Predicting the future – the ultimate advantage?

John Rainford believes that attempting to predict outcomes is the next stage in our evolution

Evolution, as Darwin observed, cannot just stop dead – the next leap in evolution in humankind will be powerful psychological processes and prowess – and will be alternatively described as success, mind reading and being able to predict or foresee the future. Successful minds can do this…already, but wait, are we missing something?

All economic (and game) theory is based on prediction whether it comes down to algorithms or even hunches – it is still a sense of ‘knowing or anticipating’ the future. People who guess or know correctly have a unique advantage over others who do not have these insights – they are invariably described as successful, lucky or in the right place at the right time. Maybe though, this is not the complete picture?

In the strategy game of poker, to win – it requires reading of body language, even some would describe as mind reading. That’s assuming everyone plays by the rules. Insights include reading the opponent’s strategies. What would he or she do in each circumstance? This is why emotional intelligence is so important. Lao Tzu said, “in war know thine enemy”.

How can we win if we cannot predict or at least attempt to predict outcomes? Of course, we cannot – but the brain is an advanced prediction machine that is constantly engaged in predicting outcomes. Our current species is testament to that survival predictive instinct.

What if we could home in on that predictive element in our minds? What if we could peer into other people’s minds by adjusting our own antenna – to pick up the right empathetic signals and influence decision making? 

The word ‘empathy’ has been interpreted as seeing things standing in other people’s shoes or from someone else’s perspective. In fact, it is much more than that – it is a means by which we can affect outcomes – by connecting with other minds. Whilst it is certainly the capacity of feeling for others, we are also able to transmit our own feelings and aspirations to others by activating a sympathetic emotional response. Expectations and anticipating expectations indeed influence outcomes, one reason why ‘creative visualisation’ is so important.

At a very basic level, if we yawn – we can make other people yawn – it is an unconscious response – that means we cannot identify the unconscious part of the mind that responds – but it does – nevertheless. 

What about laughter or stress? – these are like contagions – a virus if you will. When we see someone suffering part of our brain will automatically empathise even if we manage consciously to ignore the experience. (Psychopaths can ignore other people’s pain without thinking). 

Empathy is in some respects neither good nor bad – just like the internet – but too much empathy without control can lead to a distressful condition where one feels overwhelmed and the connection itself can cause overload – just like stress in relationships or in work, or as in the case of the Corona 19 – mental health issues. Sadly, it can end in suicidal or destructive responses.

A sense of fairness is core to our well-being – and either a lack of perceived empathy – or a shared empathic experience can lead to a breakdown (literally) of communication. What if we can train our minds to have control of empathy and our predictive powers? Wouldn’t that make us like Fredrich Nietzshe predicted, the famous philosopher who said in Thus Sprach Zarathustra – ‘that man is something to be surpassed’ – like a superman or superwoman?

We know that within us is the capability of reaching our true potential in life by activating our inner mind – a sense of control of the ‘brain’s elements” that combine to give us worthwhile predictions using the power of empathy. 

Psychologists describe this mind control as ‘emotional intelligence’ or ‘social intelligence’ – a feeling for the needs or wants of others and how we might interact or adjust to get the positive response we would prefer.

So, what if we can create the superwoman or superman? Is it within our capabilities? The answer is, of course, Yes.

Experiments with empathy research we conducted with top scientists in the world helped us to do just that. The journey begins with ‘self-empathy’ – understanding our own qualities as well as our inner bias or prejudice. The we take them through steps of realisation where we can have the same predictive powers or self-belief as say, someone like Bill Gates. 

New ways of learning come into our grasp and scientists can solve problems in a more intuitive and collaborative way utilising creativity, mind empathy and design thinking. The purpose of education as Einstein points out is to train the mind to think.

The outcomes are powerful minds within organisations, powerful minds as individuals with high self-esteem and self-purpose – a sense of self-worth that goes beyond the ego. An understanding of collective consciousness and an innate ability to achieve predictive thought processes that amounts to self-actualisation and creates powerful inclusive communities. 

As Nietzshe predicted – the future superwoman (and superman) is awake, we just need to let go of our closed minds and conditioned responses and with advent of neuroplasticity and AI embrace and shape new values of our own choosing, how we aspire to be.

“Evolution has truly taken our minds to the next level of being – we just need a little help to get there, we are only limited by our own imagination, nothing more. This problem-solving methodology is our chance to build integrity and structure into our thought processes, to create more compassionate leaders and a brighter caring future for our children and the next generation.

A process that embraces a nature inspired future for our mental health, our well-being and a healthy planet.”

John Rainford FRSA is a Fellow of The Lunar Society and Strategy Director of Strawberry Fields, Darwin Matrix. Email: john.rainford@strawberryfields.com

“We know that within us is the capability of reaching our true potential in life by activating our inner mind - a sense of control of the ‘brain’s elements” that combine to give us worthwhile predictions using the power of empathy.”