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Acheiving Balance of Economic, Social and Ecological Imperatives: Vince Verlaan and Chris Corrigan

Vince and Chris discussed the fact that economic growth appears to be leading to major crises in ecological system functioning (eg Global Warming, biodiversity decline, etc), despite what Bjorn Lomborg might say, and how a global consciousness might be developing around this. Discussed the Gaia concept and the ideas of the "noosphere" and the hundredth monkey, where global awareness develops at a certain point, promising change and integration. Discussed how ecological and restorative economics are very promising alternatives. Then focused on what may appear to be a major blockage in moving towards a needed unification of social, environmental and economic imperatives. Agreed that the problem is the perceived inability to nail down the issue clearly and then to develop a systematic response easily because it is such an integrative vision and crosses so many boundaries, while our current social and professional discussions tend to be so single-item focused and reductionist. This leads to exhaustion and discouragement of groups and individuals when trying to get to the heart of the challenge that is facing mankind 300+ years after the Industrial Revolution. You get "lost in the trees" as you "try to nail jello to the wall" and it means less progress is made than you hoped for (Vince's complaint). How to get the economic activities of our increasingly global society to work with and enrich our social and environmental systems rather than degrading them. Discussed the concept of "Genuine Progress" vs. GDP, and why this concept is only recently taking root. Jane Jacobs book "Nature of Economies" a useful reference for this issue. Vince having identified this overall issue as the problem that is most challenging to his values and vision, Chris then recommended a book by Ken Wilber called "Strategies of Integration". Wilber described as a practitioner of integrative philosophy. Looked at our OST course workbook where a graphic links an external/internal axis whith a collective/individual axis. Wilber apparently maps systems of human thought on this axis map and tries to inegrate various questions and perspectives. Other good Wilber references are 1. Sex, Ecology and Spirituality and 2. A Brief History of Everything (which is a summary of book #1). Wilber's integration gives you a map to "get out of the trees". Chris talks about this kind of integration being key as humanity goes to a next stage of evolution, connecting our efforts and assets on these four quadrants. Developing rings around this map that are integrative and provide foundation for evolution. There is self-organization, movement, integration (we will explore this more in the OST event). Our contribution to this evolution is the action we are taking. It is the outer rings that allow more evolution. Leads to marketplace of ideas, and away from conflict. We kill passion by putting it to a committee (regression). Should feel good that there is clarity regarding "the problem", and that the identification of the evolutionary need (moving to wholeness and marketplace of ideas) has happened. Now need to move to STRATEGIES to evolve. Wholistic maps will help organizations of various kinds work upwards. Very few places in society where integration is understood and need to move our debates in that direction. Vince recommends Ronald Coleman's article on GPI as one example of this kind of work/discurse and will send this to OST workshop members. Chris mentions Appreciative Inquiry as another tool. Another sourcebook from Chris: "Enlightened Leadership". Concept of "wayfinding". The "Fourfold Way" is another resource book for this kind of work. The rest of this workshop is focused on how to help orgs move upward and outward on the map.


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