Sung to the tune of: “What do you do with a drunken sailor”
So you want to change the world?
You will need to come together and decide to cure the disease that is causing our culture to slowly kill us.
I know that is mind-blowingly overwhelming, hell we cannot even decide what to have for breakfast most days…
Can I protest it? No
Can I fight it, or for it? No
Can I post a meme on social media and believe I am doing something? Yes, but it is not effective.
Part of the issue is that we focus on the symptoms of our cancerous culture and not the cancer itself. It is what we are trained to do, focus on the obvious, and not the cause. So, here we are, all together, all colors, sizes, sexes, ages, bleeding from a thousand wounds, all symptoms of a cultural cancer. We all know the symptoms: racism, income inequality, poverty, classism, ageism, sexism, us vs them, divisiveness, all together. We spend time trying to put Band-Aids on each wound, exhausting ourselves, overwhelming ourselves, and becoming unable to even see the blood. All the while the cancer grows, untreated, and we move closer and closer to extinction…
Like a cancer, the symptoms are not all so evident as a bleeding wound, even when that is the only visible portion. Like dominos, the symptoms can line up and cause many seemingly unrelated things to happen. And like when a cancer fully metastasizes, the dominos begin to fall in complex patterns, causing more intersecting failures, until the host dies from complicated, but interrelated issues.
Is the treatment worse than the disease?
Honestly, it is harder, but not worse.
What do we need to give up to treat this cultural cancer?
Mostly your preconceived understanding of our cultural framework, which means the reality we believe we live in…
How quickly can we begin treatment of this disease?
We can start now, in fact several efforts are currently working around the world as I write this… unfortunately they are mostly unconnected.
How quickly can we treat this disease?
Honestly, this is the work of generations, we are planting trees for our children and their children to sit under. That said, if we start working in earnest right now, we can impact the future, or at least create the resilience to overcome some of what is happening, and going to happen.
My life is so busy, can I get to this when I have time?
How is that working for you so far?
So, A**hole, you got our attention, how do we fix this?To begin with we need to gain some perspective, and then we have some unlearning to do, and we need to do this together…
Breaking bread is a good place to start!Next, we need to understand that each individual will bring a valuable piece to the puzzle that will create the picture of the future. You don’t know this yet, you need to have faith that when the time is right, you will ask a question, or make a statement, or see something nobody else did. This action will shift the understanding and pieces will fall into place. That is the beauty of the complexity of this, everyone has a piece, and a part to play.
I run one of the efforts I mentioned earlier, Resilient Ecosystems, and we are focused on creating a framework to create the grassroots movement necessary to start treating our toxic culture, and build resilient communities at the same time. More about this later.
Why are we focused on Community Resilience?
You need a goal people can buy into, a goal that will bear fruit far beyond the apparent work you are putting in. It eased people into connecting and getting outside of their comfort zone. It creates capacity, resources, connections, jobs, and the will to drive bipartisan political change, at least as far as creating resilient infrastructure. You know, food, power, water… things we humans rely on to live.
What about all this perspective and unlearning stuff?
I guess it is time to talk about tipping points. Margaret Mead said to never doubt that a small group of committed people could change the world, in fact it is the only thing that ever has, and it turns out that science has proven that. That is the science of “Tipping Points”, which states that when somewhere between 10–20% of the people are focused and committed to a change, it happens and the other 80–90% follow along. This is how lasting change occurs, it always has been for good or ill. Also using the Margaret Mead theory, this is how we got to where we are, a small group of people were committed to developing a structure where they would be at the top. We currently live in this top down social framework, and playbook that has been in place ever since, about 15,000 years. For more on this I suggest you read Ishmael by Daniel Quinn, he has done a masterful job of laying it out.
Part of perspective is getting enough distance to see how we got here, and maybe starting to see how we can walk a different path into the future.
So, 10–20%? Are those the people getting out of the comfort zone?
Nope, those are the people who are showing a portion of the 80% the benefit of doing so.
Wait…What? You lost me…
What… oh wait, I forgot to talk about the framework!
We have developed a framework for change, and I did mention it earlier, the puzzle that you need to bring your piece to. When you put together a jigsaw puzzle, you find the pieces and build the outside first, creating a frame on which to build the rest of the puzzle.
Here is the thing, we know some of the parts, at least enough to mostly build the frame. Truth is we are learning as we go, but we have a lot of it, and more every time we work the process. If you think about it, that is how much of the best things in life happen.
To build the frame and have any continuity, you need builders, those people who commit to developing the puzzle and doing the personal work necessary to see a bit more of the picture, those people willing to have faith. And yes, those people are the 10-20%.
How did you find them?
A ton of hard work, presentations, social networking, conversation, and pounding my head against walls. You know persistence, believing in the process…faith in our humanity, what some people may call foolish.
I have been working on, and refining this since 2017. It is truly a work in progress, but how could it be anything else. This is a map to a human future, and I cannot possibly know what all of that will look like, but we will figure it out together. I have faith in our humanity, I have faith in our ability to reprogram our culture to support our humanity, and stave off our extinction.
On the other hand, I also have faith in the success of our toxic culture and its ability to indoctrinate the majority of us, our school system to dumb us down, and our corporate oligarchy to message divisiveness, and program our expectations.
How the heck do you overcome that?
Messaging, persistence, education, and time
Now for the serious part, the dry portion of this article… Oh no, the how to… Stick with me, there will be more below.
We developed a Workshop series to teach, and filter, the 20%:
Community Resilience Workshop SeriesThe goal of this series is to create a group of people with the perspective, knowledge, understanding and skills to engage with their communities and begin the process of creating networked, connected, resilient communities in a grassroots way.
These are designed to be interactive and will change with the pieces you bring to them.
Section One, Perspective· Workshop One: Addressing perspective part one, discussions on assumptions on “human nature” and our understanding of culture.
· Workshop Two: Addressing perspective part two, understanding the tools culture uses to manipulate and coopt efforts of change. Words and meanings, why communication is so challenging, and is getting more so.
· Workshop Three: Addressing perspective part three, seeing beyond the expected.
Section Two, Context on Culture· Workshop Four: Ishmael by Daniel Quinn (prerequisite reading). Exploring the development of Taker Culture, and how the human path was coopted by the Taker path.
· Workshop Five: Historical Context, those who do not remember the past are destined to repeat it… ~George Santayana. Looking at human history through a contextual lens of the Taker vs the lens of humanity. What would a human future look like?
· Workshop Six: The Siblings, Revolution and Evolution, Insanity is doing the same thing again and again and expecting a different outcome… AA. Taking a hard look at how the revolutionary cycles have fallen short of the necessary change, how the cycles start again, and how intentional evolution might change the outcomes.
Section Three, Communication and Connections· Workshop Seven: The Four Agreements by Miguel Ruiz (prerequisite reading). Peeling the onion by exploring the layers of the agreements and exploring how understanding them can help us have deeper connections and overcome the cultural labels that bind us.
· Workshop Eight: Meeting people where they are, the art of listening. What we are doing is not new, but it is far outside the norm. Even in normal conversations we tend to think everyone shares our lens of the world and are shocked when there is misunderstanding… We will explore how we do not all see the same thing and how we need to spend time learning where we, and others are, so we can communicate effectively.
· Workshop Nine: The Commonalities of our shared humanity. At the core, people want the same things, unfortunately we do not communicate at our core, but at the religious, gender, political, x-label level. An exploration of shared commonalities, priorities, and core connection.
Section Four, Laying Foundations and Planting Grass· Workshop Ten: Breaking Bread, the core human connection. Creating core connections in this group.
· Workshop Eleven: Tipping Points, the math of human/cultural programming. Understanding the math of tipping points and change.
· Workshop Twelve: Train the Trainer, and the core connection! You are the center of this workshop, acknowledge the connections with this group, know that you support each other and are the pieces of each other’s puzzle. You are the foundation!
Finding common values, building capacity, making friendsAll of this is designed to build capacity, build relationships, foster grassroots activism, and change minds. It is built on the foundation of finding commonality, that is the goal of the workshops. As with everything else, they are constantly evolving and changing. They are not one size fits all, the leader needs to learn to meet people where they are and deliver the information in many ways while shepherding folks to a common goal. The beauty is that this brings more pieces to the process of building the puzzle.
Are you asking yourself what this will cost you? Because it will cost you. You will need to change the way you perceive the world in which you live, and reprioritize your actions accordingly. Our goal is to create a more human cultural framework, we will not live to see the outcome, but we will live to see the beginning, and that is enough. Feel free to join us on the road…
For more information:
Conduit Podcasts: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCfi8AuMV1eag_XM9IBfaBmw/videos
Support the work:
Become a Patron: https://www.patreon.com/resilientcommunities
Donate to our fundraiser: https://www.gofundme.com/f/2c3xm-building-community-resilience
Thank you for your time, see you on the road!
Mark Boatwright-Frost Executive Director of Resilient Ecosystems, champion of community resilience. It is all about coming together and finding commonality, build capacity and thrive