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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.