How did we get here?
In this Sunday Syntropy I would like to pay my respects to the many many people who have spoken from the fringes of business-as-usual to create a very different world than the one we currently see.
Need I give context to the world we currently have?
*catastrophic climate change
*an ever increasing divide between the rich and the poor
*wars of empire, greed, tribe
*inflation and the increasing and unsustainable cost of living
*outright lying in politics as normal operations
*corruption in most of our public and private institutions
*a home planet that is drowned in plastic, pillaged of its energy savings account, consumed as if it is an endless resource
*more money spent on weapons and military that on most anything else
*profiteers from things that should never have been privatised: child and age care, health, essential education, energy
*the need for any form of charity as a direct result of poor systems design
*exponential technology in the hands of imperial colonising bullies who are not afraid of using the technologies – not just nuclear technologies, but our social media algorithms, drones, biotech
*money able to make money from money without adding any value at all to anything except the fatter purse of the few
*an obesity epidemic living in contrast to children dying of hunger
*industries that profit from slowly killing people by design – food addiction, drug addiction, alcohol addiction
*boards, politics and businesses stacked with representation from less than half the population
Dear reader, please add your own here.
At this time many of us in the West wonder how we could possibly have a war like the one we see in Ukraine. A cruel, obsessed man destroying a whole nation to satisfy some picture of how he thinks his world should be.
We wonder what happened that this could happen.
Yet there are many people, maybe even you, who have spent years, decades, lifetimes, on the edges of business-as-usual, working with every fibre of your being for a more beautiful world that you and I know is possible.
I would like to acknowledge these people, to restore to some level of justice our skewed view of the world and the things we have prioritised that have got us exactly to this moment in history.
I begin of course with my mentor of close to 35 years, Buckminster Fuller. At the age of 32 years, after several business failures and losing a child, he committed himself to do what was spontaneously arousable from within him for the highest good for the highest number of humans, without ecological offence or the disadvantage of anyone. He wanted to understand why humans are in Universe. What is our purpose in being? He set out to build new models to make the existing extraction to extinction exploitative models obsolete. “Argue with the model.” He said. “Not with me.”
For the rest of his life he dedicated his boundless energy to building models. Houses that were ‘off grid’ and self-sufficient in the 1930s, tools such as all-in-accounting that included the costs of Mother Nature to create the material to be used as well as the post-use cost. He explored every system and structure we humans use to keep the human industrial financial knowledge machine running. Legal codes, money, currency, supply chains, technology, knowledge enclosure like Patents, ownership, accounting for value, architecture, design. He wanted to demonstrate that if we dedicated our lives to serving the highest number of people for the highest good, Universe would provide for our needs. There was no need to ‘earn’ a living. He did the mathematical modelling long before our age of computers.
The example Bucky set through his life demonstration has not been easy to follow, yet my feet could not fall anywhere else but in the shadow of his path.
Thank you Bucky. Your work is becoming ever more relevant, which would be of no surprise to you.
I want to acknowledge those people who work at the edges of science. Not to make a shit storm of money, but for the love of science, discovery, invention, the human mind. Those who come up with life-saving vaccines. Cures for diseases that killed so many. Antibiotics. Those who changed the course of history by insisting, against violent opposition, that health care workers must wash their hands before operating or delivering a child. Those who infected themselves with smallpox to create the smallpox vaccine.
Almost all of these people are often underpaid, marginalised by a system that extracts their work and shoves it with glee into the money making machine of the big Pharma companies. Even centuries of indigenous medical wisdom is scraped out and thrown into an enclosed patent, discounting and debasing the generations of wisdom that created it. Not even throwing scraps to the stewards of this wisdom.
I want to acknowledge people who study history – true history and not a glorification of history – so that humanity has a chance to learn to NOT do the same things again. In our ‘Facebook Phd’ echo chamber we have so many ‘experts’ sucking up all of the air while those with a life of disciplined inquiry are often ignored. Decades of inquiry, decades of uncovering. Truth seeking their guide. Dismissed in one fell swoop by an algorithm that profits from fear and shame and people who love to stand in the instant expert’s chair.
Those who have spent decades considering earth science, climate. Those who put out the early warning signs, like Rachel Carson, to the tragedy humans insisted on imposing on our beautiful home planet. Few listened. Even fewer acted. Is it not painfully stunning that we find ourselves here, in 2022, moving at a glacial pace to prevent our world from burning down, slower even than the melting glaciers.
The activists seeking an end to the terrible marginalisation of whole peoples based on some arbitrary category as skin colour and religion. Who fight tirelessly for justice. And still do. Often thrown in prison, sometimes eliminated. I see you. Not just the famous names, like Nelson and Rosa, but the unknown names like Cindy and Stacey.
The women currently shaking the cages of economics. Exposing the sham for our measuring prosperity on endless growth on a finite planet. The cruel erosion of value from those who gave true value to those who exploited it. Repeated add Infinitum. Thank you Kate Raworth and Marianne Mazzucato.
It is past time we stopped playing such foolish games of endless growth, turning war into a revered line on our GDP accounts page for politicians to ‘demonstrate’ how good they are with the budget and economy. To publicly paying for innovation, then giving it to private profiteers to exploit and asking for the public to pay again and again for the same thing…and all the while these private profiteers are claiming supremacy of “their’ innovation and business.
To those people who work hard to upend currency. People like Bernard Lietaer, demonstrating the grip money and currency has on us as people, communities and nation states, how completely trapped we are in a system that actually has a doorway to a different world – one where currency flows in support of life, health, wellbeing. Communities around the world bold enough to see the door and walk through it, defying the incumbent system. Liberating people in the process, elevating all-wealth, not just monetary wealth. Doing this below the radar. Not for fame or fortune. Never for fame or fortune. Only because it is the right thing to do.
Those who create new enterprises built around new and older technologies. Not to become the next bright shiny superstar, but because this technology will give light, or education, or health, or dignity to many people. Hours working underpaid, often unseen, dismissed by mainstream ‘go fast and break things’ culture as cute and naive, dismissed by the investor class as irrelevant in their wealth accumulation plans.
Those rare few investors who are designing ways to invest in real value. Value that will be valued for decades – for earth and all her creatures. People building things that support the increased well being of people. Or animals. I see you Acumen Fund. Designing a strange beast called patient capital. Because after all, our current world wants instant hits of massive wealth and cares less about how that might be achieved and at what cost. Patient capital, however, says we can play an infinite game, with no losers.
Teachers who show up every day, told to teach some outdated curriculum to bright young children, doing their best to not dull the light in those children’s eyes as they gift their whole love to opening children to the wonder they have inside and their ability to be absolutely unique and incredibly valuable for nothing other than being their whole selves. Teaching them as well how to work together to unleash the greatest exponential technology we have – the human mind working together synergistically.
Carers – people dedicated to doing the hard patient work of caring for our elders, our broken, our disabled of body, mind, spirit. All of those people society likes to keep in some distant place so we do not have to be reminded of our own vulnerability and how close we might be to needing care ourselves. Seriously underpaid. Not for money, for love.
The accidental politicians. Those who can no longer sit on the sidelines and complain. Who get into the arena, and stay in the arena when blood is spilled everywhere and the gladiators or lions coming for you have everything stacked in their favour. The courage and love you show to stay the course, not for yourselves, but for everything you stand for. I see you Volodymyr Oleksandrovych Zelenskyy.
Parents, mothers, fathers, grandparents – where raising children is not some social thing to do, but a commitment of the greatest nature towards our children and a better future for all. You show up, stay up, keep up, give and give and then give again at the cost of most everything, for your children and their better future.
Those who take care of our animals. The discarded. The almost extinct. The sideline creatures secondary to some ‘more important purpose’ like the trees being removed for whatever reason.
Those who stand up in Russia today and speak at the cost of their freedom.
Ah…the problem with this type of article is that I am sure to forget someone. If you, dear reader, have been forgotten, please know it was not through design.
Our current world has dismissed us, ridiculed our naïveté, marginalised our ideas, exploited us, extracted from us, colonised us. Too many of us.
We turn again to the more beautiful world we know is possible and we go, once more into the fray. Often scraping together an existence, cobbling the way forward each day as we go.
We speak steady and true as we are bullied, trolled, imprisoned, killed.
We have been dismissed for saying we must turn towards a world that is no longer held to ransom by a fossil fuel economy, made ever more evident this last month as the West is held to ransom by a tyrant with fossil dollars in his charge.
We are ignored as we fight for black and brown people whose lives are years into a war of displacement, hunger, homelessness and climate change. Still forgotten.
Yet we pick ourselves up and return, never content with being the peanut thrower from the gallery.
The pain you feel from being unseen, unacknowledged, underpaid, exploited and extracted from is my pain. The pain from seeing profiteers laughing as they walk over those they exploit. Of seeing the celebration of leaders who truly do not care about much except their own vainglory.
We look at the world we have and we see that we often celebrate the wrong people, reward the least worthy, measure the stupid, and give power to those who offer the greatest illusion of some form of saviour complex.
If we want a world with a future for earth and all her creatures it is time we saw and celebrated the others – us – those who toil for real value, building real things that support the increased well being of all humanity. It is time we changed what we measure. Changed how we account for value. Build legal codes, enterprises and monetary systems that refuse to exploit, extract or colonise.
Ah, you might say..this is impossible. And I might say, in response, it is impossible if no one begins.
We have begun, we at Syntropic World. Far from perfect. Figuring it out as we go. Not tinkering with the old and hoping for better. But building new.
One step at a time. One purposeful clear step at a time. Whole systems change. Yep, the whole bloody lot. Not just leadership, or value, or purpose, or money, or legal codes…everything.
And our Pattern Integrity, our existence at Syntropic World – what is the foundation question that we build all of our work upon?
That soaring question, the one I am gobsmacked is not the central question on everyone’s lips, but especially the lips of those who say they are serving communities and business.
How do we increase the wellbeing of earth and all her creatures without ecological offence and the disadvantage of anyone, and do so with zero exploitation, zero extraction to extinction and zero colonisation?
My decades of studying and applying the work of Buckminster Fuller have steeped in me the surety that this world we long for is possible.
The ‘other’ will not create and build it. I will, you will, we will. Together.
If this speaks to you then please join us this Tuesday|Wednesday, March 29|30th for our inaugural Syntropic Global Summit.
Hear from the amazing community, get to ask questions, and please ask the hardest questions you have. Challenge us, learn, share, meet.
You can join us for individual sessions, half a day or the whole day. The choice is yours.
Or you can casually catch up on the recordings of the event afterwards.
Either way make sure to check out all the speakers, details and to register in the link
We would love to see you there, to meet you. To get to know the person on the other side reading this article.