I offer my personal notes and observations made during the New Story Summit 27 September – 3 October 2014 at Findhorn Foundation, Scotland, for you to use for anything you want. I was privileged to participate in this astonishingly daring effort generated by the Findhorn inner circle as they hosted 320 or so edgeworking geniuses from some 35 countries around the world on a gift economy basis with full transparency over the finances. I consider this report as one way to express my gratitude for this extraordinary opportunity.
(NOTE: Sections without other attribution are mostly my own cogitations...)
GAMEWORLDS AND CONTEXT
Each culture is a story-world, a gameworld, with agreed upon rules of engagement, that automatically emerge out of a particular context.
A context is a specific set of distinctions. Change one distinction in the context and it produces entirely new gameworlds. For example, football emerges from the "I win, you lose" context. If you change the distinction from "I win, you lose" to that of "Winning Is Happening," then you can add a second ball into the game, or after each goal have 3 players from each team change sides, or tie one's player's leg to the leg of a player on the other team. Changing one distinction changes the entire context and therefore all the gameworlds that emerge from it.
Culture is a gameworld. The most efficient way to evolve a culture is to land a new distinction in the context of the culture. A skill needed by cultural evolutionaries is landing new distinctions in a cultural context.
Having a sense of specific distinctions that would create a context that gives birth to sustainable / regenerative human cultures on Earth is one thing. Having the skills to create the meta-conversations and navigate to the liquid states that accompany context-shift is a completely different thing. Such skills are not part of education. They are part of initiation.
EDUCATION AND INITIATION
There is a difference between an educator and an initiator. An educator delivers content – what to think about. An initiator delivers context – what to think with. These are very different skillsets. Modern culture (starting 6000 years ago or so) eliminated initiation. The result is that modern culture lacks adults. When a child makes a mess, who cleans it up? The adults. Modern culture is making unforgivable messes with no intention at all of ever cleaning them up. Modern culture is a child-level responsibility culture, with uninitiated adolescents running governments, multi-national corporations, religions, universities, and armies.
Modern culture cannot be repaired – its entire set of legal structures emerges from a child-level-responsibility I-win-you-lose context, an immature and false paradigm not suitable for life on a planet. Each person recognizing the fallacy of modern culture’s laws is no longer subject to those laws in the moment they establish a new set of laws to replace them.
For example, modern culture bases its education on enhancing the mind. Next culture observes that in addition to the physical body with organs that have sensations, and the intellectual body with a mind that has attention, concepts, assumptions, beliefs and stories, there is also the emotional body with its heart that has feelings, and the energetic body with a being that has presence, self-image, intention, vision, determination, and inspiration. From the next culture perspective, people educated in modern culture are seriously handicapped and distorted with an over-enhanced intellect and shriveled hearts and souls.
HIERARCHIES AND CIRCLES
There is a difference between a leader and a spaceholder. Leadership is required in hierarchical structures. Spaceholding is required in circular, spiral, galaxical, and cloud structures. If you try to do leadership in a circle, etc., you force the circle back into a hierarchy. Spaceholding depends on an entirely different skillset than leadership. Shifting from leadership to spaceholding changes your entire life.
In hierarchies, the people best suited to doing whatever it takes to climb the ladder and take positions of power are those with the least conscience about the consequences of their actions, in other words, the psychopaths.
There is a design error of modern culture: it uses hierarchical power structures which automatically select for sociopathic tendencies. In the past 50 years global hierarchies have been hijacked by the psychopathic agenda. This explains why no amount of good-hearted “speaking truth to power” can create an improved outcome. Nobody is listening. A bright future for humanity is not even on the agenda.
In a hierarchy there is limited room at the top, and there are hierarchies behind the hierarchies: mafia, multinational corporations, and, as Paul Simon names in his song The Boy In The Bubble, “a loose affiliation of millionaires and billionaires.”
There is a difference between a context holder and a spaceholder. In a circle both roles are needed. Spaceholding can be rotated amongst the participants and cannot go wrong if the circle uses Rapid Learning with its ongoing feedback and coaching from the context holders. A spaceholder may or may not be a context holder. In circles, part of the game is to ongoingly deepen and expand each person’s context-holding so that more and more of the participants serve as context holders.
Spaceholding can navigate much more dynamic and interactive possibilities than leadership because leadership depends on personal power and controlled design, whereas spaceholding flows archetypal power (not personal power) and thrives on nonlinear group intelligence paving the path while it is surfed.
There is a difference between growth-in-quantity and growth-in-quality. The growth in quantity concerns systems of having and acquiring. The growth in quality concerns systems of being and becoming (transformation, evolution, initiation).
In growth-in-quantity there are real-world limits (population, toxic wastes, mineral deposits). In growth-in-quality there are no real world limits – only psycho-emotional limits in uninitiated adolescents. There is no top end to evolution.
THE NEW STORY
Old story: Time is money. New story: Time is time.
Time is an ally, so we speak what is essential so time has the space to work its magic. We can create space for time through stillness, emptiness, and attentive listening.
There are already story threads which we know are helping. But at the edge, we don’t know how the next possibilities unfold. We contribute to evolution by participating fully.
This is a week of powerful experienced edgeworking people coming together to care.
Expectations crawl out of the cracks between diverse worldviews. We are allies. Coming closer together minimizes the cracks. Authentic communication eliminates the expectations.
We each have our own thoughtware. The thoughtware we are using is not necessarily the only thoughtware or the best thoughtware we could be using. There is thoughtware that could let us create something completely different out of the same circumstances. With upgraded thoughtware, something completely different from this is possible right now.
DAVID SPANGLER (www.davidspangler.com):
The Earth has material and energetic ecologies.
Conversations with and messages from subtle beings are the least of the modes of relationship with subtle beings. In addition there is a vast circulation and exchange of life qualities and energies.
Stories give us one set of meanings and block others.
Life is not a story. Life is unadulterated experience.
Some subtle domains conform to our stories and reflect them back to us as if they are real.
Life does not have a dramatic arc like stories do.
Conflict and drama are not the only stories possible.
We can find meaning without stories by sitting with nature as it is.
Our view of stories can limit our powers of imagination.
New story vs. old story is a story that can create conflict and competition.
We need new stories about stories and storytelling, and new ways of thinking about the subtle worlds.
DREW DELLINGER (www.drewdellinger.org):
A human being is the space in which the universe reflects on and celebrates itself.
The stars are telepathic.
JOANNA MACY (www.joannamacy.net):
The sense of connectedness with all beings is politically subversive.
We need to go on the journey of despair before we can rise to empowerment.
NARESH GIANGRANDE (https://www.transitionnetwork.org/people/naresh-giangrande):
We are at the historic moment of choice where we choose a future we want or let happen a system we don’t want.
Ecocide is suicide.
Activate the proper frame.
Values get activated by stories.
Change is an emergent property occurring in strategic niches – like the cavitation points where bubbles emerge in a pint of ale. Transition towns (and ecovillages and conscious communities…) are strategic niches!
Transition network is a learning network.
ELISABET SAHTOURIS (www.sahtouris.com):
It is cheaper to feed our enemies than to kill them.
If we continue on the current path, everything has to die.
GILL EMSLIE (www.gillemslie.net), and ANA RHODES CASTRO (www.findhornconsultancy.com/trainers/ana.php) WORKSHOP:
We don’t need more leaders. We need more facilitators. Disturbances don’t go away if we ignore them.
Conflict facilitation should be taught in kindergarten.
Solutions emerge as a creation of the third (external, nonlinear, not self-evident) position.
Conflict facilitation should be taught in kindergarten.
Solutions emerge as a creation of the third (external, nonlinear, not self-evident) position.
If I adapt to you, my feelings that I don’t get along with you do not go away. They just create a bad mood. Then I throw out double signals, becoming the oppressor and getting revenge. If I acknowledge that I am afraid of conflict, I can create integrity between my body movements and my words. This increases my presence.
CHARLES EISENSTEIN (www.charleseisenstein.net):
Newness is part of the old story.
Now the water is rising from a new source.
The Earth is a being. Beings have rights.
We need a deeper revolution.
Climate change is an initiation to what?
Modern culture is losing faith in its own stories.
In the old story preventing the collapse of civilization is now hopeless.
Miracles are not possible in the old story. But cynicism and despair plug into the same worldview as ecocide. The habits of the old story are strong.
This is a gathering of the secret world government. It operates within a new causality.
We can pull on invisible threads. It’s not crazy or naïve. It is a different kind of logic where the logic of mind and the logic of heart do not conflict.
A story creates roles for people, and then they are locked into the roles. Who as the real power? The continuously self-authoring.
Stories are held together with Is-Glue.
“Is” is a concept that does not exist in nature. “Is” is a product of the human mind, famously capable of understanding concepts that have no connection to reality. For example, it is simple to understand the concept of a sphere: all points equidistant from a single point in 3D space. But this is a mathematical concept. In reality there are no spheres. Think of all the superstitions you have heard of, like the superstition that it is possible for human beings to own parts of the Earth...
The concept-models define our interactivity with the world. The closer your model matches reality, the more effectively you can interact with reality. Change your model - for example, from a flatworld map to a roundworld map - and you change your qualities of interactivity.
Is-Glue comes in various forms: is, am, are, was, were, be, being, been, has, have, had, do, does, did, may, might, must, can, could, should, would, shall, will, and the NOT forms of each, such as is not, am not, are not, etc.
Since we started thinking and speaking we have been making stories about ourselves, others, and the world with Is-Glue. That is a dog. Johnny is bad. I am tired. I do not like this. My boss is a hero. I do hate my work. This is impossible. I cannot do this. The weather is wonderful in Scotland.
The world is rich in evidence. There is enough evidence to make up any story we want about anything. Stories are not true. How can a story be true? We just made it up. Believing that a story is true is simply unexamined thinking. Beliefs are stories specifically designed to cover up holes in other stories for which there is no explanation, where there is instead a void of nothingness, where there is “I don’t know,” such as, What happens when we die? Where did we come from? What is the purpose of life? What is consciousness?
Nothingness is a necessary resource. Initiated adults require nothingness and not-knowing as a space out of which to create new options to choose from.
There are only two things in life: Bullshit. And, nothing.
Which category is Culture? Religion? Politics? Marketing? Economics? Fashion?
Recognizing your own stories as bullshit (albeit, interesting or entertaining bullshit) gives you the freedom to identify other vendors of bullshit for what they are: vendors of bullshit. You are then on equal status and have the power to choose your variety of bullshit over theirs simply as a matter of preference, framed by the purpose you consciously choose to serve: such as clarity, transformation, communication, respect, love, possibility, wellbeing, oneness, service, sustainability, etc.
If you do not recognize your own culture and beliefs as bullshit then you consider them to be the truth and will go to war defending them against other cultures and beliefs.
New understanding comes from new distinctions woven into a new context. Such as: there is a difference between bullshit and cowshit. Men do bullshit, which is to say things that are very relevant, but simply not true, such as, “I will be home at seven.” Or, “I will help Johnny with his math homework.” Or, “I will fix the faucet on Saturday.” Women do cowshit, which is to say things that are very very true, excruciatingly true, undeniably true, but simply not relevant, such as on Friday evening after the kids are in bed and you find yourselves in the bedroom, she says, “I see that you didn’t pick up the laundry basket full of clothes on your way up the stairs… I washed those clothes. I ironed those clothes. I folded those clothes. And you couldn’t even carry them up the stairs?” If the man does not know this is merely cowshit, how can he step around it instead of in it so that love can happen?
An essential seems like a wild-card until it is recognized as an essential.
If you are waiting to say something that you have known for a long time we invite you to sit back down. Co-creating emerges out of the current necessity in a small now.
When you let your fear block you from speaking or taking action you are blocking part of the whole.
Qualities of holding and navigating space include the necessity of space, space in space, space in time, space in position, but not space in purpose.
You are responsible to create the culture that makes sense to your deep self, that you would love to live in with your friends. To the degree that you do not invent the gameworlds of your life, you are a pawn in someone else’s gameworld. How to become a gameworld reinventor?
We need schools of getting out. They teach skills for getting out of modern culture in all respects (insurance, debt, ownership of property, stock investments, taxes, passports, education system, credit, TV, alcohol, cars, economic, consumption, food, clothing, housing, entertainment, conditioned assumptions, beliefs, expectations, arrogance, bigotry, lack of cultural relativity, etc.), because we copied modern culture’s assumptions and thinking flaws into our being before we could speak.
We are beginning a generation of deconditioning and healing. We need whole schools for learning how to extract ourselves from the patriarchy.
Something that seems like a miracle from one perspective (e.g. getting out of modern culture) is quite natural in another perspective.
Since we absorbed patriarchal thoughtware before we could speak, getting out involves learning to think about what we are thinking with – in other words, noticing the brand of thoughtware we use so as to detect when we are using Standard Human Issue Thoughtware. Through taking responsibility for what we are thinking with, we gain at least the chance of thinking something different. We need this observational gap between us and modern culture's insidious thoughtware to have freedom of movement in our thinking, perceiving and choosing.
The question comes down to this: which context are you standing in? The modern patriarchal empire context? Or the regenerative next culture context? It is an either / or choice. We don’t get to do both, because if you mix poison water with fresh water you only end up with poison water and the patriarchal empire prevails until doomsday. However, human beings are famously schizophrenic. We have parts to our psychological structure. Sometimes we are completely unconsciously identified with the modern capitalist patriarchal empire parts where the world is flat and we unconsciously think we can go to the edge and drop our nuclear and toxic wastes over the side into free space. And sometime we are rather more consciously identified with sustainable regenerative cradle-to-cradle parts that recognize the Earth is a ball and every degree of toxicity is captured in feedback loops and poisons us.
There is also a part of our individual selves that remains free and was never sucked into the delusions of the modern patriarchal empire. When you start paying attention to your attention from the neutral observer perspective it becomes obvious when your schizophrenic identities get triggered. Only when you have achieved the sensitivity of noticing you are about to be triggered do you get a chance to conscious make a different choice other than creating the capitalist patriarchal empire context.
People who come together in a community of practice – a shift-agent training school – help remind each other to stay awake and retain nonlinear options. When three or more individuals establish a seed crystal of next culture in the global ethnosphere, and make critical connections (connections over which value and services are exchanged) their exchanges generate a field of influence for the emergence of next culture.
Starting at about 15 years of age, human beings are designed to get initiated into taking responsibilities for things people in modern culture never even thought of taking responsibility for. These ongoing adulthood initiatory processes ignite the free-and-natural adult man and woman, unfolding original purposes, stellating inner archetypes, and jacking-in to archetypal lineages that serve partnerships, projects, interconnected communities and the Earth. In this way adults come to serve something greater than themselves.
The only power we carry in the United Nations is an energetic signature. We stand on the verge of a precipice and activate a positive future by putting our attention on the edge where the positive future begins.
WORLD FUTURE COUNCIL (www.worldfuturecouncil.org):
Saving the planet is free.
We are facing tipping points with irreversible consequences.
JODIE EVANS from CODE PINK (www.codepink4peace.org):
We will not raise our children to kill another mother’s child.
GIGI COYLE (www.schooloflostborders.org):
It is an initiation to find our initiators, our elders, our carriers. They will not be provided to us.
KOSHA JOUBERT (Global Ecovillage Network GEN www.ecovillage.org):
It’s a joyous adventure. The world connection is already there. There’s a finer woven net of love, a river of life and hope that flows through the GEN network in realtime living. There is nothing to hide because we see everything. It flows in a much bigger open circle. There has been a blessing on our work. We can see it and receive it. We can do so much more. We can bring imagery that touches young people’s hearts. The smaller paths are everywhere and they’re beautiful, abundant seeds scattering. We know about solutions. We come in and spread the seeds. I need to start traveling and not stop. It’s a river now, bringing the sweetness of informed hope to places of sharpness. There is so much fear of doing things differently, but the core movement invites people into a multitude of possibilities of expression. It is possible to come home to yourself. We know people of integrity in governments. I want the river to come to my village, to the women, a river of love and support for the children in a way of life in any ecovillage. Courage and support is so big of a gift that I can go home and give it away, where the contradictions fall away, not walking against, not walking towards. We are walking together, into our life, and every island is safe. We have the pressure of being a bud that is unstoppable in its opening to become a flower, to exchange pollen, to generate more seeds. GEN is a web of hearts, the beauty that can be created by letting what is not beautiful fall away. Sharing joy, laughter and peace, feeling pain there and knowing what to do next, to feel love in the midst of rage so the river flows free, creating space for the techies and excel sheets and those who can count the numbers, and the magicians and a new kind of education. The pain of one part is washed away when it is seen by the other part. The river wakes up at fear and grows into collective human evolution. We can help those who cannot ask for help to ask for help. We can have an Ecovillage Fuck-Ups website using errors as a shared learning resource. The river speaks all languages, circles upon circles of worlds around us that want to play and give. There is a special love happening, so many more circles who long to give. Learning to receive, learning to work with magnetic attraction, being able to die well, letting narrow conceptions dissolve. Let the frantic doing die. Let frozenness in the face of the arrogance of men of power die. We each have different gifts. We can exchange, and thus wake up. GEN makes it so everywhere is home.
"Questers" ask questions. (An authentic question is a question the answer to which changes your life.) For example: How can we make it a legal duty to care for the Earth? Criminalize ecocide? Assert Earth’s right to life?
There is a shrinking democratic space. I support each of us calling on others to dare to be great.
Daring to be great means daring to fail.
This is a rehearsal space.
JONATHAN DAWSON (www.schumachercollege.org.uk/about/jonathan-dawson):
I want a community of practice of humans living within their means, not theoretically, but diving into a new system in reality, a grown-up school of regenerative culture, taking concepts into physicality, especially with the funnest things: improvisation, theatre, cooking – human beings are designed to fly!
Green Gold docu on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YBLZmwlPa8A
I am looking for people who want to collaborate with a “Visual Ecological Database” with 20 years studies in every biome. I’m doing ecological forensics, going backwards, deconstructing how the ecological damage happened. What was the motive of the crime? Who did it and why?
I keep coming to a flaw in the economic reasoning. Externalizing costs is a lie that makes you bankrupt from day one. We have a corrupt and corrupting economic system.
The politics of oppression are not useful anymore because now the oppressors are also threatened. We need to all put our heads (and hearts) together to shift to a planet-wide regenerative system. It is happening anyway. What the corporate politicians need to wake up to is that there are not enough Kevlar-suited special forces to suppress humanity.
If you don’t have regenerative systems knowledge no amount of money will help you change the world for the better.
If you succeed at bringing down the existing system without a replacement you are in terrible shape. That’s why we are full-speed-ahead building the next system.
Making excellent films is one thing. But the platform for distributing the films is just as crucial. It is easier to collaborate with a platform when you make a series of 36 films rather than one full length documentary, but the films need to be good enough.
We have to work together for the rest of our lives.
The economic principles of modern culture are flawed. Water is priceless. You cannot monetize nature. Instead naturalize the economy so the incentive is to preserve, regenerate and protect ecosystems. When you formalize it that ecosystem function is vastly more valuable than manufacturing and consumption, this changes everything. Suddenly it is impossible to pollute. True wealth comes from natural ecosystem function.
The fundamental flaw in modern economic thinking is easily exposed unless you are insane or psychopathic.
One Small Step Can Change Your Life – the Kaizen Way – book by Robert Maurer
You can develop a critical awareness as an internal process about making practical use of influences to overcome a learned helplessness.
John D. Liu us running a parallel knowledge event for 8 weeks on 2 stages at the Lima, Peru COP20 event. He says Lima will spend $150 million and risk being irrelevant. This is a humiliation. www.cop20lima.org, http://unfccc.int/meetings/lima_dec_2014/meeting/8141.php
SYNTHESIS FROM NEW STORY SUMMIT
Every time I reflect on New York I see where hungry ghosts changed the Twin Towers into a Hiroshima of grief and rage. No innocence here. No phoenix either. Only greedy bugs crawling in a swirl of ashes and chaos. Not enough wisdom for a rebirth. Just a procession of smoke and mirrors, an eternity of sadness and anger. I cannot change what I cannot face.
The people who remember how to sing a song that brings a person back into alignment with right relationship have been under siege.
We are moving from the glittering world to the green world.
Nourish the children so they can present themselves.
Message to young people: I want you to want your life enough to bring your life to life in the way you want to live it.
But how can an elder tell a young person to want their life when the elder doesn’t want their life?
The problems are so big, but they are always changing, so if you wait a minute you’ll get an entirely new problem.
We vote for heroes and they sign off on lies.
There is only one of us here.
Only free people can make a free world. This means people employed by corporations, military, government, religion, can never build a free world. They can only duplicate the horrific prison conditions of their lives.
We who came are seeds. You don’t plant seeds in seeds. You give the seeds space and sunshine and water to grow. Eventually seeds find a way to grow no matter what.