“Remarkable visions and genuine insight are always met with resistance (Godin 2008 109).“ By quoting from a book published in 2008 I have probably already raised a few eye brows. But he’s right.
This article offers remarkable visions and genuine insight – both have been met with resistance. I offered some of them to a tertiary institution in the mid 00’s; their response: “These are nice too have’s but not what we need.”
It’s 2020, I remain resolute and determined, we still need the same thing, it’s not a nice to have. In fact, we can’t evolve without it. What is it?Active Intelligence (https://louisebricknell.com.au): an evolutionary step in human consciousness (Walsh 2017 138). Yep – it’s time to move on from living in a Wet Market.
We might call it urbanised living or suburbia, but few people understand their neighbourhood is basically a living, breathing, trading wet market? A complex mix of humans – across all life cycle stages, domestic pets, feral and native animal, reptiles, bird species, domesticated farm animals, small industrial estates, chemicals, all forms of energy plants – from mobile phone towers to power cables, mini freeways (local roads) and diverse forms of transport, from 2 stroke scooters to state of the art Tesla battery powered vehicles, plus flora and + + +. (Schithuizen 2018)
I’ve no doubt we could throw in a lot more examples of the variety, depth and breadth of stuff which shouldn’t be close together, but is nestled, neatly, cheek by jowl, in any neighbourhood in the developed world. And what do we call it? Normal, civilised, safe. We are so used to it we don’t give it a second thought.
It wasn’t so long ago, 200 years, that the way we live today was anything but normal, but that’s ‘normal’ for you. It can change drastically with alacrity – but we humans are quick to normalise things – we don’t like change (https://louisebricknell.com.au/launch-rocket-land-repeat-thinking-beyond-reason-is-the-bottomline-for-developing-ai-for-good/).
In A 100 Days of the Coronavirus in Australia (https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-05-04/charting-100-days-of-the-coronavirus-crisis-in-australia/12197884?nw=0&pfmredir=sm) infectious disease expert, Professor Kamdath Scott, reflects that humans like to forget trauma quickly.
Rather than forgetting the trauma of the pandemic, Professor Kamdath Scott hopes society can learn from it in ways that allow us:
“… to reconsider how we want our society to operate and what we value as a society.
[Kamdath Scott’s] fear is that in the process of trying to move past the trauma, we will forget the experience and the lessons of the pandemic.
But this is one instance where [Kamdath Scott] would love to be proven wrong.”
Jack Bezos would beg to differ: he suggests that the most important question is not what will change but what won’t. Bezos is confident that what won’t change, in the next decade, is humanity’s demand for “low prices, fast shipping and a big selection” of items to consume (https://www.cnbc.com/2019/06/06/jeff-bezos-remars-speech-disrupted-by-protester-pushes-space-travel.html).
COVID 19’s arrival, in the developed world, has certainly NOT proven Bezos’ 2019 prediction wrong: online consumption of goods has rocketed, despite delivery times not keeping up with their pre COVID 19 schedules (in some areas).
If Bezos is right, and the most important question is, what won’t change, then humanity, the planet – WE – are in trouble.
To Change or Not to Change – that is humanity’s Evolutionary Question?
Discussing Climate Change as a Human Issue, Bill McKibben (2019) notes,
“Climate isn’t an issue—it’s a lens, a way to understand the economy, politics and foreign affairs.” (The Cleanest Line https://www.patagonia.com/stories/ )
Another way of understanding McKibben’s comment is to view Climate Change as something we can see, touch, quantify, objectify, scientifically calculate. The science of the Economics of Climate Change is an excellent example of humanity’s quantitatively tactile relationship with climate change (Garnaut 2019). And that term is not a misnomer – read on!
In terms of an ice berg analogy, Climate Change is what we can SEE – our lens into what is happening below it. It’s at the top; the actions responsible for Climate Changes’ genesis lie beneath it. The further humanity dives down the ice berg of change the less visible our actions, and their impact, on our world becomes. The less visible these actions become the harder it is for us to connect to them.
For example, Technological change is a big part of our lives yet most of us don’t understand its full impacts (Walsh 2017); but as it’s not as aesthetically distressing as images of bush fires and starving polar bears, and a large proportion of us are involved in an intense love affair with mobile devices, we view technological change, on the whole, as part of the inevitable march of progress.
Social Change has an air of inevitability about it, too. The greater this air the more invisible something becomes. When inevitability and invisibility merge humanity – for the most part – loses sight of them, they disappear – hidden under the opaque water line of existence.
This article is about the part of the ice berg that is under the water; the part of the ice berg that humanity cannot see, cannot touch, cannot objectify – yet; and for the most part doesn’t understand.
The genuine insight and remarkable vision offered here, is that without bringing this invisible part of humanity to the surface, efforts for Climate, Technological, Social Change will flounder, and Bezo’s predictions will materialise, but only for an increasingly select few (Garnaut 2019 44, Walsh 2017 292).
I am giving Jack Bezo a heads up, I’m throwing down the gauntlet. Humanity can change! To do so, however, requires a sojourn into the unknown.
Humanity needs to focus on what it can’t see or touch. That is, it requires an evolutionary shift in consciousness, because it is this shift that will create new norms. These new norms will produce new ways of living and being in the world. Which, in turn, will support Technological developments that benefit humanity and the planet; and enable Social Change on a scale and magnitude that has a profoundly positive influence on Climate Change.
Let’s go back to remarkable visions and genuine insight.
- The developed world, per se, is a breathing, trading, living and very much open for business wet market. Even in COVID 19 lockdown – it is still unconsciously manufacturing the requirements for the next pandemic to arrive. We can look at this on a global or local scale – one reflects the other.
- How do we move on from this limiting (on so many levels) existence? We need to consciously and purposefully evolve. We need an evolutionary step in human consciousness.
- How do we – en masse – take a step in evolving our way of thinking/feeling? We work with what we have got, we use the paths of least resistance, i.e., connect to those hardy souls who are already well on the way to evolutionary transformation; who are alert, alive and thinking. They might not be thinking about evolutionary steps in consciousness but they are thinking about change. And that really is money in the evolutionary bank. They may not form the majority yet – but they are OUT there.
- We make the political very personal – it’s essential. How can you challenge people to change how they think, how they feel, how they make sense of the world, if you don’t make it personal? It’s going to hurt, but it’s got to hurt in ways that people can feel connected to; that they can reflect on; and ultimately – yes it will take time – this evolutionary change will show itself in sacrifice.
- Sacrifice – ouch, not a word too many want to hear in any context, but a step in the evolution of human consciousness will mean letting things go in order to allow new ways of being, thinking, living to manifest: change.
- New ways of experiencing life (in the developed world) may include: living with less anxiety; realising that your values and dreams can actually be aligned; feeling confident and positive that future generations can actually enjoy some of the things that you have enjoyed, despite living – on a daily basis – quite differently to what you might consider normal.
- If change is all good news for the developed world where is the sacrifice? The sacrifice we need to make is safety – the known. We have to sacrifice the known in order to step up to the unknown and the incredible opportunities it offers humanity.
- The Unknown? Didn’t that go out with omniscient monarchs, dodgy rituals and scientific ignorance? A form of it did, but we need it back. In fact, and here is a genuine insight conflated with a deep breadth – I believe that without embracing the unknown, without unlearning how we have unconsciously learnt to think and feel (over the last few hundred years), we won’t be able to get close to the level of technological innovation that we could if we learnt to think beyond reason. (https://louisebricknell.com.au/solving-ais-deep-learning-dilemma-requires-a-hi-deep-learning-methodology/)
- The Age of Reason has had it’s day – if we truly want to create a different world to live in – it’s time to think beyond reason, and give humanity opportunities to feel to think as well as thinking to feel, because it is in the latter that the real potential of innovation lies. Most people, even those tech folks in Silicon Valley haven’t got their heads, mobile devices, or algorithms around that point yet, and we all need to. (https://louisebricknell.com.au/launch-rocket-land-repeat-thinking-beyond-reason-is-the-bottomline-for-developing-ai-for-good/)
Don’t get me wrong, we needed the Age of Reason, it served us well. It was a significant and seminal step in the evolution of human consciousness, but now we need to move on. Living our lives within the framework offered by Reason, and in the developed world (from primary school pupil to professor) we all do, has led us to:
- Climate Crisis
- Consumption Crisis
- Technological developments that are more likely to be used for bad than good, for the wealthy rather than the poor, to stultify rather than liberate learning potentials
- Failing economic and political systems
- Resource Wars – on their way
- Paralysing fears of the Unknown
The list is miserable and endless, but it doesn’t have to be. The populations of the developed world went through a profound shift in consciousness during the Industrial Revolution – few of us had any idea that that was what was going on – and the majority of us had little choice about it either, but a huge shift in evolutionary consciousness did happen – and these shifts led us to our new normals eg., living in urbanised wet markets.
The Age of Reason allowed us to learn a lot about the world around us, but now it is time to learn about ourselves (Walsh 2017 266). Reflective learning is crucial if an evolutionary step in human consciousness is to be realised any time soon (https://louisebricknell.com.au/developing-creative-thinking-skills/). And here is a lesson that highlights why it is so important
Active intelligence: Lessons in Extreme Learning and Teaching
As I walked along the Climate Change March route (Melbourne September 2019) with in excess of 100,000 others, I found myself next to a family. The two boys, aged between approximately 11 and 13, held their banner high – proudly displaying their message and their handiwork. The banner said:
“If you drove here today – YOU’VE MISSED THE POINT.”
One of the boys watched me reading the banner.
“Did you drive here?” He asked me.
“No,” I replied. “I came by bicycle.”
The boy told me he had come, along with his family, by train; they were returning home by train, too.
The march was busy. Those at its front were ending while those at its rear were still waiting to start. This meant extended periods spent standing still.
The Climate March was also held on the last day of the school term. As we stood waiting for it to continue I asked one of the boys – carrying the ‘Miss the Point’ placard – what they were doing for the school holidays. The boy replied eagerly that they loved going to the coast and that is what they were going to do.
Melbourne is anywhere from an hour to 2 hours+ from the ocean coastline of SE Australia. The city is built around a bay – a big bay, but it is not located on surf beaches. If you want ocean beach, breaking waves – then a trip to the ocean coast line is required.
I asked if the family were having a school holiday at an ocean beach location.
“No” replied the boys.
The parents explained that due to a long list of activities – day trips to the ocean beaches would be the norm so the boys could continue with their suburban activities, too.
“Oh,” I said: “that’s a lot of driving.”
“Yes”, replied the father.
He explained that such trips were a regular occurrence, because the boys loved them. Neither he nor his partner minded the drive as both had careers that were city based.
I gently suggested that it might be good to live in a coastal community, but the boys brushed off my suggestion with a laugh and noted:
“It’s so much better just going wherever we want to. If we lived in one spot we’d always have to go to that spot!”
“So you don’t mind sitting in the car?”
“No!” They replied in unison.
The boys’ parents smiled:
“They get the best of both worlds,” said one parent, who continued:
“All the city has to offer and the beach, and they go to the snow in the winter, too. It’s great that they have such a variety of stuff to do, if we lived on the coast they’d just get stuck there. They’re entitled to have a go at everything. We all are.”
I smiled; we parted company as the marchers jostled, mingled, sang and laughed their way along Melbourne’s streets.
I felt uneasy during the Climate Change March – not because it was in any way aggressive, threatening or violent. From marchers to police, volunteers to pedestrians – everyone was in good spirits, helpful and happy. I felt uneasy because of:
- the lack of connection between the personal and the political; I didn’t get a sense of McKibben’s (2019) deeply aware activist; I did get a sense of their hopefulness (The Cleanest Line https://www.patagonia.com/stories/ )
- an inability to think beyond a frame of reference that had ‘entitlement’ NOW at its core (Garnaut 2019 44).
- the magnitude of the shift in human consciousness that has to take place before people can even begin to take responsibility for their actions – actions that go way beyond composting, using public transport, recycling, buying locally. All these actions help, but they can hinder ie. camouflage the level, depth, breadth of social change required (Garnaut 2019 6).
The family I marched alongside did not connect their personal lifestyle – their social practices – with Climate Change. They did not see that their actions were simply a difference of a degree – not a kind – from those of multinational fossil fuel industries. This bothered me:
- because making these connections is a highly controversial and creative challenge. It is Active Intelligence – extreme teaching and learning at its best (https://louisebricknell.com.au/creative-thinking-is-an-extreme-activity-you-have-to-take-risks/) And,
- no one seems to want to make that challenge their Purpose in any meaningful way; no one wants to lead.
No one is out there screaming we need an evolution in human consciousness! This is what that means for you; this is how it connects with Climate Change, this is how it connects with Technological Change; this is how it relates to Social Change; this is how we can initiate this revolution in evolution. These are the benefits, these are the costs if we don’t.
To put the debate, on an evolution in human consciousness on the world stage, up there on the global red carpet with Climate, Social and Technological Change, demands that we think of it in a different way. We’ve run out of time to be nice and polite, objective and considered.
Making a discussion on challenging and changing C21 human consciousness go viral – and it is a virtuous cause, demands a level of belief, fortitude and conscious awareness grounded in:
“ … an obligation to change the rules, to raise the bar, to play a different game, and to play it better than anyone has any right to believe is possible (Godin 2008 114).”
We need to revisit our ice berg analogy; the top of the ice berg is what we see: Climate Change. A little below Climate Change is Technological Change, then rising above the water line of our ice berg is Social Change – partly visible, partly submerged. As McKibben (2019) stated above, Climate Change is a looking glass – a lens – into the developed world’s social existence. Thus, to counter Climate Change we need Social Change on a behemoth scale.
Much of the Social Change that needs to occur – en masse – is hidden from our view – the part of the ice berg below the water: our social consciousness. This part is subjective. Academics theorise about it, but struggle to make it real, to connect it to people; to ground it in the everyday of the developed world.
Yet it is this subjective maelstrom of sensorial normality that offers so much scope for profound changes in consciousness – for an evolutionary leap in the way that people understand how they make sense of their lives, why they make the decisions they do – from purchasing a particular item to intimacy. Connect to this and you can create significant change in the objective world of daily social activities, including commuting, composting, renewables, consuming.
Connect to the bottom of the ice berg and you change what’s happening at the top of it. Humanity, in the developed world, struggles with such changes because we struggle with change! This struggle, often manifesting as the ghost of anxiety, dulls, isolates and imprisons us in ways that severely limit our capacity to innovate and live as compassionate intelligent human beings.
Humanity’s quest for the grail of Deep Learning via neural pathways (thinking machines) might be fortified and fast tracked if the level of consciousness we brought to our scientific endeavours wasn’t hindered by the baggage of Reason (Walsh 2017). We have to get out of our Age of Reason thinking box and create our Age of Active Intelligence box – we could still call it the Age of AI ! (https://louisebricknell.com.au/the-real-magic-of-ai-and-the-skill-set-needed-to-make-it-happen/)
If we really want to go beyond what we ‘believe is possible’ then we need to believe that a deliberate, structured and created step in the evolution of human consciousness is possible – NOW. This step is Active Intelligence in Action.
To be concise.
- Effective Active Intelligence must generate – no half measures – debate about supporting humanity to consciously evolve – it must touch, connect, communicate energetically with every area of human life, e.g., from government, economics to medicine, technology to welfare, factory floors to education, families to expeditions, shopping to composting, parent, child, professor, teacher, pupil.
- Point 1 is the nexus, the bottom line, that provides the leverage needed to launch the enormous amount of Social Change that needs to happen – NOW.
- Points 1 & 2 will allow Climate Change movements to raise their bar in ways they don’t yet believe is possible, and forge pathways that allow technologists to innovate in ways that they could not have previously imagined.
- All of the above must CONNECT. The excellent work that individuals, diverse organisations, governments, movements, industries, education, businesses are involved in – need to be linked (https://louisebricknell.com.au/whos-at-the-top-of-the-knowledge-food-chain/). Human consciousness cannot be challenged and changed in the halls of academia alone. Don’t get me wrong, we need these halls, but like a Hogswart staircase, they need to have corridors, elevators, multi level freeways running in and through them – always moving, challenging and transforming knowledge. Godin (2008) says leadership needs to work from the bottom to the top, vice versa and sideways. Active Intelligence needs this and more, it needs to operate in spirals, loops, hoops. It isn’t a one way street; no individual entity or platform can realise its full potential. An evolutionary step in human consciousness requires a mass effort and everyone needs to be included.
Active Intelligence is the business of creating genuine insight that allows people to see connection where previously they might have seen, or sensed, disconnection; and possibilities where they might have seen, or sensed, dead ends. It is grounded in the energetics of communication, creativity and structure (https://louisebricknell.com.au/creating-the-energetics-of-communication/); its arsenal of Activism Tools, includes, amongst others, a commitment to working with the Unknown and Reflective Learning – anywhere with anyone (https://louisebricknell.com.au/developing-creative-thinking-skills/ ).
Tools for the Consciousness Revolution: Designed to make YOU think!
Here is an example of a reflective thinking strategy. It is designed to make you think, it is an exercise to support an evolution in consciousness required to, let’s cut to the chase, save the planet. And yes, it is another genuine insight which aligns with John Broome’s, professor of moral philosophy at the University of Oxford, conclusion that in developing ethical behaviour in climate change “each individual should take responsibility for (their) own emissions (Garnaut 2019 24)”. So let’s take moral philosophy to the masses, that’s Active Inteligence in ACTION!
- When you are born you are awarded a million consumption points to do as you please with. This kicks in when you are 13. So already the education system needs to rethink itself so it can educate people to reflect on how they use their points – central to this usage is starting to explore who you are, what makes you tick, how and why you think as you do, what are the origins of all those things you take for granted? What are your values?
- That change alone is HUGE! Let alone the impact that could potentially have on family life – not necessarily all bad by any means. At 13 yeas of age, trips to the coast for boogie boarding, trips to the snow, trips to the mountains, trips to the wave pool, mountain bike tracks, shopping, using mobile devices, play stations, what you wear – all have a consumption footprint – user starts to pay, or rather the user starts to accumulate points, from 13 years onwards.
- You decide in your late teens that a particular activity is something you want to keep doing, and you would like to travel to different locations to undertake this activity. Decision time – the more you travel the greater the number of consumption points you accumulate. You would also like a pet, but that racks up points, too.
- You might want to have a child; each child is 700,000 points – split between two people. Activity, travelling, children, particular vocation, particular location – your points won’t stretch that far – decision time. What do you value?
- You might want to own a house, this also costs points because you are responsible for the consumption footprint of that house, and any other properties you own – regardless of whether you live in them or not. Other investments, however, could potentially either save or earn you extra points?
- You are 45+ and have children, you live in the city/urban environment – you enjoy its benefits. You commute (100 km+) regularly for your activity; you want the option of any location and you don’t want to move to one activity location. You take one international flight per year, drive interstate, possibly commute to work. And all your points are gone. You are not concerned, because you feel entitled to this life style. Other people have similar life styles, so why should you change? What happens to your consumption debt? No problem – your children inherit it. What does this mean for them? Less and less access to consumption points, which will eventually mean:
- no children
- no international flights
- no travelling coast to coast
- no commuting to work
- none or limited opportunities for pets
- less consumption on every level
- no home ownership
- highly unstable world economies
- lower wage base and unstable employment opportunities
- no entitlement to do what they please when they please
- increasingly tense global relations
- less and less access to fundamental resources, e.g., fresh water
- the end game – potentially no home planet.
That sounds a bit harsh – but it’s going to happen. It is happening. I wrote the above on the 14/1/2020 – COVID 19 was slowly making its presence felt – so we could add increasing opportunities for global pandemics to the list of things we leave for future generations – especially given our normal propensity towards living in wet markets.
I wonder whether parents realise that they are introducing their children to a lifestyle that will be increasingly difficult for future generations, anyone, to undertake?
When I speak with families about it, their response is the same:
“ That’s not fair; we can’t do that to our kids? We can’t give them a debt!”
I agree – it’s not fair, but it is exactly what is happening – albeit unwittingly.
We feel entitled to our developed world life styles. We worked hard for them; it’s normal; it’s the way the developed world works, right? No, it is not normal, it is learnt behaviour – we learn how to think, we learn how to feel, we learn to make some decisions and not others; we LEARN TO FEAR THE UNKNOWN just as we would have learnt to fear omniscient monarchs and religious demigods in different historical epochs – we are just unaware of this fact.
If we don’t want to be collide with pandemics, resource wars, potentially global wars, Climate catastrophes and brutal social change that will make COVID 19 lock down legislation look like a rave – it’s time the developed world took a giant leap of faith into it’s history – the known, and used it to embrace the unknown.
If I have made you stop and think for a second; if anything I have written has made you feel uncomfortable, then my genuine insight has supported you to have a remarkable vision. And yes, those visions are scary but highly contagious and passion, true passion, thrives in those moments.
Active Intelligence: Getting Intimate and Passionate with the Unknown
True passion is not about doing what you love – it’s about embracing the unknown, because true passion doesn’t give a fig if the going gets tough, if doors slam, if hard decisions have to be made (https://louisebricknell.com.au/creating-genius-the-task-of-the-learning-and-development-consultant/). On the contrary, true passion finds its voice in those moments – not in the realms of safety – the known.
There is a super storm on the horizon, its pre fontal systems include climate, technological and social change. The pressure fuelling these systems is a form of human consciousness rooted in a historical epoch that humanity – in the developed world – has long since left behind, pragmatically at least. This storm – and its pre fontal systems, are manifesting a cocktail of change, in every area of existence, that is more volatile, and potentially more devastating, than any individual extreme climate event or pandemic will be. Some of the known events that this superstorm will elicit include:
- high unemployment, greater inequality, limited welfare infrastructure (Heinberg 2015)
- climate refugees – no one is exempt from that group (https://www.rollingstone.com/politics/politics-features/climate-migration-predicted-number-climate-refugees-962251)
- low paid manual work
- outdated economic systems (Garnaut 2019 55)
- congestion taxes (and laws – you mightn’t be able to drive to the coast or the snow. (Think COVID 19 post code visits only)
- population controls
- resource wars – water will be at the fore front (Chouinard, Stanley 2016)
- Artificial Intelligence and technological developments that are not for the benefit of the whole (despite some people’s best efforts) (Walsh 2017)
- massive environmental crises and,
- an uneducated population ill equipped to deal with change on any level – including personal. Not a good mix.
Courageous and committed humans, across the life cycle and globe, are aware and ACTIVE in challenging and working with the superstorm’s pre fontal systems: Technological, Climate and Social Change. Humanity’s downfall will not be because humanity failed to recognize, work with, and challenge these highly visible, emotive and tactile structures. Rather, it will be because humanity failed to recognise what these structures were rooted in: an outmoded form of consciousness (of thinking and feeling) that served our departure from seasonal work and rural existence to industrialised labour and urbanised living. Objectively we have moved on – we have created new norms – new knowns.
Subjectively, however, we operate in a world obsessed with knowing for the simple reason we fear the unknown. Even fake news is better than not knowing – the unknown.
If we truly want to move on from our history and forge a different future for our planet, and potentially others, we have to pursue, with as much fervour as we pursue Climate, Technological and Social Change, an evolutionary step in human consciousness. Doing this requires getting up close and personal with the unknown. No, this isn’t easy, otherwise Active Intelligence would be trending like Climate Change – but it is possible. It just needs a bit of creation, innovation and passion – albeit structured (https://louisebricknell.com.au/creative-thinking-is-a-highly-structured-activity/ )!
A deliberate and structured evolutionary leap in human consciousness has always been the elephant in the room – it is a bulky, subjective, unruly, potentially troublesome and an all together slippery entity which consistently mutates. Or so most people, including teaching and learning institutions, research institutions and many organisations that prefer liaisons with the known quantitative/objective world would have us believe. That’s bull shit. A shift in consciousness requires more than a numbers game – it has to get a lot more connected and intimate with us than that (Tempus 2020 https://www.rollingstone.com/politics/politics-features/climate-migration-predicted-number-climate-refugees-962251/).
For example, the family I walked with on the Climate Change March, listened and cheered as key speakers spoke about the need for governments to change policies, consumers to consume for quality not quantity, indigenous rights to be recognised and respected, and fossil fuel giants and mining magnates to be more considerate and change their actions – but the family itself was not going to change its daily practices. It had no idea its way of making sense of its world was in any way problematic: it had NO idea that it had a conscious formula, a conscious structure – for making sense of its life as a family. In short, the family had no idea of how its unknown undermined its existence, its values, its health – its survival.
The family was not only ignorant of the relationship between its commitment to Climate Change (the top of the Change Ice Berg) and its more intimate and sensorial life experiences (consciousness – bottom of the ice berg); it was completely unaware that the objective evidence of the latter was Climate Change itself.
An evolutionary step in human consciousness can be created; it can be as structured, objective, quantifiable and tangible as any technological or social innovation. We have to make the invisible visible, the implicit explicit – and we have to do it now. (https://louisebricknell.com.au/is-creative-acumen-a-slippery-subjective-energy-or-a-quantifiable-and-assessable-object/).
Patagonia Inc. commented in one of its early electronic COVID 19 communications that the pandemic would help it find a new purpose, a new way of serving its community, humanity, the planet. This is exactly what adventures into the unknown should do They should support us, whether an organisational us or individual us – find new purpose.
COVID 19 has highlighted, in numerously painful ways, from consumer panic, greed, deceit, the obliteration of the most basic of human rights, and financial corruption, that humanity, in the developed world at least – is woefully unprepared to deal with the unknown. (Garnaut 2019 39).
The unknown is here and it is not going away. It will become an increasingly seminal part of humanity’s life experiences: this is the new normal. People need to learn to welcome the unknown as a friend not a foe; to embrace its idiosyncrasies and understand theirs. To do that requires a change in how humanity, in the developed world, makes sense of its world – how we think, how we feel, how we reflect.
Any organisation that has a commitment to change, and a global and even local platform from which to initiate change, should find purpose from the COVID 19 experience – and this PURPOSE should involve challenging how people experience their daily lives at ground zero, the every day, everybody, level: human consciousness. This doesn’t sound like a crowd pleaser, but it can be.
Supporting the development of an evolutionary step in human consciousness is an adventure in learning – self learning. Which means any story can connect to it; any history can be used to expose it; any learning materials – any where – can bring it to life, give it meaning and connection (http://louisebricknell.com.au/a-real-ai-out-and-shamelessly-proud-thanks-to-professor-jonathan-a-j-wilson-laeeq-siddique-and-others/).
There is nothing that is irrelevant to challenging human consciousness – no context, no person, no life. This should make leading and supporting an evolutionary step in human consciousness appealing to even Jack Bezos – its market potential is huge. Moreover, it can be supported by Walsh’s (2017 226 ) exciting vision of life long education supported by ‘ AI bots’ equipped to seamlessly work with any form of learning and learner: an evolutionary step in consciousness has to be inclusive.
Climate and Technological Change cannot happen without profound Social Change: none of them can occur to the extent needed to save humanity and its home planet without a significant shift – an evolutionary shift – in human consciousness.
The big three, Climate, Social, Technological Change all provide opportunities to embrace the unknown: the potential that it offers humanity is infinite – as Professor Garnaut’s (2019) innovative exegesis into the future of the Australian economy highlights. They can, however, just as easily take us to hell – a euphemism for the known.
If a trip to hell doesn’t connect to your senses, how about Bill McKibben’s (2019) reflection on what it will mean if we continue to choose the known over embracing the unknown:
“If growth was how we understood the 20th century, survival is how we’ll bottom line the 21st”.
At the moment we get to choose which path we take, known or unknown: same old, same old – or change. That moment won’t last long and the odds for change are against us – as Jack Bezos and Professor Kamdath Scott intimated at the start of this article.
How can people, across the life cycle, connect to a movement dedicated to changing the most intimate and subjective details of our lives? How do we initiate an evolutionary step in human consciousness that WILL be reflected in Social Change characterised by thriving not surviving? We lead (https://louisebricknell.com.au/who-is-responsible-for-humanitys-evolution/).
Leading to Thrive: Initiating an Evolutionary Step in Human Consciousness
“Initiating [change] is really and truly difficult, and that’s what leaders do. They see something others are ignoring and they jump in. They cause the events that others have to react to. They make change” (Godin 2008 74).
Genuine insight and remarkable visions, initiate change. They should, because if they are truly remarkable and sincerely genuine – people will connect to them, and if people connect they will reflect.
Reflection begets curiosity; the latter fuels learning; which in turn ignites passion. Passion doesn’t negate fear, but it helps us to work with it; feel it, embrace it. Once that occurs – the unknown is transformed from a medieval torture chamber to a Pandora’s Box of purpose, passion and potential.
The time for creating events that others react too is NOW. Teaching and learning – in all areas of life, not just formal education settings, have taught the developed world to fear the unknown – albeit unwittingly. We can unlearn what we have learnt, but we can’t wait for traditional education systems (not known for their dynamic and fluid transitional business models) to lead us. We LEAD – they will REACT (https://louisebricknell.com.au/foresight-for-education-building-the-future-not-just-defending-the-past-embracing-the-unknown/).
If the time for leading a revolution in the evolution of human consciousness is now, the place to do that is everywhere; the student population is everyone. Yes, we will have to get creative but that is the fun part.(https://louisebricknell.com.au/resilience-the-heart-of-creative-thinking/).
I wrote this article because I believe an evolution in human consciousness is not only essential for saving humanity and the planet, it is achievable. Technology can assist in this process – in a big way. Social Change will not just be the result of this evolutionary sojourn, it will be its travelling companion, as will Climate Change, technological innovation and development. To coin a COVID 19 tag line – they are all in this together – and so are we. It’s humanity and the big 3!
Moreover, creating and leading a movement, a tribe, infused with the passion to challenge and question how they experience the world has the potential to connect and link existing Climate, Social and Technological Change tribes; it can learn from the former’s activism strategies, utilise the full potential of current and developing technologies, and offer humanity – its client base – an integrated and supportive platform for Change – for embracing the unknown (Gallagher & Myers 2016, Walsh 2017 226).
Like a pandemic, an evolutionary step in human consciousness WILL impact everyone. People might dismiss Climate Change because they can’t SEE the ice melting or the sea level rising, but they will be hard pressed to ignore their fear and anxiety as everyday life, even in the most urbanised and wealthy suburbs of the developed world, comes head to head with the unknown.
Education and wealth don’t seem to matter much when the unknown is in town. Australia had the highest level of consumer panic in the developed world. (https://newsroom.unsw.edu.au/news/business-law/australia-tops-coronavirus-consumer-panic). Leading the panic stampede were its wealthiest suburbs, where private education and tertiary qualifications are the norm: clearly such experiences did little to build resilience.
I call on all those organisations committed to change, to supporting humanity to reach its potential, to grab the opportunity for change that COVID 19 has inadvertently dropped on our urbanised door steps. I ask that they create and support initiatives that seek to develop an evolutionary step in human consciousness. It is a journey we have to take, and like any expedition into the unknown, the better prepared we are the more creative we can be (https://louisebricknell.com.au/creative-thinking-is-a-highly-structured-activity/ ).
We have all contributed to living in a suburban wet market, we are all capable of transforming it, we can’t do it alone, and we can’t IGNORE it anymore.
Genuine insight and remarkable visions are a wake up call for change and a call to lead that change (Godin 2008).
In this instance, the genuine insight is CALLING OUT the need for an evolution in human consciousness and to ground that evolution in the everyday with everyone. The remarkable vision? Such an evolutionary step will produce change in every area of life and bolster exisiting change movements. Leading it? That has already began – you can’t have a genuine insight and shout-it-out without leading!
Bricknell, L (2020) Articles cited here & others https://louisebricknell.com.au/latest-news/
Chouinard, Y (2016 2nd Ed) let my people go surfing
Chouinard, Y & Stanley, V (2016) The Responsible Company
Gallagher, N & L. Myers (2016) tools for grassroots activists
Garnaut, R (2019) Super Power: Australia’s Low Carbon Opportunity
Godin, S (2008) Tribes: We Need You To Lead Us
Heinberg, R (2015) Afterburn: Society beyond fossil fuels
Kolodny, L (2019) https://www.cnbc.com/2019/06/06/jeff-bezos-remars-speech-disrupted-by-protester-pushes-space-travel.html
McKibben, B (Sept 16, 2019) The Climate Crisis is a Human Issue (The Cleanest Line https://www.patagonia.com/stories/ )
Norman, F (5 June 2020 ) https://newsroom.unsw.edu.au/news/business-law/australia-tops-coronavirus-consumer-panic
Schithuizen, M (2018) Darwin Comes to Town: How the Urban Jungle Drives Evolution
Tempus, A (2020) Are We Thinking About Climate Migration All Wrong? https://www.rollingstone.com/politics/politics-features/climate-migration-predicted-number-climate-refugees-962251/
Ting, I & A. Palmer (2020) A100 days of Corona Virus in Australia https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-05-04/charting-100-days-of-the-coronavirus-crisis-in-australia/12197884?nw=0&pfmredir=sm
Walsh, T (2017) It’s Alive: Artificial Intelligence from the Logic Piano to Killer Robots.