep going up with each generation - about three points on average. Fascinatingly, ninety-eight percent of today’s population will score higher than their counterparts from 100 years ago. The Flynn effect is named after psychologist J.R. Flynn, who popularised the idea. 

One factor which Flynn (and David Shenk) suggests is behind the Flynn effect, is the much improved capacity for abstract thinking. All you have to do is look at a World War One propaganda poster, and you have to wonder how anybody could actually be influenced by the image and words. 

 J.R. Flynn

Flynn points to the way that science and philosophy have enhanced the language of educated people “by giving them words and phrases that greatly increase their critical acumen.” He thus sees the world as being divided into pre-scientific and post-scientific thinking, the latter being the more deeply critical approach to knowledge. The psychologist referred to these emerging concepts as “shorthand abstractions” (or SHAs).

So what are these SHA’s? Just below, I will list them. However, as you go through these, take a leaf out of Flynn’s book, and think about them critically.

The Genius in All of Us

This is my review of the new book by David Shenk, The Genius in All of Us. I think it is an excellent and important book, and a must-read for all those passionate about human potential and expanded human futures. However, it is a rather long review, so for those who want to short version, I have highlighted in bold the parts of the text which I consider most important.

“This book is not a dispassionate presentation of all scientific points of view. Instead it embraces the arguments of the Interactionists, whose views I came to trust most after much reading, conversation and consideration.”(p. 148)

So writes David Shenk in The Genius in All of Us, and true to his word he is. Shenk’s book is not a strictly scientific investigation of intelligence or giftedness, but a personal presentation for the case that intelligence is highly malleable, and that it emerges from the interaction of genes and environment. His case differs from many mainstream representations of intelligence in that he finds environment plays a far greater role than  many intelligence theorists acknowledge. Intelligence, states Shenk, is a process, more so than a discrete entity which sits in the physical structure of the brain. He writes:

“…intelligence isn’t fixed. Intelligence isn’t general. Intelligence is not a thing. Intelligence is a dynamic, diffuse and ongoing process.” (p.42)

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

New workshop, Living Your Bliss

I have a new workshop coming up very soon (Saturday, May 1st). Entitled "Living Your Bliss", it's all about finding your passion in work and living. I'm presenting it for the Law of Attraction group here in Hong Kong. It's free, so it's a great chance to learn more about the kinds of things I have written in my book "Sage of Synchronicity". You'll also meet some other interesting people, which is just as important. You can find out more about it here (with a little info from the site to follow, below).


Have you ever felt that you had a greater calling, but never been able to put your finger on what it is?

According to the Law of Attraction, EACH of us has the ability to create the life of our dreams.

When we find our destiny and living our path of Bliss, we become a magnet that will be able to attract all that we desire.

In this workshop, Dr Marcus T. Anthony, author of "Secrets of Synchronicity" and "Integrated Intelligence" will show you:

* How to identify and live your true calling, or your “Bliss”, by following your excitement, and how to stay on purpose once you know what it is.

* How to find the right inner voice/feeling, how to draw upon an infinite source of knowledge and wisdom, and use it in your everyday life.

* The real secret about manifestation, one the New Age won't tell you.

So come along, share with the group and be inspired, be energized by everyone's positive energy and share experiences!

Monday, April 19, 2010

Obama: Saviour or Anti-Christ?

On my previous blog on I wrote about President Obama’s visit to Asia, some five months ago. Obama’s visit created great excitement in this a part of the world, and as a person who writes about Deep Futures, I was most interested in the way that Obama was being almost deified by many people here. It wasn’t that much different from some of the scenes in the US when Obama came to power. Before I make any further comment, here’s a few extracts from that post. (note: many in China were hoping Obama would somehow affirm Chinese policies in Tibet and Xinjiang, where there has been ethnic unrest in recent years).

Obama is perhaps more qualified than any other western leader in modern times to herald a new era of global unity, a prosperous future in every sense. He is the great black hope. For others, especially for the more conservative in the US, he is the devil in saviour’s clothing. He is a “communist”, even “Hitler”. So, which is it? Is he saint, or Satan?

Sunday, April 18, 2010

How to Make Monday Disappear Forever

A Hong Kong commuter arrives for work this morning

This morning I was traveling to work on the subway here in Hong Kong, and looked around at an all-too-common sight. As I looked up from my book, I saw the long, joyless faces of human beings being whisked off to the gas chambers. Either that, or they were facing Monday morning, something even worse. In fact, truth be told, judging by the facial expressions of commuters, most days are Mondays in Hong Kong, for most people. Something happened in recent Hong Kong history, whereby people traded the excitement of following their Bliss for the security of conformity and certainty. In short, they sold their souls for paychecks.

This is by no means a situation that is unique to Hong Kong. You can see the dreaded Monday look in many an eye in many a city right across the developed world. Hong Kong, however, is a little special, in that I’m sure that there was a special agreement made somewhere whereby Monday to Thursday were renamed. So now we have Monday, Monday 2, Monday 3 and and Monday 4. Then, Friday has been renamed “Saturday minus one.” and Sunday is now “Shit, here come Monday again!” They let Saturday stay Saturday, because they didn’t want any riots.

Now, here’s a little secret, one that has been suppressed by governments the world over (The Hong Kong government tried to stop this blog post from going ahead, but I have managed to sneak it in). And the secret is…

Thursday, April 15, 2010

The Voices of Mars


 Marcus T Anthony's new web site and blog can be found at

The Red Planet has always held a great fascination for us humans. It is as if it is calling us from across the relatively short distance of 60 million kilometers that stands between it and the earth (at its closest point). The good news for space enthusiasts is that Barack Obama has just announced that he is committed to sending US astronauts into Mars orbit by the mid-2030s. 

"By 2025 we expect new spacecraft designed for long journeys to allow us to begin the first ever crew missions beyond the moon into deep space," Obama told an audience at the Kennedy Space Centre in Florida.

"So, we'll start by sending astronauts to an asteroid for the first time in history. By the mid-2030s, I believe we can send humans to orbit Mars and return them safely to earth, and a landing on Mars will follow."

It’s still a fair way off, but if you are like me, you’ll feel a sense of excitement at this news. Obama went on: "As president, I believe that space exploration is not a luxury, it's not an afterthought in America's quest for a brighter future. It is an essential part of that quest.”

To me, this is always the most important component of any concept, goal or action. Obama spoke of the need for us to forge meaningful and captivating goals, ones that inspire us to a better future. He sees this as an essential part of the American spirit.

The truth is, it’s not an exclusively American “spirit”. The desire to explore transcends national boundaries. It is one of the evolutionary drivers of the human species. I’ve often said that we should follow our excitement as we live our lives; and the same is true for our species as a collective.
 It is excitement that calls us forward.

I’ve lived in China and Hong Kong for seven years, and it is the vision and excitement of the Chinese that has transformed the country in the last 30 years. This is what the Chinese call “the spirit of the Chinese people”, and it has produced the miracle economy of the early 21st century. People work harder and better when they have something to hope for, to dream for.  The genuine excitement of the human spirit  calls us forward towards a greater good. Still, the call of “excitement”, this has its dark side – and in China it can be seen in worker exploitation, corruption, greed, environmental destruction and so on. 

The push to explore space also its dangers. It could be used for warfare, and to export our bad habits off-planet (the colonial mindset.). 

This is why we must always check our intention at every step of the way, to see what it is that’s driving us. This is part of what I call the Wisdom Cycle. We must  listen to the spirit/excitement, take action, observe the results, then check the reasons for the success or failure, before repeating the process (at the next level).

As children, we feel the excitement of new adventures every day. We owe it to ourselves, and those who follow us in the future, to initiate noble dreams that take us forward. Answering the call of the voices of Mars is just such a noble quest.

But before I sign off, here’s something quite fascinating about Buzz Aldrin, the second man on the moon, and just happened to be there with Obama as he made public his commitment to Mars. Previously, Aldrin has openly spoken about a monolithic structure on Phobos, the largest of Mars' two relatively small moons. As far as I can gather, he considers that this thing might be of artificial origin. Check it out for yourself.

Sleepwalking Through the Extraordinary

Today’s blog post is based on the introduction of my academic paper “Deep Futures: Beyond Money and Machines”,which you cam find on my web site, MindFutures, if interested. Today's post will tell you a little bit about what I am passionate about as a futurist.

It was Washington DC Metro Station on a cold January morning in 2007. A man peeled a violin from his case, placed his hat before him, and proceeded to play six Bach pieces. During his sixty minutes in that place, some 3,000 people passed by, most on their way to work.

Three minutes after the man began playing, a middle-aged gentleman stopped to look for a few seconds, before hurrying on. About four minutes after that, a woman threw a dollar into the hat and continued past. A couple of minutes later, a young man leaned against the wall nearby and listened for a few moments. Then he checked his watch and left. Next, a boy of about three years stopped, but his mother pulled him away. As she dragged him off, he kept turning back to look at the man with the violin.

Similar scenes unfolded as several other children took an interest in the musician, but in every case the parents dragged them on. In total, only six people stopped to listen, most for just a few moments. About twenty gave money, then hurried off. The man collected a total of $32. He finished playing and humbly left. There was no applause, nor any indication his playing had been appreciated.

Yet this had been no ordinary street performance.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Rise of the machines, ascent of the spirit

In the original Matrix movie (that’s the one that was watchable, in case you have forgotten) there is a scene where Neo is hooked up to a computer, and is learning all the martial arts moves by downloading them into his brain. He is actually asleep at the time, and the fellow watching him remarks that this is incredible because nobody has ever been so fast.

A fascinating scene, it makes for an interesting dilemma. What will it be like in the future when we can hook ourselves up to computer databases and just download information into our brains? Then we will be super intelligent. It will make the humans of bygone eras look like cognitive Neanderthals by comparison.

The scenario reminds us of certain arguments regarding artificial intelligence. Computers can already store and organise masses of data, and they can process it much faster than human beings. The human/computer memory differential becomes vaster with every passing year. Mores law states that computing power doubles every  two years or so. Computers will soon have infinitely more memory - and processing speed  - than any human being could possible dream of. We will be dumb as donkeys by comparison. And your tiny little mind, which can’t even remember where you put the car keys, will be little more than a source of amusement to the vast computers than will soon run this planet, if not cosmos.

Or maybe not.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

The aliens (part 2)

In yesterday’s blog post I described the basis of the Seti programme (search for extra-terrestrial intelligence), and outlined some of Seti chair Paul Davies’ ideas related to the programme and the idea of initial contact with alien life. Today I am going to go a little deeper and say why I believe that Davies is most likely wrong on several accounts. Most importantly, I’m going to outline the significance of this for the future of science and the future of possible human-alien interaction. Many of my critiques are founded upon my first-person exploration of the human mind, and working with other extraordinary individuals who have spent time doing the same. This gives me a rather different slant on the problem of human/alien interaction than Davies. All argument is only as valid as the soundness of the presuppositions upon which it is founded. In Davies case, there are certain givens which (by definition) he assumes to be true, but which are not.

Professor Davies argues that mathematics will be the only common language that we will have with the first alien civilisation we contact. His error is that there are cognitive processes which transcend language.

What would you say to ET? (and how?)

When the aliens contact us, what should the first communication to them be? This was the subject of an interesting article in The South China Morning Posts’ Post Magazine, today. The article consisted of an interview by the writer Jon Ronson, with famous physicist Paul Davies. Besides being a scientist and academic, Davies is the fairly famous author of many best-selling books, including The Mind of God. He also just happens to be chair of Seti (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence), which uses radio telescopes to scan the cosmos for signals from other worlds with intelligent life. Seti was instigated by Frank Drake some 50 years ago. Drake calculated what he thought to be the number of intelligent civilisations there are in the galaxy, given all the variables that might contribute to the development as life as we know it. He came up with an answer of 10 000. That’s an awful lot of ETs getting around up there.

Like most mainstream scientists, Davies dismisses popular UFO culture, and ridicules reports of cattle mutilations and alien abductions. He says that if there are aliens out there, it is statistically very unlikely that they are just a few years ahead of us in terms of technology. It’s an interesting point.
One of the ways we know that UFO witnesses are lying or delusional, Davies says, is that the descriptions of the aliens and their craft are so unimaginative. Here is where Davies shows some lack of understanding himself.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Like tears in the rain

The 1981 Harrision Ford movie Bladerunner is one of my favorite movies, and often considered the best science fiction film of all time. In particular, it was praised for it's poetic depiction of profound human issues ceentring upon the meaning of life and death. 
In Bladerunner, the Harrison Ford's character Rick Deckard's job is to track down and kill replicants, or human-like robots. In the movie it is extremely difficult to distinguish between human beings and replicants. The replicants are an example of human-like artificial intelligence - HLAI (as opposed to non-human-like artificial intelligence - NHLAI). As I argued in a previous post, I believe that a human-like artificial intelligence is not going to happen in the foreseeable future, because machines are intelligent, but not consciousness. The climax of Bladerunner (shown the video at the top of this page), ironically, contains further reasons to suggest the unlikelihood of HLAI.

In the scene, which takes place on rooftops far above a gothic Los Angeles of the mid twenty-first century, the replicant (or cyborg) Roy Batty (played by Rutger Hauer) is moments away from death. As he speaks mournfully to the man who has been paid to terminate his life, Rick Deckard, and with rain pouring down his long face, Roy utters his final words.
I’ve seen things you people wouldn’t believe. Attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion. I watched C-Beams glitter in the dark near the Tanhauser Gate. All those moments will be lost in time, like tears in the rain. Time to die.
And so he does. It’s one of the most beautiful, and moving scenes in the history of cinema, in my opinion. Roy is a robot, and his mind is but a conscious computer. There will be no journey to the light for him, no welcome at the gates of Heaven. It’s game over, forever.
It is the position of modern biological science that the robot Roy Batty is not much different from us mortal human beings. We are all programmed to die. Yet what interests me here is the inherent beauty of the moment. The entire scene is a deeply meaningful poetry of words and visual images. It brings forth the anguish and sadness that human mortality and the passing of time brings. Crucially, Rutger Hauer ad libbed these lines. They came from ‘the zone’, as actors call it. This is a state of mind where the actor is unconsciously in a state of flow, such that she barely has to think about what she is doing or saying. Could a machine ever do that? Could a machine poeticise?
Yet the most crucial distinction between man and machine lies our human capacity to empathise with both Rick Deckard and Roy Batty. This is a quintessentially human quality. Thus, even as the movie depicts artificial intelligence, the scene represents that same intelligence in ways - and makes us feel in ways - that are most likely impossible for artificial intelligence to ever ‘replicate.’ As Tobin Hart argues, deep empathy may entail a collapse of the boundary between self and other. If this is correct, it transcends the boundaries of Newtonian worldview and its linear conception of space-time.
Human beings are special, and we do carry a unique gift. That is the ability to feel deeply. I confidently predict that by the time I pass from this world that no machine will be able to do likewise.

Hart, T. (2000b). Deep empathy. In Hart, T., Nelson, P., & Puhakka, K., (Eds.) Transpersonal knowing (pp. 253-270).New York: Suny.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

How Darwin lost half his mind

Charles Darwin was one of the greatest scientific minds of recent centuries. Most of us are aware that he made an enormous contribution to knowledge. Yet fewer people know that he was deeply concerned about the wider biological, social and spiritual implications of his theory of evolution. Ground-breaking research by former Princeton psychologist David Loye reveals a Darwin remarkably ahead of his time. Far from being enamored with the idea of a survival of the fittest, Darwin also believed that love and moral sensitivity are key drivers in human development in general.
Darwin never held an academic post. He inherited a good deal of money, and used that endowment to spend many years meticulously classifying the plants and animals of the world, and developing his theory of natural selection. This changed him. In old age Darwin intuitively knew that there was an imbalance in his mind. In his autobiography he reflected upon his school days:

with respect to diversified tastes, independently of science, I was fond of reading various books, and I used to sit for hours reading the historical plays of Shakespeare, generally in an old window in the thick walls of the school. I read also other poetry, such as Thomson's 'Seasons,' and the recently published poems of Byron and Scott. I mention this because later in life I wholly lost, to my great regret, all pleasure from poetry of any kind, including Shakespeare… My mind seems to have become a kind of machine for grinding general laws out of large collections of facts, but why this should have caused the atrophy of that part of the brain alone, on which the higher tastes depend, I cannot conceive...

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

The Aeronaut

PERSONAL FUTURES. I am in Shenzhen, China at present. Shenzhen is the city of some twenty million people, right across the border from Hong Kong. Still, I am unable to access my blog from here, as the powers that be in the People’s Republic deem this kind of public expression to be a threat to social stability! I’d like to think that this last comment could get my blog blacklisted, but since it is already blocked, not much point worrying about that! This blog entry is being forwarded to my “virtual assistant”, who is posting it for me. Thanks, James!

So here is today’s brief but profound little post. Or should I say “video”. This is another of my favourite videos. It’s called The Aeronaut. The main character exhibits many of the qualities that we need to develop in order to live the lives we dream of in our personal futures. I really like his stubborn persistence (the only character, actually). There’s not really much for me to say, really, as The Aeronaut speaks for itself.


When Gaia speaks

Most futurists like to stick to fairly mundane topics. It’s hard already enough gaining any credibility amongst the establishment (universities, the media, corporations and various interest groups) when you write and discuss the future. The discipline hasn’t really taken off. Part of the problem is that the future is inherently unpredictable (at least, I mainatain, at a certain level of consciousness), and the kinds of tools futurists use are often more suitable to indentify the flawed thinking of the present, than in making a big difference to the future. (I will invite a futurists to challenge that one soon!)

I can fully appreciate why the vast majority of futurists don’t touch the idea of intelligence and consciousness evolution. Here we get into some particularly difficult domains of enquiry.. A big part of the problem is that the introspective ways of knowing that are (from my experience) required to really understand consciousness, are completely absent in modern education, academia, research and science. There is a huge blind spot right before our eyes, but we (the dominant culture) are mostly unprepared to peer into the abyss of the unknown – the human psyche.

But not I. Due to an innate flaw...

Thursday, April 1, 2010

When the loonies come round

Famous zoologist and skeptic Richard Dawkins (author of The God Delusion) is not merely a shrill-voiced critic of religion and the so-called paranormal. You have to concede that he is a very good writer - and has paid the price for it. Dawkins takes sometimes difficult and complicated information about the nature of science and life, and successfully commits those ideas to books and papers in easy-to-read format. He has a great capacity for metaphor and analogy, and his ideas of “the selfish gene” and “the blind watchmaker” have entered the popular imagination. Dawkin's ideas are thus readily accessible to the general public. This is precisely what you would expect of a man with Oxford University tenure, and formerly carrying the title of “Professor for the public understanding of science”.
The price Dawkins pays is related to the fact that his clear writing enables laymen to grasp his overall arguments with relative ease, even without the necessity of a deep knowledge of the science which underpins them. Amongst these laymen are what he calls “the enemies of reason”, namely the religious fundamentalists and those who wish to promulgate “superstitious” beliefs about the world and nature. Some of them have just enough knowledge to be a little dangerous, and quite unreasonable to boot. Dawkins often has to suffer hostile attacks from such people. It's almost enough for you to feel sorry for poor old professor Dawkins.
A classic example of how unfair the world is for Richard Dawkins  is revealed  in and incident which occurred in 1997, when Dawkins agreed to let an Australian film crew into his house for an interview. Unbeknown to Dawkins, the film crew had a purpose, namely “creationist propaganda” (Dawkins 2002 p. 617).
Dawkins became suspicious when the interview crew began an “amateurish” attempt to challenge evolutionary theory. They demanded that Dawkins “give an example of a genetic mutation or an evolutionary process which can be seen to increase the information in the genome” (Dawkins 2002 p. 617). It was then that Dawkins realised it was all a ruse, and he refused to continue with the interview. However feeling a little guilty that the crew had traveled all the way from the antipodes for the interview, he changed his mind. The results were all too predictable.