by John Perkins
I saw the angel in the marble and carved until I set him free.
( May 18, 2018, London, Sri Lanka Guardian) Michelangelo understood that creativity springs from perception. He perceived an image in the marble and – at other times – on the canvas; then he transformed that perception into artistic reality.
My September 2016 blog was entitled “The Perception Bridge: Building a Better Reality.” Since then, I’ve explored this concept – and the hope it offers for your future, our future – in great detail. I’ve discussed it with many writers, artists, philosophers, therapists, and scientists. It is the theme of the book I’m currently writing and it plays a large role in the Writer’s Webinar I’m facilitating that begins later this month, and the workshop entitled “Prosperity Through Creativity” I’ll be teaching at Omega Institute in September.
The fact is that religion, culture, legal and economic systems, countries, and corporations are created and maintained by perceived reality. When enough people accept a perception or when it is codified into law, that perception changes objective reality.
Before Copernican, it was an accepted “fact” that the earth was the center of the universe.
The belief that we were the stewards, the lords, of a planet at the center of the universe had a profound impact on religion, science, philosophy, medicine – reality. When Copernicus proved that the earth revolved around the sun, people had to cross a new Perception Bridge. Overnight, our whole way of thinking about ourselves changed.
Today our reality is molded by our perceptions of concepts expressed by words like success, sustainability, justice, democracy, capitalism, and prosperity. Individuals struggle with what it means to prosper in a world where that very word is generally understood in materialistic terms. Business executives define capitalism within very narrow and highly predatory limits and success as being solely about maximizing shareholder profits. People across the planet are challenged to envision what democracy and sustainability truly look like.
Michelangelo’s genius lay in his ability to cross a Perception Bridge.
His Objective Reality 1 was a hunk of marble. His Perceived Reality, the vision of an angel within the marble, transported him to Objective Reality 2 – the beautiful statue of an angel.
My job as an EHM illustrates another Perception Bridge.
Objective Reality 1 was that countries had resources US corporations wanted. We EHMs promoted the Perceived Reality that using those resources as collateral on loans to finance the building of infrastructure projects would create economic growth and prosperity for everyone in those countries. Government leaders used our econometric models and glowing forecasts of unfettered prosperity to sell this perception to their people. The Perception Bridge was crossed, into Objective Reality 2, a situation where economic growth did occur – at least at the statistical level, as measured by GDP. However, since GDP statistics are skewed in favor of big business and the wealthy, the fact was that only our companies and the wealthy families benefited. The rest of the population suffered. Money was diverted from education, health care and other social services to pay interest on the loans. National resources were exploited by foreign companies. In many cases this has led to political unrest, resentment, and the rise of various forms of radicalism and terrorism.
I recently spent time with Dr. Deepak Chopra, a cardiologist by training who has gained world-wide fame as a philosopher and advocate of new ways to look at medicine and the world, and Dr. Menas Kafatos, a physicist who specializes in cosmology, quantum mechanics, and climate change. The three of us were teaching at the same venue in the Bahamas the week the book they co-authored, You Are the Universe, was published. We spent lots of time discussing the impact perception has on reality. A sentence in their book echoes Michelangelo: “Words aren’t stored in a physical state in brain cells; instead, they exist invisibly but ready at hand – in a virtual state. . .”
When you come right down to it, just about everything we humans do originates in that virtual state – which is another way of saying that our words, art, ideas, and actions are driven by perception. Sculptures, books, music, medicines, computers, rockets that fly to other galaxies – they all are germinated by perceptions.
Human perceptions have created the wars, pollution, species extinctions, social injustices and other crises that currently threaten our planet. Your perceptions have created the life you are currently living.
Since writing that September blog, I’ve traveled to many countries and spoken at a variety of venues – ranging from a dinner for billionaire real estate executives at an outrageously plush California resort to a rock concert in the jungles of Costa Rica (and just about everything in between!). I’ve seen how perceptions are changing. We humans collectively are waking up to the realization that in order to survive we must rise to a higher consciousness. And we humans individually are waking up to the realization that we can in fact realize prosperity – however we define it – through our own creativity.
All we have to do is look at where we want to go, at the angel hiding in our version of Michelangelo’s marble, our current objectivity, and then create and cross a Perception Bridge that takes us to the new reality we desire. You can do it for yourself. You and I can do it for the world.