Society. Class. Race. Economy. Education. Law Enforcement. Government. Community. Family.
Stewing in this pot is where we find ourselves. A societal living structure that has been handed to us by our forebears, forged in a deeply complex, violent, and in many ways, obfuscated history. We grow up in this cauldron...heating up, cooling down, brushing against all the other ingredients. We are quite literally in over our heads in this stew called, Society.
Despite this, we are required by circumstance to design and build the kitchen and cook pot in which we exist. It is no simple thing to ask the soup to also be the chef, yet here we are.
Indeed, a child can look around and see that in many ways, we have been building and living in a deeply flawed design. From the foundational infrastructure to the facade, our society is painfully, poorly designed in many regards. In the software game, this happens when a team has not adequately established what the functional requirements are for their product. And often, that happens when the team has set to work without having a clearly understood and articulated vision, mission, and clear set of goals. So, without those guiding lights, they just begin building out of necessity to create - to design and manifest.
We do this as humans in all aspects of our lives. We make things. But, do we understand our visions? Do we know what the mission is? Are we able to clearly articulate what the goals are so that a concrete list of functional requirements can be built and appended with adequate specifications to take action against?
What is the vision of our society?
Surely, there are nearly as many visions as there are people in the society. Yes? No?
Who gets to decide and fashion our vision statement into something that synthesizes the best of what we all have to contribute? An easy (or maybe lazy) answer would be that those who are able to present the most persuasive argument win the privilege by being elected to positions of leadership by the rest of the society.
I understand that in the United States we rely on the 'democratic system' of government, given to us by our founders, as the arena through which this debate is played out. I have heard it often referred to as, "The Marketplace Of Ideas." A romantic notion, to be sure.
I wonder though, is our political process the most rational arena for the vision, mission, and high-level goals to be created?
I believe that our Bill Of Rights and Constitution are inspired documents and that our system of government leads the societies of the world as the most flexible and innovative model of government we have on this planet. So, my question is not meant to suggest that I am making an argument about the flaws of our democratic model (at least not in this post), but rather, to simply ask, is our wonderfully designed model of government the best place for the 'vision-casting' for our society to take place?
I certainly think that there is an argument to be made, or perhaps more effectively stated, an avenue to explore, where those elected to serve in public office through the processes outlined in our democratic model, given to us by our founders, are merely there to execute, not invent.
Think of it like this, in the startup world it's become a stereotype that many of the visionaries that initially bring us the brilliant innovations are rarely the best-suited people to manage and oversee the execution of the venture once the engine of the business revs up. Conversely, the individuals who often accel at managing large organizations, the professional operators and corporate generals, are rarely the individuals who are suited to (or in many cases even capable of) delivering us brilliant innovation.
This dynamic is crystal clear to us in the business sector of our society. So, why then, when it comes to our politics do we continue to believe (or potentially even more dangerously, continue to ACT as though we believe) that the people most suited to manage the massive bureaucracy of our government are also the best suited to design the most innovative vision for how our society works and where we go as a civilization?
Our frontline politicians continue to enjoy the status of blind acceptance. What I mean is that we, as a people, give them the power to not only manage and execute but also control the design process, simply because they put their name on the ballot and followed through with their campaign.
I'm reminded of a line that I first heard in an episode of, The West Wing, "Decisions are made by those who show up." I agree. But, is the political arena where we should be looking for the innovators and designers of society to show up?
What would it look like if our society understood that to be elected to office meant you were expected to oversee and manage the execution of a cultural vision that was given to you as a mandate from a different contingent of our republic? For the sake of having a name to refer to in this post, we'll call it: The Design Council.
What if politicians ran on the merits of their ability to get things done, identify talent, and manage resources in extremely effective ways, instead of constantly preaching to us about how they will 'fix' our society. How they have the vision to 'change our country.' What if we had the design council to look to for that, so all we needed from our politicians were to be amazing operators, builders of process and policy that reflect the vision. In other words, tacticians, not strategists.
What would that election cycle look like?
Even more interesting of a question is who would be on the design council? How would they get elected? What would their charter be? I assume the election of those roles could mimic the electoral process of our government officials, it's just that these people would not hold government office. Instead, they would be societal designers, innovators. They would articulate the vision, the mission, and the goals. Then, the politicians would be responsible to see it done through the legal model of our democratic republic.
Now, that is an interesting avenue to explore. However, it brings us back to my initial question: How can the soup also be the chef?
How can you will yourself to know what you don't know just because you really need to know it?
This is the problem of consciousness in which we find ourselves.
No matter what models we debate, or test drive, or employ, we are making all of our decisions inside the constraints of our current level of consciousness. If we know the world is flat, that is the paradigm we live in. Then when we learn it's round, the paradigm shifts.
Take one of the biggest issues of our time, racism. A deeply horrifying reality that plagues our society here in America, as well as our global human civilization. I will readily admit that I have not been well educated enough to understand all of the context and history around how the different 'races' as we call them have struggled to co-exist over all of the centuries, I admit that I have much to learn. I also admit that I was born into, and raised in a deeply privileged environment. That being said, I have spent many years of my adult life seeking to understand healing and reconciliation and I have learned enough in my journey thus far to recognize when the root of a problem is being missed for a focus on the symptoms.
Racism does not exist because of racist policies. Racist policies exist because racism exists in the hearts and minds of the people who make the laws. It is the result of the majority of our human civilization's consciousness not yet having evolved to the level required for the problem to dissolve. Many of us have woken up to the fact that we are all connected and equal, but writ large, we are still in the proverbial dark ages.
"...how quickly can we save ourselves
from the delusion that the engine government
is also meant to be our engine of social innovation?"
Think about all of the issues society must have struggled with before they understood that gravity was a thing. What a massive limitation it must have been on what their society could achieve, simply because they couldn't yet conceive of gravity. Now think about what became possible as soon as human consciousness reached the moment of awakening to the existence and function of gravity.
Instantly, reality expands. What is possible expands. The paradigm shifts and the world changes forever.
The reality where gravity is a singular, insurmountable constraint dissolves, and (while still imposing some constraints) gravity becomes a force we can use to do things never before possible.
What happens to racism when our consciousness reaches that moment of awakening? What happens to our problems with the environment and climate change?
It's easy to roll your eyes and wave this idea off as a utopian dream...but remember, there was a time when people thought the world was flat. When gravity wasn't an understood thing, when people believed that cutting a person open and letting them bleed out would get rid of illness.
Look how far we've come, and how much farther we have to go.
The question we should not be asking is, "Where are the politicians that will lead us out of this hell?"
The question we should be asking is, "What is the most effective way to catalyze our consciousness to evolve and awaken, and how quickly can we save ourselves from the delusion that the engine government is also meant to be our engine of social innovation?"
We need The Design Council, or whatever the hell we end up calling it. The group of people we elect to collectively articulate our society's vision, mission, and goals, who then pass it down to the government officials to execute and see it done.
So what is the path? What do we do next?
Obviously, we need our policymakers to take action now, to swiftly begin to correct and bring balance to deeply tilted laws and processes to make laws that allow certain groups to continually disadvantage and discriminate against people in our society. Yes, we need this now.
We also need leaders who will punish law enforcement for breaking the laws they are paid to enforce by killing or brutalizing our citizens.
We also need to make consciousness, and the awakening of human consciousness the central discussion, focus, theme, and advocacy priority for our country.
For every conversation that happens on TV, radio, podcasts and YouTube about unfair policy, we need to have 5 about how human consciousness can evolve, awaken, and enlighten.
We must get out of the paradigm we are in. We must realize that the world is not flat.
This is our most important work for this generation. To wake up. To enlighten. To evolve.
Yes, we have to protest. We have to deal with the day to day injustices we experience. We also have to go to work and take care of personal responsibilities. But we must, we absolutely must take action to drive the discussion of consciousness into the mainstream. It must become our banner, to wake up.
There is a world that is possible where racism does not exist. A world where the climate is balanced and our ecosystems are flourishing.
This world waits for us on the other side of our next societal awakening of consciousness.
Gravity is real. The world is not flat. Human beings, all human beings, are all connected, equal members of a magically interconnected ecosystem of life. If you have already crossed the threshold into this understanding, I'm so happy for you. For us. We must now get to work with urgency. We must get to work on this problem of consciousness.
Time is of the essence.
If you want to explore some resources that could be helpful or inspirational for your personal journey, here are some links: