The Art and Science of Innovative Collaboration The Future of Democracy and Humanity

ARTICLE | | BY Charles Smith

Charles Smith

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The moonshot in this article is to find allies for the radical transformation needed to assure senior leaders bring character and inquiry to governance. This is for the sake of Democracy and Humanity. The test is in honoring their word, competence, moral principles, honesty, courage, loyalty, fortitude, and doing the right thing. I have spent my life looking for one sentence that would explain everything, a picture frame, a Singularity to make sense of my experience of the world. For a long time, I have traveled with heroes, ideas, geniuses, women, men, countries, jobs, marriages, corporations, politics, religions, families, certainty and confusion. For 55 years, I have listened to coherent, organized presentations from intelligent leaders in business, academia and religions. I am usually left with ideas, language and hope for forward movement but little trust in the possibility of it really happening. What is needed is a concrete, physical, thorough, dramatic change in form or appearance. An example is, “The landscape has undergone a radical transformation.” But what often happens is that many people do make a difference. But what always happens is that the people in power will stay in power. Innovative Collaboration calls for a dance between intention and flow. What most people want from business and government should be consistent with how people really are. And this will not come primarily from analysis, measurement, ideas, and rules shaped by existing and historical culture and belief. It can come from realizing that relationship is the foundation of accomplishment.

1. Nine Frequencies

I first imagined that this room was full of information I did not see—languages from all over the world, libraries and science. But I did not have the equivalent of a radio with frequencies that provided this. The following insights are framed as Frequencies that stimulate thinking.

Frequency is the rate at which something occurs or is repeated over a particular period of time or in a given sample such as, ‘Shops have closed with increasing frequency during the period.’ Frequency is the rate at which a vibration occurs that constitutes a wave, either in a material (as in sound waves), or in an electromagnetic field (as in radio waves and light). It is usually measured per second. ‘Different thicknesses of glass will absorb different frequencies of sound.’ It also refers to the particular waveband at which a radio station or other system broadcasts or transmits signals, e.g., a radio station on a single AM radio frequency.

2. Frequency One: Systems with the most available Energy will Prevail

Victor Sanchez

Years ago, I met a Native American Indian medicine man, Lorin Smith, on the Pomo Reservation in Northern California. He had a very pleasant expression on his face and was soft-spoken. He said that life was all about maintaining, preserving, and increasing the energy you and others have. And that was what was most missing and most needed in the world—an improved relationship to one’s own energy and to the energy of others. Lorin did not offer explanations for what he did, and I saw that he was close to the nature of reality. He said that this energy was everywhere and contained in all living and inanimate things. He and his people first paid attention to energy and from that life worked.

"The Toltec believed that the world does not consist of objects. Rather, they believed the world consists of interacting energy fields and that the “Systems with the most available energy will prevail."

In my transition from a linear world to an energy-based reality, I met a brilliant Mexican teacher, Victor Sanchez, an author and Ph.D. Victor studied with Carlos Castaneda and became an expert in ancient Toltec Indians in Mexico. He created a conceptual framework based on the centrality of energy. Victor is a scholar and a teacher. He said that the Toltec believed that the world does not consist of objects. Rather, they believed the world consists of interacting energy fields and that the “Systems with the most available energy will prevail.”

The world turned around and I began to see things that way.

Recently, driving through Houston, Texas with a close friend on the way to leading Cancer hospital M.D. Anderson, I saw a large advertising billboard: “WE ARE M.D. ANDERSON: WE ONLY DO CANCER.” I was stunned by the singularity of the message, the power of knowing a fundamental purpose.

I had already met Zoe Morai, a master Human Energy Counselor who had worked at Harvard in science research. Zoe had a near-death experience, and then miraculously started trusting only what she experienced in the present moment. That is all she would trust. She became an amazing counselor for personal growth, energy, and helping make a better world. She described herself as a scientist who brings vibrational magic. She said that energy consciousness literally vibrates and goes to our core. You and I have it—we feel it.

Innovative Collaboration IS Vibrational Flow inside and between people. It is not 1+1=2. From Vibrational Flow comes choice. It moves us with vibrational awareness to connect our individual and collective rising energy. When we talk straight, honestly and genuinely, to each other, energy goes up. Zoe said it comes from focusing on feeling, rather than thinking. Focusing on noticing, rather than distracting. Playing versus working. Attracting versus trying. Laughing out loud versus holding back. Choosing to flow without needing to cause discomfort outside ourselves, versus showing, punishing, explaining.

Most of the people I have known have been stuck with what they think. They are stuck with what they already believe. Stuck in the past with what they already know. In order to evolve without so much conflict, I/we need to shift the frame of our picture from linear and measured to energetic.

Once, I got stuck between what I was thinking and what I was simply aware of in the moment. Zoe said, “Charlie, you are stuck because you are using mental body (concepts) over sensory needs. You must sense the rise in inner energy so that you can “respond” to that sense with joy. When your inner energy of vibration expands, the outside world vibrates at a level that matches your inner expansion.” Zoe described herself as a scientist who believed in “vibrational magic”—moving beyond resistance and control to vibrational flow.

In an energetic paradigm, responsibility begins with our willingness to be cause-in-the-matter of energy across the entire system. Serge Kahili King’s5 insight is that “Energy flows where the attention goes.” What’s needed is a paradigm shift to turn the way we see things on its head. I propose that “Energy” is the appropriate bottom line for business, government, and community in the 21 st century .

Without awareness of vitality in oneself, others, and situations, we are trapped in limited, linear, object-based realities. Necessities of effectiveness and human mutuality required for Innovative Collaboration become impossible. Such Energy Awareness comes from sensing the patterns of energy present in relationships, teams, organizations, businesses, and communities. It reveals the underlying patterns that directly affect the success of any effort and help address what is real.

In physics, energy is a force field, acting on a particle at various positions in space. In the modernquantum theory of fields, an energy field occupies space. This led physicists to considerelectromagnetic fieldsto be a physical entity, making the field concept a supportingparadigm. “The fact that the electromagnetic field can possess momentum and energy makes it very real. A particle makes a field, and a field acts on another particle. The field then, has such familiar properties as energy content and momentum, just as particles can have.” In practice, the strength of most fields has been found to diminish with distance to the point of being undetectable. (Wikipedia)

2.1. In Business and Governance, Sustainable Energy comes from Character

In an organization, the character of leaders is a significant source of energy. Dominic Barton, the head of McKinsey & Co.’s global consulting practice, said: ‘‘When we think about leadership, we focus too much on what leaders do. We do not spend enough time on who leaders are—the character of leaders.’’ Former Governor of the Bank of England Mark Carney said, “Employees need a sense of broader purpose, grounded in strong connections to their clients and their communities. Few among the hundreds of leaders and board directors with whom we have discussed this would disagree.”

Leaders readily agree that ‘‘character matters’’ but they also say they seldom refer to it or talk about it. Neither do they use it in recruiting, selecting, promoting or developing leaders. It does however surface more often when it comes to firing them. Based on our research, we attribute the gap between the perceived importance and the actual use of character to three things:

  • First, there is a great deal of ambiguity about what is meant by the word character.
  • Second, leaders tell us that what they need is a contemporary, practice-focused vocabulary with which to address character. This vocabulary must be expressed in the language used today in their organizations.
  • Third, there are few reliable and valid tools available for the systematic assessment of character. Leaders say they need that to be actually doing something about it. (This author questions that assertion.)

There is also evidence that 21 percent of CEOs, at least in the United States, are Psychopaths.

"The data has confirmed that one in five chief executives are psychopaths. At least, that’s what was found by a recent study of 261 senior corporate professionals in the United States. Webster’s Dictionary defines a psychopath as “a person who does not care about other people, and who is often dangerous or violent and affected with antisocial behavior."

The assumption that a whole system can be made to work better through an assault on its rational elements betrays a dangerous ignorance. This has often been the approach of scientists and technologists. However, Frank Herbert states, “In all the universe there is only the insatiable appetite of matter…, that energy is the only true solid…, and energy learns.” Such learning is always the sum of intellectual, physical, emotional, and spiritual activity. We can get very smart cognitively yet remain uninformed emotionally, spiritually, or physically. In an energetic paradigm, we begin with willingness to be cause-in-the-matter of energy in the entire system.

2.2. DAGAZ: A New Way to Think

" Dagaz" is a Rune symbol used by Germanic peoples from about the 3rd to the 13thcenturies. The left-hand side represents the past. The right-hand side represents the future. The center point is emptiness, zero gravity, the place where a new future can begin—Real Thinking, Escape Velocity, Innovative Collaboration. Dagaz engages energy from the past, present and future.

Dagaz: Rune of the hyper-consciousness.

  • Energy:twilight/dawn polarity, non-dual reality, unity, synthesis.
  • Paradoxical truth, incommunicable experience, conceptual realization, enlightenment.
  • Invisibility as an organizing principle of Higher Consciousness.
  • Synthesis of right-left brain dynamics.
  • Transformation of one thing into its opposite.

3. Frequency Two: Curiosity

In Innovative Collaboration, for me the main thing is Curiosity. Finding common ground, listening generously, asking questions, and for moments,findinga new freedom to choose.

Mybiggest barrier is my own sense of self-importance;what I think I alreadyknow.The only refuge I have found fromself-importance is to know that there is no refuge. There is no escape,except to transform myself into the refuge of “us”,the power of being together.

Italk every week to my friend TonyTurnbull. I cannot tell whereIstop and he begins. We connect and move on, go deep,never get stuck,andmove to the next thing. There is no win-lose,dominate-avoid domination,self-importance. Fear or cautionneverstopsus. His identity and my identity do not get in the way. Usually, whenI am with people,it feels like“I amnot you.”This neverhappens with Tony,even when our opinions are different.

Years ago, this was never true.Inever felt safe enough, relaxed enough,to combine intention and flow.I was always pressing my goals, avoiding fears,and looking outside myself for the cause of things and the answersIdid not have. The magic seems to come from being awake to what is happening in this exact moment. Just being there. No agenda. There had been bits and glimmers over the years. A program at theGestalt Institute inCleveland opened my eyesto new ideas and practices. These made sense of my life and workin a thrilling new way. This was not from a plan,but in a wayIcould not explain.

Curiosityis the urge to know more about something. Being Curious is interest in others’ concerns, wondering, ready to poke around and figure something out. In mathematics, a square is the result of multiplying a number by itself, e.g. two times two. Among individuals or groups, Curiosity is squaring the acceleration of wonder, a vibrational internal energy in my mind and body.

Albert Einstein said, “I am not smarter than anyone else. I am just way more curious.”

Richard Hill, my colleague in Australia, says that Curiosity consists of…..

  • Curiosity for information
  • Curiosity for play
  • Curiosity for possibility and meaning

Curiosity can be applied to any situation with three simple steps:

  • Be interested:“That’s interesting.”
  • Ask:“What is this really about?”
  • Wonder:“What can I create with this?”

Curiosity is the Philosopher’s Stone thatturns the base metal of fear and reaction into gold.

4. Frequency Three: Mutuality

Mutuality is a high degree of respect for each other’s humanity.

Tania and I are in a mutual relationship. We met online in a project. When she was young her father would read to her from a book I had written,

The Merlin Factor

. When she found out I wrote that book, the love she felt with her father became a background for our continuing conversations. We have never met in person, yet our mutuality is powerful. Mutuality is the way people are connected, to themselves, to others, and to the physical and natural world. It is the way we arebeingwith each other.

The density of the Space between people varies from completely clear/transparent/open/empty to completely dense/closed/ blocked/full. Mutuality is a continuous area that is relatively free, available, or unoccupied, with the quality or state of being mutual. Attitudes, values, principles, beliefs, thoughts, fears, emotions, ideas, preconceptions, orientations, cultures and identities can occupy the space. Mutuality reduces the density of the space between people.

Getting to Mutuality is:

  • An experience, not an idea.
  • Usually not the result of a process.
  • Best considered part of the science of how you are being, treating others.
  • The experience of just what it is like for me to be with you, you with me, and for each of us when we are with each other.
  • “Mutuality” happens not just in me or in you, but in the space between us.
  • If I want it to feel like “us” I need to be paying attention to the nature, the feeling of the space between us.
  • To create the experience of “Mutuality” is to ask, “Are we in this together?”

I grew up in a ghetto in Dorchester, Massachusetts where there was little experience of mutuality. Everyone had the same religion and somehow knew they were better than other people. My grandfather taught me that men were better than women. America was better than other countries, no questions asked. Over time, it was clear in our family business that money was more important than people. Traveling outside our neighborhood was dangerous. My world was full of poisoned berries and if I did not avoid the electric fences, the Nazis were always at the door.

My colleague in Israel, Shlomo Yishai, introduced me to the importance of Human Mutuality. In conversations, his articles, and book he showed that until economic systems are rooted in human mutuality, there will be wars, injustice, unnecessary bureaucracy and racial discrimination. I also met and continue to learn from Alexander Berlonghi, a friend, leader, teacher, and consultant in the field of Ontology—the Art and Science of human relationships. His profound global practice has to do with how people are being with each other.

Over many years, my life became a search for people and places that were kind, not cruel, and more willing to be intimate without fear, and peace with justice was a noble purpose. Mutuality and experience of “Us” became a Singularity, a way to bring unity out of diversity, a place to belong and to create where I could. Relationship became the foundation of accomplishment.

4.1. I am Not Giving Up My Shot

“I am not giving up my shot” is a theme from Lin-Manuel Miranda’s amazing play, Hamilton, the story about how to live a life of significance and meaning. Alexander Hamilton (January 11, 1755 or 1757–July 12, 1804) was a Founding Father of the United States, a statesman, politician, legal scholar, military commander, lawyer, banker, and economist. He was an influential interpreter, firstsecretary of the treasury, created the nation’s financial system and theFederalist Party.

My shot is expanding human energy—my own and others. It is All Energy and It is All You.

5. Frequency Four: Fear is the Mind Killer

Life is either a daring adventure or nothing at all."
– Helen Keller

“Cowards die many times before their death.
The valiant taste of death but once.
It seems to me most strange that men should fear, seeing that
death, a necessary end…, will come when it will come.”
– William Shakespeare, Julius Caesar

“I must not fear.
Fear is the mind-killer.
Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration.
I will face my fear.
I will permit it to pass over me and through me.
And when it has gone past, I will turn the inner eye to see its path.
Where the fear has gone there will be nothing.
Only I will remain.”
– Frank Herbert, Dune

In my life, I have learned to ask what I am afraid of in a situation or with a person, and then do it. This almost always turns out well.

6. Frequency Five: The Awful Truth

It is common wisdom that “the truth will set you free.” But it is less obvious in emotional issues such as what to do about climate, corporations, education, healthcare, race, and sex. In all these places, the time has come to realize that It is “The Awful Truth” that will set us free.

I learned this in a corporate sales program in England. Sales were low, there was a lack of support from hierarchy, unsupportive departments, and an internal sense of hopelessness. I asked them, “What’s the Truth?” They spoke and I asked, “What’s the Awful Truth?” They spoke and I asked again with, “That’s not Awful enough” and they spoke again. Finally, I said, “That’s not Awful Enough—What’s Really Real?” There came a point when they spoke both from their hearts and minds about their experience of abuse and hopelessness. In a single moment, they became powerful men and women instead of victims. The Awful Truth was somehow game changing, and they would no longer be part of it. Then came uncharacteristic ideas, conversations, concrete actions and experiments.

Since then, I have realized that the Awful Truth will or can set you free from where you are stuck and being a victim. This kind of speaking is the key to transformation. The Awful Truth is the unspoken truth.

The world is full of wonderful people of all beliefs, races, and talents. But most people avoid the Awful Truth like the plague, as if it will go away, which it usually will not.

Where do I/you pay attention?

  • Most of us are captivated by the embedded rules of our professions.
  • Politicians and controllers of the most valued organizational resources are shaped by the need to keep their power and position.
  • Most parents insist on having their children become like them.
  • Many religions require that force be brought to protect thoughts and practices that preserve their culture.
  • Most education does not teach that “The whole is always greater than the sum of the parts.”
  • Authoritarianism is sustained by Force, Transaction, Relational Identity, Noise, the Need for Certainty and True Belief.

All this makes the survival of Democracy and the Future of Humanity at best difficult.

7. Frequency Six: A Four-Step Path For Transformation—A Thorough or Dramatic Change in Form and Appearance


“Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back, ineffectiveness. Concerning all acts of initiative and creation, there is one elementary truth, the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then providence moves too. All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one’s favour all manner of unforeseen incidents and meetings and material assistance, which no man could have dreamt would have come his way.”

William H. Murray, Mount Everest Expedition, 1951

I never heard the word ‘commitment’ until I was 45 years old. Commitment is the state or quality of being dedicated to a cause, activity, or other people. It is a pledge, a promise, an obligation that restricts freedom of action. Commitment focuses attention; I came to see the world in a new way and was focused and energized as never before. Before that, in school, with family and friends, it was just them and me talking, and what happened next just happened.

7.1. What’s Missing?

“What’s missing anywhere is not there untilyou ask a question..., and suddenly it appears..., and seems like it was always there but unseen.”

At first, it is hard to talk to someone about what is missing because it is not there. We are trained to look for what is actually there, because we can then do something useful. The problem with talking about what is missing is that it is not visible. Looking for what is missing is an acquired taste, a practice. It is looking for what is not there, which if it were there would make a big difference.

A husband and wife did not care about what the other one cared about. They argued all the time. What was missing was that what she cared about, and what he cared about could be important contributions to each other, but they could not see it.

A counselor in a hospital was coaching an assistant in how to be more effective. She had no attention or consideration for what the employee felt or thought. She was concerned with improvements in behavior and attitude without actual conversations that would matter. All of what might have made a difference was missing, absent, not there.

We are hard-wired to see what is there, when the answer is often in what is missing and not visible. Noticing what is potentially important but not visible, is a skill and a practice that opens a world of opportunity.

7.2. What’s Missing that Gets What’s Missing to be Missing?

“We shall not cease from exploration and at the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time….”

T.S. Eliot, Four Quartets

The Deep Dive is a “Never Ending Search for what is missing that gets what is missing to be missing.” This reveals what lies beneath, the true context or basis that enables or that prevents can enable resolution of underlying problems. Consider that in business, government, much formal education, and in the absence of education we ignore and suppress the underlying context. This can come from commercial, religious, political, hierarchical control or self-important reasons. For example, in education, there are three possible realities:

  • Context/Possibility: The circumstances that form the setting for an event.
  • Action/Process: A series of actions taken in order to achieve a particular end.
  • Result: A consequence, effect, or outcome of something.

The deepest truth is that “Context is Decisive.” This determines the circumstances that determine the setting for an event, statement, idea, or terms from which it can be fully understood.

In the United States and elsewhere, where have we recognized benefits but not costs to democracy, many people, and social justice?

  • We accepted money is too often more important than people.
  • We accepted authoritarianism culturally as legitimate inleaders andgovernance.
  • We organized what Jesus, the Hebrew prophets and Buddha taught us.
  • We organized the Declaration of Independence to fit our religious beliefs.
  • We accepted men’s right to be in charge.
  • We accepted corporations as having human rights.
  • We accepted the primacy of linear thinking and speaking in language and culture.
  • We accepted Sovereignty on Earth as God’s word.
  • We legitimized the right of uninformed people to vote.

Also, with particular respect to suppression of democracy, the following have become true:

  • Concentration of wealth and power
  • Free pursuit of self-interest in power andposition power in handsof the wealthy
  • Corporate and social systems set up to prevent democracy
  • Reduce democracy sothe poor will not take away property
  • Limiting women’s and minority rights
  • Business control ofsociety by using economic power
  • Corporate business is considered the core national interest
  • Shift society from production to financial andspeculative activity—General Electric is 50percent a financialorganization
  • Promotion that “Anti-American” is atotalitarian, authoritarian notion
  • As the economybecameglobal, the needs of the Americanpublic became oflesser consequence
  • Tax burden of the wealthy and corporationsreduced and increased for general public
  • Attacks on socialsecurity are driven bythe wealth
  • Government bails outbusiness but mostwealthy want “toobig to fail”
  • Organized labor was turned into theenemy because it can be a force for democracy
  • Trap people into being consumers makingnon-rational choices
  • Public policy discussion isminimal and often unrelated topolitical party interests*

7.3. Committed Speaking

“Specific words used in conversations actively empower being
responsible and able to honor your word.”

Fernando Flores: Committed Action

    "The Merlin Factor is a way of living in the world, and the ability to think from the point of view of the future."

  • Declaration: Speaking that is self-evident, needs no support or evidence, reasons why, explanations or proof. Authority comes from the legitimacy of the speaker.
  • Request: Conversations toenlist the assistance of another in satisfying an underlying concern.
  • Promise:Speaking to indicate an oath,often invoking a witness, regarding one’s future action or behavior.
  • Assessment: A value judgment, opinion or explanation in the interest of taking some action, for which you are willing to provide supportive evidence.

    “The thought manifests as the word;

    The word manifests as the deed;

    The deed develops into habit;

    And the habit hardens into character;

    So watch the thoughts and its ways with care;

    And let it spring from love

    Born out of concern for all beings.

    As the shadow follows the body,

    As we think, so we become.”

    The Buddha

8. Frequency Seven: The Merlin Factor

Legend has it that Merlin, the Magician, was the great King Arthur’s mentor. As depicted inThe Once and Future Kingby T.H. White, Merlin had an uncanny ability to know the future. White’s legend provides an apt metaphor for a ‘future-first’ perspective that successfully instills strategic intent in organizations and its people. He would occasionally give Arthur some insight into just how he knew what was going to happen before it did:

“Ah yes,” Merlin said. “How did I know to set breakfast for two?...Now ordinary people are born forwards in Time, if you understand what I mean, and nearly everything in the world goes forward too. This makes it quite easy for ordinary people to live...But unfortunately I was born at the wrong end of time, and I have to live backwards from in front, while surrounded by a lot of people living forward from behind...”

The Merlin Factor is a way of living in the world, and the ability to think from the point of view of the future. It is the ability to enlist people as Ambassadors who listen, speak, and act on behalf of that future, and become committed to performance breakthroughs that explode existing cultural limits on what’s possible.

The premise is that the principal impediment to changing an organization’s strategic direction is its existing culture: that is, people’s current beliefs about the limits of what is possible. Changing people’s beliefs about the future can produce extraordinary improvements in relationships, quality management, technical innovation, customer service and profitability. Exceptional leaders cultivate the Merlin-like habit of acting in the present moment as ambassadors of a radically different future, in order to imbue their organizations and people a breakthrough vision of what it is possible to achieve.

The Merlin Factor works because how you feel and your confidence usually comes from the future you anticipate. It may seem that how we feel comes from our past, but most times positivity comes from looking forward to an attractive future. Normally and often, we put our past into our future, which confounds the possibility.

In King Arthur’s legend, Glastonbury symbolized a visible city and Avalon, an invisible one. Each, however, occupied the same physical territory. Only a few individuals like Merlin, the King’s Counsel, knew how to find their way between the two. In fact, most people no longer even knew of Avalon’s existence, let alone how to get there.

By analogy, each of today’s corporations, government agencies, and communities includes these same two dimensions. In a corporation’s visible Glastonbury are found familiar objects and events such as buildings, machines, materials, products, services, vendors, customers, and stock prices. Also there, unfortunately, often resides a host of problems. In the same companies’ invisible Avalon are relational qualities such as mutual trust, honesty, compassionate listening, forgiveness and reconciliation, caring relationships, cooperation toward grand visions, confidence in the future, alignment among personnel, and commitment to others’ success. Avalon too, harbors difficulties.

Both dimensions have their own cultures and structures, forms of energy, and outputs. Both Glastonbury and Avalon are essential to the vibrant health, genuine success, and continuous improvement of any organization. Glastonbury deals primarily with objective reality—things tangible and countable. Avalon is most concerned with relational realities—neither physical nor easily measurable. Without Glastonbury a corporation cannot offer products and services to its customers. Without Avalon it lacks heart and soul.

Proud examples include:

  • Campbell Soup of Canadawas sure to lose much of its Canadian manufacturing to the United States without radical cuts in cost. Leaders and workers feared one another. The culture was uncooperative. All but two manufacturing plants were saved and remained in Canada.
  • The Rouse Companyoperated70 shopping centers around the US and Canada. Many shopping center managements were dysfunctional. Communication was unreliable and dishonest between centers and headquarters. There was an industry-wide recession not seen in many years. The executive vice president said that he would no longer work in a place where people did not tell the truth, were not open and honest in their communication, and would not commit to breakthrough goals with each other and independently. He promised to take this on with commitment and vigor or leave. His division had the best few years in history and innovated many new ways of working.
  • The National Peace Academy Campaignwas the vision of a man named Bryant Wedge. The dream was to create a national academy at the level of West Point, Annapolis, and the U.S. Air Force which was devoted to research, practice and action in the areas of nonviolent dispute resolution in the United States and around the world. The idea was to create a national ethic of waging peace with equal conviction to the capacity for violence and war. There were critical challenges in managing volunteers, relating to and negotiating with members of Congress, lack of money, and continuing resistance from the Defense Departments, Schools of Foreign Service, Arms Manufacturers, certain media, and many members of Congress. On one hand, it seemed like Don Quixote tilting at windmills and on the other hand a noble, worthwhile and committed purpose with leaders who really meant it.

The original mission was to have the U.S. Congress create a Commission to study the viability and merits of such an effort. The National Peace Academy Campaign was a low budget, largely volunteer effort to enable this. My role was to help Executive Director William Spencer build teams, coach and counsel leaders in breakthrough thinking and creative ways to engage in constructive conflict resolution. My deeper role was to act as a “conscience” for them to bring together the ethics of their values and the powerful politics and opposition that would naturally come from the Defense Department, schools of foreign service, media, and certain members of the Congress.

We did not accomplish the vision, yet it was a strong step in the right direction. In fact, the commission bill was passed with a $500,000 grant and after a year of negotiation, forward movement and sacrifice of some of the original principles, Congress passed a bill to create the National Institute of Peace which is now housed in a beautiful building located on the Washington Mall, and offers extensive world conflict resolution, research and facilitation.

9. Frequency Eight: The Overview Effect

On breaking free of Earth’s gravity and going to space, many astronauts experienced a surprising change in their perspective of life on Earth. Author Frank White named this phenomenon “The Overview Effect”. Some astronauts also discovered a compelling drive within themselves to help make business, government, healthcare, and the world as we know it, a better place.

9.1. Wonder and Awe

In the American Declaration of Independence, Thomas Jefferson wrote that, “We hold these truths to be self-evident; that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights... Among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” This was a Declaration, not facts. Progress has been uneven and withheld from many people. Still, the possibility was enshrined and remains to this day.

With our ability to go to space and Author Frank White’s capturing the image and possibility of the “Overview Effect,” the time has come to add to the Declaration of Independence that the Overview Effect is a Human Right, a self-evident, inalienable right, endowed by the Creator or the evolution of human consciousness.

Edgar Mitchell: Sixth Man on The Moon said,

In the end, the choice for each of us is between the Force for Good and the Dark Side.

10. Frequency Nine: Einstein also said there is Nothing as Practical as a Good Theory

Consider, and test for yourself, that in business, politics, and human affairs…..

Energy equals Mutuality times the Speed of Curiosity Squared.



  1. Victor Sanchez, The Toltec Path of Recapitulation: Healing Your Past to Free Your Soul
  2. Energy as a Way of Life: A Personal Journey, Charles E. Smith
  3. Serge Kahili King, Urban Shaman
  4. Frank Herbert, Dune
  5. Gene Marks, Washington Post, September 16, 2016
  6. Richard Hill, Conscious Conversations
  7. Shlomo Yishai, Humanity’s Global Era: A Dual Paradigm Change
  8. Fernando Flores, Committed Action
  9. Charles E. Smith, The Merlin Factor: Keys to the Corporate Kingdom
  10. Frank White, The Overview Effect: Space Exploration and Human Evolution
  11. William J. Spencer, Political Will: Bending the Arc of History
  12. Charles E. Smith, Breaking Free: Bringing the Overview Effect to Work and Life. Eruditio: e-Journal of the World Academy of Art & Science
  13. Alexander Berlonghi, Ontological Coaching

About the Author(s)

Charles Smith
Senior Executive Coach; Leadership Consultant