We are being pulled in opposite directions. Globalisation entices us towards the idea that we really are one people on one planet. Self-direction, draws us away from centralised control towards smaller groups.
How do we reconcile self-directed communities with the greater good of the planet? I don’t have the answers but I do have some ideas about what may be going on.
We are Energetic Beings
Let me start by asking you to think about your existence as an energetic being. We have an impact on everyone we meet and in turn are affected by those around us. It is joyous to be with folks having fun and scary to be in a room full of fear. If people and places can affect us then why not universal energy as well?
Whether you believe in the esoteric or not, many people think that we are entering a new (Aquarian) age that comes with a different energy. An energy of peace and collaboration. Clearly still work in progress, but things are changing. If this new energy is pulsing across the Earth, then we will all be affected.
The Energy of Globalisation
Globalisation is being led by the corporate world. The motives may be power and money, but there are beneficial human consequences. Through technology and social media, we can see instantly what is happening thousands of miles from our homes. We are still divided by national identity and religion but we are starting to understand the common ground of our humanness. Many for example, are deeply touched by the sight of people suffering in refugee camps whether they be in Somalia or Syria. In these moments, our differences seem insignificant.
I went to a talk by Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev (who heads the Isha Foundation) in London Business School a few years ago. He said “for the first time in human history, we have the technology and the resources to end all human suffering. All we lack is the willpower to do it”.
Supposing (and it’s a big suppose) enough people, especially those who hold power, decided to really end human suffering. The next steps are likely to challenge the way we protect national interests and distribute resources. There is a fair chance that nation states as we know them would become far less important. We would cherish our connection with others more than wanting barriers to keep us apart. I suspect we would need a very different form of government and want to do much more for ourselves. This takes me onto self-direction.
The Energy of Self-Direction
Real power has been steadily moving in one direction for decades. Governments love being in charge and don’t really trust communities to make the ‘right’ decisions. I see impotent anger from those frustrated by bureaucracy. I see dependency from those who quite like others taking responsibility for them. Neither seems very healthy to me.
In this light, Brexit was maybe not the outcome of a misguided misogynistic coup by old people, but a deep protest about power being centralised in Brussels.
We seem to be in a position where politicians are losing authority and trust in many parts of the world. Some are self-serving and outrageous, but many are decent people trying to do an impossible job. Our lives are way too complex for central control. Standardisation, regulation and being tough are understandable responses but are not the answers.
Many people have instinctively recognised this and striven for local rule. I was quite disappointed when the Scots didn’t get their independence. We could have created a far stronger bond between our nations by allowing independence rather than clinging to a 300-year-old treaty. I believe we are stronger when we choose to be together as equal partners rather than being forced together out of fear or economic dependency.
It is easy to see self-determination as a rejection of authority. I think this is partly true, but there is deeper force at play. When we self-manage, we inevitably learn how to exercise power with responsibility. We grow and blossom. Any move towards corruption or self-interest is muted by the thought of letting our peers down.
Globalisation & Self-Direction
Putting these ideas together, we seem to be heading towards a world where self-direction is both a response to a complex environment and a rejection of centralised authority. We are steadily becoming ready and able to take responsibility for our own lives. As we get there, we will stop looking for people to lead us. What will make self-governing communities work on a global scale is the rise of consciousness that is taking place. This is being partly brought about by new energy reaching the world.
Technology allows us to share and communicate with ease. We can get to know and connect meaningfully with people everywhere. As we connect and explore, our consciousness (awareness of the world around us) grows. When this happens, we will act in the interests of the ‘greater good’ because it will feel important to us.
We can be one people working towards the ‘greater good’, whilst living and working in smaller communities.
As a footnote, these same characteristics are playing out in a new wave of organisations, labelled ‘Teal’ in Frederic Laloux’s book ‘Re-inventing Organisations’. Self-management is a key feature and all have a strong sense of ‘Evolutionary Purpose” (which is not that far from the idea of working for the ‘Greater Good’).