How our ancient ‘new’ ideas still work for the collective good
“Having lived as mobile forages for 99% of our time on Earth, why did our ancestors stop moving and start settling in villages, towns and cities? The process started in the hills of southern Turkey at a site known as Gobekli Tepe. The impulse to be social brought large numbers of people together for seasonal feasts … But, to stay on a permanent basis, they needed a permanent supply of food … the solution came around 10,000 years ago when people in this region worked out how to plant, cultivate and harvest wheat. In doing so, they changed the trajectory of human history.”
(From the synopsis of the SBS documentary First Civilisations Season 1 Episode 3 – Cities, directed by Robin Dashwood.)
Studies of our earliest civilisations show that we’ve been harnessing the power of diversity and design thinking since we first started meeting regularly in groups and sharing our knowledge. When enough of us come to the realisation that there might be a better way of doing things that will benefit the whole of humanity, it is inevitable that we come together and work together for the greater good.
The concept of collective consciousness is also thousands of years old and appears in many different cultures and religions. For example, the ancient Sanskrit concept of yoga is generally taken to mean (amongst other things) the ‘union’ between the self and the divine or the universal collective. While many of us are aware of the physical postures (or asanas) of yoga, these are only one of the 8 ‘limbs’ or steps of yoga that individuals can follow on their path to total union.
“These eight steps of yoga indicate a logical pathway that leads to the attainment of physical, ethical, emotional, and psycho-spiritual health. Yoga does not seek to change the individual; rather, it allows the natural state of total health and integration in each of us to become a reality”
From The Eight Limbs, The Core of Yoga by William J.D. Doran on the Expressions of Spirit website.
Christina Gerakiteys is a creativity and innovation catalyst, whose purpose is to ignite hearts and minds to what is possible, so individuals are empowered to create an incredible life. In her presentation ExpONEntial: The Road to Infinity part of Florence Guild’s speaker series, ’The Art of Focus’, Gerakiteys shared her thoughts on how we are still following these same idea pathways today. We are still seeking ways to come together to make changes for the greater good and when enough of us come together with the same altruistic goals, great things happen.
Gerakiteys discussed the concept of the ‘singularity’ (or the collective consciousness) which each of us can contribute to and learn from as individuals. Some see this as a state of mind, while others see it as something that can be achieved through using, or merging with, artificial intelligence. She also discussed the goals of the Singularity University*, which is a global community using exponential technologies to tackle the world’s biggest challenges.
When we combine the concept of coming together to develop ideas that benefit us all with the concept of the collective consciousness, all of a sudden, we have an immense and positive power ready to be unleashed throughout the world which will allow amazing changes to take place.
While these concepts may seem a bit ‘airy fairy’ to many, Gerakiteys down-to-earth explanations and real-life examples of how they work make a lot of sense. We can all learn from each other and find ways to help all those around us live better lives in some way. As individuals, we can make a difference. As a collective, we can change the world.
This episode forms part of our 2018 series narrative, ‘The Art of Focus’ which is based on the premise that, in an information-dense society, our attention resources have become depleted. The series’ speakers will help us identify and explore the areas in our lives where we may need to regain focus, increase our self-awareness and improve how we interact with those around us.
If you’d like to hear more of Christina Gerakiteys, recorded conversation, ExpONEntial: The Road to Infinity and learn why the world belongs to dreamers with grand visions, tune in to episode 25 of our podcast series ‘The Art of Focus’. You can also keep up to date with conversations with other thought leaders by subscribing to our podcast on iTunes and Stitcher Radio.
*Kaila Colbin is the New Zealand and Australian Ambassador for the Singularity University. You can learn more about this inspirational organisation by listening to Colbin’s presentation for Florence Guild, Riding the Wave of Exponential Change, given as part of ‘The Antidisciplinary Future’ speaker series.