Discover more from Creative Destruction
A Crumbling Old World
"Every year that we head closer to catastrophe the old narrative loses its hold on the collective consciousness"
What’s been the leading trend in the 2020s so far? World crisis!
Wherever one looks there is a crisis. It’s as if the world is on fire and it’s spreading faster and faster….
This brings forth a big concern: Crisis paralysis, which describes how information and crisis overload causes people to freeze, give up or cocoon (check out this TikTok).
But what many are missing to see is that the challenges we are facing right now are increasingly putting cracks into the narratives, worldviews, and systems that have caused them. And this is, in turn, making change ever more possible!
“Every year that we head closer to catastrophe […] the old narrative loses its hold on the collective consciousness. Waves of young people are looking for a new worldview—one that makes sense of the current unraveling, one that offers them a future they can believe in.” - Jeremy Lent
You can see this also reflected in many surveys:
People want radical change! Now!
The problem is, however, that we lack visions of a better future! With all those challenges thrown at us, and all the complexity and interconnectedness in our world, we struggle to imagine what a world where we solve all these challenges could look like… We are in dire need of new narratives and systems!
We need a new reality!
A Life-Affirming Civilization
What if we based our human society on natural ecology?
That is the question that Jeremy Lent asks in an article I came across last year. In it, Jeremy presents the systemic building blocks of what he calls a life-affirming, ecological civilization which is basically all about using nature’s own design principles to reimagine a new basis of our civilization.
So, let’s have a look at this proposed new reality that Jeremy envisions. In particular, let us explore the 6 rules that Jeremy identifies as the core principles of a Life-Affirming Civilization:
A system’s health depends on differentiation and integration.
Applied to human society: An affirmation of different groups—self-defined by ethnicity, gender, or any other delineation. Such as:
Social equity for LGBTQ communities
“…an ecological civilization would celebrate diversity, recognizing that its overall health depended on different groups—self-defined by ethnicity, gender, or any other delineation—developing their own unique gifts to the greatest extent possible.”
Every part of a system is in a harmonious relationship with the entire system.
Applied to human society: Competition and cooperation in balance and equitable distribution of wealth and power. Such as:
Global wealth tax
Abolition of offshore tax havens
Legal support for co-ops and the commons
“Competition would be balanced by collaboration; disparities in income and wealth would remain within much narrower bands, and would fairly reflect the contributions people make to society.”
“The overwhelming proportion of wealth available to modern humans is the result of the cumulative ingenuity and industriousness of prior generations going back to earliest times. However, as a consequence of centuries of genocide and slavery, systemic racism, extractive capitalism, and exploitation by the Global North, that wealth is highly unevenly distributed. Once we realize the vast benefits of the commons bequeathed to us by our ancestors—along with the egregiously uneven wealth distribution—it transforms our conception of wealth and value.”
3. Fractal Organization
The small reflects the large, and the health of the whole system requires the flourishing of each part.
Applied to human society: Individual dignity and self-determination. Such as:
Universal Basic Income
Universal access to housing, health care, education
Cities redesigned for walking
Education for life-fulfillment
“Based on this crucial precept, an ecological civilization would be designed on the core principle of fractal flourishing: the well-being of each person is fractally related to the health of the larger world. Individual health relies on societal health, which relies in turn on the health of the ecosystem in which it’s embedded.”
“Cities would be redesigned on ecological principles, with community gardens on every available piece of land, essential services within a 20-minute walk, and cars banned from city centers. The local community would be the basic building block of society, with face-to-face interaction regaining ascendance as a crucial part of human flourishing. Education would be re-envisioned, its goal transformed from preparing students for the corporate marketplace to cultivating in students the discernment and emotional maturity required to fulfill their life’s purpose as valued members of society.”
4. Life Cycles
Regenerative and sustainable flourishing into the long-term future.
Applied to human society: Economic growth halting once it reaches healthy limits. Such as:
A triple bottom line for corporations
“…growth would become just one part of a natural life cycle, slowing down once it reaches its healthy limits—leading to a steady-state, self-sustaining economy designed for well-being rather than consumption.”
“The transnational corporations that currently dominate every aspect of global society would be fundamentally reorganized, and made accountable to the communities they purportedly serve. Corporations above a certain size would only be permitted to operate with charters that required them to optimize social and environmental well-being along with shareholder returns. Currently, these triple bottom line charters are voluntary, and very few large corporations adopt them. If, however, they were compulsory—and strictly enforced by citizen panels comprising representatives of the communities and ecosystems covered in the company’s scope of operations—it would immediately transform the intrinsic character of corporations, causing them to work for the benefit of humanity and the living Earth rather than for their demise.”
Issues at the lowest level affect health at the top.
Applied to human society: Grassroots self-autonomy and deep democracy. Such as:
Decision-making at the lowest possible levels
“Governance would be transformed with local, regional, and global decisions made at the levels where their effects are felt most (known as subsidiarity). While much decision-making would devolve to lower levels, a stronger global governance would enforce rules on planetwide challenges such as the climate emergency and the sixth great extinction. A Rights of Nature declaration, recognizing the inalienable rights of ecosystems and natural entities to persist and thrive, would put the natural world on the same legal standing as humanity, with personhood given to ecosystems and high-functioning mammals, and the crime of ecocide—the destruction of ecosystems—prosecuted by a court with global jurisdiction.”
Relationships that work for mutual benefit.
Applied to human society: Fairness and justice, regenerative economies, and circular energy flows. Such as:
Measuring well-being instead of GDP
Circular economies and manufacturing processes
Rights of Nature and personhood for nonhumans
“Currently, the success of political leaders is assessed largely by how much they increase their nation’s GDP, which merely measures the rate at which society transforms nature and human activities into the monetary economy, regardless of the ensuing quality of life. A life-affirming society would, instead, emphasize growth in well-being, using measures like the Genuine Progress Indicator, which factors in qualitative components such as volunteer and household work, pollution, and crime.”
“In human society, symbiosis translates into foundational principles of fairness and justice, ensuring that the efforts and skills people contribute to society are rewarded equitably. In an ecological civilization, relationships between workers and employers, producers and consumers, humans and animals, would thus be based on each party gaining in value rather than one group exploiting the other.
“…in contrast to our current society built on extracting resources and accumulating waste, would comprise a circular economy with efficient reuse of waste products embedded into processes from the outset.”
Sounds too optimistic?! Well, wake the fuck up!!! 🙃
Because there has never been a bigger need or better time to make this shit happen!
So, next time a new crisis is thrown at you (looking at you Global Recession 👀), understand that it’s another crack in the old and rusty system, and another step towards change and REVOLUTION ✊!
That’s it for this week!