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Watershed

watershed.jpg "We have arrived at a watershed in the history of humanity. Given current trends in demography, resource consumption, militarization, lifestyle and wealth-disparities, and the degeneration of the environment, our future on this planet is no longer assured.

While on the one hand we could pave the way toward a system of social, economic, and political organization that is peaceful and capable of ensuring an adequate level of sustainability of the human Iife-supporting environment, on the other we could find ourselves on a descending path toward growing social, political and environmental crises and possibly catastrophes. The choice at this point... is still open. It merits further reflection.

Opting toward a positive scenario calls for an improved set of behaviors. This in turn requires a set of moral codes accepted by people and assimilated in their everyday life. Moral codes themselves repose on a foundation of ethics, whether consciously formulated or not.

Since the time is short and the choice pressing, a conscious formulation of an adequate ethics is a high priority: it could accelerate the discussion, and eventually the acceptance, of a suitable set of moral codes for responsibly guiding human behavior.

What kind of ethics do we require? It needs to be one that can provide general guidelines for the interaction of people with people, and people with nature. As such, it needs to have a view of the whole system in which humans live their lives and pursue their activities. "

~Ervin Laszlo~ Moral Behavior on a Small Planet Presidential Address, September 18, 1996 International Society for the Systems Sciences

http://isss.org/projects/presidential_address_1996


"The world truly is at a cross roads. We face many complex problems whose solutions will take more than just physical resources and financial expenditures. .. The roots of the current crisis of civilization lie within humanity itself. Our intellectual and moral development is lagging behind the rapidly changing conditions of our existence, and we are finding it difficult to adjust psychologically to the pace of change. Only by renouncing selfishness and attempts to outsmart one another to gain an advantage at the expense of one another can we hope to ensure the survival of human kind and the further development of civilization."

~ Michail Gorbachev, 1995 ~ The New Global Civilization


"In the final analysis, love is not this sentimental something that we talk about. It’s not merely an emotional something. Love is creative, understanding goodwill for all men. It is the refusal to defeat any individual. When you rise to the level of love, of its great beauty and power, you seek only to defeat evil systems. Individuals who happen to be caught up in that system, you love, but you seek to defeat the system."

~Martin Luther King, Jr~ Montgomery, Nov. 1957


~ The Visual Thinking Revolution is Here ~

"We are in the midst of a “Visual Thinking Revolution” and leaders in all types of organizations are embracing visual thinking as a literacy of the future.

We live in an increasingly VUCA world. Vulnerable, Uncertain, Complex and Ambiguous. Each day we’re bombarded with too much noise and not enough signal. Visual thinking helps us break down complex problems into simple pictures. (Thank you, Dan Roam for showing us the way to make ideas come alive on the back of a napkin!)

Advances in neuroscience and MRI technology demonstrate that our brains are more creative and imaginative when operating under reward vs. threat conditions. If you want to create reward conditions that encourage participation, use simple, welcoming, hand-drawn pictures that everyone can understand..."

~Lisa Solomon, February 9, 2012 ~


"The systems view looks at the world in terms of relationships and integration. Systems are integrated wholes whose properties cannot be reduced to those of smaller units. Instead of concentrating on basic building blocks or basic substances, the systems approach emphasizes basic principles of organization. Every organism- from the smallest bacterium through the wide range or plants and animals to humans is an integrated whole and thus a living system..

But systems are not confined to individual organisms and their parts. The same aspects of wholeness are exhibited by social systems- such as an anthill, a beehive, or a human family- and by ecosystems that consist of a variety of organisms and inanimate matter in mutual interaction. What is preserved in a wilderness area is not individual trees or organisms but a complex web of relationships between them.

All these natural systems are wholes whose specfic structures arise from the interactions and interdependence of their parts. The activity of systems involves a process known as transaction- the simultaneous and mutually interdependent interaction between multiple components."

- Fritjof Capra The Turning Point

Drawing by Christopher Chase , 2003 (SystemsScience)


~ The Global Butterfly Effect ~ For thousands of years now, people in Western cultures have been wrestling with the webs we've collectively spun from our dualistic mindsets and beliefs. We've been dreaming a shared nightmare together, grounded in the mechanistic ways our society has been organized, rooted in how we live and think.

Across the centuries, the very foundation of our so-called "Civilization" has been based on ideas of separation and superiority- men here, women there, Kings here, peasants there, humans here, Nature there. Walls of separation in our hearts and minds, a sense of sin and abandonment, believing that our entire species was "thrown out of Eden."

With linear thinking came an emphasis on time, our consciousnesses locked into mental projections of a feared or desired future, an imagined and idealized history.

When lost in these projections we become less aware of the magical nature of each moment, blind to the beauty, value and mystery of the HERE and NOW. This is how schools teach our children to think and feel, how our ancestors were dazed and hypnotized.

From this mindset grew Civilized man's mad circus of history, the hostile cultures of race and nationalism as identity, religion as truth, militarism as method, materialism and acquisition of wealth as the organizing goals of our institutions, the unquestioned values guiding our way of life.

It manifested with the rise of powerful empires seeking power and dominance. Europeans coming to conquer the "New World" - thinking themselves superior to the Natives, stealing their land. Then going to Africa where they kidnaped and enslaved the people, dragging them across the oceans. It was there in Europe during the "Witch Hunts" of the Renaissance, the root cause of all our wars.

For centuries now, individual artists, poets, prophets and sages have been trying to help us wake up from our delusions. From Shakespeare's "Romeo & Juliet" to Thoreau's "Civil Disobedience," Whitman & Blake's poems, Van Gogh's paintings and forward thru time to the "Wizard of Oz," "Lord of the Rings," "Born on the 4th of July," "The Hunger Games," "Avatar"... There was a great collective burst of realization in the 1960s, but still the spirit crushing institutions, selfish lifestyles and unquestioned assumptions of the past continue to exert a powerful hypnotic force.

With the rise of new technologies and industrialization our consumer lifestyles have overpowered the rivers, mountains and forests that surround us. Over the last hundred years we have been destroying Nature's ecosystems at an astounding rate.

Why has it been so difficult for humans to change?

In part, I think, it is because the Matrix will do whatever it can to avoid a shutdown. Our dominant institutions are designed to maintain control, to defend, expand and perpetuate their existence. Like the immune system of a body, attacking these systems directly only strengthens them, leads to hostility and violence.

Mostly however, I believe that we have not changed because too many of us are still hypnotized. Primarily identifying our sense of self with names, career, race, religion, gender, political perspective or nationality. Seeking wealth, status and material possessions; mistakenly believing that these will bring us happiness and that the only way to solve complex problems is to "defeat the opposition." What most of us have failed to see is that we are not these social and cultural roles we imagine ourselves to be.

We are Life, in human form. Ancestors of the stars and galaxies, children of the oceans and forests. We are creative expressions of Nature, as much a part of this planet as the rivers, trees, mountains and butterflies. As more and more of us wake up to that deeper sense of identity we will be more easily able to transcend old identity patterns. Observing Nature's Systems closely, studying her ways, we can re-write and delete old programming. To truly bring an end to the nightmare- to really transform the world- a deeper wisdom has to first arise from within. We must "be the change" as Gandhi put it. We have to free ourselves first, transform our ways of thinking, feeling and behaving.

Then take the wisdom of our wholeness and apply it to everything we say and do, to all fields of human activity. Economics, entertainment, education, law, medicine, transportation, energy technologies- they all can (and must) be transformed. We are not the solitary individuals we have believed ourselves to be. We are expressions of Universal life, children of Nature. We are the "leaves of grass" Walt Whitman spoke of. We are the voices of Eden, instruments of the great turning. Nature's Agents of Transformation- The Global Butterfly Effect... ~Christopher::: Creative Systems Thinking


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