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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.
For many decades emancipation has claimed equal rights for women but meanwhile the global cultures have totally defeminised. Even the most emancipated countries have hardly any feminity left in them despite equality among the sexes. This may sound like a contradiction but it is not. Women and men are equal but not at all the same. Cultures that center around money and the material independence of individuals show a systemised masculine culture based on external securities, excessive tooling, competition, hierarchies of power and a lot of individualism. The cultures grow cold, materialistic, authoritive and bureaucratic. Such masculine culture has nothing to do with any discimination of women. Even the women learn to behave with an independent masculine nature in an emancipated way. This excessive masculinity has been caused by our growing dependence on money based structures that have taken all feminine sensitivity out of our human organisation. These masculine cultures, resident in large corporate multinationals, money based democracies and social communism are all in severe crisis. The only solution here is to feminise the cultures again.
What then is a feminine culture?
Connected to the unique ability of women to give birth a feminine culture is based on identity, family warmth and evolutionary long term reasoning around survival, protection, safety, health, stability and quality of life. A femine culture is more holistic, spiritual and emotional than purely rational. In a feminine culture our relationship with our environment makes sense, our self-sufficiency and self-preservation within the mistique of eternal life itself. The morality of our choices become an important measure for our actions, just like equality, respect and trust.
Such feminine culture is not just exercised by women of course, also by men, just like the masculine cultures. It is a way of life, an acceptance of certain values above others that have to do with inner feelings instead of external wealth. The current world is in crisis due to the excessive masculine structures that have gradually eliminated emotions, warms and community feeling. There is no relationship anymore between what we contribute to life and what we get. We have endebted ourselves for values that we have not yet contributed in with our creativity or supportive energy. It is going to be increadibly difficult to get our lifes back to a true reality in which we enjoy prosperity from our personal initiatives. A purely feminine culture will not do the trick either….
Pure masculine societies will always enter a crisis while pure femine societies will never progress. Both mentalities always require to interact to produce sustainable progress as shown in the drawing below. Together they form a Whole….
There is nothing wrong with a masculine organisation as long as it is lined up with a feminine equivalent too. The key of wellness can be found in the warmth and depth of emotions feeding and guiding the rational awareness and organisation. The femininity makes us aware of our relationship with our environment, the need for human interaction and true equality among all people. The masculinity will get us to understand, learn how to organise ourselves and get scientific insight. Together the feminine and masculine nature will interact to apply knowledge with true meaning to human progress in a complex creative manner (not destructive as we suffer now). The feminine culture will avoid the masculinity to grow above sustainable proportion while the masculine drives pull the feminine morality into progressive action and permanent change for new balans.
To achieve this we need to feminise our masculine cultures. The current huge masculine outsized complexities (banks, multinationals, political organisations) will crumble into chaos as the crises do their work, creating room for feminine awareness to develop and take a position in our minds. This process shapes a new future for humanity based on smaller, purpose driven communities that use high level knowledge and technology to progress in a constructive, evolutionary way. The day that this has happened humankind can look back at a brief period in our evolution when we were about to distroy everything and thank our wit and consciousness to have reacted on time, voluntarily or not, to get back to sustainable wellness and progress for all. Men and Women meet again in the garden of Eden called planet Earth with the knowledge and understanding that beauty, abundance, love, eternity and wealth is not found in the apple we take but the tree that we sit under.
The current and most widely used definition for sustainable development dates from 1987 (Brundtland) and is totally useless for sustainable progress. It says:
“sustainable development is development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.”
This statement is not sustainable itself as it cannot pinpoint individual responsibility to anyone or current generations let alone future generations. Consider for instance what the definition of needs is of today? Needs of who? The material wealthy or the poor in Africa or Asia? Your needs? My needs? Do they refer to the needs of business or political economies, luxury or primary needs? Business needs maybe?
How about the needs of future generations? How would we know what these future generations will need? They might for all we know require massive amounts of oil for medical purposes, yet we burn it all up right now. How can we take responsibility for the abilities of future generations if they are not just dependent on our left overs but also on important other variables that have nothing to do with human behavior, s.a. climat changes for instance. Do we blame the human who killed the last Dodo because he was hungry? Or do we blame ourselves for not creating responsible alternatives for nutrician before the Dodos were made extinct in the first place. How many species have to perrish before we take responsibility for the current generation?
In fact, who would control what we use, how we use it and determine if it affects future generations at all? Is this control our individual responsibility? How can we measure this? Who is to blame if we judge incorrectly and who judges? And how can I worry about compromising future generations if we already compromise current generation around our globe? In fact, this most popular definition is a open letter that allows us and anyone to do what we please without taking any responsibility. As it stands it has been insignificant since the definition appeared and introduced a green washing wisdom in industrial and government policies around the world. It may have made us a little more aware but certainly not more sustainable in development or progress, on the contrary, and not at all responsible towards future generations as we wouldn’t know how. And really, who in command cares?
In my own foundation we work on the development of workable cooperative organizations around projects that address sustainable progress of humanity itself, segmented into key issues. Interestingly we could do absolutely nothing with the definition. We found it perfectly viable to introduce some basic environment awareness in capitalist industries but totally useless when projected onto the complexity of current humanity itself.
This motivated me to come up with one of my own, just like probably hundreds of other responsible people around me over the years. My definition for sustainable progress is:
“Sustainable progress is the development that continuously improves human health, vitality, safety and dynamic progression in optimal relationship with the constantly changing environment in which we live and act.”
I found that this definition places the responsibility with each and everyone of us, as individuals as well as business and public entities, in the here and now. It became the basis of the cooperative innovative business identities that are being developped by us around real issues that concern us today, s.a. energy, quality of life, education, smart mobility, air quality and polution, food, water, etc…
The definition helps us to define our visions away from material goals and determine specific higher purposes that matter and have a positive effect on our selves, our current generations and our environment. We feel it contributes to true sustainable progress in a measurable and accountable way with the satisfaction that whatever we do in this context it will always serve also generations to come.