We live in very chaotic times with extremely divergent perspectives on how to solve important problems such as healthcare, education, poverty, environmental problems and other social issues. It is clear that the overly simplified, and fixed ways that groups of like-minded people come together to solve problems is not working. It is the most natural thing in the world to work with people with aligned points of view. Much of the financial and investment industry operates this way. Much of the two party political systems work this way. If you spend all your time and energy and grew up with a certain frame of reference for how to solve problems, a particular filtering system for how you view the world, it is not very easy to overcome these inherent biases, especially when it has been successful for you financially, personally and professionally. This often results in fear, anger and very divergent perspectives and points of view that make the divide wider. There is no bridge in sight, just a wide space underneath with crocodiles and a large fall for those brave few that venture forth to bring people together. For those brave few, they often end up disheartened, broke and much less hopeful than when they started. Hidden behind even the seemingly well intentioned is often an agenda to maintain the power and status quo by those with the most resources and the most power in the existing paradigms.
We have come back over and over again to the permaculture principles in our blogs. These 12 principles inspired by sustainable agriculture is a framework to bring diverse groups of people together, align incentives, and move forward in a way that enables our society to use our resources in the most efficient way. They are helpful tools to bridge the economic divide, to restore environmental and human health in an integrated way, to empower all people in an inclusive way in our communities. It sounds too good to be true. We have been conditioned with evidence all around us to convince us that it is impossible to find win-win solutions. To bring jobs to those that need it the most, surely means we need to breathe unclean air, or poison water supplies, or make far less money or no money at all. What if all of that really is a conditioned scarcity mind set whether you are fortune enough to have many resources or disadvantaged with very few. In that view the pie is fixed with not enough to go around. Mother nature is infinitely abundant when you follow her rules for sustainability. Creativity thrives in that world. Inspiration is abundant and free flowing. The impossible becomes possible. Our best innovative breakthroughs in science and technology come from following her rules and processes. For example, could you ever imagine a world where DNA might be the next big storage server for our information? People are already experimenting with storing information in this way (https://www.theatlantic.com/science/archive/2017/03/this-speck-of-dna-contains-a-movie-a-computer-virus-and-an-amazon-gift-card/518373/). We are at the very beginning of this exploration. Potential benefits could be numerous such as better security, more resource efficiency, and decentralized data storage while still maintaining connections to other data sources… However, if all we ever do is assume the future will be a continuation of the past, we will never get to where we need to go. If we remain in our silos and old ways of thinking, data scientists will assume that existing scenarios of a handful of large companies storing much of our data will continue forever. As we have found with recent hacking scandals, we are actually more vulnerable this way as a society. Entire systems could shut down with problems in a handful of companies. We prioritize allocating large amounts of our resources to create large and dominant companies over very short time frames and we assume that is always the goal. To aspire for anything else is admitting failure. You are not in the club. You scrounge for resources. No one pays attention. While it is true that too much government discourages creativity and innovation, exclusively pursuing business and financial pathways where very small groups of people control everything from what education we teach to what science and technology gets developed tends to result in predatory behavior. It actually undermines our democratic, market-based economy. Are any of us really free in this type of paradigm? Entire groups of people are Ayn Rand devotees and feel that all we need to do is get rid of the pesky government and Atlas will shrug and we will finally be free. The libertarian movement has many of these types of people. What if Atlas is really frustrated for other reasons. What if by shrugging, what he is really doing is integrating a bit of Mother Nature’s sustainable/regenerative principles and ridding himself of the burden of limited dualistic thinking and egoism where for one to win the other has to lose. In the process of shrugging off the old system, chaos and volatility are inevitable. Is chaos really such a negative word as we have come to view it? Creative chaos makes way for the new. Sustainable natural ecosystems are all about alignment, balance, and harmony, but change is constant as the various players interact and adjust to one another on an ongoing basis. It is that natural adjustment process that we are constantly interfering with in our world today, resulting in numerous inefficiencies, corruption, inequities and imbalances. In her most regenerative form, she is as abundant as she is efficient, beautiful, infinitely creative, and interconnected. It is creative design and systems thinking the Mother Nature way. The alternative is disease, war, depleted soil, never ending inequities and imbalances.
A system-based process inspired by natural, sustainable ecosystems to invest in and build up important businesses is by definition, a win-win process and naturally collaborative. Just the simple task of bringing diverse people together to follow these principles to build important businesses is a huge breakthrough to begin to bridge the very wide divides in our world today. This newly evolving trend is evident everywhere you look now. To ignore it is to miss the greatest and most empowering opportunities in the world today. It is a journey, not a destination and the journey is truly beautiful. For the millennial generation, this is the way they are wired. Many marketers are spending a fortune on artificial intelligence to figure them out. They could spend much less on this data and advertising and just co-create new communities, products and services following these natural principles. It is far more effective and efficient. They are actually the ones leading this movement. Their hope and worldview is far more inspiring than the winner take all, conquer the world system we have all been living in for as long as any of us can remember. Maybe we can finally learn from the past and stop repeating our mistakes over and over.