Building Personal Resilience and Interdependence in a World of Chaos

MODULE 1: The Shadow Game

Hello! I’m Julian Gresser, your course creator. I am excited to accompany you on a Discoverer’s Journey that will take us to new frontiers of science, consciousness, ethics, law and public policy.  

We begin with a paradox. Our world is rapidly coming apart, but at the same time we are rapidly coming together. Our challenge, like trout or salmon swimming upstream, is to learn how to catch the spiraling energies upward.

This course offers a practical basis for hope. But to justify hope, we must understand the forces that are pulling us apart. I call this “The Shadow Game.” In this Module # 1 our focus is on how our personal resilience and integrity, and the resilience and interdependence of communities everywhere are being compromised in this critical decade (2020-2030).

We begin with external factors that appear as forces over which we have little personal or perhaps even collective control. This subject is poignantly addressed by Richard Attenborough in his 2021 film Breaking Boundaries in which he asks this question: are we capable of destabilizing the whole planet? He cites scientific trends that at least 7 boundaries or tipping points are near to being, or have already been breached. These include biodiversity, habitat destruction, drought, depletion of supplies of drinking water, toxic air pollution, and climate turbulence.

One warning of the larger collapse is the increasing occurrence of  apparently “random catastrophes or ‘accidents’ such as the August 2023 Maui fire. There is a considerable scientific and sociological literature on the behavior of complex “tightly coupled systems” beginning with Charles Perrow’s seminal study Normal Accidents involving nuclear power plants. The world today is rapidly becoming dependent upon such complex, tightly coupled systems, not only natural systems but also economic, financial, psychological, and technological systems.

The essential point I would like you to observe is: a failure in any one part of this matrix can trigger cascading effects in many other systems. What we are now seeing is the collapse of tightly coupled systems in the natural world, as Attenborough describes. But the situation is far more serious, I am sad to say. We humans are largely responsible for the dystopian world appearing all around us. After all, we are the designers and financiers of the heartless extractive economic systems that have engendered these dystopias.

Not by Chance—The Shadow Game

The important point in my view is to understand that these looming planetary catastrophes are not happening by chance. There is a wonderful quote from Shakespeare’s King Lear, where the villainous bastard son Edmund exclaims: This is the excellent foppery of the world, that, when we are sick in fortune, often the surfeit of our own behavior, we make guilty of our disasters the sun, the moon, and the stars; as if we were villains on necessity; fools by heavenly compulsion. In other words, we blame chance for our own folly. So now I ask you, as a participant in this course:

How aware are you of The Shadow Game?

First off, let me define what I mean by “shadow”. Actually, this is a term coined by the great Austrian psychiatrist, Carl J. Jung to refer to our drives, conceits, stories, and latent powers that live in our unconscious minds, influencing and in some cases controlling our behaviors. When others, especially those in power or authority, act in deference to, or are controlled by their shadow forces, there is a significant likelihood that their shadows will constellate and release the shadowy powers within us. Throughout history tyrants have mobilized and bent helpless populations in this way to their will. Sadly, it is happening today.

But “What precisely is the Shadow Game?,” you will ask?

I refer to a powerful system of 25+ “moves” designed to advance corporate interests, and maximize profits for a few wealthy owners and top executives, enlisting the support and corrupting government agencies, with the singular effect of creating chaos and undermining your personal integrity and resilience, and that of your community. As we will explain in this course, I view resilience as a core life competency—indeed an art to be mastered, of adapting creatively to stress and turning adversity to advantage.

In my professional work as a public interest, environmental, and international lawyer, I am engaged daily with challenging these practices that are designed to undermine the resilience of defenseless communities, including children, around the world.

I will give you two examples of these “moves.” The first concerns the very definition of a “negotiation.” It is a flow concept. In the world of Shadow, you are at risk of being caught in the Game, irrespective of agreements that you make. This is very powerful. Most people are not even aware of what a negotiation really is. They believe it is haggling to reach an agreement—Getting to ‘Yes’–and that agreement is where the negotiation ends. What if I tell you, an agreement in the Shadow Game is where the real negotiation begins? And why it can at times prove a fatal error for you to lose consciousness by assuming the negotiation has ended when the next stage is just beginning.

A second move of the Shadow Players is intentionally to instill false assumptions: Where do the Shadow Players always strike? Why, where you and your community are most vulnerable. And where might that be? Your mind. That is where you are most vulnerable. And how do the Shadow Players attack your and your community’s mind? By intentionally disseminating false assumptions and conscripting government agencies to ratify them. Here are a few examples.

False Claims and Premises

Even as I speak to you in early September 2023 over 90 bills are being considered in Congress based on a series of false claims and premises that are not rendered truthful by their being widely asserted, disseminated, and asseverated by the wireless telecom industry and members of Congress whom they patronize. Here are some of the false premises:
  • Wireless infrastructure is resilient. In fact, it is less resilient than one based on fiber.
  • Wireless infrastructure is energy efficient. In fact, it is shown to be vastly energy consumptive.
  • Wireless infrastructure is safe. It is well documented to be unsafe.
  • Wireless infrastructure is cybersecure. In fact, wireless is substantially less secure than optical fiber which facilitates identification of the point of attack, and resilient response.
  • Wireless infrastructure is climate change friendly. In fact, it is the very opposite.
  • Wireless infrastructure will close the Digital Divide, when it caused it in the first place and will expand it.
  • Wireless is long-lived, whereas the wireless industry and supporting legislators know full well that wireless is short-lived and given to early obsolescence.

As public interest environmental lawyers in the trenches, we see this same pattern of Shadow Deception in every case.
  • In NYC minority communities are being told that densifying proliferation of cell towers will advance Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. In fact, it will do the opposite. Poor and minority communities are most vulnerable as they depend on subsidized affordable housing and lack financial means and effective legal counsel to escape when assaulted by a host of EMF/RF radiation emitted from wireless devices. (soon to intensify in an internet of things)
  • In Lake Tahoe we are being told by the local authorities that are permitting cell towers to proliferate in pristine areas that there is no need to assess environmental impacts because cell towers will contribute to Regional Prosperity.
  • In Los Angeles the wireless industry is promoting “Resilience Hubs,” when proliferating wireless cell towers themselves will create wildfire risks and weaken local resilient emergency responses.
  • Across the world social media companies are generating gigantic profits by aggressively marketing their products to children and young persons, knowing full well that the algorithms driving these products are specifically designed to addict them.
  • In Space, the entire planet is being exposed to 8 major categories of risks, associated with non-geostationary mega satellite constellations, including debris, collisions, cyber-attacks, depletion of the ozone layer, and interference with astronomical research. Despite warnings and expressions of concern by NASA, the UN, and the GAO (Government Accounting Office) and petitions by various public interest organizations, including BBILAN, and its 2021 Healthy Heavens Trust Initiative, the FCC refuses (as BBILAN is alleging) to conduct a comprehensive assessment of these risks on the core premise that the exploitation of Space is deemed (by it and the industry) as too important to justify precaution. A number of largely unchallenged assertions are being made, including: first, that other countries will take advantage of our regulations by establishing so called flag of convenience jurisdictions and, second, U.S. dominance in Space is critical, because a war with China within the next 3-5 years is.

None of these premises is being seriously re-examined, contested, or viable alternatives considered. As in all negotiations in the Shadow Game, the most powerful countermove to falsehood and contrivance is first to become aware of the Game you’re in, and then to challenge the assumptions, by asking for compelling data and proof. We must develop the habit of asking, “How do I know what you are claiming—or, as importantly, what I am telling myself– even approaches truth?”

There is also an implicit, largely unchallenged value proposition underlying all these cases—and it is that corporate profits trump the public interest, and certainly the unvoiced interest of Nature, the environment, and ultimately, the living planet. And behind this premise is an even bolder unstated claim, because to do so might even make the corporate profiteers blush–Might Makes Right. “We’ve got the power and who cares about you.” This proposition of Might Makes Right was logically refuted by Socrates in his dialogue with Callicles in Plato’s Gorgias in the 5th century BC. Socrates helps Callicles to understand the Might Makes Right is a path leading directly into Hell and suffering, not out of it.

I solemnly believe that these and related values underlying The Shadow Game are taking us collectively over the precipice, and that we—millions of people around the world—are largely unaware of what is going on. Thus, I close this first module with these questions:
  • How willing are you—those who are listening– to wake up?
  • What are the risks we accept by remaining asleep?
  • How willing are we– individually, in communities around the world, and as a species–to evolve?
  • In the most practical terms, what is required, what does it mean, to evolve?
  • And what relevance might this have in your realizing your life’s calling (your “soul’s work) and being paid for it?

These are deep, complex questions but this doesn’t mean they are not amenable to the light. In Module # 3 we introduce a powerful practice that will enable you instantly to recharge and to build your resilience with a resource that you and virtually everyone already possesses in abundance. I am speaking of cultivating the energy field around the Heart, which consists of  two forms of vital energy in Chinese “Qi” (in Japanese “ki”) and Love. As we will see, Love has the paradoxical quality of increasing, the more it is given away. But before we discuss Love and Qi, I want to introduce in Module # 2 a simple way to set a baseline for your present resilience and to track and measure your progress in cultivating this core life competency.

Module References