The Taichi of Technology: Digital leverage for regenerative missions
Soo … exponential technology is here. What to make of it? Resist it, discard it – or find its point of maximum constructive leverage?
December 5, 2023
Merlin Eric Bola
Strategy & Content Direction
It’s just too much.
We require global coordination t find direction and coherent effort, but are already overwhelmed with information.
Some tune out, and unsurprisingly so. Some build subconscious resistance against the systems that could help us the most.
But wait …
There’s a way of looking at technology that could make us fully embrace the digital support that’s right in reach. There’s a perspective that foreshadows the end of our cluttered information economy of today, and that promises the dawn of a new economy that’s better aligned with the requirements of our age.
We’ll get there in a moment, but let’s get some historical context in first – it helps to achieve newfound depth of appreciation for what’s in front of us.
How did we get here?
An unprecedented liberation of knowledge
We once had our troubles in sharing information.
We started with gazes, grunts and gestures, slowly made our way to spoken language, and finally found a way to translate spoken words into lines on paper. In all of these levels, our growing capacity for information transmission unfolded.
We could increasingly agree on directions, reality, and actions to take.
Then, in the early 15th century, momentum picked up.
In the bustling streets of Mainz, Germany, a young goldsmith was on the verge of a discovery that would have an outsized impact on our history books – not just by its general impact on the course of human development, but by figuring out how history books could be printed in the first place.
Johannes Gutenberg dreamed of a world where books were not crafted by the painstaking labor of copying by hand, but a mechanized process with unprecedented precision, speed and efficiency.
With the invention of the printing press, access to knowledge – once the privilege of a select few – started to spread and ignite the Renaissance. Literacy rates soared, ideas crossed borders and seeped across continents.
The way that humanity taught, learned, and evolved had just changed.
An important note on this: It wasn’t all true ‘progress’.
The countries that saw the steepest rise in literacy rates quickly turned the most ideological. The first scriptures that spread (e.g. bible) were those designed to submit people under belief systems that serve the consolidation and propagation of power structures.
As asways, it’s all about how the tool is used. Look into Dr. Leonard Shlain’s work for insight into how printable letters on quickly spawned pages can be linked to the loss of reverence for the feminine principle and our fall into the ignorance of narrow goals.
There are signs that the contagion of ideology by books prepared the grounds for witch hunts, a wound that we haven’t healed until today (and that’s explored in more depth in Regenerative Leadership by Laura Storm and Giles Hutchins.
Up a gear & disrupt power
Five centuries and several technological breakthroughs later, we reached another inflection point.
The first commercial radio broadcast in 1920 and the first successful demonstration of television in 1927 were milestones of technological development, but not exactly with an entirely democratizing effect either. They helped top-down communication more than anything, and lent a hand in aligning minds with the objectives of corporations, governments and overall established power.
The rise of the internet about 70 years later, tho, marked the moment where information broke free like never before. By the 1990s, it had burst into the public domain, sparking another collective metamorphosis.
And it wasn’t just consumption.
It quickly turned into a newfound flow of creation, co-creation and rapid iteration with many different network nodes cross-pollinating. This shift redefined communication once more, now fully breaking down geographical barriers and enabling instant interactions between any two actors across the globe.
The internet cast a whole lot of knowledge into the broader culture – knowledge that established power would have loved to keep under the lid, but that’s now ours to use.
The censorship, shadow-banning and defamation efforts that we see today could all be attempts to mop up what has been spilled …
… sure, apart from the occasional sensible moderation of digital platforms.
When information went nimble
Digital bits of information can now be multiplied endlessly without proportional effort or cost of replication.
Think of the comparative ease. Let’s say you mistyped as you were hacking away on your typewriter – you were done with this page, try again.
You mistype today? Well, hit the delete button one to three times.
Your publish misfired? Easy, edit or unpublish.
A message fell flat and didn’t spark resonance? Fine, I don’t have to burn a whole batch of print work that didn’t sell, I can just turn to the next project and do better.
Easy and almost effortless iteration cycles became a staple to our life – what a booster to human experimentation and creativity.
Sure, the typewriter paradigm also called us to truly focus and probably produced some seriously sharp minds, but recognize that the nimbleness with which we can produce, process, edit and share information today is off the charts.
Now, on the verge of another revolution of similar proportions and a serious double edge – the rise of artificial intelligence on a planet that teeters towards a cliff – we’re called to leverage the digital realm with maximum constructive results on the right side of history.
We’re called to actually unearth its true potential, not stew in its downside.
But do we really use it and respond to it as the marvel that it is?
Looking from the outside in
Do we see the true potential of exponential technologies …
… or do we rather turn demoralized and despair over its derailment by noisy forces?
A less biased observer, not so deep in, – and not so soured with the noise of the internet – would probably be better equipped to see the opportunity here.
This observer, watching Earth from the orbit, would be more readily capable of accepting the inevitable costs to digital information multiplication as a natural symptom of our growth spurt …
… symptom that’s simply to be seen, integrated, and transcended.
The internet and its subsequent technological innovations can help realize a shift that’s inevitable for a species looking to birth planetary consciousness within self-aware vessels.
Finding balance: The integration of technology
Yes, we need to hug some trees, watch some birds and kick some rocks.
But how do we improve our minds?
Yes, books – any day.
Yes, experientation and experience.
But for many people today, the prompts to snap out of their digital swamp … echo exactly out of said digital swamp. A lot of mind improvement and perspective elevation comes from digital channels today.
I might be biased here, because that’s at least how I received the signals that today shape my life: Whether it’s philosophy, psychology, history, ancient knowledge, nutrition, biomechanics, systems thinking or getting up to speed with the regenerative quest – it all wormed its way into my life via digital channels.
Whether it’s Alan Watts, Carol Sanford, Terence McKenna, Nora Bateson or Daniel Schmachtenberger …
… whether it’s voices from the past or voices from the present …
… whether I am ultimately reading their books or learn about their work online …
… for me, the first touch point typically happens in the web.
Chances are that it’s the same for you.
We can find the gold in the rubble if we recognize the unique shimmer.
Finding voice: The active use of technology
And then, at some point, your mind is finetuned enough.
(This point is already reached when you’ve committed to a life-conducive path.)
You have built perspective and digested a whole of of information that was washing over you. With a more finetuned message of your own, you can now reach sufficient numbers of people and get them on board for the shift that’s required – using the very same channels that built and finetuned your own understanding.
You can be a distiller node, having digested what you’ve learned, now alchemizing it into a signal. It’s packed with curated information and a sense of direction that makes it more accessible to the next generation.
This generation will probably do the same, all the way to … what?
That’s the big question here, isn’t it?
A singularity of mutual understanding
Where are we moving, exactly?
Let me take a shot: We’re moving towards some kind of singularity of mutual understanding of reality.
This graphic probably needs a bit of explanation:
‘Subconscious Flow’ signifies the state of mind that animals possess. Sqirrels, Squids and Squash can’t do anything else than to go with the flow. There's no choice.
As humans turned conscious, developed language and (semi-) free will … and digital platforms. They gradually became capable of refusing the original monkey flowstate. We’re now floating in a space of ‘Semi-Conscious Scatteredness’.
In other words: We’re a little confused.
We exploded the pool of available information, became proficient at actively weaving myths of separation from nature, got chronically distracted and unhinged ourselves from our natural grounding only to drift into a sense of existential alienation.
As we distill and curate our way back into a kind of singlemindedness and shared language, evolved humans will probably reconnect to the original flowstate that animals originally experienced – just consciously and deliberately this time, having understood how consciousness operates best.
Having understood how?
Through a global network of information curators that sifted and sorted and iterated toward the signal that we’re meant to receive.
The inevitability of our detour
Could this have gone differently?
Maybe in the nuances, but doesn’t the broader pattern strike you as inevitable?
Could we even get from stable unconscious flowstate to a stable conscious flowstate without moving through a period of instability? We probably shouldn’t be that surprised about the current state of our predicament.
We’re thinking about civilizations of Type 1, 2 and 3 all the way to 7 (we’re supposed to be at 0,7-ish as far as I know) – without considering that any species reaching these levels has to manouver bottlenecks exactly like the one we have in front of us right now?
Our predicament has a logical nature to it, we just have to find our way back now.
Now, the blessing of information access turned into the curse of information overwhelm. We can turn it back to blessing – by getting a hold of information escalation through knowledge curation.
But let’s go one step further:
Was the intermezzo of information escalation even that bad, or an integral intermediary step aswell?
Information escalation sharpens processing power
To further illustrate a creeping change that’s mostly invisible to us, get this:
Turned into bits and bytes, on average, we process 74 GB of information each day. If you have already embarked on a journey of digital hygiene, it’s probably less for you.
Still, your daily information diet exceeds the information gobbled by your ancestors by levels that would, understood in terms of calories, make the difference between life-threatening undernourishment and rampant obesity today.
To not stack layers of mind-fat, you might need to balance your information consumption with creative expression.
In other words: Start sending!
The amount of information we ‘ingest’ in a single day right now roughly approximates the information load once processed in one lifetime 500-ish years ago … curiously around Gutenberg’s breakthrough.
While our information overload surely comes with a sacrifice, it also exercises us: Our information processing power goes through the roof!
We become capable of digesting the complexity of the change that’s required for our evolutionary success story in the first place. If we now manage to distill and curate the information and start to receive essences to digest instead of unorganized information overload – by contrast, that's peanuts!
We’re now set up to process these almost off-handedly.
We’re getting a hang of the complexity of our age, growing capable of grasping the many moving parts intuitively.
Less information, more insight
As it stands, we have all the information and solutions that we need.
We now need psychological solutions to make these logical solutions resonate, and our information sorted, relevant, actionable and charged with perspective.
We need the distillation of essences, leading to:
In a nutshell, the shift ahead seems to rest on the curation of information dedicated to human self-actualization and planetary regeneration.
There’s irreplacable merit to digital systems in service of this quest, as a unique vehicle for flexible and scalable information transmission.
One might even argue that there’s no other way to make it in time.
Striving to be an evolutionary exception
Digital systems connecting us globally are the pattern break that sets us apart from all the ancient high cultures of the past that didn’t make it to today.
It’s the deeply constructive accident that a psychopathic capitalist system happened upon us without exactly meaning to do so, but that now turns into an opportunity to set us apart from the rule that was once glimpsed by Carl Sagan:
»Extinction is the rule. Survival is the exception.«
If we are meant to overcome the rule and become the exception, we’re called to embrace the digital realm, use it to our benefit, and start sending signals that can pierce the noise – at scale.
While there won’t be any technocratic utopia where we ignored the ways of nature long enough to come out on the other side, the digital revolution can still be the edge that we have on extinct ancient cultures.
It could be the thing that prevents us from sharing their fate:
We can spread the knowledge of what’s actually required to level up with natural processes, regeneration, human flourishing and advanced technology, all integrated into a next-level whole …
… that an advancing species simply doesn't reach without some toil and turmoil.
High Tech, High Nature
What if technology and nature merged just beautifully, as pictured in the article cover?
What if we could reach a healthy state of ‘high nature, high technology’ as referred to in a podcast episode with Gregory Landua, Daniel Schmachtenberger and Jason Snyder.
If you listen to the podcast and trust Daniel’s judgment, it becomes apparent that we might only have one robust and resilient way forward – figuring out how to integrate technology and nature.
The reasoning goes that if we don’t, there will be rogue players pursuing technological advancement without the harmonization and integration step, and that this will turn out to be a self-termination path for humankind.
Let assume that’s completely right for a moment.
What would that imply?
If we’re already here, globally interconnected, with some players doubling down on technology whatever your opinion about it happens to be …
… doesn’t it make sense to use digital leverage for whatever you deem to be the right direction?
Dive in or tune out?
What would happen if you accepted our parts ‘organic’ and parts digital reality as it is?
What if you leveraged the opportunity here and truly started sending?
What if others did so too?
The regenerative space couldn’t possibly be more needed today, but one can sense a subconscious resistance to embrace digital leverage for mission take-off.
You feel it, I feel it.
We both know the fatigue that can grow online, on social media, flooded by endless hooks vying for your attention, with a sense of being drowned out by pointless noise engineered for attention capture. Yet we either embrace this, accept reality and pull the lever that we actually can pull …
…or we’ll run our engines white-hot with emotional resistance without moving the needle on an existentially important paradigm shift.
Could we instead be the signal that trumps the noise?
Let’s do it as the Stoics did
The ancient Greek philosophers did not elevate their perspective only to fuck off into the monastery on a remote mountain flank.
Instead, they sought to debate and share their gifts at the market place, the forum, and everywhere else they’d been welcome. In doing that, they slowly built a culture we still marvel at … a culture that strikes us as quasi-enlightened and that shapes our thinking until today.
If true humans with a heart, a soul and a kink for the organic exit the game because they’re fatigued, then the incredible momentum of exponential technology will only be leveraged by opportunistic crooks that lack a sense of direction.
They’ll multiply the noise in the system by another order of magnitude.
If that happens, then we’ll probably fail to realize the regenerative renaissance required today and fall back onto the rule of extinction.
If these are the options, I know what I’d pick.
But own your platform.
For peeps on bright missions, it makes serious sense to grow some digital leverage.
If you’re reading this, two things happened:
This article has probably reached you via social media (see!)
You’ve read all the way to the end (holy shit, thanks!)
While social media is great to cross-pollinate and spread, it’s also:
A tad bit impatient with deeper takes
Not a platform that you have any control over
In a time of corporate dysregulation and billionare quirks, it makes sense to ‘own your platform’.
If you want to grow digital leverage, share your insights and give your mission some digital tailwind, it makes sense to build it robustly, not brittle.
And if you want to know more about digital leverage for regenerative quests, you can:
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