“We shall not cease from exploration, and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time.”
– T. S. Eliot
At Present Group we have been engaged in a struggle. Like so many before us it is the constant struggle that can be summed up as the creative tension between pragmatism and vision.
Our vision is to create a culture which is a ‘Social Venture’ first and a business second. It was Churchill’s canny observation that “the inherent vice of capitalism is the unequal sharing of blessings while the inherent virtue of socialism is the equal sharing of miseries.” Sadly this still rings true and is largely responsible for our current global dystopia and manufactured scarcity.
At Present Group we hope to collapse this duality and realise a unified utopian culture founded on holarchy with a shared imperative to reduce waste on our all too finite planet. That is why we identify as venture custodians rather than venture capitalists. To be a custodian is to act from the heart and embody the virtues of the culture. This holarchy of participation matrix demonstrates how the envolution toward custodianship can manifest in practice;
All cultures comprise four Envolving facets:
• Economic (Body)
• Political (Mind)
• Technical (Soul)
• Social (Heart)
Conventional business practice would invariably put the economic facet and an impersonal single bottom line focus above all others. While the political and technical would also serve the economic imperative and not the social. In hardened business cultures, social systems form, if at all at a grassroots level independent of the business and its objectives.
To be a social venture first and a business second means turning this hierarchy on its head. Yet as a vision this is all very well until the pragmatism of meeting bank covenants and reversals of fortune in the market intrude and test our resolve as the economic facet demands primacy…..hence the ongoing struggle.
In order to remain steadfast and never sell out when this occurs we have to delve deep into our hearts. After all a social venture is a sovereign concept much like a family, community or nation and we would never consider selling them out as we hope that they will continue on, to flourish and prosper generation upon generation. Up until now most businesses see things somewhat differently; they constantly sell out, float, merge and shutdown all the time.
Again Churchill offers another vital insight when we way up the pros and cons of selling out when confronted with economic dire straits. Early in the War and in his new role as Prime Minister when all seemed lost he was severely challenged by Lord Halifax and others in his cabinet to negotiate a peace settlement. As an avid student of history Churchill gave an inspired speech “that nations which went down fighting rose again, but those that surrendered tamely were finished” he concluded his impassioned speech, saying “If this long island story of ours is to end at last, let it end only when each one of us lies choking in his own blood upon the ground.” Now that is heart!
I too have been both blessed and cursed with irrefutable faith in the concept of intrinsic sovereignty. This has become deeply embedded at Present Group and if all else failed we would prefer to go bankrupt rather than sell out. This arises from a core belief that as custodians we would rise again unified in heart, soul, mind and body, such is the passion for our purpose.
When seeking solace I often draw on a favourite quote that resonates with this sentiment;
“I don’t want to live forever: I just want to find something worth dying for.” – Melchor Lim
So when I hear someone say, as I did again recently “but everyone has a price”
I can only conclude that they do.
The Meta Model for Process has revealed to us that evolution is a quaternity much in the same way that information, knowledge and wisdom beget understanding.
• Ovolution – potentiality as singularity
• Involution – accumulation of material complexity
• Envolution – accumulation of functional complexity
• Evolution – unifying process of the universe
When considering ovolution; think egg, seed, DNA or code which may be hinted at in Stephen Wolfram’s prediction that there is an algorithmic key to the Universe that can compute quantum physics – or, say, reality TV – in four lines of code.
While involution may be likened to the accumulated material descent; from unknown to known or as the great Arthur M. Young put it; from freedom to determinism. Often when describing involution (accumulation of material complexity) Arthur used the example of photon to particle to atom to molecule, suggesting that from a material sense nothing is as free as light and nothing is more determined than molecular structure.
When seeking to understand envolution we can draw upon the great work of Teilhard de Chardin who conceived the idea of the Unity Concept (Omega Point) and further developed Vladimir Vernadsky’s concept of Noosphere. If Carl Jung has given us the notion of the “collective unconscious,” then Chardin, imagines the “collective conscious.”
Chardin imagined the noosphere as “…. An ultimate envelope taking on its own individuality and gradually detaching itself like a luminous aura. This envelope was not only conscious, but thinking…the very soul of the earth.” Interesting to note that he uses the term ‘soul of the earth” as this equates to the third stage of the meta model’s envolution….co-creation (soul).
Chardin continues “The interaction of souls would be incomprehensible if some aura did not extend from one to the other, something proper to each one and common to all.” Chardin believes, too, that this consciousness is not only psychological, but of the greatest spiritual importance, as well. “Nothing is precious,” he says, “except that part of you which is in other people, and that part of others which is in you. Up there, on high, everything is one.”
The Omega Point is the purported maximum level of complexity and consciousness towards which some believe the universe is evolving.
In the original theory of Vernadsky, the noosphere is the third in a succession of phases of development of the earth, after the geosphere (inanimate matter) and the biosphere (organic life). Just as the emergence of life fundamentally transformed the geosphere, the emergence of human cognition has fundamentally transformed the biosphere.
For Teilhard, the noosphere emerges through and is constituted by the interaction of human minds. The noosphere has grown in step with the organization of the human mass in relation to itself as it populates the earth. As mankind organises itself into more complex social networks, the higher the noosphere will grow in awareness. Teilhard argued that the noosphere is growing towards an even greater integration and unification, culminating in unity, which he saw as the ultimate goal of history.
Teilhard was holistic as opposed to esoteric, scholastic or pragmatic and so referred to this unification as Christ consciousness but for the non-religious amongst us this can be understood as the full presence of heart manifesting as unconditional love.
It appears that Rumi the 13th Century Persian philosopher poet also understood envolution in holistic terms. Here he beautifully describes envolution’s accumulation of functional complexity and re-ascent from determinism to freedom.
“I died as a mineral and became a plant,
I died as plant and rose to animal,
I died as animal and I was Man.
Why should I fear? When was I less by dying?
Yet once more I shall die as Man, to soar
With angels blest; but even from angelhood
I must pass on: all except God doth perish.
When I have sacrificed my angel-soul,
I shall become what no mind e’er conceived.
Oh, let me not exist! for Non-existence
Proclaims in organ tones, To Him we shall return.”
If we are to try and understand how the Uni-Verse (one song) sings, in all its reflexive glory then we need look no further than the octave as a spiralling octagon.
The second ‘Do’ demonstrates T.S. Eliot’s great insight. We know it for the first time because we have evolved to a greater vantage point. A higher vibration. A higher ….octave!
More recently the work of Dr John Smart on STEM Compression (space, time, energy and matter) draws parallels with the ascending process of envolution. For example STEM compression can be neatly summed up with the advent of the iPad.
After all it inhabits less space than a laptop, takes less time to boot up, requires less energy to run and is comprised of less matter.
With the utility of the meta model this has led us to abduce that the progression of functional complexity for mankind as we continue to traverse from biosphere (re-generation) to noosphere (co-creation) will itself require the advancement of four key envolutions;
• Nanotechnology (Body)
• Computation (Mind)
• Communication (Soul)
• Culturisation (Heart)
Interestingly we appear to sit conveniently between the macrocosm (universe-level) and the microcosm (sub-sub-atomic or even metaphysical-level) as the universe and its processes continue to fractally unfold.
Therefore STEM compression or optimisation may lead us to surmise that our future may well lie in the microcosm. This assumption arises when you consider that just as involution descends by creating more material complexity; envolution dispenses with material as it ascends in functional complexity. For example the biosphere uses a fraction of the material available within the geosphere. Hence the entire noosphere may well use a fraction of the material available within the biosphere to achieve our next leap in functional complexity.
Many say that we are running out of time as life on earth has become unsustainable. Yet linear time may well be the wrong measure, for just as so much activity occurred in our universe’s involutionary infancy when it gave rise to the material complexity of particles (generate), there may be as much accelerated activity at its reflexive equivalent stage of envolution; noosphere (co-creation)
Imagine if consciousness at this level may equate to a near eternity compared to a time bound day as current four dimensional reality becomes higher dimensional actuality. Therefore the Meta Model For Process describes process in terms of progression, not time.
Also between every stage of involution and envolution there exists a transformational challenge or crisis depending on your point of view. It appears that to transform toward a complete noosphere of pure consciousness not only will we have to leave our biological containers behind but our current population and technological explosion may indicate that we are not IN a crisis after all, but that we ARE the predetermined and essential crisis within a macro process as we journey toward a fully formed noosphere and ultimately the omega point?
Achieving in meta process terms a full octave above the Big Bang’s heart at singularity?
The meta model itself describes the challenge or crisis between biosphere (re-generation) and noosphere (co-creation) as being one of ‘mobility’. Not surprisingly the prospect of leaving our biological containers behind to envolve to the greater freedom of combined consciousness at noosphere and unity consciousness at the omega point is without doubt daunting but it is already underway as we use our technology to hasten the process.
As Marshall McLuhan said; “We become what we behold. We shape our tools and then our tools shape us.” Although somehow I don’t believe he intended to extend the concept all the way to an out of body experience.
Experience has taught us that the Meta Model For Process does appear to induce altitude sickness in most. Of course it is a big ask within our infinitely fractal universe to comprehend that in both physical and metaphysical terms we can predict progression in any process at any level of abstraction.
So to understand abstraction in a more acceptable manner, consider:
• Meta – The Story….of the Universe
• Macro – A Story….of an Entire System
• Mesa – Our Story….as a Collective Experience
• Micro – My Story….as an Individual Experience
To trust that at a meta level the universe is reflexing back to a new form of singularity (omega) just as the musical octave reverts to ‘Do’ is less painful once we realise that it is returning purposefully to its heart….albeit a higher heart.
While to trust that at a macro level we as an entire system of conscious life-forms are at the leading edge of this meta truth and returning to our own heart or unified consciousness as Teilhard suggests.
Admittedly this base pair of generic meta & macro futures although progressing toward the heart may hold cold comfort for some? So what of the futures we might anticipate in our own lifetime?
The lower base pair of mesa and micro are specific and hence more accessible as we will have direct experience of this level of process and so can trust the progression from first-hand experience. Just as we all tend to trust processes that we ourselves set in motion but we find it harder to accept that there is an abductive pattern based rule to the greater processes that act upon us.
Product innovations are always far easier to convey as the tools that will shape us. However process innovations as tools are no less important but they do suffer a distinct disadvantage because abductive reasoning is in the shortest supply as it comes more naturally to intuitives, who are in the minority.
In my first post in this series I had posited the more immediate process concerning the envolution of the internet, and it’s shifting paradigms from send to search to social to sovereignty and it is to that which I return as it is close to my heart.
The personal sovereignty movement is a mesa level process and when you consider the four types of imagined futures below it is gratifying that the preferred is of our hearts.
Another meaningful correlation linked to my first post on the ‘Fourth Order Effect’ demonstrates the type of reasoning that leads to these futures. On this basis the fourth future is realised with conductive reasoning which is heart based.
• Predetermined is ‘Cause’ based and therefore Inductive
• Probabilities are ‘Rule’ based and therefore Deductive
• Possibilities are ‘Effect’ based and therefore Abductive
• Preferred is ‘Values ‘ based and therefore Conductive
Equally encouraging are my own values born of conductive reasoning. For my own journey of the heart is a micro process to honour my own personal sovereignty by never selling out a vision for a unified meritocratic social venture.
At all levels it appears that indeed all journeys both begin and end at the heart but for us personally we have to deliberately prefer the preferred futures based on our heartfelt values.
To help encourage each other to have the COurAge to ‘carry our age’ and continue our individual journeys toward a unified future, We must have faith that the universe is not selling us out after all…..merely selling us up.
“Life Shrinks or expands in proportion to one’s courage”
– Anais Nin
This article was written by Brian Grimmer CEO of Present Group with insights and understandings derived from extensive cooperation with Peter Midgley CXO of Present Group on the Meta Model for Process. The terms ‘Ovolution’ and ‘Envolution’ are new terms that have emerged while developing the Meta Model of Process.