Category Archives: Classic Bill

What It Takes to Get Back on Track

Created May 27, 2022

Welcome to this week’s Bill Harvey Blog.

Each day the news becomes more worrisome. I don’t remember ever experiencing a time like the one we are passing through now.

One thing that will be necessary if we’re going to turn this all around is a new emphasis on reinventing ourselves, each one of us.

That’s because the roots of our current history are embedded in each individual consciousness. Disunity, divisiveness, power hunger, anger, hate, violence, fear are all manifestations of ego. We’ve let our egos get too big.

At the same time, we’ve lost sight of the ultimate goal of coming to a mystical understanding of the universe and our role in it. Awe and wonder are browbeaten out of us even before we leave childhood by the pervading cynicism that has become the sine qua non of sophistication. Non-cynics are derided just for backsliding from the cynical stance of our Age.

Even our top scientific minds who retain their awe and wonder at nature remain trapped in the unproven assumption that consciousness is an afterthought in the universe. Somehow the scotoma (blind spot) is so large that otherwise brilliant minds do not connect the dots between the “observer” essential to Relativity Theory and consciousness. The leading quantum physicists of today, many of whom who were mentored by John Wheeler, colleague of Einstein and Bohr, first to coin the term “black hole”, do not get it that in his ultimate view of the universe, consciousness and matter are equally important, as if their minds cannot conceive of it, or simply that they would rather stay in the acceptable range for sake of their careers. The latter behavior brings us back to the ego dominated culture in which we now all live, where going along with the herd is the prime directive, in order to get what you want.

But at the same time this involves compromising quite a bit with what we, deep down, really want as unique individuals. The percentage of us who live out their dreams and earn their living pursuing their passion work are a dismally tiny percent of the population everywhere on Earth. As it has been since as far back as history remembers. When something has always been a certain way, it is invisible, taken for granted, never even thought about, no alternative ever imagined.

When I say the present world must start from a reinvention of ourselves, each person for themself, what do I really mean?

Self-improvement is a term that means something different to each person. Most books on the subject are about losing weight and exercising. The relative few that are not mainly about the body are about the important subjects of meditation, yoga, mindfulness, and positive thinking.

The invisible elephant in the room is that these are the 101 of the subject. They are introductory, and barely scratch the surface. For most people, these primers equip the person to give the right answers (ego again) to continue to be perceived as up-to-date in conversations. But these surface readings and parrotings on the subject tend to not fundamentally change mental or outward behavior.

In the words of a reader of Mind Magic, Benjamin Zabriskie, writing in his Amazon Review:

Dismiss thoughts that don’t benefit you. Deny social impetus that would otherwise dominate you. Perceive new realities at your whim. Stop time and think. Leave this earthly realm behind and explore the diverse worlds of the hearts and minds of all living things. Restructure your actions, thoughts, perceptions and desires into exactly the shape that suits your goals.

Not for the weak-hearted, nor the easily scared, this book is THE owners manual for the mind. This book presents nearly impossible challenges to even the most powerful and dedicated seekers. I’ve never known a single person that actually finished the work contained in this book.

When I took up my asceticism, I decided to give my extensive book collection to the local library. After paring down hundreds of books I was left with only 3 essential manuscripts. Mind Magic: The Science of the Microcosm is one of those incredible spiritual powerhouses. Only recently did I finally give my copy away to a young man in need of self-understanding.

In other words, what the world needs now is for people to do a very deep soul searching beyond anything they have ever experienced before. It is multidimensional and goes far beyond the pop-psyk books lining the shelves.

It’s cognitive and emotional, intuitional and perceptual. It’s a complete rebuild, rethink, start from scratch.

One of the hundreds of specific techniques explained in full in the manual is to eschew ego moves. To detect and interrupt your own automatic inner impulses to toot your own horn in ways that have become perfectly socially acceptable and which everyone practices continuously to maintain their own egos.

This is part of a chapter that is broader in scope, entitled Avoid Hasty Closure, which in general means to edit your actions and do so by reflecting continuously on where each of your own thoughts and impulses is coming from. Is it authentic and real in the moment, or is it the ego robot playing one of its tapes?

If everyone in the world took responsibility for what they can actually really do to help us all out of the present existential dilemma, namely to reinvent themselves, with very serious methodical principles, we would have at least a better chance for survival as a species and with the ability to choose to live in a place where we feel that our rights are respected. A better chance to avert the robotic pendulum swing back to despotic centralism, which itself is the unavoidable manifestation of a culture in which ego is king.

Another chapter focuses on visualizing the universe as one thing, including oneself and everyone else, consciousness and matter and energy and time and space all one thing. Wheeler’s scientific assessment of this singularity, the one thing we call the universe, is that it is in constant self-reinvention, even able to reinvent the actual past (read the link above for the details). Whether other scientists agree or disagree is irrelevant, Mind Magic does not advise believing anything, it advises simply keeping a truly open mind.

The amazing thing about simply keeping an open mind about what we the universe are, allows you to once again experience the inspiring awe and wonder, and the sense of transcendent possibility, of living a real mystery unfolding, the transcendent feeling.

Highly recommended: article in Renew magazine, published by United Healthcare Group, “The Power of Awe”, documenting the widespread research now establishing the health benefits of awe, which can also be seen here.

One of the benefits found in these many articles of the feeling of awe, is that it also comes with a greater sense of feeling of connectedness with other people. That would surely help as we are otherwise pulling apart in all directions.

“The world is full of magic things, patiently waiting for our senses to become sharper.”

–William Butler Yeats

Love to all,

Bill

 

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2042: The Human Union

Created May 20, 2022

Welcome to this week’s Bill Harvey Blog.

Bill Harvey was very old by then, but he suddenly felt very young again when the international space mission landed on Ganymede. Its shuttle brought the astronauts down in groups of four (all the shuttle was built for) so everyone could enjoy actually being there. The crew contained astronauts from a number of countries including the United States of America, China, and Russia. With the astronauts chosen solely on merit, the other countries represented included some small ones.

With permanent colonies on the Moon and Mars and more coming, the world economy had evolved to include the international territories throughout reachable space. An “international territory” was part of planet Earth, not part of any specific nation on Earth. 

These colonies were the children the Earth nations were choosing to have together.

Planners studied the history of colonies on Earth, and read Robert A. Heinlein’s prophetic novels, in order to know what to avoid in the era of space colonization. It had been decided that these colonists, picked as carefully as astronauts, would have to be treated permanently as having the right to make decisions as sovereigns of their colony. 

One rule that was finally agreed upon that multiple colonies on a given planet or satellite were okay, so long as they cooperated and remained committed to their equality relationships with the nations on Earth, and that a given planet or satellite or asteroid would never find itself split between disagreeing factions, or seceding from the Human Union.

Companies were the main explorers of space, with governments taking almost as big a role, in order to feel in control of security risks. This was a vast improvement over the rich having wandered to Hollywood as a way of investing excess wealth and having the most fun possible for them at the same time. That went on, of course, but now the big bucks were going to space and fundamental R&D. R&D companies flourished because investors saw the much greater possible returns of discovering new science upon which to monetize technology. R&D had always been a low single-digit percentage but was now double-digit everywhere. 

In fact, there was so much opportunity for competition in commerce, driven by new science and technology, that the attraction for wars had once again receded, following the same curve as in the period 1945-2013. All that testosterone had a different outlet.

After things started getting too hot in 2022, some rational people created a new media type in which world leaders could have conversations open to public view on virtual reality television (VTV) where the heads of state looked like they were in the same room or auditorium. The personal gravitas and objectivity of the show hosts led to slow reluctant participation by all of the nations, although it took a long time to build up to that level. Nonetheless, from the start this became a new species of high rated high attention television. The ads accepted in island position (no podding) were guidelined to be apropos for the viewing environment, and advertisers and agencies by then understood the need to impart altruism and empathy in advertising.

The world leaders having the opportunity to actually communicate rather than merely posture, after the first few weeks, some normal human communication actually began to occur (not devoid of posturing). The “west” laid out its agenda of world cooperation and peaceful resolution of differences. This was hard to publicly disagree with, so it was the first happy moment when that idea was unanimously ratified. China and Russia requested, in the spirit of cooperation, that all economic warfare had to stop, and the “west” provisionally agreed with that, if enough that had separated us could be agreed upon so that we could all relax.

So, then it was a long process of naming the gripes and figuring out how to resolve them amicably. Win/win outcomes. These were reasonably approximated, without however satisfying everyone. Those on the sidelines eager to get in would apply by bitching about something or other, and sweetening that with a good idea, which would usually qualify them to be on camera. This tended to cause people to try to think up good ideas instead of just ranting about the other party.

It was in this atmosphere that the cooperation spread from among governments to also bring in the business world. Corporations and cartels had already become as powerful as governments (as predicted by Dr. Strangelove) so that the idea of combining forces was natural. It was a sharp shift from companies funding candidates for public office, so it changed the nature of the relationship in a constructive way.

Younger people started calling upon companies to make the world a better place in the 60s and 70s and that “movement” is now essentially the entire population, with a younger skew because young people haven’t been fully disillusioned yet.

Space was only one way in which businesses worked with governments to help solve world problems. When everyone suddenly saw the voter booth value of actually creating positive change rather than just talking about it, many whose legislative master strategy was to slow forward change and where opportune, go back to perceived-as-better ideas of the past, pivoted toward getting in on public gratitude as their first principle, which meant being part of making majority- and minority-perceived improvements.

Bill was very old by then, as I’d mentioned, but all of these developments between 2022 and 2042 kept him feeling young, and kept him alive.

Love to all,

Bill

PS – Incidentally, the idea about a VTV “world conflict resolution show” appears in the background of my new sci-fi novel Pandemonium: Live To All Devices which includes a panoply of other elements that amuse me.

 

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Kiss & Make Up

Created April 29, 2022

Welcome to this week’s Bill Harvey Blog.

Where this is all going at the moment is taking us backward about a century and has the earmarks of possibly ending all life on Earth. If you have great weapons lying around, eventually you use them. Particularly in a climate riven by hate, rushed by complexity, and distracted by messageweight.

The lostness of the despiritualized world causes every one of us to harbor an inner backbeat of inadequacy. It’s hard to go from there to Flow state. Although disseminating information and positive emotive content that are essentially Flow state lessons, is our job at The Human Effectiveness Institute (THEI), we may not have enough time for that to work out.

Short of the Flow state for all, in the interim until we get to the latter altitude, let’s settle for Kiss & Make Up.

Although our bodies grew large, we are still babies, apparently in our terrible twos. We use grander language and have learned to wave our arms better, but our tantrums are still tantrums.

Presupposing no real change in consciousness effectiveness, even in our present babyish ways we can certainly understand when a party has gone wrong, how we all blame each other when it does, and there is not going to be a happy ending, our Moms are already getting into the fight, the free for all is turning scary and going nowhere but more widespread to the whole neighborhood. We all know how this movie ends, like several Hitlers taking half the world with sophisticated propaganda (that’s what has been going on for a few years already) and then starting on the other half with thermo, bio, and chemical weapons.

Going back to that earlier point about pandemic sense of inadequacy. Although we all have it, some of us have more of it than others. The cultures which become aggressive are the ones who feel inferior, and the only way they can think of to overcome that state is to blame and attack someone else. This is an extreme state of the ego.

Then as they become aggressive, the nicer people in the world (the ones with a lower dose of inadequacy bias) obviously tend to lose their tempers. You know how that works when you are feeling inadequate, people yelling at you are the perfect trigger to go into unstoppable rage. Again, a warped neuronal network has evolved called an ego, which cannot accept any blame. The spiral is self-accelerating downward. You yell at me and I yell at you.

The message our parents tried to teach us in such situations is to Kiss & Make Up.

Easy to say, but hard to do quickly on a global level. Where do you start? It’s a roller coaster, and everyone tells you to act tough, no one really wants to seem like we’re afraid of some other nation or even a horde of them. How do you walk the tightrope between condemnation and collaboration, can it really be done?

The purpose of my quartet of articles was to demonstrate, in a fictional way, a path to take us back into empathetic communication, where we first actually change ourselves profoundly so that we want to be friends with Putin et al. The articles depict a series of conversations between Biden, Putin, and Xi, with Biden initiating an attempted Kiss & Make Up.

Look, we’re one species. We have to stick together against all the other species in the universe with whom we may soon be in contact (not to mention against the viruses), as the billionaires take us into space. If an alien showed up on your doorstep, you’d be ready to hug every member of the other party that you currently hate, and Putin too. We’re all brothers and sisters. We’ve been out of sorts with each other for too long now. It’s time to Kiss & Make Up.

If you can’t find the words, for inspiration go to the quartet of articles. They will give you ideas relating to your estranged family and friends.

Aside from the articles, here’s an outline of how you might start to think about it:

  1.  Start with former friends and family members with whom you had a political falling out. Why does each one think the way she or he does? You know these people well, you can intuit the right answers. And why by contrast do you think the way you do? 
  2. What are the underlying differences – make a list.
  3. What is something you can say positively about the other’s positions, which you also feel is true.
  4. Then you be the first to apologize for the way you handled the situation and how it made it all the worse. 
  5. They will tend to apologize back if you’ve been authentic and displayed courageous willingness to show vulnerability.
  6. That’s when you hug or Kiss & Make Up.

Let’s make a note to all get this done before Memorial Day, so we can have another Summer Of Love.

Love to all,

Bill

 

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Unifying Our Idea of Social Progress

Created April 15, 2022

Welcome to this week’s Bill Harvey Blog.

The most powerful cultural change driving world and personal events today is the underlying sense of loss of belief in the American Dream.

I’m paraphrasing the words of Walker Smith, former President of Yankelovich, for many years the most psychologically sophisticated research company serving the marketing field, speaking today at the Advertising Research Foundation (ARF) annual AUDIENCExSCIENCE conference.

What is or was the American Dream and how could it account for what is happening outside the US today? Because Walker was not just talking about the USA.

The American Dream has always meant the hope, aspiration, and expectation that each generation would be better off than the preceding one.

This idea did not necessarily exist before the USA came about. In the Middle Ages, the prevailing feeling was that things used to be better in the ancient world’s Golden Age, and that was now all gone forever, never to return. 

The Renaissance opened the door to art and science and technology in ways which restored the human race’s belief in itself. This led into a period we call the Enlightenment which then lost touch with the human spirit and curled back into the awe-neutralizing world we live in today, formed in the Eighteenth Century. 

The democratic revolutions in America and France were a turning point that restored the zeitgeist of hopefulness about the future, revivifying the optimistic inspiration of the Renaissance. For more than 200 years the American Dream inspired people around the world to work harder and smarter and with more inspiration to shape a better world for their children and secondarily for themselves.

And now it appears that Walker Smith is right, there is a prevailing tacit sense of disillusionment, tacit in the sense of not being expressed as directly as he expressed it today to me and hundreds of other leaders of the world’s marketing and media intelligentsia.

Walker showed compelling survey results to back up his point. In countries where most progress has been made toward economic success, social justice and the dignity of the individual, he showed that after decades in which most people believed their kids would have it better than themselves, today the majority believe that the kids will have it worse.

A later speaker at the conference showed a verbatim comment made by a Gen Z person indicating “I no longer trust government, other people, or the world.” 

Both optimism and pessimism are biases, less desirable than objectivity, but between them, one helps and the other hurts, because any mindset becomes self-fulfilling prophecy, it’s the way our minds work. Pessimism forces us down into the pit we feared. Optimism gives us back the natural zest for life and enables us to overcome – anything.

Data shown at the conference confirms that Gen Z (people born since 1997) are far above average in holding brands to communicate, by their actions and authentic words and images, that brands recognize their purpose is to make life better for everyone. And yet now these idealists are already experiencing the disappointment in their own golden dreams, all too soon, all too soon.

We can’t let this go on.

What gutted our confidence?

Walker had pointed us at the Starting Points of a generation, telling us that each generation reflects what the Cultural Tent Pole events were when they came into the conversation.

For Gen Z, the oldest of whom is now 25, when they were first starting to use media they heard about the war on terrorism, and the US limited ability to dial back violence everywhere. As they grew up, they saw a growing divide along partisan lines within the US, mirrored around the world. The idea of limits was reinforced and the idea of possibilities was diminished. The split into red and blue idealists played out as one side limiting the other side from being able to make improvements.

They may have consciously ignored most of this while playing expressively within their social media communities, but nothing could have protected their subconscious minds from imbibing these toxins.

Unifying our ideals and values is necessary if we are to protect Gen Z and all future generations from reruns of the worst of history.

We have the power. We have to use it constructively. We need to unify our idea of “What IS social progress?”

Social progress starts with the criterion that one’s own descendants should have it even better than we do. That is the most unifying ideal of all. We should all find it easy to agree on that if nothing else.

Avoiding Derailment

The idea that everyone should benefit runs into major difficulty when it is looked at through the lens of a person who feels threatened. That person does not want a level playing field because they already feel cheated and are therefore naturally skeptical about the idea that they should support other people more than they have been supported.

The person who feels threatened is probably subconsciously feeling a sense of inferiority. In our materialistic culture the need to take work that is uninspiring leads the average person to live out a life of quiet desperation (TS Eliot) conducive of a sense of inferiority and of throwing one’s life away. So that there is a very large pool of people who instinctively flinch away from taking care of other people because they feel someone ought to be taking better care of them. 

The sense of inferiority was historically an albatross that Russia still bears. But the dissatisfied and resentful chords in the human chorus are not limited by geography, these poisons to the spirit are everywhere, and reduce openness to ideas about sharing with those even worse off than ourselves. Only those who feel good about themselves subconsciously and consciously can authentically support the idea of equality.

This does not mean putting the movement toward equality on hold. I personally feel that the momentum toward equality is now established, by the efforts of millions of people from Nelson Mandela to Martin Luther King and on and on, including the people of show business, and Gen Z will make it happen if we don’t complete the job, but we will. 

Instead, what I’m suggesting is that we don’t confuse the issue by too quickly bringing in more specificity, as we re-establish the unifying notion of a better life for our kids. All of our kids. That would defeat the drive to unity, a message in a bottle in all languages, e.g.: Rodovoi. Danketsu. Tongyi. Aikyam. Yachad. Henosis. Our objective here is unity in re-establishing the universal dream of human social progress. Today, in the present context, it can only be founded on one remaining point of solidarity: our children.  

So, as we sew up the ravaged flag of idealism and courage facing the future, in the complex world of motivations, we can’t go too far too fast. Start with the one universal common ground: our children. We must make a better life for them. We cannot, for whatever reasons we concoct with our brilliant rhetoric, justify anything less than a commitment of our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honor (Thomas Jefferson) to this unifying ideal. This is the philosopher’s stone by which to navigate the rest of the journey. 

Because we must first re-establish unity of realistic idealism before we can turn to specifics.

Take the present most divisive issues and give them a rest. Let your hearts and minds discover what else there is to be said, with positivity, constructiveness, and encouragement. What will help make for a better world for all the generations to come. Words and feelings and actions that bring us together again. Don’t skip to step two, please, focus on step one.

Love to all, 

Bill

 

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