Integrity is Bad for The Economy

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By Markus Modin

I am writing this article because I think it concerns a profoundly important, though delicate subject matter – namely the very thing that determines what you do with what you know, which is your integrity. But what is integrity? Is it a metaphysical, theoretical or a practical subject matter?

I would argue it is a very practical subject matter, perhaps the most practical of them all, seeing as how it determines everything you accept and allow yourself to do, in thoughts, words and deeds, in every moment of breath. So thus, it concerns the very question of who you are within and as what you accept and allow, within as well as without. It is in a way the one undeniable metric by which you can actually measure your integrity. What do I accept and allow, directly and indirectly?

In the words accept and allow lies all the power in the world. And it really matters what you accept and allow; in your thoughts, words and deeds. I believe that now, more than ever – children need to have this explained to them. It is almost as if children, as well as many adults, do not see, realize or understand that they do not have to accept and allow themselves to participate in their minds the way that they currently do. It is as if the process is automatic. But everything that is automatic in a human-being is unconscious, by virtue of its premise. So the implication suggests, that we are a very unconscious/automatically driven species, and it’s time we transition from automatics to directive self-awareness and self-responsibility.

Self-awareness should be the primary subject in schools as it determines how the students will relate to everything.

So I am here to argue the case that integrity is a very practical subject that can and needs to be taught in schools; as a long-term strategic and cautionary measure, which furthermore does not require any religious or spiritual undertones or gurus. What it does require however, are practical frameworks which one can verify by executing in a way that measurably produce outcomes in thoughts, words and deeds and based on principles and values centered around honoring life – values that ensures an ethical existential impact.

But it is a matter of accustoming the public for the adoption of certain concepts, concepts which inherently bring about dissonance, fear of change, resistance and anxiety, which speaks to the extensive challenge of making integrity a matter of education. One of the things that bespeak this existential anxiety is the undeniable truth that you are equal and one with that which you accept and allow within and without. And I personally believe that this is the premise that is required in order for one to start developing a sense of moral duty, responsibility and integrity. For integrity to matter, one simply must take ownership of ones acceptances and allowances.

The reason it needs to become part of the education process, is because without integrity one may abuse what one learn in school. So in order to ensure that children do not abuse knowledge, they must consider how to create an ethical relationship to knowledge. Here an emphasis on the ways of the students of relating to things will become primary, which thus means that responsibility and self-awareness will become primary. Current and collectively accepted definitions of ”normal” means children should blame outside circumstances and events for how they accept and allow themselves to react to them internally; which has removed self-responsibility from the equation of a child’s conduct. Grown-ups also function this way based on where we are in our evolutionary process at the moment. And before you meet that sentence with some potential dismay, let me put you at ease by saying that I understand that you obviously cannot hold a child or adult accountable for what it does not have the tools to understand.

But what I am saying is that with such tools at an early age you can expect a great deal more from a child or adult. But like all things, it requires a process. At the very least, we must get children used to the idea that they are responsible for what they accept and allow within and as their thoughts, words and deeds and that they can do something about that. The consideration of what a child accepts and allows in thought, words and deeds should be a standard tool for support at an early age; seeing as how it has such an enormously positive impact on the development of a child’s self-awareness and sense of responsibility.

So what is integrity really all about, practically? As I’ve already said, it’s about everything; including the very uncertain continuation of the human-race. But let’s get concrete. Think of it in terms of a self-aware process of integration and self-responsibility. For example, when you become conscious of an unconscious tendency that is destructive, dishonest or in any way limiting, and you begin to correct and realign such a point in an integrity wise way by stopping your participation in that which fuels its causes, what happens? The unconscious point is no longer a unconscious point. You have integrated it from your unconscious to your conscious. You have taken responsibility thus, for who you are within and as what you do/act out, think, speak in a specific context. Such is the practical process of integrity. It’s about taking ownership of who you are and who you are not. It’s about taking a stand for real in and out.

I am not saying that we can judge people based on how integrity-wise they are, or any some such authenticity policing. And it is nearly always too early to claim if someone is dishonest or not. Time will tell. Besides, you cannot really ever know, nor should you make it your mission to find out who is who, like some kind of existential judge. You should however, clarify your own integrity and focus on cultivating that through introspection, realignment, application and correction. So you get to a point where you no longer blame outside circumstances and events for how you accept and allow yourself to relate to them. I realize this is a great ask, as it means you must deliberately go against human-nature. But remember, the key to success is actually integrity. Forget those self-help books, and ponder on this for yourself.

I am confident you will realize that the key to success is to effectively cooperate with people, and for that you must deserve their trust by behaving in a consistent and integrity-wise way. People naturally want to work with someone with some integrity, courage and values. It’s not a big mystery, because what do you know about a person with integrity? They will do the right thing; no matter what.

So what I am suggesting is a slow but sure start of introducing some concepts, applications, tools, disciplines and ideas of how to practice and develop integrity, without the spiritual, metaphysical and mystical nonsense that too often come with it. Because ladies and gentlemen, if we begin to solve these issues in ourselves, it will be reflected in our approach to the world and change will really happen. I am not particularly spiritual, but I do understand that there is a correlation between what we accept and allow within, and what manifests without. This is a highly practical perspective, not mystical at all.

Now, let’s look at seriously detrimental problems with our infrastructure in the world. The whole thing is setup based on perceived short-term self-interest, profit, greed as well as the tacit assumption that this is the way it is and has always been and so shall remain, and most likely no better alternative can be created because of human nature. So if self-honesty, self-responsibility and correction would be introduced as a practical process in schools – the whole thing would collapse. This is the biggest problem of the 21st century, and one could argue, an age old problem. You might have noticed, that the most clear integrity wise examples, who told us all to leave together in integrity and peace, got killed. From Jesus, Martin Luther King etc. So this is why I say that it is the one and only problem, and that everything else should be considered as ripple effects thereof. So now that we have established that integrity is bad for the economy, what are we to do?

Policy Suggestions:

These policy suggestions primarily relates to education, which means it will in the long-term relate to everything, as education systems function as the programming people will act out in the system, directly and indirectly to a considerable extent. So let’s list a few points that need to be conveyed through the education process in terms of provoking some practicality to the subject of integrity.

  1. Self-awareness must be differentiated in terms of it being based on perceptions and it being based on facts.
  2. It must be understood that there is a difference between rational and irrational self-interest, and that perceived self-interest can actually lead people to edit memories to suit their self-interest and thereby distort the very self-image of a person. Self-interests need to be created with awareness and not automatic compulsions of addictive self-interests.
  3. You can never trust yourself if you are not honest with yourself, and thereby self-honesty should be considered as a premise and determining factor for a healthy and well-deserved kind of confidence.
  4. Reactions indicate automatic pre-programming that can be changed. The difference between an action and reaction must be understood.
  5. It is not healthy to blame outside circumstances and events for how you accept and allow yourself to relate to them internally.
  6. The only control that a human-being can exercise over their self lays in thoughts, words and deeds. It is here you are totally responsible for what you accept and allow and therefore it is in your thoughts, words and deeds your integrity is visible.
  7. Integrity means: who you are within and as what you accept and allow within every moment.

With respect to this most important subject, we propose a simple module to start with, as a means for deconstructing the various thoughts, feelings, emotions, self-definitions, belief-systems, ideas, personality-constructs, defense-mechanisms, perceptions and judgments that can be considered as dishonest, destructive or in any other way limiting to a human-being. Here we suggest a module we call Trinity. But before you read on, please note: we are not saying that we have some universal answer to the problem of self-dishonesty, but that we should treat the subject seriously and find ways of introducing the subject in schools as a practical way of taking responsibility for oneself.

Through the practical process we will naturally find ways to improve, develop and make the subject more and more practical. So we humbly suggest the above as potential content for the future of education. But as with all EOS directives, we are asking for an opportunity to test these things, and through that process we adapt and discover what to keep, refine, eliminate and take responsibility for.

Trinity:

It is based on looking at your content from three dimensions. One being the conscious dimension (what it is – anger, sadness, fear etc), then the subconscious dimension (what it consist of and as – beliefs, definition, memories etc), and thirdly, the unconscious dimension (the effects and consequences it creates within and without – manifests in the ways within which a person relates to things, experiences etc).

By deconstructing internal points from this perspective you integrate them in a more full sense and understanding. And once you understand something, you can do something about it. But you must understand what it is, what it is based on, and the consequences and effects it has in order to put yourself in a position to do something about the matter, as well as assess its integrity/substance, or lack thereof.

What this module is about therefore, is taking that which is unconscious/subconscious and making it conscious. Thus, it’s about a process of aware integration; to put the pieces of yourself back together, for understanding, responsibility, improvement, change and correction. In this we want to emphasize that once you become conscious of something unconscious by integrating it through this module, you actually take ownership of a part of your mind and put it into context/perspective in such a way that you can use it in a self-aware and integrity wise way.

As you might have noticed, many things come in the number three. We have thoughts, words and deeds. And we have the conscious, subconscious and unconscious. Then of course, many consider the human-being as a kind of trinity, as mind, body and spirit. And in organisations we often use the number in terms of the why, how and when. We speak, write and read. And so it goes…

Point is, this number seems to simplify the structure of things to make things more easily understandable and actionable. So the module we call Trinity has many applications in three dimensional reality.

Thanks for considering our current public considerations for integrity as a public education policy.

Markus Modin

Sequence Director for Relations at EOS – The Earth Organisation for Sustainability

markus.modin@technate.eu

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I Don’t Claim to Know Anyone


I don’t claim to know anyone, because as soon as I do, I find that I stop listening. Because why? Well, because I already know the answer of course; or so I believe. This is, in my personal opinion, a major cause for why relationships often end rather abruptly. And often without both parties really understanding the meaning of this seemingly abrupt end.

I mean, consider the difference between knowing someone, and getting to know someone. If you’re getting to know someone, naturally you will be more open, patient, considerate, attentive, humble and present. But the more knowledge we believe ourselves to have about another, the more judgments we tend to create. And sometimes we simply disguise our judgments with knowledge, as a kind of sophisticated rationalization for why we should keep our conclusions; no matter how premature. I mean basically, judgments function under the premise of perceived knowledge. When we judge, it is often because we think we know something quite certain. So with great knowledge comes great judgment. Now isn’t that a splendid phrase!

Knowing someone is indeed often a harsh judgment in disguise, which neither party might recognize. But think about it, if you know someone, you often consider the person as that which you think and believe yourself to know currently, as if it was for all time! As if the person, as that which you currently think and believe yourself to know, see, realize or understand, is not a temporary impression based on current insight and understanding. In fact, what you imagine as knowledge might not even correlate with reality, and should most responsibly merely be considered as a current assessment, based on current facts, that naturally – will change. This has been pointed out by many philosophers throughout the ages. Essentially, the point has been argued in terms of knowledge being a way to accidentally prevent understanding, by virtue of the somewhat arrogant premise; that we stardust folks, know anything for certain.

I am sure you have been in a situation, wherein you have been treated in accordance with memories from years past, that probably wouldn’t define you as much today, yet you would be treated as if they did. This can sometimes make someone feel as though the other party is interacting with their own memories of you, rather than the facts you present through your actual conduct at present time or period. This is fairly common in families and long term relationships. You might have a brother who treats you as if your were still that impatient kid; despite having been absent throughout many years of your development and determining moments.

So when we end a relationship, we often fail to consider, that this or that behavior of this or that person, is just a behavioral mode based on current progress, insight, understanding, integrity etc. We tend to forget, that this is just a microscopic part of the person that I see, and that this person will not remain the same, most likely. If we apply ourselves to this perspective we naturally face our fellow man with a bit more patience and humility, as we remember that ”This that I see, is merely a microscopic expression, of what I do not see.”

Therefore it is wise to remember, when and if you are treated unfairly, that the other person might not understand that the perceived knowledge they ascribe to you in the form of memories and judgments, do not describe your inclinations or behaviors at this time, and that naturally, you cannot blame people for what they do not have to context or insight to understand. And so it is important to not take such conflicts personally. It is naturally what happens in the human landscape.

So my point is that it is very important to be prudent and specific about being cautious in reasoning to conclusions about other people, and I specifically suggest this habit to be taught at as much of an early age as possible. Knowledge gives a kind of false sense of security we humans tend to insist on, but with such desperate attempts of making sense out of people, we tend to rationalize and overlook things in order to make ourselves feel better in relationship/contrast. Because a judgmental mind is extremely difficult to educate.

So a bit more concretely, what I am getting at, is that in order to behave increasingly better, we must consider how our ways of relating to people makes the difference. Now consider what makes your approach to other people more effective; believing you already know them, or that you are getting to know them?

Question is, what attitude increase your probabilities of discerning truth and expansive understanding, forever more? I definitely argue the case here, that getting to know is a far better attitude than deluding yourself into thinking you already know.

My life has been about discovering hidden knowledge, simple and plain. It was the first mission and purpose I created for myself, and in the process of discovering parts of the hidden, I have come to see that knowledge can keep us all from knowing. And that it is when we stop having knowledge as authority, and we create deliberate ways of relating to knowledge through principles, application and self-awareness, that we really open up more dimensions. Knowledge as that which people generally believe to open up reality, often close it; just like self-definitions can close a mind to opportunity and ability, as well as potential. The implications of this, is that how we as human-beings relate to each other in a very judgmental way, is a serious problem for our evolution as a species. Everyday is judgment day in the life of humanity, and for every judgment, a door shut.

What I hope has been made clear, considering the above mentioned, is the importance of defining knowledge as current assessments, as appose to the authority of truth. This perspective will be generally more helpful in all your relations and explorations. For example, me and my partner had a deliberate discussion about how we can incorporate this kind of intellectual humbleness in our relationship. So we decided, that we do not know each other, but will always keep getting to know each other. So we may never blame the other for what we think we know. And even with regards to the few things we actually know, we consider it current assessments and do not hold each other by this knowledge for all time. This has enhanced our intimacy, communication, trust, respect and it has brought a lot more passion and curiosity into the relationship. I have yet to find a downside with assuming the position that I do not know, but at every turn, believing myself to know has excluded possibility, integration, opportunity and understanding.

Even when one ends a relationship, we often fail to consider that, that which we want to stop being involved with, might be part of a phase the person is going through, which in no way defines them in totality for an entire lifetime. This goes to show how false knowledge ruin relationships. And if you really look at the specifics, it is crazy to claim that you know someone. Most of us, do not even know ourselves. And lets not neglect to consider that we all have a subconscious and unconscious-mind. And so to go around and claim that we know people is quite absurd, in fact.

Practical applications for incorporation:

Test and assess the approach of knowing, versus getting to know; and measure by objective outcome, what is most viable for expansive understanding. Also consider the various ways within which you can practice the habit of caution in reasoning to conclusion. Make extra effort do deduce weather or not you are reasoning from a perspective of integration, versus exclusion. And for the love of science, always look for dis-confirming evidence to your conclusions!

An helpful exercise is to pretend as if you do not know anyone for a week, and take note of how it changes the way you listen, interpret, consider and relate to people. I am confident you will realize that making “the pretense” of not knowing, will improve upon your communication and listening skills. And it will in general, make you more fair.

In our relations to other people, it is infinitely better to expand our understanding in terms of current assessments, rather than paying the opportunity cost of letting conclusions dictate our conduct towards our fellow man.

I rest my case.

By Markus Modin

Demographics for Social Sustainability part 1. – Mating and Dating

By Markus Modin

In this article series I am going to make an attempt at mapping out some of the major areas we require to assess and re-evaluate in terms of social sustainability. So I will question a lot of social convention; things which are expected from human-beings because of current and collectively accepted definitions of what it means to be normal. But in essence, my line of questioning is about the way we accept and allow ourselves to interact; whether it be with our ourselves, our fellow man, animals, technology or the very physical fabric of our reality.

There are inherent limitations of human-psychology that have been tacitly accepted and allowed under the guise of being normal, which determines the way within which we interact. For example, human-beings have a very prominent need for confirmation and validation from external sources; perceived authorities, potential mates etc. This is not healthy, in that it implies that one judge and define oneself based on other people, yet because it is normal, we find it acceptable and even justified. Here we are dealing with various cognitive biases working in confluence, such as social-proof bias, association bias, commitment consistency bias etc. What I am getting at, is that the definition of being normal has become like an automatic excuse for why we do not evolve, take responsibility and change; despite the overwhelming proof that is this world, that we simply must.

We have the same approach towards human-nature in general, it is what it is, and this is how it has always been, and so this is how it will always be, despite the countless of living examples that to various extents and in various contexts have in fact changed their nature. Here it seems it is a question of majority rule. The majority of human-beings follow current standards of human-nature, much like a pre-programming; never questioning how they are solidifying these, shall we say ”normal character traits” through repeated participation, acceptance and allowance. Human nature is a consequence of man’s acceptance and allowance in thought, word and deed. That is what forms the primary nature of a human. But of course there are also genetic and biological components. There are also more subversive elements at play when it comes to shaping human-beings behavior, that can be impulsed through deliberate and strategic design of the environment within which human-beings live, that shape and form the very self-image of human-beings and thereby the way they behave. One can also shape the very content/knowledge/information human-beings consume in ways that provoke their inner world to respond in specific ways for desired effects, weather it be through video, text, sound, imagery/symbolism – directly or indirectly. But primarily, we shape our nature through the way we accept and allow ourselves to consistently behave. Therefore, it is not valid to claim that human-nature cannot change. And I would argue that it simply must in order to ensure the future of our species, as well as save the other species that are still here; despite our ambitious and egocentric undertakings on the Earth.

Thus, the premise on which the following words stand, is that human-nature can and must change, and that current and collectively accepted and lived definitions of normal is beneath our potential as human-beings, and that we must create higher standards by which we conduct ourselves; in thoughts, words as well as deeds – for a sustainable future for all. And I hold the world as my proof of that.We need to start behaving well, with respect to nature, the animal-kingdom and the very planet, as well as humanity as a whole. And this is why, I will specifically challenge some of the ideas, perceptions, beliefs and convention we habitually, ritually and consistently engage in under the guise of “being normal”. And this particular critique is nothing new. It has been known that being normal is not particularly healthy or wise. There is a great quote, from a man I do not recall the name of, but it goes something along the lines of ”There is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society”. And such is the unfortunate truth.

So before I start to specify some of the major demographics for social-sustainability, let me just say that I have only seen these limitations of humanity, through my own acceptance and allowance in thoughts, words and deeds, directly and indirectly. And if you think I seem to know these things well, rest assured it is merely because I am an accomplice! Although this might seem like a critique against society or humanity, it is the realizations of my own conduct, as well as what my study of history has revealed.

Mating and Dating

We tend to ask for things we are not willing to give, or perhaps at times, do not even consider giving to begin with, as we are so pre-occupied with the experience of wanting what we want. For example, we all want an excellent mate. But how does one become an excellent mate, before asking for one? Is that not a more reasonable approach? On a similar note, most of us want kids, but what about first developing the attributes that are necessary in order to be an effective parent? There is a kind of entitlement within us humans. We want things before we have created the attributes required in order to take care of those things we want.

You really have to become as that which you want, and thereby deserving that as a response by virtue of the way you behave, which is a kind of giving. Behaving is giving, through time, effort and attention. And according to what you give you shall get, so to speak. But do not get me wrong; there is no magicalness that will make sure you are treated fairly because you treat others fairly. In fact, I know bad things happen to good people all the time, which is why I put my faith in giving and doing, as oppose to believing and hoping. But what I am saying, is that by giving what you want and becoming someone you would want to be with, you will increase your chances of receiving a similar response.

If you behave in accordance with the attributes of what you deem as those of an excellent mate, you are in fact deserving an excellent mate. Similarly, as an old man once told me, ”the only way to get a good spouse, is by deserving a good spouse, because a good spouse is by definition – not crazy!”. This is the kind of wisdom we need to improve the social approach for sustainability. We must first become as what we want, and give that which we want to others. If you want to be with someone that is emphatic, honorable, disciplined, gentle or strong or whatever; practice those attributes yourself until they are solidified as character traits. What kind of brother, sister, father, mother, partner or friend do you want? Now reverse that want and create yourself as it. This is for many reasons very important, but specifically from the perspective of realizing life is about giving what you want and thereby deserving it.

Its not about searching for someone outside of you, but about your process of becoming through the standards by which you interact and participate with other people. So in what way is dating and mating shaping they way you are becoming? I mean, consider the very premise of a date, or to better illustrate my point, consider the premise of a blind-date. Here the approach is pre-determined. The conversations naturally gravitates to a very limited range of subjects; all to determine will this mate increase my chances for survival, good offspring or status? Granted this is mainly subconscious tendencies, but never the less, a blind date sets the premise for these types of inquiries. But now, consider the premise of friendship. This opens up the topics to a more deep and broad range, and so you will learn much more. Additionally, one may wonder, why is friendship not always the number one priority? Especially considering how friendship creates a much more stable, sustainable and long term foundation for a potentially more intimate and/or sexual relationship.

In these days and times it is considered odd to be alone, weather it be romantically or friendly, but in fact, if you are comfortable by yourself, you are much more in a position to be comfortable with another. Children should not be raised to think or believe that they need or depend upon another person to be validated, happy or accomplished. In fact, the implication of needing another to become fulfilled is the ultimate statement of abdication. It is to blame another for what you feel yourself lacking. I mean, simplistically, if you make another the determining factor for your happiness and fulfillment you will always depend on them for your well-being, and that is simply not healthy, even though its normal. And on a slightly more existential note,could it be, that our very need to connect with other people, romantically or friendly, indicate an inherent need to connect to ourselves, and that we are so dysfunctional in our relations in the species because our foundation to ourselves is compromised?

One things is for sure, the relationship you have created towards yourself determines how you will treat yourself and thereby how you will treat others. If you are being too hard on yourself, you will be too hard on others, and so it goes; if you look upon yourself in a shallow way, so you will look upon another. So once more, what is needed is a foundation of self hood. When this point is stable and clear, the potential for relationships to other people is vastly improved. So what can be concluded for the ways within which most people date and mate?

Its not about who another is, but who you accept and allow yourself to be in relationship to another. It is here you should focus, and not on who another is. The question in the dater and maters head is about if another is good for one, but seldom is it about if we are good for the other person.

Suggestions for social change:

Focus on developing an integrity wise relationship to yourself, so that your interaction/participation in the relationship(s) do not compromise the other, as well as yourself. Consider it a moral-duty to become someone you would want to date, befriend or work with. In this regard we would like to suggest a course for children in terms of how to develop specific attributes and skills that make one effective in human-relations. Attributes such as humility/humbleness,patience, compassion, empathy, integrity, listening skills,communication skills, understanding, leadership skills etc. A child should understand that friendship is a responsibility and commitment to self-improvement. Because through self-improvement you become a better friend. And if someone trust you, you are in a position of influence and your responsibility is even greater.

So responsibility should be an emphasized part with respect to current or potential mates, as well as a duty to self. But, to repeat myself, the child needs to create a foundation, as a relationship to self that make the child a stable ally, friend or life partner first and foremost. In essence we are talking about changing the current and collectively accepted and mainstream perspectives of what it means to date or mate. How to create and participate in relationship(s) will determine the outcome of your life in a big way, and so it should be taken seriously as a long term study. The reason we want to focus on getting this started as an education process for children, is because we are an organisation that focus on long term, strategic sustainability. And we realize that many children do not have the fortune to have parents who are living examples of effective ways of managing relationships.

One thing that is clear, is that there is no course early on, as part of the curriculum for children in terms of how to create effective relationships/agreements, and there is certainly nothing mentioned in terms of how children should treat themselves in a supportive and long term way, which will determine how they will treat other people.The only ones that come at least close to what we are talking about, are private elite boarding schools. Our policy is that this type of education should be specifically made available for all children; not only those from wealthy families.

To be continued…

Sequence Director for Relations at EOS – The Earth Organisation for Sustainability http://www.eosprojects.com

markus.modin@technate.eu

Life Demands a Multidisciplinary Approach

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By Markus Modin

This world is incredibly complex and interconnected, and there are laws and principles that regulate the way it all works in relation to each respective part. It’s been referred to as first order principles, governing dynamics, universal laws etc. But these governing dynamics, or as I like to call them, determining factors; play a decisive role in all fields and areas of society, nature, as well as human behavior, without exception. Yet, we tend to study such principles and/or laws in isolation from each other. Much like we tend to study various subjects in isolation from each other. I mean, consider for example the study of human behavior, in terms of how it requires a very multidisciplinary approach in order to come to terms with. You have to consider genetics, biology, history, psychology, spirituality, education systems, politics, parenting, social circle, economics etcetera. Because they all play a decisive role in the creations of human behavior.

The point is that you must be able to draw from multiple disciplines and connect dots that might seem unrelated at first, but in fact aren’t. And this I believe, is what the future of education must accomplish, as an integrated, multidisciplinary and holistic approach towards everything, especially since everything keeps getting more and more connected.

At present, many people specialize by virtue of market demands. But many of these market demands are and will continue to be met with increased levels of automation, and so human-beings who specialize in one particular thing or field, are particularly at risk of becoming unemployed. Consider a PhD student in chemistry for example; someone who has basically only studied chemistry for years. How much mobility in the system does such a skill set warrant, in terms of participating in domains outside of chemistry? Whereas someone with skills and understanding in science, communication, psychology, group behavior, history, leadership and law has a lot more mobility and flexibility in terms of capacity to execute, problem solve and effectively operate in various domains and disciplines, as well as cooperate with people of very diverse culture and specialty. Even such demanding and complex professions as those relating to chemistry, programming, medicine, engineering and law are at risk. With enhanced diagnostics by means of machine learning/artificial intelligence and 3D printing, there is a great chance that even such meticulous and demanding work will become automated to a considerable extent. What this means is that a specialist has a very limited future in the system.

As the world gets increasingly more interconnected, various disciplines are integrating, overlapping and intersecting, which will increase the level of complexity, and so obviously problem solving will become a very important skill, as it always has been. So why is a multidisciplinary approach to education so important in order to develop the skill of problem solving?

Because it gives you a more deep and wide reference framework for considering the causes and effects of problems, and thus find alignments between these points in order to articulate solutions. It improves your ability to consider things from multiple perspectives at the same time, as well as measure various ripple effects, as you can consider how those manifests through different domains and collective relationships. It also makes you more able to consider seemingly diametrically opposite views in terms of similarities. Because as a multi-disciplinarian, you will recognize how two opposite views can be accurate at the same time, from different perspectives (something that might illuminate the political debate?). You learn to think more holistically around problems and solutions. You become someone that can integrate things, which means you will make sense out of things. And this is something that will always be in demand. Especially in a highly complex and interconnected world that in many cases – does not make sense.

The current approach to education is largely based on specialization, which is obviously a very foundational problem when the markets are evolving faster than the education systems; as the education is meant to prepare the student for the marketplace, but alas – the student finds that there is no alignment between the education/preparation he/she went through and the actual market place grim physical reality.

And it is particularly difficult for an eager young mind that is trapped in this type of preparation system. Because based on the current and collectively accepted and allowed market conditions, and the education systems that are supposed to be designed to serve as infrastructure in creating/improving the marketplace, we directly and indirectly force children as well as adults to define themselves within one specific category of work or field, which is frustratingly limiting for a person that might care about many different types of disciplines and want to use all of them in their work life.

And I would further argue that this type of education, that is primarily based on specialization, really limits the self-image of the student. A student who sees him or herself as a specialist, will inevitably become trapped in a comfort zone, not only of the mind, but also professionally. A multi-disciplinarian will on the other hand have mobility, confidence and flexibility, by virtue of approach. Because in the multidisciplinary students head, there are considerations of many different things and opportunities, outside of the current circle of competence. Because the self-image is not restricted to one thing or field. All in all, the multi-disciplinary approach creates a psychology of creativity, self-trust and competence. The multidisciplinary mind can walk through a lot of human territory without the dissonance of feeling totally insecure or out of depth, and it is in such a state a human-being gets real productive and constructive.

I also want to emphasize that this is actually not particularly unusual a preference for a human being, but commensurate to the natural. Everyone naturally wants to expand in their understanding, application, capacity, experimentation and responsibility. It is just a matter of encouraging and imprinting this type of mind-set early on. The beauty of humanity is that we forever more want to expand, grow and realize our potential. And if you look at various people who have made successful contributions to mankind, there is this underlying pattern of a multi-disciplinary approach. They read everything they could get their hands on, not just things that seemed relevant based on their current knowledge and understanding. In short, they read because of the thing they didn’t know, as oppose to about the things they knew.

Many of our innovations came to be by total accidental flimsies of man’s hunt for the unknown. Someone broke the rules of the classroom by thinking outside of it and crossing, blending and mixing disciplines. All of a sudden in the middle of a classroom for example, when he or she should’ve paid attention to the chemistry teacher; started thinking about how to create an interface between the mind and the physical that could stabilize the world in a long term strategic way. This thought would most definitely not have occurred unless the person could draw connections between various disciplines. The point is, we get to major breakthroughs and realization when we let go of our ideas and preconceived notions of how to get there and we jump from discipline to discipline. And it is in this process of integrating seemingly unrelated disciplines we got to innovation and creativity.

Think about it this way, if you look at a singular variable; not for long you will see that it is connected to an additional point/variable, then a network, that is part of systems and so it goes. Everything becomes part of a greater picture, and it is through understanding how it fits together, we see opportunities for solutions, alignments and creativity, interaction and cooperation. Life is about making connections. Its about integration.

Context is everything, and you have to understand the context you are in; in order to make connections. So anything that helps you understand the context you are in is relevant and as a multi-disciplinarian you have so much more to draw from in order to deduce that context.

But let me clarify, obviously you can be a multi-disciplinarian even though you specialize, and I would argue that it would in fact help you specialize, by virtue of the contrast it affords your perspective. But I mainly wrote this article because I want this to be considered in terms of early stage development, as education control self-image. And self-image controls everything you do. So if you see yourself as a chemist, truck driver, leader, expert or perhaps just a humble student – you will behave in ways that are commensurate with those self-definitions. And it is here we want to emphasize that you should see yourself as a multi-disciplinarian, for then your self-image may be deep and broad. And as such, so will your actions. At length when we really begin to challenge the current state of education, we will look at how to create effective self-definitions that empowers people, and that are based on facts, not perceptions. But for now this is sufficient to argue the importance for a new more multidisciplinary approach towards ones education.

Below are some of our current public considerations for policy suggestions.

Policy suggestions:

A subject need to be created as a means of support in helping one deal with all other subjects. Let’s call it a toolkit for intellectual self-defense, shall we?

This toolkit should be designed based on factual awareness and understanding of how determining factors of human judgment influence perception when one study things unknown.

In other words, what are the common denominators that make a person a good student no matter in what field the student focus? This is the question that shows that what is required is not specific knowledge, but attributes that help one deal with all kinds of knowledge; attributes such as humbleness, teach-ability, critical thinking, attention-span, pattern-recognition, judgment, delayed-gratification, patience etcetera. These are the type of qualities that help you excel in all fields of endeavor and it is thus the type of stuff that makes for a framework that inspires a multi-disciplinary mindset and way of life that can support you in all fields and areas of life.

I am talking about a subject that will cover all subjects, to a certain extent. Take cognitive biases for illustrative purposes. There are standard causes for human misjudgment that are unconscious and thus automatic, such as cognitive biases. If you do not understand or even know about these inherent blind spots in psychology, you will naturally be ruled by them.

So what is needed are multi-disciplinary frameworks based on the determining factors for how human beings relate to things. This framework must be able to be applied in relation to everything, not just one field, which is the marvelous thing with psychology. You can’t really avoid it.

It’s time we get to the causes of things and that is impossible without a toolkit to discern the truth. Because as we all deeply know, just because one believe something to be true, doesn’t make it so.

We must think in terms of how to see through the mind, not merely because of it. Education should teach the student to see through her own limitations, perceptions, reactions, thoughts, emotions and feelings. But to get at least some practicality in to this very abstract subject of the multidisciplinary approach, let’s consider what this framework needs in order to help people operate more like multi-disciplinarians in a beneficial way.

Let’s first list all the subjects we need to integrate into this one subject, for the development of a multi-disciplinary approach.

  1. Principles
  2. Laws
  3. Mind-programming
  4. Cognitive Biases
  5. Self-awareness
  6. Intellectual Accountability

What we are talking about is the development of self-awareness based on facts, not perceptions. This article is meant to serve as a hint of what’s to come. We will be more forthright with specific suggestions for how to create this subject and then naturally, we want to test it and thereby discover what is worthy to keep.

Markus Modin

Sequence Director for Relations at EOS – The Earth Organisation for Sustainability

markus.modin@technate.eu

Three Concrete Life Lessons

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1.Optimize for pain

There are many things a person might want to optimize for in life. It can be health, wealth, love, wisdom and the list goes on quite self-interestingly. But one thing which few seem to optimize for in a deliberate and strategic way, as a preventative measure, is pain and adversity. Yet, it is completely unavoidable for every single human-being; no matter how rich or poor. And our lives are very much determined by how we handle that pain and adversity. So why didn’t your mother, father or any other guiding example in your life tell you to prepare for it?

Probably because most of the current guiding examples of the world spend their lives trying to avoid pain and adversity, by some folly of association, that dictates that pain and adversity is highly correlated with failure and even death; when it in fact can serve the reverse. Some even claim it is the kind of experience that is absolutely necessary as a building block for any and all kinds of success and achievement. But let’s be clear, when we are talking about pain, we are always talking about different kinds of pain. It can be mental pain, physical pain or possibly even spiritual pain? The point is,  that I am not suggesting your prepare to endure physical pain, or some such classical ego bravado. That kind of pain will always hurt I am afraid. I am talking about the pain relating to rejection and similar type of discomforts and cognitive dissonance. 

For example, consider pain in relation to learning. I am sure you have learnt something about yourself or another that caused you pain at one point. Maybe you realized life can be very cruel and hard and that humanity’s chances for survival in the long-term does not look good? Maybe you were not as honest as you thought? Maybe your mentor or teacher were not as wise as you thought?

This is the type of learning’s that often cause pain, which can lead us to premature conclusions, simply because we want to avoid that pain. But if you can effectively handle that pain of cognitive dissonance – you can learn so much more expansively. I am emphasizing this to illustrate the very important point of how the transcendence of pain is absolutely crucial in order to learn effectively. You learn truth and thus realize the falsehoods you knew. This means, as the saying goes, the truth hurts. And so in order to live a truthful life you must handle the pain and dissonance that arise when you face dis-confirming evidence to your previously held views and/or perceived truths. Specifically the views you have deeply rooted and heartfelt. You gotta go through painful realizations in life. In your relationships, career, belief-systems, self-definitions etc. There is no way around this fact.

So I suggest that you consider the principle of inversion here, and go on a contrarian drift, by instead of trying to avoid the pain and adversities of life; embrace it as the very key to truthful learning and experience. I am not suggesting anything extreme, but that you create a strategy of exposure therapy. Meaning: slowly but surely, day by day – make yourself used to slight discomforts by actively seeking out the circumstances and events which cause you anxiety, fear and adversity. This could mean practicing a speech in front of a select few, or maybe being vulnerable in your communication to someone dear, or maybe someone not so dear? The point is to make micro tweaks on a daily basis to gain exposure to uncomfortable things, because paradoxically that will make you more comfortable.

You don’t need to swim with sharks; unless you are a politician of course. But what you do need, is the habit and priority of daily exposing yourself to that which cause you fear, anxiety and/or discomfort. This practice over time together with the principle of compound interest will make you brave, comfortable and it will eventually cause you to trust yourself. But only with consistent daily practice. And take it easy, it can mean watching a horror movie, or making that phone call you been avoiding. But at least, find a little thing everyday. Because unfortunately there is no other way to transcend fears, worries and anxieties than by walking through the circumstances and events that provoke such reactions, because that is when you realize: I am still here and the fear was useless all along. In many cases people realize they have been fearing something for days, and when the time comes for them to walk through the circumstances that seemingly caused the fear – they actually don’t even feel any fear.

Many of us can go to extreme lengths in order to avoid pain and adversity. Yet, without it – it is very difficult to come to terms with the true nature of reality, as well as our ability to actually handle it. Without being challenged and tested by external circumstances and events; we fail to see how our inner is set up in relationship to the outer, and thus whether or not we need to change, modify or adapt our ways becomes a very difficult matter to see. But the fact is that the inner needs to be in alignment with the outer in order for us to effectively live in society. When it’s not, we feel pain, discomfort, dissonance and adversity. So, from this perspective pain will also indicate when we are in separation from reality. It can therefore also be an effective way of getting to know yourself. For example, what are the interests, aspirations, values, principles and people you are willing to withstand a lot of pain and adversity for? That which you are willing to suffer for, tells you a great deal about what you truly care about. So here is the thing: when we avoid that which cause pain and adversity, its much harder to discover the things we deeply care about. And pain and adversity is highly correlated with change. Thus, if you can’t effectively handle pain and adversity – your ability to handle change and adapt to an ever changing reality is significantly diminished.

I think this is something that gets disproportionate attention. A pain threshold is in a way a kind of testament to ones integrity and resolve. Granted there are different kinds of pain, as mentioned. But in whatever form it may appear, it requires strength and courage to deal with. And our ability to handle pain is a great indicator of that strength and courage.

I once wondered if we might be able to cure pain with understanding. But sadly I concluded that we cannot cure pain. It’s the cost of entry to life. But there are merits to consider understanding as an antidote to pain in part. In a similar way, we may consider understanding as a means to courage. One thing is for sure, pain that is not understood will be repeated. And we do not come to understand that which we avoid. So by avoiding pain we repeat mistakes.

Another time, I was listened to this lecture called The Ultimate History Lesson with John Taylor Gatto, wherein he mentioned having had a conversation with the man who at that time was in charge of admission to Stanford. I was quite surprised by what he described as a qualifying factor for admission. He specifically mentioned students who undertake extreme sports and hobbies that are dangerous and totally independent of groups. He literally said that student who risk death because of an independent drive to express and challenge themselves tend to make good Stanford material.

This is because it speaks to a willingness to handle and transcend pain, which implies a strong will, determination and audacity. And these are the things that pioneers, visionaries and people who get things done tend to consist of. It is indeed the tough stuff that makes for an effective practitioner. Besides, we frankly need to make people more brave; otherwise all will be lost. So I hope you can take this life lesson to heart and do not take offense for my final words: Toughen up! For goodness sake!

2.Delay Gratification

If there is one thing that has negatively determined the development and impact of our civilization on the external world, it is our tendency to seek out ways to get immediate gratification. This tendency and desire for the immediate promotes a very short-term perspective and thereby behavior. Kind of like when a child is very hungry and want food immediately. And what is worse, is that when you do not realize the extent to which this tendency for immediate stimulation/gratification rules you, some may take advantage by using various subversive tactics through commercials, propaganda, media, sales etc.

I think it is fair to say, that this general tendency has in great part contributed towards the destruction of our Eco-systems, as seen through consumerism for example. Think about this as a general tendency now. How has it influenced the evolution of human-beings? Look at the way we think, manage resources and relationships, raise children, work and the very way we make decisions. How long-term would everything not be, if we had controlled this dangerously addictive tendency of immediate gratification and stimulation? It has led to an addictive kind of self-interest that I believe literally stops us from evolving.

I think many of us fail to realize the extensive importance of this problem in terms of how it condition human-behavior, and in turn create destructive short-term systems in society. And there is no lesson on this aimed at the popular audience. Why? This is one of the points that I want to use as an example of what this life lesson list is about; it is to find out those things that have extreme effects on humanity, yet goes by unrecognized by the overwhelming majority. What has extreme influence that is not recognized and understood – is dangerous and can be abused to exert control and influence over people unfairly. So my cause is to advance our understanding of these determining factors and get them into our public schools so we may arm this coming generation with a little bit of intellectual self-defense.

If you study the development of humanity, in terms of who has had clear operational advantages in the species, one can see this pattern in leadership; that the ones who could delay their need for gratification and stimulation and thus be disciplined enough to hold and take care/improve upon resources had a clear advantage in the long-term. Being able to delay this need for gratification and stimulation is one of the major advantages a human-being can have, evolutionary speaking. Because it makes you prioritize more wisely, long-term and it also enables you the temperament to think things through before acting them out. It improves attention-span, pattern-recognition, decision-making, comprehension, strategic thinking and overall cognitive function.

This means, that the tendency to act in order to get immediate gratification and/or stimulation can literally make us devolve as a species, and particularly when we become addicted to it. This should emphasize the need to control and regulate this tendency and impulse; having such extreme effects on human-behavior. The ability to delay gratification should be considered as a very important life lesson for a civilization that aims towards sustainable evolution and progress. And it is indeed a lesson for children as well as adults.

So in what ways can you develop the ability to delay gratification? I think there are many ways, but a good start is by creating incentives to do it. Think for example how it might help you gather, take care and invest your resources more effectively, and how it can improve your temperament and attention-span, which then would translate into you improving as a listener, communicator, participant in groups, projects, relationships etc. There are many advantages as mentioned. But I strongly suggest you clarify and define specific incentives that work for you. For me, as an example, I think about it in terms of how it will increase my capabilities to make good decision and cooperate more effectively with diverse groups of people. I think about the patience and long-term view it gives me. How it gives me the discipline to think things through before acting them out. I think about how it makes me more centered and a better friend.

Then there are of course practical things to do. I would suggest consistent and daily reading as a way to practice and develop a longer attention-span, patience and better focus, discipline and will. You may also deliberately cut down on stimulation in its various forms. Such as candy, coffee, cigarettes, alcohol and entertainment in the form of tv-shows, movies and to a certain extent possibly even social life. The point is to get comfortable with silence, waiting and to be patient with yourself. In a way it is about acknowledging a basic truth about life, in recognizing that things usually take more time and resources than we estimate, and you gotta be prepared to put in the time, effort and attention to create the desired results. We are constantly stimulated in society, and I would argue that our sensory apparatus is literally being overstimulated to a point that overwhelm and reduce our ability to engage in independent and thorough thinking. We are bombarded 24/7 with sensory stimulation through all kinds of advertising, entertainment and sensationalism. There is literally a constant war for the attention of humanity.

Our very way of living life for satisfaction and stimulation is reducing our ability to delay gratification and thereby think and act in long-term ways, and I believe it is time we take this principle mainstream, and learn how to go beyond this tendency in order to see more than just the now, and truly act for a constructive, progressive and meaningful future for all of humanity. But it must be understood, even for children – that the tendency of immediate gratification has severe and negative consequences on psychology, decision-making, judgment and thus behavior. A child must know that this tendency when acted upon, condition behavior in extremely limiting ways. This will encourage self-responsibility, self-awareness and a lot of common sense and critical thinking. But of course it will also cause some problems, because when we overcome this tendency for immediate gratification and stimulation, all markets will collapse, because people would stop buying things for cheap thrills and invest in the future. 

3. Simulate the future

Richard Dawkins once said that, ”Survival machines that can simulate the future are one jump ahead of survival machines who can only learn on the basis of overt trial and error. The trouble with overt error is that it is often fatal. Simulation is both safer and faster. The evolution of the capacity to simulate seems to have accumulated in subjective consciousness.”

Learning through trial and error does have its merits, but it also has its costs. It costs both energy and resource, whereas working through simulation is a lot more economical, evolutionary speaking. But, in order to effectively make use of this ability to simulate the future, it must be practiced and fine tuned as a skill; to have a high correlation with reality. If your simulations do not effectively correspond to the nature of our actual reality, they will in fact only limit you.

So here it is important to understand the premise for effective simulation. What is it that makes ones ability to simulate reality so effective? I would say several factors. One being the latter point we just discussed about delaying gratification. Because when you are not ruled by this tendency and need for immediate results, confirmation, validation and gratification; you naturally become more considerate, patient and thus more objective and analytical (when you don’t want or need someone to confirm or validate something right now, you can actually listen to what they are saying).

It is also necessary to have a deep and wide knowledge base from which to draw upon. The knowledge base you create as a cross-reference framework for dealing with your reality, does not solely determine your sight, but vision. For whatever you see, you will see it in contrast to your knowledge base, and if your knowledge base is not wide and deep enough, you will obviously miss a lot of points, and in so doing – loss a lot of time you would’ve saved. This is why a constantly expanding knowledge base is a strategic imperative no matter who you are or what you do, as it saves you a lot of time and grief by cutting the learning curve and quantify your process towards any kind of goal or attainment.

To illustrate a bit more practically, consider reading biographies. A biography is a very comprehensive format for reading, as you get a little bit of everything that is involved in the shaping of a human life, as well as how that actually played out in reality. You get education, philosophy, history, economics, sociology, psychology, politics and the list goes on. By studying the lives of various different kinds of human-beings and their diverse life paths and ambitions you eventually build a certain pattern recognition with respect to the cyclical nature of human development. In other words, you get a more holistic perspective, which enables you to imagine and simulate reality more effectively, as you can take a lot of variables into account and thus specify and articulate your simulations. The point is simply, that you need a deep and wide perspective on the determining factors for reality to appreciate how to simulate it. And for that purpose biographies are particularly supportive. One can even argue that the process of reading through a biography is a way to experience a simulation of reality. For every biography you run a simulation, and so by reading biographies you practice that ability. And it particularly helps by setting more long-term perspectives on behavior which enables you very specific understanding of how things play out, aka – the future.

I believe this is an incredibly important ability, and that it is grossly underestimated due to not having been clearly defined or conceptualized as a skill in the public schools. It is what makes a visionary. The very concept of developing a vision in order to see reality clearly is not clearly understood in schools. Because if it was, we would teach children and adults about cognitive biases and how these require intellectual self-defense strategies in order to see through, instead of because.

By Markus Modin