World 3: Visioning a Better World: Co-Creating a Global Eco-civilizationModule 2: Framing the Challenge: Taking Stock of What We Have Learned and What We Have Yet to DoAs you turn to this final course in your introductory studies of Global Shift, you come to the point of launching your learning into action. World 3 focuses on action-based learning to bring together all that you have learned in the previous two World courses with some practical tools that will serve you in your role as an evolutionary change agent. To begin with, Module 1 looks back on how far you’ve come in your studies so far. You are asked to take stock of what you have been learning and how it might actually be of use to you to help bring about a shift toward a global eco-civilization. You will also learn gather a few conceptual tools to help you with this task. As you work through this Module and the rest of the course, start thinking in terms of action and the practical utility of whatever you are learning.
You will be asked to reflect on the following questions throughout this Module: Given your understanding of the Grand Narrative of evolution gleaned from the World 1 course, and your appreciation of how humans are affecting this narrative from World 2, do you think humanity should continue with the form of globalization that typifies contemporary human activity around the world? Considering your own role in the life of your community and all those who might possibly be affected by you, how does the notion of being an evolutionary change agent live in you? What type of conceptual tools and action principles would best serve you to step into a leadership role – wherever you are and whatever you are doing – so that you can truly be the change you wish to see in the world?
In this Module, you will begin by looking back, at what you have learned from the World 1 and World 2 courses. You will then learn how this World 3 course is different from the privious courses and what that means in terms of your own leadership in the action-learning process it involves. In the second half of this unit, you will begin looking ahead, to the challenge of evolutionary change. Learning about the Syntony Compass and how to use it will be your first step toward preparing yourself to meet this challenge. Learning how to design and facilitate future-creating conversations will be your second.
In World 1, you learned about the evolutionary process of change in the universe in terms of patterns of emergence that give rise to new and more complex patterns. To understand the emerging complexity, you learned about the Holistic Paradigm and how it serves to create an integral understanding evolutionary dynamics. Patterns of change that bring forth new and more complex patterns of change are the hallmark of our creative cosmos.Seeing the structures and process of the universe and understanding their dynamics as complex adaptive systems provides a powerful interpretive lens.The Holistic Paradigm offers worldview for this lens, integrating science, art and spirit.
In World 2, you explored the role of humans in creating complex patterns of relationship with each other and with nature. You compared and contrasted how complex adaptive systems of government, religion and economics created abundance or scarcity, and how they related to the complex adaptive systems explored in World 1.The rise of the major civilizational forms throughout history has brought with it patterns of conquest and domination that eventually became institutionalized in governmental, religious and economic systems.The bio-epistemological basis of contemporary worldview has led humanity to a crisis of identity.
In exploring your role as an evolutionary change agent, the capacities and competencies of evolutionary leadership become vital. In World 2 you had the opportunity to consider the issues of healthy and authentic leadership styles. Some of the key characteristics of such styles called on the leader to — Declare the possibility of a sustainable future and commit to create it Promote learning and collaboration to generate ethical social innovations Create networks, communities and organizations where people learn together, support each other and develop partnerships Change the rules of the game: From self-centered, consumption-based and unsustainable systems to systems based on quality of life, human dignity, learning, love, spiritual wisdom, and ecological integrity.
As you move into your role of evolutionary change agent, you need to draw on the factual bases garnered from World 1, on the critical and appreciative perspectrives as well as on the leadership competencies obtained from World 2. Now, as you step fully into World 3, you will need to use all these skills and put them in service of a compelling vision and a meaningful and feasible path to foster its emergence. But you can’t do this alone. This is something you have learned by now. Curating the emergence of the future can only be done in dynamic interaction with all the stakeholders of that future. And if it becomes a chore, a task, an obligation or a sense of moral duty, it will never give birth to a future that is alive and thriving. So how do you make the process of evolutionary change fun and invitational? Through storifying and gamifying it, of course! Moving yourself, and those with whom you wish to co-create new narratives of the present and the future, means distinguishing between approaches that involve a story teller and a story listener, ones that involve a story former and a story player, and ones that involve co-creators of story dweilling processes.
Now, you will need a few process tools by which to guide your work as an evolutionary change agent. In the remainder of this Module, you will pick up two such tools. One comes in the form of a compass for assessing the degree to which aprocess or outcome of any change initiative is truly thrivable. In other words, the process has to be not only sustainble, but it also has to be life-affirming, future-creating, and opportunity-increasing. The second tool you will aquire is a conversation guide — a ladder of conversation strategies to facilitate, orchestrate and stream effective collaborative design processes. You can think of these two tools as a Syntony Compass and a guide to Syntony Conversastions. To begin with, let’s review the essential aspects of syntony. Syntony is – Conscious intention aligned with evolutionary purpose.The embodiment and manifestation of conscious evolution.A purposeful creative aligning and tuning with the evolutionary flows of one’s milieu.Designing systems in dynamic harmony with the flow of nature.
You can think of the Syntony Compass as an orienting tool with which you line up four levels of syntony. When they’re all lined up for any project or process, then it is pointing to the True North of radical sustainability, thrivability and evolutionary shift. As you begin to construct your Syntony Compass, you need to think about how sustainable, and ideally how thrivable, your life — or the life of the social system, ecosystem, or broader community you are designing with — truly is. And you need to do this at multiple levels, all at once!Think about your life at a personal level, at the level of your daily rhythms and routines. How much is it in balance? Then think about the community in which you work, play, learn and live. Is that systemically in balance, too? Now what about your relationship with your living environment – and the relationship of your community with that, too? And finally, think about how balanced all that you do is with regard to past and future generations? Are you doing your ancestors proud? And your children’s children’s children – would they thank you for the decisions and actions you take today? It’s hard enough to have authenticity, integrity and coherence at any one of these four levels. However, true thrivability only comes when all of these levels are addressed with integrity, authenticity and coherence across all of them at the same time. This is the Syntony Compass. You use it to determine the degree to which the process or outcome of any change initiative aligns all four levels of syntony at once. The more aligned, the greater the potential for global shift.
Integral responses to the complexity of contemporary global and local challenges – personal, organizational, planetary – require an expanded perspective: a way of recognizing interconnections, of perceiving wholes and parts, of acknowledging processes and structures, of blending apparent opposites. But most important, they require collaboration. Individual solutions and breakthrough ideas are necessary but not sufficient. To do so, we need to create an ecology of new ways of working, learning and living that embody social and environmental integrity. As an agent of evolutionary change, you will be called upon to practice curating the emergence of syntony with the people and in the communities where you live. The key here is practice. At the level of complex human relationships, syntony doesn’t just happen by itself. It has to be fostered, nutured, and grown. Doing so with skill and the art of emergence that nature demonstrates for us time and time again takes practice. As you move through the four levels of the Syntony Compass, you will be able to practice syntony both at that specific level and inbetween that level and the other three. At the first level - syntony with oneself; personal or internal syntony - the practices involve centering, quieting the monkey-mind, listening with every cell of our being. These practices cultivate intuition, compassion, insight that matches outsight, and a willingness to explore and follow our deepest calling.
At the second level - syntony with others; community or interpersonal syntony - the practice involves deep dialogue and collaboration. Coming together to learn with and from each other and to engage in collective action with empathy, considerateness, openness, and joy.
At the third level - syntony with nature; ecosystemic or trans-species syntony - the practices involve communing; listening to the messages of all beings (whether they be waterfalls, animals, mountains or galaxies) and acknowledging our interdependence and ultimate unity.
At the fourth level - syntony with the flows of being and becoming; evolutionary or integral syntony - the practices involve learning how to read the patterns of change of which we are a part; learning how to hear the rhythms of life and becoming familiar with the improvisational jam session that nature has been playing since time immemorial. These practices cultivate our ability to play our own piece; to sing and dance our own path into existence in harmony with the grand patterns of cosmic creation.
To further refine your practice using the Syntony Compass, consdier the following set of focus questions. Keep in mind that it is far less important that you answer all or even any of these specific questions than that you understand they type of questions needed to be explored at each level. Ideally, you will develop your own meaningful questions – in collaboration with whatever community of stakeholder you are working with – when you apply your Syntony Compass to a real-world evolutionary change initiative.At the first level (personal sustainability): Who am I and what is my life’s purpose? What are my talents? To what do I feel called to contribute? What brings meaning to my life? What supports my personal development?At the second level (socio-cultural sustainability): What common cares bring us together? What is our shared vision? How do we want to contribute to the flourishing of life forever? Who are our partners and collaborators? What do we need to learn? What do we want to create? What is our value proposition or unique contribution to all our stakeholders? What affirms our values, identity and culture?At the third level (ecological sustainability): What gifts do we receive from nature that we have not acknowledged? What relationships and connections need to be restored? How can we contribute to the regeneration of our ecosystems? What would a thriving relationship with nature look like?At the fourth level (evolutionary sustainability): What would our ancestors think of our work and life? What would our children’s children think of our choices? How do we honor our past and create our future intentionally? How do we become active and conscious participants in the unfolding of life?
The second tool that will serve you well in your design of livable, sustainable, thrivable futures is that of the Syntony Conversation. This tool represents an approach to dialogue that is both collaborative and strategic. It draws on the emerging potential for global dialogue through attention to the following areas — The role and importance of dialogue as a transformative collaborative practice Creating the container and conditions for conversations that matter New technologies that enable dialogue, collaboration and decision making across time, geographical and cultural boundaries Explore the use of "other ways of knowing" such as music, movement and meditation as tools to facilitate deeper connections and meaning creation.
Conversation literally means “turning together.” To converse is to turn something over, to consider it from different perspectives, together with each other, the Latin root “versare” meaning to turn, and “con” meaning with. So conversation as a disciplined future-creating collaborative method of inquiry means searching together – and co-creating – connections and meaning. In contrast with debate and other forms of antagonistic discourse, conversation is collaborative. It demands from the conversants an openness to changing views and perspectives – that is, it involves learning – and can foster coordinated action. The form of conversation involving dialogue is not at all the same thing that which involves discussion. Dialogue, as you will see later in this course, involves reasoning through things. It has the Latin roots of “logos” meaning reason or speaking, and “dia” meaning through or across. But discussion has the same roots as percussion – it involves the slamming together of ideas, the confrontation of ideas to see which ideas are stronger, which ones win.So future creating conversation involves dialogue much more than it involves discussion. The former builds bridges in understanding, seeking to reach out and help express ideas or emotions that the other may be struggling to share. Discussion does just the opposite. It seeks to knock down an “opponent’s” position or point of view on any given matter, and it looks for weaknesses in their argument and seeks to expose them.
There are some basic ground rules for an effective Syntony Conversation. These involve —• Respect - for oneself - for each other• Willingness to listen• Willingness to share• Awareness of the partial nature of one’s truth• Commitment to the process of engaged dialoguekeeping in mind that the purpose of dialogue is to increase mutual understanding, to gain insight, and to think creatively together. In addition, there are certainListening Skillsthat you will need to practice, as well as to cultivate among those you invite to a Syntony Conversation. These involve — • Being heard and understood. This means: - having not only your words heard but also your meanings understood; -communication is not complete until this happens. •Listening attentively. Thismeans: - paying attention: - not thinking of what to say while the other is still speaking; and - giving space and respectful attention without interrupting.•Listening with your body. This means listening with all your senses: - receiving and communicating with more than just voice: - sensing with the body; and - using “body language”.• Reflecting back. This is a way of developing your listening skill. It involves: - summarizingand restating one another’s perspectives: - recognizing that the results are often surprising.• Showing a willingness to understand another. Thismeans: - ensuring that all parties are talking about the same thing; - gaining one another’s respect.
These four rungs of a Syntony Conversation are iterative and they really never end – so long as you are in conversation with each other. You may find the need to go back to a lower rung, then jump up to the top one and circle back down for a quick conversation at an intermediate rung. Just keep in mind that each run has its own style, its own atmosphere, its own focus and approach. So when you use this tool, always be sure you use it lightly – have fun with it!In the end, you may find that you can do a lot with this process guide to Syntony Conversations. For examply, you may — • Develop new (collective) abilities to frame issues. This could arise from — - a deepened awareness of collective (cultural/structural) habits of thought; - a deepened awareness of personal habits of thought (in yourself as well as in others).• Develop collective intelligence.This could arise from — - Evolve the mental models that shape perception; - Learn to create new models.• Create new Dialogic structures. This could happen through efforts to — - evolve organizational systems (personal and corporate)• Develop a new foundation for coordinated action — togetherAs you are well aware, our evolutionary trajectory has prepared us for this moment in history. We have the cognitive and emotional capacity to embark on this quest for syntony. The question is whether or not we have the will, the vision, and the conviction to do so.