(With thanks to photographer Nicole Adams for generously donating this photo – Unsplash CreativeCommons – CC0)
Our perceptions define our views of the world
When forming a mental model of reality we are influenced by what we choose to believe: our attitudes, perceptions, others’ opinions, culture, experiences, and our blindness shape our understanding of the world. The way we filter and reduce reality determines how we lead our life; at the service of others or self centered; in seek of peace or war; collaborating or competing; seeing people as whole and unique or as “fixable” (not good enough); with optimism or pessimism; deep or shallow … Our views are constrained by the five senses, our choices, linear thinking and three dimensions.
Dr. Ervin Laszlo (recognized as the founder of systems philosophy and general evolution theory) defines naive realism “what exists is only what we perceive”. This simplistic understanding of reality is unable to explain the seemingly perfect laws of nature and their universal reach.
By observing random discrete events we miss on the connections and interactions among all things, so what we perceive through our senses is only a reflection; a simplification of reality.
Why is the world so fundamentally broken?
Growing numbers of people observing the current state of affairs conclude that we are witnessing the collapse of the world as we know it.
The decisions that every one of us make; big and small, have a fundamental impact in the system of life. Our attitudes and actions affect all aspects of our existence: social, biological, institutions, governments, business, science and medicine, families, communities, consciousness, energy …
With a vast majority of people leading a materialistic – egocentric reality, with behaviours that are driven by fear and thoughts of scarcity, we are driving the system to a collapse; living in the illusion that our individual actions do not have an impact in life around us.
Systemic laws have been broken by the individualistic behaviours and mindset
In an interview with Dr. Ervin Laszlo by Dawna Jones (whom I am so fortunate to have as my coach and teacher), and in his latest book “What is Reality?” he describes a map of reality as an integral evolving model based in Quantum and Systems theories, where connecting findings from current advancements in science holistically, he demonstrates that the Universe and all that encompasses reality are based in universal laws of nature and a collective consciousness. Information, interactions, a perception of the material world they are all part of the dynamics of an evolutionary process where life is continously unfolding, being created and recreated by a universal consciousness.
Evolving our mental model
The good news is that a shift in consciousness is observable in pockets of society. We are learning to behave ethically, challenging our materialism – consumerism and the limiting views that directed our progress to this point. We are starting to pay conscious attention to our connection with the Universe in the emerging of a fundamentally different understanding of life and of why we are here.
What we do and what we think matters as coherence among our inner state, our actions and what happens around us is necessary for the system to continue to evolve. As we expand our interpretation of reality we are also changing our understanding of how we are all interdependent, moving from an “I centric” to a “We centric” mindset.
Change is also reaching business. More and more organisations are realising of their mis-alignment with the overarching system and are moving from competing in a world of scarcity to collaborating for the benefit of eco-systems they are part of. As they ask themselves what is, after all, the point of making the bottom line, if this involves destruction of environment and communities of which our company depends? “Doing good” is purpose; “doing well” is a consequence of doing good. The paradigm is starting to shift.
A bifurcation of the system
Laszlo explains that according to Systems theory we are experiencing a “bifurcation” in the system where the options are either “radical change or extinction”. The system is open to change and its survival is actually dependent on moving to a different paradigm.
For the system to overcome the current state, it cannot remain as is and it cannot go back
Evolving to a new level of consciousness arises out of an innate desire for humanity to realise of and to share our collective capacity for kindness, generosity, innovation, joy, wisdom, love, health and longevity in response to the systemic needs. Our need to re-connect with the universal consciousness is deep within; it is part of who we are.
Leadership, Organisations and Consciousness
Creating wealth for the shareholders is only locally beneficial, depletes resources and leads to the collapse of the overarching system …
Conscious leaders carry the flag of human endeavor. They promote change, inspire, give power, serve their community…
What is wrong with operating to the ‘local’ benefit?
To answer this, we need to look at an evolution in science itself. Reality is no longer understood as molecules of matter floating and bumping in space and time according to mechanistic rules and based in discrete scientific observations. In this Newtonian model, we humans were considered outside observers. And there was no place for consciousness; only matter.
With the findings of quantum physics and evidence collected by diverse specialties such as physicists, cosmologists, psychiatrists, for the last hundred years evolutionary scientists describe reality as a continuum where scientific facts can be linked together and form a more holistic description of existence.
Importantly when drilling down, subatomic elements cannot be identified as matter and rather as vibrating energy; with this quantum model Laszlo explains that the Universe could be described as a cloud, a set of information and ideas that are tight together continuously evolving. The Universe is like a big consciousness formed by ideas; an intelligence that holds together the vibrations that are elementary parts of the material world; and form the illusion of matter. All elements connect simultaneously in an indivisible whole. We collectively affect consciousness.
The universal system needs that all the parts operate for the benefit of the whole – the system’s ultimate purpose has to be achieved by all the parts working coherently otherwise local dysfunctions (such as one part of the system seeking their own individual benefit at the expense of the interdependent parts) fails to remain coherent and achieve its purpose of growth and continuity of life. The parts will “break apart” and the system as such will disappear.
We, humans forming organisations are just another expression of this system. A company is an organism in the same way that a human being is an organism. The same systemic rules that apply to an organism person or microbe or ants hive apply to commercial organisations.
What we are sensing; “that the system is broken”, is explained by the fact that behaviours driven by an expectation of wealth for the individual, may contribute to their individual success but will impact negatively the larger system.
When people in an organisation are not operating with internal and external coherence (harmonic interactions amongst the actors in the system and in their interconnection with the parts of the ecosystem the system belongs to) – to the benefit of the whole; the elements of the system start pulling it apart and the system collapses.
So, in order to fix the current state of things, we will have to change ourselves, our core beliefs, and prepare ourselves to start looking all around us.
Our own perception needs to change before the world can change
An evolutionary understanding of life is awaiting and if you take a step forward and try to find how you are co-responsible of moving humanity forward, you might find that with this broader understanding of life we can all be successful.
Ideas that apply to anyone, in any role willing to become a conscious leader.
Make a step towards “acceptance”. Being more conscious and compassionate doesn’t “cost more”; it won’t take more resources off you or mean that you will loose for the other to win. Being conscious takes “awareness”. A little extra effort to actually think and see through the perceptions of the others; accepting every perspective and every difference. These actually don’t matter. More so: they do matter but for a reason completely different from what you may think. It is a proven fact that diversity of perspectives increases the intelligence of an outcome. A group of people providing their perspectives regarding a topic that they are not experts on is always, always better than the outcome produced by one expert. So even if it is for this reason start to value the power of perspectives.
Once you start “accepting” more, you will learn to accept every aspect of the uniqueness of humans. So you can become more accepting of ideas, behaviours, preferences, limitations, belief systems, the things you don’t actually like in others, diverse opinions, diverse genders, diverse morality … and as you become more accepting you will be exercising higher consciousness.
Become aware of yourself. By simply changing one action, a word or an attitude you will become aware of your responses, what the others trigger in you and what you may want to do differently. So by “stopping yourself” even if it is once, and observing your own reactions you will start to learn to do this more often. In this way you will learn about self management, how to refrain from doing or saying things that affect others when there is no fundamental need to do this. You learn to tame your ego.
Try to listen more. Try to be more present when you are working with your team. More listening means: do not provide answers. Refrain from wanting to know the answer or to show your knowledge. This is your ego showing up and it doesn’t take you to any good place. Put yourself in the senses of the person talking and truly, deeply listen to their words and feelings and perceptions and filters … just connect to learn, listen to connect.
Blow your zero sum filter: Propose yourself that just for once you will stop believing that by giving up something or letting the other “win” something you will lose. They will not take something from you because you can show them that you actually care for them. This creates connection and trust. Find ways to make the other win without you loosing and let yourself feel the experience. This applies to any interaction, weather at work or in any other life setting.
Ask yourself. Think of when you had your first child, or you were helped by someone or you came out of profound sickness or pain of the soul… how did life look like in those instances? What did you feel? How did you come out? What did you see? What or who gave you strength, energy, hope? – Can you resource back to any of these memories when you are dealing with others? How does this change your interactions and your perceptions? – Think from the place of those experiences that triggered compassion and hope before you start a meeting or a one to one conversation.
And if you are willing to, please let me know how you go, or what you think!
Dawna Jones: Website http://www.frominsighttoaction.com/
Dr. Ervin Laszlo: Website http://ervinlaszlo.com/
What is reality: the new map of cosmos and consciousness, Dr. Ervin Laszlo, SelectBooks, Inc., NY, NY, 2016