Realigning economic mechanisms toward a goal of purpose, rather than profit, will play a huge role in shifting how industrial research and development is conducted. Circularity, as a principle and pattern, will allow the future course of innovation to be aligned with infinite possibility. To this effect, innovation will move out of the shadows as a fringe and risk-oriented facet of conventional business, and become a primary factor in evolving human and (inter)planetary potential.
Think beyond physical and mental limits with respect to planetary boundaries. Forge optimized standards based on evolutionary power through cycles of memory and change.
“You must be shapeless, formless, like water. When you pour water in a cup, it becomes the cup. When you pour water in a bottle, it becomes the bottle. When you pour water in a teapot, it becomes the teapot. Water can drip and it can crash. Become like water my friend.” — Bruce Lee
When we are blessed with a view of the ocean, we feel a sense of calm. This sensation occurs in relation to the inherent connection between the water in our bodies and the water of Earth’s own body. Suddenly, all that is constantly moving around inside seems to settle. Waves still crash on the shore, but out toward the horizon, the surface is calm, steady, and continuous.
Earth is in a state of dynamic non-equilibrium, a constant state of change. As human activity accelerates the changes on our planet, and as we increasingly incorporate machine learning and extended intelligence into human interactions, it’s critical we reenforce the primacy of life. To do so, we are reminded to model our ideas and actions after nature. In this way, our vision for innovation from 2020 to 2050 centers on our capacities to realign society based on regenerative principles and patterns sourced from nature’s evolving laws.
Aligning awareness of universal laws with the practice of our discipline can serve to sharpen our understanding of the guiding forces that help us progress forward. There are several laws of nature which might not be commonly known or referenced in everyday situations, yet can certainly provide positive influence for the practice of innovation.
One of the most felt, and also complicated, laws of nature is the law of love. Where does this powerful force come from and how does it take us over? When we feel love’s effects, our emotional intelligence is pulled unwaveringly in its desired direction. There are many forms of love that humans have sought to name, like platonic love, which describes a non-romantic love, such as experienced through shared wisdom. Greek language offers several more variations on love. Philia is the name for brotherly love. Philautia means love for oneself. Eros signifies erotic love. Agape expresses a love for God (or any concept of a higher being). Love occurs in countless ways.
We believe that we should not limit ourselves to acknowledging the variations on how love can be expressed. We also strongly feel that no version of love is really complete until one learns to love oneself. And to love ourselves, we must make no judgement about our faults. Rather, we can improve a great deal from accepting our faults as instrumental to how we become who we are. In order to access our capacity for unconditional love—that is, to love without expectation of receiving anything in return—it’s essential we first understand what conditions we have already set for ourselves. What obstacles do we place in our own way based on what we think we need from others? To advance beyond our self-imposed limitations, we need to understand why we are the way we are and what we are going to do to change for the better. Ultimately, we can learn to shape our experiences through a guiding principle of love as a powerful and multi-dimensional force.
“What you seek is seeking you.” — Rumi
Rumi’s poems relate beautiful expressions of foundational forces which are revealed through mystic awareness. The law of attraction states that thoughts or actions originating from within each of us will attract mutual energy and action from others. An example of this resonant quality might be that you meet someone who has been working on a similar project, or struggling with a similar challenge as you, and you naturally feel yourself drawn to them, looking to align with them along this shared course of interest. This convergence with others helps all involved through collaborative exchange. There are countless ways in which the law of attraction can manifest relevance in one’s own personal journey. We believe in the benefit of being open to receiving guidance from wherever our intuition and attention leads.
The law of correspondence tells us that our outer world is nothing more than a reflection of our inner world. In other words, what we think and how we feel influences what we say and what we do. And, this then in turn affects the reality we experience. Associative connections appear between different energies and matter because all things are inherently connected by virtue of existing.
“As above, so below.” — from The Emerald Tablet
The Emerald Tablet is an Egyptian-Greek wisdom text about the cosmos, mind, the divine, and nature. The origin of the text is unknown, while the text is attributed to a teacher named Hermes Trismegistus. The essence of the philosophers’ stone is said to be held within the text’s esoteric lines. Having first appeared in a book written in Arabic between the 8th and 6th centuries, the text of the Emerald Tablet gained wide reception during the 1200s in Europe. Sir Isaac Newton’s translation of the text appeared in his work with alchemy. He interpreted the beginning of the text to say, “That which is below is like that which is above and that which is above is like that is below to do the miracles of one only thing. And as all things have been and arose from one by the mediation of one: so all things have their birth from this one thing by adaptation.”
We tend to gravitate toward the people, places, and ideas that resonate with our intuition. The law of gravity reveals the heavy influence that is exerted upon all matter. Gravity is also relative. The gravity on Earth is greater than the gravity on the moon. Gravity shows us the importance of context in respect to its relevance. In the middle of space, where gravity seemingly does not exist, the effects of gravity are still present on account of dark matter. These effects also remind us how that which we cannot see is nonetheless incredibly significant and worth consideration.
The universe operates by many mysterious properties. Imagine all the times you’ve thought of someone and then that person calls you on the phone. This phenomena is more than coincidence; it relates to laws of manifestation. When we give our attention to something, we share the power of our intention and energy with that entity, and give it greater momentum to be summoned into our lives.
“Everything in the field of time is dual: past and future, dead and alive, being and nonbeing.” — Joseph Campbell
Laws of polarity or duality speak to Newton’s third law, which states that for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. Whatever state we’re in (such as joyous or sad, hot or cold), we are well served to remember it represents only one end of a spectrum. Awareness of polarity reminds us that beyond the realm of duality lives the eternal. We are interested in how this law can give greater insight into how our actions are involved in the push-and-pull nature of polarity. What role do we play in this process? All our actions, and even our observations, have consequences that are bound by polarity. In quantum mechanics, photon polarization describes how light can behave as a wave function, which collapses into a particle as soon as that wave is observed at a certain point. Interestingly enough, the particle cannot turn back to a wave. This quandary is also expressed in the play Arcadia by Tom Stoppard, in which the character Thomasina wonders at the oddity that a swirl of jam can blend into pudding, but cannot return to the original shape of its initial swirl. In our physical reality, matter behaves according to laws of polarity. Yet, we can place this phenomena in perspective, and wonder at what it might mean to transcend this state of duality as a means for accessing the supreme power of the eternal.
Finally, the law of harmony offers a grand organizing principle for life. It states that all that exists will ultimately be brought into balance; that an underlying mechanism of the universe is to arrange relationships of all kind in harmony with one another. While moments of disharmony surely occur—such as a ripple in calm water—any disturbance to harmony is temporary. Eventually, through the law of harmony, balance will be restored. The law of harmony serves as a kind of baseline principle to keep in mind when undergoing any act of creativity. Think of music, and how songs are arranged according to the law of harmony. When in tune, the frequencies of different instruments align and we hear a harmonious sound that profoundly moves our emotional, physical, and spiritual states. Of course, any expression of disharmony—like instruments not in tune or playing dissonantly together—can be jarring. Yet, through continued effort, harmony comes back into existence. It’s as if the universe is an extraordinary orchestra of diverse elements playing at all times and our task is to find a way to join in its phenomenal melody and rhythm.
Approaches to innovation can benefit immensely from the translation of these universal laws into positive principles for future-based initiatives. Innovation is a vital part of an evolutionary process, that can be understood in terms of imagination, technical ability, and ingenuity. The choice is ours to better infuse innovation with the laws of nature, love, harmony, attraction, and evolution through infinite cycles of renewal.
All effort is made less stressful when we remember that everything is always changing. Every cycle is a renewed opportunity to improve upon the conditions that came before.
Our current generation stands on the shoulders of every generation that lived before us. We are responsible for what future generations will inherit. Each new generation receives the gift of an improved baseline, and each new generation has a unique opportunity to generate greater understanding around life’s mysteries.
Laws of nature are mysterious in why they exist as they do, and will most likely remain beyond human comprehension. Part of the challenge of understanding these laws better comes from the fact that humans represent only one species within a symphony of species conducted by nature. Human reality is different from the reality of a fish, which is far different from the reality of a butterfly, which differs again from the reality of a cactus. There is most likely no way to know the laws of nature in their totality given the limitations of human perception.
Laws of evolution reveal the changing composition within the laws of nature. Biologist Rupert Sheldrake speaks of evolution through a notion of what he calls morphic resonance, a theory that posits laws of nature are not fixed, but more like habits which can change over time through a field of collective memory.11 On his website, Sheldrake explains that through morphic resonance, “each individual inherits a collective memory from past members of the species, and also contributes to the collective memory, affecting other members of the species in the future.”12 In other words, Sheldrake suggests that a species can strengthen certain abilities, not necessarily through the natural selection of genetic information, but through a kind of telepathic transference of information throughout the evolutionary field of existence. In any event, change is the guiding force of nature. Nothing occurs in perpetuity, no matter how much we might try to command circumstances to our will.
Dogmatic thinking forces a false premise of control. Sheldrake noted this concept in his 2013 TED talk by saying, “Dogmatic assumptions inhibit inquiry.” By channeling the law of evolution, and questioning dogmas wherever they appear, we become better equipped to discover a path beyond our limitations. When we maintain this mode of intellectual curiosity, there is no end to the insights that can emerge.
Advances in science are proving what spiritual practitioners have been sharing for centuries. For example, quantum mechanics reveals a fundamental nature of existence based on the role of the observer and foundational inter-being. As areas of exploration—like science and spirituality—are brought closer together through evolutions of thought within society, the implications of ongoing discoveries will become greater than the sum of their parts.
As quantum physics becomes more integrated into human consciousness, perspective will open to the vast scale of probability. The interplay between invisible and observable phenomena will come into greater dialogue and drastically advance human potential in the process. The more that we align that which we don’t understand with that which we do, the greater our sense of possibility will become. And this open-mindedness will, in turn, only strengthen our sense of underlying connection to the world we inhabit and influence.
In many instances these three disciplines intersect. People of wide-ranging learning called polymaths have wielded all three in search of knowledge. Realigning initiatives based on the core connections within this Venn diagram of complementary forces, will help harmonize humanity’s understanding of our place in the story of life.
“Scientific education for the masses will do little good, and probably a lot of harm, if it simply boils down to more physics, more chemistry, more biology, etc to the detriment of literature and history. Its probable effect on the average human being would be to narrow the range of his thoughts and make him more than ever contemptuous of such knowledge as he did not possess.” — George Orwell
Pursuing education in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) fields is often held up as the most sensible choice students can make in regards to their future careers. Conversely, the humanities are sometimes belittled—the new prevailing thought being that this area of educational focus is less likely to translate to good job opportunities. More and more, the world is run by the linearly, analytical “left brainers”. This mindset is typified by the Silicon Valley ideology, in which social problems are viewed as one algorithm away from being solved. However, ethical frameworks in the study of computer science are woefully underemphasized, leaving many in the field lacking the appropriate toolkit to really come to grips with the potential consequences of their work. The arc of technology over the last few years has shown us that there are clearly not enough voices asking, “should we even be doing this?” We believe we need to be asking more questions about why we have arranged societal priorities as we have. Also, that we should be more imaginative about how we envision our way of life. And we believe we can learn infinitely from the organizing principles scientific inquiry continues to draw from the physical world.
The beauty of a mathematical equation can transcend the numbers and symbols used to write it when we see a real-world representation unfold by its design. Consider the Fibonacci sequence that shows up in the number of petals in flowers (most often 5, 8, 13, or 21), or the spiral construction of a snail’s shell.13 These examples are rather simple when it comes to mathematical possibilities, yet much more elaborate experimentation is currently underway. In theory and technology development, an array of physicists, computer-scientists, and spiritualists continue to decode and apply quantum physics in ongoing investigations and experimentation. While technologies stand to improve astronomically with the development of quantum computing, what if the primary impact of quantum mechanics on society is not so much of technological benefit, but instead an ability to understand our interconnectedness and to interact on a quantum level? The idea of quantum healing is that there is no intermediate process, recovery is immediate. This instantaneous change of one’s state can be illustrated by how if you think you’ve lost your keys, and you begin to worry, and then find your keys in an unexpected place, you immediately feel relief and considerably better. Imagine that, in the future, repairs within the body could be made almost instantaneously, without lengthy procedures and periods for recovery. What would that implication mean for conventional healing? Will we then become able to manually manipulate the cells in our bodies? What would that mean for immediate demands in the health sector? What would it mean across a vaster scale of evolution?
These kinds of questions should act as guardrails to guide the streams of thought that transcend the edge of current knowledge and cascade into the unknown.
“The body itself is a screen / to shield and partially reveal / the light that’s blazing / inside your presence.” — Rumi, Story Water
Science as well as the arts each flourish when incorporating insights from other disciplines and inspired by mystic revelations. In the first half of the 20th century, Jesuit priest Pierre Teilhard de Chardin (1881–1955) developed an idea that the universe—including all its physical matter and spiritual energy—is evolving toward increasing complexity and consciousness. And the point of absolute convergence Teilhard called the Omega Point.14 While this notion of ultimate complexity and consciousness converging in an arrangement of divine elegance is rooted in spiritual investigation, Teilhard framed his idea of the Omega Point as grounds for scientific exploration. Whether or not the scientific community is eager to adopt Teilhard’s premise might impact just how far science can advance our understanding of the mysteries enfolded in the universe. Either way, Teilhard’s idea of the Omega Point continues to be an important topic for metaphysical exploration. Questioning how consciousness is configured throughout the universe, and whether or not we are all part of a complex evolution toward something like an Omega Point, can help create meaning on a personal and collective level. We feel it’s important to consider ideas that have the potential to influence how we think of our relation to cosmic history and future.
When we look to schools of thought outside our typical purview, we open our perspectives and we become more receptive to different probabilities. By realigning our inputs to include the observations of artists, scientists, and mystics, and the more that conversation between their disciplines can evolve, we will undoubtedly be more fulfilled, informed, and connected.
“Both for the physicists and the Sufis, the multidimensional experiences transcend the sensory world and are therefore almost impossible to express in ordinary language.”
— Ibrahim B. Syed, Ph. D. President of Islamic Research Foundation International
Awareness of the common ground between scientists and spiritualists creates more fertile territory to explore and expand consciousness. Artwork similarly inspires our imaginations and can directly influence consciousness. Further development of a common language around the areas of inquiry that account for metaphysical mystery, scientific specificity, and artistic expression could theoretically benefit all of humanity. As well, in searching for balanced interplay between these areas, we might one day be able to envision a way of regarding and understanding phenomena that defy explanation.
What did wisdom represent in ancient times? What does wisdom mean today and how will it be dealt with tomorrow?
It’s important to make sure we’re not losing vital wisdom from our past as we race for progress. Forgetting the wisdom from generations of experience is the easiest means for the dark periods of our collective history to repeat themselves. Supporting systems of shared knowledge, such as museums, libraries, and theaters, can help empower people to access vital stories and information. Continuous learning must be available to all people, and not reserved for privileged classes. For inspiration, we can look back at how humans have preserved ideas discovered to be worth recording throughout the ages.
The earliest forms of human writing can be found in the form of artwork deep within France’s Chauvet Cave where, over 30,000 years ago, people painted hundreds of animals on the walls. In addition to capturing the likeness of around thirteen different species, handprints also exist, drawn throughout the cave in red pigment. The depiction of human forms in this space also include several vulvas, with the most prominent drawn in the form of a partial Venus, featuring outlines of exaggerated hips tracing the contours of the cave’s outcrop.15
The variety of images in the cave have been dated to two different periods of time. The cave paintings illustrate how two distinct Aurignacian cultural groups of people, who lived thousands of years apart from each other, each used this selected space for imprinting their visions of the world as they experienced it. The timeless story of fertility is told in the charcoal lines that shape the cave’s most prominent Venus and multiple others. These distant groups of human ancestors honored a sacred feminine source. In the cave paintings, these early groups of people left behind a message of the importance of living in reverence to where life is made. Today, as in any stage of existence, we are well served to do the same.
We wonder whether there were the equivalent of ancient sketchbooks as there’s only the finished products on the walls of Chauvet. No mockups, no mistakes. Just raw, intentional expression. What was that act of painting like at that time? Was it a dangerous hobby with bears and cave hyenas lurking just outside? The rituals and routines were of a group nature, albeit much smaller in size and range of territory. In today’s world of exponentially increasing population, technologies, and innovation, how can we access wisdom from our ancient rituals to support alignment with timeless priorities around the sanctity of life?
Throughout ancient human history, the sacred feminine has been expressed not only as a source of life, but also a source of wisdom. Around the 8th century BCE in Greece, Pythia was the high priestess Oracle at Delphi. One day each month, she sat on a cauldron atop a tripod, shrouded in ethylene vapors and uttering prophecies to prepared supplicants. According to archaeologist John Hale, as quoted in an interview from 2004 on the radio program, The Ark, “the Pythia was (on occasion) a noble of aristocratic family, sometimes a peasant, sometimes rich, sometimes poor, sometimes old, sometimes young, sometimes a very lettered and educated woman to whom somebody like the high priest and the philosopher Plutarch would dedicate essays, other times who could not write her own name. So it seems to have been aptitude rather than any ascribed status that made these women eligible to be Pythias and speak for the god.”16 This variance in who speaks for god is most fascinating, as the tradition allows for women of diverse backgrounds to occupy this sacred position. One of the better known landmarks of Delphi is the Delphic Maxim inscribed on the temple, “Know thyself.” The idea of self-knowledge through the guidance of women from different backgrounds makes us wonder what the modern day equivalent might be? How can we, in our current societal communities, create civic spaces devoted to wisdom in connection with the land and sacred feminine, and that honor women from all areas of society? And, in what ways might we also integrate the role of the sacred masculine, to protect and provide for others? How might we integrate oracles into our modern civilization? Possibly in the creation of councils appointed specifically to respond to the most compelling concerns and questions of our times.
In whichever ways we organize future communities inspired by ancient wisdom, society will benefit from this being a practice open to everyone. The power of the people rests in the capacity to connect across common bonds. Early written texts reveal the importance of solidarity and freedom, especially while living under the control of others’ self-interest. UNESCO’s (United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization) “Memory of The World Register” contains a collection of documentary archives preserved from as far back in human history as we have the written word.17 Among the collection is the Magna Carta, signed in agreement by King John on June 15, 1215. The document was drafted as a means for keeping peace between the rebellious Barons and the unpopular king. Its contents secured certain protections and freedoms for the people as an alternative to subjugation by an authoritarian ruler. In the centuries that followed, the document continued to offer influence, most notably in the drafting of the United States Constitution. The idea that people’s rights and freedoms must be upheld, written onto parchment in England over 800 years ago, is worth continually keeping in our hearts, minds, and policies going forward.
When we look back at the various forms of stories told throughout different periods of human civilization, we find reminders of the importance of working together while also honoring the mysteries and beauty of life. Ancient wisdom will guide future discovery.
- The Power of Humility
- Healthy Habits
- Environmental Actors
- Economic Priorities
- Lessons Ahead