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We need to seriously rethink the fundamental basics of our European Union as a modern evolutionary step within the context of the times we live in today. But first we should regain respect to the original motivation to get to a union in the first place.
This first motivation was PEACE, not economics!
In 1950 the political discourse developed around the avoidance of war. The experiences of worldwar II had lead to the understanding that the continuation of conflict and competition would only damage the communities as war technology had reached a status of mass destruction, proven by the bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The constant conflicts between France and Germany (and the UK) around resources also gave rise to new solutions. Resource based competition was to be avoided at all times, a modern insight of deeper awareness after painful war lessons. The European Coal and Steel Union was established among six inner circle countries as a first treaty for peace. The purpose of the Union was directed by a core human value which was needed to create cohesion, productivity and progress through peace.
Liberalizing trade of key resources such as coal and steel would do the trick so that speculation around shortages and self protection was eliminated and replaced by open dialogue and sharing for mutual benefit.
In subsequent steps the freedom of trade, movement of people, goods, services and capital became dominant in the political discours and developed purely from an economical point of view, justified politically by the perception of financial needs to provide social securities and infrastructures. Economically is was also justified by the growing amount of money driven self interests among bankers, politicians and spinoffs. They had been given near to carte blanche to speculate. Risk and investment became a public issue of the crowd, profit was reserved for the private interests.
The original purpose element of peace reduced to the background. Economic trade, labour and services could be taxed and created a huge field for the development of bureaucracy of control and regulatory measures in which the hierarchy of money and power became leading. Time passed by and the European institution became self protective at the expense of it origins. Control and institutional self interests became more important than the core human and regional values that had been the origin of the establishment. Governance and banks and institutions became “partner in crime” rather than “servants to human progress”.
Huge issues demand redirection of Europe , back to its core values
European citizens have been made slave to mortgages, tax and insurrance costs. Most of these contributions were once thought of as measures to avoid social uprise and war but now are systematized hierarchies for institutional self interests. Justice has become an instrument to sustain the hierarchy, not human values.
Meanwhile huge issues demand Europe to get back to its core, its original value driven dialogue and enhance it with even more. The political economic steering on trade, economic speculation and salarized jobs (taxable and controlable by the authorities) has put us in the hands of economic and dictatorial preditors, producing gigantic pollution and destruction of both our habitat and our life expectations.
Our lifestyle also devastates other areas in the world. In the last 40 years more than half the marine population disappeared. We reduced the amount of trees by half in that same period. All this is producing conflicts and massive migration patterns that are being answered with cold political reflection not anywhere near the humanitarian and planetary responsibility that we share among each other.
Climate change affects our overall safety perspectives and sustainable progress. It requires the involvement of all hands and minds to save or adjust what we can through awareness driven cocreation.
Our own STIR research has reached a poin that we can state firmly that the current political economic context is largely responsible for the human made catastrophical issues and that the response of those in charge is insufficient due to their steering from the wrong priorities.
From an anthropological point of view we follow the usual cycle of human complexities. In the 50’s, when the first basis was laid for the creation of Europe, the awareness driven motivation was peace. This introduced the changes in border management, free trade and transparant policies between the first member states. It became consolidated in the organizational complexity of the region through cocreation. It worked so well that others wanted to join.
Then new generations of politicians and economists came on board that forgot rapidly the origins and motivation of the union and only resonated with managing the field of economic growth, greed and control. We have been occupying the field of organized greed (growth economy) ever since we let go of the gold standard in the 70’s as colatoral for our money based systems. We placed the burden of value against labor and resources of the future placing a mortgage on our selves that only grew exponentially.
Since the credit crisis in 2008 we have been in confrontation with our lack of morality. While citizen’s and social entrepreneurs were forced into new awareness driven change, often after a phase of personal chaos, the political agenda evolved into saving whatever they could through capital injections, more control measures and blocking the ethical evaluation of their programs. Gradually tension builds up in Europe due the growing leadership at civilian level and lack of a change mentality at political level. Chaos seems inevitable.
Brexit is a clear wake up call, no matter the outcome. If the political economic agenda does not transform rapidly into one of core human values the catastrophy will be unprecedented and with just one to blame: the EU political economists. The instrument of capital injections is useless when health or safety cannot be bought. We cannot buy our evolution as a species we need to adjust to it. The key resources of our region are our people, not the money in the pockets of bankers or the stack of IOU’s they wave with.
The only way to jump chaos is to accept change as a fact and act accordingly, like so many do already. Yet change needs a powerful and robust reason. Overcoming a crisis is a reason, using our self aware wit too. From self awareness we provide our list of core human values (Sustainocracy) that will unite Europe in cocreation for the next few 100 years:
- local self resilience
- applied awareness
- fullfillment of our basic needs in food, drinking water and healthy air
If we don’t address these issues together then European will fall apart. If we do then cohesion is essential, not a escapist issue anymore for the Britisch or anyone else. In fact, the British isles are very vulnerable because they cannot be easily self sufficient in terms of food and drinking water for the enormous population on the isles. Change in food productivity is an issue for the entire world but people on islands have more at risk than those on the mainland. Nevertheless, the connection with Europe cannot be sustained from the old money and power driven governance context. To solve this a new pact is needed, one based on cocreation guided by the core human values that unite us. We call it Sustainocracy, a change for which we can choose. It will also change our empathy with Africa and the Middle East. Peace will become a driver and human core values lead. Every one participates.
When we read news issues on the internet these days we see a significant change. For decades the climate change, pollution issues, migration and poverty problems, water and food manipulation, misuse and shortages, etc had been denied and overruled with reassuring messages by the economic forces that were looking for unlimited growth. Now we see that denial has changed into acceptance of the problem with the tsunami of scientific reports and studies proving the damage we are doing to our environment and subsequently to our selves. Within 250 years scientists expect that there will be no economies anymore because there will be no human beings left to uphold this invention to value transactions.
Formally recognizing the problem is a first step to finding solutions even through we are still far away from letting go of the ideology of economic growth in favor of the sustainocratic economy of balance. So why this sudden change in political leadership and media coverage?
The problem world leaders encountered recently was not their sudden burst in sense of responsibility for our planet or people. Their problem was that the drive for unlimited economic growth was getting them into a position of severe competitive aggression among each other. It is a natural phenomena that when growth is blocked tension rises until it explodes, unless an escape is found. If one is nit sure that one can win a competitive encounter one should not even enter the battle but challenge the opponent(s) by changing strategy. The current moves demonstrate that global leaders have become aware of the potential point of singularity (eminent collapse, war and chaos) of their economic potential caused by the dependence of their systems on resources of the other powerful nations. When these resources are suddenly blocked in an encounter then politics is not about showing strength but finding each other’s weaknesses.
Leadership changes to finding ways to become self sufficient enough to minimize the dependence on other nations of the world and hence reduce the amount of weaknesses that can be misused in times of stress. Recognizing the need to transform and re-position one’s own society sufficient innovative impulses can be generated to build up strength again. Finding a new balance with nature through the acceptance rather denial of the global issues and threats can than provide labor and local economic development for many decades ahead. It takes the tension away from the world while leadership turns into itself instead of against each other.
Since world war II the focus was placed on growth. The tension has been building up gradually producing an exponential increase in recessions, depressions, chaos and threats around the world. Now time has come to change and focus on co-creation, harmony and symbiotic relationship with our environment on a local for local basis. What world leaders do is re-position their own society in a natural way causing the shift of attention to happen also in business, science, media expression, etc. This is what we can observe now and it shows the results of an intense and sudden shift at policy makers level based on self preservation rather that morality. The next five years will be extremely relevant to see the changes have their effect on the societies, the human beings and the system complexity that governs us. Will it be sufficient or a prelude for more to come, adding perhaps a new phase of moral awareness and true stability in nations?
Have you ever heard of the “gateway to heaven”? It is real. Not many can see it though. Experience shows that the gateway is only reached after a phase of pain. It is clearly visible then but gradually fades away again until we reach a new passage through. That is how we evolve. It is a spiral shape, or sinus wave when we add time. Understanding this is new. Evolution has long been considered purely physical. It is however spiritual. It only adds up to our awareness when passing through the gateway.
At a certain time we may equally our level of evolution and break through to add something to it. This drawing may help you understand. You are right in the middle of it (the drawing and life)
Some call the area below the line of self awareness “hell” and above “heaven”. The gateway is referred to the “the end of suffering” and a new beginning. Every time we pass through into a new cycle we add new awareness to our evolution. Societies evolve like this too. I expect a global breakthrough. But not before a lot of pain.
21st century society
“The new, emerging society (I call it “Sustainocracy”) situates itself permanently into this heaven of wellness (symbiosis) through understanding life instead of killing it. It will be an historical breakthrough that is happening right now.” (Jean-Paul Close)
Global issues, local solutions, global application
Redefinition of our system’s complexity: holistic, governance, technological and social innovation for sustainable human progress.
This documentary of Rebecca Hosking about the “farm for tomorrow” is a well worked out case and example of one of the challenges we face now and the coming decades: food and energy. This we call a “global issue” that needs local solutions. But there is more…
Food and energy is key but there is more. Air quality, climate change, pollution, migrations, rising sea levels, poverty, water shortages, etc. I refer to these as “global issues, local solutions, global application” as a transformative process.
(Introducing the Eindhoven precedent with sustainocratic ventures)
If we want to do something about it we face challenges that are unprecedented in human history. The documentary of Hostings is quite clear about this. Knowing this what can we do? Ms Hosking may have an idea on how to deal with it on her own territory. She can make her own choices. But how do we transform a country full of cities, people, culture, politics, economics, expectations, opinions and relationships? Even the most powerful, selfaware business, government or religious leaders tend to find themselves trapped in a system’s-culture. It takes a certain mentality to take on the challenge, another to avoid it. In any case, it involves us all.
But how do we solve the riddle? My own contribution is called “Sustainocracy”. As part of that I present the practical “STIR loop”. Let us go through it in a few steps.
Understanding where we come from and its shortcomings.
Look at this picture. This is how we have seen our reality for a long time. Our surrounding national systems provided us jobs, healthcare and other securities.
The current national systems are mostly based on a culture of economies of growth, consumption and consequence solving. Inside the system we find a tremendous fragmentation of interests based on economic relationships. Business, government, science, population, etc all interact through an economy of mutual interdependence. “Nature” plays no significant role. Economic growth, efficiencies, relationships, protecting self interests through globalization are the key instruments. Humankind has never experienced a larger growth in population ever before in history. Many individual people experience a level of wellness and life expectancy that is equally unprecedented. It is mentally extremely difficult to place this all in the temporary context of a small time frame of several generations referred to as “the oil-people”. Most disturbing is that we, the current adult population, are probably the last of that unique group of generations. Our children and grandchildren will have to deal with change much more and intense than we. The more we can anticipate today the better.
What is the reality that we have neglected?
When we become aware of the huge unbalance between system’s dominance and universal natural leadership realities we need to “transform”. This means that we need to (voluntarily) let go of one system to co-create a new one that better serves our sustainable progress as a species.
But how can we transform when all human dependencies and securities seem to be firmly anchored inside the system? Within the fragments the issues that arise may be addressed as good as they can. But it is not just the fragment that causes the problem, it is the way the fragments relate to each other to form a destructive whole for humankind, while it was perceived and experienced as very constructive before. The current system’s executives trust they can get that back by applying the same measures that caused the problems in the first place. We are now even in the hands of speculative materialists that have dangerously changed from globalization of volume productivity and marketing into keeping shortages for inflation, debt exposure of the needed with control over the limited resources and those who get access.
One of the options individual people choose is to step out of the old system and start a new one of their own, facing problems and challenges like Ms. Hosking does in the documentary.
The STIR loop
The application of the STIR loop is relevant to complex transformations of entire communities. In 5 steps it can clean up systems, making them sustainable in progress again. The key is that every relevant person and institution needs to be involved. The whole loop is focused on the quality of sustainable life in a particular territory (a city, a province, an island, an autonomic region, etc.)
The 5 steps to get back into productive balance
Sustainocracy describes the process of taking multidisciplinary responsibility locally around global issues. This can only be done in a particular way:
Step 1: Awareness
In the picture I have drawn the two systems (local human dominance and leading universal natural responsibilities) next to each other. I place the human being in between, with active selfaware citizenship and productivity as choices between both systems. The human system has human hierarchical leadership, fragmented structures, relations based on money and transactions, etc.
As human beings we ARE nature. Everything we do that affects our environment negatively reflects in our natural systems of life. We show growing health problems that affect us much deeper than medically and scientifically (human system dependent) acknowledged. At one time I even wrote about the genetic anthropocene (the unprecedented damage we cause inside our genetic structures with lasting consequences). So it is not just food we need to take responsibility for. It goes much further.
When aware we face the tension between the old system and the new one we need to develop
Step 2: Choice of priorities
Within the context of global issues, such as food, water, health, security, self sufficiency or awareness, it is imperative to find local self supporting solutions. Rising seawater, food shortages, pollution, migrations, climate changes, dense populations, fossil energy disappearance, etc give rise to important local catastrophes, caused by globalized human systems, the local demographical situation, nature itself or a combination of all three. There is no generalized priority. Every territory has its own unique combination of threats. The local awareness has to have led to a generalized consensus “that something needs to be done urgently” and “we need to do this together”. This opens up for the initiation of the loop:
In Eindhoven (Holland) by experimental persistence and chance I arrived at “air quality, public health, regional dynamics” in 2010. A financial threat from the European Union (air pollution norms) got the local government to open up to new experimental formats. AiREAS became the first precedent world wide of Sustainocracy. In other places around the world different priority choices can be made, not necessarily air pollution, in any combination of the key issues of sustainable human progress (health, safety, self sufficiency, awareness and food).
Step 3: Establish the Sustainocratic commitment within the system of nature.
The essence of this step is to take the priority outside the human system, away from politics, economics, justice, etc. into the area of natural responsibilities. It is the start of the loop. The only representative of both systems is the natural evolutionary human being. So it’s the biological human creature that invites the powerful instruments to unite in a multidisciplinary way. This inviting person is the Sustainocrat, a key independent player. It is referred to as “the world upside down” for the participants. They are forced to reason through the views of the paradigm of nature, harmony and change.
The group consists of the Sustainocrat, local citizens, leaders from science, business and local governance (see picture below). The group concentrates on all aspects of addressing the chosen issue:
- Why are we starting the loop
- Create a vision for change (dot on the horizon related to Sustainable Human Progress)
- Initiate the stip-step process
- Apply innovation (Social, technological and structural)
- Develop the knowledge that can be implemented elsewhere
- Contain the unique values for the stepping back process
Step 4: the loop back
While dealing with the system from “outside” all the blocking bottlenecks and impediments become visible with each of the partner’s normal functioning as well as in their system’s imposed relationships.
The values that are co-created outside the system can be expanded again within. But also the many handicaps can be addressed and resolved in a documented, argumented and programmed manner.
The expansion of new unique values have an important economic potential that can be used to keep the loop going for as long as it is needed. In fact the loop itself becomes a competitive added value of a region and its local partners that make it happen. The values are always locally proven and then presented for world wide application.
Global issues thus have changed from a tremendous unsolvable problem into a local challenge and global opportunity. Local loops may seemingly get to compete with each other in the world wide context but always deliver uniqueness because of the diversity of local situations that each will have to deal with. Uniformity in the problem does not mean that uniformity will ever be found in the solution.
Step 5: local consolidation
For the partners this 5th step is perhaps the second most difficult phase, after the letting go phase of step 1. Consolidation means that adjustments described in step 4 need to find their way into the old system, change it up to a new workable situation. The process is well received in the relevant parties that are still part of the progress. Those that need to be phased out, or were part of particular context and loose that context in the new setting, will of course oppose. In some cases they are powerful conservative blockages that avoid no means to keep their interests alive.
It takes guts and leadership to do the mayor cleaning up. At least the STIR loop backs the leadership with powerful instruments and indisputable reasons to do what needs to be done.
Solutions are at hand. They have been described AND put into practice with early precedents. They are a new instrument in those areas where change is key but too complex to be dealt with in the traditional way. The STIR loop then become a powerful method to make change happen, gain support for it first as an experiment and assure that the right steps are taken afterwards. During the start of the loop “nature” leads, the return is in human leadership hands bringing it back into the practical human reality.
The STIR loop is educated through the STIR Academy and associated partners.
“I do not challenge the reality of others, I created a new one and invite people and institutions to join. This brings them in confrontation with themselves”
(Jean-Paul Close, Sustainocracy – the new democracy – 2012)
The reality we perceive is an interpretation by our rational awareness. We interact with our surroundings according to the interpretation of reality. We learn to perceive a particular stability as “normal” and will not easily challenge it when it provides us with what we think we need. When things happen that are out of the ordinary our perception is challenged. Our reality changes and we enter in confrontation with ourselves when need to deal with change. This confrontation contains a learning process that has been the essence of human progress through periods of creativity and change. We tend to be conservative in order to provide is with a sense of safety and control yet are especially good as a species in adapting to new circumstances when the need presents itself. This adaptation process is filled with emotions and meaningful awareness development.
Many people are now experiencing such a personal confrontation as the money based human world collapses. It opens up our minds to a new reality. At first we see our trusted reality fall apart. The old reality is unstable but a new one has not yet been created in our awareness. I already wrote about the fear for change of people, the process of letting go of old securities and the acceptance of new responsibilities. We may at first look at the world with apprehension and distrust but in reality we are looking within ourselves for the energetic ability to address the forthcoming insecurities. A new reality needs to be dealt with as it unfolds in front of our senses and reaches our consciousness. We first project the new circumstances on previous experiences and old abilities to see if we can re-establish our stability by applying the old reality. When we see that this does not work we come in the new world of creativity, emotions and meaning. We start experimenting with our awareness and feelings by discovering and applying other talents or even develop totally new ones. Our worries go to the primary fulfillment of our needs first (such as food, housing, clothing, etc). We open up to new methods and approaches to reality. We also look at risk in a different way.
When we deal with our old and proven reality we have the tendency to avoid risk but when a new reality needs to be taken care of risk avoidance is exactly what we do not need. In the process of search for primary needs everything is possible, from self-sufficient initiatives to theft and criminality. Renewal and innovation are values that both have to do with the process of letting go and creating something new. The whole event of change is experienced as a risk, but a different one in each of the stages. The emotions around letting go have to do with fear of what we loose. The emotions in our personal chaos lead us to fight for survival. The risk felt to gain new stability using our creativity has to do with what we can gain in terms of safety and wellness. When we establish a creative dot on the horizon we have less problems in letting go then when we have nothing to go for. A dot on a horizon can also get others to join into the process allowing change to occur in co-creative manner.
An entire society
The confrontation process of dealing with individual change and fear in changing realities is also true for institutions s.a. business, government, schools, etc. The confrontation is more complicated because many more people are involved and the institution in caught up in a chain of dependencies with others. The surroundings of a human being are not just artificial yet the surroundings of institutions are man made with financial systems, risk management an chains of liabilities. The old reality of an institution is “managed” in a day to day comfort. When a crisis occurs that changes the reality of the system, the new reality requires institutional “leadership”.
In our current financial world of fragmented institutional interests we see many worldviews interact through the management of chains of relationships. When the chains break up or enter into a crisis only leadership can open up to new realities. Then institutions are not fragmented anymore but open up to new relationships. Organizations that are reluctant to change due to excess bureaucracy and self interest based on old remaining values are for sure entering in chaos and mortal stress. The ones that are open to change, and receive freedom to do so by the people involved, will assume experimental risks by confronting themselves with themselves through a changing reality. This reality change is an open interaction between the surroundings and the institution. Both change in the process
Sustainocracy is the dot on horizon for the global society
In Sustainocracy we deal with the confrontation between perceived realities with all the participants of society, and society as a whole. It is exciting to see how it works when the dynamics of a large community, such as a city, gets into a proactive mode of risk taking progression with all parties involved. Leadership develops where least expected and confronts itself with the old power positions of managerial risk avoidance that remain in the surroundings. We see managerial people hanging on to old positions of power while leadership acts with new age authority. The process of letting go and developing new creativity for change becomes visible and fills the environment with energetic passion. Sustainocracy then adds our definition of sustainable human progress as a common dot on the horizon. It helps people to define profound challenges that become workable and recognized by all. The energy of change gets focused and changes the world.
The confrontation with ourselves then changes fear into trust, insecurity into passion, conservation into progression and confinement into a sense of freedom. When reality change we learn through the confrontation with ourselves how to deal with it for our safety, stability and progress. Without change no progress, nor positive human evolution. Some of even take immense joy in riding these waves of transformative change and create a network of world changing initiatives. Sustainocracy requires such network of people active in the different fields of leadership authority.