We wish to acknowledge the laws of the physical and spiritual worlds that work together to propel explorations into unknown human potential. While we do not propose to have all the answers that will solve the challenges before us, we believe in the power of being open to receiving wisdom from every conceivable (and inconceivable) source. In this way, we hope to pay careful and deliberate attention to what we observe and to record our observations with joy and love for the opportunity to participate in the eternal narrative of life.
In the decades ahead, we can count on incredible highs and devastating lows. Suffering occurs on the path to any innovation or positive outcome. An alternative meta-paradigm will come about by dealing with its corresponding stress—it’s natural, and vital, for the next wave of innovation to improve upon.
We need to let go of many of the trappings of success that we have come to think would provide improved living conditions everywhere. Our current era of exponential indicators—like Moore’s Law, the theory that the number of transistors on a microchip double almost every two years—are leading to exponential economic success for those at the top, yet this kind of exponentially groundbreaking phenomena is not what will create better conditions for all people and the entire planet.
On individual and collective levels, we can learn to let go of what no longer serves us. A blind faith that technology will be our salvation is one such belief we need to immediately abandon. Letting go of false assumptions and reestablishing the necessity of human values like respect, solidarity, and cooperation will allow humanity to reclaim authority to create a better future. By freeing up considerable energy toward this pursuit, we can better focus on what resonates with our intuitive impulses toward wellbeing. This means placing the intent of the forces within us toward contributing to a greater good for all to take part in upholding. But that begs an important question: How can we activate this deep transformative potential?
We bear witness to a time of radical transformation through culturally, societally, and environmentally extreme conditions. With rising examples of authoritarian decision-making, a call to action in support of equality and inclusivity must become more amplified. We believe the extreme tension currently being experienced will not result in a breaking point, so much as a massive global shift. This shift will account for a reshaping of societal organization, mainly through a different distribution of wealth. Yet, perhaps the most significant shift that will enable all ensuing change, will begin with a collective shift in consciousness.
From now into 2030, we expect the distrust between people that continues to surface will continue to express itself. Between 2035 and 2050, we expect that the fight for the freedom to live through authentic expressions of working in harmony with one another and nature, will begin to flourish. With this momentum, the transition to a positive meta-paradigm of collaborative partnerships between individuals, communities, companies, and even other species, will help renew every imaginable relationship on our planet.
Newton’s Third Law of Motion states: for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. Forces come in pairs: joy and sadness, darkness and light, conflict and peace. With this recognition, we can more effectively embrace change.
Effective and lasting change requires participation from every conceivable side of an issue. At the 18th International Conference of the Institute of Noetic Sciences in July, 2019,44 Reverend Deborah L. Johnson spoke about the inherent messiness of democracy. She rhetorically asked an audience, “You want to fly? You want to take off? The left wing isn’t taking off without the right!” This message underscores the necessity for all groups—even those that seem diametrically opposed—to find common ground upon which to recognize our commonalities. This need for convergence might very well be the only actual way to galvanize a change in societal conventions that supports a truly, uplifting future for all.
Social change occurs when opposing forces are at play. The current cultural moment is rife with conflict between those who hold power in the present status quo and those demanding change in the name of more fairly distributed power.
In Hong Kong, people demanding democracy are currently fighting for recognition against a mainland regime ready to quell any criticism. Whatever democratic rights Hong Kong might gain in this opposition, they will not occur without needing to resolve the state’s powerful resistance. During the Civil Rights Movement in America in the 1960s, widespread abuse and suffering came to the men and women demanding justice. The cultural climate in America in 2019 feels hauntingly similar with oppression and the general racism and violence being levied against minority groups. And yet, this heightened rate of hatred actually reveals how much change has been made over the last decades. The more ground gained in the name of togetherness, the more the institutions and individuals promoting separation will work in opposing force to stop this positive transformation.
A calming effect comes from recognizing that opposing forces are fundamental to the physical world. We do not need to fear these oppositions. The goal is to learn how to incorporate each opposing force into the challenges we encounter. In order to manifest massive transformational change we need to find a way for each force opposed in duality to find common ground. Perhaps this type of shared space is where society can best learn to bridge divides.
In a PBS interview from 1988 with Bill Moyers, Joseph Campbell describes a sculpture called “the mask of God”. Found in a cave on an island in the harbor of Bombay, and thought to have been constructed around the eighth century, this massive 19’ by 19’ stone sculpture sits at the end of the cave, where one must walk in darkness to behold its three faces. The head facing forward in the middle is called “the mask of eternity”. The two heads on either side facing away from each other represent human thought. During his description, Campbell invites us to… “… put your mind in the middle; most of us put our minds on the side of the good against what we think of as evil. It was Heraclitus, I think, who said, ‘For God all things are good and right and just, but for man some things are right and others are not.’ You’re in the field of time when you’re man, and one of the problems of life is to live in the realization of both terms. That is to say, I know the center and I know that good and evil are simply temporal apparitions.”45
Because everything in the universe is always in motion, the dualities we experience are constantly exchanging the energies of their power. Intense suffering exists in life, and so does the intensity of elation. And within these two extremes there lives a great deal of moderation. There is as much destructive tendency in humanity as there is creative ability. The goal is to get our mindsets and emotions under enough control to arrive at a net positive in order to evolve ourselves toward a sustainable, beautiful future.
Any creative impulse encounters an equal and opposite force of resistance. This fundamental occurrence is explained in detail by author Steven Pressfield in his book, The War of Art. Interviewed by Oprah Winfrey in 2013 about his book, and topics including resistance, ego, and the relation between prayer and performance through the arts, Pressfield encourages us all to, “Put your ass where your heart wants to be.”46 By that act of showing up, of being present, of arriving ready to do battle with the internal and external factors that push and pull us in directions that feel both good and bad, we learn to cultivate space to explore what demands attention from within us. That very act of creating—whether it’s a relationship, a painting, a business, an intention, or a life choice—will always come along with an equal and opposite force that can derail the entire enterprise.
During their conversation, Oprah acknowledges, “You want to be an open vessel and allow the spirit of whatever you want to call that—the muse, call it god, call it inspiration—to flow through you. You want to take the space of your ego, remove it, so that that can flow through you…” The idea here is that the space in between opposing forces is incredibly fertile. In that open space, inspiration takes hold. Pressfield’s point about creativity and resistance is that they are companions. Doing one’s work and persevering over a natural tendency of resistance to oppose creativity means making space for the muse to flourish.
In response to the notion of how creativity manifests, Pressfield defines art as “bringing into material existence that which exists only in pure potentiality, and the artist is the agent of that change. The gods can’t create the Golden Gate Bridge, it’s got to be you and me.” This description of art offers a compelling addition to Oprah’s idea about letting the muse flow and inspire one’s actions. The artist transforms the opposing forces of creativity and resistance into the manifestation of matter that is as direct and profound in the physical world as the initial flicker of spirited inspiration from which it emerged.
Whatever it is we wish to bring into existence, we will be wise to first recognize the essential nature of opposing forces. Any challenge we encounter and wish to overcome demands that we find a way to incorporate the nature of that challenge, rather than sidestep or try to clear the challenge out of our way. The challenge, the very resistance we experience against what we are trying to achieve, is actually a necessary part of the creative endeavor in which we are engaged. Opposing forces have a place and purpose in our physical world. It is up to us to figure out how to effectively integrate opposing forces into our work, such that the change we seek to make is comprehensive and as powerful as possible.
- The Power of Humility
- Healthy Habits
- Environmental Actors
- Economic Priorities
- Lessons Ahead