These times of change have been described by some with the acronym VUCA - Volatile, Uncertain, Complex, Ambiguous - and by others with the acronym RUPT - Rapid, Unpredictable, Paradoxical, Tangled. Either way, there’s a sense of dire need for a change of narrative.
As a species, we have a special opportunity to explore what it means to be human in an interconnected and interdependent world. But that is actually not the quest that will bring forth a new narrative of human potential in love with life. How are we life, itself, expressing this sense of belonging in, on, with and through our living planet Earth? We are not separate from Earth – just imagine trying to live without the life-giving habitat of this planet. Unless we were to create another very similar one, we wouldn’t last long. And the prospect of creating (or finding and moving to) another Earth isn’t in the cards for the near-term future.
So the question of our narrative comes right back to us as Earth. We might contemplate whether a planetary citizenship is possible and/or desirable, exploring issues related to interculturality and transculturality. But essentially, we are being called upon to realize what it means to be human in a world where the essential interbeing of all life is increasingly of greater relevance than simple concerns of our growing interdependence and the diminishing relevance of national identity.
My interest is focused on humaning and how to human better – the practices, dispositions, and values that favor the emergence of an authentic expression of our full potential as sensethinkingdoers, evolving toward Homo Sapiens Sensorium[*]. Moreover, the dimensionality of humaning that fascinates me most lies in our potential to harness the power of collective intelligence. The inspiration I get from observing a murmuration of starlings[†], for example, speaks to me of the possibility for us to learn such levels of tuning and syntony, too.
Painting by Jia Lu
How can we develop such sensitivity? In part, we will need to cultivate an appreciation of our essential interconnection at the intersection of holistic being, transcendent consciousness, and curated emergence. As we engage in the process of ushering in the conditions for the emergence of a thrivable planet - listening into the systemic nurturance spaces and seeking the systemic leverage points for the emergence of a glocal eco-civilization[‡] - it will be increasingly important for our species to continue to explore ways of fitting our individual melodies together to create sustaining and enduring harmonies with the broader symphony of life on Earth.
This is more than just a nice metaphor: it is the essence of syntony. As an organizing force in societal evolution, syntony involves an embodiment and manifestation of conscious evolution: when conscious intention aligns with evolutionary purpose, we can foster and design evolutionarily consonant pathways of human development in partnership with Earth.
As part of this action inquiry, a fundamental task for the agents of systemic change of today, for tomorrow, is the creation and promotion of relational intelligence applied to systemic innovation. This involves exploration of socio-technical systems that cross disciplinary and generational boundaries. One specific challenge in this regard involves the conscious creation of Technologies of Organizational Communion (TOCs) to contextualize and humanize the Technologies of Information and Communication (TICs) through which we operate so much of our contemporary social, economic and political networks. To emerge a glocal eco-civilization we need both the power for connecting and sharing propelled by TICs and – at the same time – the power for relating and humaning strengthened by TOCs. In this way, each TIC we produce will have the power to embody an evolutionary, planetary, and thrivability ethic that affirms life - and the quality of living it.
In short, the challenge of developing a TOC for every TIC innovated is a challenge to our cultures; one to which only a life-affirming evolutionary ethos is appropriate. This is central to the emerging area of research and development focused on systemic innovation. Learning to human better calls on us to explore the cultural determinants of interbeing – both as systemic nurturance spaces that elicit individual and collective behavior that connects life with life, and at the systemic leverage points that skew the probabilities of human interaction toward a transhuman presence on, and ultimate with, Earth. Such evolutionary competence is at the heart of our emerging collective expression of life as Earth.
Authoring this age-old new narrative involves a collective act of re-membering and re-storying our interbeing. This is the celebration of our deepest sense of being and belonging – of coming home and being home. Ultimately, we are the world we inhabit – together with all of life and the life support systems of Earth.
Author: Alexander Laszlo ~ Co-Founding Member of EARTHwise Centre, Evolutionary Catalyst, New Paradigm Storyteller, and Professor of Systems Science and Evolutionary Development.
[‡] A glocal eco-civilization is one that celebrates and invests in local expressions of thrivability while contributing to the emergence of global interdependence.