Extract 1:


In this extract (pp. 49-50) from FutureSense: Five Explorations of Whole Intelligence for a World That’s Waking Up, published in 2015, I wanted to share my experience of what I had noticed people reporting– about the times in their lives when they had felt most effective, competent, satisfied, and fulfilled.

They report such occurrences happening ...

  1. When they are given or take responsibility for something in a context that feels worthwhile, and that may involve exercising leadership; and also when they feel encouraged or enabled to handle situations within their competence, in ways they consider as most fitting for the specific circumstances. (responding to the situation) [handling unique situations]
  2. When they collaborate or participate with others in conditions that feel mutual, respectful, and friendly, where people are not harbouring stereotypes and prejudices, and where there is open, shared, and honest communication between themselves and others – recognising that differences, misunderstandings, or conflicts are bound sometimes to arise, but do not have to be destructive of the connection. (interrelating) [collaborating with others]
  3. When they feel able to tune sensitively into their embodied condition – their needs, emotions, desires, and fears, as well as sources of pain and discomfort – and can take steps to support their health and maintain their physical wellbeing and life-balance; and also when they feel able safely to express their feelings through movements and gestures as well as in speech; can enjoy a rich sensory and erotic life; and can exist in conditions where they feel in harmony with the rest of the natural world. (embodying) [accessing their non-verbal knowing]
  4. When they are able to access their thoughts, emotions, and short and medium states of mind; are unafraid to discover ‘blind spots’ and recognise what they need to learn; can take in what is useful to take in from others about themselves; are able to remember and gain access to all that they have learned about how to stay sane, and maintain their poise, health, and equilibrium in an often crazy-seeming and stressful world. (self-recognising) [operating mindfully]
  5. When they feel supported to express their full creativity, innovative powers, originality, artistic talent, and wild ideas, while savouring core stabilities that anchor them, and are able to stay with the unfolding present, to relax, to allow themselves to be spontaneous, improvisational, playful, and to ‘refresh’ their lives and routines. (experimenting) [experimenting and innovating]

Together, these five encapsulations – which summarise the dimensions, varieties, or reflections of whole intelligence – constitute a map, to help the traveller or reader who is exploring them for themselves or for their organisation.

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Extract 2:


(An extract from Future Sense: Five Explorations of Whole Intelligence for a World That’s Waking Up, published in 2015 (pp. 51-54)

‘What are the defining values that characterise the five Explorations? Or, what end, or destination, do I have in mind for each of the different Explorations?’ I realised I had never asked myself these questions – nor acknowledged that the answers were bound to be personal in nature.Inevitably, my values were part of what I was bringing to the enterprise, and must have lain in unarticulated form at the core of my approach from the start. I just had never thought about my values so explicitly, to the point of putting them into words.

I allowed the question of defining values to sit with me, as I brewed a pot of coffee. Then I realised that, actually, I knew clearly what values underlay this work: I just had not known that I knew them. As they came rapidly into focus, I wrote them down. They represent the five core values that are associated, for me, with the fiveExplorations as described in the remainder of the book: they do not represent all my personal values, or all those I discern and respect in others’ lives and work. But if I ponder each of the five dimensions of whole intelligence these are what fuels my commitment to each one, these are what are significant.

  1. In the case of Responding to the Situation: I want to celebrate ACCOMPLISHMENT and humanity’s genius. We have the capacity to adapt to a vast range of circumstances, address and solve problems, take on great challenges, and handle emergencies. Human beings can rise to heights of practical, intellectual, and artistic achievement – like building cathedrals, writing symphonies, finding the Higgs boson – and stay committed over time to worthwhile long-term projects, like eliminating malaria. As human beings we are able to create things of beauty and to master skills, endure difficult conditions, organise ourselves and others to transform potential into high performance, and turn situations around and start again. We have the capability to act responsibly with courage, conviction, authority, and resilience. (Some relevant opposites are incompetence, mismanagement, maladministration, corruption, waste of talent, duplicity, ignorance that could be easily avoided.)
  2. In the case of Interrelating: I am recognising the central importance of FRIENDSHIP in all its forms, allied to four c’s – compassion, companionship, comradeship, and effective collaboration. Friendship is basic to all expressions of love, affection, empathy, and warm relating to others: whether in the dance of courtship, or in successful long-term partnerships, or – scaled up – in establishing and reinforcing peace between nations. There are synergies of connection that arise from our joining with others, becoming mutually dependent and trusting one another deeply, and from people reaching out to suffering others, acting with generosity and selflessness. The spirit of friendship is manifest in mutual respect, in acceptance of differences between people, and in the restoration of goodwill when relations are damaged – making peace and reconnecting. (Some relevant opposites are dehumanising and abusing others, violent conflict, psychopathy, cynical manipulation, bullying, stereotyping, narcissism, isolation, anti-social actions, and callous indifference to the fates of others.)
  3. In the case of Embodying: I am expressing extraordinary gratitude for the gift of LIFE, which is evident in the miracles of our bodies’ functioning, self-regulation, and capacity for self-repair; evident too in the birth and growth of children, in the power of the erotic, and in the strength of the life force. It is evident in our own species as well as in other life forms within Earth’s biosphere, with its countless ecosystems, life-cycles, diversity, and spectacular beauty. There are the rhythms of activity, of relaxation, of sleep, and of lifelong breathing and beating of our hearts. (Some relevant opposites are desensitisation to the body’s needs, repressive sexual attitudes; deliberate harming, mutilation, and chemical abuse of human bodies, whether self or other inflicted; ecocide, habitat destruction, disregard for the natural world, and denial of its significance.)
  4. In the case of Self-Recognising: I am respecting the development of WISDOM, reflected in the multiple ways we come to ‘know ourselves’, or can become more conscious, reduce stress, and integrate life’s experiences – all with the intention of finding coherence, meaning, and sense of direction. Many engage with some philosophy, teaching, or communal method of personal inquiry, drawing on ancient traditions of mind and body awareness, or invoking the poetic, numinous, and ‘sacred’. Others opt for therapy, silent reflection, ‘getting away from it all’, or ‘taking stock’ outside the mainstream conditions of materialistic, consumerist, society. For me, wisdom is about living integrally, in accord with one’s values, acknowledging existential questions, and maintaining humility in recognising how little we know. (Some relevant opposites are ‘burn-out’, stress, mindlessness, ‘denial of any need to look at oneself’, anxiety, narcissism, hubris, fear of self-learning, and ‘not remembering to remember’.)
  5. In the case of Experimenting: I am recognising the power of PLAY and its gifts of spontaneity, enjoyment, inventiveness, and the experience of freedom in creative life. Playfulness promotes vitality, curiosity, and humour – all central to our living with artistry, pleasure, delight. A playful willingness allows for taking risks with what is stale, questioning the automatic supremacy of the habitual. Play entails a readiness to stay within agreed limits – like the rules of sport – thus supporting us to act ethically, anticipate consequences, and to realise the value of the tension between two poles: maintaining structures and turning them upside down. (Some relevant opposites are rigidity of belief, excessive fear of the unknown, following precedents blindly, making changes without preparation, inability to shift frames, shaming those who question the status quo, lack of capacity to laugh.)
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