By Giles Hutchins
We are now settling into 2015 -- transformational times, no less, which quite naturally invoke a feeling of trepidation. Tectonic shifts in our socio-economic models, strategic and operational management, and leadership development are metamorphosing our prevalent paradigm into something as different in look and feel as a butterfly is from a caterpillar.
In the early stages of a pupa’s metamorphosis, cells quite different from the caterpillar organize into groups. These ‘imaginal cells’ run up against the opposition of the old caterpillar’s immune system, which perceives them as a threat to the caterpillar’s existence. Over time, as the system of the old caterpillar begins to break down, these new formations spawn forth the structures, processes and logic of the butterfly; ditto for the metamorphosis in our midst.
We know an era is ending and a new one being conceived when the fundamental assumptions and illusions of the old worldview are exhausted by their inability to deal with the challenges of the day. Yesterday’s logic understands nature as purposeless, devoid of meaning and consciousness. This materialism creates an illusion of separation which underpins our cultural tendency towards short-termist profiteering, control-based silo’ed thinking, and divide-and-rule behavior; what Gregory Bateson calls a paradigm for extinction. In short, we have become inured by a corrupting logic that undermines our very evolution.
The good news is that through recent discoveries in quantum science, depth psychology, neuroscience, facilitation ecology and many other fields of research, this outdated logic is now breaking down, giving way to a fresh yet ancient logic inspired by nature. Rather than viewing life as mechanistic with humans separate from and in competition with life, we are opening up to a deeper perspective of life as innately conscious, participatory and sacred. Yet, as economist Joseph Gustave Speth warns us, proposals for transforming our systemic logic will be derided and, when they gain traction, resisted at every turn -- much like the imaginal cells in the early stages of metamorphosis.
Many of today’s organizational pioneers and cultural change agents go unnoticed, catalyzing transformation by applying a deeper wisdom beyond illusion: compassion rather than competition; empathy rather than egotism; synchronicity rather than separateness; service rather than selfishness; reciprocity rather than robbery. And this is not new -- business finds its origins in value-creation through service provision for its community. Likewise, the roots of Western philosophy and science draw from nature’s wisdom. For the ancient Greeks, to embody the inherent grammar running throughout life is the ultimate goal of philosophy (the word originating from philia the Greek for ‘love’ and Sophia ‘wisdom’ – to love and embody the wisdom flowing throughout nature).
And yet many of today’s attempted solutions apply outdated, materialistic and anthropocentric logic without stepping back to question it. If we have any hope of rectifying the error of our ways in 2015, the logic that sets us apart from nature needs to be put right at its root. The word ‘radical’ originates from radix, the Latin for ‘root.' The paradigm shift now upon us has to deal with the root source of our flawed logic and so be radical – philosophically, scientifically, culturally and economically. Deep and complex influences within our own psyche, our collective consciousness and in the structures pervading our culture are being challenged to radically reshape; at its heart this paradigm shift challenges the very way we view the world and ourselves as embodied within it.
In recognizing that we are expressions within nature and that our own rational and intuitive consciousness is immersed within a deeper field -- the ground of our being – we may begin to open our minds to reality beyond the illusion of separation. It is this radical perspective of reality that the great minds of Jung, Einstein, Da Vinci, Confucius and many others understood. As spiritual ecologist Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee explains through his profound work, we are waking up to the awareness of our relationship between our individual soul and the world soul of nature. In his words, "It is only through awakening to an awareness of the sacred within creation, and its relationship to our own sacred nature, that we can begin to redeem the primal imbalance that lies at the root of our present predicament."
It is this recognition, no less, that will we ensure our solutions are both inspired by AND in harmony with nature -- the only viable future for humanity on Earth. Humanity is collectively on the cusp of evolving this deeper awareness, and each of us has the conscious choice in the days and weeks ahead to courageously embrace our destiny as imaginal cells in this metamorphic undertaking.
You can access a podcast series on this shift in our midst here bit.ly/1Gj31TL
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