#TransformativeStudies

Episode 21 - Mikey Siegel (Consciousness Hacking)

Science is increasingly recognizing what spiritual and religious traditions have been advocating for thousands of years: through focused self-awareness we can fundamentally change our conscious experience. The keys to accessing profound joy and contentment in this world lay not in our external circumstances, but in our relationship to ourselves. Numerous peer reviewed studies on mindfulness and meditation are proving the profound benefits reaped by these long-time practices. Is there a modern enlightenment, in harmony with the media and technology that seems to constantly externalize our attention, and increase our sense of separation from ourselves and others? Can we create new forms of technology that can enhance our lives? Can we leverage existing technologies to help make us smarter, cultivate calm minds, lower stress, do our jobs better, improve our relations with friends and family, respond better to the world around us and rediscover our sense of connectedness and the simple joy of being alive here and now?

Enter Mikey Siegel and the Consciousness Hacking movement. 

Neuroscience research is beginning to deeply explore the nature of not only meditation, but of mystical and enlightened states. And these examples are just the tip of the iceberg. Consciousness Hacking is a hands-on approach to making new tools for self-exploration, in order to change the way we think, feel, and live. Consciousness Hacking is an exploration into the ways that technology can support psychological, emotional and spiritual well-being. They are a global community, building a future where technology is in service to the highest ideals of humanity. The ultimate purpose of the group is to generate a series of new technologies for cognitive enhancement to improve the way we feel and live.

It is a terrifying and exciting time to be alive and people like Mikey are working tirelessly to shift our perspectives on the nature and potential uses of technology. As a created tool, technology does not have to be simply a vehicle for perpetual distraction, commerce and mindless chatter. Technology can also be developed to transform the way we perceive the world and each other. And the Consciousness Hackers are on the cutting edge of this paradigm shift. This is an exciting movement of engineers, designers, technology experts and other creative people who are starting meet ups all over the world to inspire each other and network with the next generation of change makers. 

In this episode, we discuss fun things like the future of AI, 3D printing and medical nanobots, as well as the clinical benefits of meditation and mystical experiences. Enjoy!

Episode 20 - Adrian Mack & Keisha Thorpe (The Emergent Studies Institute)

It was books that taught me that the things that tormented me most were the very things that connected me with all the people who were alive, or who had ever been alive.

-James A. Baldwin

I first met Adrian and Keisha when I entered the PhD program in Transformative Studies at CIIS in San Francisco back in 2013. I had to leave the program almost immediately due to financial aid problems (making me the shortest lived doctoral candidate since Elvis got his honorary degree) but they continued on and have begun implementing what they had been learning in exciting, innovative ways. They are co-teaching a class at the Emergent Studies Institute which explores the linkages between social justice movements and the creative muse via the artistic outlets of music, literature, film, images and performance art, beginning with the Civil Rights movement to the present day. 

In many ways, On the Block Radio is a project that grew out of my initial interactions with folks like Adrian and Keisha. They are engaged, compassionate people who are finding ways to join their business interests, academic scholarship, creative impulses and spiritual lives into integrated, integral models of wholeness, mindfulness and balance. They are entrepreneurial, new paradigm activists who are breaking down barriers, abolishing stereotypes and rewriting what is possible for people of color in the arts, academia and business. It was an honor to talk to them in this engaging, wide-reaching conversation. And it made me REALLY want to get back to CIIS. Enjoy!