Our work at Syntropic World is bold in its stand that we are no longer trying to re-arrange the deck chairs on the global systems Titanic.
Instead, we are focused on building new boats that make the existing boats and systems obsolete.
After decades of giving my wholehearted energy to re-arranging deck chairs and polishing guard rails, thinking I was doing work to make the world better, I realised that my beautiful time and commitment were like the rat on the wheel, busy busy but not going anywhere or doing anything to create transformative change.
This realisation eventually led to an existential crisis, a very dark night of my soul. I entered a period of nihilism. Nothing I had been taught held ground. None of my usual scripts, codes, habits and platitudes worked anymore. Including ‘how to build a business 101!’ Goal setting. Strategy. Business planning. Nothing worked.
It was as if my signal frequency was not in tune with everyone else’s—no signal-to-receiver transmission. What worked for others didn’t work for me.
I thought I was doing something wrong. I thought I was wrong. I was a failure.
Coincidently, and sometimes maddeningly, I had been a passionate advocate of the work of Buckminster Fuller my entire adult life. So at this point in my existential crisis, Bucky, his work and story, took centre stage in my interior narrative.
One of the first stories I heard about Bucky that completely captivated me was his decision at age 32 years to commit ego suicide. He felt a total failure in business and life and decided to take his own life. As he was walking into the water of Lake Michigan, he heard the words that it was not his life to take. Heeding this conversation, Bucky decided instead to commit ego suicide. To spend the rest of his life dedicated to doing what was spontaneously arousable within him, serving the highest number of people without ecological offence or the disadvantage to anyone. He wanted to demonstrate that if he did this, acting in integrity in everything, his life and survival needs would be taken care of. Until he died, he kept an accurate record of how this project, which he called Guinea Pig B, enabled him to do his work and to be paid well in the process. He cautioned that often the money arrived in the nick of time because, he said, Nature is consummately efficient.
So here am I, 57 years old. And everything I had been taught about so many things neither made sense nor felt close to integrity.
Imagine? The gorgeous Law of Universal Uniqueness that every living being is an expression of – all that diverse brilliance and novelty each of us has – being wasted doing work that adds little to no value to our future while allowing far less of our gifts and brightness to be brought into the light of the possible human symphony?
Imagine that we are under a delusion that we must work at least 40 hours a week, so often on things we do not care much about, just to earn a living to survive?
Earn a living? What is that? Have we ever questioned this? How did we decide that this was a necessary condition?
Imagine that we enclose land, colonise peoples and places, take and take – for some glittering prize that after a certain point of income does not buy happiness?
That as a result of our actions, beauty – glorious Nature and her precious creatures – are faced with extinction!
For what? A bigger house?
Surely we humans can do better? Indeed we might ask a different set of questions?
How can we create a world where Earth and all her creatures thrive?
How do we enable the Law of Universal Uniqueness to bring all people and their gifts to life to contribute? To add to our collective future – which is indeed Syntropy in action?
How do we treat life – all life – as sacred for all of life?
Why are these questions not the central questions of every design and decision we make?
I am shocked to be asking these questions at this stage of my life. So caught up on the treadmill have I been, trying to survive like so many of us. These questions never occurred to me in my younger years.
In truth, I was behaving exactly as the system we humans have designed wants us to behave. Head down. Keep at it, don’t look up! Don’t ask too many questions.
Let me be clear. I am not ranting about ‘evil men,’ or the ‘Illuminati’ or whatever brand of conspiracy might suit the times. Truly evil people are rare, yet they exist during every age. I do not see our current systems designed by a group of humans deliberately working together to keep the workers on the treadmill. Instead, it is a form of GRUNCH – a gross universal cash heist, as Bucky Fuller called it – designed by agreement by the many who profited from it over time.
I am speaking of the very system that underpins everything. The water to the fish. The air to humans. The unseen till seen and known. And then never able to be unseen again.
Capitalism. Our economic measures. Legal codes that are like spider webs of capture, keeping the whole cycle going. (Do read Katharina Pistor’s remarkable book. The Code of Capital, where she exposes the legal codes that enable our grossly unequal system to work.) Financialisation. GDP growth as the holy grail.https://www.amazon.com.au/dp/0691178976/ref=cm_sw_em_r_mt_dp_011S0QDP38AMB16Q8MVR
And the natural, precessional offshoots of these systems and structures. Colonisation. Exploitation. Accumulation. Poverty. Ecocide. War. Leadership lacking integrity. Short-termism.
We are either playing in this game, more often than not inadvertently or innocently, like I have been for most of my life. Or we step out and seek change.
Not incremental change. Transformative change. Whole-scale systems change. Nothing else will do. Fiddling with the deck chairs is not going to work.
Stepping out of my dark night, putting my feet firmly on the ground again and choosing life, I made a decision.
I was going to spend the rest of my days working on building new boats. On no longer trying to fix the broken. Instead, creating new models, new maps, and new language that makes the existing obsolete.
The pathway to do this, inspired by Bucky, was to honour 14 billion years of incredible coordination, communication flows and intelligence by our most ignored (by the Western Mind) body of wisdom, Gaia. Nature herself.
Here is how it works.
The pathway taken by we humans who live in the current capitalist system has been to impose our ideas on life. Separate to and completely dissonant to life. We take, extract, kill, impose, break.
Here is how Syntropic World works, to the best of our ability. (Always learning, never perfect.)
We ask, how does Nature do it? What are the Laws and Codes of Nature? How might we create systems that are isomorphic with Nature? Where in everything we design we are deploying Nature’s wisdom, intelligence and design science and sense?
An example of this is Synergistic Accounting.
We know that how we consider and honour value is part of the debasement of life that we are experiencing.
How might we change this?
I return to Bucky Fuller’s work. He dedicated his life to understanding what he called the Generalised Principles, true in all cases. Nature’s Law. Or maybe Nature’s Lore.
One is the 12 Degrees of Freedom – how to stabilise any system. And in the stabilising, allowing the system itself to be a living, breathing, emergent system.
Suppose we will re-design how we account for value, never allowing one domain of value to hold dominion over any other, which is currently what we do with money. In that case, we might consider the fundamental sixness of the design. Six inflows and six outflows, making the 12 Degrees of Freedom.
5 or 8 do not work, as in Nature and geometry, 5 and 8 do not allow space to hold its shape.
If we want a world that increases the well-being of Earth and all her creatures we might begin by partnering with Nature and her wisdom in design and coordination, taking her principles and lore, and creating our human coordinate system to match.
This? Or we can keep imposing our constructs, separate from Nature, and hope for a better outcome. But unfortunately, I have yet to see that model work for a more beautiful world for all.
Note: Our work at Syntropic World is our wholehearted attempt at this. It is a living laboratory. The Sytropic Blue Community of Practice, and I, hold as our intention to apply Nature’s Co-ordinate system to everything we do. Re-designing everything. Like all labs, there is no guarantee. We listen deeply to Nature’s Lores, create and build, learn from our mistakes, go back and give it another go, and iterate and emerge. We play with love. It is a synergistic process. Co-learning. Co-creating. Co-designing.
At the core, integrity is the essence of all things Syntropic and beautiful. However, if beauty, aliveness and well-being are not evident, we return to the love play and begin again.
*The Synergistic Accounting Workshop is a deeper dive into the Synergistic Accounting tool to change our relationship to value, contribution, money, provisioning, connection and community. Read more and enrol here. We would love to meet you as we co-learn and play.