Articles in Category: Sensemaking

Behind the Process: The Big Rethink

Nietzsche is dead. The universe is alive.

Behind the Process: The Big Rethink

Over the past 50 years, we’ve wrapped the globe with our minds through information technology.

The internet of things (IoT) already consists of billions of sensors. Virtual and augmented reality, robotics, geospatial positioning, and more are now forming a global nervous system - it has been called a global brain.  When we think of the process as now becoming embedded in a hyperdimensional technological matrix it becomes a totally new thing. An emergent reality; a birthing process, a dying process, an economic process, an alchemical process, and potentially an emergent process of the collective mind and soul. A process that includes the wakeful, the dreaming and the stillness of deep dreamless sleep. Is stillness a process? Is there anything that isn’t a process? 

All processes on the internet are made of information. This is an obvious statement - it’s information technology after all. At its most basic level, the computers making up the Internet only process binary code, that is units of 0s and 1s or on/off statements. The results of that simple action happening hundreds of trillions of times per second creates the global system. Building on binary code programmers use coding languages to create programs and billions of programs are running on the Internet at any given time. We often think of the Internet as one thing, everything on the Internet is interconnected.

Systems science is adding to the understanding that everything consists of processes nested within processes. At every level each complex adaptive system commands its own unique identity, this is called a holon. A holon is something that is simultaneously a whole in and of itself, as well as a part of a larger whole. In other words, holons can be understood as the constituent part–wholes of a hierarchy. From a systems perspective, this approach can begin to offer a unified understanding of information as the foundation of reality. 

Old systems and processes are falling apart and chaos seems to reign. Sensemaking is a tool allowing us to seek an understanding of what is going on from a structured process and methodology. Processes change, we are in a Phase Shift, a bifurcation of the complex adaptive process of reality itself. To successfully navigate these times a paradigm shift of worldview is happening to accommodate the metamorphosis we are experiencing. Culturally this can appear as a new Enlightenment at the forefront of the intelligentsia and cultural creatives. Socially and environmentally this time in history is not like anything that has ever happened before.

When complex adaptive systems reach a high level of complexity they may change forms completely. This is known as bifurcation or a phase shift the outcome of which can not be predicted by anything that has happened before. 

I was born shortly after televisions started appearing in American homes. Phonographs and radios had already been bringing the outside world into people's homes for the first half of the 20th Century. Now television brought theater into people's homes. Even with small round tubes as screens and limited program choices, it was a profound revolution.

I’m an information technologist and an anthropologist. Having started my career in multimedia with a degree in cultural anthropology I’ve had the opportunity to work informed by Marshall McLuhan’s The Medium is the Message theory. Through my work, I’ve been able to see firsthand the inner workings, motivations, and myths of dozens of global organizations. I’ve also gained a deeper understanding of the depths of Information Technology as an organic emergent aspect of evolution. McLuhan introduced the concept of hot and cold media. Cold media are extending one sense in low definition and requiring high participation. The photograph, the radio, and typography are examples of hot media while cartoons, the phone, ideography, and speech are examples of cold media. ... visual space, uses visual senses, but can immerse its reader). Fifty years ago McLuhan was inspired by the shift from books and printed material to a world consisting primarily of broadcast information.

This is the perspective from which I’m trying to make sense of what’s going on.  Rethinking what’s going on, researching, exploring and finding a world filled with others who are also exploring and experiencing the Emergent. 

Philosopher Terrence McKenna said, “We have one foot in matter and one foot in hyperspace.” when describing the implications of technology and the information revolution. With these two feet we are now walking a new evolutionary path. The big problem is we don’t know where we came from or where we are going. Our old worldviews are falling apart, old beliefs are being shattered. Scientific materialism and reductionism are now giving way to a more comprehensive understanding of existence to include complex systems sciences and a nondual perspective.

Globally Connected Intelligence 

When the internet first came into existence there was tremendous hype around how profound its impact would be on society. The Internet was hailed as the greatest step forward since the printing press. Since its inception the internet has already radically transformed how we do business and has empowered a virtual Tower of Babel giving anyone with internet access a global platform to pontificate or lie. The Internet is a myriad of processes but it can hardly be called a trusted process.

Blockchain and distributed technology are tools that can add a layer of transparency and trust to a system currently filled with noise. New economic models are rapidly emerging that are environmentally and socially responsible. While the Internet has radically changed how we communicate, we are only now on the verge of experiencing its potential. Next generation 6G networks are already being planned - estimates have it around 100 times faster than 5G. With 6G speeds like that you could download 142 hours of Netflix movies in just one second. This technology will fully empower the Internet of Things, the Internet of Money, mirror worlds, and the emergence of what Peter Russell has called the Global Brain. This emerging technology appears to be a reflection of something that already exists in nature. Is the Internet a form of biomimicry itself? 

Cogito, ergo sum

Cogito, ergo sum is a philosophical statement that was made in Latin by René Descartes, usually translated into English as "I think, therefore I am"... As Descartes explained it, "we cannot doubt of our existence while we doubt." We certainly have a lot to doubt these days with societal and environmental breakdown seeming to confirm our mistrust of the process.

I am that I am is a common English translation of the Hebrew phrase אֶהְיֶה אֲשֶׁר אֶהְיֶה‎, – also "I am who I am," "I will become what I choose to become," "I am what I am," "I will be what I will be," "I create what(ever) I create," or "I am the Existing One,” Each individual consciousness can be considered a node of a self-reflective universe looking back at itself. 

Just as the only truth we can be certain of is our own individual existence, the only element of our perception we can be certain of is that everything is made of information. A comprehensive approach to Information Technology is now extending to exploring and understanding information’s evolutionary drive at a fundamental level. Information theory is the scientific study of the quantification, storage, and communication of digital information. “The theory has ... found applications in neurobiology, perception, linguistics, the evolution and function of molecular codes (bioinformatics), thermal physics, molecular dynamics, quantum computing, black holes, information retrieval, intelligence gathering, plagiarism detection, pattern recognition, anomaly detection, and even art creation”. 

The Web of Life

In parallel with the development of the Internet, biologists have come to understand that an internet-like underground network of mycelium fungi serves as the fundamental connective network and nervous system of forests and the environment. All life on earth is descended from this network, it informs nature and the environment, it lives on decay and regeneration, it is the largest living organism on earth and only very recently has modern science discovered our deep and living connection to this amazing ancestry. The growth and evolution of the mycelium network takes place as complexity grows through the ongoing emergence of self-similar fractal patterns. In strands as thin as 1 cell wide, this network grows in an Internet-like structure feeding, defending, communicating, and informing life on and below the land. This is the living organic Internet of life to which we are all connected.

As our understanding of the mycelium network grows we are presented with the interconnectedness of reality and new perspectives based in science that each sentient being actually is the ‘center’ of a multidimensional cosmos in which consciousness is fundamental. We are gaining the insights into mind and reality that have opened the doors to new ways of rethinking.

greg dunn self reflected cerebellar folia
Photo Credit: Greg Dunn and Brian Edwards. The laminar structure of the cerebellum, a region involved in movement and proprioception (calculating where your body is in space)

What are We?

We are a complex system of cells and microorganisms that demonstrate coherence. Trillions of individual cells somehow work together to create a unique identity. This pattern is reflected at every level of perceived reality and is called a holon. A holon is a complex system that also simultaneously has a unique identity. Atoms consisting of subatomic particles are holons, so are molecules made of atoms, as are cells made of molecules, and life forms made of cells. Developmental biologist Bruce Lipton tells us that the ‘brain’ of each cell is its membrane, the outer layer that interacts with the cell’s surroundings. At the atomic level the characteristics of information exchange are identical in both biological cells and computer chips. Bruce Lipton tells us, “Your body is the cooperative effort of a community of 50 trillion single cells”.   

Imaginal Cells

There is nothing in a caterpillar that tells you it's going to be a butterfly.
―R. Buckminster Fuller

Bruce Lipton has written a profound introduction to imaginal cells.
To better understand the opportunity hidden in today’s crises, consider the tale of another world in transition. Imagine you are a single cell among millions that comprise a growing caterpillar. The structure around you has been operating like a well-oiled machine, and the larva world has been creeping along predictably. Then one day, the machine begins to shudder and shake. The system begins to fail. Cells begin to commit suicide. There is a sense of darkness and impending doom.

From within the dying population, a new breed of cells begins to emerge, called imaginal cells.(aka YOU!) Clustering in community, they devise a plan to create something entirely new from the wreckage. Out of the decay arises a great flying machine—a butterfly—that enables the survivor cells to escape from the ashes and experience a beautiful world, far beyond imagination. Here is the amazing thing: the caterpillar and the butterfly have the exact same DNA. They are the same organism, but are receiving and responding to different organizing signals.

That is where we are today. When we read the newspaper and watch the evening news, we see the media reporting a decaying caterpillar world. And yet everywhere, you and other human imaginal cells are awakening to a new possibility. We are clustering, communicating, and tuning into a new, coherent signal of love.

We have reached a tipping point. A unique aspect of this shift is that humans themselves have impacted the environment toward collapse while at the same time having developed the tools to transition into a new future. Is humanity ready to grow into that butterfly?

The Tree is in the Seed

There are fractal codes containing the laws of creation and the more we understand these laws the more we can apply the harmony that is apparent in nature as a more powerful force in our own lives. Consciousness is at the root of evolution, humanities consciousness will have to adapt to this extraordinary point in history if we hope for a brighter future on the other side of this great transformation.

According to Darwinian evolutionary theory, the most adaptive are the most successful. Species that can adapt to times of crisis survive - the less adaptive don’t. Looking through history we can see that every previous empire has collapsed. Never before has the collapse of an empire had the interconnected global dependencies that are likely to also collapse the global environment. Reports from the United Nations and other sources are warning of a global collapse of civilization by mid-century,. How can we trust the process?

The industrial revolution along with the scientific method was developed over 200 years ago and brought with them a reductionist view of a mechanical universe, a clockwork universe, a paradigm carrying the notion that the universe is essentially mechanical with life and consciousness somehow mysteriously emerging out of matter. New scientific understanding along with holistic systems-based approaches now offer a much deeper and broader perspective to view the world from. The reductionist model allows us to explore the mechanical detail, while the systems model aims to understand how all the pieces work together as a whole.

As this new perspective comes together we find ourselves at the center. A new paradigm embracing consciousness as primary in an evolving universe. 

The universe is consciousness, and it is through consciousness that mechanical objects and movements are perceived to exist. Consciousness cannot be found in the brain because the brain is simply a mechanical system being perceived via our consciousness.

The medium is the message and information creates the process.  We can only trust the process if we can trust ourselves.

Trust the Process: The Process is the Message

Trust the Process: The Process is the Message

I’ve been working with Jerry Ashton on Let’s Rethink This since the concept was just a gleam in Jerry’s eyes last fall. When he first presented the concept I thought it was intriguing. The more I thought about it and the fact that the world is in such deep shit, the more and more I came to realize that practically everything requires some rethinking.

As the team came together and we went through the bumpy process of conceiving the startup Jerry has often used the mantra "trust the process". I listened to Jerry and would rethink the phrase. I listened to John Coltrain’s A Love Supreme as I chanted "Trust the Process." It's a powerful phrase, a phrase often used in sport’s jargon. It can be a magical phrase with deep meaning.

For me, at the most fundamental and personal level, the phrase can mean "Trust the Way". The Tao Te Ching, is a Chinese philosophy book written over 2500 years ago by Lao Tzu, a humble historical figure known as “the old boy”, containing 81 simple chapters. It is considered by many as the wisest book ever written. The Tao is “the Way”.

The tao that can be told

is not the eternal Tao

The name that can be named

is not the eternal Name

At the level of the Tao, trusting the process means trusting the universe. I believe that this approach could be considered “radical middle of the road.” Stepping outside of the left/right paradigm and conflict while attempting to live in harmony with the universe, in harmony with nature.

From a human perspective, how do we trust the process when we find ourselves in the 6th great extinction and environmental catastrophe, the greatest wealth disparity that has ever existed, and increasing social division and breakdown?

From a systems and sensemaking perspective, a different approach is taken. Some questions we might ask are: What is a trusted process? Is there only one process? Does the process have an outcome? If we are trusting the process, shouldn’t we make sense out of it? These are some of the questions and issues we hope to rethink.

The 10th Anniversary of Occupy Wall Street, on September 17th marks the time when Jerry and I first met in Liberty Park. After ten years we are now looking back and revisiting through the lens of rethinking. Occupy was an amazing event to have been involved in. It was a spark, it was the first truly global people’s movement with over 3,000 Occupations worldwide. Yes, even an occupation in Antarctica, staged by research communities, appeared

Occupy rang the alarm on a globally dysfunctional system, a dysfunctional process. The noise in the streets woke people up. It has helped to set the ground for other mass movements such as Black Lives Matter and the Extinction Rebellion. The public movements and demonstrations are like alarm bells - a wake-up call. 

From a systems perspective, we could ask what would be the most effective way for the opposition to fight back and suppress the noise? The opposition could attempt to be louder, it could create so much noise as to drown out the impact of any other noise. If citizens have alarm clocks, the opposition has air raid sirens. 

The noise from the opposition acting like a white noise machine creates a masking effect, blocking out coherent narrative, obscuring truth leading to malignant normality. This function is being accomplished through a KGB-developed propaganda technique Firehose of Falsehood.

“in which a large number of messages are broadcast rapidly, repetitively, and continuously over multiple channels (such as news and social media) without regard for truth or consistency. Since 2014, when it was successfully used by Russia during its annexation of Crimea, this model has been adopted by other governments and political movements around the world.” (source)

Just keep pumping NOISE into the system. Distract everyone with confusing noise, divide and fractionalize the population as much as possible, and pump as much noise into the system as possible. We are in a world of Post Truth politics, a world of ongoing propaganda war. Social control through deliberate Mindfuck, the new realpolitik.

We can no longer trust a system that has grown pathological nor the multitude of processes of which the system is composed. How can we begin to understand the popularity of QAnon?

Sensemaking is an emerging academic discipline that is founded on a comprehensive systems design approach to problem-solving. Sensemaking is an antidote to propaganda. Based on systems theory and complexity sciences, it gives us the tools to rethink from a higher perspective. The methodologies enable us to build trusted processes, processes that work. 

A major step towards once again trusting the process and ultimately the system. There is no left/right way to design and engineer a helicopter, the same is true for a healthy society and environment. Through sensemaking, we are now developing the tools to start visualizing the world we want while engineering the most effective solutions. 

Our individual, environmental, and social crises are all fundamentally a crisis of consciousness.

This is something to think about.  Perhaps even, rethink.

The Sensemaking section of Our Newspaper contains many introductory videos to help you to get acquainted with sensemaking as an approach.  

Let's Rethink This members also have access to the Sensemaking Collaboration group for additional videos, information, and discussions.


Our Values and Thinking are Conditioned by Materialistic Culture

Materialism conveys a value-system and a world view that puts material values and the means to attain them above every other concern: the limitation of our planetary resources, the countless constituents, our dependencies on the fabric of our world, our ecosphere, and the vital importance of moral values and spiritual skills for the integrity and operability of society.

Materialism is the globally dominating culture that permeates and dominates every other culture, conviction, and people, no matter what geographic, ethnic or historic origin they have.

Materialism is the main force driving human beings to consume and destroy the physical world, our basis for existence and development, and the main motivator for ongoing disunity and fragmentation among the peoples of the world. Its practice renders humankind increasingly weak and unable to survive and thrive as a species.

“Materialism drives us to consume and destroy our world,
while rendering humanity increasingly fragmented and weak”

The value and attraction of material resources is directly derived from their intrinsic feature to be limited. To attain something limited leads inevitably to the necessity to compete against others who desire the same limited resources. This has profound consequences to society.

Due to this limitation of material resources, throughout human history individuals and societies have primarily been concerned with their physical survival - which first depends on their ability to attain and command material resources and services, as well as the possession and consumption of material resources and services themselves - in short material values.

Since this condition has dominated human societies for ages, material values have been at the top of their value systems. On the other hand – for the last centuries, most societies have managed to satisfy their material needs on a continuous basis but with no corresponding transcendence beyond material values.

The opposite has happened - the for every individual justified objective "secure your material means" has become "maximize your material wealth", and as such the possession and consumption of material values has not only remained the dominating value, but has become an end in itself.

Systemic Assessment: dynamics and trajectories promoted by materialism

As any human culture is a body of values, rules, and behaviors and dictates how society interacts amongst itself and within its societal and natural environment. To understand its impact on our world, we need to make a systemic assessment of its features what promotes or inhibits materialism.

“Our world is a fabric of dependencies – our world is one”

What is that societal and natural environment? Our familiar approach is to distinguish – that is to differentiatecomponents in terms of gestalt: we refer to the earth, to elements and raw materials, to continents and oceans, to animals and plants - and to human beings building all kinds of groups, societies, and nations around the world.

But when we look beyond gestalt, we see that all these countless components are connected through dependencies and relationships, immediately and mediately, together constituting an overall system of interrelated parts, our one world.

This one world not only is a fully integrated structure, it is also ruled by dynamics, some merging order and stability, others causing disorder and disintegration.

Since our world is inhabited with life forms constituting a biosphere, these dynamics are not solely incidental, subject to the elements and to elementary forces. The biosphere overall is a system capable of maintaining itself in an everchanging environment. Life forms process energy and material compounds in order to maintain the individual self where possible, and to adapt, when necessary to maintain the collective kind.

Paramount is a biosphere’s ability to establish with part of its planetary environment the ecosphere, a system in which the flow of energies and materials is organized. This is a network of circular pathways – such that life can be supported. This life support system is indispensable for its constituents.

No one life form dominates this life support system: every life form at the same time benefits and serves as part of the continuous cycle, thus contributing to its stability. Any life form developing towards dominance brings imbalance, destroys its support system, and perishes. The more diverse the constituents of life are, the more nurturing relationships exist, the more stable is the overall system, the higher its resilience and buffer capacity against adverse events and processes.

“Materialistic culture ignores the need for integrity and oneness”

Such is the natural and societal environment – the systemic context – in which hour materialistic culture has been cultivated – and amplified within the last 200 years of industrialization. When observing our world, we can identify the following features, dynamics, and tendencies inherent with materialistic culture:

Materialism is characterized by its main feature – the master-rule “maximize your material wealth”. In humans, this rule dominates all other rules, defying limitation or moderation.

This leads immediately to the second main feature, the means to maximize one’s material wealth – that is anything that helps attain and wield power. The spectrum of means to attain power is very wide and diverse – beginning with an individual’s titles, status and position to an organization’s ability to emerge as a monopoly or to a nation’s armed forces.

More subtly, power in service of predatory competition underscores every narrative that justifies to discriminate, exclude, and suppress people and groups of people - prominently visible with the treatment of women and people of color.

“Materialistic culture promotes racism”

Wealth and power come together in a mutually amplifying loop, the primary loop of materialism: the more wealth, the more power can be attained – the more power, the more wealth can be accumulated.

This self-enforcing feedback loop is operating in a context of limited resources, and consequently leads to predatory competition, however subtly or visibly evolving. Its result is a widening gap between a disenfranchised majority and a privileged minority.

“Materialism promotes aggregation and inequality – without limit”

A culture of materialism shapes the objectives, values, and behaviors of society: the maximization of material wealth, as well as in aggregating and wielding power, is condoned and outward success is applauded and rewarded. Failure is pitied and perceived with suspicion. The attributes of a successful life, respectively a failed life, are defined and promoted accordingly.

Since it is human nature to want to be a respected part of society, the majority of us engage in that game. When someone does not apply the rules, whether he is unable or refuses to do so, he or she is not at the center of societal respect but at the fringes of society.

And the ugly loop continues. Attributes like dominance and assertiveness are valued; attributes like being self-centered and ruthlessness are deemed essential. Virtues like empathy and compassion are identified as weaknesses and any relevant body of moral values are considered detrimental in any situation calling for competition. Moral values are relegated to interpersonal settings such as family and domestic partnerships.

The complaints are endless – and a desire for impactful positive change is what the majority of society is crying for, like air for lungs or light for our eyes.

This needs changing: this materialistic culture of reductionist and short-term thinking. We must see beyond our consumercentric world which sees utility and joy in a product but care little where it comes from and where it goes after its use.

As producers we care about revenue, costs and profit but not the negative impact our business activities have on this world. Wehave the greatest difficulty in seeing the side effects and ignored long-term costs to society and environment. As our world numbers countless and delicate interrelated components, this blindness to dependencies, consequences, and long-term dynamics is already altering and destabilizing our planet.

Lacking perception and consideration are the basis for lacking emotional engagement: we cannot feel empathy and compassion for something we neither see nor understand. Without that, we do not care – and act accordingly: operating with incomplete perception, consideration to imperil our future.

Here we have another prominent self-amplifying loop, the secondary loop of materialism: damage and deterioration motivate response with aggression, desperation, enmity, and retaliation – leading to an escalating cycle with progressive discrimination, fragmentation, and disintegration of society, as well as destruction of the physical and ecological environment. The secondary loop of materialism is progressing destruction and disintegration.

“Materialism promotes destruction and disintegration – without limit”

When we consider how human culture in general operates, how in a circular relationship culture emerges from society, and at the same time culture shapes society, and when we observe how materialist culture specifically operates as outlined in this article, we can only conclude that materialistic culture puts us in grave danger.

“We need to prioritize humankind and our common good
over the maximization of individuals’ material wealth”


Besides the certainty that our ecosphere may already be on an irreversible path to disaster – our ability to rethink our actions and our assumptions to come up with needed changes will determine our fate.

For humanity to prevail, we need to promote our awareness for the role materialistic culture plays, need to develop and embrace what is beyond our material life, and establish a new culture – a culture that prioritizes humankind and life over the maximization of any one individual or group’s material wealth.

Originally published on, March 1, 2021

Our Collective Odyssey: Rethinking Civilization

I began this article sitting in a very well-spaced socially distanced Starbucks in South Korea's second-largest City, Daegu a short time back. Whilst I sipped that Sunday morning coffee, I skimmeed through some of the headlines. 

I read that the US Senate is poised to commence the second impeachment trial of Donald Trump. Joe Biden's Secretary of State has blasted his Chinese counterparty in their first call as the geopolitical war intensifies - a new superpower endeavors to challenge the preeminent power. There is a headline suggesting that, at the current rate of COVID inoculations it would take 7 years for 75% of the world to be vaccinated. 

Either way, politicians around the world have essentially suggested that we won't be back to normal in 2021. I continued reading.

Bitcoin is back above $40,000 US [today above $50,000!) and other markets are roaring to new highs. Many assets are the most overvalued we have seen for half a century or longer. Despite this, the world faces serious numbers of bankruptcies due to lockdown measures and yet other serious risks are hidden within the financial system yet to come to bear. I continued reading.

Myanmar has had another coup d'etat whilst the West and the world faces continued civil unrest as social cohesion continues to erode. One of the most dystopian articles I have seen since Biden was inaugurated was in New York Times concerning the need for a Commissioner of Truth, reminding me of Orwell's Ministry of Truth in 1984. Politicians are trying to ram Patriot Act 2.0 into law.

Suffice to say the world seems as uncertain as ever. In response, amongst futurists and visionary thinkers around the world there tends to be quite binary views - dystopian or utopian scenarios - for the 2020’s. 

The dystopian being the economic and ecological collapse of the current world order, based as it was on an unsustainable industrial paradigm. Or the utopian idea of a Golden Decade of reform and innovation, with a Green New Deal and a Great Reset, influenced by new ideas from Donut Economics to Regenerative Design. 

For some time now I have been saying it will be both. I have characterized the potential for the 2020s as the Tumultuous 2020s.

An old system is crumbling, as they do. A new one needs to be built. That prospect is both exciting and thoroughly frightening. Civilization needs to go through a phase transition, to borrow from physics, as significant as the shift from hunter gatherer to farmer, and the birth of the first cities in Mesopotamia - 10,000 years ago or earlier if Plato was right about Atlantis! 

I propose that the most resilient replacement which will maximize planetary health, human happiness, economic prosperity and social justice, will be a “Small is Beautiful" system (to use the title of E. F. Schumacher's book). A more bottom up and resilient system. I refer to it as a technologically advanced ecological civilization. I am sure that someone more famous than I will coin and trademark a more coherent term at some point in the future.

 Whatever it is named, in becoming post-industrial our civilization will have to become not merely environmentally friendly and sustainable, but it must reconnect with nature again. In this fashion, catalyzing our evolutionary potential as we harness our propensity for greater self-expression, creativity, diversity, organization, novelty and connection. This is the opposite of today's command and control paradigm.

In response to the climate and ecological crisis as well as the pandemic, many of the world's policymakers and the agendas of think tanks and international organizations have plans which are still too top down and aligned with the old paradigm.

However, we've never be as ready to make the transition as we are today. The more aware of us are at the forefront of thinking across disciplines and instituting the principles of self-organization and decentralization. 

In technology, we have 3 D printing, blockchain, and the potential for personal AI. In economics we have bitcoin and peer to peer thinking. In corporations there is the work on self organizing systems such Frédéric Laloux. In the field of governance, there is a growing recognition of the importance of local communities, towns, cities and regions in dealing with the wicked problems of our time. 

Probably we will need to transcend the nation state which is one reason why I am establishing a planetary Embassy, the Embassy of the Future. E. F. Schumacher. 

As he said, "There is no such thing as the viability of states or of nations, there is only a problem of viability of people: people, actual persons like you and me, are viable when they can stand on their own feet and earn their keep. You do not make non-viable people viable by putting large numbers of them into one huge community, and you do not make viable people non-viable by splitting a large community into a number of smaller, more intimate, more coherent and more manageable groups."

I was very excited to hear how Jerry Ashton was establishing Let's Rethink This, after the noble and impactful work he performed in lanching the charity, RIP Medical Debt. His rethinking his industry and the nature of debt so far has resulted in the abolition of $3 billion in medical debt for over two million people. This was an example of being prepared to creatively dialogue and boldly imagine the unknown to create an amazing social and financial impact. 

Similarly, we must be prepared to drop our old beliefs. The great sages of antiquity from Socrates in Athens to the grandfather of Zen, Hui Neng, in China all espoused the power of not knowing, entering a space when new insight can emerge, not colored by the knowing of the past. Paradoxically, those ancient sages were also prophets of the future. 

E.F. Schumacher also said that a man who uses an imaginary map, thinking that it is true, is likely to be worse off than someone with no map at all. In reality, this is the realm that we must go to, the one that has never been mapped: the pathless path if humankind will make that great transition.

It will be more like a collective Odyssey than a case of smooth implementation as the agendas policymakers and think-tanks suggest. To make this Odyssey, new capacities and most importantly new philosophical approaches will be paramount. 

Joseph Campbell, the mythologist and well renowned scholar of stories would always talk about forging one's own unique path into the forest of the unknown. This requires the courage and capacity for vision, sense making, collective dialogue, imagination, creativity, resilience and the ability to learn and relearn.

This is a time to listen to the yearning of our souls to be “a little dangerous,” jettisoning the known for the excitement and perils of the unknown - just like Odysseus in Homer's Odyssey.

Playing it safe just won't work anymore. 

Let's Rethink This is licensed under a Creative Commons (BY-NC) 4.0 License


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