The Cosmic Compass Game and the Imaginal

Rose is feeling furious. “What’s the return on investment for all the trees who have to sacrifice their lives in the name of ‘progress’ every day? Or the animals who no longer have a place to live because every acre of land is covered with concrete and high-rise buildings? I don’t want you to control what I can do with my ideas. This compass is for all of humanity!”

“You’re out of line, young woman,” the mustache man grumbles. A few other heads nod in agreement.

But Rose’s inner dragon is up in full force. She looks each of them in the eye. “Did any of you even read my proposal?” No one responds. Rose continues, “Do you realize what’s at stake here? Do you? We are ‘playing’ for the very survival of the human species in the game of life. If we lose this game, we lose our planet. We lose the chance to continue to exist! We’ve wasted so much time being too arrogant to admit that we’ve been destroying our planet and each other’s future. There’s no time for hesitation. We must take appropriate action. Now!

“You’ve pitched your ideas to the wrong company,” the CEO answers sternly. “As I said, we are not a charity, and without financial capital, your nice little ideas won’t get far. If you don’t like our conditions, then we have finished here.”

Rose feels overwhelmed by a deep sense of injustice. She’s overcome with a burning desire to expose the lies and manipulations of corporate greed and their abuse of power. She feels close to rage and is ready to spit fire. The intensity of these raw emotions takes her by surprise.

“You are exactly what’s wrong with this world,” Rose says sharply. “It’s because of people like you and companies like yours that our world is in such a mess. Because of your corporate interests, I now have to fight for my future. You’re the reason I developed this game: to get people to opt-in to the game of life and opt-out of the game of greed and control. You know what? Never mind. I’m going to develop my game with blockchain technologies.” The board members look at her blankly. “I’ll bet you don’t even know what that means. Blockchain makes it possible to work transparently and in a decentralized way with open-source codes and smart contracts. In my project, I want multiple developers from around the world to be able to work together and be protected through a creative commons license. This ‘central control’ that you want is a thing of the past. These days everything is done through smart contracts,” (Smitsman and Houston, 2022, chapter 1). 

The scene above is from chapter 1 of Return of the Avatars: The Cosmic Architect Tools of Our Future Becoming, book 2 of our Future Humans Trilogy. During this scene, Rose (the main character) is pitching her ideas of a Cosmic Compass game as a Future Humans Quest for addressing our world in crisis, to potential investors.

In the story of the future humans, the Cosmic Compass comes to Rose in a vivid dream when she sees it rise up from the dark waters of our collective unconscious. She then discovers how it holds the coordinates for guiding us through the dark and difficult times by applying the Cosmic architecture of life. In Return of the Avatars, Rose explores how to apply this to the design of a real world-game, which serves to:

  1. Playfully guide people to discover collaboratively how we can resolve the multiple crises that are threatening the collapse of our world and planet.
  2. Reveal the underlying unity of life and the interdependencies of our worlds, and how to make this work for solving our greatest challenges.
  3. Help players think and act regeneratively by focusing on improving the conditions that support life to thrive, with expanding commitments to our future wellbeing.
  4. Inspire stewardship for the things we share in common. Discover how we can become the future ancestors of new civilizations that place the wellbeing of life at the center of our intentions and actions, which are ecological by design.
  5. Invoke a deeper desire to evolve our species consciously, while becoming wiser humans, through a sense of wonder, joy, and care for one another and the earth, as our common home.

The architectural ideas for the Future Humans Trilogy and the Cosmic Compass game are based on my research and work in evolutionary systems design. For example, as one of the architects of SEEDS for regenerative and thrivable economic and governance systems, I’ve applied this Compass design for the architecture of part 1 of the SEEDS Constitution. You can learn more about that through this video.

Changing our constitutions and creating new evolutionary constitutions are essential for changing how we as humans ‘play the game of life’ on planet Earth.

The Future Humans Trilogy

Return of the Avatars is the second book of the Future Humans Trilogy. We published the first book, The Quest of Rose: The Cosmic Keys of Our Future Becoming, in July 2021. The Future Humans Trilogy is about the quest of our time for co-creating a thriving world and planetary home for all. Written in the form of an allegory, the archetypal characters are presented with fictional first names.

During their quest, the future humans meet real-life people who are nonfictional characters — like the cosmologist Dr. Jude Currivan in The Quest of Rose, and the futurist and evolutionary economist Hazel Henderson and integral investor Dr. Mariana Bozesan in Return of the Avatars. The future human characters encounter real-life world events and places that are nonfictional. We chose this unique hybrid genre of allegory to express how this journey of the future humans belongs to all of us — and is thus not unique to us as the authors.

Through the discoveries and experiences of these characters, we explore the fundamental nature of reality, consciousness, and the underlying architecture of life — and how to apply this to the challenges of our time. The keys, tools, and practices of the trilogy are specifically designed for evolving our consciousness from higher (more subtle) orders of reality, and by so doing becoming the future humans of the new era.

The main character of the trilogy is Rose, a courageous and bright, multicultural woman in her mid-twenties who was born in the Netherlands, after which she lived and traveled all over the world with her parents. Rose studied evolutionary biology in New York with a keen interest in quantum physics, cosmology, and systems sciences.

The Quest of Rose begins when Rose is admitted to the hospital with a very serious case of COVID-19. Doctors try desperately to save her life, and she realizes that she may not be able to make it. She reaches out to the Cosmic Mother who offers her the possibility of rebirth through a new cycle of time and consciousness. Her acceptance of this choice catalyzes a metamorphic transformation through which she discovers the Cosmic architecture of the Universe and the immortal digital alphabet of the Cosmic hologram of consciousness. Her view and understanding of reality and the nature of the physical world alter radically.

To integrate her profound awakening, Rose receives essential support from the wise magus Verdandi, her grandmother from her mother’s side of the family. Verdandi is of Nordic and indigenous Sami descent. She comes from a long line of seers, wizards, alchemists, and shamans from the far north of Europe. She has been guiding Rose since she was a little girl, noticing the unusual abilities of the child and her potentials for the architecture of a whole new world. Verdandi has the gift of deep insight in what is to come, and how to get ready for it.

Rose is joined by one of her closest friends, Sophia, who is a highly intuitive and committed young woman in her late twenties who’s studying to become a medical doctor in the Netherlands. Sophia is of mixed Aboriginal Australian and Dutch descent. She is able to draw from her indigenous ancestral roots to join Rose in her explorations.

Then there’s Olaf, Rose’s delightful young nephew who is the son of her older brother Lucas living in Norway. Olaf carries the creative genius of the future human coders of the new world. He understands intuitively how to unfold the Cosmic Compass game that Rose discovered as a means to change the way humans play the game of life on planet Earth. Olaf’s creative mind and purity of heart help us to pierce through all the complexity so we may discover the ways out of the labyrinth. The voice of Olaf is based on my teenage son Manu. Return of the Avatars became his favorite bedtime story as we explored many of these game ideas together, and how to apply them in real life.

There are many more fascinating characters that enter the story in book 2. Like Li, a young man from China who is passionate about the transformation of business and economics. And Diego from Peru, a mysterious and charismatic man who knows the inner ways of politics and alchemy.

Breakthrough New Ideas

The Future Humans Trilogy is based on radical new understandings that are emerging from the frontiers of a new paradigm in science and research. The new paradigm sciences offer a unitary conception of existence and the role of consciousness. These sciences include fields such as: quantum field theory, cosmology, new physics, complexity sciences, evolutionary systems design, neuroscience, epigenetics, and consciousness research.

The purpose of the Future Humans Trilogy is to make these groundbreaking ideas accessible to the mainstream. We believe that these vital new insights are essential for the co-creation of a world that is able to thrive, and for transforming the unsustainable systems, cultures, and mechanisms that are bringing us to the brink of collapse.

Below is a brief synthesis of seven of these ground-breaking insights:

  1. The Universe exists and evolves as a single, unified entity, an undividable wholeness — Life is a unified reality, whereby energy-matter and space-time are complementary informational expressions of consciousness that originate from deeper, implicate, and more subtle nonlocal orders of reality.
  2. Consciousness exists, creates, and evolves as a unified holographic field of life — This field acts like a womb of life and is sentient, responsive, and communicative.
  3. The Cosmic architecture of the Universe is coded as a Cosmic hologram — This Cosmic architecture in-forms as well as potentiates the process and evolution of creation through an “alphabet” of digits that fractal out into all levels of existence and interdependent relationships.
  4. The imaginal realm forms part of the Cosmic architecture of life — The imaginal realm is cosmologically present in all living systems as the space to dream into the higher dream, and the means for evolving, transforming, and growing into our future becoming of higher and more integral orders of consciousness.
  5. Futures exist now as nonlocal information within the imaginal realm of consciousness attracting life to evolve and renew — The future is enfolded in the present as nonlocal information in the superposition quantum state of simultaneous possibilities, which can be activated imaginally or through the transformative dynamics of present conditions of change.
  6. We can imaginally activate and attract our futures into being — The imaginal state is essentially a future state of consciousness. We can consciously evolve by imaginally activating and attracting the future potentials of higher orders of reality into the embodied states of our local contexts.
  7. The Cosmic architecture of life is evolutionarily coherent and precisely tuned to actualize the potentials of consciousness — By architecting with the Cosmic architecture of life, we can co-create evolutionarily coherent systems, cultures, and worlds that enable global consciousness to self-actualize and become self aware in the human experience

If you prefer to learn about this in a visual way, this presentation below might help. For the scientific foundations, see the references at the end of this article (including my Ph.D. research out of which some of this work evolved).

The Imaginal for Systemic Transformation and Regeneration

My lifetime passion has been to better understand how the Cosmic architecture of consciousness creates the informational dynamics of life. Until we start to architect with the informational dynamics of life, human systems will remain unsustainable and destructive by design. The informational dynamics of life are not deterministic; they are responsive, creative, and precisely tuned to make life possible. To better understand why this is so, it’s essential to explore the imaginal from a systemic perspective.

The ‘imaginal’ has come to mean many different things by many different scholars. I like to think of the imaginal as an undifferentiated state of consciousness that is not just part of humans but all of life. The imaginal realm of consciousness contains the future potentials for life’s differentiation. The imaginal can also be thought of as a kind of cosmic interface that converges the potentialities of pure consciousness algorithmically in ways that manifest our physical reality. This imaginal process of convergence and interfacing takes place within us all of the time, yet many are not aware of this.

The imaginal, as such, is more than the imaginative, which is rather a creative mental state. The imaginal is the transformative capacity of living systems that enables learning, healing, renewal, rebirth, development, and evolution itself — through the activation of a system’s future potential. A liminal space where local algorithms break down and consciousness can jump to more subtle nonlocal orders of reality. It is precisely this innate imaginal capacity that makes it possible for us to learn, develop, and evolve by making new choices through higher orders of transformation.

The imaginal, in other words, enables the inner restructuring and future activation that happens during a transformative process. This is precisely what we need to engage in ourselves, and society at large, for addressing our sustainability crisis. If we look more closely at how the dominant mainstream economic, governance, and educational systems are designed, it’s clear that the imaginal is not part of the dominant human game. To resolve our sustainability crisis, and shift trajectories from collapse to regeneration and thriving, it is essential we start to understand and apply what the imaginal is all about.

Major change and disruption are becoming the new normal. Now more than ever we need to learn how to transform our worlds from higher orders of reality that are not bound up in all the chaos. The mystics, sages, magi, and alchemists have always known how to do this through direct engagement of the imaginal. It’s high time that this knowledge becomes mainstream and accessible for many more people. By considering ‘the future’ as an informational state of potentiality and latent capacity, we can start to explore our future human potentials as innate powers for transformation and rebirth.

Your future human potential is like an imaginal cell that behaves like a stem cell for giving your life, and our world, a new evolutionary boost.

Changing how we Play the Game of Life

To complete this article, I’d like to share one more scene from chapter 1 of Return of the Avatars. The following is a conversation between Rose and her nephew Olaf as they explore some of the features of the Cosmic Compass game. As you continue reading, imagine yourself inside the game together with them…

“Hey, Olaf, how’s life?”

“Hi, Rose. Cool. How is it with you?”

“It’s going well. Remember that talk we had about a Cosmic Compass game a while back?”


“I have some new ideas that I’d like to try out with you.”

“Sure. I have some ideas, too.” Olaf smiles with sparkly eyes. “I’m curious to hear what you’ve come up with.”

Rose starts by giving Olaf a full account of all the Cosmic architecture codes that she has included in the Cosmic Compass game since they last spoke. She also shows him the images she made for this. Olaf is more interested in the gaming elements. After a few minutes of listening, he interrupts her.

“But Rose, what can I do in the game? How do I unlock the game’s features? Can I earn points to buy new avatars, or can I get a special game pass as a reward or what?”

“It’s not quite like that. Yes, there will be rewards and new avatar powers, and a special game pass, but not by shooting or killing enemies in the game. This is not about battling for fortune, glory, or fame.”

“Okay, but you’re going to make it fun, right?”

“Yes, there’ll be lots of fun, mystery, and adventure,” Rose assures him.

“I want to hear more about that stuff.”

“Well, I haven’t coded the game with a game designer yet, so these are only ideas. I’m working on a grant application to get some funding so I can hire a game developer.”

“Tell me your ideas, then.” Olaf is not sure that Rose’s concepts are going to work with his friends.

Rose takes a deep breath and enters deeply into her imaginal self. “Alright. Close your eyes, Olaf, and join me on this adventure. Are they closed?”


“Imagine receiving a mysterious invitation, with the following message: ‘Welcome to the Future Humans Quest. You have been chosen to join a special task force of Cosmic agents, and the greatest inventors and artists of our time. News has gone out to all of the nearby galaxies that planet Earth is in great trouble. A team of the finest Cosmic agents has formed to help humanity in this most challenging quest. The regeneration of the entire earth is at stake, as well as the advancement of the human species. If we fail, we will lose the earth and we will be stripped of our human powers. We will fall under the full control of AI protocols for the future management of life on this planet. We must not fail. Earth needs you. Humanity needs you. But you will not be facing these challenges alone. You will be introduced to other volunteers from around the world you do not know yet. If you choose to answer this call, click the blue pearl and you will be given your first task.”

Rose pauses for a moment to observe Olaf, who has his eyes closed and the biggest smile on his face. “Let me know if you choose to click the blue pearl.”

“Yes,” Olaf answers enthusiastically. “I accept the call. I’m in!”

“Welcome, Olaf! You have now been added to the task force for the Future Humans Quest. You will now move on to your first task. The compass on your avatar suit will be activated, which will help you navigate through the game. Start by clicking the little black dot at the center of your compass. Just nod your head when you’ve done this.”

Olaf nods his head with vigor.

“Good. Now notice how when this black dot is ‘on’ you can see a web of interconnections. These look like fibers of light woven all around you and through the landscape. You may also notice how some of these fibers glow with different colors. Like the golden fibers, for example, which are fibers of time. You’ll learn about this later in the game when you’ll meet the Avatar time masters.”

Olaf nods again.

“When your black dot is turned off, you won’t be able to see these fibers, and you won’t be able to advance through the game. You start the game by declaring your commitment, which then enters you into a small team of five players. When your team solves one of the game’s challenges, these fibers of light will create a specific configuration in the form of a symbol that becomes visible on your avatar suit. This symbol connects you to the team of Cosmic Avatars who have come to Earth to help you. There are many different teams and many different symbols. Each symbol also gives you access to different levels, powers, and responsibilities in the game.”

“This is so cool, Rose. Keep going.” Olaf is enjoying this fully.

“One word of warning: If you abuse the powers of your avatar or stop collaborating, it diminishes the powers of your team, and your avatar symbol will glow less brightly. If you lose all of the powers, this will sever the connection with your Cosmic Avatar team, which then triggers more difficult game challenges for everyone in the game. It is therefore in everyone’s best interest to keep helping one another in order to advance in the game.”

“Also, when you cause harm to others, the fibers of light will prevent you from moving forward until you have acknowledged the damage and reversed the harm you or your team have caused. These fibers of light also serve as wires of information which let you know who are indigenous to this place and their customs, who are visitors like you, who are residents here from other countries, and the unique wildlife in this place, and their state of health. These fibers of light further tell you about potential dangers in this place, and the problems that need to be solved. Please know that each time you touch one of these fibers, it also becomes aware of you. Your presence and interaction then become part of the collective knowledge and memory of this place. Now get a sense of these fibers of light. Can you see them around you? Just nod your head if you do.”

Olaf nods his head with a big smile.

“Now, move to the first fibers of light that are ahead of you. Touch the fibers gently and tell me what information they give you.”

Olaf now adds his own imagination to the game and begins to co-create with Rose. This is precisely what she’d hoped for.

“I’m touching them now,” he says. “Oh! They make a sound. I feel a little electric buzz moving through my body. There’s a river appearing in front of me. The river is crying and speaking to me.”

“What is it saying?” Rose asks.

“‘I’m hurt. I can’t breathe! My fish are dying.’”

“Ask the river to show you the root of the problem and what you could do to help solve it,” Rose instructs him.

“It’s showing me all these chemicals and soap,” Olaf tells her. “This has caused all of these algae to grow. The algae are taking the oxygen from the water that the fish need. It tells me that I need to contact the water regenerators to heal the water.” Olaf is seeing the game as if he is fully inside the game world now.

“Check with your team to see if any of them have these skills. If none of you do, touch the fibers again, and this will activate a screen where you can write a message to get the help you need.”

“Done,” Olaf says. “A regenerator team is on its way. Oh, what’s that? The regenerator team says that they’ll need access to a special mineral for cleaning the water, which they don’t have. They’re asking us to find this mineral in the Blue Mountains. How can we find these mountains?”

“Activate the compass on your avatar suit. This will give you compass vision,” Rose explains. “You’ll see the coordinates of the Blue Mountains.”

“It works! Okay, I see the coordinates, but have no idea how to get there.”

“Touch the compass rose. This will give you access to the Cosmic Avatars who have been assigned to your challenge. Let me know what happens next.”

“Wow! Yeah, that works, too. A portal just appeared in front of me that can bring us directly to the mountains. Cool, I’m now with my team in the Blue Mountains. We’re being greeted by a team of scientists who say they’ve been expecting us and are looking for the algae from our river. They’re explaining how they’ll need the algae for a technology they’re working on to capture the greenhouse gas emissions from the atmosphere. It looks like the next challenge is about helping one another solve each of our challenges. I’m having fun. Can I keep going?”

“I’m really glad you like it, Olaf,” Rose laughs. “Your mom is sending me not-so-secret messages on my phone to let me know that she has your dinner ready, but we’ll continue the game again soon. Thanks so much for playing! Enjoy your dinner.”

This article is written by Anneloes Smitsman, Ph.D.


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Smitsman, A. (2022). Applying the Cosmic Architecture of Consciousness for a New World Paradigm. In Blum, R. ed. The New Paradigm in Cosmology. The New Paradigm Symposia Series — Book 2. New York: SelectBooks.

Smitsman, A. (2021). Economy of Life — The architecture of wholeness for an economy that is life sustaining and regenerative. In Eds. Klomp, K & Shinta Oosterwaal, S. Thrive: Fundamentals for a New Economy. Amsterdam: Business Contact.

Smitsman A. (2019). Into the Heart of Systems Change. Ph.D. Dissertation. International Centre for Integrated assessment and Sustainable development (ICIS), Maastricht University, the Netherlands.

Smitsman, A & Currivan, J. (2021). Healing our relationship with Gaia through a New Thrivability Paradigm. In Wright, J. (Ed.) Quantum Thinking for Agroecology: Theory and Practice for the Farming of Tomorrow. Taylor & Francis Group, FL, USA.

Smitsman, A. & Currivan, J. (2019). Systemic Transformation — Into the Birth Canal. Systems Research and Behavioral Science, 1–10.

Smitsman, A. & Houston, J. (2021). The Quest of Rose: The Cosmic Keys of Our Future Becoming. Book 1 of the Future Humans Trilogy. Independently published via Oxygen Publishing.

Smitsman, A. & Houston, J. (2022). Return of the Avatars: The Cosmic Architect Tools of Our Future Becoming. Book 2 of the Future Humans Trilogy. Independently published via Oxygen Publishing.

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