01

Manifesto

Jeremy Koreski

Not every generation gets burdened with the task of responding to a problem so big that it will take all of us to fix it.

The uncertain consequences of globalization, technological evolution and rapid environmental change have left many of us a little overwhelmed by the sheer complexity of it all. We seem stuck using the same thinking that got us into this mess begin with.

For a friendlier future to emerge, we need a new approach to unlock the human potential that lives inside of all of us. The issue is not whether we have the tools to fix our problems, it’s whether we will ever learn how to collaborate at a planetary level.

 

frozen ice on glass


We believe it’s possible. It’s not too late to build resilient solutions to problems like the climate crisis, economic instability, competing interests, and more. Every person has a role to play. Every vantage point matters and the connections between them are critical.

It’s daunting. But we are throwing our hat in the ring with the believers, the optimists, the curious ones wanting a different conversation, building new models for working, thinking, living, being.

Here are some beliefs that energize our work:

A
Learning over "teaching"

We lean into learning organizations over teaching organizations. Learning versus teaching is the difference between capacity building from within versus dependency on instruction. A learning environment creates space for the idea that experience is the teacher.

Symmathesy: A Word in Progress, by Nora Bateson

“Biology, culture, and society are dependent at all levels upon the vitality of interaction they produce both internally and externally. A body, a family, a forest or a city can each be described as a buzzing hive of communication between and within its vitae. Together the organs of your body allow you to make sense of the world around you. A jungle can be understood best as a conversation among its flora and fauna, including the insects, the fungi of decay, and contact with humanity. Interaction is what creates and vitalizes the integrity of the living world. Over time the ongoing survival of the organisms in their environments requires that there be learning, and learning to learn, together. Gregory Bateson said, “The evolution is in the context.” So why don’t we have a word for mutual learning in living contexts?

I want to put the Greek prefix Syn/ Sym (together) + Mathesi, (to learn):

Symmathesy = Learning together.

(Pronounced: sym- math-a-see)

A working definition of symmathesy might look like this:

Symmathesy (Noun): An entity composed by contextual mutual learning through interaction. This process of interaction and mutual learning takes place in living entities at larger or smaller scales of symmathesy.

Symmathesy (Verb): to interact within multiple variables to produce a mutual learning context.

Interdependency is vital to the health of any system. But, the interdependency does not sit still. All of biological evolution, and development of culture and society, would seem to be a testament to the characteristics of contextual multilayered shiftings through time. Nothing stays the same, clearly. So could it be that change is a kind of learning? If a living entity transforms, even slightly, some of its contextual interrelationships, it is within that shift that a calibration change is revealed. The same kind of tree in the same forest does not necessarily grow to be the same shape. One may have higher winds to contend with, or grow with a thicker density of flora around it. The trees in these contrasting contexts live into their contexts by receiving the many forms of relational information they are within, and responding to them. Thus they grow to be different shapes, to metabolize at different levels and so on.

[…]

What is the difference between learning and life? None.

 When is something living NOT learning? Never.”

Read more here.

B
Enlightened self-interest

Being in service to the system is being in service to ourselves. It’s a circular, relational process of levelling up, nudging all attributes of the system in parallel. Until all interests commit to this alignment, until shared intent manifests, we will be stuck using the same type of zero-sum thinking that got us here to begin with.

C
Radical equilibrium

Finding the balance between perspectives and vantage points involves a lifelong practice of accepting the complexity of things. It’s easy to surround ourselves with simplified ideas attached to clear and dogmatic philosophies. It takes courage to hold position where no one idea dominates the others. Equilibrium is work.

D
Technology for humans, being

Transformation happens when the connections we co-create manifest trust. This happens best when we share space, make eye contact and open ourselves to vulnerability. And yet the viability of our systems will increasingly rely on remote collaboration, causing trust to devolve from being a value to a task. We believe that technology which captures the richness of in-person interaction and trust is the only technology we should aspire to create. 

E
Generational thinking

Thinking for the moment has created problems that will endure indefinitely. Everything we do now we must be intentionally generational. 

F
Requisite variety

People love what they design and own what they create. If only a few people get to design the solutions, only a few people will adopt them. For full systemic transformation, we need requisite variety in the room, from different levels of hierarchy, background, and vantage point.