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Monday, June 27, 2011

Getting Tough (2)

A week or so ago I wrote a post about getting tough.  The essence of it is that life will not always give you what you want, but it will always give you what you need. And what you need at a deeper psycho-spiritual level may not be the same as what you think you need.

Life is what happens when you are busy making other plans, or so they say. That’s certainly true if you fail to allow what is before you to be precious!

What happens when we repeatedly fail to get what we want? Maybe you want a promotion, but are passed up time and time again. Maybe you want children, but you and your partner fail to conceive. Perhaps you want your own home, but have never been able to scrape together enough cash to make it a reality.

The reality is that there are many things in life that you want that you are not going to get. But not getting what you want can be a blessing in disguise.

The reason I wrote the first post about getting tough is that I had just failed to gain a full-time position at a university, yet again. I gained my PhD about five years ago, and have probably applied for well over 100 academic jobs since. I have been interviewed eight times in total. For each interview I prepare two or three weeks in advance. I learn everything I can about the job, the interviewing panel, the school, and so on. For this most recent job there were an unprecedented six associate professor positions going in an area related to my expertise, Futures Studies. Naturally I was very confident of getting one of those jobs. After all, there are not that many futurists getting around! I have also spent five years working very hard publishing, delivering conference papers and even organising an international Futures conference. I have had my thesis published as a book, won awards for my journal papers, been elected to a very high profile Futures body. All to no avail, at least as far as getting hired by a university goes.

As part of my preparation for this recent job, I did research on the interviewing panel. I was surprised to see that some of them had done relatively little academic work. Going to Google Scholar, I found that one of them had only published one journal article, and there were no other references at all to his/her work. In contrast, I get five or six pages of citations on Google scholar for my own work. I did find one online comment he/she had made recently where he/she admitted to struggling to understand Futures Studies.

Why then was this person offered a job in the school, while I was rejected? I admit to being perplexed myself. Unfortunately the world does not always obey one’s conscious desires!

My experience with academia in general does not shed much light upon the selection processes. I have attended academic conferences and seen some of the most appalling presentations imaginable. A couple of years ago I attended a certain consciousness conference, as just one example. I had submitted a paper to conference organizers in the hopes of being able to present it, but it was rejected. No explanation was given. I was then told that I would be given a poster presentation. A “poster” is where you are put in a little room, tack a poster to the wall, and speak to whomever passes by. I wasn’t happy with my rejection as I already had substantial research in the area and had delivered many papers previously. Still, I didn’t complain. I thought I’d just go with the flow.

However when I turned up in the little room on the day to tack up my poster, I found they had left me out of the conference proceedings (the booklet distributed to all attendees), and thus they had no space for me in the room. Eventually they stuck me in between two local university undergraduates in a space less than two metres wide. The uni grads on either side of me had basically no knowledge of the field, but had done up some creative posters about artificial intelligence. It was somewhat humiliating.

There were some good presentations delivered at that conference, but some were awful. I sat through one futurist’s “paper” where the presenter sat in a chair behind her computer the entire time, did not look up at the audience, and simply flipped through PowerPoint slides for half an hour while mumbling to herself. It was excruciating. Another presenter at the same conference gave a presentation in such poor English that I could barely understand a word she said. Most of the arguments and references she gave were at least twenty years old.

C’est la vie, as they say. That’s the way it goes. Certainly though, the idea of injustice would not be out of place as I contemplate some of the way things have gone for my academic aspirations in Futures Studies thus far. I know I am a much better researcher, teacher and presenter than many people who have been given a job in a university.

Yet what can one do when things don’t go your way? When there is injustice, rejection and failure? I dealt with this in some depth in the last post about getting tough, but whatever it is in life that causes you pain, or that pushes your buttons, or that drags you into drama with others, you must take responsibility for your actions, your results, and the emotional energy that passes through you. Most of all, you must not believe whatever victim-oriented story the ego wants you to buy. The ego will attach itself to various narratives, and inevitably most of those will involve seeing itself as being hard done by. I was robbed! We were cheated! Look what they did to me now! If you are interested in some of the processes you can use in dealing with a stubborn ego, my book Discover Your Soul Template goes into several in detail.

I have mentioned many times that a core part of my spiritual guidance comes through songs. There’s one song that comes to me often when I am feeling down or when I feel that the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune are piercing my heart. It’s a song my music teacher taught my class when I was in primary school. If you have never heard it, have a listen now.

Finally, let’s get specific. When you experience failure, you might like to apply this process.

  • 1. Get quality feedback. Ask for it, if possible. Don't be scared of your shortcomings.    
  • 2. Look at your goal. Is it realistic? Do you really want it?
  • 3.  How can you empower your actions next time, to produce more effective outcomes?
  • 4.   What negative or self-limiting belief structures have you noted during the process of trying to achieve your goal, and/or after the outcome? Do you need to do some healing work?
  • 5. Use your support networks. Talk to people, but don't sell them your sob story!
  • 6.  Have you stayed true to your own ideals, or have you compromised your ideals and values?
The last issue is a difficult one. It is tempting after repeated failures to begin to compromise on what you know is of greatest importance to you. Don’t! In my recent interview I was very upfront about what I was most interested in researching: Deep Futures
This is my term for futures that have great depth in meaning, purpose and an uncompromising commitment to what is noblest and greatest within the human spirit.

One thing that helped me to deal with my recent ‘failure’ was that during the entire time leading up to the interview, I used creative imagination to imagine myself being successful; but after each visualisation session I released the outcome to God.  This helped me stay detached from the outcome, and minimise disappointment.

Finally, some possible good news eventually came out of the interview. I have been told that the university would like to do “collaborative” work with me. I was told that they found my approach “very interesting”. The details are yet to be made clear.

Perhaps in the end, sticking to one’s guns will pay off. But there are no guarantees in life. One can only keep returning one's mind to the present moment, and living in gratitude for what one has been given by God. The greatest gift we have for the world is our inner light: the smile we carry on our faces, our laughter and lightness of spirit that we carry within. Yet that light cannot shine while the ego tries to insist that it is the victim.

Keep smiling!


Tuesday, June 21, 2011

New web site for my novel "Light"

I have now put up a separate web site for my online novel "Light". 

I may not post the chapters here any more (though I haven't made a final decision). If I don't, I will still post the link to the new chapters. Let me know what you think of the new site. It is a simple site, but gets the job done, I think.

Keep smiling,


"Light", Chapter 17: Amanda

For a full list of chapters, click here 

God only knows what made me pop the question. I mean, I was in no condition to travel anywhere. I was about as lucid as a brick wall, and probably equally as responsive to external stimuli. Looking in the mirror, I noted that I looked like total crap: dark circles under my eyes, hollow cheeks and red eyes. I not only looked like a zombie, I felt like one.

What I should have done was gotten my butt into the uni health service for a checkup. That’s what most people would probably do after they have been struck by lightning. But not I. No. It was back on the road for me.

Amanda lived in Merewether, which is a somewhat posher inner city suburb of Newcastle not far from the beach of the same name. So it was that I soon found myself on the bus yet again heading towards town.

I disembarked and started to walk along the broad, open streets of Merewether. I could smell the salty sea air from the beach just a kilometer or so away. There were mostly older red brick homes in that area, from the turn of the twentieth century; with the odd low-rise block of flats here and there. Front gardens were well kept, with pretty flowers, small trees and with hedges neatly trimmed; a sure sign that this was a pensioners’ area. Not that I was paying much attention.

Somehow in my groggy state I found 22 Jameson Street. It was a newer, pale brick apartment block of two stories that looked like it had been designed by a two year old with his first Lego set. I discovered the entrance round the side, and began to climb the stairs to the second floor. I think I was about three stairs from the top when I realised I might not make it. A sense of total exhaustion so totally overtook me, and such was the dizziness inside my skull, that my ascending came to a total stop. I teetered there for a moment, like a tall tree in the forest at the moment the lumberjack’s axe slices through the last layer of wood, waiting to topple earthwards. But somehow I forced myself to take deep breaths, and after regaining some sense of myself, I clambered to the top of the stairs. Moments later I was pressing the doorbell to flat 2C.

The door swung open, and I don’t know who was more startled; Amanda at seeing me in the state I was in, or me seeing the look of total shock on her face.

“Jesus Christ!”

“Not actually. But I can do party tricks if you like.”

She took my hand and pulled me inside. I found myself sprawled out on the soft, cream coloured sofa, head propped up under a cushion and my long legs hanging over the end of the armrests. Next Amanda was sitting beside me, force feeding me a cup of water. All I could think of was that it felt really good to be looked after by a woman. My mother had left home when I was 15, and that was about the last time I could remember any attention from a female. If you can call being screamed at “attention.”

“You’re an idiot.”

“Nobody’s perfect. I can see aura’s though. That’s one of my party tricks, you know.”

“Have you been drinking?”

“Why does everyone keep asking me that?”


“No! Jesus, can’t a guy experience a simple lightning strike with dignity these days?”

She put her hand on my forehead. It felt so nice to be touched by a girl that I reached over and grabbed her other hand.

“Thanks,” I said. Then I fell asleep.

There was a blinding flash of light and I jerked awake in the dark. I remembered where I was, and there was that weird feeling of being in someone else’s home.

Waking up like that was something I would experience a lot during those times. It was if an electrical circuit in my brain had short-circuited while sleeping, sending a blast of electricity through my head and limbs. My whole body would twitch or jerk, often violently, and I would awaken immediately.

I knew there had been a dream, and I knew it was something profound, but I couldn’t quite remember what it was.

I began to feel my surroundings. I noted that I was still on the sofa, and I had a soft woolen blanket covering me. Quite clearly it was late. A sense of uneasiness sat with me, and I knew it was something important. After a short while, it came to me. It was the light that had disturbed me. With that thought images began to flood into my mind. The tunnel, the sprawling panoramas, the voice, the light… I was starting to remember bits and pieces of what had happened on the beach.

Somehow in the darkness it seemed OK to have these thoughts, these dreams, these visions. At night there was nobody to tell me that they were not real, no real world to have to reconcile them with, no disbelieving friends to have to explain them to, or hide them from.

I lay there for some time before deciding that sleep was the last thing I wanted. So I sat up. As my eyes adjusted to the light I could make out the curtains, big TV and the fridge. I figured that there must be a light switch near the door, and began stumbling round in the dark trying to find it. I was about to give up when the apartment door swung open. Amanda switched on the light.
“Just looking for the light.”

She looked at me in a strange kind of way, and I wasn’t sure if I was welcome or not. She had a white plastic shopping bag.

“I just went out to get a few things. Sorry, it took me a bit longer than expected. You better sit down.”

“I’m fine, really. I was just about to leave.”

“Don’t be stupid. It’s late. You should stay for the night.”

She put the shopping bag on the table and came over and pushed me back onto the lounge. Next she was handing me an apple and a glass of water.

“You look a lot better.”

“Yeah, I’m feeling better come to think of it. Wanna go out for a run?”

“Do you always have to be an idiot?”
I took a mouthful of water and a bite from the apple. That was when I realised I was sitting right beside a beautiful young woman, looking into her eyes. And she had her arm on my leg.

Monday, June 20, 2011

The Frontiers of Human Intelligence

How far can we go?

In the last few days I have been reading James R. Flynn’s What is Intelligence? The book includes some extremely important information and arguments about the nature of human intelligence. In particular, it indirectly sheds light upon the nature of Integrated Intelligence, and why it is so poorly understood. Integrated Intelligence is my term for the transpersonal awareness which permits one to gain deeper insight into the spiritual aspects of life. It is what allows for the development of Deep Futures.

James Flynn is best known for his discovery of The Flynn Effect: that IQ scores have been increasing greatly since intelligence testing first began more than a century ago. In the USA between 1947 and 2002, IQ has increased about 17.5 IQ points. Logically, and via extrapolation, we might conclude that our grandparents were mentally retarded by today’s standards. However logic is only as good as the premises which underpin it, and as Flynn is at pains to point out, the massive increases in IQ scores probably do not equate to an equivalent real world increase in intelligence. However I am not going to discuss this specific point today.

Most interesting for me is what particular aspects of measured intelligence have been improving, and which have not. The greatest increases in the USA between 1947 and 2002 have been in Raven’s Progressive Matrices (27.5 IQ points), which involve visual manipulation of symbols and abstract reasoning. Raven’s involves such tasks as arranging blocks so that the view from above duplicates a presented pattern, building an object out of its disassembled parts, arranging pictures to tell a story and so on.

The task of identifying similarities has also improved about 24 points. How are a bear and a cat similar, for example?

Some domains have not shown so much improvement, such as reading comprehension (12 points), while scores in information, arithmetic and vocabulary have increased only about 3 points. In fact in Britain and the USA, recent data indicates that math and reading abilities have dropped off slightly in recent years.

Most nations have shown similar patterns.

People of past eras rarely or never took standardised tests, but now people are bombarded with them. This has to account for some of the improvements we have seen in IQ.

One point that Flynn argues is that our ancestors from the turn of the twentieth century processed reality quite differently. Their cognitive processing was centered in everyday reality, not upon abstraction, which is an intellectualised mental space. Modern education systems have greatly enhanced the capacity for abstraction. This is one indisputable conclusion we can draw from the data.

One of the most notable aspects of these findings is that the results of each intelligence subtest has been greatly influenced by social values and priorities. This is what I have long argued regarding the development of intuitive intelligence. The lack of valuing of the intuitive mind in modern society and education has greatly restricted its development.

The huge improvement in visual intelligence is almost certainly a function of the fact that leisure time for the young is now filled with activities requiring complex visual processing, beginning with television in the 1950s, and moving through to today’s explosion of internet usage via PCs, laptops and mobile devices.

The huge increases in Raven’s Matrices test scores also suggest that today’s children are far better at solving problems on the spot without having a prior learned method to work from.

The data and arguments presented in Flynn’s book appear to support, in a general sense, a schema which I took from science historian John Pickstone, and his book Other Ways of Knowing. Pickstone argues that there are three main ways of knowing employed in the modern world, and each developed out of particular historical contexts. Classification emerged around 1500 as universities in Europe adopted curricula based upon the scholastic movement’s need for lumping concepts (animals, plants etc.) into prearranged categories. Around 1800 analysis became more pronounced, and by 1850 experimentation was taking hold.

I have used this schema extensively in my own writing. However with a little further reading and reflection, I think that “experimentation” is too narrow a term to describe scientific thinking. It also incorporates the kinds of mental abilities that James Flynn describes in his idea of scientific thinking. Flynn argues that the gains in IQ scores in recent decades are largely a function of the development of the scientific mind, and its requirements for abstraction and logical thinking. He makes the distinction between the pre-scientific and scientific minds. Flynn writes:

A person who views the world through pre-scientific spectacles thinks in terms of the categories that order perceived objects and functional relationships…. If the everyday world is you cognitive home, it is not natural to detach abstractions and logic and see the hypothetical from their concrete referents… Today we have no difficulty freeing logic from concrete referents and reasoning about purely hypothetical situations.

To back his arguments, Flynn takes fascinating and somewhat humorous examples from the research of famed Russian psychologist Luria in the 1970s, when the latter interviewed Russian peasants. I have listed a couple of interview  extracts, below.         
White bears and Novaya Zemlya
Q:  All bears are white where there is always snow; in Novaya Zemlya there is always snow; what color are the bears there?
A:  I have seen only black bears and I do not talk of what I have not seen.
Q:  But what do my words imply?
A;  If a person has not been there he can not say anything on the basis of words.  If a man was 60 or 80 and had seen a white bear there and told me about it, he could be believed.

Camels and Germany
Q:  There are no camels in Germany; B is a city in Germany; are there camels there?
A:  I don't know, I have never seen German villages. If B is a large city, there should be camels there.
Q:  But what if there are none in all of Germany?
A:  Perhaps this is a small village within a large city and there is no room for camels.
Now, here is the point I wish to draw from all this research, including the Flynn Effect. It is difficult for a person processing information and reality via one way of knowing to understand the thinking of those who are processing information via another way of knowing. Further, we have to make a distinction in that contemporary ways of knowing, at least to some degree, incorporate all the ways of knowing that came before it in history. This mirrors Ken Wilber’s idea of “include and transcend.” As one’s consciousness expands to a higher level, a person retains access to the cognitive processes that preceded the expansion. Indeed, at a higher level, the limitations of the lower level can be more fully appreciated. James Flynn can get his mind around the worldview of a Russian peasant, but the Russian peasant would simply be incapable of fully comprehending what the scientist is doing in his lab.

One hypothesis that I would like to put forward is that the development of mind from pre-scientific to scientific might actually retard certain forms of perception. The detachment and abstraction of the scientific mind creates a distancing from the world, and from the body and the subtle intuitions of spirit; and with that comes a loss of relationship knowledge.

My argument is that the development of Integrated Intelligence - as I define it, and as I experience it - transcends the scientific mind. It enables one to utilise scientific and logical ways of knowing, but expands upon them. It also enables a greater array of data to be accessed via the extended mind. The mind becomes more permeable, and the scientific assumption that mind is contained within the brain is seen to be a delusion. Having incorporated and transcended the scientific mind, it is easy to understand the limits of the scientific mind and why it is incapable of understanding Integrated Intelligence. However the reverse is not true. Using logic, abstraction, detachment, experimentation is simply inadequate to access and utilise Integrated Intelligence, and to understand it.

There are fantastic insights which are available via Integrated Intelligence. Perhaps most vitally, it allows one to intuit the inherent meaning of life and specific events that occur in one’s life. These insights are simply not available to the scientific mind. This is why in order for Deep Futures to truly evolve, there is a requirement for human beings to embrace an expanded range of cognitive development.

As a result of a commitment to developing Integrated Intelligence my own world is far richer than it once was. Many might suggest that such a world an extraordinary world where extraordinary “intelligence” is exhibited. This is only true from the perspective of the pre-scientific and scientific minds. For the Russian peasant, doing calculus must appear to be absolutely incredible, but it is standard fair in a modern university. I predict that one day in the not too distant future, Integrated Intelligence will be standard. I have already seen many “ordinary” people develop it.

However, in order for the potential widespread activation of Integrated Intelligence to occur, the relevant cognitive processes have to be employed in life and/or education. They have to be understood, and most of all they have to be valued. The recent massive increases in the capacity for abstraction and visual intelligence have arisen because of society’s increased valuing of these concepts. I predict the same will occur with Integrated Intelligence - if it is valued.

Whether it will be valued anytime soon remains to be seen.


Getting Tough (part 1)

Whether we like to admit it or not the world can be quite a tough place. M. Scott Peck famously stated his best-selling book The Road Less Traveled with the sentence “Life is hard.” He maintained that that’s just the way it is, and there’s no use bitchin’ about it because life isn’t going to hand material and spiritual riches to you on a platter. M. Scott Peck had a point.

Years ago I attended the Discovery workshop in New Zealand with Michael Wall, who was a very good life coach and group facilitator. I was one of the “coaches” there. There were about a hundred adolescents in attendance. In one activity Michael had the kids do, they had to write down their greatest fear on the back of a block of wood. Later they had to karate chop the wood, as a symbol of demolishing their fears. 

Later in the evening, after the day’s workshop was over, I was walking around the back of the building where the event was held, and stumbled across the pile of smashed up blocks of wood. I couldn’t help but looking at what was written on the blocks. The two things that came up again and again were “failure” and “rejection”. It was at this time that I realised that the greatest human fears are associated with failing and being rejected by others.

Whether you like it or not you are going to fail many times in your life, and you are going to get rejected a lot. For many people failure and rejection form a core “soul issue”. As I explain in Discover Your Soul Template, each person carries within their consciousness fields psychological and spiritual patterns of beliefs, and personal stories which emerge from their personal biography and past lives. When you die, any unresolved trauma or negative belief structures centering around those soul issues remain locked within your spirit. They return with you to your next life.

As part of your evolution, you synchronistically attract to you events which reflect your soul issues. In other words, if failure and rejection are soul issues for you, you can be sure that life will serve them up for you until such time as you have worked through or integrated the consciousness of these concepts. This is one of the reasons why the law of attraction as espoused in The Secret and many new age books doesn’t work, or only works imperfectly. You attract not so much what you want, but what you are. You are not going to attract success on a massive scale if you have deep seated beliefs such as the following. How many of these do you carry within you? Be honest! Give a rating of 0,1,2, or 3 for each.

0 = never, or hardly ever at all
1 = sometimes
2 = quite a lot
3 = greatly, or all the time

  1. I’m a failure.    0    1    2    3
  2. Life is unfair. There is no justice. It’s not fair.   0    1    2    3
  3. I’m not good enough.    0    1    2    3
  4. The world is cruel.    0    1    2    3
  5. You can’t trust people. They stab you in the back. People are selfish. People betray you.   0    1    2    3
  6. Nobody cares about me. Nobody loves me.    0    1    2    3
  7. I’m not good enough. I can’t do it.   0    1    2    3
  8. There is no God. It’s hopeless. There is no meaning or purpose to anything. It doesn’t matter how hard you try.    0    1    2    3
  9. I’m unlucky. I’m a victim.    0    1    2    3
  10. All men are bastards. All women are bitches/witches.    0    1    2    3

How did you go? There’s no right or wrong, high or low scores here. Each of us is unique, and personal power begins with acknowledging where you are – what you are. 
In fact all these belief structures exist to some degree in the vast majority of people, right across the world. They are interwoven into personal narratives: life stories that get repeated over and over again through countless lifetimes. I am the failure. I am the one who carries the burden. I am the pariah, the scapegoat. I am the lonely one. I am the betrayer. I am the betrayed. I am guilty. Punish me. And so on…

These of course can be interwoven with stories that are positive. I am the lover, the liberator, the smart one, the wise woman, the leader, the messenger, the rich one and so on. The positive stories can act as attractors pulling us forward towards preferred futures, instilling us with self-belief; while the negative stories act as weights, dragging us down, holding us back. Unfortunately the energy of joy and success don’t get “trapped” in the body and spirit; while trauma often does.

Let’s face it. In the entirety of human existence on this planet, it all adds up to a pretty sorry tale of woe. The amount of suffering in the human collective is beyond imagination. 100 million people died in wars in the twentieth century. 45 million people dropped dead from famine in the early 1950s in Maoist China. Half a million people die each year in traffic accidents.

Within your karma there will be trauma and negative beliefs, or you wouldn’t be here. Life then is going to serve you up suffering – failure, rejection, injustice and so on. Life is going to serve you up difficult times just to make you aware of all this. And it will be good for you!

If you learn the lesson. And that requires you to do the healing, and pull out of the (negative) story.

In Discover Your Soul Template I refer to a particularly difficult time I went through when I went to work at an international school in New Zealand. I was still a young man at that time, and carried with me a great many wounds from a very difficult childhood. In particular, I had big, big issues with a certain female relative of mine, who had just about crushed the life out of me as a child. She did this because she had massive unresolved “men issues” herself; and when I came into this world she dumped them on me. Basically, she had an unconscious intention to destroy me, because to her I represented the energy of “all men”. She beat the crap out of me, and dumped all her shame on me.

While I had done some inner work by the time I got to NZ, the bulk of that trauma still remained trapped within my emotional body. So what did life do? It set up a nice little beating for me. This came in the form of my immediate boss, a youngish head teacher who set about trying to destroy me (same story) as soon as I set foot in the school. She basically did everything within her power to spread lies about me to other staff members, and to discredit me as a person and professional educator.

Perhaps I should mention that she never at any point spoke to me, even though she sat literally two metres away from me in the staffroom. Yes, that’s right. She would not even say hello to me when I greeted her in the morning. This was extremely puzzling to me, as it occurred from the first day I arrived at the school, and for the life of me I couldn’t figure out what it was that had caused her to despise me.

Yet looking back, this nightmarish situation was one of the most fruitful experiences of my life. I used the whole situation as a catalyst to look deeply within myself, at my childhood and personal karma. I brought forward a great deal of the fear (esp. of women), rage and shame that resided within my soul. I connected with the wounded child within me. Most of all I learned to stand up for myself. I learned to confront my abuser, and to disentangle their projections from my part in the drama. In other words I stopped blaming myself so much when bullies came at me, and to deflect their projections. I learned to stand in my power as a man. For the first time.

A big part of that was getting angry. Very, very angry. And getting tough.

If you live long enough you will face difficult situations. Life can be tough. You have to learn to be “tough” too, even as you permit the softness of human vulnerability to express itself through you.

More about that next post.


Friday, June 17, 2011

"Light", Chapter 16: Arousal

Click here for a full list of chapters from Marcus T. Anthony's novel Light.

There was someone shaking me. I opened my eyes and felt daylight crash into my brain. It hurt like hell.

“Stupid kid. You shouldn’t drink so much damn beer!”

I squinted, and through the slits between my eyelids I could make out the form of an old man leaning over me. He was carrying a large canvas bag, and from the sounds it made when he moved, I knew he was collecting aluminium cans and plastic bottles.

“Get some clothes on before you die of pneumonia!” He trundled away muttering something about “Kids these days.”

It sure felt as if I’d been drinking – like about two keg’s worth of black Irish beer. My mouth was bone dry, like I hadn’t drunk a drop of water for a month, and I could feel every heartbeat pound through my skull. Even more frighteningly, I noticed that my heart beat was irregular. One moment there were three or four rapid beats, then a pause, then it came back again. I sat up, and grabbed my head with my hands, as if that would make the pain go away. My body was shivering. There was a slight cool breeze blowing in off the ocean, and I was freezing.

My heart skipped a beat again, and a moment of terror descended upon me as the thought passed through my mind that I was about to have a heart attack. That made my heart race even faster as my breath caught in my chest. But the expected explosion of my cardiac matter never came, and I relaxed a little. It looked like I was going to live.

I slowly stood up, steadying myself against the dizziness. I was fascinated to discover that I was wearing only my jeans and was bare foot. Then I noticed that I was standing at the low point of small sand dunes which were covered in thin layers of tall, rough grass.

My shirt. I needed to find my shirt. I looked about me, and could see nothing but sloping dunes, grass and sand. I scrambled around, and eventually found one of my shoes, but not the other; and the shirt was nowhere to be seen. After a few minutes I cursed and hobbled up the dune wearing my one shoe and made my way towards the car park.

My thoughts were more scrambled than a Sunday morning omelet. All I knew is that I had to get back to Edwards Hall. I hobbled up the hill road, heading back towards Scott Street at the top of town, where I knew there was a bus stop. A guy walking his dog passed me, looking at me like I was from Mars. A bit further along two schoolgirls giggled as soon as they saw me. That’s when it dawned on me that it was not socially normal to stumble along in public, shirtless and wearing one shoe.

The 100 bus pulled up, and I clambered on. The driver gave me a “WTF?” stare as I clambered into the vehicle. It was when I fished a couple of coins from my still wet pocket that a vague sense of the events of the previous evening filtered into my consciousness. Scattered thoughts of brilliant lights and a roller coaster ride through some alien dimension momentarily besieged me. But I was having trouble remembering anything specific.

When I drew the coins out of my pocket they were, well, black. I ignored the incongruity, the look of incredulousness on the driver’s face, threw them into the tray and crashed down on a seat.

I was the only person on the bus, but as we moved passed other stops, a few more people got on, and all the funny looks I got began to make me feel just a little self-conscious. Still, I’m sure the radiation victims of the Hiroshima bombing in 1945weren’t overly concerned with social disapproval as they stumbled around half naked at the impact site of the A-bomb. What I am saying is that my brain hurt too much to really give a damn.

A sense of overwhelming fatigue overcame me, and I fell asleep like a cheap drunk…

When I awoke I had no idea where I was. I felt totally lost. I sat up, and everything felt completely alien, like I was in someone else’s bed, and in someone else’s body. But slowly the room about me began to form recognisable patterns. The desk, the poster of Bono, the crappy T-shirts hanging in the open wardrobe. I was in my room.

The scariest thing is that I had absolutely no recollection of how I got there. The last thing I could remember was being on some bus. Now I was lying on my bed wearing only my underwear.

I got up, stumbled a few steps and presented myself as best I could in front of the tall mirror on the wardrobe door. For a moment in the dimly lit room I didn’t notice anything too unusual, except that I looked a bit pale. Then as my eyes adjusted to the light I noticed some small dark freckles on my chest. I flicked on the light, and discovered they were all over my chest and abdomen. I fingered one or two and there was a slight discomfort. They were burn marks.

“What the fuck?”

All I knew was that something weird had happened, and that I had lost any real remembrance of recent events. I scanned my mind, and the last thing I could really remember before the bus was standing on the beach with the storm closing in. Even that was hazy, as if from a dream. But as I looked at the marks on my body I remembered the blackened coins I’d fished from my pockets on the bus. An unfeasible hypothesis was beginning to formulate in my mind. I went straight to my computer.

First, I needed to find out what day it was. Saturday? This was another WTF moment.

 Then I went to a medical diagnosis site, and filled in my symptoms. The list of seven possible diagnoses popped up. The very last hit me like a blow to the face.

I scratched my head and decided to ring the last person I could remember talking to: Amanda.

Pressing fast dial, I waited while for the dial tone.

Click. The line disconnected. I tried again, and it rang just once before the same thing happened. I scratched my head again, and tried one more time. This time she picked up.

“Hi Amanda.”

There was no response.


“What do you want?”

“Just calling to see what’s up. Is something wrong?”

“Is something wrong? Are you fucking crazy or something?”

It was the first time I had ever heard her swear. That was just a little shocking.

“I’m sorry, did I say something?”

Again there was a moment’s silence.

“Look Greg, this is not funny. I think we’d better stop seeing each other. I’ve got exams coming up. It’s a really busy time.’

My head started to spin.

“Sorry, I don’t understand.”

“Greg, you are really fucking weird, do you know that? Is there something wrong with your brain?”

My confusion was now a reign of mental chaos. I didn’t quite know what to say, so I said, “Possibly, but I haven’t been tested lately.”

She laughed. I hadn’t a clue what I was doing, but I felt an opportunity.

“Sorry if I have been acting a bit strange. Things have been a bit difficult in the last few days.”

“Your Aunt sick again, by any chance?”

This time I laughed. “Yeah. It’s chronic.”

 “So, what happened? Last time I saw you were running into a storm, quite literally.”

I felt it within me. Her energy had shifted. There’s a well known song in Newcastle, called The Newcastle Song. The refrain from the chorus goes, “Don’t you ever let a chance go by.” I decided to heed that advice.

“Will you hate me if I tell the truth?”

“I already hate you.”

“OK, then here it is. I think I was struck by lightning.”


“Either that or I was at a really, really wild party.”

I described the burn marks on my body, the black coins, the loss of memory. Waking up on the beach. Finally I mentioned all the symptoms of a lightning strike I’d uncovered on the web. After I’d finished there was silence again. Finally I added.


“Fucking hell, Greg. If you are right, you are lucky to be alive!”

“Lucky is my middle name. I need to talk. Can I come over?”

Much to my surprise there was no silence. No hesitation. She said yes.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Rage! Conspiracy Conspirators have Conspired to Conspire Against Me!

This last week or so has been a fascinating one for climate change debate. Two notable things happened. Firstly, just in the last couple of days a Sydney Morning Herald columnist wrote a good humoured piece mocking the stupidity of extreme climate skepticism (sorry, I can’t track it down!). Somehow the article was circulated amongst a United States audience, and the columnist awoke the next day to find three thousand rather nasty emails in his inbox threatening all kinds of injury, including annihilation.

This incident followed just days after another with a similar narrative. The same newspaper revealed that climate scientists at the Australian National University in Canberra had received a large number of emails with threatening and abusive language, including death threats. One email read:

You will be chased down the street with burning stakes and hung from your fucking neck until you are dead, dead, dead.
We heard you the first time, thanks. Just lovely.

As a result, some of the scientists have had to be moved to a safer location.

The Vice-Chancellor of the Australian National University, Professor Ian Young, noted:

"Obviously, climate research is an emotive issue at the present time, but these are issues where we should have a logical public debate. In fact it's completely intolerable that people be subjected to this sort of abuse and to threats like this."
Exactly, but logic is absolutely not what climate change “debate” is really about, is it? In fact within public discourse on the internet, climate change ceased being a debate a long time ago, and instead became a battle for worldviews: for pseudo-religion.

I am certainly not the first person to suggest that in the modern age a personal worldview effectively becomes many people’s religion. For example, the idea of “scientism” – the unshakable belief in modern science to deliver us from evil – has been around a while now. And many have compared overzealous environmental activists to religious zealots. This is perhaps not so surprising given the roots of the latter movement can be traced back to the spiritual and often pagan roots of the 1960s flower power movement.

Climate skeptics are part of a greater “religious” movement: conspiracy theorists.

I was browsing the web the other day and came across a few web sites dedicated to conspiracies. There is of course the highly imaginative David Icke. Icke is perhaps the most famous of the conspiracy theorists in the modern age, and, as far as I can tell, for Icke there is a conspiracy behind everything, including the shape of your cornflakes. I read one of his books years ago, and – speaking of flakes - I was surprised how flaky his evidence was. In one chapter he presented evidence for the idea that shape-shifting reptiles are ruling the earth (George Bush Sr is really a reptile, as is Prince Phillip – no wonder the Queen looks so perky). And does anyone really believe that Lady Dianna’s death was an accident? Well, it’s hard to know, as Icke’s question is stated in the rhetorical mode, and apparently requires no answer. The query is enough to settle the “debate”.

Then there are other web sites by conspiracy theorists who are convinced that Icke is in on the conspiracy, so they have started up their own web site. One I opened featured moderators and posters attempting to strangle each other, with posters ranting that the mods were out to get them, to silence them. Sounds like a conspiracy to me.

Now, you’d think that with Wikileaks putting more and more stuff out in the public eye, that some mention of the Reptiles and the government’s hand in 911 would have emerged. Or is that another conspiracy? On the China Daily discussion forum some time ago, a Chinese, anti-American, anti-Western Anti-“Anglo” hater wrote that” “the Anglos has killed 50 million people in Afghanistan and Iraq!”  I don’t normally comment on that forum as it is basically an insane asylum for zealots of “glorious China” nationalism, but on this occasion I couldn’t help myself. I responded, referring the poster to the Wikileaks document which indicated that collateral damage by Allied forces in the two countries totaled about two and a half thousand deaths. To this, the Chinese poster spewed forth a barrage of clumsy alliteration (centred upon repetition of the “F” sound), stating that Wikileaks was part of the Anglo-Jewish New World Order.

So, the conspiracy leaks are really another conspiracy. But only when they contravene your worldview, of course. Only when they threaten your “pseudo-religion’.

It should not surprise that I am not a great fan of conspiracy theories. Regardless of who is pulling the strings and how, the essence of your personal power does not lie in government cover-ups and lies.

I am an advocate of a very simple spiritual journey, which involves coming into correct relationship with the ego – the mind. Conspiracy fixations and paranoia are evidence of a mind that refuses to accept responsibility for its “issues”. It is a mind that projects its unresolved, hurt, anger, fear blame and fear out onto an external force. Behind the conspiracy theorist is a pervasive rage against parental figures, especially fathers, and often includes unprocessed soul issues from past lives.

Don’t get me wrong. By all means, identify corruption and injustice where it affects you, and make the world a better place with positive actions. But the reality is that your power to change the system is probably very limited. You genuine power comes from within. The simple act of bringing the mind into silent presence produces a joy that contributes more to the world than a billion hate-filled rants on the internet, screaming about injustice. Yes, act where necessary, but the “energy” that lies behind the action is crucial. Empowered action emerges from a balanced mind assuming responsibility for  itself. Such a mind acts from strength, wisdom and genuine courage, not from fear and rage, spraying hate out into the world.

Just think. There’s no need to rant and rave, no need to threaten death and annihilation to those who hold a different belief structure from you. The truth is that joy is yours today with nothing more than a decision to be responsible for your mind and its projections, and by bringing yourself into presence. Nobody can take that away from you. Not even the Reptiles. And therein lies your greatest power.



"Light", Chapter 15: The Light

For a full list of current chapters of Marcus T Anthony's Light, click here.

A hole in the top of my head opened, and I was out. Out of my body.

It wasn’t like the out of body experiences you hear about on TV programmes about the supernatural. I didn’t see my body at all, and there was none of that eerie floating around up there trying to figure out that you are actually dead. For a start, it was pissing down rain at the time, and even if I’d had a choice, I don’t think I would have hung around. No, it wasn’t a quiet last ‘Farewell”. It was a great explosive bang of a “Goodbye, and I’m out of here!”

The first thing I was aware of was the great whooshing sound. It was like I was in some tunnel being thrust along at the speed of light. There was the sensation of rapid movement, like being in one of those carnival rides where you are projected up into the sky at a thousand miles an hour, while screaming. Only there was no gravity, and no screaming. That was the strange thing. I was moving fast, there was the sound of movement, but nothing seemed to be passing. In fact I couldn’t see anything. All was blackness.

There was a short moment of terror as I realised something very strange was happening, but then for some reason I let go. The words came again.

“Surrender to death.”

I let go, just let go. As I did I suddenly found myself expanding like a balloon. Again, I couldn’t see it, I just felt it. It was like every sense of boundary between me and everything else just collapsed, and I became infinitely light. Then infinite. Then light.

As I expanded outward and everywhere it was as a great hand had reached into the centre of my chest and pulled open a zipper, spilling out an instant radiance of joyfulness. I was flying and it was total bliss. Then I knew, within that instant beyond time and place, and without any words or thinking required. Knew.

This is who I truly am.

Time collapsed, and my vision opened. I could see the panorama of my life before me, as if I was looking at it from a great distance, and from above myself. There I was, being born. A violent and frightening ripping sound came, as my being was compressed into a finite body, and I screamed like a baby at the sheer indignity and terror of it all. I saw my mother, and I saw the child that she was, and it became instantly clear to me that she was in fact not even a real adult, but a child in a woman’s body. Behind her I saw her father and relatives stretching into distant pasts of ancestors long dead, and I could feel the great weight of their unprocessed pain and hurt being funneled through her... and then onto the baby. Me.

My father appeared too, and I saw the long line of ancestors again. Back and back beyond them the ancestors carried something within them, like a sickness. The word ‘gonorrhea’ appeared in bold white letters, and I knew that somehow the shame of this disease had been carried down through seven generations of my father’s family. Don’t ask me how I knew it was seven. In that moment I just knew. I knew it then. My father was a channel for the darkness of others who had come before him. I felt their pain, their confusion and their shame. I felt the hopelessness and their sense of being lost and forgotten, abandoned.

Then my older brother James appeared, and I saw him standing over me, me as child; and I saw a great tearing within him as a massive wave of water descended upon him - from my father. But I knew that it was not really water, but the shame and darkness from my own father’s soul, and the souls of his ancestors. As I watched I saw James turn upon me, full of darkness and rage. He began to beat me. I screamed out in pain and anger, and the pain of it filled my being.

Then I saw him. It was the baby, the baby that I once was. He was crying, alone. I could feel him, and I felt his pain and tears. And then I knew what it was that I wanted more than anything else, and what had driven so much of the longing within me my whole life. I wanted to be held. But there was no one there. There was the anger of rage and abandonment, and I knew it was directed at my mother.

The landscape shifted and great rivulets of rain water fell upon “me”, or whatever I was at that moment. Or perhaps it is that it fell through me. And I sobbed great heavy tears of insufferable pain, the pain of many births and deaths, of countless lifetimes. Yet in that pain, it was as if I had been united with the very essence of myself. It was pain, and yet the pain was joyful, as if the separation from the tears, the anger and the fear is what had been painful, rather than the feelings themselves. I wept. I sobbed. I screamed with a rage so violent it threatened to tear apart everything.

And then I laughed. It was the laughter of joy. The joy of unity. Union with the lost parts of myself.

After a timeless time the scene before me expanded, till my family and I became a speck in a great panorama. The entire scene was like the twilight of the longest day, and day that was many centuries long. The sun was setting on a terrible blood red horizon. As I looked down I could see battles, wars, murders and rapes and the pain of it all was curled up into great dark vortexes, tornadoes that twisted and flickered across the land, threatening to engulf all.

Then a voice said: “This has been going on for one thousand, three hundred years.”

The bloody landscape retreated and was replaced by stars and galaxies, all moving about in perfect motion and timing, as if such had been happening for countless billions of years. And then I felt it, felt everything. It was the life of the cosmos, breathing, pulsing like a giant cosmic lung. As I watched it and felt it, it was as if it was all beyond time, as if all this had already happened. Or perhaps it would all happen, again and again and again. Because in that moment there was no time as I had understood it.

“You wanted to know. Now you know,” said the voice.

I became aware that one of the stars was glowing brighter. My mind came to rest upon it, and I realised that it was the star that had been communicating with me. Even as this awareness came, the star immediately pulled me closer, and brightened until it embraced me into its very being. Light exploded through me, and “I” ceased to exist. My mind - as I knew it - disappeared, and I became one with life itself. And everything was life. Everything was being. An immense joyousness filled me. I was floating, everywhere and nowhere, eternal in eternity.

I existed, or perhaps didn’t exist, in this timeless, space less dimension for a time beyond time. And all the while I was aware of the presence that was with me. It seemed to me to be the consciousness of a man. I did not see him. I only felt him. I felt his mind, and it was a mind that was so vast, so pure and so full of light that I felt completely safe. There was the thought that this intelligence was many times greater than mine, as if it sat upon some level of existence that was far above where my own mind resided. As I felt “him” there was the greatest peace. I began to laugh, and it was the laughter of a child. Then there was light, and there was only light. It was pure bliss, and there was no desire to ever experience anything beyond that moment.

“Remember,” he said.

“I will remember.” There was nothing of desire but to fulfill this intention. I knew it would be my duty. My life from that point onwards.

Before my mind the face of a woman appeared, and I knew that I was being directed to pay attention. She was of early middle age. Somehow, the ‘energy’ around her was big, bigger than that of other people. It was as if she was somehow magical, could see more than others. There was something black behind her head, as if something was stuck there. But I could not see it. There were no words, but I knew that we would meet. She would teach me soemthing. Some knowledge. Then I was seeing Michael. There as some connection, but I knew not what.

Clouds came, the light lessened, and I saw my family again, including some of my friends. Paul and Amanda were there. Then Dr Blackpool appeared, and I felt a shudder move through me. I was afraid. With that feeling I began to contract. I could feel myself falling away from the light. But even so, the knowledge continued to flow.

“There is no betrayal.” The voice said.

Rather, I should say it “commanded”. For this message had an extra force to it. It was telling me something important.

There then came a coalescence of ideas and information, which were not so much spoken as thrust into my head in a moment. Stubbornness was blocking me. There was a wall about me, shutting others out, and there was pain inside the wall. Then came thoughts that I can only describe as disturbing. There were images of sexuality and defecation, depravity. There was the stench of urine, feces and semen. I was revolted.

“Do not look away,” the voice said firmly. “You will need to know.”

I was afraid, but I trusted the voice, and as I looked back, I felt the fullness of those dark feelings. I felt sick.”

“You may vomit now.”

This is precisely what I was told, and at that very moment I fell. It was as if I was thrust onto a roller coaster heading earthward, and violently reborn into my body.

I groaned. The pain was immense. My head was pounding as if I had been struck with a sledge hammer.

I found myself lying on the beach, in the darkness, my face half buried in the sand. I spluttered, coughed violently. With that a great wall of stomach fluid forced its way out from within me and sprayed from my mouth like water from a fire hose. For a minute or so I crouched there upon the night beach, emptying the contents of my stomach till I could vomit no more.

I barely had time to catch my breath, and for a few minutes more, I remained there. I knew I was sick.

I stood, dizzy, nauseous. It was painful to look through my eyes, as if I was using them for the first time. But look I did. I was suddenly aware of flickers of lightning on the horizon. The storm had passed, a few stars were staring down brightly from above, and I realised that I was soaking wet, shirtless and cold.

I took a step, then collapsed, exhausted. Then I slept.