We create the world by observing it. We think ideas, we speak them into the world, and we make them reality.
God said, and it was so.
That is what certain political leaders are doing. They speak lies and they make them reality when people believe them. So I ask, where do we want to put our energies?
We make words like social and capital. Then we make words like socialism and capitalism. Then we get into a war of words that turns into a Cold War that turns into actual wars that play out in other lands as turf wars over who we believe is actually in charge. By then, people are actually dying over who claims to be leader of the free world.
We make words like social media. Then, capital drives monetization through advertising. Next thing you know, people are dying in Myanmar and being displaced from their homes and fascists assume dictatorships over democracies because it turns out that everything is fake and nobody trusts the institutions we took hundreds of years to build. We have made a mess of the world.
So, now what?
Ideas matter. Words matter. Purpose matters. Vision matters. Art matters. We bring into the world what matters to us.
Our time matters. Where we put our energy matters.
E = mc2
Black lives matter.
We built the machine of the modern world. We call it the economy. We panic when the economy grinds to a halt because we would rather live than die because of the threat of an invisible malevolent parasite.
But, hypothetically, imagine that the economy and the modern industrial machine is the invisible malevolent parasite that is killing humanity and all living things on the planet.
We built the economy on genocide and slavery and theft. The machine is still running on these principles. Debt, this imaginary number, is the incentive that drives the machine. The fear and the reality of debt slavery runs the world. Has it not been said that the love of money is the root of all evil?
Which of our leaders has not assumed that position of leadership without prioritizing money and the economy?
However, we know that money is a fiction, a story that we tell ourselves. Money is a story about what and who has value. This scale of human value that we call money is fake. But if enough people believe it, that idea of money becomes our reality.
Restarting the economy is the phrase we keep repeating. By repeating it so often, the idea is spoken into reality. We make it real by believing it.
And before you know it, 31 million people are infected with a virus and almost a million people have died.
Many more people have died from starvation.
When things go wrong, what do we do? Depending on how we respond, things get worse or things get better.
When we learn from our mistakes, things can get better.
How do we learn? We change our perceptions. We change our ideas. We change our habits.
We learn to see, to listen, to feel, to understand. We get to the root of the problems by asking questions we thought we didn’t have permission to ask.
Who is counting and who really counts?
We value what we measure. If money is our measure of value, then we value a story, a fiction, a scale of human value, where an arbitrary number defines our monetary value in the world.
If we valued life, would so much life be dying?
Our living planet is dying. The real world is disappearing before our eyes while we watch the stock market rise. These phenomena are connected. We are trading reality for numbers on a screen.
We remember those who have died, both human and more than human. Then we remember that we are alive. We remember that ideas matter and that they can be life-giving. We remember that words matter and we can speak words of life. We remember that vision matters and we begin to see life all around us.
We remember that the universe is alive with possibility, and we invest in life.
We remember that what is life-giving is not money but love.
Then we remember to live. We remember to live on purpose.
Let no debt remain standing but the continuing debt to love.
May love be the measure and the value of every living being.
When we speak, we are having a conversation with the universe. If we are always speaking or yelling into the void to get someone’s attention, we are no longer having a conversation. We are having a monologue. And we are not listening to what the universe has to say.
The problem with the world is the corporate monopoly over public discourse.
We are artists. We are designers and scientists. We are listening to the universe to hear the wisdom of billions of years of creative, collaborative, self-organizing learning community in conversation with humanity through living matter.
What the universe has to say matters.
Be quiet and be still. Then we will be able to listen and hear.
As a member of the first cohort of the Design Science Studio, I wrote this article in answer to a question I asked myself, “What would I say to leaders who are exploring how we might imagine, design, and build a purpose-first economy?”
Building a Purpose-First Economy
Today we are facing some of the most urgent and complex economic, social, and environmental challenges in generations. These challenges also create an unprecedented window of opportunity. We can and we must do better. Leaders on Purpose works with business, government and non-profit organizations to build an economic system that leaves no one behind. This is accomplished by overcoming the structural barriers and putting purpose first so that our planet and society can thrive for generations to come. This will set us on a path that serves all sectors and accelerates the global 2030 agenda.
The Buckminster Fuller Institute (BFI) in partnership with habRitual is calling all creators: fine artists, designers, performers, philosophers, ecologists, systems thinkers, data scientists, and others who resonate with this prompt to create art that explores the principles of Design Science.
Buckminster Fuller was inspired by nature, and we currently know more about living systems than we ever have. Whether you are visualizing what society aligned with the principles of nature will look like or creating technology that will help us get there, we invite you to join our community of collaborators. Through creative expression, members of this program will co-create in service of a world that works “for 100% of humanity in the shortest possible time, through spontaneous cooperation, without ecological offense or the disadvantage of anyone”.
We welcome creators to apply to join the Design Science Studio and embark on a facilitated journey to use principles of nature, science and design to imagine a future that is regenerative and just.