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As a Process Professional, I’m constantly curious about the leading edge in high performance and consciousness. I’m a pragmatist too … so I like to research tangible methods that can truly assist my clients and myself to reach greater states of fulfillment, satisfaction and ease in the things that matter most to us (be they professional and/or personal).
That curiosity has taken me into some unexpected places over the years – an example of which is my interest in the work of American journalist Annie Jacobsen.
Ms. Jacobsen’s latest book, which is garnering a lot of deserved attention is The Pentagon’s Brain: An Uncensored History of DARPA, America’s Top Secret Military Research Agency.
Even though I was raised a military brat, I have not, until recently, had any interest in military history. Thinking it’s boring, depressing and not relevant (who wants to review battles in the past when there are so many current ones vying for our hearts and minds).
My old assumptions were ignorant. When done correctly, military history can truly inform our present, and help us understand the current crossroads we collectively find ourselves, as a species, standing at.
Brain and Consciousness Research:
I entered Ms. Jacobsen’s work because of my interest in brain and consciousness studies. As a Helping Professional it’s important I stay up to date about what scientists are learning that might help regular people perform and feel better in their lives. Turns out most of this type of research, and a lot of it is being done, is funded by the military, some of it through DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Project Agency).
DARPA is an American military agency whose mandate is to be a ‘revolution in military affairs’ and create ‘vast weapon systems of the future’. They do ‘pre-requirement research’, which means they develop technology that is needed, before it is needed. As Ms. Jacobsen states, this mission originated during the Cold War with ballistic missile defense (the Soviet Union upset the apple cart by surprise launching the Sputnik satellite into space in 1957, in essence, kicking off the Space Race).
Where Brains Come In:
What’s Sputnik have to do with coaching and my interest in brain research and consciousness studies? Well, through the decades, and through the wars of those decades (Vietnam, Gulf War, and into the current War on Terror fought in various middle eastern countries), technology has been step-by-step progressing, culminating in recent sophisticated developments in info tech, nano tech and bio tech (merging man and machine) … including technology connected with human brains, thinking, feeling and performance.
If interested, here is a recent video where Ms. Jacobsen and the interviewer discuss her book including a useful overview of the tech innovations that have occurred, and how this impacts regular folks like you and me:
It’s What We Do With Technology That Counts:
I certainly didn’t realize how far technology has progressed these last years. Ms. Jacobsen’s book and others that delve into these important topics are a real eye opener.
Technology is a double-edge coin. It has amazing uses which can truly benefit humankind and it has terrifying uses that could literally mean the end of humankind … and quickly.
Really important stuff to get informed about as this urgency isn’t far off, given how extraordinary the advances are!
It’s a very delicate shift that we as a species are navigating at this crucial nexus point. OMG do we have important issues to process through, and pronto. Guess I just want to join the bandwagon and agree that we as a collective society need to be democratically deciding on the amazing technology that has and is being created and how it is used. I highly recommend reading Annie Jacobsen’s book.