Our civilization is set to pivot.

I don’t think there’s any need to replay the state of the world. It’s pretty clear we’re in a period of intense change, where the many systems of our society have reached their limits, where our civilization is set to pivot.

Back in 2001, Ervin Laszlo wrote about this in Macroshift. He found a common pattern in civilizations over the course of our history. They set out on a trajectory based on certain combination of technology and mindset. At some point, that trajectory becomes unsustainable and the civilizations reach, like any system, a bifurcation point. Either they breakthrough based on a new combo of technology and mindset or they breakdown. While breakdown is alarming, it’s been pretty common in the history of civilization. The only problem is, this is the first time our civilization has been global. Breakdown would really, really suck.

Today, I believe that the emerging system of social technologies and the corresponding mindset founded in connectedness and purpose are the combination that offer a new, more sustainable trajectory. By social technologies I mean both the tangible ones enabling the mobile, social web, and the intangible ones like facilitation, inquiry, design, engagement and organization.

Perhaps the most simple and compelling reason is that where we find our selves is a product of what we’ve created in the past. Similarly the only way we can fix it is by creating new things that put us on that new trajectory. For that to happen, we need to move fast and from a different place than we did when we created this mess. And that’s where the social technologies and mindset come in. Social technologies give us unprecendented capacity to create effectively and efficiently. The mindset, on the other hand, gives us the presence and perspective to do it more constructively.

So that’s how I think we’ll make our pivot. Ventures do it all the time on their path to success. Civilizations have proven they can do it to. Now it’s our turn to do it together.

From where I sit, I know we need to, I think we can, I believe we will.

Enhanced by Zemanta

Obama – the mindset tips.

the 44th President of the United States...Bara...
Image by jmtimages via Flickr

A major moment in history last night – a shift in the trajectory of our civilization.

This is not because of the firsts, the stats, or the policies. It’s where this comes from and how it came about.

It’s about a shift in mindset in the most dominant society in our civilization. A shift from fear to hope. From divisiveness to inclusion. From independent to interdependent.

911, Katrina, and the Financial Crisis successively destabilized this society’s attachment to the mindset of independence. The election and yesterday’s results give us our most concrete example of a society shifting toward a mindset of interdependence.

Ervin Laszlo layed out the shift in mindset needed for our civilization in hisotrical terms about 10 years ago. He described it as a shfit from extensive evolution (materialistic, conquest and consumption oriented) to intensive evlolution (centred on human development and development of human consciousness). It includes shifts:

  • competition -> reconciliation and partnership
  • greed and scarcity -> sufficiency and caring
  • outer “authority” -> inner “knowing”
  • separation -> wholeness
  • mechanistic systems -> living systems
  • organizational fragmentation -> coherent integration

Some quotes from Obama’s speech last night brought this home for me:

It’s the answer told by lines that stretched around schools and churches in numbers this nation has never seen; by people who waited three hours and four hours, many for the very first time in their lives, because they believed that this time must be different; that their voice could be that difference.

It’s the answer that led those who have been told for so long by so many to be cynical, and fearful, and doubtful of what we can achieve to put their hands on the arc of history and bend it once more toward the hope of a better day.

It was built by working men and women who dug into what little savings they had to give five dollars and ten dollars and twenty dollars to this cause. It grew strength from the young people who rejected the myth of their generation’s apathy; who left their homes and their families for jobs that offered little pay and less sleep; from the not-so-young people who braved the bitter cold and scorching heat to knock on the doors of perfect strangers; from the millions of Americans who volunteered, and organized, and proved that more than two centuries later, a government of the people, by the people and for the people has not perished from this Earth. This is your victory.

So let us summon a new spirit of patriotism; of service and responsibility where each of us resolves to pitch in and work harder and look after not only ourselves, but each other.

And to all those watching tonight from beyond our shores, from parliaments and palaces to those who are huddled around radios in the forgotten corners of our world – our stories are singular, but our destiny is shared, and a new dawn of American leadership is at hand.

…reaffirm that fundamental truth – that out of many, we are one; that while we breathe, we hope, and where we are met with cynicism, and doubt, and those who tell us that we can’t, we will respond with that timeless creed that sums up the spirit of a people: Yes We Can

The full transcript is a great read, even if you watched the speech.

This small moment represents so much, and if it represents the tip in mindset I believe it does, then in terms of the history we are now writing, according to Laszlo we have just made a major choice for ‘breakthrough’.

I hope so because he described the alternative as ‘doomsday’. (more posts on Ervin Laszlo’s Macroshift here)

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

In the midst of a macroshift.

“It’s clear that the financial system built on the mindset of the last few decades is unravelling.”

Quotes like these are increasingly common in the media. So what is the mindset we need to build the new system? In his prescient book Macroshift, Ervin Laszlo suggests what I think would be a good start.

From competition… to reconciliation and partnership

From greed and scarcity… to sufficiency and caring

From outer “authority”… to inner “knowing”

From separation… to wholeness

From mechanistic systems… to living systems

From organizational fragmentation… coherent integration

Macroshift by Ervin Laszlo
Macroshift by Ervin Laszlo

The book’s a fascinating read on the interplay of mindset and technology in the evolution of civilizations – which brings up another fascination of mine – the role of technology, social tech in particular, in shaping the new systems of our society. Watching the role of social media in the election campaigns, disaster response, and civic engagement has been fascinating and my explorations into ‘open’ point to this new mindset already at play.

Back to Laszlo, we are currently in what he described as the Critical (or “Chaos”) Phase.

Changed social and environmental relations put pressure on the established culture, placing into question time-honored values and worldviews and the ethics and ambitions associated with them. Society becomes chaotic in the chaos theory sense of the term. Society does not lack order but exhibits a subtle order that is extremely sensitive to fluctuations. The evolution of the dominant culture and consciousness – the way people’s values, views and ethics respond and change – determine the outcome of the system’s chaos leap (the way its developmental trajectory forks off).

This forking off is the daunting point in the history of civilizations. They either “Breakdown” or “Breakthrough”. With our civilization now on a global scale, we can’t afford to “Breakdown”. We’re in this thing full on now and these next months/year and are as Laszlo describes “critical”. What a time to be alive.

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]