In Cultural Architecture we outlined the Blueprints and Design Requirements that must be developed if humanity is to phase-shift into a more holistic and symbiotic existence. This post explores one of these Blueprints, that of the Regenerative Renaissance, in more depth.
This post is also inspired by my recent completion of the Tools for the Regenerative Renaissance course.
A better-than-free (they pay you for studying) course highlighting the tools and technologies available to help individuals steward the regenerative renaissance.
🏎 A Brick Wall at Mach 5
In evolutionary terms, modern civilization has existed for as long as it takes for you to snap your fingers. If the history of the world was a single 24-hour day, modern civilization started 4 seconds ago.
Humanity has snapped its fingers and created the modern world.
Despite the God-like power portrayed here, a more fitting metaphor might be that of Thanos from the Marvel comic universe. In the snap of our fingers, we have driven innumerable species into extinction, collapsed bioregions, exceeded over half of Earths planetary boundaries, while increasing our capacity to continue delivering this devastation — and calling all of this 'progress'.
The continued developments of exponential technology and increasingly rivalrous game dynamics are adding more infinity stones to the Thanos glove of destruction.
As I wrote before, it's beyond the scope of this publication and my own interest to lay out everything that proves this point. If you don't yet believe that we are heading towards a brick wall (planetary collapse) at Mach 5 (exponential pace), this might not be the post for you.
The combinations of ecosystem loss, growing inequality, collapse of financial systems, breakdown of civil discourse, erosion of individual sovereignty, development of collective fragility, create a 'meta-crisis' — a crisis of simultaneous crises.
The answer here is not sustainability. It's not carbon credits for corporations. It's not vapid and empty UN climate accords with several-decade long initiatives that aren't adhered to.
What we need is something far greater. We need a Renaissance. A rebirth. A cultural enlightenment. A coming-out of the dark ages of our own ignorance and separation.
We need a Regenerative Renaissance.
🌿 Exploring the Regenerative Renaissance
If we're going to play the linguistic game, we need to be speaking the same language. We need to define shared terms. Let's explore both of these in more detail.
🌱 The Need for Regeneration
Sustainability is another way to say maintainability. Can you sustain or maintain what you're already doing? Humanity is barreling down a path towards a cliff, or a brick wall, in our vehicle of Spaceship Earth. The end is not pretty. Hitting this wall will be fatal.
Merely sustaining or maintaining the rate we are already going is wholly inadequate.
This has to sink in deeply. Multiple complex systems failures are already in motion, the time for sustainability (the ability to maintain this state when the Earth is already balanced) has come and gone. Slowing down our speed from Mach 5 to Mach 1 makes no difference.
When you're barreling towards your death at breakneck speeds, hitting the brakes isn't enough, you need to start going backwards. You have to reverse your direction.
Sustainability has nothing to do with reversing direction. It's only about being able to go at the same speed in perpetuity. Regeneration, in a planetary context, is what we need.
We must collectively focus on reversing the changes that are already in motion, to subdue the collapse momentum that exists, and return the planet to homeostatic equilibrium.
⭐️ The Need for Renaissance
Here's the kicker: humanity has no basis for how to do regeneration and symbiosis at this scale. There are no blueprints, no frameworks, no protocols for how to take massive regenerative action (& then normalize that new Way of Being).
It has never been done before. This requires more than mere technological innovation, this is an entirely new way of Thinking, Living, and Being. It requires a renaissance — a rebirth, a new of way of being in the world.
Yes, there are some existing case studies to learn from. Things like the indigenous way of life, who have stewarded land in symbiosis and sustainability with nature for far longer than civilization has even existed. There are also many brilliant thinkers who have renegerative principles sorted out.
We need to come out of the dark ages of separation, and just like the last great Renaissance period, we must create our own Quadrivium (Arithmetic, Geometry, Music, Astronomy) centered around Regenerative Culture and new Collective Ways of Being.
The scale of change we must shephard is more akin to the cultural transition from Religion to Science, than it is to no-plastic-straws-in-restaurants virtue signaling.
It is an entirely new way to think about Life, Nature, Humanity, and the interrelatedness and interdependence of all of them. It is the Regenaissance, the greatest endeavour humanity has ever undertaken.
🪴 Frameworks for Stewarding the Regenaissance
We have many useful frameworks that can get us started. If we are to begin aiming at anything (and you need to aim at something before you start acting), we have several frameworks that can help us.
- 🌎 Planetary Boundaries: The planetary boundaries framework (pictured above), is a place to start. Exceeding any plantary boundary sets off trophic cascades that ripples up and down ecosystems. We have exceed 3/9 already (and the pace of overshoot continues to increase). We are pressing the limits of 2 others, and we don't yet have precise data for 3 other boundaries. I would argue at least 1 is already exceeded, 1 is close, and the final is okay. Over half of the planetary boundaries are at risk or have already been blown through, and our speed of exceeding these is only increasing. The simplicity of this framework is that is points clearly to our next steps: bring everything back within planetary operating boundaries.
- 🍩 Donut Economics: Donut economics are a way to enact the change required to rebalance planetary boundaries. Find the sweet spot, and build entire economic systems incentivized to maintain the sweet spot between meeting social needs (the floor), and staying within ecological limits (the ceiling). Though this seems simple, you'll notice it requires initiatives like building in de-growth phases into the economy (the economy cannot grow infinitely outside of ecological boundaries). So already, doing this is completely radical, but fundamentally necessary.
- ♻️ Circular Materials Economy: A circular materials economy is simple: the waste becomes the input. Instead, we currently have a linear materials economy, where resources are taken, converted into stuff, and stuff becomes toxic garbage, largely unable to become the initial resource for new material again. This is a central point. We are far away from this, and in the setup of current financial and socio-economic systems, companies are incentivized to use a linear materials economy. It's completely backwards.
- 👨🏻🌾 Regenerative Agriculture: As much as we like to praise the wonders of science and technological innovation, we get so caught up in this that we forget that it's all pointless if we don't have arable land, drinkable water, nutrient-rich food, and healthy soil. These are non-negotiable! This seems easy, but will take an entirely new Way of Being to truly enact. Individuals and communities must take ownership of their food again to get away from mass, degenerative farming practices. This is the bottom-up starting place for the Regenerative Renaissance, this is Ground Zero. Food, water, soil.
- 🦋 Bio-Mimicry: Nature is the archetypal genius. Nature has figured all of this out already. It's Humanity who has forgotten it. Bio-Mimicry, the design principle of copying principles found in nature, is a great place to start. Principles for effective use of energy, circular materials, and collective organizing can all be found flawlessly within the natural world. We should stop viewing ourselves as the peak of evolution, humble ourselves, and start taking notes from species and organisms that aren't driving themselves off a cliff.
- 🏕 Re-Wilding: Re-wilding is a movement focused on the individual level. We as individuals need to become more wild. As I wrote in the Creative Evolution Manifesto, there's a way to do this that isn't primitive, it's progressive. A recognition that if the 'civilization' thing isn't working, stop doing it. It's not working. We must once again become part of Nature, not separate from it, and this begins on an individual, embodied level.
- 🌐 Collective Commons/Stewardship: As part of the regenaissance, we will need to rethink the very fundamental building blocks of our cultures and societies. This includes how we relate to ownership and public goods. We need reinvigorate the Commons — domains managed by the collective instead of governments or corporations. Part of this will be a large-scale transition from private ownership towards collective stewardship. You do not own the land, projects, or products, you steward their health and engagement. Make no mistake, this takes deep individual reprogramming as well, absolving yourself of the need to own and control is no laughing matter.
Some of these frameworks may be more useful than others, but they all serve a fundamental purpose: getting conversation and action started.
If you're ready for the external engagement in the world as part of your Yoga of Becoming, pick a framework, gather your tools, find your community, and start building. It's time to rethink and reinvent everything.
⚡️ Tools for the Regenerative Renaissance
If you're trying to seriously play the game of cultural architecture, your zone of genius may very well be in bringing about this regenaissance. Fortunately, you have tools and technologies available to help you. This is not an exhaustive list, but it will certainly point you in the right direction.
- 🌾 Regenerative Agriculture: The field of regenerative agricultural is already underway. Soil microbiome replenishment, biodynamic farming, electrical microgridding, eco-village initiatives, and many others are emerging. Find these outlets, and get involved. Grow your own food, make your own energy. Participate, vote with your time, attention, and energy, for these new systems.
- 💡 Collective Intelligence: This regenaissance will be a collective work. We need tools to quickly surface, sense-make, and enact various initiatives. Collective intelligence tools around information sharing, knowledge management, and decision-making are essential. Tools like Polis, Hylo, and others are building in this space.
- 🗳 Decentralized Governance: Let's be clear: the world governments and organizations have been wholly incompetent, or entirely uninterested in making this happen. This must be driven by the people. New mechanisms of coordination are required. DAO's, DHO's, and decentralized governance mechanisms are being built. You can test them, contribute to them, or build your own. Phoenix Culture is currently building in this area as well.
- 💵 New Economic Systems/Currencies: What if we had entire economic and financial systems oriented around regeneration? What if our currencies embraced individual autonomy and capacity? These already exist. SEEDS is building a regenerative economic model, Circles is pioneering local UBI initiatives. They need your help, you can get started here.
- 📊 Organizational Models: Like we said, this is a renaissance. We need to rethink and reimagine the very systems that enable this, because none of the current models do, or they actively incentivize the opposite. Organizational models like holocracy, sociocracy, flat organizations, and others are foundational starting points for radical experimentation in collective organization and execution.
The regenerative renaissance will require not only all of these tools working at their best, but a comprehensive and holistic system that unites and synergizes all of their strengths and capacities.
We are at the point where we still need to develop these tools, so let's start there, and build a holistic system as new wisdom emerges.
🐉 The Inner Work of Renaissance Making
Recalling our exploration of the Yoga of Becoming, participating in the Regenerative Renaissance is firmly in the external domain of this process.
As you engage more deeply in this work, it will inevitably spark friction, or highlight areas of internal work that need to be done to evolve past deep-seated beliefs around scarcity, competition, ego, ownership, collaboration, and more.
A few key areas (though by no means exclusive) for continued inner work I have noticed that will be necessary include:
- 🏆 Omni-Win Considerations: Are you able to make decisions and take actions that benefit more than just yourself? Can you identify steps that are net-benefits to all stakeholders, from the community, to the collective, to the biosphere?
- 👨👩👧👦 Community Building: Can you build and participate in communities? This change cannot and will not be enacted by an individual. You must be able to build and participate in community, which brings up communication skills, compassion, trauma, and trust in others.
- ⛩ Individual Maturity/Capacity: Are you easily upset when receiving feedback? Do you have the strength and skills to contribute to this work? As always, individual actualization comes before collective actualization.
- ⚡️ Wisdom Practices: Can you turn data into knowledge? Can you turn knowledge into wisdom? Can you share and embody that wisdom in your actions? Being able to notice and surface wisdom will be fundamental to the success of the regenaissance.
- 💧 Fluid/Surrendered Leadership: Fluid leadership is a core component of collective organization, re-commoning efforts, and decentralized systems. Can you step into a role of leadership when it's called for? And can you embrace a follower role when required? Both of these skillsets are unique, but equally essential.
- ⚙️ Systems Thinking: Looking at the structure instead of merely the content is imperative. Moving your lense of perception from direct to meta is important. Becoming more of a systems thinker (as the regenerative renaissance is working within complex systems) is essential.
- ⭐️ B-Values: You'll notice that the inner work required is fundamentally about further embodying the B-Values from Maslow. This is why continued inner development is a necessary and ongoing component of showing up to help enact the regenerative renaissance.
There is no separation between the inner and outer landscapes. Until holism is developed in yourself, it won't be developed in the world. We must address both, and create a virtuous cycle that shepards both to regenerative symbiosis.
Where to Go Now
There you have it. Alongside Cultural Architecture, the Regenerative Renaissance work is an area of external engagement, another facet of the Infinite Game, that you can begin to play within.
- You know why this needs to happen.
- You have frameworks to model this work around.
- You have a toolkit to use.
- You have complimentary inner work to complete.
So let's get started. Let go of the old systems, let go of the old models of Self, let go of old ways of Being. Let the old, dysfunctional systems wither, and from the ashes of an outdated civilization, a Regenerative Renaissance rises.
We are here with you. There are those already playing this game. Find your communities, cultivate your skillsets, and let's usher in a new era for humanity: a regenerative, holistic, symbiotic existence that honours all of Life.