The Face of Future Change
















The Face of Future Change


Waking Up and Leap-Frogging








Susan E. Mehrtens











© 2001 Susan E. Mehrtens





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Printed in the United States of America.






Order of Posting on Jungian Center Blog




Front Matter and Introduction

October 07

Waking Up

November 07


December 07

Why “Helping” is Not Appropriate

January 08

The Faces of Denial

February 08

Time, Space and Patience

March 08

“In the Grip of the Daimon”

April 08

Relinquishing the “Addiction to Perfection”

May 08

“Resist Not Evil”

June 08

Spiritual Literacy

July 08

Redefining Success

August 08

The Gift of Suffering

September 08

The Forms and Value of Death

October 08

Allow Mode

November 08

Pitfalls of the Path

December 08


Note: Please read the initial essays—Introduction, Waking Up and Leap-Frogging—before reading others of these essays, as these three contain definitions and usages of terms that you will need in order to understand what follows.




            This section provides some important definitions or explanations of terminology that will appear in the essays that follow—terms like “Second Wave,” “Third Wave,” “The Force” and “The Self.” It also introduces the organizational scheme and presents the philosophy behind the concepts of “waking up” and “leap-frogging” that are at the core of every essay.

Some Key Definitions

            The Concept of Growth Curves. We are living in a time of two realities. The old reality we have known is slowly sputtering to an end, full of problems, while a new one is aborning, full of potential. This may be hard for those of us with a Western mind-set to comprehend, because Western thinking tends to be either/or or bi-polar. But this is a both/and time: things are not either good (resilient, likely to go on indefinitely) or bad (short-lived, heading for a fall) but both. How can this be? Because we are living at what George Land and Beth Jarman call a “breakpoint time.”[1]

            George Land is a student of living systems. In his book Grow or Die,[2] he described how any living entity comes into being, grows, matures and dies. Plotted graphically, this growth process looks like this:












Land called this pattern of overlapping sinusoid shapes a “growth curve.”

            One of the most obvious examples of how these curves show up in reality is in  generations: The curve on the left could be the lifetime of a grandparent; the middle curve, the life of a parent; and the curve on the right, the lifeline of the child.

Just as generations overlap in time, so civilizations begin and develop while the older civilization is still in existence. Land drew up a graph of what the civilizations in human history look like:


                                                                        global groups











Pre-history 15,000 B.C.    1776 A.D.     2012 A.D.

In this diagram , the growth curve on the left represents human culture in the prehistoric era. The middle growth curve represents Western culture, which began with the rise of cities. It is the old reality human beings have known for many millennia, which is now in the breakdown stage, the reality I mentioned above with all the problems. The growth curve on the right represents the reality of the future, which Land and Jarman feel began in 1776, at the time of the creation of the American Declaration of Independence. This growth curve has many centuries of prosperity ahead of it, and is the second reality I mentioned earlier, the one with potential.

            Notice how the curves in the middle and on the right intersect in 2012. George Land and Beth Jarman call this point of intersection the “breakpoint.” A host of ancient sources predicted the date when this will occur: 22 December 2012, just a few years from now.

            The Concept of Waves. I developed the habit of speaking of current and future reality as “waves” for two reasons. The first is the obvious way that Land’s diagram looks like waves. The other reason is the inspiration I got from the work of an American social analyst, Alvin Toffler, who wrote The Third Wave in 1980.

            In this book Toffler described history as a series of waves, based on the focal point of economic activity. In the First Wave, the focal point was the farm. Agriculture was the dominant mode of production. In the Second Wave, the focus shifted to the factory, as the Industrial era developed. In the last half of the 20th century, Toffler realized, there was another shift underway, as more of the productive labor began to be done in the office. The nexus of economic activity was shifting away from the M-sector (manufacturing) to the S-sector (service industries). Toffer regarded this as a whole new ballgame, which he termed the Third Wave.[3]

            In 1990, ten years after Toffler’s Third Wave appeared, Herman Maynard and I wrote a series of essays that later became a book, The Fourth Wave.[4] In it we extended Toffler’s argument to postulate a wave beyond the Third. We also gave Second and Third Waves very different meanings. We used the term “Second Wave” to refer to our current reality, on Land’s old growth curve, which will peter out in the near future. We used “Third Wave” to refer to the new growth curve that has a long-term viable future. This is how I am using “Second Wave” and “Third Wave” in this collection of essays.

            Between the Second and Third Waves, at the “breakpoint” time, when the two curves intersect, a “global mind change” will occur. This will not be Armageddon, but a planetary shift of consciousness from our current relatively low level of consciousness to a higher level, a level that will have a very different perspective on things. To see just how different the Second, Third and Fourth Wave perspectives are, consider the following chart:[5]


First Wave

Second Wave

Third Wave

Fourth Wave





transcends sectors

economic unit

the farm

the factory

the office

free form

locus of direction


the group


Self (divine core)

brain part used

limbic system

left hemisphere

both left and right





reason and intuition

integration of all

temporal orientation

the past

the present

the future

the “spacious present”

sense of time

rhythm of Nature

time as units

process time

kairos time

epistemolo-gical base



“new science”

intuitive knowing

personal orientation

participation mystique

separateness of ego from others


unity: all are one

attitude toward the natural world


control of Nature

accommoda-tion to Nature

oneness with Nature

basic form of energy


hydro-carbons (oil, coal)

silicon and hydro-carbons

Universal Energy Field


            It is important to remember that each wave represents an upward shift of consciousness. From the Second Wave mind-set (our current perspective), Third and Fourth Waves seem unrealistic or nonsensical. But from the higher consciousness they do not seem so at all.

            In the essays that follow, I will repeatedly refer to the “Second Wave world,” “Second Wave reality,” “Third Wave reality,” and the “global mind change.” Each “wave” is a progression or advance over the preceding wave. Second Wave, for example, is less ignorant or superstitious than the First Wave. It has produced the scientific method and an understanding of the workings of the natural world, which has lessened much of the fear and anxiety that ancient people felt in the face of natural phenomena. But fear is still present. In the same way, the Third Wave represents an evolution of humanity out of more of its fears. Our progress collectively is the story of moving more and more out of fear and into love and trust. So the Third Wave world will be less fearful than the Second Wave world.

            Second Wave, our current reality, has many limitations and is fundamentally disempowering. The process of “waking up,” described in the next essay, is, in part, a process of getting wise to these limitations inherent in the Second Wave perspective.

            The Concept of The Force. Much as I borrowed the notion of “waves” from Alvin Toffler, I borrowed the phrase “The Force” from the American filmmaker George Lucas. “Star Wars” devotees will remember the phrase “May the Force be with you!” as a common form of benediction. I don’t know just what Lucas meant by the term, but my sense of it is closely akin to what Dante meant when he spoke of the “love that coheres the Universe.”[6]

            Three hundred years after Dante, Isaac Newton called this “gravity.” But to me, The Force is not the cold, mechanistic, impersonal, unfeeling concept that “gravity” has become in science. This is not how I see “The Force” at all. I share Dante’s sense of it as loving, involved in the world, caring, warm, constant yet ever-changing, very reliable, yet mysterious, not fully known or even fully knowable. The Force, to me, is deeply personal, infinitely compassionate, powerful but in an unobtrusive way. The Australian aborigines’ concept of “force” is close to what I mean. They use the term “force” to refer to “an energy existing within all creatures, especially within members of a community, which continues for generations, as a unifying power greater than the aggregate of individuals, a spiritual and transcendent reality.” By “transcendent” they mean that this force is beyond any particular person or collective. Humans live in relation to it.[7]

            By this point, you might be thinking, “Hm. This sounds like she’s talking about God.” The Swiss psychiatrist, Carl Jung, indeed, defined God as “a superior force.”[8] And you might wonder why I don’t just come out and call it that. Here’s why.

            When the subject comes up in my workshops (and it always comes up), people press me to get specific: Is this Force that gives us gravity the Christian God, or the Jewish Jahweh, or Allah, or Krishna, or Buddha? They want to know what I mean.

            I offer my questioners no satisfaction: I reply to their question with a challenge (one I offer to you, my reader, also): Please identify for me a religion, denomination, sect, cult (however you want to label these entities) for whom gravity does not work. Silence. In my workshops, at this point there is always silence. No one ventures a response. But there are always a few people who get a slight smile as they get my drift. They have gotten past our Second Wave tendency to label, classify and judge. They recognize that I am using the term “The Force” to talk about a power beyond human labels. This is a power that loves all people, all things, and works for us all the time. In this respect, I think Lucas got it backward: The Force is always with us. It is we who sometimes leave The Force. A better benediction might have been “May you remember that The Force is with you!”

            In the essays in this collection, “The Force” will appear frequently. If you choose to read it as “god,” please remember that I am conceiving of this concept as being beyond any current religious labels.

            The Concept of “The Self.” The Force is cosmic in scope. Its human equivalent is “The Self.” Note the capital “S.” This is to distinguish it from the self, as in “selfish.” The little “s” self is linked to the personal ego. The capital “S” Self is a concept I borrowed from Carl Jung, the Swiss psychiatrist. He defined Self as “the archetype of a supraordinate, organizing principle of psychic selfhood,”[9] the “Patterner in the life of each human” that “sees to it that the opposites which we need for wholeness will be encountered by us in our lifetime.”[10]

            As an archetype, this Self, or Divine core, is universal, found in all cultures, eastern and western, “primitive” and advanced. It is also timeless, found in both modern and ancient civilizations. A “psychological image of transcendence,” the Self was described in detail in Jung’s study “Aion: On the Phenomenology of the Self.”[11] For reasons of space, I cannot do justice to Jung’s subtlety and sophistication. It must suffice to say that, when I refer to “The Self,” I am speaking of the Divine core or spark that lives within each person. It is the source of our dreams, intuitions, and other forms of Divine guidance, as well as of the synchronicities or meaningful coincidences that reveal to us the care and support we have from The Force.

Introduction to the Essays

            The essays that follow appear in no particular order, except for the first two, on “waking up” and “leap-frogging,” which should be read first, as they provide definitions of these two key concepts. Every essay that follows them will mention “waking up” and “leap-frogging” repeatedly.

            Each essay is the product of one or more dreams, like all of my books. As I note in the essay “In the Grip of the Daimon,” I was very much in the thrall of The Self through this whole process. It literally kept me up nights, as I had dream after dream detailing the themes, contents, and titles of these essays.

            The appendices are also the result of dreams. They are included to provide more food for thought. The last, on exercises, is meant to assuage the anxieties of “activists,” who need to “do” something. But, in all likelihood, this list of exercises is not going to be what readers expect. It is not a laundry list of “good” organizations to join, or charities to which you can send money. It offers no political tactics, nor strategies for beating the opposition. This is deliberate: I see all change as beginning inwardly, and it is this inner change I seek to foster. I do this because I am confident that outer change will inevitably follow any inner change. More than this, all my experience suggests to me that outer work to change organizations, institutions, or other people is little more than a subtle way to avoid real change, if it is undertaken in lieu of personal change. Outer activity without prior conscious effort to change oneself is mere projection, a seeing of one’s own “stuff” outside. And all outer action will fail to bring about real, lasting change if the inner work is not taken up.[12]

            As I noted in Wake Up, South Africa!, the book preceding this set of essays, we (i.e. Westerners, immersed in the Second Wave mind-set) must wake up before we try to leap frog. We have to start with ourselves and work out from there. This is not a popular approach, because nobody wants to hear that he or she must change. Change is uncomfortable. But personal change is basic. And in taking this stand, I myself am demonstrating the leap-frog option: calling for action that is very different from the Second Wave norm (which takes all change as something outer, so that very little really ever changes at all).

            In the end, I hope these essays will give you food for thought, a deeper understanding of what “waking up” and “leap-frogging” entail, and encouragement to come share with me the excitement and joy of working for and with The Force!


For Further Reading

Fort, Timothy L. (1999), “The first man and the company man: the common good, transcendence and mediating institutions,” American Business Law Journal (Spring 1999), 36, no. 13, 391ff.

Hitchcock, John (1991), The Web of the Universe: Jung, the “New Physics” and Human Spirituality. New York: Paulist Press.

Hopcke, Robert (1989), A Guided Tour of the Collected Works of C.G. Jung. Boston: Shambhala.

Jung, C.G. (1959), “Aion: Researches into the Phenomenology of the Self,” Collected Works, 9.ii. Princeton: Princeton University Press.

________ (1966), “Two Essays on Analytical Psychology,” Collected Works, 7, 2nd ed. Princeton: Princeton University Press.

Lammers, Ann Conrad (1994), In God’s Shadow: The Collaboration of Victor White and C.G. Jung. New York: Paulist Press.

Land, George (1986), Grow or Die: The Unifying Principle of Transformation, rev. ed. New York: John Wiley.

________ & Beth Jarman (1992), Breakpoint and Beyond: Mastering the Future Today. New York: HarperCollins.

Maynard, Herman & Susan Mehrtens (1993), The Fourth Wave: Business in the 21st Century. San Francisco: Berrett-Koehler.

Mehrtens, Susan, Barry Lessing & Elizabeth Milne (1999), The Leap Frog Option. Cape Town: Future Managers.

Toffler, Alvin (1980), The Third Wave. New York: Bantam Books.








[1] Land & Jarman (1992).

[2] Land (1986).

[3] Toffler (1980), 13-14.

[4] Maynard & Mehrtens (1993).

[5] This chart originally appeared in Mehrtens, Lessing and Milne (1999), 19; reprinted by permission.

[6] “L’amor che muove il sole e l’altre stelle;” The Divine Comedy, “Paradiso,” canto XXXIII.

[7] Cited in Fort (1999), 391ff.

[8] Quoted in Lammers (1994), 123.

[9] Hopcke (1989), 95.

[10] Hitchcock (1991), 179. Hitchcock elsewhere refers to the Self as the “Reconciling Center;” 113.

[11] Jung (1959).

[12] Carl Jung was explicit that all change must begin with the individual: “… there is no cure and no improving of the world that does not begin with the individual himself.” Jung (1966), 226.

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