New World Economics - Thomas Friedman

Thomas Friedman shares some sobering thoughts in this long but interesting presentation. Yet another respected futurist who reminds us that 'good enough' will no longer cut it in our highly networked, technological world. Friedman is both an informative and highly engaging speaker and this presentation is a masterclass in how to share observations, ideas, statistics and beliefs using story - without PPT.

Being Human Inc 'Dissed' in the Media!

If we believe everything in the news media then being a human being is not something to be proud of.  

Read, watch or listen to the news anywhere in the world and all you'll find are stories of bad humans doing bad things to themselves, others and the environment. We are constantly being trashed, slandered, vilified and misrepresented.  So much so that if Being Human was a brand and you are genuinely, ethically and ecologically minded you really wouldn't be working for Being Human Inc. The testimonials on would read like a vision of working in Hades. But is it true? Are we all really that bad? Of course not.

Most of us realise that people working in the media are in the news business and they know that bad news gets our attention much quicker and for longer than does good news - it's just a fact of life. We humans love a scary horror story that makes us feel our own lives are not so bad after all. We can sit safe and smug in the knowledge that people are a lot worst of than us, or at least, knowing that we're not like those bad people. Good news just doesn't sell as well. In fact there's a website called  Looking at it today, the last update was five months ago.

But does the brand name of Being Human deserve such bad press?

Not if you believe the research outlined Steven Pinker's book The Better Angels of Our Nature. However, recent studies carried out by a diverse group of researchers from Harvard and Yale suggests that while we are not intuitively selfish creatures the truth about the human condition is not so clear cut. If we're not intuitively selfish then are we cooperative? The study seemed to reveal that the drive to cooperate only stabilises if there are rewards on offer for cooperative behaviours. So, it's not a given. Oh dear! This particular piece of research was conducted on 2,068 people so we may assume it was fairly thorough and we can only hope it was conducted with rigour. Even so,  the evidence did not answer the question as to whether humans are innately good or bad but it did seem to suggest that we are an "overwhelmingly cooperative species, willing to give for the good of the group even when it comes at our own personal expense."

Personally, and regardless of what I see, hear and read in the news I have to believe we are fundamentally good. While human beings have done, and continue to do, many terrible things, we also have achieved and created a plethora of good and beautiful deeds. Our desire to survive through acts of creativity far out weighs our destructive impulses. I am very hopeful and still optimistic about the future of Being Human Inc so I for one will not be handing in my resignation anytime soon. And yes, I would still recommend this company to my friends.

The Ghosts In Our Genes!

Have you ever had the feeling that you may have lived before? What about Deja Vu? Maybe you have actually experienced specific and persistent memories from a past life. 

The subject of reincarnation has always fascinated me and I have long suspected that it has more to do with psychology, genetic memory and morphogenetic fields than Astral Planes, after lives and floating souls. So, I've just been reading Jungian psychologist, James Hollis's excellent book 'Hauntings - Dispelling the Ghosts Who Run Our Lives'. In it he considers how we may all be living out certain impulses arising as a result of invisible, energetic forces (called complexes) that animate our four dimensions through genetic, ancestral and direct parental and cultural influences.

The interesting thing about these impulses is that they don't seem to belong to us at times and appear in our consciousnesses as inner voices, dreams, impulses, imaginings, sub-personalities and synchronicities. They are the occasional voices and ideas that pop into our heads out of nowhere and unbidden.

They can also be persistent patterns of physical feelings that rise up from within our bodies haunting us, by causing us to blush, twitch, sweat and tremble at the thought and sight of certain people, places and things. We can often be confused by these impulses, particularly when they lead to feelings of fear. Even though we may intellectually know a feeling or thought is irrational yet we are still driven to act on the impulse to flee or fight. In some cases these 'ghosts in the genes' can hold us back by preventing us from making important or necessary changes in our lives.

In the book James Hollis offers that there is a difference in the meanings of the words Fate and Destiny. According to Hollis our Fate is in the genes we inherit, and the experiences and effects of our cultural conditioning recorded by our body/mind system from birth to around 3 years old. However, our Destiny is determined by what we consciously decide to do with the physical, emotional, intellectual, environmental and social resources we possess and have available. He also offers some useful questions and exercises to help us understand the ghostly complexes and what life might be asking of each of us through them.

By consciously applying some focussed attention over a period of time we can begin to release the energy of these 'ghosts' and integrate them into our intentional dimension of self. As a result we will have more energy to create our destiny and consciously choose the impact we make in the world. I very much enjoyed this book, particularly as his insights support our model of the 4 selves.

Posted by Tom

Are You A Resilient 4D Human Being?

“I’m so stressed…!!” How many times do we say this? Think this? Hear others saying it? In our busy lives, often. And whilst stress has very negative connotations (and of course chronic stress is a bad thing both in terms of our emotional well being but also our physical well being) a certain level of stress can be healthy. Why? Well, stress can build up our ‘preparedness’ like a kind of vaccination against future stress. In effect we can become more resilient. And it goes without saying that resilience is a very good thing to have from our mental well-being and performance as well as on our physical health.

So how do we become more resilient? The key, as always, is to start with those 4 dimensions of the human being…

Physical – participation in physical activity has been shown to build our resilience levels to stress, mental and physical illness. Physical activity does not necessarily mean strenuous exercise. 30 minutes activity a day will suffice (even broken down into 3 x 10 minute sessions) so whether that’s a power walk at lunch or taking the stairs instead of the escalator, just get active!

Emotional – Experiencing a high level of positive emotions encourages a more resilient nature and whilst some of our ‘happiness’ levels are genetic there is much we can do to get happier! Watch a funny video, focus on your breathing to reduce negative emotions or take 5 minutes a day to feel grateful for what you have in your life (gratitude is a real ‘happiness’ booster!)

Intellectual - We naturally when faced with a challenging event go into negative thinking traps and one of the main ways to gain more resilience is to reduce our negative or pessimistic thinking.  For example applying Beck's (1976) ABCDE approach to thought process. Take a moment to think about a challenging experience or event from your life and write down some thoughts using the following guide:

  • Adversity (What was the event?)
  • Beliefs (What was going through your mind at the time of the event?)
  • Consequences (What did your beliefs lead you to do, think or feel?)
  • Disputation (What are your internal arguments against those automatic beliefs?)
  • Energization (What do you think and feel now about the event?) 

This simple, intellectualising process can help to significantly increase your resilience levels by challenging and reevaluating any unrealistic or self-limiting beliefs.

Intentional – Viktor Frankl’s famous and moving book – Man’s Search for Meaning identifies a theory of human drive (and ultimately survival). The meaning we give to our live. We choose what the meaning of our lives is and we also choose our reactions to events. And these choices we make lead to the building of our resilience… or not. Start by counting to 10 before you react or respond in a situation and take those precious seconds to really choose your reaction consciously thinking about what the effect will be both on you, and other people.

Finally, in terms of our shared culture or environment – social support is critical to maintaining our resilience levels. No man is an island and taking responsibility to surround ourselves with family, friends, colleagues, mentors that are there for us in the good times and the bad times and have a positive influence on our lives is paramount.

Posted By Penelope

A Case Study of The Four Selves

In this interesting interview the late, great Colin Wilson reveals a perfect example of developing his intentional self to manage a disintegration of his physical, emotional and intellectual dimensions. 

Colin Wilson describes how, after becoming stressed and over worked early in his writing career, he began to experience anxiety and panic attacks. From the description of his experience it seems as if his physical and emotional selves had been put under pressure and exhausted while his intellectual self tried to over ride them. This seems to have created an inner conflict which manifested in the middle of the night when his fragile intentional self was offline. It's interesting to hear how he developed a more robust choosing faculty (his intentional self which he desrcibes as a 'higher Colin and school mistress' ) to manage his personal crisis and eventually integrate the other three selves.

The good life is...

Body, heart, mind and soul

Functioning as an integrated whole