Below is an excerpt from the new book An End to Upside Down Living by IONS Board Member Mark Gober. Mark started writing the book during the last week of February 2020 — just weeks before the COVID-19 pandemic reached it’s pinnacle. At the time, he didn’t realize why he felt such an urgent need to finish the book quickly.
I have a simple but huge question for you:
What is the overall intention of your life?
Think about that for a few moments.
While you’re thinking about the answer, I’ll give more context. Another way of phrasing it is: What is the orientation that fundamentally drives all of your life’s values, priorities, and decisions; and ultimately, what you do in the world?
How we intend to live is the essential guiding force behind the life we do live. The direction in which we orient our compass determines where we might end up.
Imagine two boats. They start off at the same dock, but they orient their respective compasses a mere one degree differently. In the first few minutes of sailing, the boats are pretty close to each other. After a few hours, they’re farther apart. The distance grows significantly as time goes on, until the two boats are sailing in completely different oceans. The initial, seemingly small, difference ultimately results in vastly different trajectories.
Now let’s apply that metaphor to life. The compass driving our own lives needs to be finely tuned in order to have a chance at achieving our desired outcomes. Even tiny tweaks in our orientation can push us toward a very different life. And moreover, big changes in our orientation can result in massive changes in our lives.
The purpose of this book is to explore, with precision, where we should set our life’s compass. What do I mean by “should”? I mean that I’m looking for an orientation that most closely aligns with the true nature of reality. In other words, this exercise requires having a perspective on what life is, who and what we are, what matters, and why. Our orientation is set on the basis of those foundational beliefs.
My research has led me to reason that our collective orientation, as a civilization, is completely off the mark due to a deep scientific misunderstanding of reality. We aren’t just one degree off, either. We aren’t 45 or 90 degrees off. We’re closer to 180 degrees off.
It all boils down to the following idea, which we’ll explore soon in detail: The overarching belief in separation — rather than interconnectivity — is leading to misguided priorities and decisions across the globe. Virtually all of the world’s countless problems can be linked back to this misdirected compass. The increasingly disturbing external world is a mirror of our combined internal compasses. And so, our collective boat has veered into lethal waters. For this reason, I’ve written each word of this book with a genuine sense of urgency.
Now you might understand more viscerally why I devoted an entire book, An End to Upside Down Thinking (2018); and a podcast series, Where Is My Mind? (2019), to correcting the way we scientifically view reality. In my own life, a fundamental shift in thinking about reality has led to drastic, positive changes in practical living.
In this book I aspire to provide you with a road map for making similar changes in your life — to arm you with an approach for setting your life’s overall intention in a way that aligns with reality.
And as each of us does so individually, we open the possibility of collectively redirecting our civilization’s boat and uplifting the planet before it’s too late. In order to shift the external, we need to shift the internal. I view this exercise as the only hope for the survival of the human species as the clock ticks ominously.
San Francisco, California
This excerpt is from the book An End to Upside Down Living: Reorienting Our Consciousness to Live Better and Save the Human Species (Waterside Productions 2020) witten by IONS Board Member Mark Gober.
Mark Gober is an international speaker, author of An End to Upside Down Thinking (2018), which was awarded the IPPY best science book of 2019, and host of the podcast Where Is My Mind? (2019). Additionally, he serves on the Board of the Institute of Noetic Sciences and the School of Wholeness and Enlightenment. Gober’s background is in business as a Partner at Sherpa Technology Group in Silicon Valley and previously as an investment banking analyst in New York. He graduated magna cum laude from Princeton University, where he wrote his award-winning thesis on Daniel Kahneman’s Nobel Prize–winning “Prospect Theory” and was elected a captain of Princeton’s Division I Tennis Team.