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School of Talents is learning movement of the City of Tomorrow (STIR Foundation) in which students develop theories and new practical environments between our current fragile reality and the societal resilience provided by Sustainocracy.
Two students of Avans Highschool in Breda (Netherlands), Ibren and Fernando, joined the School of Talents to do their final year practical within environmental science. Their choice was to analyse the food resilience within cities and the need, potential and impediments of urban farming. Their report is highly inspirational and valuable for food labs, urban farming, technological innovation and governance. For STIR and the School of Talents the report is a solid foundation for establishing innovative circular food systems in the cities and develop new participative learning activities for new students. Here you find the index:
The management summary will be available free of charge. The full report is only available to the investors and sponsors of the School of Talents. People, business or governance that wish to engage into working on local food resilience can contact us.
The student Ibren will publically present and defend their findings in the School of Talents audience on August 14th at 15:00 in the aquaponics center of Eindhoven. Student Fernando wishes to continue the research for his own bachelor degree and expects to focus on the complexity of nutrients in circular city food systems.
If you wish to learn more you can contact Jean-Paul Close email@example.com
Our City of Tomorrow menu this week consisted of products produced entirely in the city of Eindhoven as part of the sustainocratic cocreation program referred to as FRE2SH (Food, Recreation, Education, Energy, Security and Health). We ate eatable flowers, trout, parsley, lettuce, mushroom, honey, etc. A much larger variety is being developed over time by using the available indoor and outdoor city space effectively everywhere in a sustainocratic cooperative for sustainable human progress and city resilience.
The Eindhoven city trout was delicious
Lettuce and flower beds while partner Ben Nas hosts the open day for public awareness
Food resilience is key in modern smart city development. Current food supplies may seem to provide abundance but the production and distribution worldwide is destroying our landscapes and climate. FRE2SH uses the 4 x Value ideology with Sustainocratic cooperation between citizens, local government, innovative entrepreneurship and applied science to produce high impact local sustainable progress:
- Value for the human being (healthy food, engagement, awareness, security, less financial dependence, better nutrician)
- Value for society (job development, resilience, effective usage of space, reduced mobility, less bureaucracy, quality food supplies, circular economies)
- Value for the environment (less air pollution, less destruction of landscape, reduce ecological footprint, cyclic reuse of waste)
- Integral economic value (reduces societal costs, profitability by connection consumption directly with production, integrated process, holistic city eco system, circular economy, new local value sharing systems)
This way of working in a city is referred to as peer 4 regional development or the participatory society. It combines awareness, education, growth and sustainable human progress in a powerfull multidisciplinary interaction.
When I published my Dutch book “Geheimen van echte welvaart” (Secrets of true welfare) in 2009, local Catholics repeatedly came to me with their surprise that “the Pope says the same as you”. This unintended allegation that the Pope would repeat my words rather than the other way around, was amuzing me. It is not at all strange that the patterns of evolutionary thinking between me and a theological institution like the Catholic Church show alignments. After all we both look at humankind from the long term existential point of view rather than the short term economical and political reality that is displayed continuously in our surroundings. Since 2009 this alignment has grown stronger as the current Pope, Francis I, dropped the tradition of dogmatic imposition of church laws to open up for a transparent, epistemological learning dialogue and action driven exercize to address the current humanitarian and ecological disharmony in the world. The first real encyclic of this Pope is called “Laudato Si” (Praise be on you) with the subtitle “On care for our common home”. The subtitle suggests a call for ecological awareness but the publication is much more than that.
Many converging viewpoints
The message of the Pope is clear. He formulates a learning dialogue in which he describes, in well chozen arguments, the firm beliefs, observations and theological foundation of the Catholic church. He invites other viewpoints to converge, not to dispute each other in competition or single dominant hierarchy but to open up in dialogue to actually solve the enormous issues we face together. The encyclic as such becomes a source of inspiration, no dogmatic ruling, yet an invitation to take responsibility as one would expect from a species that was created specifically by God for that purpose (one of the fundaments of this religion). The Pope analyzes the current situation of global economics, the throwaway culture, the lack of overall empathy to the destruction that we produce and seem so reluctant to deal with. He openly acknowledges that he nor the church has all the answers but hidden in the open dialogue, commitment to address the issues and diversity of standpoints, we can find the way forward.
I personally see this encyclic as a first sign of a new global force that sets aside the bureaucracy of dogmatic rules and inspires to open up to the spiritual inner quest for true meaning. The Pope may be critical, steering in some occasions with very firm statements but always underpins with arguments and analysis. One can agree or disagree (see media humor below when discovering the political hypocracy) with statements, arguments or analysis yet by giving the right example this Pope invites those who emphasize with the challenges to come up with better alternatives or take action with the same sense of responsibility as displayed by the Pope.
Three human levels
Theologist Eduardo Echevarria produced a theological analysis of the encyclic which was published in a national Catholic paper in Holland. People in my surroundings tend to share this with me to reenforce or put in perspective my own work. He expresses his worries that the huge diversity of complex issues (ecological crisis, climate change, poverty, apocalyptic risks, capitalist dominance, etc) expressed by the Pope may cause that “through the trees we do not see the forest” anymore. Echevarria tries to simplify by relating the build up of the encyclic to three theological levels of the architecture of human development (Compendium of Social Doctrine of the Church) :
- Fundamental level – the level of motivations
- Steering level – the level of establishing norms to form society
- Consideration level – the level of reflection and consciousness
When he started to elaborate on this it immediately gave relevance to the different interpretation and usage or positioning of those three levels. The word “level” suggests a “hierarchy” as levels tend to lay on top of each other, like this:
A hierarchy of levels?
When interpreting the levels as such we find that the level of motivations becomes mediated by the steering efforts of the norms of society if we want to access the level of consideration and reflection. This is probably the simplest illustration of the dominant position that the steering level can develop over our motivations, blocking us deliberately from reflection and the consciousness. It is not just the political and economical reality that wants to steer us this way. For a long time the church itself has considered itself as sole mediator between the religious interpretation of the conscience, translate it into dogmatic impositions referred to as the norms of Catholic belief and taking a dogmatic standpoint. Other religions do the same in their own way, sometimes producing even violent interpretations that influence the layer of motivations of those who are deprived from thinking for themselves and act through manipulation of “belief”.
In fact we see this wall of dominant steering determining today still the type of education our children receive, what we watch on television, how history is registered or how news is brought to our attention in a manipulated way. This brings me to this beautiful fragment of the movie “Dinner with Andre” (1981) (A conversation about reality) in which a city is described as a prison in which we are both the guards and prisoners:
The Pope’s mayor breakthrough
The mayor breakthrough of this particular encyclic is the Pope’s voluntary repositioning of the layers. Voluntarily setting aside its dogmas, the church is opening up to the overall redefinition of our steering mechanisms that form society. By doing so the Pope opens up to the critical self-reflective dialogue between the diversity of dominant and upcoming systems in relation to the challenges we face. Setting the example he invites other dogmas (economic, political, technological, scientific) to do the same and open up to reflection by involving directly the layer of motivations at humanitarian and ecological level.
By stepping into the global societal group the Pope does not reduce the message of the church, he actually re-enforces it by placing it in overall perspective. The church is not the only truth anymore as other dominant realities are equally or often even more influential. It is one reality now among many others that reign today, yet one that is equally worth argumenting by analysis and interpretation in face of the huge human challenges that we need to deal with.
The Pope’s message is powerful because of the humility. Accepting different points of view and opening up the epistemological dialogue (What is knowledge? What is belief? What is real? What is responsibility?) the Pope `sacrifices` fragmented dogmatic dominance to achieve equality and purpose driven dialogue with others. By doing so he can focus on the powerful inspiration that the church provides while allowing for the influential contribution of technology, science, politics, education, humanitarian and ecological awareness and the involvement of the masses “because we are all in this together”.
Analogy with the City of Tomorrow
When I started the STIR Foundation (City of Tomorrow) in 2009 we worked very hard on awareness development, organizing congresses and establishing working groups. We provided a kind of critical message and structural DNA to work things out in purpose driven communities. Always we asked others to do the work, based on the inspiration we offered. The groups however formed around me as initiator of the processes and always looked at me with the question: “Jean-Paul, what do we do?”. This felt like a new hierarchy in which I was owner of a process and others had become my slaves. This was exactly opposite the ideology that I had for myself. I had no problem with taking the initiative for change but could not be asked to know how to produce it. If I could I would have done it long time ago. The fact that “we are in this together” also means that we have to “solve this together”. At one point I deliberately and openly decided to step back and let the group become a community with authority rather than puppets under my command. This process of pulling forward and letting go to achieve a combined forward action is key and extremely difficult in real life. While pulling the participating people (and institutions) feel the comfort of individual leadership that stands upfront (the Pope and his encyclic, or me and “JP what do we do?”) but when letting go (“we are in this together”) the group is asked to take a leadership attitude individually and together. The issue is leading, the sum of individual talent that deals with it produces the action in open dialogue and determination of priorities, not one single figure telling what to do.
That is why I feel highly identified with the way this Pope deals with the complexity of breaking through the barriers of the many dogmas that block our progress. He describes them all, including the church its own, and places them all in perspective to the challenges we face. Rather than “church ego” (religion says) he develops a “human eco” (including the church). He does not want to say what we need to do, he just explains the standpoint of the church in very clear wordings, and invites all others to do the same while focussing at the common issues at hand. “Laudato Si”, Praise be on you, is then a clear acknowledgement of the guts and commitment to think for yourself, gain access to the level of (self) reflection and join the group that redefines society by addressing the issues at hand together.
For me it is a further reassurance that the path we set out and developed over the years with STIR, AiREAS and the STIR community, as living examples of multidisciplinary group commitments, is now gradually finding fertile grounds to fractally spread around the world as practically proven multidisciplinary little engines of integral change. The papal encyclic has shown humankind that we have more choices that just the financial or technological dominance for our long term perspectives. And it is up to us to open our eyes and mind to make our choices.
Since Eindhoven (Holland) is my living lab for Sustainocracy I reviewed the year in Dutch first. To many local people involved it makes sense. Internationally it takes a larger effort to understand and emphasise with what we do. It’s different and breaks through your traditional way of viewing yourself in relation to the human world organisation or your own culture.
Understanding a new society, such as “Sustainocracy”, needs involvement and commitment, not just curiosity or a passing by blog. So I will keep it short.
City of Tomorrow
If I had the define 2014 from a City of Tomorrow (STIR Foundation) perspective then two words come to mind: consolidation and growth.
Since its foundation in 2009 STIR established four different value driven cooperatives, each addressing a key global issue locally in Eindhoven.
Note: Global issues affect local communities in many different ways. Eindhoven is a city with specific characteristics. The local value driven solutions here would differ from those developped in for instance a harbour city, a city in a land climat or a megacity with lots of sky scrapers. Establishing local sustainocratic initiatives would produce unique values that can be expanded commercially world wide through the STIR network.
Each initiative is a result of the definition of sustainable human progress dealt with by our foundation. The initiatives in Eindhoven are:
AiREAS (since 2010): regional Air Quality and Human Health
FRE2SH (since 2013): regional self sufficiency and productivity
STIR Academy (since 2009): awareness, cocreation and new educative formats
SAFE (since 2014): safety and self sufficiency together.
AiREAS and STIR Academy are in phase of consolidation and growth. FRE2SH and SAFE are in pioneer phase.
AiREAS is expanding into new cities who either assume the technology or desire to develop a Local AiREAS.
Meanwhile Local AiREAS Eindhoven is entering into phase 2 and 3, involving citizen’s directly in cocreation of their vital and healthy living space.
STIR Academy is capturing the experiences that accumulate in all complex multidisciplinairy initiatives and makes it available through inspiring educational programs, European HUBs in cities and guiding international candidates with knowledge. New proven concepts around Sustainocratic Leadership, piramide entrepreneurial paradigm, human complexities, multidisciplinary cocreation and transformation economy are offered to the emerging global world for sustainable progress (business, government, education, ethics, science, citizenship).
FRE2SH is developing well with one first farmhouse to connect city self sufficiency through interactive food and energy programma’s.
SAFE was just recently set up to help people and institutions to address chaos as a transformative opportunity rather than fearful risk. It creates room and freedom to let go of the past and develop a new phase of harmony and prosperity.
3rd and last lustrum blog…..
“What’s in it for me?”
This is a logical question when you ask people to work together on a co-creation project. With AiREAS we got the very big players together to address the issue of health and air quality. They each had their own reasons to participate. But “air quality” is too abstract for the many people who live their daily routines in auto-mode. STIR Academy offers reassurance to people who are already in the process of pain, chaos or awareness. It shows best practice of other people but those who get inspired have a whole process ahead still to get going. FRE2SH makes it real.
“What’s in it for me” in a money driven world is always translated into some kind of financial benefit. In FRE2SH however we show that money cannot be eaten, drunk or inhaled. We show people to make a difference for themselves by getting involved into self sufficiency, enjoying the results directly through real benefits and reciprocity. FRE2SH is a cooperative because we cannot do everything alone and need to work together. Through the creative input of everyone we co-create society and can go as far as developing and building our own houses and infrastructures. In most places that is too far fetched due to the dominance of old society system’s so we start very small, working on true tangible things that inspire, awaken and connect people:
- Food & Water
- Self sufficiency
Many people in the world already deploy initiatives out of their own motivation and awareness building. They did not need triggers like the STIR Academy or AiREAS or FRE2SH. What they do need is the re-assurance and praise that their activities are recognized and valued positively by others. Maybe they could benefit by connecting to other local initiatives and prosper together.
“What’s in it for me” translates then into recognition, shared values, food, energy, health, positive relationships, new knowledge, joy, pleasure, labor, activity, social cohesion, etc. “Everything you can create you do not have to buy. The money you save can be spend on other things.”
To develop this practical progression while respecting the initiatives of pioneers, helping them to connect with a growing bigger picture we defined “FRE2SH”. FRE2SH has to make change visible when it is created and co-created…..expanding it into true regional self sufficiency using applied science, technology and open policies.
New value systems
When new age entrepreneurs connect they do so in exchange of goods, knowledge and best practice. No money is involved. Direct labor is compensated with sharing the local benefits. In many cases FRE2SH introduces new value systems that keep values local inside a circular economy. Within the STIR Foundation we apply already two different value systems, strictly for local for local economic developments.
- Buddy: this is an value exchange system between local for local participants. It is similar to money as it values time and real values against local exchange criteria of shortages, abundance, quality and demand. The difference is that the speculation is not done by the Buddy but by the values and the users. The Buddy is just a local multiply-able standard without interest rates.
- AiREAS: this is a value system to stimulate behavioral changes. Eg. People who take the bike instead of car for work (good for health and air quality) can get local AiREAS that offer local benefits or access to specials.
FRE2SH does not compete with the power positions of large global energy or food supplies. It just stimulates self sufficiency and self awareness inviting the large organizations to participate and adjust their market approach accordingly. The local for local trend cannot be stopped and will eventually affect all structures, large and small. Self sufficiency in basic needs is only possible when we apply high tech innovations, scientific insights and social innovation. For big structures it is best to become early adapter too by joining FRE2SH and get inspired or even active rather than trying to fight it. Totally new markets emerge with great potential. The new world develops and we do it or make it visible.
FRE2SH is a global cooperative (local 4 local 4 global) movement. It does not cost anything to start. Important is to connect and use the same Sustainocratic framework so that we can share experiences through STIR Academy and get the large players to facilitate.
Putting Planet, People, Profit, Passion and Progress into Practice
Recently we played the entrepreneurial “City of Tomorrow” game for the first time. In the STIR foundation we support the idea of integral human development as expressed in the chapters 15 and 16 of my free book last year, not just the rational side of it as our system is educating our children today. As Sir Ken Robinson so beautifully stated in his much applauded TED talk “the current education systems kill creativity” and Mitra shows in his “hole in the wall“, children have a much higher self-learning ability than our schools appreciate or even stimulate. Yet despite the famous anthropological and anthroposophical views and knowledge on the development of the human consciousness through spiritual, emotional, physical and rational experiences, the system remains the system, locked up in bureaucracy and self supporting prejudice.
We see that current educational formats serve a paradigm in which politicians see the human being as a little robot in the machinery of money driven/dependent economies of growth. Such robots need to learn how to behave like robots within a system, brainwashed about the importance of money, a job, debt, fashion, consumerism, the state, their dependence on the system, etc. The learn to calculate and write a letter but nothing about the importance of social relationships, feelings, spirituality, sustainability or responsibilities.
The paradigm that we support is totally opposite which is why both are difficult to match. The way a complex human society is structured in either paradigm differs enormously which is why the current educational system will sooner see our propositions as a threat to them rather than an opportunity. It is even worse than that. The current education system has no identity of its own because it is chained in dependence to the money which allows it to exist. This comes from central government which dictates the normatives that the schools need to comply with. So the education system has hardly any opinion of its own, just a hierarchy controlling that what is done is done according to the guidelines that allow them to stay alive financially. They are themselves expensive robots in a system.
So we are not seen as a threat to the educational content (who cares?) but for their financial continuation. That is why the system remains closed to all influences from outside, even common sense.
If we cannot change the system we can in fact stand next to it. We should never forget that even the most locked up human organization consists of people. And individually people do become aware of the need of a new society and other ways of education. Some, not all, are willing to use this personal awareness and influences to take action within the structures in which they are employed. They become the internal transformative hero’s that link already with change and seek internal opportunities that make a difference.
We positioned our initiatives on human awareness right at the place where the young adults would leave school to start their life in the real world. Our program is called “entrepreneur of your own life“, linking the increasing requirement of entrepreneurship in the old money driven economies with the self-leadership and sense of responsibility in the value driven society that we are trying to develop. We asked the high schools to allow us to give their students a view into real life with a bit of our counselling. It is also in the interest of the school to pay attention to this even though they find it difficult to let the real world enter their world. When we propose to provide a low cost bridge through our game they become enthusiastic.
We had done one of such days already before in a multicultural setting trying to show the tremendous opportunities of cultural diversity in a community if you choose to make the best of it together. It had been a great day . Now we were facing a highly technical setting with 500 students in two groups.
One of the coaches, Jules Ruis, suggested to make the day into an adventure and the students into hero’s. Overnight he developed a simple game but with great educational value. It was based on economics but could easily and secretly be changed into buddinomics by me.
The ingredients of the game are:
- a large bunch of students 17+ years old
- technological innovation companies that show their innovations
- coaches that carry specific information
- a bunch of camera’s
- a value system in exchangeable cards
We played that day with about 200 students that started without knowing much more than that they would have to collect information at the stands of the enterprises and the coaches that walked around as wild cards. They had been teamed up with people from different years, whom they did not know personally, and the elderly student was made team leader.
They had to assemble the team, work together towards the end of the day, trying to figure out what they had to do to win? During the evolution of the day and every encounter with a coach the complexity of the game would rise, requiring the teams to perform and place the product exhibitions and information into new perspectives.
Watch the filmbook (in Dutch) of the day here
The end of the day was spectacular from an awareness point of view. It was amazing for us to see how self-leadership and adaptability got these youngsters on their way and how fast they managed to adjust their views with new input. At the end of the day they were allowed to present their views in public and with cameras present. For the highest years present the presentations were key because they were invited to continue the game for another year. Their prices:
- a job
- a scholarship
- a starting capital for a new business
The effects of the game had not just affected the students. The high school had become so motivated that it started to open up for reorganization and further partnership with the foundation and others. The game will be played now at least twice a year and every year again with all the students. While we do so we are going to step up the challenge every time inviting the students to deal with real life complex problems within the simulation of the reality of the game.
The business enterprises also started to readjust their activities and organization inspired by the game. Most found each other during the game to partner up in purpose driven ventures. They also committed to further invest in the initiatives led by the foundation and based on local for local cooperatives between government, technical innovations, education and science, social innovation.
And even the local government representatives were so enthusiastic that they proposed to open up their structures for more student involvement and participation. At the end all participants will become partner and judge of the final game of all students: defining their own city of tomorrow, based on their own home town and for which they can take responsibility themselves with what they have learned at school and are triggered to learn by placing their knowledge into their daily reality, simulated in complexity by the game.
The entire process is sponsored by the partners to maintain our independence and avoid any client/supplier relationship or chain dependencies. This way the game can be purpose driven in which the virtual reality transforms into reality.
Expanding our ambitions:
On 12.12.12 we now wish to play the game for 4 consecutive days in Eindhoven (The Netherlands) with students from all over Europe. The game will then be called “Europe of Tomorrow” giving already away what the main topic of the event will be. The game will be combined with an international congress on sustainable progress. It will again be great fun to see how our young adults will react to the modern reality and eventually change the world through their own new levels of consciousness and adaptability.