As I sit typing on my iPhone from my seventh floor apartment overlooking the Amstel river, embedded in one of the most sustainable and beautiful cities in the world, with the sun gently caressing my face and a full tummy from my delicious gourmet musleix, the souls of 3,000 people are readying themselves to be released from their bodies today due to malaria ravaging their body, two billion people will scramble to earn their average one to two dollars in earnings today, another long-term unemployed person will just turn over in bed using sleep as an escape from their brutal reality, a trillion dollars in US student debt will remind its owners of its presence, and many millions of people will physically or emotionally suffer from the reactions of a contracted, under-resourced individual in their lives who is struggling just to live a dignified life. How do I respond?
I see the foundations of our economic and political systems crumbling. The faint signals that portend significant shifts are louder and more prolific every day. And I find myself on one level trying to ensure that I am on the “other side” of the rich-poor gap, wealthy enough to live a good life, get my daughter a good education, have a retirement without financial stress, own a decent home, and be debt free.
While I fundamentally experience a unity of being in an absolute sense, I am resolutely aware that in the relative realm there are choices my individual consciousness can make that move me toward greater wealth and quality of life or away from it. Yet what is the integrity of quality of life for me and my family when the quality of life for others is so poor? And I see that black hole of mass poverty and depravation and know that all of my life energy could be consumed by it in a second and monumental work would still remain to be done. I have seen the scale of poverty in Africa, Asia, Latin America, and even in the urban areas of developed countries like the US, the UK, and the Netherlands. I have seen the awesomely powerful socio-technical forces, regimes, and technological and institutional and economic lock-in that keep the status quo alive. It is the sheer scale of it that most overwhelms my conceptual mind and individual heart. We will need massive amounts of money and generations of focused and conscious effort to realistically address these challenges. That money must come from an economy dependent on growth, which is requires consumption and large scale energy usage, both of which channel money to the wealthy under our current economic system. Thus the very resources required to make the structural changes needed are dependent upon the existing system to produce which only propagates existing inequality. A wild catch 22. How do I respond?
There is of course deep validity to many of the grievances voiced in the occupy movement. And none of us see the whole picture. If we evenly redistributed wealth and even education and talent today, I believe that given the current state of global consciousness with 70% of folks at Amber or earlier stage of consciousness complexity and the seduction of consumerism and power more enticing than ever, a few decades would likely bring us to another massive rich poor schism. So how do I respond?
I researched how leaders and change agents with postconventional consciousness design and engage in complex change initiatives. While these are still early propositions, the data suggests that Strategists try to catalyze, driving change at strategic leverage points, encouraging the development of all that are involved, pushing and asserting their way through the system, working ON it.
Alchemists seem to take a softer approach, recognizing and honoring the system as a complex adaptive system, with no clear levers for change although keeping an eye out for possible acupuncture points to cultivate development. They tend to more deeply honor the organic developmental process of the system and strive to set up the initial conditions that support the emergence of novelty – a new way of being – for that system. They experiment often and are consistently probing the system, listening carefully to it’s responses from their experiments and looking for the faint signals of potential emergence. They dialogue WITH the system, dancing with it, adapting as it adapts, in an ever rolling design of conscious engagement.
Ironists/Unitive consciousness takes an even subtler approach. They tend to drop into unity consciousness and engage AS the system itself. Sourcing knowledge from beyond the rational and conceptual mind, tuning deeply into the microgeny of the moment, what is the next developmental movement for the evolution of this system, what is its Kosmic address and where might it go next? They are prone to allowing the integrative nature of consciousness to do its thing, holding the space for its conscious potential to express more fully. And then they might drop completely all of those constructs of maps and development itself and abide in the raw arising of the moment, sensing into their next intuitive move. They tend to energetically hold the space for the emergent potential of the moment to be expressed.
Reflecting on the occupy movement. If the center of gravity of it, or at least the core ideas are Green, then an appropriate response might be to let it collapse as quickly as possible under the weight of its pluralism so that a more focused alignment may emerge. Concurrently we could hold the energetic space for that alignment to arise. We could also look to see what initial conditions could be put in place to support that large scale alignment. In order for it to flourish, this movement must involve and attract not only folks with Blue, Orange, and Green values, but also representation across business, government, civil society, academia, media/entertainment, and religion. Each must be allowed to be there for their own reasons, whether it is to secure their company’s reputation, get more votes, raise their own image, or authentically contribute to critical dialogue and action. That is the principal way that i have seen mainstream transformation happen at a large scale. A vision for where to go and who we want to become must arise that resonates across all those levels and systems. Those are some of the key conditions required. That sort of alignment is possible although it will likely take years and be messy.
I have responded for at least this moment. In the next I have another opportunity to choose.