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In STIR we speak of “taking responsibility” for sustainable human progress, but what does that word mean? How do we differentiate between what we take responsibility for individually and what we expect from our surrounding society? And how does responsibility relate to the current crises?
Responsibility is a learning process of Awareness
Within the framework of the evolutionary development of human complexities we see that responsibility belongs to the learning process of our “To Be”. That means that it has different levels of awareness which get people to see reality in different ways as they step up their level of consciousness.
I identify 4 important levels:
1. No consciousness: a stone has no awareness and does not take any responsibility at all.
2. Awareness: Every living species has a basic degree of awareness. A tree looses its leaves in autumn to be able to survive the winter. A dog is loyal to someone who feeds it and provides protection. At this level of awareness the responsibility concentrates on survival without a second thought.
3. Self awareness: Certain species, like the human being, have the ability to be aware of themselves. This means that we can observe our own selves and reflect about our actions, making decisions as a consequence. We intent then to influence our environment for our own benefit and we reflect about the consequences or results of our own behavior and choices. We tend to take responsibility for our self interest, learning from them as we go along. We try to create security for ourselves (and our loved ones) for the short and long term. Our world evolves dynamically and interactively between our “doing things” en evolutionary “being someone”.
We also realize that we create better options when working together in communities that eventually formed societies. We see then also a level of collective awareness appear that may different from the individual. The “collective consciousness” may be seen as a business entity, a regional community like a village or city, a family, etc.
4. The higher awareness: When we reach this point of awareness we let go of the self interest and become aware of existential and universal queries that affect our daily decisions and responsibilities. We now “are” before we “do”. We see ourselves in an evolutionary process and value our interactiona within the complexity of our natural surroundings. Our reality converts itself into a personal mission of contributing something eternal to the infinite universal development of the conscience. This is a relatively unknown are of science and hence a totally new field of investigation.
More higher awareness in the world
At individual level we observe a growing amount of individuals that pass from lever 3 to level 4 awareness. This however does not mean that they can take responsibility accordingly at the same time. At individual level they can but they still need to interact with a society that is structured at a collectiev level of conciousness. The social environment of our societies does not generally surpass yet level 2, the simplest form of awareness. This is often kept this way by the self-interests of dominant people in power positions, maling people slaves to certain securities in exchange for their (democratic) loyality.
After world war II there was a temporary boost of collective awareness. This disappeared again in the 70s when fragmented self interests of greed and economic growth started to develop again individually and collectively. Still, thanks to the short boost, peace in Europe was in historic averages lengthened by decades.
Now, due to the crises, the level of collective self-awareness in certain regions is rising again, thanks often to people with a level 4 consciousness. But most people in the world live in urban concentration points of cities where self sufficiency is nearly impossible. They have a dominant dependency on the level 2 structure of the reigning society, that is insensitive to the health, safety and vulnerability of the human being. If people with a higher awareness wish to take responsibility they either have to move out of the city or enter into a confrontation with the dominant system of control and financial greed and power.
Such confrontation does not have to be aggressive at all. It can perfectly well be executed in a peaceful way through common sense and (sustainocratic) co-creation. There are always people who would block such processes out of self protection of their position of power. But there are also plenty of people in positions of power and authority that do wish to make a difference. The latter are true leaders of change.
STIR, using Sustainocracy, takes responsibility for co-creating society from a higher awareness point of view, inviting everyone to join and contribute. Professionals at a higher level of awareness may now take responsibility to transform society by transforming their institutions at the same time.
A crisis only exists for those that resist change by not taking responsibility for it from their own level of awareness and using the authroity that every individual has.
If you wish to know how it works for yourself you can attend the international seminar in Eindhoven in September 2013.
With reference to my previous blog I decided to visualize the situation of Europe by using my model of the human complexities (first published in 2008) expressed by two lines (to be + to do) crossing. These lines symbolize at their intersection the eternal conflict between our actions (to Do) and our moral ethics (to Be). This happens at individual but also at cultural and institutional levels, creating societies in cyclic situations of greed, chaos, awareness development or around wellness. In each country individual people and institutions can be in the different phases themselves yet what I show here is the dominant situation of the majority, not the minority.
The “saving” of countries in the chaos zone is nothing more than an attempt to pull them back into the area of institutionalized greed at the bottom right hand side. This is necessary to avoid the collapse of others in that area. It is just a matter of time for all to go down in a violent confrontation with ourselves by ending up in chaos all together. Still it is not necessary! There is another route, not by pulling back into greed but taking responsibility for wellness and sustainable human progress.
This desired European situation represents a jump along the line of ethics, responsibility and awareness. This line (To Be) consists of various levels of awareness. At the conflict crossing at the center we situate the area of self-awareness, a point where the pain of consequences are converted into knowledge and conscious understanding. We have gone through this point very often already, as individuals when we grow older and wiser through personal experiences, and as communities throughout time and the same. Chaos is often represented in society by depressions and even wars. Chaos represents a violent letting go period, painfully creating room again for renewal through awareness. Awareness often comes when the blindfold of greed and control is taken away. There is a sincere possibility that this is going to happen again, in Europe and anywhere else in the world. Enough signs are showing and can affect us at any time.
The big difference today with our past is that we can now pinpoint where we need to place society within the human complexities and act accordingly. In the past societies only knew that they collapsed or were surprised by the collapse of something else causing their own. Knowing the 4 areas in the model as a logical sequence we can also position ourselves where stability and sustainable progress occurs. This is a simple ethical choice of educated awareness. The only excuse that people can have in our current Europe is that they have not yet seen this blog. When they do, then they have no excuse anymore to make the choice and take responsibility, as an individual and as a professional. Each of us can take personal responsibility now, get educated to deal with it or we can be asked by their surroundings to do it. At first it takes guts to decide. If you do not you can be blamed in the future. What is worse? Guts now or having to give painful explanations afterwards?
The choice of ethics of all people involved is to let go of the Euro as the sole dominant goal and adopt European wellness as something to take responsibility for, not by creating it but by allowing it to be created by everyone together. This can only be achieved by working in purpose driven processes in which money is a means, just like anything else needed for this process. It is a choice but once the choice is made the complex process starts to make it happen, based on the new ruling of such wellness based self sufficient European society. This is where the need for a new European constitution comes in. Our current constitutions are based on managing greed and avoiding chaos. We need to work on new constitutions that develop and protect ethical awareness and co-create wellness, avoiding greed.
This cannot be done in the fragmented jobs and self interests of politicians, civil servants, business people, bankers, individual consumers, scientists, educators, etc. In our current society they interact through money based systems and dependencies. None of these institutionalized individuals can take the initiative, if they are aware at all at professional level. Professional blindness tends to rule making people incompetent to ethics and responsibilities beyond their professional position. The only one that can take responsibility is the human being itself, liberated from all previous dogmas, professional limitations and dependencies. This person, any person, on the verge of absolute material poverty in the old world, but totally free from burdens, can invite all the powerful fragmented authorities to come over to the new world together and become instrumental to it.
That is what I did when I created Sustainocracy. I invited all people whom I had made aware through my personal interaction and explanation. They were invited to take that personal choice to position themselves in the new wellness based society and come join me in purpose driven human co-creation processes. In these sustainocratic processes all fragmented responsibilities of the old world are represented together, in equality, without dependence of each other but through the authority they represent (entrepreneurial creativity, regional government, knowledge based science and education, and behavioral cultural populations). They come from a fragmented structure of self interest into a holistic environment of common purpose.
The city of Eindhoven and province of Noord Brabant is the first place where Sustainocracy is applied in the world of complex societies. The combination of the right people with the right ethical attitude and awareness, on the right levels of authority, were found to make it happen in AiREAS (health & environmental quality), VE2RS (self sufficiency) and other initiatives. It is first step and still far from getting the entire nation or Europe to adopt the process. But with the precedent in Eindhoven en Noord Brabant I expect that more and more will follow.
Of course, the same counts for America and China and any other area in the world.
Now that you have read this, you can choose too and take responsibility accordingly.
Now that Sustainocracy is positioned and put into practice as new paradigm of societal complexity, affecting everything, it becomes interesting to reflect openly on the different ways of reasoning from the different worldviews. This may be a critical view because paradigms are based on totally different values. Someone who has lived both (money driven economics and value driven sustainocracy) can distinguish by experience and choice. Yet someone active without point of comparison inside the old paradigm will consider his or her views as the only truth.
Let us take this article for instance, that has been tweeted around the world today by many people, published by Forbes on Nov. 21st, 2012, written by a SAP specialist, Ray Rivera. It is titled: 5 Myths Of Human Resource Management (even though the link to the article refers to Human Capital Management) http://www.forbes.com/sites/sap/2012/11/21/5-myths-of-human-capital-management/
The article is a valid reflection about general practices in traditional business hierarchies. Seen through my old eyes of chief executive officer in a multinational I would most certainly review our internal policies with my HRM after reading the article. I remember our internal global policy back then to provide 10 training days per year to all our personnel. It was a hell of a job to find those days and get people motivated to do something with it. From a performance point of view it was useless, cost a bucket full of money and created constant absence in departments that needed to be filled up with people doing overwork.
All other remarks in the article are also valid. Take those of the financial incentives as perceived motivators. I remember sales people that tried to trick the system by submitting fake orders at the end of the year to collect their bonus. The fake orders were cancelled early the next year. In times of a crisis taking away any of the incentives becomes a burden. People leave a company simply because another one offers a nicer car. There is no commitment nor loyalty, just self interest. In fact, that is exactly what such hierarchies and policies attract: people with an individualistic, opportunistic, selfish attitude, equivalent to that of the company itself.
In a previous lifetime these issues were indeed of my concern. That was 20 years ago and they are still being published as novel and tweeted around as of general interest. Now, after crossing over to a new paradigm, the entire article becomes a reflection on what a Dutch author called “effective keeping of human beings” in a similar way as keeping chickens, pigs or cows. A particular sentence in the article struck me especially:
“How human capital becomes transformed into business value is still a black box”
When we look at the current world of business entities, performing around financial goals, we can easily recognize the “human farming” attitude. In the traditional paradigm this is normal and even worshipped by media, trading floors and governments. Human resources is a modern way of slavery where the business value of a human being is expressed by turnover per person or something equivalent. Such organization does not get the best out of people but the worst. Surrounded by short term financials, greed and more greed one becomes greedy and selfish automatically.
In the new paradigm there are no financial goals but purpose driven objectives. It is not the workforce that is asked to take responsibility, the company does, providing some kind of true added value to society. People do not come to work, they contribute. They do not need training because they train themselves. They do not need an incentives because the work itself and the achievements are a driving force already. People do not work in a hierarchical structure, they have a functional responsibility in a result driven team. The goals of the company are measurable through external progress. New people in the group assume responsibilities but change when the balance of the group requires the repositioning of the members, even when dealing with functional leadership. Leaders step back into the pack when they are done or when the group takes another direction for the benefit of the company and the purpose in persuit. There is equality and trust, no judging departments just connecting values among professionals for effective teamwork. People correct eachother.
Now that I know that such different types of organizations exist it is my choice to decide where I feel safest. Even if a sustainocratic organization is not yet functional in my neighborhood I can still behave accordingly and become the change that I want. I can also decide that I prefer such culture of hierarchical demand on me. Important is that one has a reflective choice when one knows.
Just like the other tweet today of someone claiming that it is nice to know that he didnot know certain things. One only knows that it would be nice not to know when one knows. This phylosophical reflection in reality states that when you do not know you cannot be held responsible for your actions seen from another paradigm. When you do know you may wish you didn’t, just to avoid responsibility. Now you know that different paradigms exist. What do you do? What responsibility to you take?