Cultural Evolution and Regenerative Design

Aug 12

What happened this weekend moved me to tears. Twenty-five other international change-makers and I gathered to explore complex social patterns through the lens of cultural evolutionary studies.

We were designing regenerative culture. It was gut-wrenching to grapple with the complex threats of current cultural and natural collapses. I believe climate change is catalyzing humanity’s initiation into greater maturity. Poignant questions emerged as we grappled with the scope of transformation needed to thrive. 

Repeatedly during our work, silence was regenerative and especially powerful when shared with others. During group meetings, a pause provides opportunity to quiet the mind and focus attention and intention.

In today’s commercialized state, people are bombarded by other people’s opinions through marketing and social media. Reactive and polarized conversations leave little opportunity to practice compassion. Being in silence is the antidote to modern distraction. With silence, the power of groups is amplified to regenerate the biosphere and healing of humanity.

I am resilient and comfortable being in the void, dwelling in not knowing.

In the space between, be curious, have courage, and be tenacious.

Across the smoky American West, millions of people are under distress from the wildfires. In Southern Oregon, we have suffered from hazardous air-pollution levels for a month. Flooding in Toronto, earthquakes in Indonesia, toxic waters in Florida, and other increasingly severe natural disasters this summer are testing the resilience of communities.

It is sobering to acknowledge that we are in the midst of many nested collapses of different spatial and temporal scales. Most began before our lifetimes, and the complex interrelated patterns are beyond comprehension.

Even if I can’t understand collapse, and I can feel the gravity of the situation. I weep at the scope of many species’ extinction, climate change, financial extraction of wealth, and poisoning of Earth.

Joe Brewer, convener of our weekend together, is creating a curriculum for the School for Applied Cultural Evolution that will soon launch in Costa Rica as part of a bioregional-scale regeneration effort that is underway there.

We laughed, cried, and cared for one another. We know that the gravity of managing collapse must be balanced with savoring the joy of the moment. Through caring for one another and the earth we regenerate, we are turning poison into medicine.

Deep wisdom emerges from silence. Spaciousness invites our intuition and visions to be known. It is essential to evoke silence in private conversations, group meetings, and through personal meditation or contemplation for renewal.

I find solace in the undifferentiated stillness at the heart of change. 

When we hold council with silence, truth emerges.

Regenerative culture is compassionate.

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