Evolutionary social strategist Daniel Schmactenberger recently observed that we need to either rise above tribalism and conflict orientation, or we go extinct. That’s not a difficult choice to make, but how do we actually do it? The internet in particular has created a totally unpredicted scenario: tribal groups have begun isolating themselves into virtual fortresses and are becoming increasingly hostile to other tribes. The conflict between the Red Tribe (the right) and the Blue Tribe (the left) in the US and other western countries is only one such conflict. The internet is starting to burst at the seams with them.
Amidst all this we are foundering upon the collapse of sensemaking. 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 what winds are we to reset sail upon?
Power and Presence is a book and research project which addresses this precarious scenario, examining the myriad causes of problem, while seeking to present a workable strategy on how to transcend it. Before it is too late.
I began this project several months ago, and have written much on it already (you can see the chapter outlines at the end of this post). I have also written three academic articles for the Journal of Futures Studies, one of which is already published (the other two are coming soon). Yet it is indeed a vast and multi-layered problem. Currently the research and writing has me on schedule to complete the book around early to mid 2020.
The focus problem is more than any one person can possibly grasp, let alone resolve. Given its immense scope it is my plan to begin a series of podcasts on related topics, with experts around the world.
Power and Presence begins with the disturbing proposition that the ITopian nightmare has descended and possessed us. The weaponization of the internet, politics and society is all but complete, and our souls – our authentic selves – have been defeated. Our awareness has shifted from the inner wisdom of the psyche to become ensnared in a virtual MemeWorld, which we now confuse for reality. Power and Presence is a confronting but (I hope) ultimately uplifting volume designed to shake readers from the illusion and empower them to rediscover their authentic selves, and from there to build a truly meaningful and empowered life.
We have unconsciously given our power away to narratives and agendas that we did not choose. The actions that we take and the words that we speak increasingly 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 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 and monuments. 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.
Power and Presence makes the case that there is a way to begin to reclaim our power, and to begin to make sense of the world, and our lives, again. That is by returning our awareness to the innate wisdom within ourselves. The journey of awakening for many ancient traditions was an inner one, grounded in a deep awareness of the authentic self and the intimate connection of mind, body and spirit, which in turn embeds us in an expanded intelligence. Power and Presence shows the reader how that intelligence can be nourished and expanded through self-awareness and mindfulness.
We cannot be truly empowered nor truly free merely by reducing the suffering and oppression in the world (though the latter is a noble goal). By historical standards, most people in the developed world today live lives that are far longer and more comfortable than our recent ancestors. Our “lived experience” cannot be the prime measure of life quality, because that sense of life is as dependent on the relationship we develop with the world as it is with what happens in our lives. And that relationship with life is determined by the wisdom and love that we are able find within ourselves, and our capacity to express that knowing. Of utmost importance is the deeper meaning and purpose of life that we are able to generate. With this awareness, and with the realization of how we have given our power away to The Machine, we can begin the journey to authenticity and empowerment, both as individuals, and as a civilization.
And what is the key to this transformation? I argue that it is found in the three pillars of awakening. The first is embodied presence, the capacity to bring the mind into the right relationship with the present moment. The second is cognitive responsibility, the capacity to witness the mind and the world and to assume responsibility for what arises within us. The third emerges from the first two: the wise actions we take in the world, inspired by the authentic self. It is my belief that the three pillars of awakening can empower us to transcend the civilizational impasse that we now find ourselves confronting.
This book contains many simple and practical exercises to assist the reader to practice the ideas contained within its pages, in particular embodied presence, cognitive responsibility and wise action.
Power and Presence is an opportunity to redress an impasse that our civilization has reached, by bringing a higher expression of authenticity and consciousness into our personal life, family life; into our relationships, work, creativity, and play; and finally into our society.
Chapter Outlines: Power and Presence
Introduction: What is power?
Overview of Power and Presence * What power is * Reframing power: from outer to inner * Vital definitions: embodied presence, cognitive responsibility and the shadow * The limits of embodied presence * How society, education and the internet take our power away * “Deep futures” versus “money and machines futures” * A summary of chapter contents * About the author, and why he wrote this book
i. Your Power and Your Mind
1. How Your Mind Works
The nature of the mind (ego) * How your tribe captured your mind * The monkey mind * How the internet has captured the monkey mind * Triggering, physiology and evolution * How the ego can sabotage your journey * Ego falls * The nature of identity * Your (false) story and how it came to be (childhood, family, society) * The false needs of the ego: control, seriousness, perfection, non-acceptance, blame, struggle, blame, projection, drama, opposition * Judgment vs discernment * How judgment destroys presence and wisdom * There is only one ego, and it is us * Befriending the ego * The need for responsibility * The game of persecutor, victim and savior
2. Standing in Your Power: The Authentic Self
What is your authentic self? * How to distinguish authentic self from the ego * How to stand in your power as a man or woman * Awakening to the true mind: “Thank you. I love you” * Finding your true voice * The art of non-judgmental noticing (witnessing) * Noticing what triggers you * How to deactivate the false needs of the ego * Developing the right relationship with your mind and the world * More about cognitive responsibility * Pulling out of drama and suffering * Writing your true story * Speaking your truth * Maintaining the body * Health, posture and presentation * Why mindfulness is not enough
3. Seeing Without Eyes: Integrated Intelligence
What is integrated intelligence (INI)? * What is intelligence and consciousness? * The seven functions of INI: deep empathy, analysis, synthesis, foresense, evaluation, creativity and innovation, wisdom * The three modalities of INI: visionary, auditory/musical, and kinesthetic * The absence of INI in modern society and education * The problem with science * Genes, evolution and destiny? * A conscious universe? * Other intelligences and human evolution: spiritual, alien * The strengths and weaknesses of both rationality and intuition * The evidence for integrated intelligence: experimentation, remote viewing, the human consciousness project * Why INI is vital for you and the human species * Connecting the knower and the known
4. The Power of Integrated Intelligence (How to use INI)
INI and power * Re-learning how to feel the truth * Deep knowing * Trusting your intuition * Making decisions using INI * The importance of allowing “not knowing” * How meditation and embodied presence enhances intuitive perception * Dreams as intelligent agents * Prayerfulness: how to work with and listen to life and the universe * Creating life * Relationships, power and INI * Your shifting worldview * Resistance to INI * Negative aspects of INI * Negative projections * Overdoing it, becoming distracted and ungrounded * INI isn’t enlightenment, nor guarantees wisdom
5. The Power of Intention
What is intentionality? * Why focus is vital * You must live a meaningful life * Don’t live someone else’s story – or meaning * The danger of ideological possession * What is your “One Big Thing?” * How to develop focus and intention in a distracted world * How to say “yes.” * How to say “no.” * Finding your inspiration in archetypes: the warrior, the rebel, the wise one, the shaman, the healer, the traveler, the parent, the child * Acknowledge what you are, steer towards your authentic self * Decoupling from social media * Staying on track
6. Fear, Courage and Belief
The story of Carlos * Power and doubt * How to develop self-belief * The right relationship with doubt * Using embodied presence when working with doubt and fear * Rejection, failure and resilience * The courage to be (reasonably) vulnerable * Inviting the critic * How Steve Jobs responded powerfully to a harsh critic
7. Healing and the Shadow
The dark cave of illusion * What is the shadow? * The sacred wound: the pain and the shadow as paths to the Authentic Self * What lies beneath: rage, shame, worthlessness, abandonment, fear of death and the big nothing * The emotional alignment process * Emptiness as power * The hollow person exercise * The internet as your healer * How I LinkedIn to my pain * Letting go: into gratitude, love and forgiveness* The Shadow and our human futures
ii. Your Power and The Machines
8. Web Wide Warfare
Welcome to ITopia * How we became stranded on MemeWorld * The crisis in sensemaking * Media, education and Big Tech * Why humanity must master technology or perish * The net as the new (collective) monkey mind * The negativity effect and online media * Online tribal warfare * How online tribes form * How we became stranded on MemeWorld * Memetic reality descends: algorithms and dopamine addiction * The battle for your attention (and soul) * How they highjacked your limbic system * The rise of the conspiracy * Whom should you trust?
9. Dancing with the Gatekeepers
Introducing the Gatekeepers * Know your taboos * The rationalist hegemony and the suppression of the spiritual * The courage to be real * Rule #1: Do not lie * How to speak your truth * What to say, and what not to say * Engaged presence and intellectual debates * Negotiating the political * Peer review and control * Attack of the fifty foot professor (my story) * Standing in your power before the judiciary
10. Terraforming MemeWorld
The possession test: how many of your thoughts and ideas are really yours? * Terraforming MemeWorld * Weaving new web cultures * Artificial evolution * Cognitive responsibility and your Online Oath * Discerning truth in the new now * Distinguishing good and bad-faith actors * Re-learning to engage others * Surfing the other side * Pay attention to your attention * Setting your web boundaries * The need for intellectual humility * Where possible, verify * Tactical disengagement: learning to let them be * Web fasting made easy * Countering the negativity effect * Letting go of the tribe * Coming to appreciate that MemeWorld isn’t (very) real * Opportunities for transformation on the internet * Playing God: Reconfiguring MemeWorld in your own (authentic) image * Embodied presence as transcendence
iii. Your Power and the World
11. Purpose, Passion and the Market
How desire robs your power * Narcissism and the new age * Follow your bliss – to the market * Embodying your genius * Aligning with the process, and the outcome * Gentle action * Champions of the soul * The futures of vocation * Loving what you do * Why following your bliss can be disastrous * Aligning with your Authentic Self * When you don’t get what you want
12. Wise Action
Why you struggle, and how to align with life * Wise Action made simple * Why you must act on your integrated intelligence to embody self-respect * The necessity of the feminine principle * Why the masculine principle is just as important * How women give their power away * How men give their power away * Knowing when to rest, and when to fight * When I was Braveheart
13. How to Save the World and not Lose Your Soul
The spiritual ego * What you are entitled to, and what you are not * The fundamental errors in many social justice movements: the forgetting of curiosity, empathy, listening, engagement, morality and responsibility * How to build an empowering social justice culture using embodied presence and cognitive responsibility * Don’t mistake your ideology for a religion * Distinguishing true life meaning and pseudo-meaning * Authentic identity versus ego identity * Holding lightly to identity and stories * Negotiating political correctness while staying sane
iv. Your Power and our Future
14. Living Playfully
Life is meant to be enjoyed * Joy as guidance * Avoiding the seriousness trap * How to cultivate fun and happiness * Laugh * Appropriate and inappropriate fun * Allowing both joy and legitimate suffering * Learn to dance, sing or play an instrument *
15. The Future is Us
A civilizational shift * Creating deep futures, not “money and machines” futures * The narcissism of the self-help and new age movements * True virtue versus virtue signaling * The creation of embodied communities * Considering technology and as agent (and hindrance) to deep futures * How the folk schools transformed Scandinavia * Sharing your wisdom * Listening to the universe (life feedback) * Promoting authentic cultures
The essence of power and presence * Why your journey matters to us all * where to from here?
How to Embody Presence
Training Your Integrated Intelligence