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, August 29, 2012

Wisdom from the Pornmeister...

 View from my workdesk: Bang Bao (near Lonely Beach, Koh Chang island, TL)
Welcome to the new Mind-Futures site! (almost). I am completely re-doing my main site and blog. Why am I doing this?

Well, it all began when I met a porn meister in a little village in a small island in the Bay of Thailand about three weeks ago. I met Yohan when I rocked into a Rasta bar one evening while on my month-long holiday on the Island. The bar was dark and smelly, and there were more dreadlocks to be seen than in a Jamaican cricket ground. Yohan was very tall and very Dutch – and we hit it off right away. I eventually got around to asking him what he did for a living.

“I design web sites.” He said is his Arnie-esque accent. “Some dating sites. And mostly porn sites.”

“Ah huh. That’s nice.”

Turns out Yohan was a really nice guy, not exactly in the porn business himself, but flirting round the edges. He told me how, since breaking up with his girlfriend of ten years, he had gone on the road, and was living as a “digital nomad”, traveling the world and living in inexpensive countries. In Lonely Beach he was staying in a beach hut for 150 baht a night – that’s about eight American dollars. He had a magnificent silver computer in his backpack. Straight away I realised that we had a lot in common, even though I have no connection with the porn industry (honest!). I, my good self, was travelling light around the Sand of Smiles. I had one very simple, small, black backpack which contained a small laptop, two shirts, one pair of jeans and a single pair of shorts (yeah, some socks and underwear, too). My inspiration for this midlife-crisis of an experiment was none other than Julian Assange, whom I have read travelled around in similar fashion before he became internationally (in)famous. Julian, it was said, had only a single, collared white shirt in his backpack, which he washed daily – even when fronting major international organisations and media presentations (Note: you should try travelling this way. It’s great! No need to wait for your bags when your plane touches down as you just take your single little bag on the plane).

Anyway, I am not the judgmental type, so I immediately accepted Yohan for what he is. I realised I could actually learn a lot from him. After all, he epitomises many of the qualities of what Timothy Ferris calls “The New Rich” (I wrote a review of Ferriss’ The Four Hour Work Week here).

While Yohan was slumming it in his beachside bungalow, I was living it up in a luxurious beachside resort some ten kilometres down the coast from Lonely Beach. I had a huge air-conditioned room, a huge soft bed with about ten pillows, and a massive 50-inch TV screen with international cable TV. Outside there were two swimming pools to choose from, jungle walks, and two palm-tree lined beaches – the resort was sandwiched between two seas on an isthmus. I felt very guilty for the US$37 a night I was paying . But hey, you have to splash out sometime in life! 

Video taken while driving (single-handed! - thus the shaky footage) on my motor-scooter, leaving my resort in Bang Bao, Thailand
Each evening I drove my motor scooter over the hilly road from the resort, through the jungle and into Lonely Beach. There I would meet up with Yohan and we would talk about some deep and meaningful subjects; and many were not about pornography ;-) . Then, after a timeless time, we would walk few metres into the bar street and chat and dance the night away - often barefoot – in the balmy tropical evenings. And no, I wasn’t dancing with Yohan. The porn thing kind of put me off.

Lonely Beach is mainly a young backpacker’s hangout, so there were lots of people much younger folk there than Yohan and I there, but we didn’t care. We just had fun. On more than one evening I drove my motor scooter back to my hotel (the last part being through rather wild jungle) at very early hours of the morning.

I had given Yohan my business card at one point, and so it was that on one evening when I met up with him at a coffee shop in the town that he looked at me rather seriously.

 Me, at the caffee where I had the conversation about my website. Luckily Yohan didn't start on my dress sense (but hey, this was TL!)

“Hey. I have been looking at your website.” He said in his strong Dutch accent.

“MindFutures dot com?”

“Yeah. It’s not good. It’s like something from ten years ago.”

I felt a bit defensive. “Yeah. It’s just for academics. It’s not for the general public.”

“I looked at some of your other sites. You have sites all over the place. You need to have one centralised site. That would be much better.”

I nodded. In the days that followed, I reflected on Yohan’s advice. Here was a man, seasoned in the subtle arts of the porn industry, and he had found me wanting. My site was useless. Impotent even. He was right. I needed a site that would get people excited. Arouse their interest. Something more…sexy.

In the end I came to see that Yohan was right. It is always good to get the view of an outsider.

After about ten days in Lonely Beach I bid farewell to Yohan, and not without some degree of sadness.

Just yesterday I was in contact with Yohan. He is still in Lonely Beach. But then again, it is still just a couple of weeks since I left that place. He has invited me to join him at his next destinations – Columbia, Brazil, Mexico... You, know… all the great places where you can find adventure, even in dreaded middle age… and where you just might get shot up in a drug bust or a gangland shakedown. But hey, there is no adventure without risk! Maybe I will take up that offer. One day. Before I am too old to explore the new. In the meantime, I hope you enjoy the new I think you’ll find it a little bolder than this blog, more dynamic, and maybe even a little more sexy. You can thank a Dutch porn meister for that one.

Many blessings,

PS. This will be the last post on – and the first on (which will go up in the next day or two). Please do join me for adventures into the frontiers of mind and spirit… into the unknown… and the future!

Friday, August 24, 2012

Total Recall Forgets Itself

"Get your ass to Mars", Arnie famously said in the original Total Recall. Unfortunately in the most recent version of the movie there is no Arnie and no Mars, which by my account, are both negative points. The movie has received mostly negative reviews, but I didn't think it was so bad - perhaps because my expectations were low. The reviews almost put me off, but as a sci-fi buff, I just had to see it.

The new Total Recall is directed by Len Wiseman and stars Colin Farrell, Kate Bechinsale, and Jessica Biel. It's not a great movie, but I found it interesting nonetheless.

I suspect a large number of people going along to see the movie will have seen the original. Arnie's version was fun, funny, fascinating and very, very violent. It was an action roller-coaster ride which kept you guessing the whole way. One of the obvious problems with the remake is that (for those who saw the original) you already know half the plot twists. I did write "half", because the plot of the new version differs considerably. Instead of heading off the Mars, assembly line worker Douglas Quaid (Colin Farrell) heads to The Colony, which is on the other side of the world (which I later read is supposed to be Australia). Action takes place in the United Federation of Britain (UFB) after a great war has devastated most of the planet.

Just as in the original, Douglas Quaid decides to visit Rekall, a company that inserts artificial memories. But Quaid does not realise that he is not really himself: his identity has been changed. His previous self was a top spy, and the Rekall process attracts the attention of the authorities. Then Quaid is on the run... for the rest of the movie.

There are some great futuristic ideas on show in Total Recall. The most fascinating and well created is the gravity elevator, which takes residents of UFB to work in the Colony. This giant elevator travels right through the Earth's core. There are moments of zero gravity when the elevator reaches the centre of the Earth.

Another fascinating technological "innovation" is a phone embedded inside the skin of Quaid's hand. When placed on a window, it creates a monitor, which operates as a computer or video screen.

I loved the sets used in the movie. They are strongly reminiscent of another Phillip K Dick movie adaptation: Bladerunner. There is a strong gothic-oriental theme to many scenes. The city-scapes are realistic, detailed and believable. A chase across city roof-tops is also reminiscent of a scene from Bladerunner.

There is obvious homage paid to other sci-fi movies (maybe too many). Scenes involving a robot army are reminiscent of The Clone Wars (Star Wars). Several action scenes remind one of The Matrix. Another scene involves Quaid and Melina (Jessica Biel) in a car chase involving flying cars, which has already been done in The Fifth Element.

One somewhat disappointing feature of the new Total Recall is that it fails to recapture the humour of the original. In fact it doesn’t even try, and the result is that the movie is relentlessly serious all the way through. Perhaps the only humour (that I noted) was a very subtle thing. When Quaid arrives at customs on The Colony, the camera focuses in on a middle-aged woman. In the original movie, a similar scene sees the woman suddenly begin to contort; then she rips her face off, and Arnie appears from within – then starts blowing people away. It is classic Arnie: violent, fun and funny all at the same time. In the current movie the actor appears to be the same woman (though I’m not certain), only the camera then pans across to another man, whose face begins to shift – an electronic disguise – before the same mayhem ensues. It’s a slightly shifty move by the director, and fans of the original will appreciate the “gag”.

Arnold Swarzenegger has always been classed as a B-grade actor of limited ability. However I couldn’t help but reflecting on his talent for comic timing and one-liners while watching the new movie. It was something that really added to the first movie, and was noticeably absent from the current version. Who can forget “Consider dat a divoorce!”, after Arnie shoots his wife in the head (Sharon Stone) – she’s actually a spy. Or “Screw you!” as he sinks a mining drill through the chest of an antagonist. We really shouldn’t laugh, but we do.

The greatest weakness of the new movie is that it relies too much on action scenes and chases of various kinds. And there are just too many of them. Meaningful dialogue is largely absent, as are meaningful ideas. One notable difference from the original occurs when Quaid reaches the Resistance base and meets the rebel leader, Matthias. A conversation ensues in which Quaid laments that he does not know who he is because he has lost his memory. Matthias tells him that the truth of who he can only be found in what he is now; and that the past cannot truly reveal who he is. In the original, the rebel leader on Mars tells Quaid a different answer: "A man is what he does". I found this to be a very poignant change, and perhaps reflects a shift in the way we understand ourselves. Twenty years ago we were more results-driven, today – perhaps - we are more present-orientated and reflective.

Total Recall begins strongly. I found the first thirty minutes to be very engaging. But the rest of the movie fails to sustain that level of interest.

Ultimately the new Total Recall fails to explore its own themes deeply. Director Len Wiseman chooses action over ideas. And all the great sci-fi movies are, in the end, about ideas. No exceptions. I give it three stars out of five.


Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Death of a Futurist

What a whirlwind month I have had! As I write this I am sitting in a small café in the tiny town of Morwell in rural Victoria, Australia, about two hours from Melbourne by car or train. I arrived here just yesterday after flying back from Hong Kong. Prior to that I spent three days in China and a month in Thailand.

So what am I doing here? The short answer is that I am staying with my younger brother till I get settled. And getting settled may take some time! There are no more than 5000 people in this town, I’d estimate. It makes a huge contrast to the hustle and bustle of Hong Kong, where I lived for the past eight years.

My plan is to stay in Australia. Maybe. It depends on what opportunities open up – here or elsewhere.

Inevitably during big changes in life, many things change. Much has to pass away in order for the new to arrive. And a few things you just have to kill off!

So now is the time to announce that I will be killing off this blog (and parts of the old me), and also my website Looking at that site, it appears to be what a futurist’s site would have looked like 15 years ago – the blog of a futurist stuck in the past! The other problem is that I have too many sites and my stuff is scattered all over the net on about seven different domains. So…

I am opening a new all-inclusive site - - where everything will come together in one convenient and exciting place. The new site will include a blog very similar to this one. It should be up by the end of the week. will use a wordpress theme, so it will be far more interactive and dynamic than my old site and this blog. It will be able to support a much greater range of media, including video and audio.

I wear a few different hats: futurist, mystic, academic, writer, educator... So there will be different parts of the new site for all these things. I am also going to include a “news” section, where I will post links to news and media stories related to Deep Futures – all the things that I am interested in. Of course I am hoping that it will appeal to a wider audience than this blog’s, and especially to my old mindfutures site, which was really just a place where I put up all my research papers.

I look forward to seeing everyone on!



Friday, August 3, 2012

Can You Channel a PhD?

Is it possible to channel a higher degree thesis? I believe that you can, and I base that on the experience of writing my own doctoral thesis. That's why I have recently published a short book called How to Channel a PhD. It details the specific processes I used to become deeply inspired and earn a doctorate in short time.


A lot of researchers and higher degree students have forgotten the excitement of learning, and with it the intuitive instincts which make research a potentially exciting and rewarding experience. Of course, it's not their fault, as modern education systems have pretty much drilled these things out of them. In turn, that education system is founded in a very peculiar historical period (this one!) where our smartest and most learned people have typically lost connection with what I call Integrated Intelligence - the deeep connectedness of mind and cosmos. That is a genuine pity, because I believe that the pursuit of knowledge can (and should be) be a genuinely transformative experience. The Romantic philosophers and mystics understood this very well, and that is the spirit of inquiry that I am hoping to instill in those who read this little book. It is perfectly suitable to all those who conduct research of any kind, not just to formally enrolled students.

Below, I include an extract from the book. How to Channel a PhD is available in Kindle format at present for $1.99 (although you can also purchase the PDF directly from me at my new web site 

Happy reading (and research)!


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Table of Contents

1.     How I came to Develop Integrated Inquiry                                   
3.     What is Integrated Intelligence?                                                     
4.     The INQ Tools
7.     Important considerations  
8.     Finally   

*     *     *

Don’t get so far ahead of the parade that nobody can see where you are.
John Naisbitt (futurist)

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


One day several decades ago, a young man walked into a public library. He wanted to find answers to some deep questions he had been asking himself about the nature of mind, cosmos and their relationship to modern physics. In those days there were no computers, and he did not have much of a liking for the card catalogue, so he did what he often did when he wanted to home in on some hard information. He began walking along the many shelves of books. He did not bother to look at the call numbers librarians had spent thousands of hours inscribing on the binding of the books. Instead, he just kept walking. Suddenly, he got the strong feeling he had been waiting for, stopped, reached out and grabbed a book from the shelf. The book was exactly what he needed, addressing the effect of human observation on experiments in quantum physics. It was that moment which launched Michael Talbot on a lifelong interest in the confluence between mysticism and what he called “the new physics” (Talbot 1992 p 137).
What interests me about Talbot’s tale, is not so much his beliefs about links between mysticism and physics, but the ‘way of knowing’ he used to locate his data. Why did he not just use a computer search like everybody else? Was he just being lazy? The answer, according to Talbot, is that he often relied on his intuition, and a sense of feeling to find books in libraries. He felt that this was often a more reliable process than using conventional methods. He believed that he would be led to find the answer to the question she was posing.
What would you do? Chances are you would head for the card catalogue, or the modern equivalent, the computer database. And that tells us something about the way our minds have been trained to think, and the ways of knowing that we have come to call “normal” in the modern world.
Some will dismiss Talbot as a “New Ager”, “hippie”, or as simply deluded. Yet these terms relegate Talbot to the realm of the other, and effectively prevent us from asking “why” - and more importantly “how” - he used intuition to locate information in public libraries. In this way we as researchers remain confined within our comfort zones, and the boundaries to our knowledge are unconsciously maintained.
In this booklet I am going to push the boundaries, and bring us to the frontiers of mind – at least as defined in the modern Western world. Below, I will outline five intuitive research tools which can be used by researchers. Together they form an approach to research I call Integrated Inquiry (INQ). Although the title of this booklet addresses doctoral candidates, there is no reason why researchers and students at any level – undergraduate or postgraduate – cannot use INQ in their research or studies. It can be used by professional and lay researchers everywhere.

The modern researcher
Most students embarking on a higher degree have spent many years and made great sacrifices learning their trade. Most have spent nearly two decades in a modern education system. This educational experience shapes not only the way they use their minds and conduct their research, but creates strong beliefs about what constitutes ‘rational’, as well as what ways of knowing are valid. They have learned to identify problems, design projects, ask questions, construct experiments, conduct literature reviews, collect data, calculate, analyze, cite sources, and report findings. These processes and their ‘rational’ ways of knowing are all part of the formal research process.
Such is the restrictive nature of conventional research, and the training process so long, that by the time a research student has come to write up her masters or doctoral thesis, it is almost inevitable that she has forgotten about an entire range of cognitive processes that are actually very natural to human beings. These are the ‘other’ ways of knowing which have been left off the map of modern research, and neglected by the entire modern education system, and our science. They have been largely rejected by developed civilisations, both East and West. For underpinning the modern research project is a hegemonic process which has both retarded and silenced mystical/spiritual ways of knowing, and removed potentially invaluable information and tools from the research process.
In How to Channel a PhD, I want to share with you some of the skills and processes of Integrated Inquiry. I believe that INQ can be utilized by all researchers to make research and learning more passionate and fun. What’s more, the processes I outline can actually make your work more efficient, because once you have learned to trust your intuitions you can skip a lot of the guessing that is involved in relying too much on ‘rational’ methods of inquiry! However you have to be willing to open your mind - literally.
In Part 1 of this booklet I describe how I came to develop the theory of Integrated Intelligence (INI) - a human mental capacity which exists both within and beyond the brain, and encompasses mystical insight. This section includes how I developed my own intuitive abilities. In Parts 2 and 3 I provide an explanation of Integrated Intelligence and brief historical overview of it (if you are only interested in the hands-on applications of INI, you might like to skip these sections). Parts 4 and 5 represent the crux of this booklet. They detail the practical intuitive processes which you can start using right away in your research. These are the INQ Tools. These two sections include very practical examples from my experience as a researcher, and excerpts from the study diary I kept as a doctoral candidate. In Part 6 I present some other useful tools which will help keep your mind and heart on your research, even during tough times. Part 7 addresses several issues you may face as you apply these kinds of tools to your research.
The approach I recommend in this booklet may be an affront to seasoned researchers. However, in the spirit of my own academic discipline – [1]Deep Futures - I like to challenge common conceptions. I offer this booklet as an act of dissent – a challenge to prevailing methods and the dominant paradigm.
Finally, please keep in mind that How to Channel a PhD is not a work of science. It reflects my personal approach to knowledge, and this has emerged from many years of engagement with my subject matter – including formal research. I can only encourage you to engage in this exciting topic with all the passion and enthusiasm you can muster. If you can do that, you will truly know what it means to love learning.

1.  How I came to develop Integrated Inquiry

I have used all the tools and processes I outline in this booklet for many years. I adapted them from intuitive abilities I learned long before I became a researcher. From about 1993-2002 I spent much of my time engaging in meditative states, recording and analyzing dreams and visions, as well as engaging in inner child work and emotional healing.[2] At one point in the 1990s I read almost nothing for five years, instead focusing upon experiencing other ways of knowing and being. This ‘initiation’ into the intuitive mind taught me a lot about the limits of the ‘rationality’ that dominates modern education and science. I came to see that human knowledge and understanding can be greatly enhanced by developing mental abilities and processes that are not currently accepted in the Western world (and many other parts of the world, too).
When I came to research and write a doctoral thesis beginning in 2002 (the topic was about Integrated Intelligence), I deliberately employed these intuitive ways of knowing alongside the ‘rational’ mental processes expected of me by ‘the system’. As a result I was able to complete a 110 000 word thesis and publish a dozen or so research booklets within the space of four years – all while working full-time as a teacher and educator. My thesis was accepted for publication, and formed much of the research detailed in my book Integrated Intelligence (Sense Publishers, 2008). What is more, the experience of writing and researching my doctoral thesis was often a joyful one! At times it was effortless, as I entered a relaxed state of non-ordinary consciousness. Ideas and understandings often gushed out of me like water from a fountain.
Yes, I channeled my PhD! (Well, at least part of it).
My thesis received very strong reviews from my three independent examiners. One wrote:

This doctoral thesis is an exceptional document. I am hard put to adequately express all the thoughts it brings to mind. I am first most impressed by the fact that, based on where I see the hopeful discourse for our time headed, this thesis seems to have leaped ahead and got to where the discourse will, if we are lucky, arrive in maybe another decade or more.
I see this thesis as being the sort of island or rock upon which one can build a very significant career either as an educator or as a writer, or as both. Again, I must stress I see (Marcus T Anthony) as having reached where others will arrive, and most not so well, some years yet ahead in time.
His marshaling of references is very impressive. Rather than simply tie his presentation to one or more powerful established positions, he has fought his way clear to achieve what seems to me a rare independence and maturity of mind.

            My doctorate was officially awarded under the discipline of “Policy Studies.” I read a lot of literature in Futures Studies

*          *          *   

[1] For an overview of Deep Futures, see Article of the same name, which  I wrote for Nanyang Technological University:   
[2] You can read about my early intuitive experiences in more detail in the introduction to my Book Discover Your Soul Template (Inner Traditions, 2012). This book also details the INQ Tools in greater detail, in relation to the way they can be used in real life situations.