By Marcus T. Anthony, PhD | Mind Futures
In Part 1 of this two-part post I stated why I think a mind shift is opening up, a shift which will revolutionise the way we view the nature of consciousness. Inevitably this will transform the way the human race views its relationship with nature, the cosmos and life itself. Here in Part 2 I will focus upon the practical side of the shift: what you can do about it, what difficulties you might encounter and the ideal attitudes to take. This is a long post, so I have used sub-headings to allow you to pick and choose what you want to read. Feel free to comment on this exciting topic! Marcus
The aftermath of the recent TED censorship saga strongly suggests that the way greater society views the human consciousness is starting to shift. Rupert Sheldrake, one of the speakers who had his TEDx talk censured by TED, states this clearly ín a recent interview on Alex Tsakiris’ Skeptico blog.
The internet is a big part of the shift that is occurring. In the pre-internet era, information was far less democratic. People basically could only read, listen to or watch what the media and publishing houses thought was suitable for consumption. Now podcasts and blogs, often run by one individual or a small team, can experience great popularity for no other reason than they meet the approval of an audience.
Self-publishing and the proliferation of e-books is another part of this expanded capacity for people to disseminate knowledge and opinion.
Those on the fringes of society finally get to have a greater voice, albeit often in a secluded corner of the internet. And one domain of knowledge which has greatly benefited is that devoted to spiritual life and a deeper understanding of consciousness. The blogs and podcasts range from those with a more rigorous scientific/academic bent (e.g. Dean Radin, Rupert Sheldrake, Richard Milton) to those with a more popular slant (e.g. Synchrosecrets, Craig Weiler, and Leonard Jacobson). All of these blogs have their own niche, but each puts forward the idea that the spiritual dimensions of human experience are genuine. It is true that there are plenty of more conservative – even skeptical – choices on the internet, but the popularity of spiritual discourses shows that we cannot go back to the way we were. Not ever. A comment written by Jason Orion on the TED site epitomised the sentiments of so many voicing protest at TED recently.
The philosophy of material reductionism is being challenged all over the world, along with its long held institutions. And that’s what this censorship is about: those institutions suppressing a growing sentiment. People are getting sick of being told they are just machines and there is nothing more to this universe than mechanics.
I couldn’t have put it better myself.
But where might this shift lead us?
What will happen?
Despite the impressive technologies that have arisen from it, the truth is that our current science is crude. There is much that is simply not amenable to our senses in a normal state of consciousness, nor by the machinery contained within laboratories. But this technology will improve in the future. And the future is a very, very long time. It is logical to assume that we will one day be able to detect aspects of the extended mind – consciousness which extends beyond the body to connect with other people, the environment and spiritual realms. Experimental evidence in parapsychology will likely only strengthen.
Inevitably there will continue to be conflict between those who wish to retain a foothold in the old system, and those wishing to extend the boundaries of the known. This is significant, because the system still generally rewards those with a conservative bent. It rewards them with status, employment, money and power. Those challenging the system will continue to face resistance.
Old school thinkers can wield a considerable amount of power. Hardcore skepticism is compatible with certain modern scientific and academic disciplines. Some have power within such institutions, and in turn they may have influence over powerful private groups. They may also wield influence in government and in the development of public policy.
This is exactly what has happened with the censoring of Sheldrake’s and Hancocks TED talks, and with TED’s recent decision to cancel the TEDxWestHollywood event. The latter gathering was given a now familiar label by TED: “pseudoscience”. The event featured people like Russel Targ (research scientist investigating ESP), Larry Dossey (alternative medicine), and Marilyn Schlitz (a parapsychologist associated with the Institute of Noetic Scientists).
Conservative neo-Darwinian thinkers Steven Pinker and Daniel Dennet are closely affiliated with TED, and are probably part of TED’s anonymous “science advisory board”. Notably, the recent censorship was initiated by pressure from committed skeptics Jerry Coyne and PZ Meyer, and their followers.
So if you are to develop a role in the great mind shift, you cannot expect to be received well by such people. You will just have to develop a thick skin. Better still, cultivate the art of mindfulness. Mindful presence will reduce your mind’s tendency to engage in drama with others with a differing opinion.
Still, as I wrote in my previous blog post, I predict that eventually the weight of evidence and public opinion will push ideas that are now “alternative” into the mainstream.
And that means opportunities will arise.
Once the extended mind is an accepted fact and human spiritual experience is reinstated into education and society as a whole, it will open the floodgates in all manner of scientific fields, fields of philosophy, religious and spiritual movements, media/social media organisations, business and numerous other spheres. The opportunities for those with knowledge and understanding of these domains will be massive.
Just imagine the possibilities in computing, intelligence theory, evolutionary theory, cosmology, sociology, design, neuroscience, the military, healing work, writing, the arts, gaming, leadership, communication theory, teaching and learning… There are also many practical possibilities in research, as I outlined in my book How to Channel a PhD.
The possibilities are endless. I’ll just mention a few possibilities here. Feel free to use and expand any of them. If you can’t expand upon these, then you aren’t really trying!
- Why not rethink the very nature of capitalism? Steve and Chutisa Bowman, authors of No More Business as Usual, have found abundant work traveling around the world teaching organisations the concept of “prosperity consciousness”. They see the world as being full of endless opportunity and wealth, and that the obsession with lack and competition keeps organsiation locked in an old world paradigm.
- The Bowman’s work is also strongly related to conscious leadership. Surely it is time to rethink the nature of what it means to lead!
- Think of the possibilities in education! How might teaching and learning be changed to allow students to acknowledge their intuitive side? If the extended mind really does allow us to tap into other times, places and fields of information, how might students be encouraged to creatively explore their subject matters? There have been recent studies into mindfulness and synchronicity in the classroom and education in general.
- Artists, writers and film-makers may be able to seize an opportunity as the public becomes more open to spiritual subject matters. How might they employ integrated intelligence to create their works? I have been using this intelligence for years. I wrote Discover Your Soul Template that way.
- Mind shifting bloggers and social media creators can make an impact. Just take a look at theLondon Real podcasts, Rob and Trish MacGregor’s synchrosecrets and Dancing past the dark, Nancy Bush Evan’s blog about distressing near death experiences.Many of these people have their own books and other services or products.
- Mindfulness in business and education. How might decisions be made in business meetings if the intuitive mind is acknowledged? How might teachers and professors conduct a class if there is an acknowledgement that all can connect with the subject matter non-locally? If mindfulness can facilitate non-judgmental awareness, how might that shift a social science class examining racism, war, crime, misogynist projections and so on? Margaret Peterson, a psychotherapist, does exactly this in California, teaching mindfulness to groups of up to 1200 people! Another mindfulness practitioner is Gary Weber, an advocate non-dual consciousness in the Eastern enlightenment traditions. He is a strong advocate of neuroscience in the discussion on enlightenment.
- If you are philosophically inclined you might like to consider the many possibilities as a futurist! The domain of Futures Studies that I work within – Critical Futures Studies – is very open to innovative ideas. Check out the thinking of Sohail Inayatullah, Willis Harman and Richard Slaughter.
- It is reasonable to assume that eventually greater amounts of funding for research into alternative medicine and healing will be made available (although this will probably take decades). Do you practice a healing modality that could be of assistance to others?
- I am no expert in computing. But surely the idea extended mind could have implications for this field. Although people who link consciousness to quantum physics gets lashed by skeptics’ groups, entanglement and non-locality may ultimately prove to be highly fruitful ideas in computing, artificial intelligence and even in the transhumanist movement – those folks such as Ray Kurzweil, who fancy the idea of uploading their minds onto computers.
- What about biology? Currently it is one of the most conservative of all the sciences, but once the idea of the extended mind gains scientific foothold, biology will have no choice but to make a radical upgrade. Rupert Sheldrake has been leading the way with his idea of morphic resonance. Sheldrake cops a bit of a lashing from colleagues, but I predict that in time at least some of his thinking will prove seminal in breaking the reductionist/materialist stranglehold in the field. Elisabet Sahtouris is challenging neo-Darwinism. Another fairly recent example of progressive research in this area is a paper published in the prestigious science journal Nature, by Elisabetta Collini and colleagues. That paper, entitled “Coherently wired light-harvesting in photosynthetic marine algae at ambient temperature”, provides evidence that quantum level coherence exists at room temperature in living systems. It suggests that that long-range quantum coherence between molecules can occur in living systems, even at low temperatures.
- Once biology begins to shift, neuroscience will have no choice but to widen the scope of its thinking as well. This is because thinking in modern neuroscience is heavily linked to biology.
- Physics is probably one of the most open-minded fields of inquiry. The list of physicists probing a possible link between consciousness and the cosmos is long. They include Nobel prize winner Brian Josephson, Oxford’s Roger Penrose, and Fred Alan Wolf. Presently, these scientists often have to face the slings and arrows of outraged fellow-physicists. Yet what immense possibilities lie here once consciousness is restored to its rightful place in the scheme of things?
- Of course the field that stands to gain most by the great mind shift is parapsychology. As Dean Radin has stated, those working in this field at present face huge obstacles in gaining acceptance in the broader scientific community. Radin often says there is a “psi taboo”. Yet the field will inevitable boom once the great mind shift occurs.
These are just a few areas that provide possibilities. The world is an abundant place, and your imagination is vast. Get working on a few more!
No easy ride
That all sounds good, doesn’t it? But don’t expect an easy ride just because you follow your bliss and start putting time, energy and money into your brilliant idea. I do believe that things will improve gradually, but regular failures and rejections are very common experiences for many professionals in the areas I have listed above. In my previous post I mentioned by own struggle with acceptance in academia, despite having completed my PhD and publishing an enormous amount of work in academic journals and books. Let me tell you from personal experience that repeated rejection can be a real test of character! You really need to be committed to your idea. (Skeptics will probably agree with the idea of my being committed .
Your personal shift will take time. If you are transitioning into work or a career which is part of this shifting mindset, remember to keep your feet on the ground. Keep your day job for the time being! Build your expertise, business or craft slowly on the side at first. Make connections, develop skills, learn how to communicate and sell – whatever it takes! For years while pursuing my doctorate and work as a Futurist I have worked in education, mostly full-time as a secondary high school teacher. This has simply been necessary, as the income from my books has not been sufficient to live on. Besides, the pay for blogging and writing academic articles is, well, precisely zero.
When I began research for my doctorate, my supervisor (a wonderful futurist named Sohail Inayatullah) told me that my research was ten years ahead of its time. Well, it is now a decade since he said that. Has anything changed, except for my having more grey hair? As I have suggested, I think things are shifting. The huge public support for Sheldrake and Hancock after the latest TED censorship drama is evidence enough. Still, it has to be acknowledged that such paradigm changes take time. Human egos will come into play, and when the human ego takes the stage there will always be struggles for power, betrayals, deception and unconscious projections at the other. Most power shifts involve upheaval or violence of some kind, though not necessarily physical violence.
If you decide to commit time and energy to being a part of the great mind shift, you are going to have to learn to be resilient and courageous. Don’t expect everything to be fair. Be prepared for a bit of ridicule and misrepresentation from those who would prefer things to remain as they are.
Beyond religious zeal
Another important piece of advice I would like to share here is to avoid the mindset that you have to convert anyone to your worldview. The desire to convert others or change their thinking stems from the ego’s fear and insecurity. Instead, begin with the attitude of sharing knowledge with enthusiasm. That will win far more hearts than the hard sell. Nobody wants another person to shove ideas and opinions down their throat. You see, there is a different kind of approach needed here. Science has been all about being “hard”, about detaching from intuition and emotion and seeing the world and its life forms as mechanical. Put the specimen on the slab and start cutting it up. Certain traditional religions have also tried to convert others, sometimes violently. I am suggesting that there is another way, a more gentle approach. It is quintessentially spiritual in nature. It requires a light heart and a light step. Unless absolutely necessary, avoid conflict. As you might note, most of the individuals involved in academic struggles for knowledge ever change their minds. In the so called psi-wars, people changing sides is rare. Skeptics and psi-proponents alike tend to stick to their guns.
The gentle approach does not mean being weak. You will need courage and resilience to stand up when the current is strong.
Don’t fight them
A related point is that it isn’t necessary to be against anybody or anything to launch a project or career in this area. That is a mistake an awful lot of people interested in this kind of path make. Don’t waste your energy on the extremists. Hardcore skeptics are never going to listen to an idea which is in any way connected with spirituality or subtle experience. So don’t even try. Remember, although their voices can be loud, and although some do exercise power and influence, these people are a small minority.
The importance of communication
With the great mind shift, there will be opportunities for people who are able to communicate with the large number of people who lie in between the extreme ends of pro-psi and skeptics crowds. As a practitioner, you will need to be able to convince the common people that your idea or product has value. A strong sense of audience is necessary to move out into the world. You need to learn to connect with people. So if you have been meditating away for twenty years, be prepared to learn a whole new skill set! This is not necessarily the easiest thing to do, so persistence is necessary.
The idealists and the pro-psi crowd can be the starting audience for your idea, but eventually you will probably want to expand your work into other “markets”. Marketing skills are always helpful, but this will not be the hard sell. The hard sell is violent and manipulative by nature, and incompatible with the new mind movement. Now there is a marketable idea in itself: the new spiritual way of selling!
The fact is that the system will probably not be favorable for some time to those who follow their passion and work to help facilitate the great mind shift. I expect there will be breakthrough moments when new research or new media stories add value to all those working here. But you have to expect some resistance from the system in the meanwhile. I do not know exactly when the hard wall of scientific materialism will release its grip on the world. Most likely it will be a slow process, with a few gusts of rapid change here and there. Perhaps there will be a Berlin Wall moment, a sudden collapse of the existing order, and the floodgates of a greater understanding will open. For most, that would be what we futurists call a “wildcard”, something quite unexpected. But it will not be unexpected to those of us who have been walking the walk of spirit all these years. Nor should you be unprepared, given what I have written above!
Yes, committing time, energy and money to the great mind shift is a risk. We don’t know precisely what is going to happen, nor how quickly. I simply urge you to follow your calling. Is there a strong voice within you, inviting you to move into working, teaching or sharing knowledge within the great mind shift? If so, why not follow that voice of spirit? After all, that is the essence of the spiritual journey.
The great light illuminates the path but a short distance ahead. Do you have the courage to step forward?