In early March I had an opportunity to explore the question, “Are Cities Evolving as Gaia’s Reflective Organs?” My audience was an erudite gathering of the online 3 Horizons University (3Huni for short).
I proposed to explore the case for the evolution of cities, not as a bane on the Earth, but as a necessary stage of maturing capacity of Gaia’s living system. I offered evidence from science, thought experiments and practice, from my Integral City Book Series, Reframing Complex Challenges for Gaia’s Human Hives (2018), Inquiry and Action: Designing Impact for the Human Hive (2017) and Integral City: Evolutionary Intelligences for the Human Hive (English 2008, Russian 2014).
This is blog 3 of a 4-part blog series – to continue to the next instalments click on the links at the bottom of the blog.
Integral City Maps, Intelligences, Emergent Practices
When we confront the implication of the terrible lesson of Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) discussed in the previous blog, it is a consolation to consider, what Sahtouris teaches about the stages of species evolution (noted above). The crux of her pointing-out instructions is that evolution recalibrates intelligences when life conditions become critical to survival. It is through these dissonances to our system that greater complexity emerges as we adapt to survive under changing life conditions. That is how we develop an unfolding set of Values and the Intelligences that go with them (see Figure Evolution Recalibrates…).
The Integral City set of 10 Intelligences that reflect these deepening values, has been designed into a GPS. At the heart of this GPS lies the Evolutionary Intelligence which we define this way:
Evolutionary Intelligence is the capacity to transcend and include the intelligences we currently demonstrate, in order to allow new intelligences to emerge….
With our science and thought experiments unpacked, we can now use this GPS to fashion 5 shapeshifting maps for the city as it appears to be evolving into Gaia’s Reflective Organ. Maps 2-3-4-5 are shapeshifts of Map 1. As a result, each map offers different and complementary lenses for seeing wholeness in the human hive. For wholeness is a quality that Gaia’s Reflective Organ can offer to a planet wanting to become conscious of itself. (see Figure set of 5 maps).
I have described these maps in many places elsewhere (Books 1, 2, 3 and blogs). Each one reveals qualities vital to the successful functioning of a Reflective Organ – quadrants, complex structures, holarchical structures, fractals, co-existing organelles, energetic flows, field effects.
The maps reveal slices, views, pulses, relationships and dynamics of the city that are breathtaking in their beauty (truth and goodness) and mysterious in their impact by, with and as the quality of Love appears to be their source. This starts as a very practical Love arising from our willingness to care for self, each other, place and planet. I have called this the Master Code of Care and it is fundamental to the emergence of humans as Gaia’s Reflective Organ. For this evolving organ will not merely reflect observations, thoughts, emotions or even spirit – it will reflect the core capacity for human relationships and for the Planet’s evolution as a conscious and caring living system. For, like the human embryo developing in utero, the brain unfolds from the heart (and we are learning the heart sends more neural signals to the brain than the other way around). Thus the development of the heart and then the mind/brain is what the evolutionary path for Gaia’s Reflective Organ is likely to be (assuming the habits of living systems are repeated at the largest planetary scale).
Perhaps the development of another Integral City intelligence will enable that to happen? We call it Meshworking Intelligence and have focused more on the functioning of Meshworking in the brain. Meshworking Intelligence that creates a “meshwork” by:
- Weaving together the best of 2 operating systems – Self-Organizing Systems (SOS) & Structures; and
- Aligning complex responsive structures that flex and flow in a hierarchy of complexity.
The resulting Meshwork has the capacity for simultaneously functioning for:
- Resilience by responding to dissonance triggers as a SOS; and
- Sustainable Structures by sorting & selecting options.
Thus Meshworking Creative strategies has the potential to solve all of our big challenges (as noted above).
What is more we must ask ourselves if the powerful combination of the Master Code functioning as a Meshwork is already happening at the city scale? We can even ask:
Is the City Itself a Meshwork?
It connects individuals into groups …
Groups Create a Network
Networks Create Communities of Practice (COP)
COP Transform into Spheres of Influence
Spheres of Influence can become
Global Meshwork of Human Hives
With this set of evolutionary patterns, it appears that Meshworking could deliver Local Action – Global Feeling -Cosmic Thinking (as Jude Currivan conjectures in Cosmic Hologram).
This blog series explores science, thought experiments and maps to inquire if “Cities are Becoming Gaia’s Reflective Organs?”