“The major problems in the world are the result of the difference between how nature works and the way people think.”
– Gregory Bateson
In part one and part two of this series, we looked at the waves that are shaping the modern world, and at how the third wave (the information revolution) is resulting in time-scarcity, information overload and attention-poverty (in addition to cool phones, social media and instant information). In this article we’re going to explore the 4th wave (the thought revolution), and how an understanding of CLARITY can make a huge difference to your ability to navigate (and generate value from) the seeming chaos, complexity and uncertainty being created by the waves of change.
The power of understanding
Knowledge creates value. This has been demonstrated again and again throughout history:
– The understanding of how to breed and domesticate plants and animals eventually freed millions of people from doing food-work as part of hunter-gatherer societies.
– The understanding of germs and bacteria has saved countless lives over the past century.
– The understanding of steam-power played a part in sparking the industrial revolution, transforming transportation.
– The understanding of gravity has allowed us to put satellites in orbit, and technical knowledge has created GPS / Sat-nav systems.
For our purposes, there are two broad categories of understanding:
1. Application – Application is the understanding of how to do something, how to accomplish a specific result. Examples of application include knowing how to make penicillin, write your name, build a house, create a microchip or boil a pot of water.
2. Realisation – Realisation is the understanding of how some aspect of the world already works. Obvious examples are gravity, the sola-centric model and germ-theory. In each case, realisation of the pre-existing nature of an aspect of life gave rise to new possibilities (and new applications).
Realisation narrows the gap between how we think life works, and how it actually works. As such, realisation often (but not always) precedes application.
So how is this relevant? Here’s how. As a society, we have a general misunderstanding about the nature of thought, and the connection between thinking and feeling. The impact of this misunderstanding is widespread and costly, and the unintended side-effects include:
– Depression, stress, anxiety and addiction
– Relationship problems and a variety of forms of conflict
– Lack of productivity and focus
– Lack of purpose and direction
– Lack of engagement and fulfilment
This all arises due to a misunderstanding of CLARITY. CLARITY is the natural capacity for experience – thinking, feeling and perceiving – we are all born with. This innate capacity generates 100% of our experience of life, moment-to-moment. In a nutshell, the misunderstanding of CLARITY can be summarised as follows:
“It looks like we’re feeling our circumstances, but we’re always and only feeling our thinking.”
It tends to look like our felt experience of life is coming from our circumstances (ie. From the outside-in)… But 100% of our experience is in fact coming from our thinking in the moment (ie. From the inside-out.) 0% of our experience is coming from our anything other than our thinking.
It’s one thing to grasp this intellectually, and quite another thing to realise it insightfully in the moment. But when you do, the results are profound. Superstitious outside-in “junk-thought” starts to fall away, and a deeper connection with life begins to emerge. As we have realisations about the inside-out nature of life, we see that CLARITY is also the source of
– Peace of mind, clarity and wellbeing – that sense of feeling at ease, comfortable in your own skin.
– Peak performance, including the flow states that give rise to excellence (what musicians, athletes and business leaders sometimes refer to as “being in the zone”).
– The resiliency and inner sense of security that gives individuals and organisations the ability to thrive and flourish in times of uncertainty, regardless of the circumstances.
– Creativity, imagination and the “quantum leaps” that bring fresh ideas, new perspectives and innovative solutions to problems.
– The sense of love and connection we feel with others (it’s also responsible for that sense of connection with life itself that people experience in moments of transcendence).
– It generates happiness, joy and contentment, as well as the sense of freedom and aliveness we all desire. Our ability to “be in the present” and “live in the now” is also the result of CLARITY.
– Wisdom, intuition and the “gut feeling” that helps us make great decisions. It’s behind our ability to have insights and a-ha moments, as we learn, grow and evolve.CLARITY is also the source of passion and purpose, that sense of focus and direction that helps human beings thrive.
Stop for a moment and think about it….
– When people believed in witchcraft, people had X amount of anxiety that evil spells would be placed on them. 100% of that anxiety was bogus, a phantom resulting from a misunderstanding.
– Before people understood that the earth was spherical, sailors had X amount of anxiety about sailing of the edge of the world. 100% of that anxiety was bogus, a phantom resulting from a misunderstanding.
– Before people understood the nature of germs, they thought diseases were caused by bad smells, and had X amount of anxiety about miasmas and atmospheres. 100% of that anxiety was bogus, a phantom resulting from a misunderstanding.
The idea that we are feeling our circumstances is just such a phantom. The vast majority of worry, stress and anxiety we feel is bogus, a phantom resulting from a misunderstanding.
It can be humbling to realise this… Humbling and liberating…
So how does this relate to the waves of transformation? Bear in mind that each “wave” solves existing problems, while creating new possibilities, new benefits and new challenges. Solutions to the new problems are delivered by the next wave.
Realisation of CLARITY solves the problems being created by the third wave:
– Attention-poverty: As people realise the inside-out nature of life, it brings them more into the moment. This has a knock-on effect in quality of life, relationships and decision-making.
– Information-overwhelm: Information can only consume your attention with your permission. As you understand the inside-out nature of life, it quells the craving for information, and allows greater discernment in the information you consume.
– Time-scarcity: As the outside-in illusion falls away, people experience more time, and an increase in the richness of life in the moment.
– Mental Congestion: Realisation of CLARITY clears the mind and allows clarity to emerge. And as clarity emerges, so do the mental and emotional resources that are the “deep drivers” behind high performance (direction, authenticity, innovation, confidence, connection, resilience, flexibility, intuition etc).
– Connection-starvation: Connection and intimacy emerge naturally when there’s nothing else in the way. As people realise the inside-out nature of life, listening improves and connection becomes the norm in every level of relationship.
– Values-focus: Realisation of CLARITY provides a sustainable (internally generated) source of security, freedom, adventure, independence, personal growth, belonging and contribution.
So how does a person go about getting a realisation of CLARITY? And how does this contribute to the “experience economy”, and the fourth wave? In part four of this article, we’ll be exploring the experience economy, and some possibilities for the future of our evolution.
I really like this idea of waves and how we are moving in a certain sequence of consciousness that has real life affects for us all, time scarcity or the sense of time speeding up. Cool, raising the insight and actually changing our perception of reality. Hopefully lol
Thanks John – it’s a lovely metaphor, isn’t it (with thanks to the Tofflers). Keep sharing your thoughts, best J
Do you mean alvin toffler?
Yup – Alvin Toffler & his wife Heidi are both futurists and are the brains behind the book "The Third Wave". While they didn't come up with the wave metaphor to talk about these global shifts, they were where I learned about it from (thanks to my Dad, who explained the book's central thesis to me in outline when I was about 15). Their more recent book "Revolutionary Wealth" also offers an interesting perspective. J
So true and brilliant ! It occurred to me that whilst us human beings are very good at realizing how things/nature/the universe etc. are designed so that we can use them to their full potential (so to speak) we never really looked into how WE are designed. After all before we drive a car we understand how it works and how it’s driven. But somehow we never really let ourselves step back and “understand” how our experience of life is created and went about doing everything the wrong way around. It’s funny when you see it. Not funny when you’re in it. 😛
Thanks Shreya – indeed, not funny when you’re in it, however… the more you understand how the system works, the less of an issue it is when you’re “in it”. In my experience, I still get caught in “scary thinking that looks real”, but I’m much less likely to take it seriously these days. Sort of like being caught up in a scary movie – even though you’re scared, you still know on some level it’s not real. That really helps. Thanks for posting. Best J
A great series of article and an real eye opener. Thanks for sharing such wonderful insights. Keep up the good work and a big god bless.
Thanks Sampathkumar – glad you’re enjoying them. Best J
A great continuation of this series, Jamie. Your expressed vision has the potential to lead to a significantly evolved phase of humanity. I commend your brilliance. With love, Windsor
Thanks Windsor – you’re clearly an excellent judge of character 😉 Glad you’re getting good stuff from the journey. Best J
Jame, I love where you’re pointing us. It took me a long time to fully understand the concept that we socially construct our worlds. The idea that every thing is neutral it’s our thinking about it that creates the experience and drives the emotion. Then it’s the story we create that often disempowers us. Great informative blog, thank you.
Thanks Vanessa – It’s great to see that isn’t it? I’d go even further, & say you don’t even need to construct a better story – the richness of life is there, just beyond our intellectual structures. Glad you’re enjoying it, Best, J
I’ve witnessed first hand so many times recently through many conversations with people just how powerful the inside-out understanding of life really is. I’ve heard you say this many times Jamie and I’m seeing how true it is. Simply hearing it for the first time can be so impactful. It doesn’t have to be learned, studied or worked out, only understood. People don’t necessarily understand it immediately but, strangely, it goes underground within them and then reappears hours/days later in the form of an insightful realisation.
A great article Jamie and looking forward to part 4….
Thanks Franco – I’m looking forward to it too! Speak soon, J
Another great article Jamie. I love the way you write about this understanding and am looking forward to the next part.
Right on, Frank – I’m looking forward to it, & your comments. See you soon! J
It seems the fourth wave is arriving just in time.
Thanks Jamie for another articulate and eloquent description of the inside-out nature of life.
Agreed – the 4 waves is such a great metaphor and context for understanding where we're at in the modern world and the possibilities that lie ahead in personal and human evolution.
Isn't this just Epictetus repackaged?
The fourth wave will challenge all this information bombarding us and produce a more ethically minded society that can challenge and see the discrepancies of what we’re sold, versus what benefits us.