Whole-Brain, Life-Affirming Discoveries
The Future is Now
Flower power, as the pinnacle expression of psychological freedom, infected and affected the world in a wholly positive way. The message of peace, love and brown rice (meaning a healthy diet), traveled around the world, and gave all ordinary people a feeling of acceptance, and self-acceptance, freeing the consciousness from its learned constraints. By the 1970s, many innovative, life-affirming, wholistic discoveries were emerging, contributing to a whole, new creative way of approaching and living life. Self-actualisers were experiencing a way of being and relating, that was simple, easy, elegant and insightful, which felt utterly ordinary and completely natural. Many could sense life as an intrinsic, already-existing, underlying natural harmony, and not some primordial chaos, as was commonly believed. Life, when naturally lived, was now experienced as intrinsically purposeful and meaningful, and no longer some arbitrary, random happenstance, which we needed to control and manipulate.
An optimistic, wholesome, wholistic, creative, forward-looking, possibilities-based, solutions-orientated, imaginative, envisaging was emerging. Creativity had taken on new meanings. Self-actualisers were now discovering solutions to long-standing problems, and could see that it was possible to live without creating problems. They could see that everybody could live without exploiting one another, and it was completely possible to create planetary peace and harmony for everybody. For some it was obvious, even self-evident.
Hierarchical structures were starting to become more flattened, with fewer levels, to improve effectiveness. Networking among key people became the new way to get things happening, giving rise to the ‘informal’ organisation chart of how things actually worked. Informal conversations, it was discovered, sometimes generated more and better ideas than formally structured brainstorming groups. Many transformative ideas were percolating up from lower echelons – creativity was even, and sometimes especially at the coalface. Conventional wisdom was turning on its head. “Getting it right first time – no excuses for trial and error”, became a common orientation that sensitive and aware people were adopting. A new way of approaching life and work was emerging.
Self-Actualisation in the Workplace
The cutting edge of management was recognised to be facilitating self-actualisation in the workplace, which is about encouraging staff to bring out and express their very best, creative potentials in and through their work, enabling them to function on a higher level of efficiency, effectiveness, harmony and enjoyment, without accompanying stress. Maslow, who worked closely with cutting-edge management made the following observations:
“At the level of self-actualising, many dichotomies become resolved, opposites are seen to be unities, and the whole dichotomous way of thinking is recognised to be immature. For self-actualising people, there is a tendency for selfishness and unselfishness to be fused into a higher superordinate unity. Work tends to become the same as play – vocation and avocation become the same thing. When duty is pleasant and pleasure is fulfilment of duty, then they lose their separateness and oppositeness…the impulses are more expressed and less controlled; the controls are less harsh and punishing and less set off against the ego. “
Self-actualisation in the workplace could be facilitated by:
- having a product or service that workers believed in, the customer felt good about, that was good for society and beneficial for the planet;
- making work purposeful and designing tasks to be enlivening and uplifting;
- democratising the workplace and according all people dignity and responsibility;
- developing a consultative culture of honesty and trust;
- eliminating organisational conflicts and blocks through thoughtful and careful design;
- treating problems as challenges and opportunities;
- realising that those at the coal face are often already aware of the problem, and may know the best solution; they often have creative ideas, too.
Open Universities and Discussion Groups
“Open” universities were run on campuses, outside of normal lecture hours, sharing ideas and exploring cutting-edge issues that were too new to be offered in lectures, but which were far more vital, relevant, optimistic and interesting. Conducted more as open discussions, subjects included ways to increase wealth harmlessly, and ways to measure genuine national wellbeing, victimless capitalism, altered states of consciousness, humanity’s higher nature, group dynamics, planetary co-operation, peace studies, ecology, future studies, etc. For many it was as if they had walked into the future, where everyone had insight into the present. Some of these subjects have since become mainstream university courses.
Right-Brain Teaching and Activities
Courses teaching an understanding of right-brain nature and activity were combined with courses offering activities that drew upon the right side of the brain, and included undirected, spontaneous art, etc.
Such unprecedented co-operation gave rise to the sense of the coherent group – people coming together for purposes of mutual enrichment. Inter-personal and group psychologies studied the dynamics of interactions, and the ways that people, because they affect one another dynamically, can contribute to the harmony and creativity of the whole group, and thence achieve outcomes far in excess of the sum of human inputs, resulting in an ‘ever-expanding, spiralling upwards’. Under group conditions, growth in consciousness became thought of as exponential.
Group psychology became the new, cutting-edge field of understanding. Group dynamics, where the positive, creative energy of a group could uplift all of its members, began entering into sociological and psychological circles. The interactive group became the preferred method of teaching management to executives. The therapeutic group became the most effective tool for psychological healing. The usual idea of the powerful leader and passive followers gave way to the valid and empowering group, where interactivity in an atmosphere of openness and goodwill could enable the group functioning as a whole to understand, inspire, cognise and resolve on a level well beyond what individual contributions could achieve.
Community Households and Neighbourhoods
Creating community households, of like-minded persons became a more acceptable way to live, and more advantageous. Increasingly, houses were networked together to pool and share where interests overlapped and save time, energy, outlays, etc. As community households became more prevalent, city neighbourhoods of many community-households developed into large, informal, sprawling communities, with information exchanges, food co-ops, resource centres, bartering and work-sharing arrangements, enabling a more relaxed, higher quality of life. City living in these areas became exiting and delightful, free from exploitation, crime and abusive living.
Learning Exchanges and Resource Centres
People loaned and pooled their books to become neighbourhood lending libraries, focussing on the emerging aspects of better living that was not yet found in mainstream libraries. Resource centres were set up to allow people to disseminate their new understandings and share their experiences and new skills with interested others.
Providing a wide range of in-depth books in subjects not yet understood by mainstream bookstores, including ecology, hand-made houses, natural therapies, Buddhism, Sufism, Taoism, yoga, metaphysics, meditation, whole-food cooking, organic gardening, etc, as people studied and discussed and explored and experimented amongst themselves to find out what worked and how, and how to adapt it for their own local needs. Today, many of these have found their way into mainstream bookstores.
Home-Based Self-Employment and Cottage Industries
Some people began using their skills to enable self-employment – working for oneself, setting up ones’ own business, and working out of home became a new and empowering way of approaching work and business for more liberated people, saving on expenses, enabling 24 hr ready access to the workplace, and allowing far greater control of their own personal lives, by giving greater family time, etc. For some people it meant they could now work according to their needs, their interests and their biological clock, rather than being compelled to follow the some rigid 9-5 Monday to Friday regime. This enriched many neighbourhoods, and also provided the lead and created the groundwork for the emerging service industry that plays a major role today.
Home-Made Natural Products
Self-employment enabled a furry of natural products, eg clay pottery, clothing, leather sandals, home-spun wool, Home-made jams and chutneys, etc. that were well sought after at local markets as more and more people sought to get away from the increasingly de-natured, artificial and synthetic existence.
The urge to produce, create and to re-use and recycle gave rise to local, neighbourhood markets, where people would sell much homemade goods, and books and other household items no longer needed, as well as inexpensive, imported Asian goods not available elsewhere. Some of these local markets have developed into major centres of enterprise.
Because organic matter is not good for landfill, and for several other reasons, many people started making compost from food scraps leaves and lawn-clippings, to build up topsoil as a basis for organic gardening
Backyard organic gardens became ways to produce health-promoting food, live off the land, and become more self-sufficient. Organic gardening is farming sensitively and intelligently, without chemicals, pollution or soil degradation, using only natural products that continuously improve the soil. Organic produce became known to be tastier, more nutritious, more disease resistant food. Organics has entered the marketplace, commanding premium prices for produce.
Organic and Bulk Food Coops
Neighbourhoods could purchase excellent organic produce at very good prices by organising a bulk and whole foods co-op to enable purchasing direct from suppliers, and then redistributing at low cost. This often provided a friendly neighbourhood focus where volunteers could work together for the improvement of neighbourhoods. Some food coops evolved to become the health food shops of today.
One of the effects of contacting ones inner being is the appreciation of and taste for natural foods. People found their nutritional needs emerging as specific hungers, previously thought to occur only in pregnant women. By adhering to a natural diet, bodies become sensitive to and hungry for what is nourishing for their needs. The right foods to nourish and strengthen a body’s weak points are the first line of medicine, and give rise to those specific hungers that will address those needs, empowering bodies with vitality and resilience, without engaging in fad diets, or needing to go to athletic extremes.
Complimenting natural diet was the urge towards gentler, natural medicines. Food as medicine, herbs, Homeopathy, Schuessler cell salts, Bach flower remedies, acupressure, massage, etc. were found to be effective for strengthening various aspects of the constitution, were harmless and free of side effects, and could be practiced at home by oneself and with peers. Many of these natural healing modalities acted on more subtle levels of the human constitution, that are only now beginning to be understood in the more advanced mainstream medical circles of thought. Homeopathy can be used at first aid levels, and at deeper levels, used to correct inherited genetic weaknesses and flaws; cell salts are used to replenish 12 basic salts that are present in the human constitution; Bach flower remedies are 38 individual remedies to heal subtle nuances of the emotional constitution. Much natural medicine is now know as wholistic medicine.
The cutting edge of therapy moved from psychoanalysis and behaviourism to humanistic therapies, as patients became clients and the focus shifted from social adjustment to self-actualisation. Different, but complementary therapies emerged to deal with pivotal events that mark the loss of, or more accurately, the covering over and blocking out of this essential essence by shock and trauma, denial, and introjected qualities – those unconsciously taken on by the person. Rebirthing alleviates birth trauma, from which clients had not healed. Primal Therapy deals with a major split in consciousness that often takes place in needs-deprived children around 5-7 years old, and which maintains for the rest of the person’s life as the drive for symbolic satisfactions. Gestalt Therapy deals with whatever the client is in chronic avoidance of, and which, when discovered and owned, reintegrates the person, and Client-Centered Therapy assists acceptance of whatever troubling experiences the client is inclined towards focusing on, to enable dissolution.
Massage and Body Work
Many people learned Swedish massage, Rolfing, Shiatsu, Alexander Technique, Postural Integration, Muscle Testing, Touch for Health, and other forms of remedial bodywork to relieve the body of muscle cramps, energy blocks, emotional blocks and buried memories retained within the body.
Meditation is essentially about stilling the body, resting the thinking mind, abiding in the natural self- awareness that precedes and underlies the mind, becoming on with the love that underlies self-awareness, and reconnecting with ones own higher intuitive and visionary faculties that function in delicate, sensitive, compassionate and super-intelligent ways. Some natural effects of meditation are:
- de-stressing the body, emotions and mind;
- healing past injuries, shocks, traumas;
- healing and transforming pain and unresolved suffering into compassionate wisdom;
- dissolving false assumptions, faulty logic, preconceived ideas, and prejudices;
- experiencing truer states of consciousness;
- abiding in pure self-awareness and love;
- becoming receptive to insight, intuition, inspiration and vision.
Biofeedback machines enabled experimenters to audibly or visually, monitor brainwave activity, muscle activity and skin temperatures, as they were occurring, enabling gaining control of delicate, complex subtle internal processes, long believed to be involuntary, and enable greater internal harmony. This enabled internal correction of illnesses including high blood pressure, ulcers, impotence, incontinence, headaches, tinnitus, asthma attacks, paralysis after strokes, etc.
So interesting was the new trend towards liberating ideas, that the study of consciousness itself, and alternative, higher states of consciousness became the most interesting and intriguing subject of all. A broad-based, healthy-person, therapeutic psychology developed. Variously called the “human potential movement”, “transpersonal psychology”, “full humane-ness psychology”, this exploration transcended the uninspiring dichotomy of psychoanalysis vs. behaviourism, and introduced a psychology that was exiting, even exhilarating. New, wholesome systems of politics, commerce, management, working, religion, medicine etc, were explored, discussed, experimented with, written about, and taught in courses. Ecology entered mainstream thinking and became a brand new science. A wholistic paradigm was emerging that enabled a larger, friendlier, more inclusive approach to life.
Paralleling to movement towards societal reform was an equally powerful movement towards individual, personal reform as people sought to tap in and reveal their inner potentials. Psychedelics gave way to Yoga, Zen, Sufism, and other practices that deepened self-awareness that a person could do without external props such as ingestives. Buddhist and other forms of meditation were practised as ways to quieten the mind and allow a deeper, inner awareness to emerge. Encounter groups and humanistic therapies replaced psychoanalysis as the preferred way to heal the emotions and mind
Kinder, more gentle forms of birthing arose, that usually employed working with nature, and included La Maze, LeBoyer, water birthing and home-birthing. Care was taken to ensure the baby’s entry into this world is caring and nurturing, and not stressful or traumatic.
Playgroups and Creative Education
Allowing children to learn from play and interaction became seen as highly important to the developing child. Many forms of education were experimented with, including Summerhill, Steiner and Montessori schools, each of which emphasise aspects of children’s necessary growth needs.
Summerhill, schools gave children an inordinate amount of freedom, and responsibility for exercising their own decisions. School attendance was voluntary and teachers had to make the class interesting enough to attract students. This resulted in highly interesting educational courses that were able to keep pace with mainstream schools
Steiner schools orientate around the child’s natural seven year development cycles, providing beautiful, colourful, natural surroundings, emphasising the importance of childhood and play, and educating for a balance of ‘hands and heart and head’.
Montessori schools emphasise children’s extraordinary passion for learning when they follow their own interests and develop their mind naturally by exploring the world with their senses.
Futurologist Marilyn Fergusson made a comprehensive study of the social and cultural change throughout the 1960s and 1970s and captured the essence as follows:
“A leaderless but powerful network is working to bring about radical change… Its members have broken with key elements of western thought, and they may even have broken continuity with history.
“This network is without a political doctrine, without a manifesto. With participants who seek power only to disperse it, and whose strategies are pragmatic, even scientific, but whose perspective sounds so mystical that they hesitate to discuss it. People asking different kinds of questions, challenging the establishment from within.
“Broader than reform, deeper than revolution, this benign movement for a new human agenda has triggered the most rapid cultural realignment in history. The great shift overtaking us is not a new political, religious or philosophical system. It is a new mind – the ascendance of a startling worldview that gathers into its framework breakthrough science and insights from earliest recorded thought.
“Participants range across all levels of income and education, from the humblest to the highest. There are schoolteachers and office workers, Famous scientists, government officials and lawmakers, artists and millionaires, taxi drivers and celebrities, leaders in medicine, education, law and psychology. They are in corporations, universities and hospitals, on the faculties of schools, in factories and doctor’s offices….
“They are linked by their inner discoveries. You can break through old limits, past inertia and fear to levels of fulfilment that once seemed impossible – richness of choice, freedom, human closeness. Problems can be experienced as challenges, a chance for renewal, rather than stress. Habitual defensiveness and worry can fall away. It can all be different.
“For the first time in history, we have come upon the control panel of change.”
A way had opened up into a better reality where all interactivity could be growth producing in the best sense of the term. People were naturally and energetically, blossoming into a wholistic paradigm of trust, goodwill and cooperation.
Contributions to the Future
Many of these breakthrough discoveries have become regular mainstream items, and have contributed significantly to transitioning our civilisation out from the mechanistic 1950s, and opening it up to a bright new optimistic future. Some are still regarded by many as belonging to a sci-fi future yet to happen, even though they may be practised today in not so obvious places to avoid pushing it in the faces of intolerant conformists to the status quo, which may not be the most optimum way to facilitate advancement.