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The Revolution in Consciousness for Regenerative Leadership – it starts right here right now

July 8, 2018

The time has come.

To look beyond the superficial and sense the deep.

To have the courage to engage in heart-felt wisdom.

To bring forth a way of living our hearts know is truly possible.

To flow with the evolutionary dynamic of Life rather than against it.

This is the time to metamorphose from breakdown into breakthrough.

To metamorphose beyond caterpillar-consciousness of reductive mechanism, individualistic materialism and patriarchal egotism  à into a new way of living and leading, one that is regenerative, that seeks harmony with Life, and that nourishes our selves, our systems and our societies.

To wake-up to a new-norm, a fresh yet ancient wisdom of Life, that is all around and within us if we so choose to see.

To wake-up beyond the ego-bubble that entraps us in false security and artifice, manipulation and projection, greed and narcissism, social toxicity and corrupting competition.

‘Our world will either undergo revolutionary changes, so far-reaching in character that humanity will totally transform its social relations and its very conception of life, or it will suffer an apocalypse that may well end humanity’s tenure on this planet.’ Murray Bookchin, social ecologist

Over the last 24mths, I have been spending deep-time with various senior leaders; leaders from quite different backgrounds, political outlooks and worldview perspectives.

My deep-time with this motley crew has revealed a unity flowing through this multiplicity of perspectives.

There is a visceral sense that something is deeply wrong with our current paradigm, and that if things continue as they are for much longer, we shall collectively loose our minds, becoming unhinged from our true humanity, unplugged from any deeper sense of place and purpose in this world.

And yet this maddening situation might just be what the doctor ordered – the very situation that might provoke our wake-up.  Today’s situation alerts us to the urgent requirement to metamorphose, to evolve, to move beyond where we are at, or get sucked-under by our shadow-projections and collective neurosis.

 

Thomas Kuhn in the early 1960s coined the term ‘paradigm shift’ when exploring seismic shifts in understanding. He found these shifts occur in discontinuous, revolutionary breaks. Such shifts are a healthy phase in the development of our understanding of reality. Ways of viewing the world are upgraded by bursting beyond the inertia enveloping an outdated construct.

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.

Economist Joseph Gustav Speth argues, in his book The Bridge At The End of The World that today’s challenges require nothing less than a revolution in consciousness to a new worldview. He says, ‘Today’s dominant worldview is simply too biased towards anthropocentrism, materialism, egocentrism, contempocentrism, reductionism, rationalism, and nationalism to sustain the changes needed.’ 

Try saying that quickly : )

It’s not a snappy sentence, but it’s bang-on.

While Speth points to a transformation in our midst, he warns us, ‘Proposals for transformational change will be derided and, when they gain traction, resisted at every turn. It is true but easy to say that the resistance will come from entrenched interests. It will also come from ourselves. We are the consumers and the employees, and we are easily seduced.’

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.

We are waking up to the reality that we are not separate self-serving organisms in a world devoid of intrinsic meaning or purpose. The story we’ve been serving up to each generation about how the world works is no longer accurate-enough nor adequate-enough. Our worldview of separation and competition is breaking down to reveal a deeper, wiser understanding.

The Story of Separateness à The Story of Participation, Co-creation & Connectedness

Specialists from all domains have long been pointing to the glaring fault-lines in our current cultural narrative of separation, control hyper-competition and consumerism.  And yet, we so often find ourselves inured in our own wilful blindness.

It reminds me of the line from Morpheus in the film The Matrix, ‘You have to understand, most people are not ready to be unplugged and many of them are so inured, so hopelessly dependent on the system, that they will fight to protect it.’

It is easy to become inured and institutionalised by habituated ways of thinking, and cultural distractions, that keep us comfortable yet numb.

The first step is to notice this in ourselves, to notice the habituations, acculturations and ego-traps inherent in our personas – this informs how we see the world, and how we relate with it: regeneratively or degeneratively – or as leadership specialist Otto Schamer puts it: presencing or absencing – this is our conscious choice, each moment.

It’s a dog-eat-dog world of hyper-competition – or so the saying goes.

It’s a VUCA world of increasing chaos and uncertainty – or so the managerial acronym alludes.

It’s an increasingly stress-filled world of mass distractions undermining our humanity – or so contemporary social scientists suggest.

How much of this is all in our minds? Self-perpetuating, self-created – delusional.

How much is our very attentiveness, our very being-in-the-world, central to today’s trilemma of social, economic and environmental crises;

How we see the world, the stories, mythologies and social constructs we tell ourselves and teach our children;

How we attend to the menstruating moment and mood within;

How we listen to and relate with others;

How we consume our lives and the lives of those around us?

‘Greed, envy, sloth, pride and gluttony: these are not vices anymore. No, these are marketing tools. Lust is our way of life. Envy is just a nudge towards another sale. Even in our relationships we consume each other, each of us looking for what we can get out of the other. Our appetites are often satisfied at the expense of those around us. In a dog-eat-dog world we lose part of our humanity.’ Jon Foreman

Has the time come to pause and reflect on not only the ever-widening and deepening ramifications of our busyness, values-void business and soul-sapping consumerism…

but also on the root causes underpinning the diverse yet related issues of mental illness, digital addiction, status anxiety, rising social inequality, biodiversity loss, ocean acidification, soil erosion, climate change and the rest?

‘There is a tendency in our age to rush to change the manifest effects of wrong actions without seriously considering the root causes’ – Joseph Milne, philosopher

In his well-articulated and passionate book How Soon Is Now? Daniel Pinchbeck sees our planetary and socio-economic crisis as a great opportunity for awakening and initiation. He perceives the crisis we face as a ‘cosmic trigger’ forcing not only rapid technological and social innovation, but also a psychic evolution – one might even dare to say, a ‘spiritual awakening’: A step-change from one level of consciousness to another. To a level of awakening where we sense into and harmonise with the wisdom of Life.

He notes:

‘The reductive scientific paradigm sees the universe as mechanistic, with genes as the master molecules determining our fate, but the new vision of biology is one of interdependence and symbiosis instead of cutthroat competition.

Much like single-celled organisms hundreds of millions of years ago, we find ourselves at a threshold where we must overcome our sense of separate identity to evolve new social organs. To survive, we must overcome limited self-interest and learn to cooperate for the benefit of the whole.  This requires a change in our social nature… If we are going to make a leap to a new state of consciousness and social system, we must overcome the subconscious beliefs that distort our perceptions of our world and ourselves… This is another reason that our self-transformation requires a spiritual evolution, an opening of consciousness, not just a political change.’

It is heartening to hear a social provocateur of Daniel’s credentials and media-influence speaking of the need for us to globally wake-up and embrace a deeper narrative about how the world works.

It was only five years ago that a well-respected global sustainability network politely but firmly asked me to veer away from writing articles about ‘consciousness awakening’ for fear of switching-off mainstream CSR folk.  Times they are a changing!

My recent TEDx directly addresses the now necessary revolution in consciousness required if we are to avoid irreversible catastrophe.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t2mUebq5PXU&feature=youtu.be

While I know in my heart that a global shift in consciousness is the only viable way ahead, I do recognise that this messaging is still uncomfortable for many in the sustainability and corporate responsibility domain to digest – a sign of how caught-up in the dominant logic of materialism we have become, that waking-up to the findings of scientists in the fields of biology, neuroscience, embodied cognition, sociology, depth psychology and quantum physics, is just too difficult for many, a step too far outside the comfort-zone.

Science now shows us that Life is innately connective, sentient and conscious. We now realise that our consciousness, our state-of-mind, influences the world around us, and that the trilemma of social, economic and ecological crises are interrelated with the health of our inner psyches.

Daniel speaks of engineering this wake-up ‘by repurposing the mass media and communications infrastructure…Instead of marketing consumerism and keeping people fearful, our networks of media and social tools can promote different values – responsible Earth-honouring ones … If we are going to address our critical situation, we need to develop a wide-ranging vision, a systems-level perspective… an invitation for humanity to undergo a global awakening… changing the underlying beliefs, values and ideology that make up the consciousness of the collective… we must go far beyond engagements that end with signing petitions or making monetary contributions. We must find a way to engage people, even deeper, in an ongoing process of transformation.’

It is natural that with Daniel’s media specialism he would see media as core to this, and it most certainly is – media and communications is at the heart of this – hence why I am an avid supporter of Positive News, one of the few decent ‘constructive-journalism’ news-media in the world today wisely dealing with today’s challenges while offering a wide-ranging vision of our emerging future.

I was heartened by the news earlier this year that Huffington Post has partnered up with the Presencing Institute to help host a ‘Transforming Capitalism Lab’ – the world needs more of these partnerships between media networks and consciousness-shifting educators and field-practitioners.

And yet, media, comms and education is only as good as the transformation it invokes in us.

This awakening is about our personal and collective courage to transform: psychologically, sociologically, ideologically, even spiritually.

NB : ‘Spiritual development’ does not mean we need to have a belief in God, theology or religious dogma: Its first-and-foremost adult developmental psychology, reaching beyond our ego-eyed squint, to open up our mind-heart-will, the journey towards wholeness. I know of many committed humanist-atheists who know the importance of this awakening in awareness – this necessary revolution in consciousness from separateness to connectedness.

This awakening is about how we live and lead, how we sense into our selves, into our sense of purpose, and also the purpose of our value-creating organisations, communities and institutions that make up our socio-economic order.

At the heart of a Regenerative Culture is Regenerative Leadership – a mind-set, a way of living, a way of engaging, that reaches beyond mechanistic reductive materialism and attunes to the wisdom of Life.

This embraces what Daniel Pinchbeck refers to as a ‘systemic perspective’ – a threshold crossing from reductive logic à systems-thinking à embodied living-systems-being.

This ‘systemic perspective’ has to be a lived dynamic, an emergent attentiveness that keeps us alive to the harmony of ever-changing wisdom innate within Nature.

It is what I refer to as the logic of Life, or Panarchy – the inherent dynamic we find at nested levels throughout living-systems. And when we attune with it, we become regenerative – not in an ideological sense – but in an embodied sense, in the way of our bodies regenerate, the ways our brain-waves cohere with our heart, the way to empathise and co-create with others, the way we feel the love, pain, compassion and suffering of all life.   This is the journey back home to where we belong – and where we begin to live up to our name as Homo sapiens ‘wise beings’.

The ex-CEO and Founder of VISA, Dee Hock, and his seminal work on Choardic organisations is spot-on here.

Chaordic, Panarchic, Living-Systems-Being, systemic perspective – call it what you will – what is vital here is the embodied re-cognition of Life – and its rich emergence – and the innate awareness we have within us to be vessels for the wisdom flowing through Life.  This requires an Open Mind, Open Heart and Open Will (to use Otto Scharmer’s phrase).

To truly open our will to the will of Life, Evolution, the Universe – flowing through us, beyond our small-minded petty ego-projections, self-serving power-plays and protection-rackets, into a vulnerable, courageous diving-in to Life – nothing less is called for.

This is crossing the threshold – activating Regenerative Leadership by opening ourselves up to what Life deeply calls of us.

It is in this movement towards the wisdom of Life that we sense the stillness within – a deep beingness that pervades our everyday busyness, if we so choose.

‘Returning to the Source is stillness, which is the way of Nature.’ – Lao Tzu, Tao Master

Without this living-systems-being, and its panarchic systems-level perspective, we run the grave risk of applying yesterday’s consciousness to tomorrow’s solutions.

To be frank, many of today’s bio-inspired innovations across the fields of design, process re-engineering, urban planning, organisational transformation and community building are still haunted by too much of yesterday’s linear control-based logic.

But we are learning, developing, metamorphosing. The growing pains are part of the unfolding process.

Now in 2018, there are ample insights, case studies, practitioners and scientific studies to draw from as we co-create our emerging future.

I first published articles about Business Inspired By Nature back in 2008, a decade ago.  Back then the context was different, over the last ten years I have sensed our consciousness beginning to metamorphose, and a tipping point is close at hand.

Igniting, catalysing and nurturing this systemic perspective – this ‘living-systems-being’ – within us, requires a psychological and mythological threshold to be crossed within us and within our relational dynamics, social norms and narratives.  It’s not for the faint-hearted. Yet it’s all hands on deck. Time is of the essence.

For Pinchbeck, Speth and many others, the time is ripe for this threshold crossing.

This is why the world-leading sustainability specialist, community-builder, and award-winning ‘world-changer’ Laura Storm and I have launched Regenerators.co

At Regenerators we are dedicated to enlivening a movement that supports this shift in consciousness from mechanism and control to connectedness and emergence. We explore what this means for leaders in organisations, communities, corporations, cities, start-ups and design agencies.

See here a short 5min video from a recent Learning Journey where diverse leaders explore, experience and embody this threshold-crossing into ‘living-systems-being’.

We dare to co-create a new model, a new way, enabling a regenerative future for all Life to flourish.  Why would we wish for anything less.

To be a part of this growing community, to receive insights and updates on upcoming papers, workshops, talks, Learning Journeys and next-stage developments you can sign-up at www.regenerators.co

Welcome aboard!

Prototyping the future starts today. Above all its fun, co-creative, purposeful, and evolutionary – it enables us to become more of who we truly are while opening us up to the magnificence of Life.

“You never change things by fighting against the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the old model obsolete.” Buckminster Fuller

 

To explore ‘the new paradigm’ further, join the Face Book community here

4 Comments leave one →
  1. Anna Pollock permalink
    July 9, 2018 12:52 am

    This afternoon our mutual friend Gina said to me “just go for it” and here dear Giles you have done just that. A brilliant summation albeit a lot for many to digest all at once. This is the path I have been on for a decade now and I can choose no other. Your post read not so much as a “call to arms” but a call to fly! Pilgrims, like the imaginal cells in a comatose caterpillar, are waking up all over the planet – it’s vital we connect, join up and support one another! Congrats to you and Laura – count me in!

  2. August 20, 2018 1:02 pm

    Giles May we share ?

    Excellent work, thank you. There is still hope ahead and that is so important to understand..

    Best regards,

    Jon Kramer

    On Sun, Jul 8, 2018 at 1:10 PM The Nature of Business wrote:

    > Giles Hutchins posted: “The time has come. To look beyond the superficial > and sense the deep. To have the courage to engage in heart-felt wisdom. To > bring forth a way of living our hearts know is truly possible. To flow with > the evolutionary dynamic of Life rather th” >

  3. August 20, 2018 1:16 pm

    I see on your blog that we are invited to share.

    Have a great day

  4. David Cameron permalink
    October 11, 2018 3:57 pm

    Our weekly Senior Quest group has chosen your book for reading and in-depth discussion. This blog made a fine “teaser” for building interest and establishing quickly some fundamentals of both analysis and solution. Thanks.

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