In Part 1 of this two-part article I stated why I think a shift in human consciousness is emerging, a shift which will revolutionise the way we view the nature of the mind. I have called this The Other Singularity, following futurist Benjamin Butler’s term. In futurist Ray Kurzweil’s idea of the Singularity, machine intelligence will revolutionize life and society. However, in the other kind of turning point I am talking about here, the great shift will involve the acknowledgement that consciousness is non-local in nature, and plays a central role in the universe. Integrated Intelligence – the idea that our intimate and transcendent connectedness through space and time potentially grants each of us expansive knowledge and wisdom – 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.
The year 2012 was when I began to sense a genuine shift in the way western society views the idea of “the mind.” It was the widespread critical reaction to the TED censorship saga, where that organization had TEDx talks by biologist Rupert Sheldrake and writer Graham Hancock taken down from the main part of the TED website, which strongly suggested a sea change. At the time, Sheldrake, stated this clearly in an interview on Alex Tsakiris’ Skeptico blog. The saga suggested that more people than ever had become open to the possibilities of expanded human consciousness.
The Importance of the Internet
The internet is a big part of this shift which I believe is still in the process of occurring. In the pre-internet era, information was far less democratic. People could only read, listen to or watch what the media and publishing houses thought was suitable for consumption. Now web sites, podcasts, blogs, YouTube channels and so on (often run by one individual or a small team) can experience great popularity and influence 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 now 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 web sites, 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, Leonard Jacobson and of course Conscious Life News). There are scores of similar web pages I could list, and thousands more I have no knowledge of.
All of these thinkers and commentators 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 or critical – 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 epitomises the sentiments of so many voicing approval of the new shift in awareness.
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 and often wondrous technologies that have arisen from current science, the truth is that our mainstream understanding of consciousness remains crude. There is much of life and sentience that is simply not amenable to our senses in a normal state of consciousness.
Nor can all of it be easily measured by the machinery contained within laboratories. Still, such 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 more easily read the presence of the extended mind – consciousness which extends beyond the body to connect with other people, the environment and spiritual realms. The current experimental evidence in parapsychology, which is only reasonably robust, will likely strengthen in quality and volume.
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 has always been way in all domains of knowledge. The conflict 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. Look at the criticism that Rupert Sheldrake, Dean Radin and Brian Josephson have faced over the years. Josephson, a Nobel prize winner in physics, was virtually excommunicated from the science community for stating openly that parapsychology has generated impressive evidence towards establishing the existence of psi-related experience.
Old school thinkers can wield a considerable amount of power. Hardcore skepticism is compatible with certain modern scientific and academic disciplines. Some skeptics hold much sway within mainstream 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 happened with the censoring of Sheldrake’s and Hancock’s TED talks, and with TED’s decision to cancel the TEDxWestHollywood event shortly thereafter. 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).
Neo-Darwinian thinkers Steven Pinker and Daniel Dennett are closely affiliated with TED, and are probably part of TED’s anonymous “science advisory board”. Notably, the censorship was initiated by pressure from committed skeptics Jerry Coyne and PZ Meyer, and their followers.
The internet is now more hostile and more tribal than ever, and that is not likely to change anytime soon. Those who play a role in The Other Singularity cannot expect to be received well by mainstream thinkers, and sometimes criticism will be harsh and personal. So, proponents of the shift in consciousness will just have to develop a thick skin. I personally see the need to cultivate the art of mindfulness. Mindful presence reduces the mind’s tendency to personalise things and to engage in drama with others with a differing opinion. Having said this, as I wrote in Part 1, 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.
The Myriad Possibilities
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, philosophical, religious and spiritual domains. Media, social media and business spheres will open, too. The opportunities for those with knowledge and understanding of related domains will be considerable.
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 potentialities in research, as I outlined in my book How to Channel a PhD.
The possibilities are myriad. I’ll just mention a few here. 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. They believe that the obsession with lack and competition keeps organsiations 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! This could be true at multiple levels, from heads of departments at your local university, to small business owners, Fortune 500 CEOs and right through to national governments.
- 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 the London Real podcasts 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 will become mainstream in business and education. This trend is already well underway, as suggested above. 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 students 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 of non-dual consciousness in the Eastern enlightenment tradition. 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. Besides my own work at mind-futures.com, Sohail Inayatullah and Ivana Milojevic have been introducing spiritual concepts to organsiations and governments for years, while Benjamin Butler’s Emerging Future Institute is bringing together notable thinkers and ideas to push the boundaries of our thinking about the future. Also, check out the innovative thinking of, 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 the idea of the extended mind could have implications for artificial intelligence. Although people who link consciousness to quantum physics get 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. Hong Kong based AI and robotics researcher Ben Geortzel is exploring the possibilities in linking robotics to his panpsychic view of the cosmos; while Gino Yu, his colleague at Hong Kong Polytechnic University, has been fostering awareness about expanded modes of consciousness for decades.
- 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 and psychology will have no choice but to widen the scope of their imagination as well. This is because thinking in modern neuroscience is heavily linked to biology, and dominant thinking in psychology is in turn founded in neuroscience. Take a look at Stan Grof’s Holotropic mind and the wonderful work of Peter Fenwick on near death experiences. Or check out veteran researcher David Loye’s expansive take on a wide variety of related matters including re-thinking the legacy of Darwin.
- Physics (and systems theory) is probably one of the most open-minded fields of inquiry. The list of physicists and systems thinkers 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. Ervin Laszlo has been doing deep thinking in systems theory for many decades. Presently, these scientists and philosophers 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 a previous post I mentioned my 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 – to an institution, perhaps).
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 high school and university 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 over 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.
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 Other Singularity. 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 mainstream pundits and mainstream futurists, that would be a “wildcard”, something both unexpected and disruptive. But it will not be a surprise to those of us who have been exploring the deeper nature of the mind all these years. Nor should you be unprepared…
Yes, committing time, energy and money to The Other Singularity is a risk. We don’t know precisely what is going to happen, nor how quickly. I simply urge you to follow your intuition. Is there a strong voice within you, inviting you to move into working, teaching or sharing such knowledge? If so, why not listen that voice? Why not move out into the frontier lands that it implores you to travel? After all, that is the essence of a spiritual journey.
The light illuminates the path but a short distance ahead. Do you have the courage to step forward?
Marcus T Anthony
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Marcus T Anthony (PhD) is a futurist of the human mind, writer and spiritual adviser. His web site is www.mind-futures.com. His new book is Champion of the Soul.
MindFutures is therefore all about the future – especially what I call Deep Futures. These are futures that are not just about science and technology, but about people and their deepest, most profound and spiritual essence. I started the whole idea of MindFutures because I saw that the way the future is often portrayed in the popular media, in government and in organisations is often superficial. In particular, MindFutures explores the way that human experience can be expressed in positive and profound ways, as we continue to speed towards the future.
To view Marcus' other articles, click HERE.