Wednesday, October 6, 2010

How to Design a Regenerative Social System

Frankly, despite all the chatter and fears today about the "New World Order" and its concurrent conspiracy theories, I don't happen to believe that the systematic elimination of most of the human race is the conscious mission of our capitalistic/governing system or any of the people in it. While some people seem to believe that a massive human extinction event may be necessary to achieve a new level of social sustainability, I don't believe they actively strive to create that disastrous outcome.

I do believe what we've experienced has been a slow evolution of the entire human species, until we've reached a point where the system we designed initially to serve the needs of a burgeoning, evolving and mentally developing population has become one that we've outgrown. Clearly our "growth at any cost" model no longer serves the needs of a species that has already reached the upper limits of planetary expansion. Like a baby in the womb at the very end of its gestation, we're now confronting the twin challenges caused by the rising need for consumption and the upper limits of vital supportive structures. Even so, our fundamental belief in and emotional attachment to the only system we know remains comfortably ensconced in our collective psyche. Like the proverbial frog in the pot, we humans sit stubbornly in our too-warm water, even as the temperature climbs and our skin begins to burn.

My aim here isn't to tear down our social system. It's to turn down the heat by reframing things so our motivation mirrors our highest priority: to support and honor ALL life forms on our home planet. In a very real sense it's high time we give birth to ourselves as a species, and give our mother planet a much needed break.

The first step will be for us to reach a shared agreement that this IS our highest priority. At the moment we seem to be arguing over whether our highest priority is to preserve and protect our personal selves and our own immediate needs, OR to steward and honor the larger collective so it can meet the needs of its many individuals. What's important to notice is that this sets up either/or choice that triggers a win/lose game. And since we already know that both our individual well being and our community's health are required for our survival, for us to continue to play that game can only lead to destruction no matter who wins. Destroy the mother and we all know that the infant cannot survive, but the mother's desire to nurture her child must not be underestimated here.

To therefore reframe our discussions around the concept of honoring ALL life forms - BOTH in their unique individual capacities and talents AND as larger organic collectives - changes the nature of the game we're playing to a win/win paradigm. Instead of choosing up sides and pitting both crucial elements for our survival against each other in a battle to all our deaths, we honor the truth that supporting the one is how we support the other.

Our next step is to determine how to balance the needs of all individuals with the needs of the many planetary communities we've created. My suggestion is that we do all we can to design and embody a new system that produces new goods and offers new services only in humane, regenerative and thoughtful ways with our primary motivation being what serves and supports all life. Such a society would gift whatever it produces to all its members in such abundance they would be freed from the demands of "make work" and could realize their highest vision of themselves. Fully self-actualized individuals, having been freed from the necessity of earning their daily bread and expending energy in the stressful quest for survival, would then be empowered to gift of their skills and creative abundance into the system that allowed them to flourish and honored their dream of becoming the best they can be. Here we must note that when we love and feel gratitude for our system - be it our family, our community, our nation or our entire universe - to serve it becomes an honor instead of something we resent and try to avoid.

We can begin this social redesign process by forgiving all debts and ending the practice of charging each other money in exchange for the skill sets, talents and energy we have to offer. Just as we don't charge our family members for the work we do in the home, there's no need for us to charge for the labor we do for our greater home, this planet. We'll also need to take inventory of what we've created so far, and notice where the most pressing needs are arising. We can then gather the energy we've free up from the "make work" we're creating to earn our paychecks, and apply it to meeting everyone's basic needs as quickly as possible. That in turn will empower many more of us to contribute even more talent and energy to meeting our future desires. That extra energy will naturally focus itself on designing and producing what needs to be created based on what we collectively aspire to produce. Here it's important to remind ourselves that nature has proven to us over and over again that abundance produces in ever more abundance, while impoverishment only creates more suffering and lack. This means we can't look at this process through our existing lens of lack, which generates fear; but must instead peer through the expanded lens of our desire for greater abundance, which generates hope.

Next we can begin to prioritize our dreams as a species. What DO we want to accomplish for ourselves, and what legacy do we wish to leave for future generations? Do we want to clean up the planetary messes we've made so far? Do we wish to more rapidly advance our technological capacities and eliminate the laborious jobs that nobody likes to do? Do we concentrate on improving infrastructure, converting our systems to renewable energy and designing lower impact dwellings using sustainable energy sources? Do we advance our knowledge of science and expand the arts? Do we focus on educating our children in ways that set free their highest capacities? Do we lovingly hospice our elders in gratitude for all they've done? Do we set our sights on exploring the oceans and thrusting ourselves into the wilds of space?

My suspicion is that if we get it right we can do ALL these things, and more. What seems to be required of us here is a shift in human awareness. We each need to begin to trust what we already know - that collaborating with each other makes more sense and benefits us all far more than does competing, fighting and destroying one another. We need to look inside ourselves and honor the fact that we are personally hardwired at birth to want to be more, do more, know more and love more, and that the only reason we've fallen short is that we haven't yet built a society that nourishes our desires to full fruition. We must begin to accept the fact that we don't need to prod each other any more than we ourselves wish to be prodded into working though forced labor contracts and the imposition of bills and emotional stressors. We must accept the truth that just as we ourselves function much better when we come from a place of love and feel joy for our work, so do others. We also need to embrace the fact that just as we don't necessarily what everyone else has or wish to do all the same things as everyone else, not everybody is going to want what we have or choose to do what we do. Because we're all so amazingly, uniquely different in our desires there will always be enough to go around.

It helps to note that it feels much better to live and behave this way toward our fellow man, so that's a gentle hint from the Cosmic Mind that holds and supports us all.

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