Using Cultural Emergence for Social and Environmental Change

Serendipity thrives on alertness” ~ May East, Gaia Education co-founder and trainer, edge worker

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Photo by Matthew Smith on Unsplash

One of the advantages of studying how systems work is that you start seeing “the matrix” behind each behavior, including social behavior.

I became fascinated with systems when I stated studying, and then practicing and teaching permaculture: we are surrounded by systems and we ourselves are systems within systems!

From observing how ecosystems work in nature, learning about patterns and eventually re-visiting how the universe has evolved and particularly how Life works, I started to see the connection between what we call “matter” and that more intangible substance that forms from our thoughts, emotions and the unconscious to the mystery of dreams and the soul/spirit “world”.

As it turns out, this artificial division or duality, the same behind all our story of separation, is the one that has created the mess we live in: socially, politically, economically and environmentally, we have allowed this to be created, this “thing” to emerge and take control over our lives, behaviours, relationships, values, judgements, etc.

Life is in continuous emergence: it shoots creatively all the time, even in deeply wounded and broken places. We see it in the strong roots of the “weeds” that stubbornly and resiliently break through the pavement or thrive in eroded and polluted soils, in the bugs and birds and flowers and seeds that move and take hold in the strangest places. We see in the trees that grow from soilless rocks!

What if that “emergence” is also happening at the social and individual level same as it is continuously doing in natural ecosystems?

Not only I strongly believe this is the case, but many others do, and have dedicated years to study this phenomena: because there’s no division between “humans” and the rest of nature or between “society/culture” and any other ecosystem: all are systems, they just look (superficially) different.

Through the last two years, I have been learning, exploring and using systems theory, emergent design and ecopsychology in my coaching and facilitation practices…and the results are not only inspiring: they create “unexpected” synchronicities…with time, I’ve learned to expect and even produce these synchronitities by paying attention and staying open to the flow.

Imagine there was a tool that allows us to “read” the cues and become so alert that we can tweak what’s emerging in ourselves, our relationship and dynamics, groups or an entire cultures to work better with the flow instead of being constantly pushed and pulled by it, controlled by it.

That is what “Cultural Emergence” by permaculturist, coach, teacher and change maker Looby MacNamara allows you to do: to understand how systems (including cultural and personal systems) work and learning to read the cues so you can work with them instead of fighting them or becoming their slave.

Cultural emergence allows you to “create breakthroughs in the Great Turning to a life enhancing culture” as Looby MacNamara says.

Some abstracts from Looby’s course:

“Humanity is presently in a crisis of disconnection and a time of mass cultural emergency; we see the personal, social, political and environmental problems as stemming from a lack of cultural understanding and cohesion. We believe there are tools that can help turn this around into mass Cultural Emergence; where abundance, gratitude, care and connection are part of our everyday culture.”

Want to know more?

I invite you to join this online course where you can progress at your own pace and join a community of learners and change makers https://coursecraft.net/c/ActivatingCulturalEmergence/a/cpmYFEtWT

Looby will also be teaching about Cultural Emergence Design in BC next September, for those who want a more hands-on and deep experience: https://www.designedvisions.com/index.php/course-dates-topmenu-97/cultural-emergence/406-canada

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Mushrooms emerging in my home’s garden…

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