Here’s a 20 minute podcast from the Congress on Personalised Education in Utrecht.
Here’s the film of a talk I gave on the state of the world and how we are responding to that with Ubiquity. At a congress on personalised learning in Utrecht, 23 January 2018.
I have just completed a new online course aiming to give people an introduction to understanding and working with energetics in large-scale systems. You can either take it on your own self-paced (“Lite”) or together with others and myself with discussion and feedback (“Immersive”). Check it out!
They take your dreams down and stick them in storage
You can have them back son when you’ve paid off your mortgage and loans
“Life’s For The Living” by PASSENGER
[Here’s a piece I wrote about Ubiquity and why I think it’s so important for the world.]
If there is anything humanity needs now, it is for people, in particular our young people, to dream of the future they want and make it happen. At a time where crises seem to follow one another non-stop, it must be hard to stay optimistic if your whole future is still in front of you.
In these early start-up days at Ubiquity, it helps me to remember what we are really about here. As our old systems groan under the strain of challenges they were not designed to meet, the global ecology becomes increasingly turbulent, social tensions are amplified and everything can seem to be descending into the abyss. Where are the leaders who are going to name things for what they are, be bold enough to lay out a vision radically different to the societies we currently live in, and inspire and resource people to make it happen?
Well they won’t come from the existing systems. They can’t, as like a fish in water, they can’t extract themselves from the mindset and practices that they grew up in and are responsible for ensuring the stability of nowadays. It is time for radical R&D from the bottom up. It is for those who feel the dis-ease of the current system and the call of a brighter future to make it happen. Many of us already are. There is an explosion of social innovation and entrepreneurship to parallel the despair and destruction of the old.
Ubiquity is designed to scale the renewal. I see Ubiquity as a new learning and innovation organ of the planet. Remember that ultimately we are all an expression of the Earth – you are the planet reading its own words right now. Ubiquity is one of the planet’s latest experiments to see how to navigate through this transition into the next phase of our being.
It requires a number of things. Firstly, ruthless realism to face what is currently going on and ground ourselves in the full realisation of the present condition, to focus us and release energy to prioritise what really needs to be done. Secondly, a passion-based commitment to play our part in the transition. What area is each of us called to work in? Thirdly, a humility to know that we cannot do it alone and therefore a quest for collaboration. Where are the other people drawn to the same passion who have complementary skills to us? Fourthly, a realisation that this is all bigger than any of us. It is a process of life that includes dynamics at planetary and universe levels. This means we need to trust that ultimately where things end up will be fine from the biggest perspective, not acting from a place of fear, but from a playful curiosity to discover how life is going to make it happen, combined with a clarity of action to take the next natural step with all our being.
Ubiquity’s job is to put in place the conditions for millions of people to be able to do just that – learn and act together aligned behind a shared vision of a world that works for all. If we succeed in that, the resources will follow, and will be distributed to whoever needs them to make their contribution. Humanity will end up playing a role worthy of our greatest potential, enabling life to continue its exploration into conscious co-creation between self-aware beings towards a world of both greater interconnectedness and each individual’s manifestation of their unique Purpose. If we need to be a business and call ourselves a University and platform to do that, so be it. Our form and structure however will always be a means to an end, and never an end in itself. And on our journey, we have already met and are sure still to meet many others with the same impulse, who we embrace as collaboration partners on this most epic of quests.
Here’s 20 mins I extracted from a recent discussion where I explore what it means to see oneself as the Earth.
Wake Humanity Wake
From the slumber of your soul
Re-member who you are
The self-awareness of the Earth herself
Pull yourself together
And rise with all your forces
Like Arthur from under Albion’s green and pleasant hills
Ride the Great Dragon of your wild heart
Into a future worthy of You
Or forever hold your peace.
Here is my PhD dissertation on Volution Theory! I had the oral exam on Friday 29th September and was awarded my PhD immediately afterwards. And here is a video recording of the 2-hour defence of the dissertation.
I will be continuing to develop these ideas at www.volutiontheory.net so keep a track of things there!
One year it was Kate Rusby, another Luke Concannon and another Ed Sheeran. This year it was Joshua Hyslop and his album In Deepest Blue. Every year it has been music that has reconnected me to myself during our summer holiday.
Each time I remember things that I commit to never forgetting again. And yet each year I realize again that I forgot. Things really about the heart. About simple presence, vulnerability, feeling.
On holiday I realize how much I need to decompress. Decompress from the doingness, the digital and the drive. Things I am not aware of being compressed by when I’m in them, like the fish in water.
Things normally crack around day three. This year my insights were in particular around how much it asks of us to be in a bridging role in this Great Transition. Somehow I imagine it must be easier to either unconsciously be in the old system or to be opting fully for a radical alternative outside the current system.
I was realizing and feeling how much pain I hold in that bridging role, around all the compromises we consciously make as we attempt to straddle two worlds, finding a way to channel the energy and attention of a world that is dying into a world that is just being born. Walking round the supermarket I got depressed at humanity’s stupidity as we eat ourselves to an early and often painful death, destroying the ecologies of other species in the process. Sometimes I really wonder if all our efforts aren’t just vain attempts to make ourselves feel good.
I was reminded of the great compassion we need with each other as our shadows are triggered on the paths of our passion. We know we need to heal ourselves to create the healing in the world we so crave. I feel the pain of the world and yet park it in order to focus on building the future. Yet it’s important to take the space to connect regularly to that pain and let it flow through. Otherwise it builds up and becomes increasingly hard to access.
It’s so important to be kind to ourselves and our bodies, as well as to each other. Those of us who are in clear space need to help others who are temporarily out of balance to ground and reconnect. We all go through the cycles and need to learn to support each other as we can – and know that we all have ups and downs.
Fulfilling the promise and potential of our higher selves requires us to move through the pain we hold. The path is indeed the way. We never arrive. We just spiral on through plateaus of relative flow and uncomfortable rapids of transformation. If we can remember that of ourselves and others, we’ll have a greater chance of more gracefully birthing the world we’re working for.
- A few years ago I wrote a book called The Pain and the Promise which went into this process in detail. I never had the bandwidth to get it published but I do have a recent draft with comments from the potential publisher (Russ Volckmann actually who just passed away, which is a great loss), and would be happy to send it to anyone interested.
- I’m also really enjoying a great book by Penny Kelly called Getting Well Again, Naturally, which is a strong reminder of the the discipline we need to have in making the lifestyle choices we make – with some surprising but very resonant advice.
Driven to despair by how my smart and sensitive eldest son was suffering from increasing stress and depression by the mind-numbing rote-learning and non-step testing regime at his apparently top secondary school in the Netherlands, I googled in Dutch “education without tests”. Up popped the page of a tv documentary about a school in Roermond called Niekee where they had been experimenting with an approach called Agora. As I read the interview with one of the co-founders, Sjef Drummen, my eyes filled with tears as I recognised the secondary education of the future that truly honours and liberates the wholeness and potential of our children. The old system is broken and it’s breaking our kids. I was determined to do what I could to bring it to my home town and so earlier this week I visited Sjef and his amazing school. I feel immensive gratitude for the vision and courage he and his team have shown in actually manifesting a working example of how it could be done differently. As he repeated a number of times to me, “what we care about is what is good for the development of the child”. Below is some more information about Agora that I have translated from various Dutch sources, and some photos of the children’s working spaces (that they get to design themselves).
[Note – this article references the Spiral Dynamics model – see http://spiraldynamicsintegral.nl/en/ for more background].
Trump was always going to beat Hillary. His energy (strong Spiral Dynamics Red Power Gods wrapped in successful Orange Achiever-self) resonates with the US population much more fundamentally than hers (Spiral Dynamics Orange-Green smart political correctness). Now Bernie would have given Trump a run for his money, due to his access to the more fundamental value systems. But the democratic leadership was blind to that reality. It is also part of a trend – disillusion with a cognitive elite that has lost touch with people’s need for simplicity, identity and deeper meaning.
Before a system makes a major leap, it often has to regress in order to gather more fundamental energy from the past that it has left behind, split with or repressed. Think of bending your legs before you jump. In the Netherlands that happened a number of years ago when following political murders, the country regressed to an order-driven party (Spiral Dynamics Blue) and Prime Minister (Christian Democrats with Jan-Peter Balkenende). He got in on a return to core values. The Netherlands is a more feminine we-centered nation than the US. The US is more masculine, individualistic and expansionist, so a regression in the US was far more likely to express itself through an “express-self” value system (e.g. Red Power Gods) than a “sacrifice-self” value system (such as Blue Order). Hence Donald Trump.
The good news is that the Netherlands then went on to elect the most Integral Prime Minister in their history, Mark Rutte. Having re-stabilised and integrated the earlier Blue order-driven value system (which had been largely suppressed by Green egalitarianism), it had the energy to push beyond Green in Yellow Integral. Whether that is the promise in the US remains to be seen, but it might help to see it in this perspective.
From a volutionary perspective (www.volutiontheory.net), what we are seeing is indeed “regress to progress”. This will amplify the polarities. When you stretch the poles, it increases the flow of energy in between. The implications are that we can expect increased instability and turbulence, but that means increased energy in the system that can create more fundamental change. It also brings more risk of course. Will the system be able to hold it and ultimately channel it constructively? Will decisions on for example climate change taken by a republican-dominated US led by Donald Trump damage our ecosystem to an extent that massive human conflict and suffering become unavoidable?
We will see. Life will continue its quest for a dynamic balance and general directionality of increasing differentiation and interconnection. We are a resilient expression of life. Let’s stay as centered, clear and compassionate as we can, and keep taking the next natural step towards the kind of future that sings in our hearts. Life will take care of the rest.