Testing TP after their attack
A typical class room - we had wooden pens with steel nibs and inkwells - very Dickensian.
A typical dormitory - this looks like the one that the new boys had next to Matron's bedroom on the first floor.
We wore shorts throughout the year if you were below a certain height - oh the majesty of wearing longs!
And for all you mums - this is how it all worked. Lights out for the new boys at 6.30pm!!!!
1 Pound pocket money per term.
1 home visit a term.
Chicken or Egg? - Is the change confronting how we organize to work driven by tech or by culture?
The answer to this question is important. For the large organizations have decided on Tech. Are they right? Or are they wasting their time and money?
So what is really going on?
I am convinced that we live today at a time of cultural evolution similar to the shift in consciousness that we also went through as a species at the time of the Reformation when we shifted from Mystery as the foundation of culture to Rationality. Today we shift from a machine to a natural metaphor. From cause and effect to impact. From separation to integration.
A recent book by Frederic Laloux speaks brilliantly to this idea and is supported by 50 years of work by the late Professor Brian Hall.
Here is the link to the book and here is my review.
A debate rages today as to whether the great organizations of our time can move forward and become networks and so more human. Vast consulting resources and new technology platforms are being devoted to this goal. Laloux, ex McKinsey, challenges those who wish to apply a mechanistic process to this kind of change. He also challenges those who think a bottom up approach will work.
He systematically builds the case that, just as individuals progress through a series of values shifts through life: an infant is attached to their mother - a two year old is breaking free - teens are different from children - people in the 30's different from teens - 40 year olds are different - 75 years olds are different, that the larger human culture moves along a development track as well.
He identifies the attributes of these cultural shifts in detail - from a kind of gang leader in a foundation culture like Russia and so President Putin - where personal loyalty is everything - and the typical corporate culture where ROI and metrics are everything and several other stages both in between and after. He makes no value judgement - a kid is a kid and has to be that. But he is clear. There is a trajectory of stages that gets more complex. He gives each stage a colour to help us identify them.
The crux of his book is a focus on what we are experiencing today. All the cultural steps until now have been part of a progression but the one that confronts us now - and why it is so hard to cope with - is a bifurcation. This is a shift in world view from an external bias - to an internal bias where we are not only motivated by internal things but also see ourselves as being part of everything. This new worldview has NO SEPARATION. He gives this the colour of Teal.
This is no longer a stage that can be reached along a progression. It's not "More" it is different.
In this new world view all is integrated. In the old world all is separate. There can be no shift from separate to integrated. There can only be a process of transformation. A caterpillar cannot by itself become a butterfly. It has to undergo a kind of death and resurrection to make the shift from crawler to a winged being - there can be no hybrid form.
In this context he makes a powerful statement. An organization is itself limited by the values and world view of the leader. So an organization that has a CEO that still is in the external POV, has no chance of transforming. The power of the old will be too much.
He is also cautious about the world view that is just on the edge of the bifurcation - Green - this is the messy utopian edge view that rejects hierarchy and structure and that believes passionately in a bottom up transformation for organizations. There is no evidence that this has ever occurred.
On the other hand there is a lot of evidence for what has worked. This transformation has taken place in new organizations with the transformed leader as the catalyst. The book is filled with examples of Teal Organizations. Some are quite old. All share the same rules ands structure. Here is another key observation. The new is known. To those that are prepared to look and observe.
Laloux's views stem from observation not from a theory of the day. He has observed what works and what does not and he can see the rules that emerge in all. His views therefore are like Newton and gravity.
So is this just one man's view and will it be easy to challenge him?
I am sure that McKinsey and others like them will want to find a way that fits their culture that will help the Fortune 500 change. They have to find an engineering way to the future. And on the other hand there are many who hold onto the utopian view that there is no structure and that if we only got rid of hierarchy, it would be enough. Both will struggle with this book. After all how can just one person and one set of data set the rules for the revolution?
For me the final test for the validity of Laloux's work is that it is confirmed by the work of the late Dr Brian Hall.
Hall's work began more than 40 years ago by an exhaustive codification of human values. He started as a social anthropologist (His great work is contained in his book Values Shift and his questionnaire that reveals your values and your cultural development track - Values Technology) He uses different labels but his cultural landscape matches Laloux precisely. As do his two big conditions: that any organization is limited by the values of its leader. And that there is a bifurcation at the point of where we shift from an external to an internal POV. Both men use very different language but their conclusions are the same. Both started from opposite ends of the issue and meet in the same place. This is how all great discoveries take place. This is a Koch/Pasteur or Darwin/Wallace moment when two great minds working in isolation come to the same dramatic conclusion. And so maybe change the world?
Laloux has the advantage on Hall in that he writes today when the issue of transformation is at the top of the agenda and when there is so much technology that allows such an organization to exist. Hall was working back in the 1980's and 1990's when this was seen as esoteric. Hall also writes in an academic style whereas Laloux writes for the reader of today.
I am looking forward to the connection between Hall and Laloux. There is so much to learn from each other and there are many disciples of Hall's work who will be ready to work with Laloux.
In the meantime, I draw some conclusions of my own. The transformation that Laloux and Hall see cannot take place as a result of any mechanical process or be even an act of will. A caterpillar has to "die" to transform. A bifurcation by definition is violent adjustment to an opposing state. It is not a rational act. In my own case 25 years years ago, I felt as if I was going mad. My friends and colleagues certainly thought so! I did not know what was happening to me but in the end I had to leave the only world I knew for a new life that I knew nothing about. Now I know but then it was a mystery. Then few were experiencing this now many are. What is going on?
What I observe is that more and more individuals react to modern life by taking one of three choices - but choices like toothpaste in a tube. It's all about the pressure of the inhuman life that is the modern Amber Culture. Many retreat into a primitive culture of Red or Phase I (Laloux/Hall). We see this in the growth of fundamentalism of all kinds. Many stick to Amber/Phase II and hope for a spot in the current system. The "slaves" serve the masters in the hope of a bone. But, more and more people transform and so - like the Pilgrims - choose to live in another culture alongside the old. They have no choice. They have to get out. And when they do, they find themselves alone and poor.
But this too is changing.
They, like planetary dust are coagulating and creating the new structures along the lines of Laloux's book. The new is emerging. What Laloux will do by codifying this is to act as an accelerator. With a codified design, the new can go there quickly. The transformed will have a map that helps them make sense of their predicament. The transformed will have a design to help them get together with others and so create a new new world.
And when they have build enough of the new, then the rest will follow.
If I could give this book 10 stars I would
In this short, 3 part series I have been musing about how large organizations will make the shift from Hierarchies to "Wirearchies" (Jon Husband's great insight). Much of "Big Consulting" and "Big Tech" are selling their services in the hope that CEO's will believe that you can get from A to C, or Hierarchy to Wirearchy, by a set of incremental steps in a staged and mechanical way.
I hope that posts 1 and 2 might offer up reasonable doubt for that hope. In summary, I state that the shift from Hierarchy to Wirearchy starts always with the individual who experiences a spiritual death of their old ego and a spirtual birth of a new persona. A new persona that experiences being fully integrated into the flows of the universe. I make the case that this only happens on the terms of the individual and cannot happen as a result of any direct kinetic external agency.
You cannot use mechanics, data and argument to force this change.
But I do say that this kind of birth can be made easier, faster and with less pain, if the person enduring the shift has the help of a "Midwife"/Coach. This helper though has to meet two conditions to be of any use. He/she has to have made the shift themselves. For the power of the helper is energetic. There is no kinetic force here but only "attraction" and energetic support. I also make the point that such a helper also needs to have many of the "skills" required to navigate and to love in the new world. He/she is a cultural advisor.
For the new person has only known the old world. He or she is like the girlfriend following Crocodile Dundee into the outback.
If you think that you can use the old rules in the new place, you will get into trouble. But all your life you have used the old rules. So the transformed person has a profound challenge early in their new life. They tend to default back to the old rules and can risk leaving the new and returning to the old.
For let's be clear, Wirearchy is a "New World" as America was the New World for immigrants in the 1880's. This world has many cultural rules that are the opposite of the old but new comers, like those just off the boat at Ellis Island only know their old habits. The "midwife"/coach can also act as part of a Newcomers Association and help make the cultural transition easier.
If we follow the Dundee story, imagine if your guide to the Outback was another New Yorker? Feels wrong doesn't it? So why would you retain a consulting firm from the old culture to help you find your way around the new?
If we can agree on how this change takes place and who can help us make this best, let's get onto the main point of this post, is there a process that can help this transformation at scale? There is and its another fractal of the personal transformation. Let's see a real example.
This is how Channel Nine - Now the Nine Network for Social Media in St Louis (a major PBS TV Station) has done ths. The diagrams come from the work of Valdis Krebs - one of the great thinkers of how networks really work.
Valdis - and his long term ally June Holley - call this process "Network Weaving". As we look at the St Louis example, we can see the larger set of rules.
Channel Nine began by rethinking its role. No longer ONLY a broadcaster, it recognized that as a non profit and a community owned organization, it had a trust in St Louis that maybe no other organization had. The station had a context for this change. St Louis was a city in decline. The station's future depended on St Louis's future.
It also knew that while St Louis had many great organizations that all of these worked on their own and so had limited power to help St Louis restore its old energy as a city. We see this in the first step in the slide. We see a number of great potential nodes and small networks that had very little power to help St Louis because they were not connected and had no habit of working with each other.
So in Phase I, the second stage in the slide, the station acted as a "Connector" it found projects that the larger city needed and hosted meetings of the organizations that had never worked with each other before. It created a safe environment where cooperation and collaboration started to be normal.
At first, Channel Nine was the centre and was the connector.
But then, as collaboration was experienced more, the organizations started to reach out to each other on their own. The common and greater purpose remained the same though - help make St Louis great again. Each organization started to see what Channel Nine had seen - that they all depended on the larger City doing well. The larger context helped them all. The new habits and the new trust expanded and others in St Louis joined.
Meanwhile, Channel Nine expanded its reach beyond St Louis and began to weave with other TV and radio stations across the nation. For here too, Channel Nine depended on the health and the success of the larger ecosystem that was public media. Channel Nine could not sustain itself with out the larger system. The CEO was using the business POV of a Teal organization. Jack Galmiche knew that only if 9 expanded its context for success could it find success. This was not a Kumbaya call but a hard nosed call based on a better POV.
Again this work in the pub media world started with St Louis in the centre, But soon, the most ready stations started this whole process in their cities and now this community engagment network model is spreading across the system.
It's all fractal!
While this was going on, the core of the network in St Louis and in Pub Media grew more dense. In St Louis, the Public Radio station has moved in next door and has taken on the Beacon - an online New organization that had been incubated at Channel Nine. In many cities in the US the Radio and TV stations are linking up and are creating the same new habits of trust locally. Community Engagement is now seen as core to the Pub Media future. Weaving is the process.
Rust belt cities and cities that depended on Hirearchy are creating a new economy based on Wirearchy. St Louis is now seeing that it is in full revival mode and is becoming a startup centre. We can now see the kind of emergent dense core that is in the last part of the slide. St Louis is reawakening to life. St Louis organizations are making the shift.
This Weaving/Hosting/Creating Safe Environments is I think the way ahead for us. Here is the challenge offered by Frederic Laloux - "What can be done is to create environments that are conducive to growing into later stages. When someone is surrounded by peers who already see the world from a more complex perspective, in a context safe enough to explore inner conflicts, chances are higher that the person will make the leap"
I belong to such a network now - Change Agents World Wide - I joined it because I am convinced that acting alone was no longer good enough. I too had to be part of a larger network force that could work like this. CAWW is a network made up of people that have made this transformation. It also has the cultural skills and technical skills needed to do well in the New World of Wirearchy.
I think that much of our work will be "Weaving" for now. Connecting others as individuals and as other networks. We already reach to individuals inside traditional organizations and offer those change agents inside the warm feeling of being supported. We reach out to other organizations that have made the shift and connect them to each other. We reach out to other networks that also need to scale.
Our goal is to find the Tipping Point as St Louis seems to have found for itself. If we can connect to the first 12%, the rest will take care of itself.
And the math shows that this may not be as hard as you think. Imagine that you had 4 friends who really trusted you. Imagine that each of them had 4 other friends who really trusted them. Not too hard to imagine? Now extend this to the power of 4 and see what a trust network can influence.
2 - 16
3 - 81
5 - 625
8 - 4,096
13 - 28,561
34 - 1,336,336
55 - 9,150, 625
89 - 62, 742,241
144 - 429, 981, 696
So a Network like CAWW with 55 members has the potential to reach 9 million people. With 89, we could reach 63 million. With 144 (The real max Dunbar number) we could reach 430 million. The Tipping Point is not that far away or so hard to find in this context.
This is the leverage of real trust networks.
In part 4 of this series I am going to offer up a lot of the science that is behind all of this. For what we are tallking about are natural processes in natural systems and everything in nature is bound by rules and by math. There is a hard foundation to this spiritual journey.
Is information enough to transform our lives and our organizations? Can transformation take place as a result of a rational process and data? Is transformation an incremental process or a total process? This is part 2 of a short series that is looking at these questions.
In part 1 I made the case that real transformation cannot be incremental and also cannot be rational. Here is part 1 again if you need to catch up with where I am going with this. Summary - transformation is a bifurcation and so has to be energetic. It is a natural process only.
In part 2 we are going to explore how people are influenced by other people to transform. How can we work with a natural process - like birth - and make it easier?
If we know how to do this, then we might know how to accelerate the process by which human culture may progress from a machine and separate wordview to a natural and integrated one.
So here again is the cultural and organizational journey.
We shift from an external POV rooted in separation and in a kinetic modality of force/cause and effect to an internal POV rooted in integration in an energetic modality where there are no simple direct linkages of cause and effect.
Or in another way of seeing this - we move from a world that is simple and complicated to a world that is complex or chaotic. We move from machine to life as the underpinning metaphor.
The traditional consulting who want to capitalize on how to make a business helping organizations make this shift operate from the world on the left. It's all about power/force - it's kinetic - it depends on cause and effect. It is all about separation - them and us.
They are more clever than you are. They use data and analysis. They use physical and kinetic tools. They seek to measure the ROI in $.
Do you feel the disonnance of this? How can a machine make you into a human again?
Only another human can help a human be more human.
There can be no use of power or force. It's like having a baby.
As the old us dies, the new has to be born and as with all new borns, the new us is weak, confused and very vulnerable. It helps to have a midwife. A midwife whose main qualification is that he/she has been through this process themselves. This person is not a parent. For the new you is a true adult. This person helps you in the birth process. They will need you less and less very quickly once they have found their feet.
Here is Frederic Laloux on this point: "No one can be made to evolve in consciousness, even with the best of intentions—a hard truth for coaches and consultants, who wish they could help organizational leaders adopt a more complex worldview by the power of conviction."
Only you can awken. No one can do this for you. But others can be there for you. It is so scary that it might be essential for others to be there for you. Who can forget this scene in the Mission. How fortunate to have his spiritual midwife by his side too.
The Midwife/Coach "Embodies" the energy of the new. That is where the power is. It is not in the word but in the word made flesh. It is your peers who will help you.
So we know what the smallest fractal of the whole is. A person is ready and then transforms. No readiness, no transformation. It's all up to that person. But when it happens, this is a very painful moment. It helps to have a spiritual midwife in attendance.
This is the process. There is no other.
If we know this at the node level, how do we scale this so that we can reach a critical mass more quickly?
There is a 500 year old story that ofers us guidance here. But, as caveat, as I tell the story, I declare that I am not a Christian or a member of any religion. My answer is not "religion" but about an organized response to what religion became 500 years ago and a renewed response to what it is today. A response from inside. Response to hubris and to fear. A response rooted in love but stiffened by courage and by learning.
In response to the sickness of the church and the power of the Reformation, a small group of men - who had all been soldiers and knew all about the sins of the world came together and founded the Society of Jesus. Their approach was unique and applies to the work ahead for us today. They chose not to preach the word. They chose not to retreat from the world. They chose to go out into the world - even to China and Japan- and live the word and if necessary to die for the word.
Their appeal was embodied in their flesh. Their discipline was to be aware. They were selected with great rigour as humans who had grown up. In 100 years of the founding by 7 men, this small band ran 700 schools and sat by the right hand of most of the rulers of the world. They had this place because they had the trust - for they did not preach. They adapted to the culture of the place they worked in. They listened and had compassion - even for the Emperor of China - who saw his mentor Francis Xavier as his grandfather.
They brought humanity back to the church. They were often in great conflict with the church that they served. They are still often in conflict with it. But it is remarkable that the new pope is himself a Jesuit and he is clearly out to reform his church once again.
And what did he do? His first steps were to live what he wanted to see in the church. He stepped away from the separation and the pomp. He embodies what he hopes for the church. He lives the new.
Pope Francis embodies the values of the world to come. Here we see what I think to be the key issue for large traditional organizations. They can only evolve as far as their leader.
Frederic Laloux makes this point: "Can a middle manager put Teal practices in place for the department he is responsible for? When I am asked this question, as much as I would like to believe the opposite, I tell people not to waste their energy trying. Experience shows that efforts to bring Teal practices into subsets of organizations bear fruit, at best, only for a short while. If the CEO and the top leadership see the world through Amber or Orange lenses (Green’s tolerance allows for more hope), they will consider the Teal experiment frivolous, if not outright dangerous.
They might allow it for a while until they understand what is going on. But ultimately, the pyramid will get its way and reassert control. In the process, the energy that was invested often turns into bitterness and cynicism.
I wish I could offer more hope. But I simply haven’t come across a single example of a unit, plant, or department that has operated to any degree with Teal practices for a substantial amount of time to show otherwise. And while the experiment lasted, the people in those units often had to fight, again and again, with the big bosses outside of their unit to defend their unorthodox ways of operating."
This is a tall order. Can we all wait for a leader like Pope Francis? I don't think so.
So how then might we still use the ideas of peers and embodiment and attraction? Laloux offers a hint: "What can be done is to create environments that are conducive to growing into later stages. When someone is surrounded by peers who already see the world from a more complex perspective, in a context safe enough to explore inner conflicts, chances are higher that the person will make the leap"
I then ask, how do we do this and who is best equipped to help?
I will do my best to offer up my answer in part 3. But in advance, I posit that those are best equipped to help, have made the transformation themselves. That they live the new and embody it. That they have the scale to offer the hand of friendship and love throughout the world.
In short I think we need a large network of the transformed whose mission is to be there for those that are ready and to help them help others get ready.
I am deliberately using language here that you do not read in consulting or in business. I use this language because part of being human is to speak like a person. But the ideas behind all of this are not Kumbaya. Underneath the langauge is the science of what is going on. Just as behind the Reformation was science based on observation.
There is much science here. And if you wish to know more - please read Frederic Laloux's book - I think that this is the most important resource that I have yet found on this transformation. It's not the whole thing but it is a great entry point into the hard stuff that underpins all of this.
The great hope for the big consulting firms and ESN Tech firms today is that they will find the technical path to help their big clients - the ones that can pay the $25 million fees - make the shift from top down machine organizations to agile networks. "Hire us and we will give you the technology to make the change".
Can they do this? Is it possible? This short post is the first in a short series that will make the case that you cannot get from A to C via B. At the root of my case is this, what is really required is a "Transformation" and transformation is not a mechanical process that goes in steps from A to C. It is a bifurcation.
This is a transformation. A creature with a body plan designed for crawling on land and in trees becomes a creature with a body plan that is designed for flight. Other than life itself, they share nothing. The caterpillar cannot start to thin out, grow small wings, grow small legs etc all incrementally as a mechanical process. Instead it enters a kind of death, pupation, and emerges as an entirely new creature. It is either a caterpillar, a pupa, or a butterfly. There cannot be a direct linkage between A and C.
So with this natural process as our guide, let's look at the social challenge of our time.
So here is the Caterpillar and the Butterfly of organizations. Other than a salary in the intersection, each element is the opposite of the other. The world we grew up in is on the left. That is our A. The world we seek is on the Right. Our C.
The big consulting firms and the big social tech firms hope that they can get you to shift one bit at a time until you end up on the right.
I just don't see how this is possible. For all the parts on each side are interlocking and support each other. Imagine how you take supervision out of a traditional organization and still keep performance management and job grading? Imagine taking out clear rules but keeping in supervision? How do you replace exclusivity with trust and not change it all.
Has this ever been done? I defy anyone to find one case of a traditional organization that has gone from A to C along an incremental path. It's all or nothing folks.
My bet is that it is impossible to get frm A to C by using any kind of practice that is derived from A.
So what do we know that will help? Anything?
We do know how this transformation works with the individual.
Some individuals experience true spiritual conversion. In a time of agony, shame and pain, the old persona suffers a kind of death. And a new one emerges. The body remains but the person has been transformed. The person who once lived in fear and alone in the venn on the left has died. And in their place stands a new person. Who is never alone but now is integrated into all of life. They are so different that many of their old friends do not recognize them.
What drives this? What drives the caterpillar? What drives the baby to be born? It's a mystery.
Worse, often this shift is not desired. In the bible, this is called the "Agony" Jesus sweated blood and begged to be excused from this fate. But he could not. When our old self dies, it dies kicking. All we know is our old self.
I had no plan to be different. I thought I was going mad when it happened to me. So much so that I entered the care of a doctor. I did not want this but I had no control over it. The new feelings just grew and grew. In the end, the new me burst out of my chest.
Until recently, very few people made this transition from being a person who believes in the concrete world as their only reality where we live alone and separate from everything. But for reasons that I do not understand, more and more people are going through this process.
This is where I think we can have hope and where we can even make plans to accelerate the transformation.
As more people transform from left to right, they create a critical mass of new energy. As this builds, it attracts more and more people out of the world on the left to the one on the right. It is the energy, like a gravity, that is accelerating the shift. As the mass increases, so will the pace and the extent of the shift.
I suspect that, as the people on the right get attached to each other, they will create a force that will act like the sun does with the planets. It will hold the system together and it will also shine its energy out into the darkness and fill the void with light and so with life.
So if this is the metaphor - how might this happen in "Real Life"?
In part 2 we will start to explore this.
In Part 1 of this series, I showed that the people are ready for the transformation of the organization to a more social and networked model. In Part 2, I showed the situation where an established leader of a leading traditional organization had to make such a massive change.
Today, let's look at at what such a change process might be like and why having a network like Change Agents Worldwide as your facilitators would make sense.
Cultural Change is like going to live in another country - it is not a mechanical process
Imagine if you lived in rural Ireland in the 1880's.
Your first language might not be English. Your culture would be of a peasant in a state ruled by a foreign power who made all the rules without any participation by you. Your master would be English who lived a very different life than you. You would not own your farm and could be dispossed at any time. Millions had been already. But this was the only life that you knew. It was your normal. It was your culture. You were criticized by your masters for not having more self initiative. But there was never going to be any change to this, so long as you lived in Ireland.
Now you have a brother who lives in New York. He writes to you often about life in America. You and your family share his letters that are read to you by the priest. For you do not know how to read. You get a sense that his life is better. It is hard in New York but he has hope. Especially he has hope for his kids, who are at school. Who can read and speak English. Your nephew is going to join the police where a cousin is a sergeant. Your brother is deeply involved in politics and has become part of the Irish group that runs the local ward.
What you hear above all, is that your brother has much more opportunity and freedom than you do in Ireland. But, so long as you continue to live in Ireland, you cannot get free of the grip of your local culture.
You cannot become like your brother so long as you stay home. This is the critical issue.
This is where your brother lives and he and his family become American by being immersed in the new culture. Nearly every rule that governed life in the old country is the opposite here.
This is what it means to have cultural change!
Some observations about what cultural change is and so how to experience it
Culture can only be learned by prolonged immersion - Culture is a set of unspoken rules about social habits and expectations that are shared by a community. Like a language, or like learning to drive a car or to fly a plane, they have to be habituated. So they can only be learned by an immersive process.
So, no amount of books, courses and tuition will change a culture. Nor will orders to change how you think or live. Nor will teachers who are not of the new culture themselves. But this is how we have been used to "Change" in organizations.
So You Can't Change the Whole Place at Once - The Irish went to New York one family or one Village at a time. The whole of Ireland did not cross at one time.
In part 2 we saw that Fisher built Dreadnoughts one ship at a time. He could not transform the whole Navy at once.
It is best to use the Adoption Theory process here. Start with the most ready. Work it out with them. Then enlist them to help with the next most ready and so on. Peers must help peers. Successful immigrants create support systems in the new place. The Irish who were resented by many, organized to look after each other and dominated neighbourhoods, polictics and the police.
Rely mainly on peers to help each new wave. Tell lots of stories. Enable folks to hold real power in the new.
Set Up Facilitating Structures to support and accelerate - Make it easy! - Major Shipping lines redesigned their entire business to support mass immigration. They redesigned their ships, marketing, costs to focus on this group. This was where they made their money too! Ellis Island was set up to facilitate the arrival process too.
There will be the equivalent processes for a process to help a large organization make the shift.
Build a New World - In the 1880's, immigrants got on a ship and went to a new world literally. By so doing, they could leave the old behind and be immersed in the new. You have to create this reality too.
You can't still be in Ireland and become American.
A new culture has to be embodied. People have to move to a new place in physical terms where the new rules apply and that is organized itself according to the new rules. You cannot still live in an Irish Rural Village and try and be American. The Dreadnought was very different from older ships.
This implies not only a new kind of web environment but a new approach to face to face and what is an office - if there is an office!
Summary of the Work
This is not your typical "Change Management Process". It is not about engineering. It is about understanding how humans behave.
It is a dance rather than a set meal.
It is all about trust and in the end it is about love. This is not a term used much in business but it is a term understood in the high performing part of the military. The consultant cannot be the outsider. The consultant has to become the client. Such an assigment might take many years to complete.
Such work demands a long term partnership with advisors who know their place. For in this work 99% of the work has to be done by the client or it will fail. Such an approach demands a certain kind of ego and native experience.
It is this high leverage that keeps the costs down for the client. The consulting costs are trivial when compared to the effort put in by the client.
So why hire CAWW to help you do this?
We have a unique perspective of Old and New - There are 2 types of people in CAW. There are those like me who have been natives of the new culture for a very long time. We know it not because we have read a few articles but because we have long since left the old country and we are natives of the new. Natives who not only know all about this by experience but also have ourselves large networks of support and talent.
There are also others who are still in the corporate world. They are like portals into the system that has to be changed. So CAWW lives both in the old and in the new country.
We have created a New Country - Whether we are a freelancer or still have a job in CAWW - we both inhabit a new country that models the form and behaviour of what your new country may be like.
We have leadership in a vast range of related issues - Every area of concern has at least one leader in CAWW. If there might be a missing aspect, the network can fill the gap.
We are global and have great diversity - Members are of many nationalities and so can help with the cultural nuances of a global customer. Being global, we are also on call 24/7.
CAWW does not have the cost burn rate that drives the need to bill typically - There is no office. There is no senior partner overide. There are no recuiting costs. The admin costs are tiny compared to a conventional practice. CAWW is a true network.
This is a portrait of Admiral Sir John Fisher as First Sea Lord. To save the Royal Navy and to push it ahead of all other navies at at time, he set in motion a change in culture that risked losing it all. He knew that if he did not make this change, another navy, the US, France or Germany would do what had to be done and then the RN would never catch up.
His story will be retold soon in modern organizational life.
Some leader, whose organization is at the top of the tree, will recognize that, unless he or he makes the real change, a competitor will and that will be the end.
This person will make this change, knowing that it also will mean that all the rules that made that organization #1 will have to change and that the organization will have to start again from scratch. But they will make it knowing that, when you have the headstart in this type of race, you will keep the lead.
I tell this story as part 2 of a 3 part series (Part 1 is here) on why and how this change will happen and why I think that Change Agents Worldwide or CAWW, the network I have just joined, may be able to help in this great matter.
In this story we will look at 3 ships and the century long transition it took for the RN to shift from sail to the modern battleship. It is a story of how success and power holds you back. It is a story of how it takes a wrenching change from the TOP to shift a powerful player in an old paradigm to take leadership in the new.
In part 1 of this series, I told the story of how the people change. Millions of people are ready for the network world and the technology that will support this is here. It just all has to be put together in the right way. This is what our story is all about.
HMS Victory was built in the 1760's. She was already an old ship by 1805 and the Battle of Trafalgar where the RN took hold of a global dominance that it held until 1918.
Here she is in about 1900.
She embodied not only the paradigm of sail and wood but also as importantly a culture.
It was her culture that lived on well into the age of steam, steel and turret guns. As much as anything, this was what Fisher had to change. For the real problem that faced him, and all navies, was that if you used the culture of Nelson in a modern warship, you would fail. The culture would not support the new tool to have the full use of its new power.
Here is what Fisher had to work to overcome.
In Nelson's navy, the #1 rule in combat was to get in close. It was to close the enemy and pound. It was all about courage and the kind of training that meant that the RN would out gun the enemy. Any one who stood back could risk execution as Admiral Byng found who was shot for cowardice.
This would make it very hard for a big gun ship who could shoot miles away. The RN did not shoot from far away. In Nelson's navy, real men got close. It was all about courage and class. It was bad form to use science or distance.
In the sail navy, watch officers were gods. So if you were an engineer, you had no standing. This was going to make it very hard for engineers who would be needed to run all the machinery of the steam navy. The Navy saw itself as a club of gentlemen. They saw engineers as lower class people who had got their place not through family and character but by going to school.
These kind of cultural differences are what holds back the traditional organization today. We have a view of the kind of relationships that are normal and best. These do not work in the network world. We have a view of the kind of skills and the kind of person that fits best too. These skills and these kinds of people are not enough in the network world either.
So the RN then, and we today, end up with something that looks modern but that actually has very little capability when compared with what could be possible.
And this is what this looks like. HMS Inflexible in 1881. Her first captain, had been Fisher himself!
At first glance , she may look quite modern to you. She is made of steel. She is steam driven. She has a huge turret amidships with 16 inch guns. She has masts but only as insurance.
But she is not modern and has very little real capability. And the reason is that she is operated and so designed using Nelsonic culture.
The big guns are muzzle loaders and take a long time to load. They have to be swung into line with the body of the ship and are loaded and rammed from there. She is designed to fight alongside the enemy. Her engineering crew have very little status. One of the key signs of success in the navy at this time was how clean the ship was. Hard to pull off when powered by coal.
She looked mean but really it was the mystique of the RN that was her real power.
From the 1880's until 1905, this is what navies did. They all added features of the new but all kept the old culture. Is this not what most organizations are doing too today?
But, by 1900, all navies were wondering if a ship that only had big guns and that would enagage at long distance would be the winner. Of course such a ship would invalidate doctrine and make all existing ships obsolete overnight. But who knew, so no one made the dangerous move.
In 1905 this idea was tested at the Battle of Tsushima. Here the Japanese under Admiral Togo demolished the Russian fleet. The opening shots were fired at 6,200 metres disabling the Russian flag ship. Later analysis showed that only the big guns had any value. It was also clear that being slow was fatal. Much more engineering had to go into the propulsion.
So Fisher was faced with a terrible decision. If he built a ship that embodied the new culture, he would make very ship in the RN obsolete and he would up end the operational culture. All other navies could start from ground zero with him. But if he did not, then the RN would lose for sure.
This is where a leader is going to find themselves today. We are going to see a new entrant demolish an old one using the new. We are going to see the proof of the value of the network. And then a brave leader of the old will have to take the plunge and go for the new themselves.
Here she is. HMS Dreadnought of 1905/6. She is the embodiment of the new.
She has steam turbines and not reciprocating engines. She used coal but coal that was mixed with oil to give a higher burn. She was faster than any other capital ship in the world.
She had 10 12 inch guns in five turrets and had a barrage twice the weight of any other ship.
She was designed to fight at a distance and she had to have first class engineers and gunners.
She could sink an entire opposing fleet of old ships.
This is what it is like to put the whole package together.
Of course, Fisher met with massive opposition inside the leadership of the Navy. For in producing Dreadnought he hurt many of his peers who were completely invested in the old. But he also saved the navy. By being first, the RN stayed ahead of all others and kept its dominance until the end of WWI.
The hard work will be cultural design. Culture is created by having a set of habits. Learning a new culture then is like learning to fly. You can read every book under the sun, but in the end you have get into a cockpit with a person who is a pilot and learn new habits - many of which don't make any sense - from this person. Only when these habits are "Habitual" and so you don't have to think about them - do you know how to fly. And even then, you have other stages. No Navy pilot lands on the deck of a carrier without a series of new learnings under their belt. Learnings that are best learned from a person that has done all of this and is a personal master of the issue.
The old organization that embraces the new will not able to stop learning when they solo in a single engine Cessna. This is Navy flying.
In the third and last post of this series, I will make the case for why it is likely that you might find such instructors in CAWW and not in a conventional practice.
What does this mean to me and maybe even for you? The quick answer is that this is all about the great cultural transition from a machine context to a natural or networked one. The quick answer is that I think the time has come for the change to take place in a leading organization that will set the stage for everyone else. The quick answer is that such an organization will need the support of people who have made the change themselves and who embody and live this change.
The Tipping Point needs more weight to "Cross the Chasm". I and others cannot help on our own. I and others like me need the power of our own network to do this work.
The cells have to form a molecule!
So here are 2 stories that have helped me understand that now is the time and this is the work. But first, some context.
The Initial Phase of the Change Process is Done
My regular readers know that I am usually early on issues. For as long as I have been blogging - Since 2002 - I have been saying that our mechanistic way of seeing the world is taking us down a path to failure. I have been saying that a network model for life has a chance of offering us and our kids a future. I have been saying that the transition from the old the new is a step in our development as a species.
These mad ravings are not so mad anymore.
What seemed odd back in 2002 - 2010 is now more mainstream. Many of us, as individuals, have stepped out of the traditional organizations and out of the job world. This group is in the millions now.
The idea of networks is now widely understood. After all, most of us inhabit social networks now as our normal. This group is in the billions.
But most organizations remain bound by the old rules. The power systems all use the old models. Only a handful of organizations have made the move. Many organizations play with the new. They use the buzz words. They hire, at great expense, software vendors that offer collaborative tools. They hire, at great expense, A-list consulting firms to help them speed up their processes. But actually they are stuck. In spite of all the new social tools, in spite of all the change projects, they have not had a commensurate increase in productivity and innovation.
Why is this?
Individuals can change more quickly than institutions. Millions are ready. Billions are aware but institutions are stuck because of where they are in the change cycle.
What is the barrier? To make this kind of change, the old culture in the organization has to die. It is stuck because to make the change they have to give up the way they have always done things. A way that has been successful in the past. A way that those at the top made their careers on. Put yourself in their shoes.
If you are an admiral in the navy that was based on sail, moving quickly to steam means that all who have made it on sail are marginal. If you are a surgeon before anesthetic, your career was made on speed. Why would adopting anesthesia help you? If you are a journalist who made your career in print, why would the web appeal?
We must not judge.
This situation of "stuck" is why have I joined CAWW. I see that the time is right now to reach out to a few brave leaders of traditional organizations.
Why now and why them?
To answer this I will offer two stories about big change. The first one today is about the settling of the American West. This will explain the Change Lifecycle. For all change has such a cycle and when we see it, we can stop judging and be more open to what we can all do to help.
The second is about the story of the shift from sail to steam in the RN. This will explain the cultural final act of the change process. How and why do some at the top of the old system give it all up? The story gives support to the brave few who will do it.
The American West - The Cycle of Change
From 1880 to 1914 about 50 million people left their homes in Europe and came to America. They were inspired by a new story. They had learned that, in America, you could be who you wanted to be. All you had to do was to go there and work hard. This was the opposite of life in the old country where how you were born was your destiny. There was also "free land" in the west. No land was available back home.
But this was also true in 1830. So why did so few go there then? This is our story about the change lifecycle or the Adoption Theory.
After the expedition of Lewis and Clark, a few weird men left all traces of civilization behind and began to explore what had been the Louisiana Purchase. Loosely called "Mountain Men", they loved the wildness of the new and they fitted in naturally to all aspects of the cultureof this land, including the culture of the native Americans that lived there.
Every major cultural change starts here.
I was was one of those weird "mountain men" back in the 1990's. In 1994, I gave up up my traditional "Civilized" life for the life of a freelancer. This was a time when few made that choice willingly. When blogging appeared in the late 1990's early 2000's I jumped in with both feet. It was as if I had found a home. I had now found a new culture to replace the void I had having left the old one.
At the time, most people still in the old culture thought people like me were mad. How could I make a living like this? What was I doing writing in public every day? How could I find friends all over the world? What was all this social thing?
This is what "Mountain Men" and the "Annie Oakley's" do. They find out how the new world works. They explore the trails. They find the best and the worst places. They establish a culture. And they tell stories that annoy many but excite some.
They are the "Innovators" in Adoption Theory. They have no pull with the people who really count but can inspire regular folks.
Innovators are defined by Rogers as "Innovators are daring, rash and risky. They are able to cope with a high level of uncertainty". Rogers says, "While an innovator may not be respected by the other members of a local system, the innovator plays an important role in the diffusion process; that of launching the new idea in the system by importing the innovation from outside of the system's boundaries. Thus the innovator plays a gate-keeping role in the flow of new ideas into a system."
This Innovator stage of the cycle has its time and the next phase begins with the early "Early Adopters".
These are always individuals and families. They tend not to be organizations. In the story of the west, these are the brave souls who go west on the wagon trains. They are the pathfinders. They take a lot of risk for no sure thing.
Some of the ex Mountain Men get jobs guiding wagon trains west. Wagon trains that are made up of the next layer of adopters. These fit into the Early Adopter category.
Their going west is hard for them, but it is also hard for the west. Major things are lost as we see in this tragic painting. This next stage destroys much of the old culture. It also opens a wedge. For the powers back east now see the old culture of the west as a danger to the settlers. The Indians become the problem.
As more Early Adopters go west, the people with power in the East start to see the opportunity for themselves to make money serving this shift. They undertstand this pull that is attracting more and more people. They ask themselves how they can do well out of being party of this.
The Authority Leaders who make up this part of the Early Adopters are defined like this: Opinion leadership is an important aspect of the Early Adopter. They often serve as a role model for other people. They are more integrated into society than the innovators. "The early adopter is respected by his or her peers, and is the embodiment of successful, discrete use of new ideas. The early adopter knows that to continue to earn this esteem of colleagues and to maintain a central position in the communication networks of the system, he or she must make judicious innovation-decisions. The early adopter decreases uncertainty about a new idea by adopting it, and then conveying a subjective evaluation of the innovation to near-peers through interpersonal networks," Rogers said.
They build BIG TOOLS to make it easy for people to go west. They makes changes to policy to help the flow. This is the point where the Authority figures join the Early Adopters and start to build the bridge to enable the Early Majority to "Cross the Chasm".
Without this infrastrutucture, the "Chasm" cannot be crossed at scale. The journey to the West has to be made much easier than the wagon train. Here some of the old Mountain Men are hired as mappers. Many of the wagon train routes are used. But the power is now in the hands of the engineers and then in the marketers. They build more than a railway across the plains.
The "Bridge" goes all the way back to the old world. Immigrants are actively recruited. Steam ships and lines focus on their needs. Ellis Island is built to process their arrival. All of this combines to bring millions to the new world. Much of the work is about engineering and marketing. It is not about the old culture of the west and it is not about why the people come. It is about the supporting infrastructure.
But, why the people come is still the old story. They come to find a better life where they can be what they can be. Underpinning all of this movement of millions of people is culture.
There is coming a moment when the tension between the old and the new will become so great that some organizations will make the real change, and when they do, all those that do not will face oblivion.
The issue will be culture.
This is why I have joined CAWW.
It is itself a network and is not an organization that uses engineering as its model. It is a tribe. It is inhabited by people who are like me. It is a home for ex "Mountain Men" and "Annie Oakleys".
My hope and the hope of my colleagues is that we can act as the cultural guides to those that wish to "Go West" too. Our credential is not that we have read the book, or can spout the dogma, but that we live there in this new place. We are the change.
I have also joined because I think that each of us are weak when we are only on our own. Several dear friends are in CAWW. We have known each other for many years. But now I think it is better that we get together more formally. The work is too large for just a single person.
The really hard work is about to begin. The hard work is about the culture. The new organizational social tools are here. Most people now use social tools as individuals. But society and organizations remain locked in to the machine culture. So the new tools get us nowhere.
But soon, one or two major players are going to have a leader that will know that they have to go for it. And when they do, they will need to have the best advice and support. For they will risk it all.
In my next post, on the RN, we will see what this means. We will see how one man, risked it all and won.
But as a teaser I ask you to look at this picture of HMS Inflexible (Don't you love the name!). This was the pride of the RN in the 1870's. It looks modern. But it isn't. It represents the challenge that traditional organizations have with only using engineering as their way ahead.
Here is HMS Inflexible. It's first Captain was Jackie Fisher - whom we will meet in the next post when he was First Lord of the Admiralty. It is what a large organization is like that uses all the new tools but in the old way.
And here is the revolution, HMS Dreadnought. This is what it like when the new tools and the new culture are aligned.
Part 2 is here.
Many of us are starting to see that there is math that underpins human community (Magic Numbers)
I think that they should be: for surely all else in Nature that is about relationships has math? Light, Gravity, Water and Heat etc. So why would there not be Math that supports how Human Relationships work?
I was re-reading my favourite text the other day – Christopher Alexander’s Pattern Language – and I was stunned, but not surprised, to learn that not only do we humans have a gradient of Trust governed by math but that there are limits in the physical space as well beyond which, we fall out of community.
Naturally these limits are hardly known, least of all by architects and maybe hardly at all by any of us who wish to design a physical space that promotes a healthy human community.
Alexander brings up this topic in the section on Small Public Squares (Pattern 61). He asks why so many public squares are dead space?
Here is the Space Magic Number #1 – 70.
Any space that exceeds this – Piazza San Marco and Trafalgar are exceptions because they are a nexus in a large city and get filled to the right density – feels un social.
So here is Space Magic Number #2 – 300
I wonder – do these numbers then tie into what we know about group satisfaction – (Chris Allen)?
Then I wonder, what is the "social design" of the space that we work in?
In this short series, I have offered you a framework for how to understand your health so that you can take charge of it and live a long and healthy and active life. (Part 1 - Part 2 - Part 3 - Part 4). In this post we go beyond the why to the what. What do you do to be as healthy as possible?
Here is the issue, Chronic illness disables us. The graph below shows what happens to the average Canadian man. He is on the Red Line. By 65 the average man is disabled by chronic illness. This may be type 2 diabetes, it may be heart disease, it may be prostate cancer, depression, arthritis or early onset dementia. He may have more than one. he will live for nearly another 10 years. He will need the full support of his family and the health care system. For women simply push the numbers out by 10 years.
This being an average, it means that for many men, this point at which they cannot look after themselves, work or fully participate in their family or society will start much earlier than 65.
On the other hand, look at the black line. If you do not have chronic illness, this is what you can expect. You will remain healthy. active, mentally alert, fully competent and a participant until you die. Death will be a sudden event. The black line is our "Normal Trajectory".
My father died aged 55, a wreck, and my mother has been disabled since her late 40's. Their example spurred me to act once I knew what I know now.
So this is my goal and can be yours. Tomorrow we start on what to do to get onto the Black Line. But here is what success looks like.
My short book "You Don't Need Medicine to be Healthy" is available on Amazon here
What is health to you? What is disease? I used to think that health was the absence of disease. I used to think that disease was some kind of enemy out there that attacked me in some arbitary way. So I thought nothing of my health until I was ill and then went immediately to the doctors who knew enough to fix me.
Let's sum up today. Let's see the deep evolutionary patterns behind health and disease and so learn enough to be able to make changes to give us the best possible chance of being healthy all the time.
Health is our natural state.
We are designed to be healthy so long as we live inside the evolutionary physical and social environmental norms that have shaped our development.
The further we stray from these environmental norms, the more likely we will get ill.
The longer we live in novel conditions, the more likely we will develop chronic illness.
What is Disease?
Disease itself has an evolutionary trajectory and so it too has ideal and less ideal trajectories and environments.
Disease does well it lives inside its ideal trajectory. Disease does less well when it does not have an ideal environment.
Because all diseases are environmental, they become a problem when we offer them the ideal environment and they go away when this environment is removed or altered.
Most infectious disease did not exist in most pre agricultural societies. It arose because of major changes in human culture directly linked with the adoption of agriculture.
These shifts include settling in one place, living close to animals where pathogens mutate across species, using irrigation and so giving mosquitoes a large breeding potential, eating a restricted and grain based diet and living in larger population groupings with a steep social hierarchy with low status and low control at the bottom.
Each infectious disease has a unique pathogen. Each pathogen has its own ideal environment. Most of these ideal environments are linked to the processes of agriculture or its social effects such as population concentration.
Examples include. Malaria and Yellow fever use the mosquito as a vector. Irrigated agriculture and large local host populations offer an ideal environment for an epidemic of malaria or any disease that is water born. Cholera and Typhoid use water as a vector. Poor water systems poor sewage disposal and large concentrated host populations offer the opportunity for an epidemic. TB relies on an air vector. Poor immune systems and overcrowded host populations provide the ideal environment.
Most infectious disease has been reduced by shifts in these environments such as installing sewage treatment and clean water, destroying mosquito breeding sites, better diets and living conditions and by the process of generational immunity as it relates to infectious disease.
Some infectious diseases, such as measles, seek a long term equilibrium with the host. Extreme lethality before breeding has a powerful evolutionary effect on the host. Over 3-6 generations real population immunity is granted. We see this in bacteria themselves and the use of antibiotics. The survivor bacteria have used evolution to make the shift to enable them to combat the antibiotic. We do this too.
Being based on a distinct pathogen, most infectious disease can be controlled by a vaccine, but most of the great infectious diseases had become non lethal in the west by 1900, well before vaccines.
Shifts in the environment made by making changes in the larger culture have been the most cost effective response.
Chronic illness is tied to the shift in human culture from the agricultural to the industrial world. It arose because of further major changes in human culture related to the adoption of industrialization and globalization.
Chronic illness is very different from infectious disease. Chronic illness has no distinct external pathogen. But it has everything to do with bacteria.
Evidence is building that the central mechanism for all chronic illness is to be found in the massive colony of bacteria that inhabits the human gut. Our knowledge of this is very new. Up to 90% of a human being is made up of bacteria. It appears that when we think of who we are, we have a new partner.
If this colony is disrupted it will produce toxins. Over time, these toxins will penetrate the gut wall and enter the larger system. This invasion can overwhelm the immune system and drive it to work against the host. The resulting inflammation then affects different people in different ways. Evidence is emerging that heart disease is driven by this inflammation. Most chronic illness can be connected to this inflammation and to the autoimmune later response.
Other evidence is also building for the additional mechanism that is rooted in the metabolic system. The insulin and fat pathways can be disrupted by too much sugar. Some connections are being made here to Alzheimer’s. The mind and the gut seem to have a powerful connection that was unknown to us only a few years ago.
Diet appears to be the single most significant variable in both inflammation and in metabolic syndrome. Changes in diet appear to have the most significant effect on the development of chronic illness and also in its “cure”. Diet is likely to be the core vector for working on the epidemic of chronic illness.
But all of this is complex. While diet and the gut and metabolic system are at the core, other factors interact and iterate and so make things better or worse. These include low levels of physical activity, very disrupted sleep and a highly separated social life with tiny family units, separation from work and life, large impersonal social structures, low personal control and high demand from people in authority that do not share the lives and risks of those that they control.
Our ancestry also plays a factor in these differences. So does our epigenome that is very sensitive to environment.
So, while each illness seems distinct and is located in a part of the body or mind, they are all are related to the same process of failure of the metabolic or immune system.
We don’t know all the details of how all of this interacts and works. But we know enough today, as John Snow did, to know where to work. For the results are clear. People who take action while using these principles get well.
But there is another dimension that we know affects outcomes. We need to know more about that too.
Stress - the multiplier
Some people get flu and then pneumonia and then die. Others get the same strain of flu and recover. Men at the bottom of an an organizational hierarchy are 4 times more likely to die of heart disease then men at the top. 14 out of 15 men with a prostate cancer diagnosis will not die quickly from the disease. No matter what the treatment, that one person will die. There has to be something about the immune system at play here too.
The variable here is stress.
Humans are the most stressed of all animals. Stress acts as a multiplier for the impact and lethality of disease. It does this because its core hormone, cortisol weakens the total immune system.
For most animals, stress is an effective discrete response to a threat. The zebra only goes into the stress response when the lions are hunting. When the hunt is over, the stress response stops and the zebras natural equilibrium returns. For primates, it’s different. We use the value of social units to feed and defend us. Like all species who use social groups, we have very complex interactions that go on all the time. The result is social stress.
All primates, including humans, have developed an evolutionary response to this social stress problem that limits the amount of stress to bearable limits most of the time.
They do this by living in social groups that are large enough to offer a defence and a breeding pool but small enough for all to have a social place and to know everyone.
They also use a core social and physical process, grooming, to keep stress levels down. This is so important that infant primates will choose touch over food.
Because humans are conscious, we stress even more. We can worry about world peace, a dress, what someone said, our boss. We can fill our minds with worry both conscious and unconsciously. Our mind and our ego can set up deep channels of response to triggers that get deeper over time. Consciousness comes with a price.
So why does social stress have such a large impact on our immune system and so on our health outcomes?
The fight or fight response shuts down many parts of the body to give us every chance of out running trouble. This is no problem if we face an immediate and real threat. But if we stress for long times, or all the time, then this is very disabling. Prolonged stress weakens the immune system.
Industrial culture has caused most humans to abandon the social structures that help them, as a primate, find relief. The extended family is disappearing. Also, our social and work structures tend to be transitory and impersonal today. They also tend to be too large. Most people have low status and no say at work.
Industrial culture has also taken away our time and so it has taken away trust. Most of our relationships have become transactional. “Grooming” is not longer possible. In human terms for adults, “Grooming” is mainly achieved by having the time to hang out with close friends and shoot the breeze. You have to do this with people that you trust. We can still see older men do this in Italian neighbourhoods. In human infants, it means “Grooming’! Babies need to be touched all the time. Babies need to be surrounded by people that they trust.
Quality time is not enough. We need lots of free time with others to develop trust and so be able to groom. Babies need lots of time with their parents to be attached, to trust and to be touched.
So, with this as a context, how can we live differetly today when all the forces of our culture drive us away from the ideal path for our health?
More tomorrow. And you can see the whole picture as I understand it here in my short book .
What is stress and how does it affect our health?
The stress that affects our health is not the stress of a car accident or one bad event but the decades long stress of trying to be someone we are not or not having enough control in our lives. For instance, if you work at the lowest rung of a bureaucracy you are 4 times more likely to die of a heart attack that the man at the top. If you learned to get what you wanted by pleasing as a child, using this tactic with others in your adult life may come back and hurt you later.
It's our past that sets up the conditions for much of this stress. Knowing more about our past can help us make conscious life decisions to reduce or even eliminate this stress and so make us much more healthy.
This post will show you how our deep social culture shapes us to today. I think you will see how much conflict we then have in our modern culture that works against nearly all that we need. We will see how our etnic or tribal past influences us. And finally we will see how much our parents affect how each of us sees ourselves and the world.
No pill can help you but you can help yourself - when you know what to work on.
Human Software or Culture
All animals that use social cooperation, culture, as their evolutionary advantage, such as killer whales, wolves, baboons, elephants, have strict social rules about how they group and how members interact.
The social brain evolves pathways that limit the ideal settings for group size for each group. These rules about group size therefore are not subject to whim or fancy. They are a product of millions of years of evolution. This is important because all social animals have to cope with a lot of stress. The stress comes from all the interaction that is tied into begin a social species.
Stress is the great modifier of our health. High stress compromises our immune system, Low stress builds it up. Because we are social beings and because we are conscious, humans are the most at risk for social stress of any other animal. We too have these deep social rules embedded in our neural wiring.
The closer we live according to our social rules the better. At the deepest level here are the universal human rules.
Part 1 - Our Human Culture - Our Common Social Rules
Part 2 - Our Ethnic and Class Culture - Our Tribal Social Rules
At the next level of social rules, we have the specific rules of our ethnic tribe. We all come from real tribes. The nation state is very recent. Every nation state is in reality a confederation of tribes.
These tribes have existed for thousands of years. No one is really British. People from Yorkshire are radically different from people from the south of England. People from Northumberland are the same tribe as many who live in Appalachia in the US. Scots who have not been in Scotland for 200 years weep at Burns Night dinners. You can never take the Irish out of the Irish. You can add an endless list of tribal distinctions.
These deep tribal rules govern aspects of social structure. These programs vary according to how we see power distance, collectivism versus individualism, authority, uncertainty, rules and other factors. (More here (Link)
So, if you are a Celt like me, you will tend to have a low tolerance for positional authority and seek leaders who have personal authority. You will have a low respect for the official rules, but have a deeply held sense of personal honour. If you are French, you will have a high tolerance for positional authority. You will need to have clear rules but you will find it easy to break them. No wonder the Brits and the French don’t get on as groups.
We can see the same conflicts when a very individual culture such as the US bumps into a more collective one like Canadians. For the one a universal healthcare system is an anathema and for the other it is the national pride.
These social rules are so deeply embedded that they need no thought and they elicit an immediate response to any stimulus.
Much of the conflict inside nations and between nations today can be explained by these rules. This leads to the question of why tribal conflict is on the rise? I think the answer is stress. Our modern world is too big. Nations are too big. Cities are too big. Most organizatins are too big. Think of a high school with 2,000 kids. No wonder there is bullying!
We seek relief in a tribe. We feel best when in a tribe. Having tribal enemies gives us a role. We see this in sports fans. We see this in cliques at school. We see this is the drive for tribal independence in nation states all over the world. We see it in a fear of immigration.
Wishing it would go away is fanciful. Seeking to understand would be helpful.
Part 3 - Our Family Culture and Personal Story - Our Personal Social Rules
Finally we come to the environment that is most important of all in shaping the cultural trajectory of our lives. This is the first 3 years of our lives. It is in this short period that we develop our Personal Story. This is our personal set of rules for how the world works and how we fit into it. It governs how we respond to events and to other people.
It is our ego. It's that voice in our head that nags us all the time.
Is the world a safe place or not? Do we have confidence or not? Are we loved or not? Do we spend the rest of our lives looking for our father’s approval or our mother’s love? It is here that we develop coping strategies that we tend to use for the rest of our lives. Have an older sibling who is the good girl, then we might become the boy that they all worry about? The opposite of this is the girl who got what she wanted by pleasing her parents and so makes pleasing others her strategy.
In this period the brain is very plastic. What happens is that we set up a pathway from trigger to response. If we repeat this enough, a pattern is literally carved in our neural system and then we respond without thinking to the trigger. We are in effect wired.
This stems from this period because this is the period when we are designed to learn language. An infant can learn any language very quickly then and can learn more than 3 at a time with ease. The brain is designed to carve these pathways. As we get older, we lose a lot of this plasticity. This is why it is hard to learn languages after 6 and why it is hard to change our hardwired behaviours.
Our family’s culture is the determining factor. What the infant needs to be set off on the ideal trajectory is a high touch, high conversation and so high attachment environment.
There appear to be three main types of parental culture. (Source)
“Authoritative” – Parents who establish a warm and nurturing relationship with their children but set firm limits for their behaviour
“Authoritarian” – Parents who are highly controlling, requiring their children to meet an absolute set of standards
“Permissive” – Parents who are overly nurturing and who provide few standards for behaviour and are extremely tolerant of misbehaviour.
The optimal culture is Authoritative.
It is not easy to hold all of this in our minds. So in the next post I am going to do my best to pull it all together in a way that makes it easier to grasp and to see the connections .
We are all different. Some familes have histories of heart disease others like mine of depression. Why is this? Why do some of us easily get type 2 diabetes and others not? Why is our health so different?
This post is part 2 of a short series on what we need to know to take charge of our health. Part 1 - The Metaphor is here
I have been working on these questions as I have been searching for ways to know enough to take charge of my health. I can see now that our past, going way back to when we were hunter gatherers and then to our ethnic or tribal past and then to our parents sets us up for health or not.
If we know more about where we come from, then we can make changes to help us be more healthy. For instance, if you are a Scot, like I am, we are very much at risk from the modern diet. If your mum used a lot of antibiotics, your gut flora may be compromised. Did you know it was better for your health to be born vaginally than by C Section? Do you know why? And many more factors that are old but maybe new to you and to me.
Have a look at this and see how your ancestors may affect you today.
Human Hardware - The Body
At a deep level all humans share a common evolutionary heritage that sets a trajectory that points to our optimal development. Barring accidents, if we can design our lives to abide by these principles, we will have a very high probability of being healthy. So let’s take a high level look at these principles or rules. We will follow the metaphor and start with the body.
Part 1 - What Shapes our Body? - Our Ancient Evolutionary Past
The closer we live to these daily rules, the better our health will be. Diet is the most important factor but all of these daily factors interact as well and make a difference.
Part 2 - What Shapes Our Body? - Our Tribal Ancestry
Our ethnic ancestry was shaped by long periods of time in a unique culture. One of the key factors that differentiates one ethnic culture from another is diet.
The closer your ethnic ancestry is to a Hunter Gatherer, or a pre agricultural way of life, the more vulnerable you are to the effects of the modern diet. Native Americans, who may have been exposed to the modern diet for at best 150 years, are the most at risk for chronic illness and do the worst on the industrial diet. Celts from Eastern Scotland, Ireland and Brittany would be the most vulnerable Europeans.
The most adapted are people whose ancestry has the longest exposure to agriculture. But even they are vulnerable after the age of 40.
There are other ancestral issues too. Most Asians and Africans are lactose intolerant. Most people who originate from West Africa have sickle cell anemia. This was a response to malaria. But it is clear that our tolerance for wheat and sugar is the most important.
Even the most adapted mainly lose this tolerance in middle age.
The useful point here is to know your ancestry and so know your dietary and so gut flora risk. There is nothing that you can do to change this but knowing your ancestry can help you avoid certain foods and so improve your chances of being healthy.
Part 3 - What Shapes Our Body? - Our Parents
Our epigenome controls the expression of our genes. Unlike our genes that are very stable and common across all humans, our epigenome can be changed very quickly. It is changed by interactions with our environment. We also inherit much of our epigenome from our parents, especially from our mothers. Every aspect of the environment that we experience from even before conception to age 3 has a powerful impact on our epigenome and so on our risks or strengths for the rest of our lives.
Taking all of this into account the most important factor seesm to be what we eat.
Our Human Energy System
Tomorrow we will see how our social design - also going way back and ending up with our early childhood - affects our health.
I think that the answer is yes - provided you have a context for your life. Just as the new Protestants could read the bible as a family and so work out how to live their lives in order to save their souls, so today we can look at how our past has shpaed us to be healthy or not and also make informed decisions about how to live our lives to be healthy.
Here is my first shot at putting together a guide for living. We start with a metaphor - tomorrow we go to the rules for real.
The Rules for Human Health
Sometime when we think of something really new it helps to have a metaphor. Here is one that helps me think about myself and how my health really works.
I think of all the computers I own and use. We don’t need to be engineers to understand how they work from a systems point of view. Just as we don’t have to be evolutionary biologists to understand how humans work either. At a high level the rules are simple.
Here are the rules for your iPhone, or your Android, or your Windows laptop. And for you and me too.
It needs energy to work. Computers depend on energy for life. Most important is the quality of the source of our energy. It is best if it is stable and clean. Prolonged unstable energy and dirty energy will erode the performance and in the end lead to failure, or death. It is the same for us. We are electrical and so energetic beings. Our food is our source of energy. Might food quality might be an issue for us too?
The body of the device has environmental limits. Your device is designed to do a job within a specified environment. It has design limits for moisture, temperature and vibration. The further away we get from the design environmental limits, the worse the device will perform. If we get too far away, spill coffee on it or drop it on the road, it will stop working. We are like this too. Our evolution has set physical and environmental limits too. Maybe if we stray too far from our limits, we will not do well either?
How a computer is assembled will affect its performance. Mistakes can be made on the assembly line that will change the performance of the computer. These faults are now built into the device. It is the same with us. Our parents’ epigenome influences our own and our epigenome is formed by the environment that we have as a small child. Our epigenome will affect us for the rest of our lives. So the first 3 years of our lives, starting before conception are very important.
Computers have a set of social rules. Computers use sets of formal rules and routines to drive operations and to enable applications to work with each other. These rules create a “culture”, or a set of social habits and languages, that enable the computer to work. They have 3 levels. It has a foundation called the Bios. On top of the Bios is an operating system. On top of the operating system are the Apps. They all have to operate in harmony with each other. They all have to use common languages and use predictable responses to stimuli. Humans are cultural beings. We too have a 3 layered mind that has distinct rules that rely on each layer and on each other. They too all have to work in harmony for us to be healthy. When they clash, we have a problem.
Computers can get diseases. Computers are no longer stand alone devices. They inhabit a massive social environment. The more connected computers are, the more vulnerable they are to outside viruses and to hacks. The more popular the operating system, the more it becomes a target for viruses and hackers. The weaker the anti virus immune system, the more vulnerable. The less careful and less diligent the user, the more vulnerable. It is the same with humans too. Connection and concentration create vulnerability for disease. We too need a robust immense system and we too have to be careful and thoughtful about what we do.
A computer is all of these things. It is energy, it has a body, it has a culture, it has a social environment. All of these elements interact and iterate. The best fit with all the rules the better. The same is true for us. The difference is that we make the rules for the computer but it is nature that has made our rules. These rules have been created over millions and thousands of years.
Our rules are a product of our evolution over many years. We cannot change these rules just because we want to.
Tomorrow - the Rules of Nature and us
This image shows the sale of Indulgences. By paying money to the pope, you got a certificate that guaranteed that the person named would go to heaven. Millions were raised this way. The money was used to pay off the Vatican's debts and to rebuild St Peters. You may laugh at this. How gullible could people be?
The point of this post is that the story of Indulgences is being played out again right now. Today we pay money to the institution of medicine to make us well. The church did not save our souls and medicine today is not saving us from the epidemic of chronic illness.
In the 1500's when the trick was revealed, the result was the Reformation. I think that the same massive change in society is about to take place again. When the fallacy of medicine as confronted by chronic illness is revealed to millions who will have paid their money to have no cure; when it is seen that this has been a huge confidence trick that has enriched people who had a vested interest in our suffering; then the whole system will come down.
We are not quite at this point yet. Right now many still put all their faith in medicine.
Most of us believe that only medicine can save our health. What this means in practice is that most believe that only by paying for drugs, test and treatments have we any chance of getting well. Most of us cannot imagine any alternative. We too have given up all our power to the church of medicine.
But some of us are taking charge. Some of us are using diet and lifestyle to keep us well and even cure us. I had thought that this example might help many others do the same. But I am finding out that this is not true. Many that I know well seem to discount entirely what has happened to me and to Robin and continue to place all their faith in their doctors.
They trust their doctors even though there is no evidence that what their doctors have on offer us making any difference in chronic illness.
For, who knows of anyone that has been cured of type 2 diabetes by only obeying their doctor? Who knows of anyone who has been cured of MS by their doctor? Who knows of anyone that has had their depression "cured" by drugs? Who knows of anyone who has had IBS or Crohns cured by drugs? Who has had bad psoriasis or arthritis cured by drugs? In spite of the "War on Cancer" cancer rates continue to rise. Taking an overall view, while there have been a few victories, deaths are no less than in the 1950's. Heart disease was all but unknown before 1900. Today it remains the # killer - in spite of the billions spent on statin drugs. But in spite of the vast amount that we spend on healthcare, it has not halted the epidemic of chronic illness and it cures almost no one.
So why do most people still depend on their doctor?
I think the answer to my own question is that not enough have been failed yet. But within 5 years as the boomers go into full on chronic ill health the failure will be felt. The second reason is culture. Too many people cannot imagine that medicine cannot help them.
Why this cultural blindness?
I think that the answer is cultural and starts in our schools. We are taught over 12 years to submit to the authority figure. Any questioning of her rule is punished. What is rewarded is compliance with doctrine. We are not taught to question or to think for ourselves.
We have been taught to remain stunted and even infantile in our development.
In the worst case we remain tribal and childlike. Our emotional age might be 6 on a good day. The world is seen as a mystery where only god like beings such as a teacher, a doctor or a boss can help us. In such a world, we are helpless. Even if we were granted freedom we would not know what to do with it. So our poor health cannot be anything to do with us. Our little pleasures of smoking, fast food and TV are all we have. They are us. Without them we would be nothing. So only a pill, the healthcare system can save us and god help the politician that does not see it this way. For we have a lot of votes.
Nearly as bad are those of us who live like teens. We look to our parents to solve the problems of the world while we get on with having a good time. We find shiny toys very important. We seek status symbols. We believe that only the experts know what to do to fix things. We don't have to do any work or thinking because that's their job. Other people's approval is very important. Especially the approval of authority figures such as our boss or a doctor. We cannot possible say, "I won't take that drug - haven't you read about the side effects!" We frown on people who do rebel and tell each other smugly that they are stupid outsiders. We do our own job and we don't care about anything else. That would be someone else's problem. We never think about the consequences of what we do. We support the persecution of innovators. We choose not to explore what is going on because that is not our role. We dare not disobey the leader. He must be right.
But then there is a growing set of people who share a different culture. We are like parents. We believe that the world demands our participation because it will affect our kids and all the generations to come. We found school awkward. We might have been the kids who got into trouble by asking too many questions. We find watching team sports very boring. We would rather play ourselves. We tend to work for ourselves. We find bureaucracies very challenging. We have learned that the toys do not bring happiness. We do a lot of critical reading and we talk a lot among ourselves about how the world is going. Many of us have gone beyond talking and are now leading our lives quite differently from the rest of the culture. But this group is not very large and has no power and is easily discounted.
The 1% is outside all of this. They are the ones that hold the strings that make us all dance. The greatest lie that the 1% uphold is the Corporate Dream of "Success". Work hard. Go to school. Take out school debt. Take out a mortgage. Move to the city. Borrow to get a car. Put your kids in daycare while you have a career. "Go on girl you can do it all". When you have health insurance with your job, you will be well. Fit in. Obey. Support the persecution of outsiders.
But as more and more cannot get jobs, have their pensions taken away, get early retirement, lose their homes, sink into debt and get ill and not get better, find that they cannot have it all, this group will start to wake up. And when they do.....
In France it was not the peasants that lead the revolution, it was the betrayed lawyers and bureaucrats. In Russia it was not the peasants but the lawyers and the middle class.
I see the tipping point in chronic illness. Many people I know still have faith in the old system. They are obeying orders. They are being good. They see the alternative but are too scared to act. But they will pay a terrible price. They will lose their health. They will die after enduring terrible treatments. They will go bankrupt because of the costs. They will break up their families.
They will see that their choice to obey, took them to a terrible place. They will awaken. They who have lost so much will have no mercy.
They will see how they have been used. This is what caused the Reformation. This is what will drive our own.
The clock ticks.
November is nearly over and millions of men will shave off their moustache much to the relief of their women. It all sounds so great. Men getting together to share and help each other. It's the male Pink Ribbon!
But I ask what is this awareness all focused on? It's focused on looking out for trouble. Get that PSA Test. Find out if you have it. Find out how best to treat it.
What younger man has ever had a conversation with his doctor about how to live so as not to get prostate cancer? Do men talk to each other about how to live so as not to get it? Never!
As with breast cancer the conversation is all about early detection and then treatment. The research is confined to finding a "cure". The "Cures" are all invasive, dangerous and unpleasant. And and also expensive and disabling.
The research is confined to "Cures" or more detection. In breast cancer there is a strong known linkage between obesity and cancer. Does this exist for men? We don't know but is this the kind of research that is going on? I doubt it because there is no pill or treatment that we all pay for if this is true. Research tends to be biased to the $ result.
And what about advice when you are diagnosed?
What doctor tells a man with a high PSA that only 1 in 15 diagnoses has a cancer that will kill you? The usual message is that you cannot take the risk and must decide on treatment. What doctor sits down with you and discusses what you can do to reduce your risks now you have it? Each specialty will advocate for their own treatment option. Who advocates for wait and see? There is no money in wait and see, so it is unlikely that no one will advise that.
Cancer is not just a lottery. In many cases how we live, what we eat has a bearing on whether we get cancer or not. Where is the research on that?
Now that Movember has started the "Awareness" please let's have a real conversation.
Why do men get prostate cancer? What are the key behaviours that we can modify to reduce our risks? What can we test years before the PSA to see our deep risk? If we have prostate cancer what are the real risks of dying? When we know that we can then evaluate the real risks of the treatments on offer. I know that with a 1 in 15 chance of having a fatal variety, I would wait and watch before I would endure any of the current options. I also know that aged 63, I am entering the zone where cancer moves very slowly. Most men over 80 have it and die of something else.
Does early detection have any bearing on mortality? We know it has none for breast cancer. What are the risks of treatment? We know they are significant.
If you care about prostate cancer, please have a deeper conversation and please be aware of so much more than I need to test for it.
There is no easy fix to PEI' s Public Sector Pension woes. Ethics, good will, trust in the end has nothing to do with the problem. The problem is structural and faces all governments and all citizens. In this short post I will show you the structural issues in play so that you can see what the real problem is. In part II, I will offer up some structural ideas about what might work.
I comment on this not just because I care and that this is important but because I also was once a manager of large pools of money and was also the policy person responsible for a pension fund much larger than PEI's.
This image shows the core problem. There are not enough tax payers to pay for the pensions in the future. For the first time in history, PEI, and all western states, have a population distribution that has more older people than young. On PEI this is more extreme than in many places.
PEI's Public Pension was never properly funded. In the early years, it relied on the pyramid on the left, which had lost of taxpayers in the base to pay for much of the few pensions. This is not a unique position, many pensions did this. All such schemes are in trouble. This is the fundamental flaw.
Issue #1 there is not the time or the money to fund the pension properly.
When last seen the unfunded liability was more than $400 million. To put this in perspective that is about 50% of the total PEI annual tax revenues. The issue that faces all Islanders now is time and risk. Many pensioners will be retired in the next 5 years. Most in the next 10 years. The Province said that it could afford to pay $20 million a year to close the gap. The math does not add up. The gap cannot be closed in time.
That then leaves the issue #2 of risk. There is not the time to take more risk as the pension has to be paying out now to many pensioners.
The fund managers cannot place the funds in assets that carry too much risk. The massive loss in 2008 suggests that the Province was already pushing the managers to be more aggressive than they should have been. The losses from 2008 were much larger than they should have been if the portfolio had had a more conservative policy. An additional risk now is that the Province will again push the managers to take a more risky position. The fundementals for the market are weaker today than they were in 2008. This is not a time to take more risk.
Issue #3, can PEI raise taxes?
As this graph shows, the answer is no to this. And it's worse.
Most of the talented young Islanders have had to leave PEI as there is not enough work. So not only does PEI have too few young but the best have to leave. Worse, many return when they are old!
There is simply not the tax base to call on to make up the difference. Unfortunately I have not shown you all the bad news that makes this worse. And here it is. The "Elephant" in the room.
PEI's health costs are a product of poverty, lack of control and an aging population. The all in cost of health care has risen as a percentage of PEI's own tax revenues excluding the Feds from 53% in 2000 to 78% in 2010 (Figures taken for CIHI and from the PEI Budget) By 2015, the health care costs will exceed the PEI core tax revenues. Because the growth is exponential, they will double the tax revenues by 2020.
There are 2 main drivers for this. The first is that PEI has more old than young. The second is that PEI has more chronic illness than most places.
These poor statistics do not show that Islanders over 60 will be 60% likely to have Type 2 Diabetes.
It's depressing isn't it?
There is no easy way out of this and there is no way that the money itself can be re arranged. It's way too late for that. One thing is for sure, what was promised to Pensioners will have to be pulled back from. PEI, and many provinces, cities and nations are all caught in the same jam. Pensions will have to be cut. I am not recommending this, I am simply stating a fact of life. There is not the money to pay them as promised.
So is there a way out?
I think that there is but it has to work on the fundamentals and not the figures. I will post at more length in a few days. But here are the highlights.
We have to work on the fundamentals. PEI has to have more young people living on PEI who can do the work and so pay taxes. To keep our young here and to attract more to the Island demands an employment strategy. This cannot be a traditional one of trying to attract employers to open a call centre or a plant.
PEI has to attract many young families to PEI to be part of the new food revolution that is tied into the health revolution. PEI itself has to lead in the health revolution too.
I will make the case that we are seeing a revolution in health and in food that will create a huge demand for Real Food. This can only be grown in small operations. PEI has a great start here and also has, relative to Ontario and Quebec, cheap land. We are already seeing a new kind of "Back to the Land" movement that is based on this new kind of food system. PEI is a long the way to identifying good food with PEI.
These people will not come here to get jobs but to own a small business. They too are fed up with being squeezed out of life in the big cities and want a real life. I will explain this more later.
To stop the health care costs from consuming all PEI's resources, PEI has to apply the principles of the new health revolution to itself. My regular readers will know what I am talking about. Bottom line most chronic illness can be prevented and also cured by better diet and some changes to how we live. It may be possible to reduce PEI's health costs back to pre 2000 levels in 10 years.
Making a big push in the food system needed to do this adds to the value. But I get ahead of myself.
Bottom line PEI has to
If PEI can do this, then maybe most of the pensions can be saved and PEI will move ahead to being a have province.
Do you see how things are getting worse for most people and for the rest of the planet and feel helpless? Do you wonder what you can do?
An answer to your frustration may be as simple as "Seeing" the world in a new way. It was the answer to the problems of the Medieval world too. When enough people "Saw" the world anew, human society was renewed and hope legitimately returned.
This is how I see this.
In a small world that was highly local the illusion that the Earth was the centre and that the sun revolved around it was good enough for life as it was lived then.
Everyone today knows that the sun rising moving across the sky and setting is an illusion. We know it is an illusion even though the first time we could "see" this with the human eye was in the 1970's.
Imagine how hard it must have been to get others to agree to this idea? Especially when the most important and powerful institution of the day, the church, had a stake in the illusion. No wonder people who espoused the new idea were burned at the stake or threatened with excommunication.
But the idea took hold because it solved a pressing problem. This new idea enabled people to navigate. Then it enabled people to be able to plan and engineer. After Newton, a huge amount of predictability could be engineered into how things were made and used. We could do so much more after we accepted this new idea.
The idea was accepted because it worked. It made what had been impossible to do, possible.
To develop further as a species, humans have to transition though stages of perception. For do we not evolve as a species as we might as individuals?
As an infant, we are part of our mother. Hence the Earth is the centre of the universe and we are part of it. In the next stage, we have to separate from her and grow our own persona. This is the Newtonian world that we live in now. But the selfish teen has to grow up and have enough empathy to bond with a mate and to put their children first. This is what we have to do now.
To develop as a species, we have to put the teen years aside.We have to reach that stage in our species development that individuals do.
I think that we are at the end stages of our "Teen Age" years as a species. It is why we like shiny things. This is why we seem to be working against our best interests. We are Teens. Teens don't do Complexity!
As Dave Snowden's Cynefin model suggests, we are applying engineering principles to Complex and to Chaotic issues.
So how can we change this Teen perception? I think first of all it may help to see some tangible examples of how nature really does work and how there is so much more to see that what we can see with our eyes.
Here are just a few glimpses.
We think that what we see when we look at tress are trees. But we don't see this. All trees have a local communication system below ground that is part physical and also part funghi. There is also a hierarchy of trees in this system. So when we clear cut, we destroy this part.
The tiny Fig Wasp is the only way that this giant fig can reproduce. It is so small we can barely see it with the naked eye. This huge tree and this tiny wasp are part of an ivisible network that extends above the ground where the other hidden treee network lies.
Here then is a larger part of this hidden network that involves all mammals and of course us.
We are part of this tree network.
We live a mutally dependent life with trees. They are not just lumber. They are essential for life.
And inside us, our lungs are like tree too!
There are like this because this shape does the job of respiration of gasses best in the natural world.
I hope that this tiny illustration has helped you see this one example of the hidden world of connections that make up how things really work.
Once we "Get" this, then we can start to make sense of how the world really works. We can get unstuck.
It all starts with you and me. As each of us "see" this, we bring the human species closer to that Tipping Point when we all "see". In fact maybe only 15% of us have to see this to Tip the system.
This is why I am working on human health. For it is a personal arena where each of us can experience the truth and the effectiveness of this new world view,
I "knew" all of this for years. But only in my mind. When I applied this to taking charge of my health, I embodied this new understanding. It became real to me.
It is hard for each of us to change education, government, bureaucracies, defense etc. But we can take charge of our own health. It is in our own power to live inside the new world view. I promise you that once you experience this change, your life will improve immediately.
Please try it.