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Reality is a confrontation with yourself

“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.

“City of Tomorrow” game

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.

The transformation

Transforming from one complexity to another

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.