Mark Hurych


This conversation is closed.

How can we develop a meme that defines a tribe of tribes for the stewardship of humanity and the planet? --A meta-tribe if you will.

Somehow everyone's music, science, games, well-being, and wisdom can be shared. Somehow we need to grow up, empathize, live fully, and save the planet. Maybe online, but how?

Every well-intentioned online group I encounter, from blogs to institutions, has a vision which is either shallow or narrow or short-term oriented, or in some other way limited. We face a challenge to survive the 21st century as part of a thriving biosphere. We are highly intelligent evolved beings, yet we have the most basic "to do" list to take care of ourselves and our planet. Excuse me if this sounds like a Kindergarten curriculum, but I'm serious: Share. Clean up your own mess. Apologize when you hurt someone. Be happy with what you have. Learn about yourself and the world around you. Be ready to try something different. Celebrate together and look out for each other.

Through optimal use of our collaborative thinking abilities, we need to pay attention to worldwide threats to the biosphere and the future of humanity. We must seek solutions for the most pressing problems, and find ways to coordinate our efforts so that sustainable options are scaled up.

We can be the watchdogs of the biosphere. We can oversee the NGO's and projects and institutions that are finding scalable solutions. We can cross-pollinate the innovative ideas of diverse groups so that they benefit from a wider range of possibilities.

Tomorrow's child, possibly 9 billion of us by 2044, await good answers for this question.

Closing Statement from Mark Hurych

The final answer is a salute. It is a cheer. It is the praise, honor, and celebration of life. That's why I enjoyed Mike Paiman's answer so much.
Matthew Garvin's focus on the patterns and manipulations of cultural memes--point well taken.
Laurens Rademakers is right to have caution that "Green" can mean "Don't question my motives." --possibly too narrow.
Lindsay Newland Bowker's meme of co-intelligence, and her duet with me--appreciated and heart-felt.
Judge Pau's patience and looking toward the wise earth groups inspires me, thank you. Thank you all.

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    Jun 29 2011: There are some very intelligent people who are predicting the rise of a class of "Green Dictators", who restrict freedoms in the name of saving the planet (e.g. the freedom to eat meat, the freedom to consume a lot of energy).

    The real problem is that most NGOs and conservationists don't really know what they want. Sure, they want to "save the planet", but when you dig a bit deeper, you'll find that they don't really have a philosophy, or a flimsy one at best.

    Just an example: you want to stop us from wrecking the planet. But how?

    :: if you want renewable energy and renewable products, like many environmentalists, you need to expand infrastructures, build entirely new factories and industrial complexes, and source biological materials from nature --> this means you'll be contributing to wrecking the environment

    :: if you want less consumption and a steady state economy, you need people who feel very secure, via social security, good health care, etc... --> bringing these types of security means you need a lot of money. And this money always comes from grabbing and wrecking the planet. So that's not an option either.

    :: perhaps you think the depletion of natural resources (e.g. Peak Oil) will bring a collapse, and the problem will solve itself? Forget it. In such a scenario of oil scarcity we will grab everything we can use to burn, so we can heat ourselves and produce energy from other sources. We'll chop down all forests. An immediate economic cataclysm doesn't bring a decline in our capacity for destruction, on the contrary! Collapse also produces psychopaths who want to take over.

    In short: corporations, NGOs and governments don't really think about these things. They just say: "yeah, renewables are great" and that's it.

    According to me there's only one way to stop the planet from being utterly destroyed by humans. And that's that we all should become proverbial buddhhists who eat only once a day and who're happy without owning a lot of material stuff.
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      Jun 29 2011: Thank you Laurens Rademakers,
      Hmm. OK. Which future do I prefer? Green world dictators or mandatory Buddhism? Seriously, I think there are viable scenarios that allow economic prosperity and green living. One basic concept (often missing from green organizations as you mentioned) is closed loops for industry and agriculture. Waste equals food. Cradle to Cradle talks about that. But I know what you mean. "Corporation" and "collaboration" seem to be polar opposites. Yet we can't just reach for sustainability. "Thrivability" is more like it. (Andrés Edwards)

      Expand infrastructure for renewable energy? I am of the camp that wants to build a better mousetrap AND put all our eggs in one basket. We are getting there with solar energy capturing techniques, but alas, the current state of affairs is "major suckage" as my teenagers say.

      BTW when you do attain that utter Buddhist happiness, call me. [:-)
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      Jul 3 2011: Laurens,

      At this stage in our global economic life "environmental concerns" and "sustainability" aren't about pie in the sky values any more. They are about survival...right now on this earth..We are an earth in global crisis

      .Sustainability is about leaving an earth that is survivable for the next generation, about how to in the short terms sustain 6 billion on an earth that can't possibly support that many in the long term, many say.

      .At this stage in our evolution as a planet it is about hard realities: we are past peak oil production globally..everything we use and consume including agriucltrure itself depends on the price keeps going inexorably up and up; real incomes in the so called "industrialized" nations have been dropping steadily for for nearly 4 decades..costs are increasing faster than earnings; we have passed peak agriculrural consumption and the misguided Monsanto fiasco is not going to save us from that. We are 6 billion inhabiting a planet that can sustain about half that.

      These are hard numbers, real numbers, realities.

      If we don't police ourselves with more diligence and commitment ..well play that out in your head..where does that go?
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    Jul 5 2011: Mike Peiman, agreed. "For Life"

    פֿאַר לעבן
    Yiddish (in honor of my old neighborhood)

    Chinese (in honor of our up and coming partner of affluence)

    kwa ajili ya maisha
    Swahili (in honor of many diverse cultures on a continent I feel must be included)

    من أجل الحياة
    Arabic (in honor of the Arab Spring, progress toward fair governance)

    für das Leben
    German (in honor of some of my relatives and ancestors)

    elämää varten
    Finnish (in honor of the people who are always having to translate English and Swedish)

    pe viaţă
    Romanian (in honor of some immigrants I know)

    pro život
    Czech (in honor of my father's mother)

    Thanks, Mike Peiman.
    A tribute to your answer. An honor to the diversity of language. And fun with Google Translator.
  • Jul 5 2011: "For Life". That is the clearest meme/focus I can come up with. Right now we have a culture (British-Anglo-American roots and globalized economically) that is "For Profit". Read "Greed, Inc." for an excellent analysis of the moral-philosophical roots of our market economy and corporate basis. That is the legal and structural root of dysfunction in our society, and through the immense pressure of the global economic machine being oriented in this direction "for profit", this has caused much of the social, moral and ecological imbalance and dysfunction we face.

    "Zero Sum" is another excellent book as referenced above with the need to transcend zero-sum games and embrace cooperation above competition.

    I suggest "for life" or "for life and our planet Earth in a good way for all" as unifying themes.
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    Jul 3 2011: and respect sensibility.
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      Jul 4 2011: That certainly sounds sensible, Mr. Garvin. [:-)
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    Jul 3 2011: Great conversation! I went fishing on google to see what I caught when I searched how to develop a meme to save the world, serendipity!

    The problem lies in the culture. Our culture currently has a pattern of the consumer capitalist of the cold war. Our culture was manipulated into naturally wanting to amass all these material possessions, putting everyone to work to make all the stuff. In a recent scholarship essay I wrote on how to end poverty in the next 30 years, I postulate that a change in terminology priority in regards to our capitalist attitudes would plant a seed in the next generation to grow into a naturally more collaborative and empathetic society. Prioritize collaborate in place of compete. Instead of zero sum games where even on the most intimate levels is still a competition of the ego, favor non-zero sum games, where we come to understand that in order to protect and expand on our quality of life we must work together to restore homeostasis to the planet.

    Allan Savory, a biologist out of Zimbabwe, has developed a method of holistic management that does just this. It comes from understanding the bonds and cycles of all flora and fauna in the ecosystem, and being deliberately aware of you role in that ecosystem.

    We do not need Green World dictators or mandatory Buddhism. We need holistic perspectives and more emphasis on individual critical thinking abilities. There are patterns in our culture, and we can use this knowledge to our advantage. Because not every culture on the planet is particularly interested in consuming mass amounts of energy and compromising morals to save time, effort or make more money. Those are just the patterns and strategies imposed/adopted by societies seeking to modernize. It's been proven to work, and we are creatures of imitation and habit.

    Like I said, prioritize collaboration over competition, spread the word. Make use of our tool we use to manipulate culture, the taboo. Look down on those who overconsume.
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      Jul 4 2011: Hi Matthew Garvin,
      I'm Laughing Out Loud and snapping my fingers (listening to jazz just now).
      All the greater a conversation this is now with your participation. Thank you for sharing and thanks for mentioning Mr. Savory of the Savory Institute. I'm not sure if an idea I've heard will help or go against his philosophy, but I think of it as sort of making lemon-aide when life gives you lemons. Suppose we syphoned sea water into the areas along the coast of the Mediteranean, say Northern Africa, which used to be forested when Caesar invaded. There where we pull water in, we make desalinization plants powered by sunlight and put solar power plants alongside this with greenhouses of farming and excess water spilled nearby to grow trees like and for example. I thought of this to apply to where I live, near the Salton Sea in California. Here's a "what if:" What if we took water from the Baja California area, piping it in by gravity flow (the same way the North African plans work) and through a world-wide effort of similar projects saved the mid Pacific islands from getting inundated with rising sea level over the next few decades. They (many of them) are doing such a good job at establishing and guarding "no fishing" zones. (So is Peru. Still, we need to protect about 20% of the ocean and we are only addressing less than 1%.) Don't look down on those who over-consume, rather, redefine them as fellow CITIZENS and fellow COMMUNITY MEMBERS, rather than CONSUMERS. How's that? Hurry hurry hurry, get yer cultural memes here!
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    Jun 30 2011: Hello you, whoever you are,
    Considering "Co-intelligence," Tom Atlee's website that Lindsay Newland Bowker mentioned, I think as with many initiatives, it helps and it is good. I wouldn't knock it. All efforts of this kind bring us forward instead of backwards. The new meme I mention in my question might best be seen as a grassroots kind of organization. Let me refer to Charles Leadbeater's concept of "We-think." (Also a book of the same title) Once there is enough momentum in this kind of movement, I think the best and strongest and wisest fans of these clubs sort of take over by contributing enough to tip the scales of innovation so that most of it originates from the listeners, the audience, the public at large, the consumers. When the people who are usually at the recieving end start contributing ideas and have the motivation of recognition for doing good about something larger than themselves, then I think we will have something that follows the organic structure of living systems (see Michelle Holliday TED talk "The Pattern of Living Systems"
    1. Diverse parts (= contributers from different cultures , different perspectives, different areas of expertise)
    2. Convergent whole (= everyone "buys into" the idea of saving the planet)
    3. Relationships (= whatever the organization is, it talks among members, and with the outside, or nonmembers)
    4. Self-integrating (= without mandate from leadership, the organization more or less runs itself)
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    Jun 29 2011: Someone already did..Tom Atlee..and it's called Co-Intelligence

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      Jun 29 2011: Thank you, Lindsay Newland Bowker
      "Co-intelligence" on its face sounds like an excellent idea.
      As Tom Atlee says, the institute welcomes "sustainable" efforts of all groups, but I don't understand what this search for sustainable practices has to do with "empowerment."
      He says:
      Thank you for whatever you may be doing to make groups, organizations, communities and whole cultures more effective, vibrant, sustainable and wise. We expect our work to empower yours. We welcome your support.

      Rather than empowerment or encouragement (which is how I read him), perhaps a different synergy of efforts or growing collaboration might better answer my question. My words are weak representations for this image I have. I apologize. I grasp at metaphors. Just as Wikipedia built and organized encyclopedia resources, a new wiki-tribe needs to sort and connect green efforts. Activism or changes in governance may be part of a good answer, but I think that the thinking and connecting ideas are a higher priority.
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        Jun 29 2011: Here is Tom;s intro to what co-intelligence is in hi sown words"

        Healthy communities, institutions and societies -- perhaps even our collective survival -- depend on our ability to organize our collective affairs more wisely, in tune with each other and nature.

        This ability to wisely organize our lives together -- all of us being wiser together than any of us could be alone -- we call co-intelligence.

        In its broadest sense, co-intelligence involves accessing the wisdom of the whole on behalf of the whole.

        Co-intelligence is emerging through new developments in democracy, organizational development, collaborative processes, the Internet and systems sciences like ecology and complexity. Today millions of people are involved in co-creating co-intelligence. Our diverse efforts grow more effective as we discover we are part of a larger evolutionary enterprise, and as we learn together and from each other."

        Importantly this model of decision making is actually put to work every day in real life replacing traditional models of governmental decsion making. It already exists. It already is a movement. It is already through collaboration and maximum citzen involvement calling the public back to awakeness and involvement which is what it will take to undo the snarl the plutonomy has us and ourhgovernment in. The only thing that can unwind the plutonomy is us..awake, aware, involved.

        Its very hip,very modern.very tech oriented .direct deomocrcay not on paper but at work.

        Nobody is doing thinking connecting collaorabtive work at a higher level that I can think of.

        That's what co-intelligence is.
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          Jun 29 2011: Lindsay Newland Bowker, thanks again,
          I will re-examine the web site and links and in particular with an eye toward unsnarling the plutonomy status quo. I will review the model of decision making as you mentioned.

          I respect your work with aging persons. Everyone deserves respect and validation of their being.

          I'll leave you with this. Imagine me singing (baritone range): "I believe the children are our future/ Teach them well and let them lead the way/ Show them all the beauty they possess inside/ Give them a sense of pride to make it easier/ Let the children's laughter remind us how we used to be..."

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        Jul 1 2011: and imagine me singing the descant with you..a lovely vision and one I share
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    Jun 29 2011: Ay... have a lil faith....
    Paul Hawken study this over a decade and finds out... these movement is by far the most complex, hugest and yet the most UNKNOWN movement.
    These seems indipendent, ad-hoc, mutually exclusive shares the same thing you put so eloquently - stewardship toward human dan planet. I know at least one organization who already try to weave this into one huge race wide effort.
    It's called
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      Jun 29 2011: Thank you Judge Pau,
      Yes. WiseEarth is an example of our current meme bank, a sort of resource of resources, and they make a gallant attempt to help by bringing resources together on their web page. Andrés R. Edwards, in his book "Thriving Beyond Sustainability: Pathways to a Resilient Society" mentions WiseEarth on page 141 and validates their efforts among many other organizations. The book lists about 300 resources like this. What's missing is perspective. The current meme genre apparently tends to be "glocal." That's global outlook, acting locally. Paul Hawken should be celebrated as someone who effectively brings together business interests and ecological interests. All of those 300 organizations represent non-zero sum games.
      Ay! I have more than a little faith. I have faith that we can do better. I think it will take the creation of a new meme, a meta-tribe organization, and here's why: We have technology capability exploding with exponential rates of growth. We need to ride this wave not just with new gadgets but also with new ways of connecting the most excellent experts and success stories. We need to surge our beings with empathy and passion and learning.