About 70 individuals, from about 30 different nationalities, turned up for our monthly social picnic. Today started as an unstable summer day, weather wise. The picnic required at least dry grass for the participants to sit. With the possibility of many no shows we decided to go ahead and take the risk. The enormous affluence was a warm surprise to us as organizers.
The potluck was richly filled again with food and drinks. People gathered in groups for talks. Some walked in a bit shy as newcomers, needing a bit of help to connect. By doing this through positive engagement we learned that some only arrived in town days ago and attended, with the desire to meet people.
For the first time we had decided to introduce some activities that would enhance further mingling and engagement. There is always a risk of over-organizing events when people are free to do their own thing. Finding a balance in organizing stuff for or with people, and allowing things to happen spontaneously, simply because we create the space and opportunity for it, is worth exploring. Our common goal is social inclusion and integration. Is it enough to organize the picnic and let people figure out their own inclusion process? Or do they still need some extra facilitation? When do we risk to patronize? And when do we facilitate or guide?
We observe the group of 70, relatively passive, sitting together, peacefully chatting, finding their way to the potluck table, engaging or not with some guitar music. It becomes hard as organiser to find the desire to disrupt this beauty with some workshop announcement. Eventually we did.
We announced a speed date encounter for new friendships. To our surprise about 40%, 25 persons stood up. We then understood that the passive attitude of the group was just a time filling behavior waiting for a little bit of leadership to get them on the move. We learned to “never underestimate the needs of a passive community”. The gratitude displayed during and after the workshop was overwhelming. A new milestone was achieved in our own awareness and techniques for a yet higher purpose, our participation society (Sustainocracy).
Suddenly we can ask ourselves the question of engaging the world of the commons in general? Is the seemingly passive attitude around global pollution, climate issues and social challenges, just a misjudged appearance? What if we find the right trigger for positive engagement, like we did today during the picnic? A challenging thought worth exploring further …..
At STIR School of Talents & Wellness we have received some 3000 visitors (students and teachers) over the past few years, through the European Erasmus+ cultural exchange program and various partner. The visitors come to taste different cultures in order to broaden their worldview, in an attempt to prepare them better for a future. We add a dimension to it.
The practicals that the students and teachers are invited to are strongly related to their study topics and choices. We make them acquainted with partners in Eindhoven and surroundings, inspiring them with our methods and innovations. But there is more.
We take all present through the process of defining their own insights and innovative ideas based on two triggers:
- the 5 natural core human values defined in Sustainocracy’s level 4 awareness driven cocreation.
- the 17 SDG’s of the United Nations
The 5 natural values are easier to match with innovative ideas despite their level of initial abstraction. What is “health” for instance? How can we improve it in the local territory of their home region? This requires first an explanation on what “health” is in modern terms of proactive care and prevention. Health also happens to be a SDG (number 3). We bring health in context with for instance the elimination of human polluting activities, or the need for social inclusion and participation, not just the absence of diseases.
All present are asked to apply their theoretical knowledge to come up with some practical innovation that helps improve a chosen situation. At the end of the practicals they have time to present their ideas to us. The ideas that have been presented are usually unique, authentic and often very well applicable. The students are invited to consider implementing it in their home town. If they do we will travel and come and see.
The students are asked to participate and learn by doing. This is very different than the traditonal cognitive lecturing practiced by college normally. The students and their teachers go through an emotional process in our hands. One we need to understand, empathically follow up and support, in order to come to utmost results. The various emotional phases are:
- letting go phase of old dogma’s. In order to be able to stand up and think for themselves the students need to let go of the old “sit back and listen” mentality. They go through wake up call phases like “Huh? Am I allowed to do tis? Can I do this? Etc.
- acceptance of their freedom and invitation to creation. When listening to the challenging environment they tend to react that it is “too big”. When they ask for it to be reduced they get the challenge back with the words “if I reduce it for you, you’ll be working for me. If you reduce it yourselves, you’ll be doing it for yourself”
- acknowlegment of their abilities. We come from a culture of dependence in which we need to ask permission for everything, especially in a school environment. When dealing with the core values and SGDs critical self reflection is needed to come to utmost creativity. When creativity emerges and complies measurably to the challenge, why would permission be needed? We try to develop self trust and professional self entrepreneurial confidence, not simplistic obedience. None of the big innovations that pushed our societies and economies forward came from mainstream followers. So the message “yes, you are good enough” is key to empowerment of new age (sustainocratic, values driven, 21st century) entrepreneurship.
- support for empowerment. In the process the students face their limitation various times. The challenge may prove to be too big for their abilities and cause demotivation. Or too small and cause apathy and disconnection. Teachers transform into coaches to maintain the optimal flow of engagement, creativity, productivity and result driven empowerment. Lecturing is done when required and only to the point for flow establishment or improvement.
- appreciation of their results without judgement
Sustainocracy defines “health” as one of our core values, needed to sustain ourselves as a species. The concept of health is however one of the biggest incognitos of our human existence. We have developed large industries and economies around remedial care, pharmaceutical and chemical support systems for the unhealthy. The awareness, emperical reality and science of health is one of the missions of the sustainocratic communities within STIR.
One of the core natural and human values we pursue continuously in our sustainocratic communities is “health”. Health is a truly unknown factor in the human world. We have taken health for granted and only deal with the absence of it when sick. This can be seen as the single reason why we have misused our environment and our lifestyles in such a dramatic way that we now face potential elimination of our kind.
What is health? When we look at our surroundings, the wisdom of living nature, we see that health is the driver of sustainable progress of life. Whatever is unhealthy is replaced by something healthy. Health is hence not the absence of diseases. Health is the adaptiveness of a species to remain in living harmony with itself and its surrounding. This implies a lot of things. It implies for instance awareness and the interpretation of unbalance. It implies the willingness to change and adjust in order to restore harmony. It hence implies also the willingness to let go in order to create space for renewal. All this is uncommon in our current human societal systems.
In the intuitive world of all living species the adapativeness is a matter of fact. Life and death are circular realities. In the rational selfaware world of humans the adaptiveness has been replaced by fear (for death) and control (of life). Our level of awareness can be seen as an evolutionary disorder, an illness of its own if it does not break through into understanding the real core values of life and our adjustment to it. This adjustment is happening now, for the first time in human evolution as a selfaware species.
Sustainocratic communities (AiREAS, FRE2SH, COS3i, etc) are conducting this process. In that process a lot of experiences are accumulated, documented and repeated. A new science is emerging, the Sustainocratic Science of Health, which we can share with the world through educational processes, participatory learning and new scientific research activities.
Nuenen: Recently we installed the last 4 fixed measurement systems for air quality and noise in the village of Nuenen (the green dots). As you can see from the picture the equipment is placed next to busy traffic infrastructures.
Eindhoven North: The blue markers on the left are placed in a quarter of the city o Eindhoven. The positioning of the equipment is totally different than the ones in Nuenen. The reason is that we are interested in the effects of the local airport and take off and landing of planes over that area.
In the same regions we handed out over 30 portable measurement systems that people carry with them while having a stroll, go to the supermarket, a jog or take kids to school. The portable wearables help to get insight about the exposure to pollution during daily life.
Sustainocratic program: the above is part of AiREAS, a sustainocratic level 4 awareness driven cocreation of core human values in a region. In the case of AiREAS these values are health and environmental quality (no air or sound polutions). Level 4 represents the participatory commitment of citizens together with government, science, education and innovative entrepreneurship for this higher common purpose. The way of working together this way is called a Sustainocracy (Sustainable Human Progress and Democratic prioritization around core human and natural values).
Expression goes beyond the use of words. We know many ways of showing our feelings, beliefs, new bursts of awareness, viewpoints, etc. Words often feel as a limiting resource, especially when trying to express things that are uncommon, different, special and
out of this world. Expression then can develop into art, the creative visualization of the unseen. We can use all kinds of means to materialize our sensing. Think of poetry, painting, photography, theatre, dans, music, sculpuring, etc…..and also …..technology.
During a presentation of Mayra about Art + Technology, a dialogue was started around the possibility to use this combination to deploy
a new world , in other words, to visualize new options of our societal choices and requirements according our critical and artistic contributors.
One of the arguments was that both the concepts of art or technology are too abstract to produce any views of alternatives to our living reality. Art can be merely expressionist such as music or dance without any other message than the beauty of its creativity. Technology is an instrument for creative exercizes that are often money driven in mass market environments, such as entertainment, care, automobility, etc. In order for the combination to become inspirational for change a
purpose needs to be added. This suggests a relational triangle. The expressionist purpose could well be purely money driven, or with some interpretation of
sustainability , the 17 Global Sustainable Development Goals, etc. The non money triggers produce a particular kind of creativity, like in our School of Talents and Wellness. Imagine Sustainocracy and its five natural and human core values as purpose driven triggers?
If this is applied than a totally new reality emerges that requires various steps to become of meanstream importance, and maybe create even new dimensions of economic growth and political support.
One of the most important challenges when arriving at the stage of optimism and action is to get an audience to witness, enjoy and embrase the creativity. This has nothing to do with marketing, it has to do with building an engaging story. Sustainocracy mirrors against core human and natural values such as health and safety. Noone can object against these values. More complex ones are awareness (large entities, politics and religions have a lot against awareness and seem to be willing to always cause a tension by trying to produce fear and controverse), regional self sufficiency through multidisciplinary cocreation and participation (most societies function through hierarchies of power o control and costly remedial structures, causing them to focus on money rather than common sense).
An example of an open innovative space for cocreation of human core values (regional human health, cocreation and environmental quality) is the multidisciplinary AiREAS. This video illustrates the creative field of interaction between citizens, education, science, entrepreneurship and local government.