Humanity yearns to be more. Now is the most significant moment of our shared existence, only to be surpassed by now. We exist in moments of perpetual progression, both within our experience and beyond it. Yet, in many ways, we are trapped. We are bound to a place and space, dictated by birth lottery, that bears the burden of a history of choices we had no say in making. We still rely on systems developed for different eras of human experience that reinforce values and practices inadequate for the needs of the moment. Humanity is surrounded by crises on all sides, and global leadership continues to ignore the impending shifts as if it will somehow make them disappear. Ours is a crisis of both spirit and systems. These ways of being reinforce limitations on our imagination of the possible. The central theme of this text is to explore, develop, and practice an alternative vision of being. One that better expresses the radical power latent within individual and collective humanity.
Numerous historical and scientific examples can explain why our present trajectory is leading us to the crisis. We will explore many of them. Our primary focus will remain on the why and how of transcendence. We will examine what constitutes the crisis and our current practices accelerating us toward shared decline and devastation. It is no exaggeration to say that the current trends place much of humanity in a grim future. At the same time, the direction of our journey can change if we choose. We must recognize that the most significant barrier toward shared transcendence is the lack of cohesive vision. The demand for more expansive humanity is here, but we lack alternatives. We must address this problem by exploring alternative frameworks for becoming more.
This journey is about redefining our understanding in greater alignment with what is. We must find a way of positioning both individual and collective humanity to more fully express our imaginative powers over the universe. To do this, we must sever the power our creations possess over us. Traditionally, we define self-actualization as an emergent process occurring by aligning several factors, including physiological status, material security, safety, social belonging, and self-esteem. This text expands that definition, recognizing the inseparable and influential relationship between individuals and systems that occur at every interaction. We redefine self-actualization as the sum of our individual and systemic actualization within a given moment. By connecting the dots between our past and immediate present, we will create a more expansive vision for ourselves and our species than the sum of our parts.
Individual actualization is the practice of expanding our personal powers and enhancing “I.” Systemic actualization is the practice of increasing our collective power and developing “we.” These two components of being are one and the same, intertwining experiences that work together to make us more than we are. We cannot reach our fullest potential in one direction without the other.
Individual actualization is where beings elevate themselves to a state of consciousness more synchronous with the universe. Individuals have been actualizing throughout history. It is available to all who possess the access and agency to seek. The awakening process is unique to each individual. Our unique journeys ensure that only individuals can decide how to express themselves. Our exploration of the how will draw from various sources, including relevant learnings from my own journey. I will do my best to frame my experiences so that they can be easily adapted and customized to your personal circumstance. Consider everything written herein subject to challenge and change. We all occupy a single perspective out of the billions we share regarding individual actualization.
The second part of self-actualization is systemic actualization. We will use the term “system” throughout the text to mean a collection of rules and laws that define our interactions with each other. Systems take many forms—economic, legal, and political. Each is different in specific function yet identical in its core purpose. All systems reinforce particular behaviors and beliefs. Our circumstances craft the universal realities we assume to be true. This has long been known. Socrates spoke about how the relevance of any idea intertwines with what the individual believes to be accurate and authentic. To unlock the full potential of the human experience, we must actively pursue the development and implementation of systems that enhance our abilities and power. Self-actualization is not a rare occurrence to be achieved only by those with divine inspiration, luck, or fortunes allowing a life of creative pursuit. It is a process open to every single human being. Every child is born a silent prophet, but the lottery of our birth determines much in our fates. Systemic actualization is a process through which we significantly reduce the impact of birth lottery and geography on individual access and agency.
To bring this vision to life, we will develop frameworks of spiritual and systemic technologies rooted in community and practice. We will embrace and encourage the transformation of consciousness, culture, and courage as the path toward overcoming the crisis. In many ways, we seek to develop a non-religion religion: a spiritual philosophy linking individuals and others beyond the mythos of long-past human belief and experience. We break from the dominant spiritual trappings of the present by deconstructing the dualism they reinforce, thus embracing the infinity we know ourselves and our universe to be.
There will be no miracle unless we decide to create one. No second coming unless we are willing to become it. As we’ll explore throughout the text, today’s political, economic, legal, and spiritual institutions serve to accelerate the crisis and stifle redirection. Self-actualization in the age of crisis requires focus and energy. Transcendence demands more than idle observation. If this sounds like a far cry from where we stand in our present age of crisis, it is—but that does not make it any less obtainable. For the first time in our history, we exist within a moment where it is within our power to create the transcendence humanity has desired for so long.
Change is a fundamental aspect of our universe and the human time experience. However, history shows us that genuine economic, political, and social reforms often take shape after a crisis. We will explore how it is both possible and ideal to organize ourselves and our systems in ways that allow for emergent leaps of progress without devastating crises. The journey will require courage and challenge many common understandings and beliefs. Still, we will not temper our ambitions to embrace a more transcendent human experience.
What we’ll explore in this book is beyond politics. This book rejects all presently available political parties, dogmas, and rigid forms of the national organization. However, we cannot avoid systemic actualization being a political process. We will explore policies and frameworks for developing the systems necessary for our shared actualization. Nothing put forth will be utopian. All of the ideas expressed herein are obtainable within our immediate present. Some aspects of the crisis are no longer avoidable, but that should not distract us from recognizing that the time for global transcendence is now. The alternative is grim for the majority of our population. We are finally at a stage within our existence where it is possible to achieve actualization on a local and global scale. Past spiritual awakenings make the individual the focal point of self-actualizing. But individuals who become aware understand the inherent connectivity of the universe and those within it. It is a call to realize the gravity of the moment, the divine power contained within our current conscious coordinates to direct focus and energy towards creation.
There is an underlying sadness behind this journey because we know that these moments in time could have been avoided. Then again, maybe not. After all, we can only ever be here. To that end, we recognize that all transformation requires leaving something behind. It is the nature of universal progression. The existing institutions offer us no hope for the future, and trying to cling to them only furthers our descent into chaos and calamity for our planet’s population. So instead, we choose to start from scratch, creating a plan exciting enough to encourage mass participation but with the detail necessary for a step-by-step approach. The highest forms of individual actualization require systemic actualization. That the majority of humanity lacks access to the resources and systems necessary to do so is a great disservice to us all. I hope this book serves as an instructional manual, a framework for being a light source in the face of a dark era of human experience. A work of worthy imagination, visions of a known future we have yet to embrace.
I intend to help you create a universe where your role is meaningful and significant. You have the power to create the change you desire for yourself and the world around you. By embracing new frameworks of understanding for our internal and external universes, we can realize degrees of control we did not believe were possible. This philosophy is rooted in an understanding that our internal capacity to be a specific way exists in relation to our circumstances. We leverage this aspect of the universe to craft our local and global society in a way that supports radically different experiences. All of this draws from present understandings of cosmology and physics, discoveries illuminating the universe as not what we imagine it to be.
Consider using the text as a framework for a new way of experiencing the world. For best results, apply these methods as an entirely new operating system, not an update or a patch to your existing platform of behaviors. Choosing to take on any practices or beliefs we explore will help you transform into a better version of yourself. Self-actualization, as defined herein, will require fundamental shifts in your core values and understandings, so approach this book with an open mind and heart. It begins with the belief that more is possible, but you probably wouldn’t have made it this far if you didn’t already believe that.
I share this from the limitations of my perspective, ensuring that this alternative is incomplete. At a minimum, it must be considered a work of extreme selfishness. I, too, have loved ones I do not want to see harmed by what lies on the horizon. They are those I know, those I might know in the future, and those I will never know. I’m a loving partner, father, and community member. My hobbies have included a twenty-three-year wrestling and Brazilian jiu-jitsu career, brewing beer, and yoga. I’ve been an entrepreneur, inventor, web developer, nonprofit founder, and local community activist, organizer, and political candidate, among other occupations—all of which focused on building a community around shared visions of greatness. I consider myself a generalist who dives deeply into directions that inspire me.
My inspiration for this text is rooted in frustration. My time spent organizing ultimately led me to conclude that we are approaching change incorrectly. We are attempting to develop root cause transformation within a system that resists it on all fronts. Most organizations supporting movement work are held captive, having to co-opt the values of the systems they seek to change to make progress. This text has been a six-year journey of research and writing that began with a burning desire to imagine more. Many individuals have inspired it, and I have made a genuine effort to accurately source my claims. I am attempting to connect the dots in a way we have yet to try so that I may share an alternative vision of what being human can be—one that is both the most logical and the most ideal outcome given our present circumstances.
On a final note, I share this effort with you, fully aware that it may not be enough to avoid the worst of the crisis. I believe that transcendence is possible and necessary, but the journey is filled with struggle. If more expansive humanity cannot emerge before the crisis, one will emerge after. If that is the case, know that the philosophy and practice laid out herein is equally viable as a framework for rebuilding and an opportunity for redirection.