Yesterday afternoon, I started a 1-person Liberation Front. The liberation is from the oppressive urgency of responding immediately to the multitude of towering tasks of connecting dots in a “collective wisdom” ecosystem. The 1 person is me, who wants to embody the same harmony, joyous flow, and cat-like relaxed alertness in his life as what he is striving to contribute to in the life of others.
What a friend of mine called a “wisdom ecosystem” is a complex, emergent network of interconnected inspirations for collaborative sensing, meaning-making, choice-making, and action, which build on each other. The urgency that we feel comes from humanity’s perfect storm looming on the horizon. It is arising from the combination of the climate crisis, the surging wave of authoritarianism, the growing inequalities, and the myriads of other crises caused by outdated social and cognitive structures.
So, what are we going to do about it? You know, “if you think you’re too small to make a difference, think about sleeping with a mosquito.”
Nice but deceptively simple when it comes to the complexity of social change. Then, there’s this oft-quoted passage by Margaret Mead: “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”
What people who quote it frequently ignore is that before the world-changing dreams of many small groups became a material force, they needed to connect and become movements maturing into systems of influence.
There are zillions of movements and initiatives for a more humane, post-capitalist future in each sector of society, but how much do we know about them? Fed up with Game A, some of the people in those movements may have never heard of Game B, nevertheless, that’s what they are working for.
If the pathways to humanity’s Phase Shift are yet to be discovered, then the various initiatives, small, and large, need to start learning from and with each other. Even if they are operating in different contexts, or especially if they are operating in different contexts…
They and their causes would surely benefit from the gifts of mutual learning in living systems about which Nora Bateson published an exquisite paper. Reading it shifted how I think about and relate to social systems, including the ecosystem of transformative movements like Game B and others.
Social ecosystems, just as the biological ones, grow in health and vitality when more resources, energy, and information flow in and across them. When that happens, they are aligned with the tendency of evolution’s arrow pointing towards higher order complexity and harmony. When that flow is blocked, Life itself is blocked from evolving. That’s why we call the process of that flow enlivenment.
Any system is healthier when more of its components are connected, in multiple ways, to each other and the whole. If we are to facilitate enlivenment, we need to facilitate those connections.
That’s exactly what we plan to do on Sept. 12 (10:00–13:00 New York time), at the Enliven Social Ecosystems: Connecting the Dots for Systems Change event of sensemaking, meaning-making, and choice-making. We must have hit the nerve of the Zeitgeist because the response to our announcement is overwhelming. Registrations are flying in from all over the world faster than our small organizing team can extend a warm personal welcome to all in a timely manner.
We’re delighted to see Jim Rutt and other thought leaders joining us on Sep. 12, and looking forward, with joyous anticipation, to both the event and what may emerge from it. For clarification’s sake: we are not creating yet another movement, and not competing but complementing other efforts to connect the dots. Our distinctive focus is the work that needs to be done about regenerating specific social ecosystems, such as climate change mobilization, economy, education, finance, food, government, healthcare, and so on.
If you feel called, register here.
If you feel so strongly that you want to give a couple of hours of your time to support the work of the organizing team, please contact Gina Bonmariage at firstname.lastname@example.org.