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In this blog I explain an evolution in our region in Holland where many people of all kinds of talent and status of authority seem to reach a level of awareness and personal leadership which motivates to join in a new level of responsibility together. We refer to this as level 4, one level above the hierarchies of political and economic powers, and one in which we allow core human and natural values to define our priorities and innovative investments. It is interesting to see how it captures the interest of the global community who visit us for inspiration and cocreation. This blog was also publised on LinkedIn in Dutch.
Never before in history the modern human being has been challenged as whole to put the shoulders under our evolutionary survival. Now we have. Ever since we crossed the invisible line of about 3 billion fellow members of our species, the lifestyle based on the economy and politics of production and consumption started to damage our surrounding is an irrevocable way. This happened somewhere between the 50’s and 60’s of last century and millennium. This seems very far away but in essence is the timeframe of the current generation aged 50+. It is all part of today still, not at all far away.
Before we crossed this invisible line the natural reproductive abundance of our planet Earth could still recover from our destructive behaviour of greed and aggressive competition. But after this crossing it could not anymore, not if our human species would continue the way it did. We are now well on our way to a population of 9 billion indivdiuals, three times that of 70 years ago. What have we done in the meantime? Gradually we became more and more aware of the problems and introduced new processes such as Cradle to Cradle, Biomimicry, circular economy, CSR, costly bureaucracy and new rules, costly healthcare systems, etc. Yet our steering mechanisms, based on sustaining the political and economic hierarchies, with primarily consumption driven civilians, has only been expanded and sustained artificially by the local and worldwide structures of financial power and control. Our fragmented money driven structures can only take responsibility for their little islands of self interest and none oversees the whole that is being seriously damaged, with very unpleasant consequences. Each for themselves take competitive measures out of economic or political self sustaining interest, contributing at the same time to the worsening of the problems without sensing direct responsibility for the whole, just their part. The submission to money remains leading, not our evolutionary self resilience as a species.
There are two twee routes we can take.
The first route is the one of the least resistance. We just keep going with our lifestyle and political-economic steering. Eventually nature will take over and reduces humankind to proportions below the line of (self)destruction. This is normal in nature. As soon as a lifeform cannot feed itself anymore or becomes sick it dies out and is taken over by healthier lifeforms. Whatever remains of the sort that collapsed is so much smaller that it is not dangerous anymore for itself or the rest of the lifeforms. These last mentioned get the new space to develop themselves according to the same rules of nature.
According the current situation of humankind we can expect to be reduced to about 1 to 2 billion people in a natural way via catastrophes, crises, hunger and wars. Nature does not make distinction between people and just cleans up. If we look closely at what is going on in the world we see this process already happening.
The second route is the one of awareness and taking of responsibility. We have already seen that none of the fragmented parties of self-interest can do this on their own, unless they do it together. But who takes initiative? Awareness is not limited to some happy few. It also reaches the mindset of policy makers, entrepreneurs, scientists and many civilians who all want to do something about it but often feel hindered by their individual or executive limitations. Lifting all these people, in all their diversity of talents and authorities, to a new level of interaction, above the political and economic hierarchies, we create a new level and area of cocreation, referred to as a Sustainocracy, in which the natural and human core values are leading. Together we choose our priorities, allocate means and arrive at innovative project that help change the old reality in all its dimensions. An independent Sustainocrat is enough to pave the way into level 4 leadership, the leadership that follows the development of core values together. On this level an executive policy maker can define arguments that reduce rules and bureaucracy, entrepreneurs develop new, revolutionary products and services while civilians innovate themselves socially through adjustments in behaviour and lifestyle, without reducing their quality of life, on the contrary. At the same time the functional layers of regional development become subject to integrale innovation in the field of residence, food, energy supplies and usage, mobility, local involvement and reward of participation, recreation, etc. Step by step the energetic dynamics of cohesion and care for each other and the environment develops. The good example spreads and reaches other people and institutions who wish and can participate. Those who put up resistance have to come up with powerful arguments if they keep blocking human core values, risking eventually to be held liable for this. A new culture and economy appears, referred to as the transformation economy, which has a harmonizing effect on the community while contributing to the expansion of all kinds of new innovations that can serve the rest of the world too.
In Eindhoven and Brabant we have been applying this level 4 regional development for about 7 years now and the approach grows in both recognition as local and international support. Apparently we have created a new culture together in which we can freely look for connection between level 4 leadership of people of a great diversity of talents and authority. In other areas this is often not yet possible. That is why the first mentioned route will still show us huge amounts of human suffering and drama for a long time to come and will even affect us despite our intentions. But the route we have chosen gives us hope with strength and will, as expected, sproat elsewhere as soon as people become aware of the option its way of functioning and the potential of this evolution in human and natural self-aware coexistence.
STIR foundation is ideological and practical founder of Sustainocracy, and since 2010 initiator of level 4 cooperative formats such as AiREAS (healthy air, healthy cities), FRE2SH (local cooperation for resilience in basic needs), STIR level 4 learning cooperation (education to reach level 4), Rijk van Dommel en Aa……enz. This format of level 4 regional development has been accredited in 2015 by external research and received the VINCI European Innovation Award. Sustainocracy has been introduced in 2016 in 26 regions of Europe, India and China. During all kinds of encounters, publications, presentations and workshops you can get acquainted with the expertise, methods and achievements.
In the picture below (thx Wilfred for sharing) we see that the interpretation of reality can have a variety of outcomes, depending on the way we look at things. Just imagine three different persons that stand at the three viewpoints and try to convince the other two of what they see. How would the person seeing a triangle or rectangle react to the person who defends the circle as sole truth?
Understanding that what we see, hear, feel, taste or smell is subject to interpretation and rationalization, we can also now (after seeing the above proof) get to terms that whatever we think we sense is just a distorted part of a greater reality. Basing our decisions on such interpretation is hence risky and always incomplete. We enhance our perception and our choices by learning through the accumulation of experiences. And also through open dialogue with others with our ability to take different standpoints if we want to experiment with new perspectives. Our predisposition to learn helps us evolve mentally as a human being and improves our resilience to the challenges we face. As a child we find this normal but as an adult not necessarily.
Often in the process we face confrontations with ourselves. When we grow up for instance in an environment where everyone believes that the “rectangular” truth is real, to then move to a place where the “triangle” rules, we end up with a dilemma. Do we stick to our original beliefs? Do we try to understand the beliefs of the others? Or do we try to understand the bigger picture in which the two or more realities can be explained? Much of our current multicultural society contains such dilemma for people involved with a dominant local culture and various subcultures. Education can overcome part of the dilemma but some beliefs are deeply rooted, sometimes powerfully manipulated and dominant.
What happens to you when you come back to your origins where the “rectangle” belief still rules but you have learned that it is not the only truth? Most probably the local people will declare that you have gone mad, maybe even call or ridicule you as alienated, a separatist, a terrorist, a weirdo. They may even become scared of you, ask you to review your thoughts or leave the community. “Right and wrong” become subjective issues of dispute that can only be overcome when people open up to new realities. That is not easy. At individual level this may be done through learning processes or taking people on an awareness hike. On a local community level often ancient dogma’s, rules and even hierarchical power positions are created around the single viewpoint. A diversion would find opposition from the group’s leadership that fears its authority questioned by the modified views. Such leadership has interest in sustaining the narrow minded perception.
Blocking the mind of people out of desires for control is an old and powerful mechanism that dictatorial, political, economic and religious leaders use by attaching punishment and fear to the mere possibility to take a broader view of options. People react and may become so obsessed with their fears that they start defending the dogma’s themselves out of just or unjust self-preservation. “The unknown” as threat is much more powerful than the “known”. Modern science shows that people who live in such imposed environments of controlled beliefs tend to show signs of brain and intellectual damage, incapacitated to learn or evolve, or even openly reflect.
Often this is associated with religious dogma’s but the same goes for our addiction to money and economics, as explained by David Suzuki in relation to our senseless and immoral usage of money as destructive investment tool.
Exposing people to fear for the sake of control and self-interest is an act of terror which is being used in all hierarchies. “If you don’t do what the rules say you’ll be doomed, if you do you’ll be saved”. If such rules imply that someone (person or institution) can take away securities from other people or life forms, or even take their lives, than such rules are introduced and maintained by thieves and murderers, no matter what noble lables they use for themselves or their status.
Such madness of control and being controlled is as much part of humankind as the goodness of the opposite, however madness tends to impose itself aggressively while goodness shares, gives and invites. We are all exposed to it and need to make up our own mind about what is real, what is madness and what is not. Today’s world of social media helps us even though the awareness is not internet’s, it is of the individual who breaks out into freedom of mind.
Recently a quote of a religious leader could be read that said “If money becomes a God then it will lead to brain damage”. The same implies when anything else under human control becomes a God, referring to the humanization of the Whole by attributing it human decisions and laws of control, greed and segregation. God as a metaphor to explain the “everything”, as in “we see only part of reality and there is much more to learn” is a concept with which everyone can live. One can also live with the quest for learning the overall meaning of everything and people trying to explain their findings. No one can however impose or indoctrinate their findings since the “truth” is a subjective perception of reality and needs to be discovered by people themselves. In the same way we see that money as a tool is great but not as a goal, nor as an “everything” which would evolve into dogmatic obsession and madness. This mind blocked perception in current cities, which dynamic human clusters around money driven realities, is making those populations extreemly vulnerable, managed by money dependence, thieves and speculants without any connection to the broader reality. Often such people in charge of human control mechanisms don’t see themselves as bad but part of a Darwinistic reality of the law of the most powerful. In many cities this is now changing as wellness and quality of life introduces itself a new reality of common human values. It shows also a totally new type of leadership and societal structures.
Dealing with awareness, beliefs and madness:
Having to deal with this organized madness of self interest driven massive brain damage on a global scale now, we can try to fight it but this will not work. Aggression with aggression just produces death, destruction and more aggression. It is one common law in nature that if, in an evolution, growth is limited by space and competition for resources it is not the most powerful that survives but the most adaptive to new resources. A totally new phase of growth without competition lies ahead.
If we try to impose our own deeper or broader awareness we would enter an impossible to win dispute about rectangles, circles and squares, about fears, beliefs and unjust sense of security or protection. The large populations that have been brainwashed will cling further to their limited perception. Their “leadership” just needs to feed their fears to enhance itself while the forthcoming destruction is never blamed on the leaders yet on “the others”, seen as aggressors.
It is a horrifying thought that we need to accept the existence of a diversity of beliefs, dogma’s, wrongful leadership and brain damaging human structures as part of our evolutionary reality. What can we do to place it in a positive evolutionary context in order to let common sense, deeper awareness and the true perception of the bigger picture prevail? Opening ourselves up to the next phase of our awareness leaves the old dogma’s and aggressors behind without grip anymore on us as we have let go and fear no more. Awareness of our living surroundings helps. It lives already successfully for billions of years and its secrets are a universal constant. We now apply this to our communities through Sustainocracy and the way of dealing with the multidimensional reality is rapidly spreading across Europe as a evolutionary step in regional development.
Above all and everything there is our surrounding (mother) Nature and Eco-system from which humankind has evolved ever since life appeared on Earth about 4.5 Billion years ago, perceived as “an act of God” or part of the inexplicable “everything”. This Nature evolves around 5 core values that are not dogmatic, not imposed, or brain-damaged. These core values are just there to serve life as a lasting overall reality as long as the conditions on our planet remain right for life to evolve, with or without human beings. Those core values start with what every life form needs in order to live within the optimum Solar-Earth energetic habitat: energy, food, water and air. The life form evolves further based on health (everything unhealthy dies and is replaced by something healthy. Madness is sick and will die) and safety (self-protection through different mechanisms, including the dynamic clustering of human communities around the core values). More complex self aware life forms, such as human beings, add self-aware learning and adaptive decision-making as well as cocreative resilience. Such learning for resilience is based on painful experiences that show us where we went wrong and how we can adjust to survive better. The five core values produce quality of life, abundance, harmony and no fear.
This is a way of organizing the diversity of our human beings, levels of awareness, beliefs and even our madness within the overall context of natural evolutionary values. For every human being health and safety is important, if not for themselves then it is for their offspring and close relatives. By adopting Sustainocracy we can still respect anyone’s subjective viewpoint as we simply invite everyone to work together on the core issues and keep their particular viewpoints to themselves.
Introducing Sustainocracy requires no authorization of hierarchies of dogmatic power, just like a seed of a tree does not need permission to germinate. It just needs the right surroundings to sproat and grow because it is Nature itself opening up into our awareness and guiding our progress. Just like nature stirs up molecules up to the point of dynamic grouping around life forms, Sustainocracy stirs up human beings in awareness to dynamically cluster around prioritized needs to develop and sustain the core values. The process is enhancing and heeling mental development through talented and purpose driven human interaction without prejudice or background dogma’s. Everyone, people and institutions, involved contribute through creativity, authority and positive engagement. Participation, respect, equality and trust are the common denominators in which all that want to contribute are welcome, no one is excluded.
As such Sustainocracy is complying with the first basic need of human evolution: mental health, produced by direct connectivity to the source of our health: Mother Nature.
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.
Evolution has a cyclic nature, clockwise of course. A self aware species develops “leadership and management”. In this drawing I explain how we deal with both in a natural chronological order.
Leadership introduces change after a burst of awareness. It expands into new phases of wellness through the acceptance and co-creative efforts that change entire communities.
Management wants to keep wellness by growing its values out of greed or the fear for loosing it. It tends to avoid change while introducing control mechanisms by building bureaucracies.
Excessive management and focus on growth or risk avoidance tends to blocks leadership out of fear that change affects control mechanisms and hierarchies of power. This unavoidably leads to a crisis, chaos and collapse. After the collapse leadership and change become dominant again with the introduction of new values, making the cycle complete.
When then can Leadership and Management work together effectively in a complex society? That occurs when the eminence of chaos and collapse is so powerfully present and destructive that management open up to leadership development, accepting change as part of the management process. Leadership and management goals can find a match. The purpose then is harmony and chaos avoidance.
STIR Foundation shapes this by taking leadership initiatives around complex issues. We position ourselves in the field of awareness and leadership and invite top level management officials to participate in change processes and co creation towards harmony (symbiosis). The management officials then have to introduce change through managed routines and controlled processes. Total chaos can be avoided when multidisciplinary coalitions address the issues together. This we call Sustainocracy, the complex but highly productive process of interaction between leadership and management.
Experience shows that bureaucracy is largely eliminated, decisions accelerated and result driven processes terminated in years rather than decades. The pain of chaos is reduced to a minimum and surrounded by care.
What do these three words have in common? They determine the energy usage of human beings. In reality they are the three essentials of life.
Food is obviously used for nutrition, needed to provide us with the necessary energy to grow to adulthood and function as a living organism.
Fire refers to every means of combustion that we need to heat ourselves, cook, produce or automate our mobility.
Fun is the most difficult to understand to the full. Most of our appliances at home are related to making life comfortably easy. It takes our attention away from the troubles and gives us time to fulfil our lifetime with joyful things. It has become quite an industry.
What people forget is that fun is a direct derivative from the molecular frequencies of attraction that connects matter in a purposeful and living manner (see my blogs about the secrets of life). The way we smell, talk, look, taste, feel, sense, behave and interpret perception, triggers the energy of motivation around feelings of love, fear, attraction or repellent.
Fun has a bigger impact on the human nature than anything else. It is the energy that makes us reproduce, create partnerships, care about things, experiment or take risks.
When we refer to sustainable human progress nearly all global leadership attention goes to food and fire because they can be commercialized and politicized in an economic system. Yet our productivity, peace, creativity and progress is not determined by food or fire but the amount we smile!
Measures of progress are not determined by how good we feel but how much fun we have!
Ego stands for “I”. It represents the unique, living physical identity of a single living being. This ego becomes relevant in a dynamic environment where it needs to interact with the surrounding to survive, liveand develop itself. When interacting with other ego’s it becomes the “I am”, a self reflective revelation of self awareness. This “being” than becomes gradually aware of talents and skills which it needs to shown off to its surroundings in order to establish valued reconition with a social group order and potential hierarchy.
Modern group dynamics of human beings have evolved into the type of robotics described in the previous blog. Institutionalized tasks are being populated by human beings who are serving the institutional objectives by performing specific predefined tasks without competition or open interaction. The interaction is predetermined by the hierarchy of the establishment. Such structural organization can be compared with the solidification of liquid or gassy elements. The molecules slow down their vibrating rhythm and take a static position within a fixed structure, connecting in a specific format with their neighboring molecules. They become frozen in rock like objects. That tends to happen with people in hierarchical organizations.
From a human point of view the “I am” is being largely eliminated and so is the dynamic development of the ego. The ego itself becomes frozen in a predefined fitting within a frozen context. Only the “I” counts as functional pupet in a puppetering theartre. The ego is surrounded by dogma’s that he or she adopts as truthful indisputable reality in order to remain in the structure. The surrounding enhances this by imposing the dogma’s formally by asking for loyalty in exchange. The group structure lacks flexibility and dynamics in exchange for control and predictability. The human being is not challenged to evolve, just to perform automated tasks within fixed patterns. People who manage such rock like structures tend to have frozen ego too as they fragment human abilities into functional routines without accounting for universal laws of chaos and evolutionary interaction.
A business or government hierarchy becomes an artificial being composed of many frozen egos. The people involved in such environment get disconnected from the universal reality and become dependent of the overall structure of the institution to provide certain securities. Those would otherwise have been found in a much more complex competitive interaction with other ego’s and nature. Frozen ego’s tend to adore the state of rest and lack of certain worries. Ego’s may learn rationalized patterns but lack the development of spiritual, physical and emotional awareness delaying the true evolution of the adulthood of each individual.
When society gets over-organized through bureaucracy the frozen ego’s remain frozen also in a structured environment full of rules and control systems.
A human being is in essence as volatile as gas, a unique complex element in a highly dynamic universe. We are excited by our surroundings and interact with it through multi-level communication in search for harmony and safety. We do not only interact with other ego’s, we also need to interact with nature to feed ourselves with energy and material composites that are life supportive and enhancing. Other species depend on us and interact with us in a similar way of interdependence and evolutionary dynamics. Human egos connect to each other for co-creation of off spring (establishment of families) and safety (cooperations), by organizing communities of self supporting groups of individuals.
The dynamics is based on open interaction and flexibility giving the community a liquid like behavior that adapts itself in shape and interaction with the environment with great ease and transparency. The ego’s in such liquid state are challenged to find and redefine harmony continuously becoming liquid also in the learning process. The inner competition is functional to the mode of self sufficiency of the group. Talents and skills are challenged to change, evolve and interact using the wisdom of adults with the volatile, explosive creativity of the younger generations. Purpose and learning become a natural process that enrich all involved in a process of sustainable adaptiveness with the environment. People who get accustomed to doing this like the excitement and challenge of change.
A child develops and discovers the ego through trial and error experimenting with its physical capabilities, often under protective guidance of the parents. Through comparison with the abilities of others in one’s surroundings it enhances and challenges itself further, often asking for attention “look what I can do”. They play games that stimulate the mind and body in every possible way. This young ego can be seen as a vibrant growing and learning molecule in a huge human sea of alike molecules, each a different complex ego.
The continuous open demonstration of the ego at the growing up and competitive phases of a person are necessary to distinguish and position itself in the complex group dynamics of human beings. “Adult” in this sense has nothing to do with the physical full-grown state of a human body. That was just the protected growing up phase when the real competition starts and other types of adulthood are obtained: the emotional, rational and spiritual aging, up to the state of higher awareness. That is when an ego is in perfect harmony with its surroundings and needs not continuously expose itself anymore for recognition.
When we look at education in the societies of frozen or liquid ego’s we see big differences. The young ego’s in a frozen environment are taught (indoctrinated) to behave in a frozen state, learning certain rationalized tricks to fit into a preprogrammed format of societal evolution. In a more liquid environment we see that education evolves in a dynamic way, connecting the young rising ego’s directly with the dynamics of a changing environment. They learn to interact in a competitive way through the adventure of experimentation and feedback. In a liquid state we develop fully to the adult state of higher awareness, something that is much more difficult to reach in a solid frozen environment.
Most societies today have evolved into frozen structures trying to control ego’s in a prefixed format. Those formats have become so rigid that they lack all flexibility to interact with a very liquid, ever changing universe. We see then that such structures break up, exposing the frozen ego to an environment that is fearfully liquid for them. Many frozen ego’s on the other hand have become aware of the unnatural state of their ego and search fearfully for a more liquid interaction with their environment.
They break loose and become the small flexible streams of new communities that further break the solid environment apart. We see this happening all over the world despite the powerful intentions of those who have interests in maintaining the solid state of control. We see the development of all kind of disorders by the blockage of the natural evolution of the ego. Without even being aware, the psychological, physical and emotional disorders produce severe instability in the solid frozen communities. People are wanting to break loose, sometimes not even knowing why, because of the sense of entrapment. The human nature is too complex and active to be locked up for a long period of time. The predominant state for sustainable progress of humankind is the one of liquid ego’s. We see different cultures, business enterprises and cooperative entities that show various degrees of frozen, liquid and gas like structures.
We are entering a natural phase of transforming from a predominant state of frozen ego’s into a new state of liquid communities. This is necessary to attend our underestimated relationship with the ever changing universe. We are part of that universe which predominantly is liquid, evolving in a spiral dynamic process that challenges new connections to appear and old ones to disappear. Our human awareness is an excellent evolutionary instrument for self protection through adaptiveness. When we block this we eliminate our adaptability and make ourselves vulnerable to unexpected circumstances.
The frozen state of human ego’s has however taught us many things too. It helped us to reach an average age expectancy that allows many to experiment life within the safe dynamics of singular gassy adventurous life styles, liquid adaptive communities and specialized frozen ego formats for highly specialized complex tasks. We have learned now that the human universe should consist of all three states that interact also dynamically. To achieve this we need to develop confidence in new societal formats where the logic of all states is acknowledged and supported. Like that we can create slowly a stable global human community based on safety, health, universal ethics and sustainable progress.
Sustainocracy is a first serious attempt to achieve such awareness and guide the frozen structures into liquid dynamics. AiREAS is a multidisciplinary community that combines structures of frozen ego’s with free individuals in a gas state of volatile interaction, creating a semi-liquid, purpose driven organization of thousands of people without any hierarchy or prefixed structure.
When we talk about the practicalities around massive change of human behavior we enter a very intering field of STIR research. Especially when we deal with the type of change needed to achieve sustainable human progress within sustainocratic processes. My own strong belief was always that people first need to become aware of the challenges we face before they take initiative. This is the way I got active in this field myself, only after opening my eyes into a new kind of visual dimension of awareness. This awareness may not be enough yet to get everyone to change attitude but certainly places a trigger under the surface that can be pushed any time by anything.
My views were overthrown when I invited J. J is professor at the technical university. J. and his team do research on “perception” from scientific point of view. He wants to know the effects of professional electronics on people and their behavior. I invited him to share his opinion and expertise in the sustainocratic teams of AiREAS. We were making an action plan for public involvement at city quarter level in our “clean and healthy city” project. His scientific expertise could become useful to avoid inventing the wheel (with a lot of costs) and become more effective as a group. That is one of the key arguments to get scientific knowledge directly at the table in the first place. At the same time science could be interested in the practical initiatives of AiREAS to formulate new research questions and gain support of the other participants..
During the multidisciplinary discussion the participating lady from our public healthcare organization stated her frustration that, after spending lots of public money on health campaigns no measurable change had been perceived or achieved. I added to that my own findings that awareness is simply not enough. Prior to changing attitude the people need to become aware AND assume responsibility. Lots of people are aware that smoking kills yet continue smoking. Same goes with people taking the car, knowing that the bike would be healthier for the short distance. Awareness alone is not enough. My own model shows the following steps:
Awareness -> Acceptance of responsibility -> Change of behavior -> Recognition
This places a large responsibility on communication with a challenge to get a feel on how to stimulate each of the steps.
Everyone agreed except J. He said simply “Awareness? No! No awareness at all”. This caught us all by surprise. He explained a recent example, that a lot of communication had been done to get people to acquire solar panels. No one did. Until a bunch of neighbors got their own act together and placed panels on their roofs. Suddenly everyone else wanted them in the same street. Why not after communication? Does communication not work anymore? Why does the physical appearance trigger people and not reading about it with all the posible arguments on climate change, financial benefits, etc? What does that tell us?
Me2 or Me1!
For me it was funny because I use this expression for business enterprises when lecturing, training or coaching about “positioning”. But business is an entrepreneurial exercise in which market leadership (Me1 – me first) or being a follower (Me2 – me second) is a strategic entrepreneurial decision and awareness exercise. In fact it is one of the five keys of 21st century excellence that I published as my 5K multidimensional entrepreneurial model. But in my mind I had not made the link with the diversity of general human behavior in society. J. had just opened my eyes. This is how it works.
In a group of 100 people you roughly find this division of characters 10-80-10. Whatever changes you propose with some common sense you will always find 10% of the people opposing directly, no matter what. They are against everything. These are the “opposers”, the brakes on progress. On the other hand there is a 10% that is always in favor. They are the “innovators” of the group, the front runners, the Me1. This 10% is always in for something knew and is willing to pay the extra price to be innovative. For some it is even a sport to be the first in everthing. In business these are normally the business leaders that take the chances to do things that others have never done. They create new values. Then there is the remaining 80%. They just observe and listen to the others, they do not take risks. Normally they tend to listen to the 10% opposers who always claim to have the truth because “it was tried before”, “no one ever succeeded”, “its a waste of time and money”, “it does not work”, “no change, no risk”, etc.
When the Me1 in a quarter unite and show their initiative in public a part of the 80% will become a Me2, a group of followers. They overcome their fear and join the leaders of change. More join in when the novelty proves stable and adequate. The Me1 only manage silence the opposers through action, demonstrating that something indeed can be done. When introducing novelties or change most communicative energy always tends to go to the opposers who we try to convince of progress. This is also caused by the fact that the opposers put a lot of energy in blocking progress through their lobby using fear. The above shows that we should not even pay attention to them when we initiate sustainocratic processes that have already a strong reason to be introduced. To neglect this group is difficult because they tend to be the ones that go to meetings first, not the Me1.
In business the Me2 often position themselves to copy proven technology rapidly after its introduction by the Me1. While Me1 gets the recognition for the orginal idea, the Me2 make it accessible to the general public by making it cheaper, “better”, etc. The Me2 attention to a product is often good for the Me1 too. If the image of innovator is maintained, people who are Me1 will become loyal to the label because of its status as leader. Others however never buy from the leader because they know that price of a Me2 will be lower. It is all a game of psychology.
From our point of view all this helps to experiment with public initiatives and the introduction of all kinds of innovations. From a hardware point of view this can be understood, especially when dealing with city quarters with wealthy enough residents to follow certain trends and hypes that we try to introduce. But we want to transform society from a centralized to a circular local type of economy. This does not imply just external visuals around status an “look at me” Me1 attitudes. We work on getting people to become involved in their own local sustainable progress which is of not money driven. How would we make these good examples visible to achieve in depth mentality and cultural change? It opens up still more questions than answers that need to be researched:
- When do Me2 decide to follow Me1?
- What size of Me1 and Me2 do we need to get everyone or a majority to change?
- How do we reach the Me1? Who are they? What triggers them?
- We know about the Me1 psychology of wealth and luxury. Does it work too in the area of getting jobless people to become active in any way? Or youngsters who we want to get out of criminality or drugs and join certain wellness programs? When does it work and when not?
- What if the quarter is multi-ethnical, multi-cultural? What are cultural differences in all this and how do different cultures interact?
- How much awareness does it take an Me1 to take responsibility? Is it what we are saying (our prejudism?) in our communication strategy or is something else the trigger?
- Can the findings in one city quarter be applied 1 to 1 on another? Is there some kind of blueprint that we can develop and where is it valid?
- Who should do the innovative proposition for Me1? A business label? A government? AiREAS?
- What effects have external impulses s.a. a crisis on all this?
The entire “living lab” situation around sustainable progress driven manipulation, because that is what it is of course, is tremendously interesting. At the same time it is very much needed to get people to assume a different role in society than today. We are still heading for disaster if we do not change drastically our course. Institutionally I manage to get cooperative coalitions but getting 100’s of thousands of people with a daily job, a particular view of their own world (also manipulated of course) and a dependency of the system, is unique.
Huge multinationals are showing interest to try products, technological innovations through our platform. That is great of course, especially when they come with some money too for our research and main program: the local human being. So from a human behavior point of view both awareness and not awareness are applicable but in a certain order and under particular conditions that we need to find out. We do this of course not just with institutions and scientists but with the public itself too. They are the guinea pigs of their own transformation, which we develop transparently with their complete involvement. It will be very interesting to see what we find out when we deal with many of such projects around the world and do research by comparing the results.
We still have a lot of work to do to understand human behavior more. One would think that sustainable human progress is easy “to sell” to people. It is not.