What a narrative?

Maybe you remember the second Newsletter. I tried to explained what it will all about. And sometimes I have to explain myself again.

I will make people challenge their current beliefs about what is important in their lives and to accept a different way of looking at the world that creates harmony, happiness, and health. That’s easier said than done. I tremendously believe in the potential of the human species. Knowledge always wins in the end, but not unless and until it is known. This is a crucial point because it is hard as we are wired by believes that arent truth and we are missing out on a narrative that we can use to thrive. I am very happy to have people in my life who are much smarter than me and explain to me things I don´t understand that much, like cognitive Artificial Intelligence, Math or Energy (more on a spiritual level).

What can we trust? Why is the ‘information ecology’ so damaged, and what would it take to make it healthy? Some questions I have in mind today and not sure if I will write about them today or not, but sooner or later we will come back to them.

Most people have known me as a founder, tech guy and how to understand the world in systems. But these are just labels we attach to people to make sense of them. I always believed that technology is going to fix most of our problems. But after several years in this industry, I understand that first, we need to change our minds. I believe that humans are capable of extraordinary things in symbiosis with the earth. More than any other known species, we have a breathtaking ability to grow, create, explore, love, and solve challenges. We need to come together - which is in fact our natural state. I believe the solution to that world lies in raising human consciousness. Which means evolving the way people learn, grow, work, and co-create.

I see patterns that others sometimes miss, and I connect dots in a very unusual way. Let me answer your questions. We are all drowning in massive human beliefs. The current system was telling me and is still telling you how to eat, how to make money, and how to live. It creates benchmarks to measure us. You should be doing this. And you should be living like that. Go to that university. Most of the time we are told if you follow that path and you will be successful (whatever that means). But those are just narratives and stories we came up with. In our basic nature, we are humans and we should learn to live in symbiosis together. We are part of nature, but we act like we are different. I like to think that there is a difference between bending to life necessities and blindly accepting that you must live your life according to preconceived rules.

We know ourselves through stories, and we know each other through the stories we share. But for all the beauty of stories, we are drowning in them. This is, after all, the promise of postmodernism; the grand narratives that bound us together have been stripped away and instead, the world is fragmented into an infinity of individual perspectives, weaving into a tapestry so thick we can no longer see through it. Wherever we look now, either online or at our institutions and ideologies, we find no single story strong enough to bind us together.

Much Love,

Malte

Offtopic

PS: I am a lot into health and longevity, currently advising some people on nutrition and fasting (not an expert here). I am trying to avoid sugar and looking for cereal companies in Germany like Magic Spoon or other “healthy” snacks.

PSS: If you are interested in those things I can start a small Telegram Group on this as well.

Let's talk 🤗

Mindfulness, Health and Healing

Hello,

Things have been moving fast this past week. Many of us are working from home, self-isolating, and acutely feeling the social distance. So we create memes, we jump on Zoom calls, we try to make ourselves helpful. 

This is the last edition of March—and boy was it a long month! It felt so long it's become a popular joke to say you have been alive in several decades: the 1990s, the 2000s, the 2010s, the 2020s, and March.

For the first time in my life, we have really worked on a goal globally and are starting to solve it. I would like to see the same for other topics as well.

I just got up and in the last few weeks, I haven't felt very well. My meditation today was about Mindfulness, Health, and Healing. Especially the last part is becoming more and more important for me, even though I still have little experience with it. It is about paying attention to your own body and mind.

EVERYTHING IS THE SAME until it is not. Tightly woven ideas and theories may be fabrications that make it hard to see how things could be otherwise. Scientists elaborate on theory with a series of concatenated probabilities to the point that it becomes very difficult to take accepted truth apart in the face of so much “supporting” data. For example, while we all have a pretty good picture of what dinosaurs looked like, clearly no one has ever actually seen one. At first, a few bones were found, and a picture of dinosaurs was constructed based on someone’s view of how they fit together. Then more bones were found, and it was easier to put together the picture of other dinosaurs once we had a starting point. Now imagine that a new and different set of bones were found and scientists began creating a picture of what would become a Metasaurus, where the bones made a reasonably complete image. After it was finished, imagine that a new bone was found that didn’t fit the prior conception of the Metasaurus.

How many new, previously missing pieces that don’t fit would have to be found before we entirely remade our conception of a Metasaurus?

We might “know,” for instance, that certain brain injuries create “irreversible” brain damage and accept that as fact. But if we asked how we could reverse “irreversible” brain damage, we would seek out information different from what we now examine when we take such labels as hard-and-fast truths and merely test existing theories. And so our medical conditions appear more and more to us as they have been defined by the research behind them. It is very similar in modern medicine and often we do not know which drugs really cure and why. Many of our chronic diseases have an unknown origin and the placebo effect is the strongest medicine. We can heal ourselves and many times this is the greatest power our body has. Sometimes those are small things like breathing, drinking structured water or mediate. Sometimes things like a broken leg can be healed in a few days with Plant Medicine and ancient healers. I first heard about that when I was a little child and my mom told me about these things. For many years these memories remained hidden.

In recent weeks I have been able to confront my own vulnerability. Which leads to some clear thoughts that the current path I am going sometimes maybe is not the best option for me.

I'm just thinking about two formats here. I would like to write 2-3 longer articles per month and several small "thoughts" and maybe we can create out of these small thoughts some roundtables via zoom or something similar.

What do you think?

The next two longer editions are about:

Happiness—Meditation, the Brain, and the Immune System

The Economy of Wellbeing

Until next week,
Malte

What is a good person? A good society?

Too often in our society today, to call someone a good person is to treat her like a saint, a monk or the priest next door. Someone who only lives to serve someone else. Fewer people would think about you or me.

Anyway, being a good person feels almost impossible to reach, being a good person or in a state a good citizen is either beyond or against self-interest. Actually the word "citizenship" established when it was a thing to become a good citizen. Because it did not exist before. A pro-social, someone who is collecting badges to become a better "person". Of course, we always think about the past as something that is nostalgic and worth protecting. But it does often seem like that this time has passed. Nowadays it reminds me of the core concept of the Social Credit System in China. You may be going to judge me now, but all they are doing is rating your pro-social life. I am not a fan of that credit system, if you like to we can have a discussion about that. But we have to carefully develop something like this. Cause our world is becoming more transparent, if you want it or not it’s going to happen.

The western society has high rates of volunteers, charities and so-called Social Enterprises. We respond to swiftly to disasters here and abroad. But at the very same time, too many people here today live their everyday lives by an ethic "that is not my problem". And here I like to bring a concept to your mind, which is called reciprocity. Because "It is not my problem" mindset is the problem. It is both the source and the result of an ideology that exalts individual autonomy at all costs. And we learn it very early in our lives. It is also as I will explain below, highly contagious and quickly corrosive. And thus it is a part of a feedback loop in which the disavowal of problems creates the very problems of being disavowed.

My argument is that there is not such a thing as "It is not my problem". I don´t mean that all problems are equal or equally our burden, which would be paralyzing. I mean that being a great human being treats the life of everyone as someone we are connected with. Because we see that all the problems are interconnected.

A few days ago, I was talking to a friend of mine about trust. And how easy it is to work together or live together when we trust each other. Unfortunately, everything around us is less measurable then our health, economy or other things. There has been a slow and quiet seepage of trust and responsibility. For that reason, we established rules, and laws and how to behave and act. We set up laws to not lie, or some other bullshit rules which created this harming society. This is how it is. And you know it is the truth.

I still believe in the power of our societies. In trust in responsibility and the ability to be a good person. The idea of being a great human being is not killed yet. I do believe it has crowded out by the economy/ market and by the government/ state. Nowadays too many people think of their responsibilities as a part of our society as limited mainly to basic compliance with the law.

What we want is showing up for each other. Being a part of this pro-social movement matters because it delivers what the society needs and the market and the state can not offers. It is not about being a good Samaritan. It is more simple than that. It means showing up in public, leaving the place better than before, teaching your children the right values. It is about helping others in hard times and being able to ask for help. It is about reciprocity. Trust is what makes strong economies and nations.

Giving and Taking and the role of Trust

I am writing and talking a lot because, in the course of my career as a consultant, Founder and as an advisor to other professionals, I have made a lot of mistakes. Whatever wisdom this Newsletter a future book etc. contains has been learned the hard way.

Last weekend I remembered a conversation I had with a friend of mine. Alex the founder of Artificial Intelligence CyberSecurity Startup. We talked about the Most Important Issues Facing the World Today. After a while, one theme in particular emerged. Every idea we discussed had at its core the concept of trust - or, more pointedly, the erosion of trust. Trust in media is lost. Trust in politicians is lost. Trust in capitalism is lost. A majority do not trust the system anymore. The blockchain boom suggests we don’t trust the foundations of our financial system. Congress doesn’t trust Big Tech—and chances are, neither do you. Trust is the active ingredient in human civilization. Trust and its absence has shaped societies across generations. What will this crisis mean for the future? A lot, I think.

Perhaps the most important currency in a relationship—friendship, romantic, familial, or professional—is trust. This is certainly true if you work with me or anyone else. If someone didn’t trust you, you didn’t have a relationship with him. But if you trust someone, and vice versa, that trust was the basis for all other aspects of the relationship. Trust is, of course, important for any relationship, but in most business relationships it takes its place alongside other factors: personal agendas, mutual exchange of value.

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What Is Trust In A Relationship?

Trust is the faith you have in someone that they will always remain loyal to you and love you. To trust someone means that you can rely on them and are comfortable confiding in them because you feel safe with them. It is the building block for any relationship without which the foundation will always remain shaky. No matter whether it is a relationship with a partner, friends or business.

Trust in a relationship is defined as a firm belief in someone and the utmost confidence in them. To believe that they are reliable and will never do something that will bring you pain. You feel emotionally and physically safe with them. Remember, trust is built, not something that can be forced.

Why Is Trust Important In A Relationship?

Trust is the foundation upon which your relationship can survive the hardest of times. In fact, without trust, you cannot sustain your relationship for a long time. Lack of trust is one of the reasons for relationships to fall apart.

Here is why trust is the driving factor in any relationships:

  • You cannot love without trusting a person.

  • Trust helps overcome obstacles.

  • Trust helps in healing.

  • It helps control your emotions.

  • It is reassuring.

  • It teaches you about personal time and space.

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Trusting yourself to begin

All of us have potential which is beyond even our wildest dreams, but most of this potential remains untapped. Funny that I was asked yesterday what actually potential means. I had to thought about it for a minute. Each person has the capacity to experience different planes of consciousness, yet most of us live in the lower planes, without experiencing higher levels of existence, or even believing that they exist. I was reading the books by Ken Wilbers and about his Integral theory, which explains this holistic few.

Many people are unhappy in the world, dissatisfied and yet not sure what is lacking in their lives. The basic reason for this unhappiness is our attachment to the material plane of existence. Once we gain a glimpse of higher spheres of consciousness, then our unhappiness and discontent automatically fade away. There are various systems of yoga, mindfulness training etc., which are widely propagated throughout the world. All are aiming at transcendental states where one starts to commune with one's inner being. Most of the systems emphasize the importance of concentration as a means of withdrawing consciousness from the outside surroundings and directing it into the innermost realms of the mind. It is the beginning of a journey to start trusting yourself and others again.

Trust in the Workplace

As I am working most of the time with organizations and StartUps. I figured out that Trust in the workplace is more important than ever before. If organizations are going to survive in the new global economy, their employees must trust themselves and their leaders enough to be willing to take the risks necessary to adapt to the rapidly changing conditions of the marketplace. But after two decades of downsizing, restructuring, and managerial changes, trust within Organisations has reached an all-time low. I can also recommend my article for the New Economy here.

I am a supporter of Adam Grant and had the pleasure to speak to him a few times via mail and skype. And happy that he recommend some students of him to talk to. One of his books is called Give and Take. If you are not familiar with hin. He is known as being the most popular full-time professor at the Wharton School. His popularity has gone far beyond educational institutions, as he managed to win accolades from Business Week and even Malcolm Gladwell.

Adam Grant believes that success, development, and financial well-being is usually divided into three factors – motivation, ability, and opportunity. But, he goes a step further and identifies a fourth component – the ability to interact with people.

Adam Grant classifies people into takers and givers.

The first category of people attempts to maximize profits in transactions, agreements, and other working points. They work exclusively for themselves. Takers are accustomed to working on themselves and they believe that taking care of themselves is the only way. The latter put others’ interests ahead of their own.

Depending on the situation, people can adopt different behaviors—they can take, give, or exchange. But usually, everyone has a dominant model that determines their behavior.

All three behaviors have their advantages and disadvantages. However, his experiences inform his belief that givers receive fewer benefits, as they are guided by the interests of others and forget about their own interests.

The ultimate recommendation is that giving is our best ‘default’ setting—we should extend kindness and generosity to most people most of the time. Giving promotes happiness and promotes win-win outcomes. If you remember, I also did a video (german) about this topic —> Watch Now

But when you sense you are being exploited by a born ‘taker,’ it’s time to stop being a pushover. It’s time to play what Adam Grant calls ‘generous tit-for-tat.’ That is, matching the competitiveness of the other person while remaining open to switching back to being generous at the first opportunity.

This gives you the best of both worlds—altruism-coupled with a dose of self-care as required.

At the moment, Adam Grant has more than 60 publications on various aspects of management and psychology and his work is regularly published in prominent journals around the world.

Thanks to his revolutionary research, Adam Grant has managed to seriously increase the efficiency of labor and reduce the burnout among engineers and sales professionals. He has also suggested techniques that significantly improve the efficiency of doctors and professional rescuers.

Are you a giver or a taker in your work life?

What I was reading/watching this week?

The ways of dog to Mann

How ASML became chipmaking’s biggest monopoly

Gaia Will Soon Belong to the Cyborgs

Why we need to be more emotional to save the world

Ep. 13 - Awakening from the Meaning Crisis - Buddhism and Parasitic Processing

And some papers by a friend of mine about “How Philosophy Contributes to AI “ and some more books related to Impact Investing, Awareness, and Leadership

And please, I’d love to read your thoughts on all of these and the last newsletter :-)

Happy Day!

Best wishes,
Malte 🤩

Preparing for 2050

Not for us it´s for the next generation

Hello,

I’m Malte Josh Wagenbach. I’m exploring how our societies and political economy will change under the force of rapidly accelerating technologies and other trends.

This Newsletter is called Anima Mundi, which means:

The world soul is, according to several systems of thought, an intrinsic connection between all living things on the planet, which relates to the world in much the same way as the soul is connected to the human body (Wikipedia)

I’m writing this to begin to synthesize my own thoughts and feelings. This new Newsletter is focused on exploring topics that I find meaningful and relevant to being human well, individually and collectively. Specifically, thoughts on the future of civilization, Artificial Intelligence, the sensitivity and potential of our current situation, and how we might navigate the path ahead. The impact on our lives and choices, in service to supporting more collective sense-making around a topic that it seems we (or perhaps it’s just me) have mostly wanted to avoid.

Please enjoy it, comment and forward this to friends.

What do the next years hold?

Making predictions is complicated once we understand that the system we are trying to predict is a complex one, of interwoven forces that affect each other, each layering one atop the next. And that we don’t have clarity of when certain technical breakthroughs will occur or how political forces will shape the implementation of technologies (or vice versa).

If we are trying to predict something we have to cope with major challenges. At what level of abstraction should or can we make predictions? And what will be the impact on other industries? At the level of technological progress (chips will get faster, the cost of genome sequencing will decline, the development of new materials is faster...), or at a highly macro level that describes population aggregates. I think we have to zoom in and out all the time to understand the complexity and influence of those things. Thinking between those two perspectives is most relevant for understanding how our lives will change. This is where things get complicated and where our social institutions (like cities, firms, industries, communities) exist: where, in short, we spend most of our time.

What to expect here?

How do we find meaning when the world is on the verge of collapse from forces that seem to be beyond our control?

We are all facing different realities and we have our own thoughts on climate change, economy, and politics. While I have been aware of and deeply considering this reality for some time, I have not yet written about my considerations or conclusions, mostly because I have been afraid of the implications of doing so and also because I have been unwilling to face the stark reality fully.

Today that changes because I do believe and have concluded that the greater call of this crisis is to turn directly towards our fears and face them, overcome our own insecurities, and come into a collective sense-making that could be the only path toward a solution. We no longer have time to waste on a desire for perfection. I will write several articles with the awareness of my own limitations, and also a desire to educate, inform and empower all those who read it into the next level of personal awareness and awakening that could actually result in collective change.

Even as I write those words, I am aware of the part of me that says I am crazy to think that anything I write could make any sort of a significant difference and that I should just keep my head down, stay focused on earning a living and paying the bills, and make my own personal plans for weathering the proverbial and literal storm in as much comfort as possible.

And yet, it is exactly this thinking that we must overcome, both personally and collectively. I surface my own shadow thoughts around it all here in support of perhaps helping you see these thoughts in yourself, and perhaps become willing to make choices that may confront your own sense of meaning. I am willing to go out on a limb and share my views and the choices I am making because, I believe, as many of us as a possible must, if we have any hope for the future of humanity.

Over the past several years, I have had the immense honor to be learning directly and indirectly from some of the great thinkers and sense-makers of our time.

What I have learned in my relationship with each of these people is that I must not give up hope. And I hope you don’t either.

Instead, we must first face the reality, then feel the despair fully and finally, on the other side, continue to dream and live into a new future.

In the last few years, I understand that we do not yet have an economic system to support us in the new era, while at the same time we cannot sustain current levels of economic growth.

My take on this is that we will need to come together to create something new, and it’s happening, and it likely will happen as a result of “force”, not “choice” because we are all so addicted to the current capitalistic structures in which we live. And we have to come up with alternatives for the new era.

Those of us who are wise will get ahead of the coming “force” by converting our current business and personal structures into “share the wealth” paradigms, which we have not learned or been taught, and which it’s time for us to invent, anew.

This will require us to, first and foremost, learn how to share and collaborate. You may think you already learned how to share, but if you really look at your life and the lives of those around you, you’ll likely see that’s not actually the case.

Maybe you’ve learned to become great at creating your own wealth, but how are you sharing it? And I don’t mean just by paying people to work for you. But, truly, how are you sharing what you are creating?

Maybe you think you don’t have anything to share. And that’s the foundation from which you get to build a new understanding of wealth creation.

In order to “share the wealth” we must begin to recognize that wealth comes in many, many, many forms. And not everyone needs to (or even should) earn money, but everyone does need to (and should) be well-compensated for their contributions to the collective.

So, what is in the emergent field and what is each of our individual roles within it? Or, as I am asking myself, what can I do?

To begin with, I can share what I am doing.

These are the 9 most important things I’ve identified in my own life, so far. If you have any more to add, please share them with me. I’ll come back at a future time and write up a whole article on what I’ve discovered about each of these 9 at a later date, and then link them when done.

  1. Find Your Tribe

  2. Find Your Northstar

  3. Heal Your Core Wounds and Traumas

  4. Learn How to Become Personally (and Collectively) Sovereign

  5. Heal Your Relationship With Your Parents and Start Co-Creating With Them Now

  6. Don´t invest in unsustainable Assets, invest in Impact or ESG Assets

  7. Learn to Live in Close Quarters and With Less Stuff

  8. Listen to Nature and Follow Her Direction and Guidance

  9. Be free (that is probably the hardest one to understand)

And please, I’d love to read your suggestions for the shape of the next decades and your thoughts on the comments below.

Happy Day!

Best wishes,
Malte 🤩

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