Section 3

---> What is emerging, what is calling


__nUlL. Next?

Otto Scharmer and collaborators at Presencing Institute introduced a practice called Leading from the Emerging future, centered around the so-called U Process of attunement to auspicious potentials inherent in a system or circumstance.

If we listen, deeply, with our whole being, what is calling now? What is being born, that speaks to us of bright and bountiful futures? Stretch your imagination, your intuition - what is the credible new story you most want to be written into?

It might start with a single word: Yes

Yes, we can. The deep recognition that we are indeed Creators, makers of future conditions and narratives. We need to grant ourselves that permission, in order to begin. Gently relinquish the burdens of doubt, discouragement, and unwelcome authority that have for too long furnished the opposite truism. No is finite, fin, finito, finished.

What may we begin to receive into that quiet vortex of the adjacent possible?

This isn't an exercise in unbounded fantasy. We're not talking about some lawless personal paradise, detached from natural consequence. No, something more, something real and true and good. Remember, we're entering the era of manifest collective intelligence and wisdom. We're graduating from the "I" to the "we" without sabotaging personal autonomy or creative agency.

What's emerging across relational fields now is a new kind of social DNA for organizations or "social organisms" of all types and scales - from family to community, enterprise to network, new patterns and codes of relating and cooperating for mutual benefit and coherence. This shift subtly redefines all else in the realm of daily experience, from politics to product design, economy to entertainment. This isn't a slippery slope to retrograde communism; it doesn't mean total horizontality, egalitarianism, and homogenization. It doesn't necessarily mean loss of rights, roles, rewards, responsibility, although unjust privilege is in for a fresh reckoning.

It's a different kind of game, a different set of agreements. There are a lot of different labels and jargon currently used to describe this kind of thing. Let's try out a new one, just to be clever and have some fun pushing the field forward.

Call it Sentient Do-ocracy?

Or not. The point is, start working with the idea--the plot twist--that there are reliable non-authoritarian defaults to navigate efficiently through complex individual-collective dynamics, a false dichotomy which has been badly exploited and abused as a leverage point for control, oppression, distraction, and denial.

It's a divide that rears up most clearly and corrosively in the concept of ownership, of private property as a natural right of free individuals under the mantel of a society infatuated with privatization and free enterprise for personal benefit above all else. It's the ideology of capitalism, and it pretty much runs the show these days, to our collective chagrin and impoverishment. Capitalism unleashed powerful forces that have reshaped the world, our lives and dreams, and our likely future. In many positive ways, to be sure, at least from that standpoint of personal gratification and capacity building.

Part of the new story probably means turning that ideology over/around into one based on generosity, and wisdom. Of being human, first, and seeing one's place in a larger unfolding, a larger purpose and possibility, and the distinct flavors of gratification that come with that. The duty and privilege of being both a leader and a follower, a witness and a subject, a steward of the greater good, in concert with all life.

Is there a deeper wave than this, rising in the world?


Buzzkill alert! We really have to talk about economics for a minute.

Actually, let's try and put a fresh spin on it here from the get-go. Generative relationship in and with living systems of wealth. Better? Stop and imagine for a moment, if you will: the new story of an economy in service to life, instead of the other way around. Possible? Likely? What does that shift even look like?

For a long time the economy, like so much else in the academic view of life, has been cordoned off in an abstract and unpalatable world of its own. We've suffered for it. We're dragged around and duped by it, while politicians and pundits tout the stuff like its divine gnosis.

We're taught to pay attention only to a handful of benchmark measurements like the employment rate, gross domestic product, national debt, and stock market indexes. On the micro front, we have personal account balances, income, taxes, credit scores. And they're all supposed to just go up (or down, as case may be). Forever. #Winning!

No. Not fun. Not inspiring. Not relevant to most of what really matters - your health and that of the planet or fellow citizens, the level of freedom, opportunity, and security reliably available to you, the wisdom and integrity of your government (if any), etc. A living systems model of wealth takes this one-dimensional view of asset accumulation and blows it open to reveal far greater nuance and layering in the full meaning of wealth: the capacity to provide value or well-being to self and others.

Multi-capital accounting is the practice of measuring value flows along dimensions more than just monetary or financial. It is increasingly the norm even for large corporations now. There are numerous models and frameworks to choose from. Some are becoming quite well established and standardized for use across industries and nations. The following map illustrates several.

Point is, there are many ways to look at, think, and talk about different kinds of value and wealth, and we'll want to use these. It's a sizable subject on its own that ultimately veers into the metaphysics of value on a more philosophical level. Perhaps now you can begin to look at the economy as a varied landscape of value. Not just a sawtooth chart of somebody's hard bottom line.

Two more quick hits while we're on the subject of value circuitry, er economics:

1) Commoning - of limitless vs scarce resources (also denoted rivalrous vs non-rivalrous)

The practice of designating and maintaining a precious resource for the benefit of all is called Commoning, and it has a long history. It doesn't fit will with the so called 'science' of orthodox economics, and has been largely ignored or denigrated. It's incredibly important to take a closer look at this practice now, given that our lives depend on the long overdue maintenance of a habitable 'commons' we call earth. The trick is that it demands cooperation, and forbids competition and that is plain blasphemy to people who won or inherited privilege in a winner-take-all default economy. You'll have a big leg up in this journey if you begin with an understanding of the different kinds of resources, and value, and relationship to and between these. It's not trivial. What is a 'fair' share of something in demand by many simultaneously? Who does the work of upkeep, safeguarding, and replenishment? Governments are tasked with much of it in our world today, but this may not be the best route. Can inhabitant collectives become wise stewards of essential resources for the wider public benefit?

2) Cooperativism - co-ownership and co-responsibility of shared assets

An important and accessible middle ground between public and private, cooperatively held resources or initiatives are co-owned by a membership body with shared responsibility and decision-making (and usage or benefits therefrom). Cooperativism draws a clear line around who is in/out of the circle, but generally provides for easy access to anyone willing to make commitment and grow a stake (equity) in the organism.

You might infer that this ultimately comes down to a matter of permissions management for various rights and corresponding accountability within social endeavors. We're beginning to see a panoply of customized license/permissions management systems, borrowing from information technology, deployed to address many of these sticky issues.

Recall that bit about abundance. When we're talking about land, energy, and primary production at the base of the economic megasystem: natural systems are inherently abundant, self-fulfilling, and constantly evolving new and greater functional capacity. We can work with this, or we can fight it. Which would you choose?

It's possible to design and build--or intuit and co-create, if you prefer--regenerative (over unity) systems that provide a reliable surplus of value in many forms while continuously evolving and adapting to changing circumstance. Great! Another wealth producing system to game and exploit, you may say. Except no, we actually design and filter that possibility out of the system because duh. The key is transparent accountability for all stakeholders, and good governance, which is hard, but doable, with practice, after exterminating ego. Hah! Work on it. Play more infinite games.

So let's wrap this short romp with the acknowledgement that you are a small part of a magnificent mystery. This is cause for reverence. Economics sucks until you pump the life back into it, and then it gets kinda sexy, if you look at it right. And squint a little.

One more thing:


It's hard these days to talk about what's "emerging" and not place "tech" somewhere near top of the list. Technology is an enabler that is right in the crosshairs of futurists of all stripes, but it often comes with unintended consequences. It certainly aids in the reshaping of the cultural landscape, for better and worse. It can open our eyes to new horizons of possibility, new patterns of behavior. It is not in and of itself a causal agent in the theater of change we're entering, but it plays a tremendous supporting role. Actually it's kind of a double agent, a trickster.

Wait, isn't technology awesome? AI and VR and GMO and SpaceX? It sure is. Scary too, especially the venture capitalist spur and bit that's driving a lot of it. Remember tech is intimately connected with corporate and government power, at least the shiny new stuff. But look under the surface at what drives change, what enables us to grapple with complex global realities in near realtime. Information technology is good juju where it extends and enhances the operating principles of life. It is opening up whole new avenues of organic interaction through networks, distributed collaboration, and personalized applications or interfaces. It has brought forth a new, virtually limitless globally shared resource of knowledge and opportunity. Have to come to grips with the changing nature of value in a world of (information) abundance.

Heard the news about how you're not really you? Like, you're actually run by a host of microorganisms inside your skin? Well there's more. You also exist as clouds of data spread out over the world's computing infrastructure. An avatar or a contact or a contact of a contact on a million people's smart device, ready to be summoned and signaled in an instant.

We're 'online' all the time now. Hyperconnected and tangled up in big Data, subject to streams of notifications and feedback. But there's a wonderful flipside to being utterly assimilated like this. We exist inside an unprecedented new medium of distributed awareness, collective intelligence, and the ability to sync with anyone anywhere anytime, almost. The forces of enclosure, secrecy, manipulation have been set well back on their heels as a result of these trends, though certainly not yet down and out. From file sharing to Wikipedia, to social media, to cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, the evolution is accelerating.

The true revolution at the center of it all is the deceptively simple concept of Open Source, and the closely linked protocol for version controlled development via transparent public repositories. It grew out of distributed software development as a way to entice contributors, and has steadily spread by proving pivotal in huge range of projects. It's now almost default, generating a vast wave of virtual commoning. It's also making the leap into hardware design, and well, things like this document publishing platform. Can we go even further, taking open source to the realm of ideas and ecosystems and social architecture through the lens of whole systems design? Can we develop, manage, and spread eco-social commoning in much the same way as application programmers?

In essence, inhabit is a programming environment and language for exactly that. The next section goes into the basic pattern literacy that will get you started authoring your own applications, or discovering and remixing others out there.

Open Source methods began as a pretty ad hoc, makeshift, libertarian 'hacker' ethos. Now it underwrites much of the world's information technology. We'll need to engineer something similar with the still rather obscure protocols of intentional community in the post-digital age. It's a big upgrade from reactionary culture hacking to proactive culture craft.

jump to >>> Weaving Together


Taking all this in for a minute, what's starting to converge or crystallize in your mind's eye? What are you feeling at each center of your being? What does your belly say? Your voicebox or maybe your gonads?

Where do you see yourself in this map, and where would you like to go?

We're dreaming the future as a first step towards dwelling there, at the address and attitude of our eventual choice. Got to start to try it on, to feel it and taste it before we sink into the real work of design, development, and dissemination.

Get up now and dance your little interpretive future dance. Don't think much about it. Move. Make it real. Make somebody else want to join you. There.

What's calling, faintly, is a shared purpose and story. It's belonging. It's self-actualization and expression and companionship. It's the journey home.

What's looming for many today, cognizant or not, is the stark terror of the void, the Nothing, total dissolution and purposelessness. These signals create powerful polarity, yet it's part of the same pic.

Getting to where we're going is a boggling process, daunting, rather unlikely, but reasonably assured. It's a trip. Pack train is waiting...don't delay!

Now where were we - pick up that thread and spin it again?

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