This image came up on Facebook yesterday, with the heading: We can now only watch as West Antarctica’s ice sheets collapse, and a link to an article written by a researcher at ANU College of Physical and Mathematical Sciences at Australian National University.
And we all reacted in different ways;
“Oh my God! This is terrible!!! But I better keep calm and carry on. We will solve this together”
“Shut the fuck up! Who’s this ANU researcher? Who funded him?”
“Here we go again… Another article about climate change and melting ice… Booooring!!!!
Around five, six years ago, these articles had a profound effect on me. I started to really grasp that it was up to all of us (including me) to change ourselves if we were to avoid serious consequences of climate change. And by change I don’t mean starting to recycle or drive or fly less. No, I realised that we needed to change big-time. Change the games we play.
So I decided sometime back then that I couldn’t play the game any more. The game called “Work hard in the current paradigm and all will be fine” or something along those lines. Sometimes, since then, I have tried to re-enter that game, but haven’t been allowed in. I’m not welcome to play and have finally accepted this. I am doomed to observe from the outside. Or build a new game…
Back then, I came across this Buckminster Fuller quote:
“You never change things by fighting the existing reality.
To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.”
And like most of the people who inspire me and who I play with now, I took that quote to heart. We need new models. But we don’t know what these are. We have to build them without plans, goals and instructions. There are some hints of course, but we have to stay with uncertainty and trust emergence. We have to move together, slowly and blind-folded, towards what feels right, rather than what we think is right, in these postnormal times.
“All that was ‘normal’ has now evaporated; we have entered postnormal times, the in between period where old orthodoxies are dying, new ones have not yet emerged, and nothing really makes sense. To have any notion of a viable future, we must grasp the significance of this period of transition which is characterized by three c’s: complexity, chaos and contradictions.”
We won’t know what these new models that Buckminster Fuller talked about look like. But we start to understand what things no longer work. And these are no longer small things. These are huge, deeply ingrained and trusted models in our societies. Models that have worked until now. Models that have pulled billions of people out of poverty. Models that have increased our life spans with many decades. Models that have given us comfort and wealth. But now they are obsolete. And we have to listen to Buckminster Fuller. We have to stop fighting them or try fixing them. We have to let go of them and start to build new models.
Here are some of the current models which bother me and I think are obsolete:
2. Hard Work
5. Heroic entrepreneurship (a.k.a. dickhead entrepreneurship)
Over the next couple of weeks I will post on each of these – my issues. Perhaps this will allow me to let go of them slightly. They bother me a lot, but if I write down my thoughts on them I hope I’ll feel lighter.
I believe that we’ll have to replace these five with “something else” if we are to avoid catastrophic global collapse. And the good thing is that many people have worked on this for a while now 🙂