For no light matter is at stake; the question concerns the very manner in which human life is to be lived.
"Not our world, but we human beings are the cause of our problems, and only by redesigning our thinking and our acting - not the world around us - can we solve them."
Ervin Laszlo in 'The Inner Limits of Mankind' 1989
Experience leads us to paint ourselves into a corner. Then one day we look over our shoulder and see that the walls that we believed were behind us were in our imaginations only. From that moment we can stand up and step out into another landscape.
"How many levels of meaning do you perceive in your world?
And how many do you think you might be missing?"
"We can design our life in any way we want, but whether we will thrive depends on how well that life fits human predispositions"
Frans De Waal, 2006
Contesting the Noosphere
Co-creating meaning since 2001
Contesting noospherics: empathy and compassion for leadership, learning and the survival of humaneness
Heretics are the only antidote to the entropy of human thought
"Everything has changed but our ways of thinking, and, if these do not change, we drift toward unparalleled catastrophe"
What is this site about?
Reflecting on: thoughts, interactions and the creation of meaning with others; on the nature, origins, and development of ideas; on the essence of humanity and humaneness manifest in interaction; and on constructive interaction to enrich and empower individuals, groups and organizations everywhere.
What is its aim?
To promote, in the words of the inspirational Jaron Lanier, "an alternative intellectual environment that is large enough to roam in...a new encompassing architecture of interconnected thoughts that can engulf a person with a different worldview".
The information is in the architecture.
Who is it for?
Anyone interested in thought, nature and humaneness; anyone interested in the survival of these; anyone wanting new perspectives on human interaction and development; and everyone working with people, especially those in education, training, leadership and organization development.
What are its premises?
No human being is a 'thing apart' from nature and other humans
Our humaneness only exists through our interactions with nature and other humans
All human interactions, including learning and leadership, are based on emotion and all interactions begin with a feeling
This is overlooked by most of the systems we create and by almost all learning and development organizations
Neuroscience is now giving deep insights into human interactions and these insights are being used to shape, direct and control our development and our behaviours - whether we like it or not
These same insights must be employed proactively to preserve and nurture our humaneness
They must become the common coinage of leaders, teachers and learning and development professionals everywhere
- Humanity now faces its greatest challenges - including the survival of humaneness and what it means to be human - and these challenges can only be met by engaging with new insights and understandings of what we are
And, as H G Wells said, as the human condition "becomes ever more a race between education and catastrophe...let us learn the truth and spread it as far and wide as our circumstances allow"
"Even if, just in time, humans impose a check on their blind and unbelievably stupid conduct, they remain threatened by a progressive decline of all those attributes and attainments that constitute their humanity."
Konrad Lorenz in 'The Waning of Humaneness'
The Need to Rethink
Our every thought and every interaction is based on emotion and feeling.
This simple fact is overlooked in almost all the formal and organizational systems we create.
Natural and instinctual learning and leadership behaviours work because they evolved with us - conventional and traditional ones fail because they were invented for societal and organizational purposes and imposed on us.
Our brains and instincts are natural systems now compelled to live in an increasingly un-natural world.
We are faced with a choice - do we lose our humaneness by attempting to fit it to the unnatural and constantly changing world that organizations and technology creates around us? Or do we create an organizational and technological world that accommodates and complements our humaneness?
Either way, we need to re-think and change how we live, work and create meaning together.
"We can, if we so desire, become the sculptors of our own brains"
Santiago Ramon y Cajal
The brain now reading this - yours - is a product of a few hundred million years of emotional development, a few hundred thousand years of intellectual development, a few thousand years of cultural development, and hopefully at least a few decades of personal experiential development. This history in inescapable, and everything you feel, think, do and say is shaped by it.
This site is intended to help you understand and make better use of your brain's history - and allow your brain to network more effectively - within yourself, with your environment, and with other brains around you.
People who understand memetics will have an increasing advantage in life, especially in preventing themselves from being manipulated or taken advantage of. If you better understand how your mind works, you can better navigate through a world of increasingly subtle manipulation.
Passivity is proper to domesticated animals. It can be imperfectly imposed upon humans by threatening violence. It may be fully achieved by an all-encompassing system which defines existence.
John Ralston Saul
(Voltaire's Bastards: The Dictatorship of Reason in the West)
The only freedom that is of enduring importance is freedom of intelligence, that is to say, freedom of observation and of judgement exercised in behalf of purposes that are intrinsically worthwhile.
John Dewey, 1938
The sphere of thought is the noosphere and its study is noospherics.
The survival of humanity now depends on the ethical regeneration of the noosphere.
This model provides the basis for our work. It can be expanded, developed or amended to fit the widest range of circumstances.
Other examples of its application are found on other pages of this site.
The human race is experiencing an intellectual Stockholm syndrome of pandemic proportions - and most people have an unthinking devotion to imposed ideas that hold their minds captive.
Large skepticism brings large understanding,
little skepticism brings little understanding
and with no skepticism there will be no understanding.
Xi Zhi (1130-1200)
"Our education system ignores the role of emotion in learning and decision making"
"Cognition is not as logical as we once thought, and emotions are not always so illogical"
Our brains are confined, but our minds extend as far as our senses allow
- and that includes into other brains and other minds.
Soul-Chaplain - an anagram of Paul Nicholas - was created when Paul and colleagues in higher education and local government came together to use social and emotional neuroscience - especially of leadership and learning - to improve the quality of human interaction and meaning-making in organizations. Soul-Chaplain has provided training for thousands of individuals and teams in over 500 organisations across five continents.
I want to be with those who know secret things
It is dangerous to identify the real world with the models we construct to explain it
John von Neumann
Distrust of the contemplative temperament arises less from innate philistinism than from a suspicion of anything that cannot be counted, stuffed, framed or mounted over the fireplace
Dedicated to the rabbit in a hat - who brings love, inspiration and magic