Inspirational Thinking: A Manifesto

ARTICLE | | BY Shlomo Yishai

Shlomo Yishai

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We now face a Global Paradox. The internet has increased human abilities to global proportions, while at the same time our life systems, such as government, security, finance, and education, are extremely challenged. These systems seem to have lost their power and relevance in the face of newly created reality. Living in a global system requires a new way of thinking—Inspirational Thinking. This manifesto will enable us to apply the understandings and actions of the present from an understanding of the future, not by a negation of the past but by learning from it.

1. The Global Giant – A Realistic Metaphor

The beginning of the 21st century will most likely be remembered as a period in history in which humanity entered its Global Era. A metaphoric description of the unfolding of events could be described as the virtual web passing from the initial stages of pregnancy of the 20th century to the formation of a new global figure at the start of the 21st century. The cells comprising the newly formed global figure are the people who have connected to the internet, and so became Global People.

Google* was established in 1998, and has developed a powerful search engine that serves as the ‘brain’ of the newly created human life form. A digital brain that aims to supply every global person with the knowledge they need to run their lives. The digital brain enables every global person access to infinite information. Currently some 2 billion users a month find their way in the digital world using Google searches. As a result, humanity finds itself at the dawn of the century in a reality in which information has no barriers or limits. Knowledge and information are accessible to everyone in a way they never were before.

The Global Giant’s heart is also developing in parallel with its brain. Facebook, the “mother of social networks”, was established in 2004 and now links over one billion users. This generates the possibility of a new form of interpersonal communication. Social networks—Facebook and its subsidiaries, Instagram and WhatsApp—serve as the emotional engine of the new reality. Social networks act to transform the personal human emotional experience into a joint network experience. The heart of the Global Giant beats through social networks, generating the Global Person’s human, emotional connections. This huge heart generates an emotional human experience in an open human system enabled through an infinite network connection.

The digestive system, or, more precisely, the Global Giant’s feeding frenzy, is ably represented by Amazon, established in 1994, and its Chinese counterpart, Alibaba, established in 1999. The digestive system fulfills its physical needs: a never-ending abundance of products, online here and now, with direct distribution. The ‘digestive system’ allows the Global Person to go on a global shopping spree—in his or her slippers.

The brain, heart and digestive system act in the virtual sphere and serve as the basis through which the new global figure is formed. This metaphorically describes what happened to us in the beginning of the 21st century.

According to this description, global humanity—humanity connected through virtual networks—can be considered the new Global Being that is being created. This human entity is forming, developing sinews and skin through additional network configurations such as appliance networks, energy networks and so on. At the start of this new century we find ourselves individually empowered by networks yet being simultaneously increasingly dependent on the developing virtual reality.

The Global Giant began taking its first steps in 2011. These steps left an impression in the shape of the Arab Spring that swept through the Arab world just as social protests swept through the Western world. These were the clumsy steps of a huge figure being operated through social networks—human force challenging the old social order while not yet ready to generate new ones. An anti-thesis without a thesis. The Global Giant continues to march along the 21st century, rocking the world with its forceful footfalls. While marching, it challenges traditional human social orders, the social orders that generated the modern world throughout the 20th century.

Some two decades into the 21st century, it seems that humanity has hit an existential ‘glass ceiling’. This glass ceiling expresses a challenge in which the old reality and traditional social orders are no longer relevant, yet we are unable to generate social orders for the new reality of life. The Global Giant exists and is walking around in the reality of our lives, a giant who threatens all the old systems. The closed life systems—local systems that enabled nations and civilians to flourish within them—find themselves helpless in the face of this global force. In contrast, the Global Giant is ambling around in the new life sphere created by a power-drunk humanity, yet without inspiration or direction. It flings existential threats in all directions while simultaneously spreading virtual illusions that generate thrills and experiences.

The Global Giant threatens us with global terror, threatens our jobs with smart machines, threatens systems of governance and society through human networks, and threatens the economy by formulating a virtual economy alternative to traditional economy. Despite this undermined reality, humanity is completely absorbed in the breathtaking virtual illusions. As a result, it is busy developing more and more spectacular applications and in parallel more and more cyber protections to safeguard this newly created paradise. Humanity is focusing on technological development and ignoring the fact that it has lost its way. Will it succeed in breaking through the glass ceiling? Will it be able to generate new social orders, ones that will provide its amplified ability with a positive expression? Will we succeed in marching the Global Giant towards a new human horizon, an empowering and inspirational horizon?

2. Era of the Global Person – A Reality Check

Over the past three decades we have been experiencing the creation of a new human era—the Global Era. Two cumulative criteria generate a new era in human existence. The first is an essential change in the reality of our lives—a digital technological revolution. The second change is a fundamental change within us—a change in humanity itself. A change stemming from the reality of global networks to which we are all connected through the internet.

The first change in our reality can be summed up by saying that the humanity that existed in one tangible world throughout its existence has, over the past few years, created a new reality of life. Humanity has developed a parallel world, a virtual world that ‘exists’, is ‘significant’, ‘powerful’ and even ‘threatening’. Social networks affect all our lives and we all have some presence in the virtual world even if we are not active on social networks.

The second significant change is the change that refers to the empowerment process we have all gone through—we have become Global People. The Global Person is empowered with three leadership powers, powers that in the not too distant past and throughout human history were held only by authorized people and entities. The first power is the power to act in global finance—access to international markets. This ability, which used to be in the hands of business people, leaders and states, is now open to all. Every person connected to the internet can buy and sell throughout the world. The second leadership power is access to information. Today we all have access to infinite knowledge through the internet. Information that used to be classified for authorized personnel only, such as security, financial and professional medical information, is now available to everyone. The third leadership power is the ability to turn to the masses, share with them and even call them to action through social networks. This integrated reality serves as the basis for the new period of humanity we live in—Humanity’s Global Era.§

The new human power opens up a new human horizon. On the one hand, we are awed by the speed at which the environment we live in has changed. We are currently enjoying abilities that essentially changed our lives due the world of computers which has infiltrated all layers of human existence. Yet in parallel, even in this embryonic stage, we must know that the new human power we are experiencing, the summit we have reached, is the watershed. On the one hand a powerful, spectacular and new human horizon opens before us, a global horizon. At the same time, on the other side, a chasm yawns. A chasm caused by the gulf between the new reality and humanity’s lack of preparedness for this reality. The more technology advances, the deeper this gulf grows.

To illustrate this chasm, it is enough to scan a number of concrete questions posed to us by the new reality. Questions that awaken us to recognition that despite the technological reality that generates a new human power, the personal feeling most prevalent at the start of the 21st century is one of instability.

3. Challenged Systems

It is important to note that the purpose of this survey is to open the 21st century’s range of human challenges. Each of these challenges, and many others not mentioned here, compels us to develop creative solutions based on in-depth research.

“The developing Blockchain technologies generate the possibility of creating a global financial system—a reliable financial system active in virtual reality .”
  • Democratic Systems of Government – the democratic systems of government that were the source of the previous century’s prosperity and progress find themselves in a growing sense that ‘something is just not working…’. The feeling is that the central government is working less and less for benefit of the private citizens who elected it, preferring instead the benefit of those with financial power who activate the central government through lobbyists. The social networks expose the ‘behind the scenes’ of government working to everyone, and so deepen citizens’ distrust of elected officials.

    One significant result of this accumulated distrust is that unexpected leadership grabs hold of the world’s helm by democratic means. The common trait of leadership change processes in many democratic states is that the ‘new’ leader is not part of the ‘old’ institute. The democratic selection of a new leader in these instances is an expression of anger and despair at the old institutions and not a vote of confidence in the untried and unknown new leader. Many times the new leader’s leadership pattern remains one of Antithesis Leadership—leadership incapable of becoming a viable thesis—even when he or she comes to power.

    Another leadership strategy that we experience at a time of leadership drought is the strategy of fear. Many leaders base their continued leadership on opposition—to a rival or an enemy, either real or imagined. In this way we find that fear is a dominant feeling among the ‘leadership guard’ throughout the world. The sense of fear and lack of stability that is played up by central leadership encounter a reality of a steadily increasing lack of personal safety. Fear stemming from the new reality and its consequences in the transition stage, as we shall see further on.

  • Security Systems – the cyber terror threatening national infrastructures poses a strategic threat to states. Back in 2013, James Clapper, former director of American National Intelligence, announced in a speech to Congress that the greatest threat to American security stemmed from computer cyber terror. Nowadays, it is clear that the World Wide Web serves as a basis for enabling the forceful emergence of terror and crime nets, both on the open internet and on the Dark Net, found deep in the internet.

    These phenomena sow fear in general consciousness and challenge the world’s security systems. The consciousness of terror, such as the ISIS consciousness, manages to recruit supporters and even call them to action through the internet, particularly through the social networks. Terrorist entities acting in the global virtual sphere manage to weave a web of terror and fear across the world using the internet.

  • Economy – economic divides, the cost of living and uncertain employment horizons are symptoms of an unbalanced capitalist system. We must develop new financial phenomena in conjunction with this undermined financial reality through the technology available to everyone. The accelerated development process of the virtual sphere is generating changes at a previously unknown force and pace. Here are a few examples that illustrate this reality.
    • Challenge to industry and financial firms – In 1997 Prof. C. Christensen published his book, The Innovator’s Dilemma, in which he identified a phenomenon that gained ground the more the global digital revolution advanced. He called this phenomenon ‘Disruptive Innovation’, meaning, a phenomenon in which the development of technological innovation or of an internet application brought about the termination of an economic means of support. The book’s subtitle reads, “When new technologies cause great firms to fail”—an anxiety prevalent in today’s financial world. The fear that the development of one application will make the work of hundreds and thousands of people redundant. Examples of this are applications such as Uber and Airbnb**, which—with the launching of one application—generated a reality that upset long-standing financial activities.
    • Challenges to financial policy institutions – other continuously developing network abilities also threaten financial institutions and traditional financial methods of acting. The developing Blockchain technologies generate the possibility of creating a global financial system—a reliable financial system active in virtual reality. For instance, a technology that enables creating an internet, supra-state virtual currency such as the Bitcoin. The existence of virtual currencies allows financial configurations in which many functions needed for traditional economies are made redundant.
    • Challenge to the individual citizen – we can see ‘smart machines’ developing in the near future that are destined to replace millions of workers in the foreseeable future. Meaning that in addition to undermining traditional financial institutions and companies that will suffer from a global economy—the shockwaves of which will directly and immediately injure the individual—the individual’s workplace is under an immediate existential threat.
    • Cyber Giants – supra-state financial powers which challenge society as a whole. The immense financial power and concentration of data found in the hands of very few, the Cyber Giants, is a disruptive phenomenon both for traditional institutions and for each one of us. These giants hold the means for monitoring and control through the Big Data they have. Power held by people who were not democratically elected. Power that serves the organization they work in. The cyber giants are built to grow based on a ‘winner takes all’ strategy. A very small number of cyber giants, such as Google and Facebook, are in the process of overtaking the entire virtual territorial sphere. The forceful way in which they grow enables them to take over every innovative application and new technology, turning them into sole rulers of the new reality.

    This raises fears of an unknown financial future, a fear that can reach existential levels.

    “The developing Blockchain technologies generate the possibility of creating a global financial system—a reliable financial system active in virtual reality .”
  • Education – the educational system is also in flux as the need for change cries out. The overall feeling is that schools are old and irrelevant for the new reality. The first generation of the Global People’s children is growing up in a reality of dramatic changes and yet are being educated based on Industrial Revolution educational approaches. The reality of information flooding and social network challenges demands a new educational configuration. The education system currently finds itself essentially flummoxed by the inability to meet the basic challenge it is facing, namely—the practical and moral obligation to prepare children for the challenges of the future.

    We must keep in mind that by 2050 these children, who are currently in the education system, will be running the world… We must ask ourselves—are we being given an education system that is preparing the leadership of the future? We are living in a reality that calls upon the educational system to reinvent itself.

  • Society and Culture – social networks are a new public sphere that lacks a moral code. This reality generates, among other things, extreme phenomena that require a solution at the individual and national levels. The behavioral and moral code of behavior in our modern public sphere was formulated in a long, cumulative process extending throughout human history. On entering the virtual sphere we discover ourselves in a sphere lacking any moral code. ‘Shaming’ is used as an efficient ‘disinfectant’ in the social networks yet often acts as a disinfectant of poisonous proportions that injuries inflicted on the ‘shamed’ person can reach terminal levels.

    Additional cultural consequences stemming from this powerful yet inspiration-less reality are –

    • Time is ruled by the Present – Time, a basic existential dimension in a person’s life, has become flat and shallow—the present has almost become the sole dimension of time in our existential experience. To a great extent it is true to say that we have lost our past and mainly our responsibility for the future. Responsibility for the future existed throughout human existence, serving as a central part of the human developmental approach.

      This can be illustrated by the following, well known example. In the past, the previous century, when people stood before a camera to immortalize an important moment of their life, it was so that they would be able to re-experience that very significant moment in future. Nowadays, we post a Selfie to the social networks so that we can experience the present in the present. This is not to say that posting a Selfie on social networks is bad, the point is only to illustrate an essential change in humanity. A change which shows humanity is busy with thrills in the present, and neglecting its responsibility for the continuity of time. Digital photography has become the chief mediator of present-time reality, a reality in which people constantly photograph everything and post the picture for mass sharing. This reality indicates a deep cultural change in human essence.

      The new human time dimension is one in which the current ‘duration’ is the ‘present time’ and more and more ‘present time’, compared to the way humanity historically viewed time. The concept of time held by humanity since its inception was based on the understanding that the present we live in instantly becomes the past of the future we expect to experience. The present is important because it affects our lives just as the past affected the place we are at now.

      The concept of continuity of time used to be the premise of every creation in the world. According to the story of creation appearing in Genesis, the first existential dimension created was the dimension of Time. The story of creation opens with the words, ‘In the beginning’. A starting point marking the beginning of time, a new sphere that enables generating the entire creation process. Only after defining the starting point can the physical sphere continue to be created, ‘God created the heavens and the earth’. In contrast with that approach we currently live our lives in a reality of exciting technological power that creates the illusion that everything is in the here and now—the present follows the present—Present Continuous in the existential sense.

      The new technological force generates the illusion of instant success. Social networks broadcast fun and success at a continuous pace. This colorful and spectacular power calls to us to live in the moment. To live with the aim of decreasing the gap between activity and pleasure as much as possible. One reason for social network depression is the gap between the illusion of pleasure’s immediacy and availability, which the social networks present to others as instantaneous experience, and our actual lives.††

    • Thrill-seeking Engine – even the connection to the Global Brain—Google—does not take us to a place of inspiration. Despite access to unlimited information, humanity still has not learned to use the opportunity it has been given. A survey of popular searches on Google, as published by the cyber giant annually, shows that the Global Person uses the Global Brain to search this sphere mainly for thrills and excitement. A scan of Google‡‡ searches shows that the Global Person activates the Global Brain to find answers to such fateful questions as, ‘How to tie a tie?’ or ‘How to kiss?’. In parallel, the most popular searches nowadays are for a way to get to the kingdom of thrills and excitement, the path to social networks—Facebook and YouTube. Every so often, humanity reacts with a frisson of fear when a global threat occurs. An example of this is the November 2015 terrorist attack in Paris that received 897 million searches, the record number of searches for that year§§, surpassing the 2015 Academy Awards that received 406 million searches. In contrast, the nuclear deal with Iran signed that same year received only 20 million searches. It can be said that humanity that lives in the virtual sphere wakes up in horror only when the Global Giant turns into a Global Terrorist.

      This trend continued into 2016. Again, the main searches were for experiences and excitement. The most popular search that year was for Pokemon Go, the augmented reality game. Augmented reality in itself is an awe-inspiring technology showing considerable development. Yet the search for Pokemon Go in 2016 was aimed at experiencing the new virtual augmented reality and taking part in the worldwide buzz of thrilling excitement.

      "We are advancing towards a future when our reference point is the past.”

      It is important to note the difference between an emotion and excitement.¶¶

      While emotion has a long-term span, excitement is rooted in the present. Emotions are intended to institute our relationships with the world and to define and deepen these relationships. Excitement on the other hand is expressed as a heightened physical reaction, and aims to create an immediate physical satisfaction whose span is focused in the present.

    • Mental Obesity – another cultural influence caused by the new reality can be defined as a process of mental obesity. The first developmental stage of the global network reality, the development stage of the Information Revolution, lies in the virtual digital reality. This can be viewed as being parallel to the first stage of a previous revolution, the Industrial Revolution. The increasing production ability generated by the Industrial Revolution generated a new human challenge—marketing. Distribution abilities could not be allowed to lag behind production abilities as the process of producing without consumption would quickly bring about a financial crash. If we refer specifically to the food industry, in order to cause people to consume the never-ending amount of food produced by machines, we must pile industrial food high with human desires—sugars and fats, or alternatively, copious amounts of salt. It goes without saying that we would also add food coloring and other desire-stimulating food additives. It took humanity over a hundred years of industrial revolution to discover that obesity has become a human pandemic.

      The product that humanity produces and distributes nowadays is information. Every person who posts statuses and video clips becomes an information vendor. Every information vendor who wants to stand out in a reality of information overload needs to add a healthy dose of human desires to every update or video clip. The main traits of human desire in the field of information are—laughter, drama, and thrills. In a reality in which each and every one of us finds themselves consuming vast quantities of digital information, we find ourselves in an information network that overloads us with emotional desires. On the one hand this is a network focused on constant entertainment, and on the other hand it is an extreme, impassioned, drama-producing network.

      “A new human reality requires a new kind of thinking.”

      This communication overload generates a moral and cultural problem. The problem stems from the fact that discourse has become shallow and extreme in order to gain attention in the dense social media. We are also exposed to another problem. In the network reality we live in, we consume huge amounts of ‘empty calories’ and ‘harmful calories’ of information that flood us through the networks. A study published by Microsoft Corporation showed that human attention span, which was some 12 seconds on average in the year 2000, decreased in 2013 to an average of a mere 8 seconds (a second less than a goldfish, which is considered one of the animals with the lowest mental abilities in nature)***. This reality of information overload that adversely affects our cognitive abilities can be defined as Mental Obesity. This is a process that grinds down our mental capacity.

      These challenges and others are testimony that we are being called upon to redesign the reality of our lives. The growing gap between the increasingly more powerful technological developments and our ability to live in the new reality we are creating is causing existential confusion. The system’s automatic reaction is that things should be done differently. We are at the stage in which the old order has been undermined, yet we still do not see the buds of a new order forming.

      In a ‘recalculating route’ reality, we often find ourselves ‘driving forward in reverse’—driving forward while looking backwards. This way of proceeding stems from losing our path. Our only certainty is that we need to do things “different” compared to what we did in the past. We are advancing towards a future when our reference point is the past. Our only certainty regarding the future is that it will be different to anything we have seen in the past, yet we have no positive statement regarding the future. Our only reference point is—where not to be.

      We can summarize and say that once again we are realizing the truth of the rule defined by Albert Einstein: “We can’t solve problems using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them”. The innovation and creativity that generated the virtual reality hit a glass ceiling when faced with the question of human existence in this reality. We now need to ‘recalculate our route’… a new human reality requires a new kind of thinking.

      We are being called upon to develop new thought configurations that will enable us to cope with a way of life that integrates a tangible reality with virtual reality. We must develop new forms of thinking that will enable us to derive the insights and actions in the present from an understanding of the future, and not just through a negation of the past.

4. A Brief History of Modern Thought

Two configurations of thought directed human development into the 21st century—Scientific Thought and Leadership Thought. We studied the Scientific Thought method throughout the ages. The learning processes developed over generations in all education systems were based on scientific thought configurations. We studied them, their research and their way of thinking. Human development, from infancy through to advanced university degrees, is based almost entirely on this way of thought. In contrast, we left learning from leaders to the field of history. We learned to view them as facts, and we learned to admire or loathe the leaders’ way of thinking in correlation with the practical results of their way of thought.

When we come to characterize the different schools of thought, it could be said that scientists possess analytical thinking, a method aimed at making decisions in a closed system reality. A closed system is a system that is governed by rigid laws. Scientific Thought was intended to understand reality by sorting, prioritizing and drawing practical conclusions concerning the given reality. The product of analytical thought is usually knowledge that enables action. The scientific burden of proof requires experimentation, observation and summary—a mathematical formula. In contrast, Leadership Thought takes place in open systems. Leaders are meant to generate change in open, dynamic and developing systems. They must lead the historic process to a safe haven—an ideal goal (we will detail this way of thinking further later on).

5. Traditional preference for Scientific Thought

Humanity has placed the educational and development processes almost entirely in the hands of Scientific Thought. We generate human progress based on the logical, analytical thought of scientists and not on leaders’ wings of inspiration. A number of factors can be identified that led ‘human intuition’ to the conclusion that Scientific Thought should be allowed to lead.

  • Objectivity – the objectivity of scientific research enabled it to enter general use, regardless of religion, nationality and sex. The products of scientific research are based on observation, experimentation and drawing conclusions which present an authentic reflection of reality. The objectivity of the knowledge products enabled them to become the building blocks of all of humanity.
  • Practical Product – the practical products of the Scientific Revolution (16th-17th centuries) led to the Industrial Revolution (18th-19th centuries). The products of the Scientific Revolution’s studies were translated into mathematical formulas and became common property. As a result of mathematical expressions of reality, knowledge is given practical expression in real life. The Scientific Revolution created the building blocks of the Industrial Revolution. Mathematical formulas, which became the mathematical expressions of reality, were translated back into the language of reality through machines and factories producing many products. At this historic stage mathematical, logical and analytical knowledge became practical products. The combined efforts of scientists and inventors generated the Industrial Revolution.
  • Mental Freedom††† – studying the list of great scientists and inventors shows a very basic common denominator that can explain another aspect of humanity’s choice of the scientific track as the leading school of thought. In the Scientific Thought track everyone has an equal starting point. The entrance exam to the scientific pantheon is not based on class.

    To demonstrate this claim, let us imagine a meeting between Newton, Einstein and Edison and examine their lives. We will discover that all three began their lives without belonging to a high social order. Moreover, during the course of their lives they were faced with the same challenges as everyone else, and especially of poor people. Isaac Newton‡‡‡ (1643–1727) was born an orphan, some three months after the death of his father, who was an illiterate farmer. Newton was raised by his step-father, and we may learn about their relationship from the confession Newton wrote at age 19—“For threatening my father and mother Smith to burn them and the house over them”. Albert Einstein§§§ (1879–1955) was the son of a failed businessman, which is why the family moved to Munich, Bavaria, six weeks after his birth. For years at the start of his professional career Einstein lacked a steady job, and made a living giving lessons in mathematics and physics. At the time, Einstein felt he was a complete failure, “I am but a burden on my family… clearly it would have been better had I never been born”. Thomas Edison¶¶¶ (1847–1931) was born in the USA, and was partially deaf since his youth. Edison barely attended school and was home-schooled by his mother instead. In his youth Edison worked selling snacks on trains and even worked selling vegetables… This examination of the life of three great minds from the pantheon of scientists and inventors shows that Scientific Thought is a meeting of minds with reality, and that social standing is not a precondition to achieve greatness.

    In contrast to these primary advantages of the scientific research field, history testifies that in the European monarchial dynasties of the 16th and 17th centuries, the field of leadership was steeped in manipulation and intrigue. This impulse-riddled reality is not an inviting basis for education and learning. Also, the extremely limited entry into the closed leadership club severely reduced the sense of need and desire to study and develop Leadership Thought as an educational activity for the masses. The 18th century’s French Revolution marked the beginning of a new age of leadership, yet despite it, Leadership and the development of Leadership Thought remained the concern of few. As a result, when we examine Leadership Thought processes we are satisfied with the end result at the ballot box or alternatively, out of disappointment and despair we send our leaders to stand the test of history. In reality we find that usually it is Scientific Thought that leads humanity in research and development processes throughout the new age.

6. The History of Thought – Timeline

  • The Scientific Revolution – 16th and 17th centuries, Isaac Newton developed mechanical physics. During the two centuries, scientists studied reality, translating it into mathematical formulas.
  • The Industrial Revolution – 18th and 19th centuries, Thomas Edison and a band of inventors turned mathematical formulas into products and mass production processes.
  • The 20th century integrated both these phases—research and development while adding a surprising ingredient—imagination and creativity.

Albert Einstein, the father of quantum physics, opened the 20th century by presenting his awe-inspiring discoveries. The year 1905 was considered an Extraordinary Year (Annus Mirabilis) in which Einstein published four articles in the German science journal Annalen der Physik, which was the primary journal in the field of physics at the time. These articles are considered the cornerstones of modern physics and they changed accepted views regarding the relationships between space, time and mass.

“We must develop innovative ways of thinking that will enable us to cope with a life configuration that is beyond imagination.”

Einstein, a ground-breaking genius, added an unexpected dimension to the process of scientific thought. He added imagination to deep scientific research. Of course each of his claims needed to be proven by actual experimentation and summarized in formula, yet his thought process did not stop at observation and experimentation but included imagination. An example of this can be seen when he published his Theory of General Relativity in 1915. He did not even try to prove his claim through experimentation but instead claimed, “It is so beautiful it must be true”. The Theory of General Relativity is one of the most successful theories in the history of physics. Hundreds of experiments were conducted and the ensuing results mostly fit the theory’s predictions. It also has many practical consequences, for instance—GPS satellite designers must take it into consideration so that their satellites and navigational systems will work correctly.****

Imagination continues to accompany development in the 21st century. The inventors who created and developed the internet integrated quantum physics’ research data with imagination, and so generated a digital internet reality that defies imagination. Placing creative thinking and innovation at development’s center stage indicates its next stage—Technological Revolution. Creative thinking that integrates imagination aims to invent new products that do not yet exist but can enrich our world. The product of imaginative thought is an innovative product. One of the main mantras used to encourage ‘innovation’ and ‘creativity’ is the recommendation to ‘think outside the box’.

Today, at the start of the 21st century, humanity is hitting a glass ceiling. The entire human system is changing from a closed, local system to an open, global system. Innovation and creativity are no longer enough. It is time to stop ‘thinking outside the box’. When you ‘think outside the box’, the box is completely present and becomes a reference point for changes. We must develop innovative ways of thinking that will enable us to cope with a life configuration that is beyond imagination. We must develop ways of thinking that will enable us to apply the understandings and actions of the present from an understanding of the future, and not by a negation of the past. We cannot cope with the existential questions of the new era we live in—Humanity’s Global Era—using the same patterns of thought that generated this reality and challenges.

7. Beyond the Glass Ceiling – Inspirational Thinking

Inspirational thinking moves us from the thought patterns of scientists to the thought patterns of leaders. As we have seen, scientific thought is logical and analytical. Scientific research studies reality as though it were a closed system. This is a system intended to create products of knowledge that can be used to develop practical products. In contrast, in Inspirational Thinking, the thought patterns of leaders are not intended to generate products, focusing instead on creating a process leading to an ideal future.

As we saw in the survey of reality, the three leadership powers that used to be exclusively in the hands of leaders are now open to anyone, so that in fact anyone can act with leadership powers. As we also saw in the survey of challenges, our network reality of life has become a reality of life in an open, developing system. The Global Giant composed of us, the Global People, is finding its way in the new reality. Therefore, leadership responsibility lies on all of us. Leadership thinking, inspirational thinking, refers to an open system that needs designing. Inspirational thinking is intended to enable making decisions in a reality of an open, developing system. We need thought patterns that will allow all of us to make decisions leading to an optimal future reality.

Open System – we must understand that in an open system, in the initial stage of planning and making decisions, future reality is in an optimal state of superimposition. The future can develop in several configurations, yet the principles and trends of that reality can be identified in the present. Responsible leadership understands that a reality of superimposition in the planning stage, a reality that permits several futures, is destined to be generated in the real world at the end of the process in only one distinct way. This is the challenge for leadership throughout history. Acting in the present, from a deep understanding of the existing potential, and leading reality so that the existential result that will eventually form will be a practical expression of the optimal state. One of the possibilities that existed in the beginning—the best one.

8. Reality as an Upside-down Puzzle

Let us try to think of reality as a sophisticated puzzle. An ‘upside-down’ puzzle, not the kind that starts out with a cut-up picture that can be seen as a whole on the cover of the box, but a picture puzzle that is being constructed.

The opening facts for the puzzle’s creation are the existence of specific pieces of the puzzle that is being created. The given pieces are shaped like puzzle pieces and contain a very partial picture the size of the pieces. These are basic pieces that determine the future picture’s principles and trends. What is special about this puzzle is the fact that it is an evolving puzzle. At each stage you must add more puzzle pieces, continuing the picture growing out of the basic pieces. In fact, every piece you add determines the shape of the next piece and the continuation of the picture in accordance with the principles and trends of the basic pieces. Clearly, this is a process that enables many future pictures. This, in fact, is an open system. An evolving system. A system that is constantly in the present in a state of superimposition. A state in which possible pictures stemming from the basic pieces can be different and diverse and even opposite in character, despite the principles and trends of the basic pieces.

In the first stage of the puzzle-building process we need to identify the basic pieces, identify the puzzle’s background of events, if it is the sea, a forest, an urban or country landscape. We need to identify the puzzle’s human picture, what the characteristics of the period are and so on. The second stage is to complete the picture. At this stage we will be required to use inspiration—a process integrating the data of the existing pieces with a picture of an ideal future. A picture of the possible future according to the data on the existing pieces. In the next stage, the move to practical action, we will need to add units that match the formative process of the future picture we envisioned—the whole picture.

We can summarize and say that the basis for creative thinking is:

Deep familiarity with the present reality—principles and trends

Creating a picture of a feasible ideal future

Planning a practical process connecting the two

9. Turning Challenges into Power

We began by saying that we are currently living in a new human era. On the one hand our reality of life has become an open system in all fields. Methods for progressing that led us in a reality of closed local systems cannot cope with the challenges of a human system which is open and global. In addition, we must keep in mind that we are empowered. The Global Person has inherited leadership abilities. Abilities that allow us to act like leaders. The reality of our lives and the power we have inherited require us to develop leadership thinking and act out of inspirational thinking.

The next stage—after understanding the crucial necessity for inspirational thinking nowadays—is the need to develop a practical guide to inspirational thinking. A guide that will provide understanding and practical tools to enable us to develop inspirational thinking. The guide must also cope with the barriers to creating an inspirational thought process, including obstacles that stem from the new reality.

The time has come.

* Larry Page and Sergey Brin created Google in 1998 while they were both studying at Stanford University. It became a public company in 2004.

Guy Rolnik, The Marker, “We are like laboratory mice: the great danger of Internet Monsters”, September 29, 2017, (Hebrew)

Facebook was founded by Mark Zuckerberg, Eduardo Saverin, Andrew McCollum, Dustin Moskovitz and Chris Hughes while they were students at Harvard College on February 4, 2004.

§ Further details can be found in my book, Humanity’s Global Era – Dual Paradigm Change, by Shlomo Yishai, English edition: 2015, Humanity’s Global Era Research Center.

Uber is an application that enables all car owners to drive passengers for pay and undermines the need for professional taxi services.

** Airbnb is an application that enables private rental of apartments to occasional tourists and undermines the traditional hotel system.

¶¶ In this article, the term ‘excitement’ is used in the sense of – (in psychology), an emotion, a mental state accompanied by eagerness and heightened physical reactions.

*** Kevin McSpadden, Time Health 2015,

††† The scientists’ process of release is worthy of a separate study. It is sufficient to mention the Church’s 17th century struggle against scientists who fought for scientific truth against the Church’s opinion. A famous example is Galileo Galilei who was tried for publishing his approach which flew in the face of the Church’s opinion.

‡‡‡Isaac Newton, from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

§§§ Albert Einstein, from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

¶¶¶ Thomas Alva Edison, from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

**** Theory of Relativity, from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

About the Author(s)

Shlomo Yishai
Founder and Director of Humanity’s Global Era Research Center