One of the reasons for me to start this blog – besides working and playing with Canay and Rudy of course ;-)) – is the focus on Transformation, personally, professionally and societally. Transformation is just like consciousness and quantum a buzzword these days, or even hype / empty term in some cases. I am aware of that. However, that does not mean it is not important and urgent. It just means to me that we have to be more honest, self critical, experiential and grounded about it. And more definitional.
A second reason for starting this blog is our and my ambition to create more systemic or holistic analysis, solutions and posts to create more value for our readers. Incorporating the alpha, gamma and beta disciplines. This means the liberal arts, economics and technology respectively. With a little focus on liberal arts. Radical convergence. My parents are artists, I studied strategic management with business economics and I moved to technology in 1994 with the rise of the internet and beyond. I am a huge fan of sites like Edge.org since 1997 and Long Now Foundation since 2006 embodying the above convergence of alpha, gamma and beta. Actually, I have read and viewed all videos and posts on these amazingly valuable platforms.
Transformation is about going into your past, at least at first. Not just with your mind but with your heart and soul. It is about the good and bad parts of your past. It is about self forgiveness. It is about integration, inside and out. It is about embracing your inner child, healing, empowerment and taking responsibility, not just for yourself. In that sense it is (re)finding your personal Rosebud like in the classic movie Citizen Kane, that level of innocence after losing it due to life’s challenges. It is about finding your Ikigai, your passions and purpose in life, living your dreams and creating your future by intuition, being present, serendipities and synchronicities.
I have gone through a significant transformation journey myself the last 3 years to heal myself. I had to digest a lot of good and bad experiences. To purge, to prioritize, to value the importance of rituals, symbols, ceremonies and our roots, to disconnect to connect to myself again, to recharge, to be playful again, to trust again after being disappointed in at least 1 case by a narcissist (at least at that time) and to take responsibility as I have let in all people in my life myself and thus created my own reality. To heal my own wounds and blind spots first realizing that otherwise I would keep on attracting the same people and experiences. In short, to become more human (again). How? Mindfulness, (guided) meditations, Amazon retreats, nature / river walks in India, asceticism, shamanic mysticism, dancing, microdosing, plant medicine, just be and more. My key insight here is that you can not transform yourself in your mind alone while this is quite dominant in the Western world (e.g. NLP, cognitive therapies, self help books like Byron Katie, Eckhart Tolle etc.). Works superficially, for me. By going “out of your mind” and into your body as a whole had a more lasting impact on it.
The same applies to teams, organizations, nations and the planet as a whole. We need a lot of healing. We need to transform our planet, our economies and our societies. Not incrementally but with bolder moves. That means we need to address the past just like at the individual level. Societal healing by transforming the past. Healing starts with exposing and bringing light into the darkness. This is exactly what describes the current era we are in, not just due to the internet. Not just (re)discovering the DNA of your organization or nation (also known as core competences combined with Purpose or MTP), your essence but also the discussing and embracing of your organizational or national traumas. The one can not be without the other in my own personal experience. They are one and the same. At all levels of analysis. After traveling a lot the last 10 years (around 400 cities) I have come to realize this also applies to (large) organizations and nations paying attention to their history, ergodicity or path dependency. However, there is a tendency to ignore this due to hectic environments who are mostly short term focused.
In terms of history and traumas of nations just think about the rise of the West in the last 500 years (especially last 200 years). Yes, it has given us a lot of value and progress but there are also significantly inflicted traumas that we have to deal with. Sooner or later. Some examples:
– Imperialism / colonialism / slavery
– How we treated indigenous cultures (all across the globe, even being mass murderers of the worst sort)
– How we treated (and still treat?) women
– How we treated (and still treat?) children
– How we treated (and still treat?) animals (think about the documentaries by Joachim Phoenix)
– How we treated our own ancestors
– How we treated (and still treat?) nature and our planet as a whole (see Covid-19)
– How we value and measure organizations, economies, markets and people
– The role of the secret services globally
– The many key killings in the sixties in the USA (JFK, Malcolm X, MLK etc. etc.)
– The Killings of Brabant (‘Bende van Nijvel”) and the case of Marc Dutroux in Belgium
– The killings of Pim Fortuyn and Theo van Gogh in the Netherlands
– The Jeffrey Epstein case
And so much more….
There are a lot of differences in the cases mentioned above but moreover there are also some key patterns that I will address in this blog in later posts. For each topic individually.
Some might argue that human nature is inert so we will always encounter these dynamics, bad outcomes and issues. Some believe we are able to learn, grow and are entering an age of consciousness in which we can transform / avoid some of these issues. I believe we are muddling through to a better world over time, not a perfect world, just better over the long arc of time with some regressions. So my view is in the middle of both perspectives.
Also, I know – based on personal experiences in India – that the individual and collective traumas and healing are entangled and interconnected. Concepts like ancestral healing are real and they are so beautiful to experience. If we only focus on personal transformation and trauma without paying attention to the collective we might be misleading ourselves.
I believe that we need to be aware of the ‘negativity’. Some people tell me “why do you focus on all that negativity? You can not change that, it is the past. Focus on things within your locus of control. Furthermore, you create what you pay attention to. Just focus on creating the good and ignore all the negativity and the past.” That might make sense. It does quite a lot. However, I believe it is important to understand the inhibitors, especially for good new movement to be successful. Just witness how many (disruptive) startups fail as a result of ignoring the inhibitors driven by incumbents. Second, it creates a deeper understanding of pathological evolutionary trajectories which can be avoided in the upcoming positive movements themselves.
In the long term the arc of history bends towards justice as Obama said. We are living in exciting and for some confusing times. Me Too empowerment by women, racism is addressed more often (BlackLivesMatter) including our slavery past. The rights of women, ethnic minorities, young people (Greta), animals and the planet as a whole are key issues. Even beyond that, we witness the rise of the rights of all indigenous cultures and people. Personally, witnessing the way the Incas live in Peru made me think a lot about the West including myself. They are (more) socially and ecologically inclusive by nature. They are more conscious as they meditate or pray three times daily. As a result, they smile more than the average Western person. In sum, we could be less condescending towards these cultures, embrace some of their key values as they are what we are lacking right now. Sure, we have more advanced technologies but what is the value of technologies without the right values in place?
I believe we are living in the sixties all over again in a new way. Key memes are: imagination, dreams, art, purpose, play, embracing the new, disruption and bold moves, from ME to WE (individual to collective), nature, universe, spiritual growth, consciousness and even using psychedelics (in a more responsible and effective way though). We can all see this in all art forms and expressions globally and it is rising. Some of you know might think “OK, here we go again” with the negative outcomes of the sixties but this time I do feel it is quite different and a bit more grounded, even by scientific research (MAPS e.g.).
Transformation is about connecting to yourself first and foremost. After this step it is easier to connect to other people, be more empathetic and connect to nature, animals and the universe in a deeper way. This does not mean that we are now enlightened and never regress or make ‘mistakes’. It is not about being presumptuous. It is about intentions, being aware and aligned and about increasingly better outcomes over a longer period of time with its ups and downs.
Be the change you want to see in the world. I hope you will join us in this journey and hopefully we can inspire you all a bit.
Have you reserved your seat at The Unconference?