The weaponization of the internet, politics and society is all but complete, and our souls – our Authentic Selves – are being defeated. Our awareness has shifted from the inner wisdom of that Authentic Self to become ensnared in a virtual MemeWorld, which we now increasingly confuse for reality. It is my aim to make Power and Presence a confronting but ultimately empowering book, one designed to shake you, the reader, from the grip of ITopia, empower you to rediscover your Authentic Self; and to build a truly meaningful life.
It is not that related challenges have not existed for those humans who came before us. And it is not as if all our ancestors lived lives that were automatically a genuine expression of their highest good. We all know that this is not true. Any essential reading of History will tell you that in many ways our ancestors had it far worse. Many lived lives that were typically shorter, more brutal and more oppressive. Think of almost any idyllic myth. The little house on the prairie. The Amazonian female warriors. The noble savage. All are likely just that: myths.
Indeed, it is the great progress we have made in a material sense, riding upon the back of increased prosperity, technological prowess and information access, that has enabled a kind of hegemony to creep into our skulls. We have heralded the rise of the Money and Machines society.
Over time we have increasingly lost touch with nature, with our bodies and with our hearts: our integrated intelligence. We can map this over time and note the shifts. There are numerous, but I can mention just a few here. The Copernican Revolution of the mid-16th century saw the planet Earth dethroned from its position as the centre of the universe, and ultimately humankind from its role as jewel in the cosmic crown (under God). The Industrial revolution, beginning around the late 1700s in Britain, removed most of our ancestors from the land and sent us scurrying to populate urban centres; filling ghettos, suburbs, and ungrounded high-rise apartments. The Darwinian Revolution of the mid 1800s was a further humiliation, with we humans rendered as mere big-brained chimps who share 70 percent of our DNA with garden slugs. Our feet left the earth and then city streets and climbed into humming cars, planes and spacecraft; even as our eyes left the increasingly hazy horizon to become fixed upon small screens stuck to plastic and metal boxes; and then ultimately to small devices clasped to our palms. We forgot about our bodies and our hearts and started to squabble with everyone, casting those whose screens depicted unfamiliar stories as stupid and immoral; that is, as long as they were not actually physically present with us.
Thus it is that our challenge to embody the Authentic Self faces a very different set of challenges today. Many of us have unconsciously given our power away to narratives and agendas that we did not deliberately choose. The actions that we take and the words that we speak often represent expressions that are not our own, and that do not serve our highest calling in life. Puppets of The Machine, we have allowed our souls to be colonised, and our minds and hearts have become deeply entangled in the broader socio-industrial complex of the early twenty-first century. We lead lives that are increasingly controlled by a host of external power brokers: media outlets, the Tech Giants and social media platforms, bloggers, political parties, online mobs, ideological movements, corporations, educational institutions and religious groups. Our desires, our goals and even our beliefs are no longer our own. They are driven by the ITopian Machine.
Many of us, and perhaps especially the young, feel powerless to make actual change in the world, instead venting rage from behind keyboards. Alternatively, some express their anger in protests or acts of violence played out upon city streets, or in the tearing down of icons, monuments and government buildings. Yet even as they do so they are often being recruited by agents which are in turn deeply embedded within the very systems which they are seeking to escape. They are again captured by The Machine, realizing too late what they have become. If they realise it at all.
Amidst all this we are foundering upon the collapse of sensemaking, the digitization and politicization of everything, systematically retarding our ability to understand the world and our relationship with it. We have lost touch with our inner knowing, set adrift upon a vast ocean of competing narratives and agendas.
Which captains are we to believe, which shores are we to seek, and which winds are we to reset sail upon? These are questions that lie at the heart of this book.
This is an extract from Marcus T Anthony’s latest book, Power and Presence: Reclaiming Your Authentic Self in a Digitized World.