Wade Davis is spending time with the Aboriginees in the Northern Territories. These are and were a people with no notion of linear time. Theirs was one of the great experiments in human thought. The notion that the world existed as a perfect whole, and that the singular duty of humanity was to maintain through ritual activity the land precisely as it existed when the Rainbow Serpent embarked on the journey of creation. The logos of the Dreaming was constancy, balance, symmetry. In the moment there is deductive logic, on a hunt for example, when the men pay attention to signs with a perspicacity that would put Sherlock Holmes to shame. But in life there is only the Dreaming, in which every thought, every plant and animal, are inextricably linked as a single impulse, the inspiration of the first dawning. Had humanity followed this track, it is true that we would have never placed a man on the moon. But we would most certainly not be speaking of our capacity to compromise the life support of the planet. I have never in all of my travels been so moved by a vision of another possibility, born literally 55,000 years ago. This world is so amazing. The realm of the modern is just the floss. The ancient rhythms resonate in ways we can only imagine….   (From TED blog – hi Emily!) And this, from Paul Hawken, on the movement nobody saw coming.  It flies under the radar of the media by-and-large, it is non-violent, it is grassroots, it is greater and deeper and broader than we ourselves can know. Its ideology is not centralized. A male vertebrate is not in charge. This unnamed movement is the most diverse movement the world has ever seen. The very word movement is too small to describe it. No one started it. No one is in charge of it. It is global, classless, unquenchable, and tireless. This shared understanding is arising spontaneously from different economic sectors, cultures, regions, and cohorts. It is growing and spreading globally, with no exceptions. It is marked by kinship, community, and symbiosis. Hawken is talking about a shared awareness for our planet’s health and sustainability, but I see it as much more. As instantaneous / virtual global communication spreads, there is no human endeavor that will not be touched by this growing, organically interconnected community. Politics, borders, institutions — all of the inherited boundaries we thought kept us “safe” from others — are being made irrelevant by this emerging global ecclesia. Enjoy Hawken’s five minute talk from the 2006 Bioneers conference. (HT Michel  

Social Entrepreneurs

From 21 Mar 08 NY Times editorial… The older do-gooders had a certain policy model: government identifies a problem. Really smart people design a program. A cabinet department in a big building administers it. But the new do-gooders have absorbed the disappointments of the past decades. They have a much more decentralized worldview. They don’t believe government on its own can be innovative. A thousand different private groups have to try new things. Then we measure to see what works. Their problem now is scalability. How do the social entrepreneurs replicate successful programs so that they can be big enough to make a national difference? America Forward, a consortium of these entrepreneurs, wants government to do domestic policy in a new way. It wants Washington to expand national service (to produce more social entrepreneurs) and to create a network of semipublic social investment funds. These funds would be administered locally to invest in community-run programs that produce proven results. The government would not operate these social welfare programs, but it would, in essence, create a network of semipublic Gates Foundations that would pick winners based on stiff competition. There’s obviously a danger in getting government involved with these entrepreneurs. Government agencies are natural interferers, averse to remorseless competition and quick policy shifts. Nonetheless, these funds are worth a try. The funds would head us toward this new policy model, in which government sets certain accountability standards but gives networks of local organizations the freedom to choose how to meet them. President Bush’s faith-based initiative was a step in this direction, but this would be broader. We might as well take advantage of this explosion of social entrepreneurship. These are some of the smartest and most creative people in the country. Even if we don’t know how to reduce poverty, it’s probably worth investing in these people and letting them figure it out. They won’t stop bugging us until we do. Some great sites to get involved with Social Venture: Ashoka Changemakers Idealist Do Something  

Hyper-Text Epistemology (not)

Just back from a few days in Orange County CA. Cynthia is developing a brilliant new social venture and I’m helping. Part of the new venture will embrace fair-trade and organic markets, so I spent two days talking with tons of people at the big organic trade show in Anaheim – a show that was started in 1975 by my friend and fellow TED’ster Doug Greene. It was so cool meeting all the people whose food we’ve been eating for years: Nancy the lady who makes our yogurt / Bob the guy who grinds our grains / the guy who runs the soap company that his Essene grandpa started (all one god faith man….. spirit in god one man in all faith…… no half truth hate all one man god spirit…..) / the wonderful couple who formulate our favorite “green drink.” and dozens more. I’d post photos, but my WordPress install has gone buggy (photos don’t install, “About” page disappeared, Akismet missing tons of spam..). In fact, I just finished a longish post called Hyper-Text Epistemology that now appears LOST in cyberland somewhere. I hate losing work like that.. which teaches me yet again to write posts in Word, then transfer to WordPress when finished