THE EMERGENCE PROJECT
THE EMERGENCE MODEL
This model, derived from Ken Wilbur's Integral 4-Quadrant model, draws upon the work of leading contemporary thinkers to form a conceptual framework that includes a taxonomy of necessary and sufficient “metastructures” for characterizing systemic interventions along each dimension of human civlization..
It includes universal values as the criteria needed for progress toward the intentional emergence of an omni-considerate form of global self governance that is capable of coordinating effective and sustainable responses to the threats we now face and those we might not yet recognize.
Our vision is of an omni-considerate, integrally developed, effectively and spontaneously self-governing global civilization.
WHAT IS THE EMERGENCE PROJECT?
The Emergence Project: is a multi-organization think tank of leading social scientists, futurists, systems designers, technologists, ecologists and cultural philosophers collaborating to facilitate the emergence of a regenerative, thriving, omni-considerate global civilization.
This project is a collaborative endeavor to develop:
A set of necessary and sufficient criteria for developing comprehensive solutions to global challenges at a root cause level.
Understanding the Challenges
Emergence through Emergency: The dominance-advantaging, unconscious natural selection process that has brought us here...has developed in us a technological capacity for dominance that now threatens the sustainability of the life-support systems of the planet on which we depend. Those same technological capcities, intelligently repurposed, also make possible for the first time, a fundamentally new way of being that is not only sustainable but regenerative: consiously directed evolution. The way humanity has navigated so far has brought us to the point of self-termination or self-transcendence. Navigating this transition, from competing parts of the whole, to consious agents for the whole, is the essential work of our time.
"Homo sapiens, the first truly free species, is about to decommission natural selection, the force that made us.... Soon we must look deep within ourselves and decide what we wish to become."
The challenges we face are GLOBAL
In a post-globalization world, we no longer have local isolated problems. Species extinction, ocean acidification, desertification and growing deadzones, environmental pollution, climate change, resource depletion, population and economic inequality - all the major issues we face today are global, meaning they affect and are affected by everyone. These are not Chinese or Russian or American issues. Pollution does not need passports. These are planet wide, human issues, that require understanding, participation and governance at that scale. We all participate in solving these, or we all suffer from them remaining unsolved. The 'us and them' consiousness that leads us to externalize harm is at the heart of these issues - since we all affect each other globally, we have to identify with each other.
This has never been the case in previous human history. When we didn't like the rule of King George, we revolted and went to colonize America. When we over-populated and consumed the east coast, we moved west. We can not run from the issues we face today, nor is there anywhere to run to. And when Gandhi pursued soverign rule for India, the answer was for the Brittish to leave. Previously, local oppressions were at the hand of a local tyrant who could be overthrown. There is no single tyrant behind climate change or unsustainable consumption and pollution. No identifable bad guy out there to target as the solution. We have to face these issues, and we have to take responsibiity for them.
The challenges we face are INTERCONNECTED
All of our major challenges are inextricably interconnected and cannot be solved in isolation. There is no solution for dead zones that doesn't address agriculture, and no adequate solutions for health care that dont address environmental toxicity. All these issues profoundly inter-affect each other and require solutions that address that interconected complexity. Moreover, they all result from the same underlying structures that condition violence and harm externalizing patterns of human behavior. What it takes to truly change solve any of these issues adequately is to affect the structural changes that are the basis for changing all of them. Our worldview, social systems, and infrastructure, collectively condition and influence the tendencies of human behavior. We can not lastingly solve problems within the systems that are themselves the cause of the problems. Adequate solutions require fundamental upgrades of the underlying structures that direct human activity.
The challenges we face are HUMAN CAUSED
A common denominator of all the major issues we face is human action. Every environmental and social issue can be traced back to groups of humans doing particular behaviors that cause it. Which can be traced back to the conditioning factors that predisposed those patterns of behavior. For example, driving whaling is a network of related actions: the people doing the whaling, the people buying the whale meat, the whaling corporation executives lobying for favorable legislation, etc. Predisopsing those behaviors is an extractionary economic system where the whale is worth a million dollars slaughtered but worth nothing alive; a legal and political system where lobying is a job that needs paid and representatives need campaign money to get elected, where financial interests guide decision making; a commoditizing world view that sees the whale as a natural resource for us to use rather than as a soverign sentient being; large scale whaling infrastructure that separates the reality of the kill from the packaged meat a customer buys in the store, supporting emotional disconnection; etc. Everything we want to change comes down to changing human behavior...which comes down to changing how humans are conditioned.
The challenges we face are SOLVABLE
For the first time in history we have the technological infrastructure and capability to make the changes necessary to create a world that works not just for human life, but for all life now and in future. Our problems are not the result of unavoidable human nature, but are the result of systems that are changeable.
Regardless of one's position on the probability of our near term existential risks, it is undeniable that we are creating many different kinds of avoidable suffering (species extinction, factory farming, war, poverty, etc.). Such suffering is only acceptable if we believe that there is no way around it. If it is preventable, then it should be prevented. Our position is that we are morally obligated to do so whenever possible.
Our core moral imperitive is to end all avoidable human-induced suffering,
by changing the underlying causes in how human behavior is conditioned.
We see humanity at the brink of a phase shift into a fundamentally higher order of evolution. It is the transition from what can be seen as an early developmental phase of our species, charecterized by consumption and net growth, to a mature phase of evolving homeostasis, synergy, and regeneration. Most of the problems that currently exist in the world are not the result of inherent human flaws, but of the developmental phase that we are on the brink of emerging from.
All factors that condition human behavior fit into these four quadrants. Each of the quadrants are fundamental and irreducible to the others, so these categories are both necessary and sufficient for inventorying all sources of human conditioning.
While the focus of The Emergence Project is on the problems of human activity that now appear to cause unnecessary suffering and may threaten our survival, this conceptual model and language are universally applicable. Our desire is to develop, apply, and share this language and model with every influencers and organization who might benefit from wider coordination toward a common aim for a more sustainable, more free, and more thriving world.
“You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.” - Buckminster Fuller