Human evolution is at a stage where we face a wide range of interconnected social, economic, technological and environmental problems that could lead to worldwide catastrophe. These problems form what are called ‘wicked problems‘ in the sense that they are interconnected, and solving one part of the problem may lead to a worsening of another part.
To approach these interconnected problems, we need an interconnected approach which taps into the distributed, diverse, co-creative, and collective intelligence of humanity and the ecological intelligence of the Earth, and which connects humanity at a higher consciousness level than the level from which our interconnected problems were first created.
Bottom-up, non-hierarchical, open-sourced, networked, peer-to-peer methodologies have a great potential in creating vast global coordinated actions. And already there are frequently occurring worldwide movements begun in a matter of days and weeks.
The interconnected solutions to these interconnected problems will come from moving humanity into the Empathic Age. When the amount of empathy increases in a system, solutions to many problems miraculously emerge – solutions that cannot just be rationally thought out – the solution arises out of the energy of connection with each other and with nature. Empathic communication methods and facilitation processes can help dramatically in guiding different people, demographics to understand and connect with each other. We can open-source the development and propagation of empathic communication and facilitation processes that bring people together can accelerate the oncoming of the Empathic Age. And our ability to empathise will increase as we do innerwork and become more self-aware.
Science and technology hold great potential in connecting us, whilst at the same time it holds the potential for runaway problems, and disconnecting us from our beingness. Technology can become like cancer cells, replicating without communication and coordination with other cells. To balance this out, we need to reconnect to our bodies, our emotions, to our communities, to indigenous wisdom, to nature and to earth.
In the Ken Wilber Integral theory approach each level of individual and social development transcends and includes the previous level. As we transcend to higher levels of rational development, we need to also include our emotions and our body awareness. We also want guide humanity to transcend the rational stage and move into higher consciousness ways of knowing.
In terms of social development, humanity transcended to a global stage of development, but in the process it has broken down rather than included the hyperlocal (town block and neighborhood level) and local (town level) stages of development ; our global economic, political, and technological forces have often ripped apart our local communities and structures. Humanity can launch a vast movement to relocalize and retribalize the economic, healthcare, entertainment, justice, political, education and food production sectors of our society. This is different than returning to previous local and tribal ways of life, because our local centers can be part a worldwide evolutionary learning network and cultural laboratory which prototypes methodologies, and then shares and picks up best practices and innovations. These best practices can model more empathic, connection-based, energy-based, and less dualistic processes for the different sectors of our societies. Punitive justice becomes restorative justice, transaction economics becomes a trust and sharing based economics, command-and-control politics becomes a facilitate synergy politics, ‘soaking up information’ education becomes transformational education, and reductionist and synthetic based medicine becomes holistic and energetic based medicine.
A social system works best when the social system has parts at all size scales (hyperlocal, local, …intermediary size scales…,global) which are autonomous, which can function to self-maintain, and self-heal itself (i.e. its holarchic. Relocalization helps bring about this structure.
Complex systems evolve so that each part plays many functions at once (called stacking functions in permaculture). If we attempt to organize the parts in a way so that they perform one function better without understanding the whole, leading to some roles that the parts play being destroyed, then the system will emerge malfunctioning side-effects. We will then have to try and find new solutions to those new malfunctions, which will then lead to more side-effects etc.. When the parts are not organized holistically at one level, they lead to side-effects at all size scales. For instance monoculture agriculture, or mono-use zoning of how neighborhoods seem to be well-ordered and allow easier top-down management. But they lead to all sorts of inefficiencies and mulitplying problems as we attempt to remedy those inefficiencies. In a healthy system parts/actions will often be playing a multiplicity of roles at the same time, roles that may be social, economic, agricultural, educational, healthcare, and entertainment at the same time. The way to approach a complex system at the hyperlocal and local scales is not an ordered top-down plan, and a command-and-control methodology, but rather an observe, listen, grow, tend, facilitate approach. The complex system then evolves into a state where it is adaptive and resilient, and where parts play multiple roles. The effects then ripple out to all size scales.