Architecture of Meaning
Cultivating Meaningful Engagement for Highly Gifted Adults and Highly Sensitive People

Agents of Evolution

Linear vs. Exponential Considerations

Saturday, December 20th, 2008

In Thomas Friedman’s “Hot, Flat and Crowded” he refers to Ray Kurzweil’s (see www.Kurzweilai.net) explanation of intuitive linearity vs. exponential growth as the way to explain our failure to anticipate the level and speed of climate change. Simply put, we tend to base our understanding of the future based on the events of the past and the rate of their unfolding.

In my experience, this is not the experience of the sensitive or the visionary. Part of the struggle for these populations is that their processing leads them to have a sense of the future that does not come from their experiences of the past or how events up until the present have played out. They have a natural capacity to see and feel ramifications of current policies that reach out far into the future.

While I do not begin to suggest that these populations know how climate change is going to play out, I would say that many sensitives and visionaries live with a sense of how large events will play out or come to pass that surpasses all logical explanation. In some ways it is as if they lack the filter that limits the ability of most people to see beyond the present.

If a pebble is dropped in the pond, it is as if the sensitive or visionary feels or sees as far out as the 100th ripple. At most, the majority of the population is just watching the pebble drop. With climate disruption, and economic policies that have global implications, the world’s problems emerge onto a shared playing field. Cultures are being forced to see beyond the pebble that drops in their neighborhood pond. Yet, being forced to consider larger variables is profoundly different than having a natural affinity for sensing and moving into the ever expanding ripples.

I think it remains important for sensitives and visionaries to recognize this distinction. Otherwise, when they are around people talking about “green revolutions” etc., they can get confused as to why the level of conversation still seems to be missing the mark. It is as if the people seem to be talking about the ripples, but somehow, they are still only seeing the ripples nearest to them. (See “Hot, Flat and Crowded” for a superb explanation as to why our efforts in the USA towards green living have less than the impact of a pebble in a pond on a global level).

As crises spread, deep change is mandatory. Someone aware of the ripples can be confused as to why it takes such crisis for most citizens to even begin to consider the need for change. This is part of the pain of carrying a capacity for vision – or for the awareness of the exponential.

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