Beyond Capitalism – Business Inspired By and In Harmony With Nature
Much has been explored recently about the flaws in our current economic paradigm and ways to move beyond capitalism. For instance: conscious capitalism, capitalism 2.0, regenerative capitalism, closed-loop economics, co-operatives, social enterprises; and yet so often the underlying logic that created our plethora of problems in the first place remains unquestioned, even unwittingly applied to these new ways of operating.
Contrary to popular belief, our capitalist economic system is not the root cause of our problems. Yes, it is unfit for purpose and life-damaging, along with our addiction to consumerism, but it is not the root. There is a deeper primary problem which is easily overlooked and seldom addressed.
Woven into our scientific-philosophy and socio-economic thinking at deep and partly unconscious levels is a corruption of the most fundamental degree. It is a flawed logic that sets us apart from each other and Nature – an illusion of separation. It is what Einstein spoke of as an optical illusion of consciousness which now manifests a devastating delusion.
Any new business approach that does not address this corrosive and deeply divisive logic at source will not last long. The new frontier of business must be rooted in a new logic – a new consciousness no less – that transcends this illusion so that solutions and remedies no longer apply the corrupting logic of yesterday.
As Peter Drucker famously said, ‘in times of turmoil the danger lies not in the turmoil itself but in facing it with yesterday’s logic.’
Yesterday’s logic understands the world and universe as purposeless, devoid of meaning and consciousness. It is the same materialistic worldview that pervades our media, arts, philosophy, education, science and economics today and is seldom questioned yet deeply divisive. It is a logic that pits us against each other where Nature is viewed as a ‘war of all against all’. It creates a carcinogenic way of attending and an evolutionary path of selfish ascendency where the cancer sets about destroy its host and then winds up killing itself. It is not in the least wise, and yet it is still what we teach ourselves to believe. This flawed logic leads to climate change, poverty, inequality, wars, patriarchy, egotism and capitalist consumerism.
Whilst the founders of Western philosophy respected the innate wisdom of life beyond the confines of any illusory sense of separation, over time we have tended towards egotism and materialism, debasing ourselves and demeaning Nature. Time is no longer on our side, and humanity now needs to live up to its name of Homo sapiens – wise beings – and wake-up to the insanity of our own mind-set.
The good news is that there is a transformation in our midst, a paradigm shift no less. The questioning of our short-termism, rampant consumerism and capitalistic approach comes with a rising trend of co-operatives, B-Corps, social entrepreneurship, open sourcing and creative commons approaches in business and beyond. We are reminded of Paul Hawkin’s discovery in his work Blessed Unrest that millions of organisations are now actively engaged in the emergence of a new paradigm. Yet we do need to awaken the importance of rooting any new paradigm in the wisdom of life beyond illusion i.e. in re-cognising that we are expressions of Nature and that our own consciousness is immersed within a wider, deeper matrix – the ground of our being – which the great minds of Jung, Einstein, Da Vinci, Confucius and many others before us all understood, along with our present day activists such as Satish Kumar, Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee and Thich Nhat Hanh.
Only with this re-cognition will we ensure our solutions are both inspired by AND in harmony with Nature, which is the only viable pathway towards a truly sustainable future for life on Earth. This shift asks us to activate a new way of leading; a new way in attending to ourselves, each other and Nature, characterised by a shift from fear to courage:
Fear-based leading Courage-based leading
Leader-follower relation Co-creative relation
Motivated by power Motivated by love
Blame culture Compassionate culture
Command and control Improvisational
By allowing space and time within our hectic busi-ness for an opening of our cognition to the inner and outer depths of ourselves, each other and Nature, we gain understanding of Nature as a powerful source of inspiration, and begin to realise the answers to our pressing challenges are all around and within us. For instance: the attunement that emerges within flocking and shoaling may provide insight for self-organising community groups; nested cycles of ecological transformation may provide insight for social development; diverse microbial soil communities beneath our feet may provide insight for localisation within globalisation; ecosystem-thinking may provide insight for ecological production processes and waste re-use; Nature’s regenerative cycles may provide insight for organisational resilience; deep immersions in Nature may provide psychological insights which aid our self-other-Nature attunement. From bacteria to bees and from Aboriginal Australian communities to the Scottish Highlands we start to uncover gems of truth to share in helping our neighbourhoods become vibrant and life-enhancing.
Three R’s to help ground our paradigm shift:
1) Re-designing: new ways of operating and innovating beyond ‘hurting’ into ‘healing’ (shifting from the take/make/waste paradigm to a regenerative approach which nourishes life).
2) Re-establishing: reconciling our self-other-Nature relation (attuning our self-Self within the embodiment of our neighbourhood, drawing on, for instance: eco-psychology, phenomenology, co-creative community engagement, leading-from-the-heart, contemplative practices, the way of Council, shamanic practices and deep Nature immersions).
3) Re-kindling: igniting ancient wisdom through the inspiration of Nature (enabling organisations, communities and societies not merely to reduce their adverse impact but to flourish in the years ahead by practising wise approaches to life that draw on, for instance: ecological thinking, eco-literacy, permaculture, biomimicry and indigenous wisdom).
Giles Hutchins applies twenty years business experience to the emergence of new business logic inspired and in harmony with nature, for a short video see here.
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