After graduating with a degree in English Literature & American Studies (BA, 2:1 Hons) I decided I wanted to pursue my ambition to be a writer of fiction. So I took some minimum wage manual work (factories, postal, courier) in order to keep my mind untouched for writing in the evenings.
Several years of living in a cold one-bedroom flat and having several novels rejected I decided it was time to reach out for the search to questions on my mind. I took a TEFL language training course in Ostrovo, Czech Republic, and then went to Prague to teach English and experience life. I met with several spiritual seekers, and many serious drinkers. After one year of intellectual pursuits, I felt I needed a more ‘heart’ environment. I landed in Istanbul, Turkey.
I stayed for five years. In that time, I undertook several courses in critical thinking and film. I moved to a private university and began giving courses in English & American literature. I also plunged deeply into Turkish life & lore. I learnt the language, met with dervish groups, explored intimately, and travelled widely. I crossed pathways with many seekers of Truth. I also travelled through Egypt, Jordan, Palestinian territory, Tunisia, and other domains. Yet still my questions remained unanswered. I wrote reams of poetry, though. I sensed the world was rapidly changing and I knew I had to keep up.
I moved back to the UK and gained an MA (Distinction) in ‘Globalization, Identity & Technology’ at Nottingham Trent University. My Masters thesis was on applying Ervin Laszlo’s ‘General Evolution Theory’ to new communications, specifically the Internet (‘An Evolutionary Paradigm of Social Systems’, 2003). Immediately after this I moved to Lancaster University to complete my doctorate in sociology. My research was on complexity theory and how it could be applied to new information communication networks, such as blogging and mobile phones (‘NEW COMPLEXITIES: converging spaces of connectivity, communication, and collaboration’, 2006). During this time, I also worked as a lecturer and seminar teacher in various sociology subject areas. Yet my understanding of the world was developing on a path congruent to how consensus thinking was viewing it. I knew this was all a matter of perception and that perception is an internal organ that grows in relation to one’s capacity.
“New organs of perception come into being as a result of necessity.
Therefore, O man, increase your necessity, so that you may increase your perception”
After finishing my doctorate I moved to the Centre for Mobilities Research (CeMoRe) at Lancaster University and began work on what would finally be published as After the Car (2009 – co-written with John Urry), a book that looked at post-peak oil societies and mobility. During this time I was researching deeply into how several major processes were shaping the future, such as resource depletion; climatic changes; digital technologies, and geopolitical events. How did this all fit into my own picture of our evolutionary imperative in relation to socio-cultural development? My own response was to take leave from the university and go my own way.
I left behind everything and jumped into the void.