This week's article is the fourth in a six or seven week series. Each week, I'm publishing one of the chapters of a document I'm in the process of writing; a 'manifesto' for what I call "The Thought Revolution". The later chapters of the manifesto will include a vision of our future as individuals, businesses, societies and as an entire species. Here's part 2 of chapter 3…
The Thought Revolution
“Your imagination is your preview of life's coming attractions”
Physicist & Nobel Prize-winner
The real test of a vision is its fitness for purpose
The introduction to this manifesto included a list of serious problems facing humanity which have defied solution until now, despite our impressive technological prowess. Like 18th century surgeons operating on infection-riddled patients using contaminated scalpels, the outside-in misunderstanding causes our problems, exacerbates them, then foils our efforts to solve them.
In each of the brief sections that follow, I will first give a ‘thumbnail analysis’ of the role that the outside-in misunderstanding plays in some of the world's most pressing problems. Then, I’ll give an ‘outline vision’, painting a picture of what becomes possible as we wake up to our true nature, and the inside-out nature of life.
It’s worth pointing out that this document is a ‘stake in the ground’; a draft version. As time passes, this section will change and grow, becoming more specific, detailed and concrete. The real test of a vision isn’t how realistic it is, but rather how useful it is; its fitness for purpose. So what is the purpose of this vision?
The purpose of this outline vision is to create a target to aim at
The purpose of this outline vision is to create a target to aim at; a goal to orient ourselves to as we navigate the stormy and often-disorienting waters of the 21st century. The world is changing rapidly, and the future is uncertain. A compelling vision is our best bet for creating a world that we feel inspired to live in, and to hand on as a legacy to future generations.
The thought revolution is the fourth wave
At this point, it may help to place “The Thought Revolution” in a broader historical context. In their groundbreaking book, The Third Wave, Alvin and Heidi Toffler detailed the waves of transformation that have swept across the planet during the past 10,000 years. These waves have carried us from our hunter-gatherer days to our modern technological society. Here’s a brief overview of the three waves they described (Appendix B will contain an in-depth essay on this subject):
The 1st Wave: The Agricultural Revolution (8000 BC)
Understanding of domestication gave rise to…
– Domestication of plants and animals leading to farming and stable food supplies
– Writing, bureaucracy & urbanisation
– Hierarchical workforces, armies, organised religion
The 2nd Wave: The Industrial Revolution (1760)
Understanding of mechanisation gave rise to…
– Mechanisation of manual labour, resulting in the mass production of goods
– Factories and the working week
– Mandatory schooling preparing children for factories, army etc
– Large institutions (schools, companies, government) provide a sense of belonging, security and stability
– Mass production, mass education, mass marketing, mass transport, mass communication etc
The 3rd Wave: The Information Revolution (1940)
Understanding of digitisation gave rise to…
– Computerisation and digitisation of information,
– Advances in the speed of communication and information technology
– Cultural and commercial acceleration
– Complexity, time-scarcity and information-overload
– Increases in outsourcing, e-commerce and remote working
– Reduction in the power and influence of large institutions
These three waves are a matter of historical record. The 3rd wave is still in progress and the 4th wave is now emerging. The global effect the 4th wave is going to have remains to be seen. Its leverage point is realisation; our understanding of the nature of thought.
The 4th Wave: The Thought Revolution (1973)
Understanding of realisation is giving rise to…
– Realisation of the nature of thought, and the principles behind CLARITY
Thought is the ultimate leverage point within the 4th wave. Our understanding of the nature of thought, and our ability to rely on insight / realisation is the key to unlocking the value inherent in the fourth wave. The remainder of this chapter is a ‘first stab’ at detailing some of the effects of unlocking the value of the 4th wave, The Thought Revolution. For the sake of clarity, and because of the profound implications of our ‘waking up’ to the inside-out nature of life, I’m referring to ‘post-4th-wave’ humanity as “Awakened Humanity”.
This outline vision contains three sections. Each of them sketches a picture of what our world could be like once The Thought Revolution is in full swing:
– Individual clarity – A vision for the future of personal clarity, wellbeing and mental health
– Organisational clarity – A vision for the future of organisations, business and commerce
– Societal clarity – A vision for the future of communities, societies and as an entire species
It goes without saying that these outline visions are incomplete, and contain some big gaps. This is merely a first draft, a stake in the ground. As the vision evolves, it will be the work of many hands.
3.1 Individual clarity
This section contains an outline vision for the future of personal clarity, wellbeing and mental health. It includes the following topics:
• Anxiety disorders and stress-related illness
• Rising divorce levels and other relationship issues
• Addiction and substance abuse
• Mental illness and mental health
As you will see, there is plenty of overlap between the topics shown here. For instance, anxiety disorders, stress-related illness and addiction could all be categorised under ‘mental illness and mental health’. The reason for listing them separately is a) so that the single cause behind them can be demonstrated in each case and b) so that a vision can be offered for each area. In reality, all of these topics and categories are closely inter-related, with plenty of overlap between them.
3.1.1 Anxiety disorders and stress-related illness
The thumbnail diagnosis
Worry, anxiety and stress-related illness is the inevitable result of the outside-in misunderstanding; the mistaken belief that our feelings are telling us about something other than our thinking in the moment (Eg. Past difficulties, future challenges, current circumstances). We’re always living in the feeling of our moment-to-moment thinking, but the deceptive nature of thought means that it often seems like your feelings are telling us about something other than your thinking in the moment. While we all get ‘tricked’ by this misunderstanding from time to time, severe cases of worry, anxiety and stress-related illness (Eg. Depression) are a case of the outside-in misunderstanding left unchecked. When a person lives in a chronic and persistent state of misunderstanding, it can impact on their brain chemistry, their immune system and general levels of physical health.
The outline vision
Awakened Humanity has psychological freedom. Insightful understanding of the inside-out nature of life is as ‘second nature’ to us as knowledge of germs and bacteria were in the late 20th century. As a result, people spend a lot more time in their clarity and wellbeing, being guided by their wisdom and wellbeing. The benefits of creativity, innovation and ‘inspired action’ mean that people are naturally more productive, and gravitate towards expressing their natural talents, passions and potentials. Everybody gets fooled by superstitious, ‘outside-in’ thinking from time to time. But knowledge about “how the system really works” is so widely understood, that it’s easy for a person’s friends and colleagues to respectfully ‘nudge’ them back in the right direction when they get lost. Relationships are deepened, passion and purpose are revealed, and clarity emerges.
3.1.2 Rising divorce levels and other relationship issues
The thumbnail diagnosis
Love, connection and intimacy are natural for all human beings when there’s nothing getting in the way. And what gets in the way? Insecure, outside-in thinking, and the warning signals of tension and agitation that so often accompany it. People regularly cite specific circumstances and behaviours as the “cause” of breakdown in intimate relationships (eg. Children, money worries, overwork, infidelity, arguing, lack of communication etc). But most “relationship-damaging” behaviours can themselves be traced back to people taking their superstitious, outside-in thinking as a material reality; to a misunderstanding of the nature of THOUGHT and the signals alerting us to the temporary corruption of our thinking / perception. There is no behaviour that can ‘cause’ a lack of connection and intimacy; the only thing that ever creates the illusion of disconnection is a superstitious, outside-in thought.
The outline vision
Awakened Humanity puts a high value on healthy relationships in all their forms, and understands the role that THOUGHT has to play in them. As a result, every human being experiences love and connection in a variety of contexts; work, social, family, intimate, etc. Everyone feels loved and loving, at least some of the time, and chronic loneliness is unheard of. Ongoing “relationship problems” are the exception, and are regularly healed amicably by those involved as they find their clarity. Where external support is required, “clarity professionals” focus on helping people find their clarity and wellbeing, then making decisions from that place. The old saying “It takes a village to raise a child” has become a global reality, with children growing to adulthood in rich social matrices of love, respect and encouragement.
3.1.3 Addiction and substance abuse
The thumbnail diagnosis
Addiction is the result of a misunderstanding. Like everyone else, addicts sometimes get lost in distorted, outside-in thinking, accompanied by agitated feelings; feelings that are the psychological equivalent of the pain withdrawal response. The addictive behaviour is an attempt to escape from the distorted thinking and painful feelings because the addict a) doesn't realise that their THOUGHT-generated perceptual reality in that moment is not an actual reality, b) doesn't realise that the agitated feelings are telling them their thinking is suspect and c) doesn't realise that it will pass; that if they don't try and “fix” their thoughts and feelings, the system will self-correct. Alcoholism and other addictions cost the economy many billions each year in crime, healthcare and lost work-days, to say nothing of the misery it inflicts on addicts and those around them. Addiction and compulsive behaviour is to present-day society what infection was to people in 1840, before we understood the nature of germs and bacteria: preventable, once you understand the principles behind how it works.
The outline vision
Awakened Humanity is largely “addiction-free”. Widespread understanding and acceptance of the nature of addiction (and all mental problems) means that historical cycles of shame and isolation no longer exist. Children who have grown up with an understanding of their innate clarity and wellbeing don't tend to get addicted. As humanity “wakes up” to its innate mental health, the combination of insightful understanding and loving relationships leads to a virtuous circle of healing, wellbeing and reconnection. Where individuals do succumb to addiction, “clarity professionals” help them to see through their misunderstanding and return to their innate clarity, wellbeing and mental health.
3.1.4 Mental illness and mental health
The thumbnail diagnosis
The fifth edition of the American Psychiatric Association's Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (aka the DSM V) was published in 2013 and lists over 300 mental disorders. There are hundreds of different schools of intervention-based therapy, each proposing different “causes” for these disorders, and offering a wide variety of “solutions”. Meanwhile, new disorders are diagnosed each year. Diagnoses of stress and depression are on the increase, and stressed-out Western doctors are prescribing more psychoactive medications than ever before. Babies are born with sound mental health, but Western society is turning them into mentally ill teenagers and adults at an unprecedented rate. This is the inevitable result of the outside-in misunderstanding. When a society misinterprets its superstitious, outside-in thinking as a material reality, and the accompanying feelings of agitation as a validation of that distorted perception, the result is insanity. The outside-in illusion is reinforced by a toxic culture that relentlessly promotes the “I'll be happy when…” superstition in a variety of forms.
The outline vision
Awakened Humanity recognises that the majority of mental “illness” is the result of a misunderstanding of the nature of THOUGHT. “Everyday” mental problems such as stress, depression and addiction have become a thing of the past as people wake up to their innate mental health, and an insightful understanding of how their minds work. As individuals have woken up, so has the culture; Awakened Humanity lives in a healthy semantic environment. In the rare cases of severe mental illness, “clarity professionals” help clients to see through their distorted thinking and find their innate mental health. The massive reduction in superstitious thinking has alleviated many of the chemical imbalances that used to be cited as the cause of mental illness. Where psychoactive medication is used, it is in the context of helping people to get to the point where they can find their clarity. Sound mental health is the norm, with widespread understanding of the nature of thought. Most people live with a sense of peace, security, resilience and wellbeing most of the time. When their mood is low, they recognise the ‘untrustworthiness’ of their perceptions and act (or not) accordingly.
Part 2 of the vision for Awakened Humanity will focus on business & organisations, and will follow once I return from holiday in a few weeks.
If you want to learn more about how you can see through the outside-in misunderstanding, and start waking up to the principles behind clarity, you can explore the materials here at www.JamieSmart.com
or read my book, the #1 bestseller CLARITY: Clear Mind, Better Performance, Bigger Results.
To your increasing clarity,