Futurology: There's Best Practice and then there's Tantric Practice

When it comes to thinking about the future and trend spotting I always look up to LS:N Global and JWT’s The Future 100.

There’s Best Practice. But then… Then there’s Tantric Practice.


Tantra isn’t just old-timey drawings of contortionist sex poses. Tantra isn’t even necessarily sexual. Its core tenant (at least from my limited, occult-influenced, white understanding) is that divine creation cannot be understood verbally – only experientially. The orgasm becomes a metaphor for this. And that’s where I derived the name Futuregasm (stylised FTRGZM) from. Strap in, it’s about to get weird.

In Tantra: The Indian Cult of Ecstasy, Philip Rawson explains the “common-sense, materialistic-scientific view of time (that) most Western people hold”.

“It resembles the view we get by looking backwards only out of the rear window of a moving automobile (…) objects appear out of an invisible future within our field of vision, framed in ur present moment which defines our immediate sense-experience and knowledge. As time goes by things as they get older seem to recede towards the horizon. All things seem as though they must have a beginning and end.”

The everyday view of time and history (the default world zzZ)

The everyday view of time and history (the default world zzZ)

So here we can see what inspires the need for futurology and trend spotting in the conventional mind. Everything is hurtling away from of us into oblivion and we must figure out what is coming next to not fade into irrelevancy along with it!

“Tantra…” Rawson asserts “…looks at things differently. It thinks of the past full of ‘objects’ not as a landscape through which each person moves with his ‘present-frame’, but as a trail of things and events which is, as it were, being vomited out or projected from the mouth of the present, like the flames from the tail end of a rocket.” He later substitutes the visual metaphor of a rocket with that of a monster’s mouth.

You are in the mouth of the monster that “represents time and fertility”

You are in the mouth of the monster that “represents time and fertility”

Whaaaaat. There is so much here to unpack: Nothing but the present moment, existence as something alive and creative rather than permanent rear-view mirror lament, our complete lack of perspective on something that we take so completely for granted… the list goes on. Sadhus and wise-men have contemplated these things for centuries and haven’t cracked it so I’ll just rapidly move on to Rawson and Tantra’s next assertion.

“If we then shift our viewpoint and imagine ourselves looking back outward through the projecting open mouth of the monster (…) we still see things ‘receding’ from us along the vista of the past into the time-depth of the picture. The real difference is that in this new image time and things did not ‘begin’ at some imaginary point back in the depths of the picture. They are being projected through each of us; each person’s ‘present-frame’ is itself a mouth of that monster vomiting out his world of experience and knowledge. “

So in other words when your sitting in the steaming hot mouth of that monster you suddenly realise: We’re not actually going anywhere. There is no great overarching timeline that is slowly plotting towards an inevitable grand outcome. There is only a terrifyingly, overwhelmingly beautiful and never-ending process of creation in the present moment “…And what is being projected is the tissue of experience and memory that we call reality. It is part of the mechanisms’ function to make reality seem solid, spread out around us and looking as if it must have had a beginning far back in time.”

We’re so used to the cacophony of constant creation that we have totally drowned it out of our everyday experience.

Or looked at from another angle: We’re being actively deceived. There is something sticky, infinitely illusive and even sentient about the way in which we are constantly distracted from the roaring jaws of creation. We are blind to it, seeing only glimpses here and there. We become obsessed with and worship third and fourth degree relics of creation – our iphone, a golden calf… capital. Is there no alternative?!

“Now comes the crucial Tantrik operation.”

What we see when we ‘turn back up’

What we see when we ‘turn back up’

“Having understood the new picture we then have to ‘turn around’ and look back up into the place from which experienced reality is coming.”

Stare deep into the beasts throat. And what do we see in that roaring furnace?

Well everyone should find out on their own. But it’s often depicted through the visual metaphor of a mandala – the Shri Yantra.  

forgive me for my words won’t do its
meaning justice.

In the center we see a singular unchangeable “masculine” (let’s forgive the ancients for the gender binaries) seed –the lingam- that is constantly planted and replanted in the “feminine”, yoni – an organ in permanent flux. The fusion allows for a constant dance of illusion and creation – a circuit of lesser geometries derived from the one original seed and finally “The outer circles and rings of lotus petals symbolize the unfolding reality of the world.” It’s a bizarre, hypnotic and exhilarating view of the past, present and future.

And having seen it “…we have to go on living, fully aware of what is going on.”

Or try desperately not to forget!

That view of future gazing is so much more all encompassing and empowering than a desperate sprint to stay one step ahead of the past. It’s how I want to talk about futurology and think about creativity.

It’s how I want to live.

TL;DR Don’t worry, it’s all a wank.

Image borrowed from  deva project .

Image borrowed from deva project.