What is Broken?

How can Integral Cities learn from Gaia, endowed as her Organs of Reflection? How can we imagine an ecology for the emergence of Peace? What City Capacities can we draw on to recover wellbeing at all scales of human existence – person, people, place and planet? 

In using the Russian-Ukrainian conflict as an example let’s consider first what is broken and then how Gaia has built into herself – through her humans and their hives – the capacity to recover, heal and even thrive?

Let us consider what is broken.

  1. Cities as complex adaptive living systems have stopped using 5 sets of intelligences for surviving, adapting to our environments and regenerating. We disregard the damage to individual citizens, organizations, and cities. The bombing of Mariupol to reduce it to rubble apparently targeted civilian residences, hospitals, schools and the very basics of a civilized life.
  2. Biomimicry lessons that reveal our cities are human hives are being ignored – powerful resilient collectives, like the beehive is for bees. The military assaults on human habitats in the war, acknowledged the importance of human life but disregarded its value through the mass shootings of individuals and targeting women and children in refugee convoys.
  3. Acting blind to the 4 realities that inspire our lives denies our wholeness when we separate our intentions, cultures, behaviors and systems. The 4 realities reveal intentional misinformation, cultural propaganda to hate, inhuman actions like rape and torture and systemic use of weapons to disable transportation routes e.g. roads, bridges, airports.
  4. Ignoring 4 ways of knowing fragments our unity as multiple perspectives are disconnected from one another: subjective, intersubjective, objective, interobjective. It would appear that the invading force acted under autocratic control that denied individual conscience, cultural history (of intertwined Russian/Ukrainian stories), ethnic bonds (intermarried Russian/Ukrainian families) and combined infrastructures (of pipelines, sea lanes, agricultural supply chains).
  5. Not listening to our 4 Voices prevents us from acting on the Purpose of Peace in our human hives (disconnecting the 4 roles in the beehive: Citizens/Producers, Business-Innovators/Diversity Generators, Resource Allocators/Civic Managers, Inner Judges/3rd Sector). The 4 Voices of the Russians were strategically misinformed via news and propaganda thus disabling their intercommunication capacities. The 4 Voices of the Ukrainians were damaged by the 5 million citizens who exited the country as refugees, leaving behind a further 7.5 million people displaced within Ukraine (Economist May 2022). The majority of Ukrainian Voices were diverted from their usual peace-time occupations into military roles in defence of the country. Thus in both countries the 4 Voices were serving the Purpose of War rather than the Purpose of Peace.
  6. Regressing species development from possibilities of cooperation and collaboration into mere competition or authoritarianism blocks the emergence of Peace. The war conditions ironically demonstrated the more complex stages of cooperation and collaboration amongst the Ukrainians who fought for the value of freedom and democracy. Meanwhile the Russian nation was rewarded only for service to the attacking of its neighbour, wasting Russian resources for generations. In further irony the Russian oligarchs were targeted by the EU and Western democracies to reduce their influence and recover their resources for the rest of the world supporting Ukraine through delivery of weapons, munition and training, 
  7. Preventing city growth through steps and stages severs flows to support the development of capacities for Peace. While the war continues no growth is possible. In fact the war has impacted the evolutionary trajectory and set it back into less complex stages of complexity possibly for generations to come.
  8. Forgetting the Master Code of Care shrinks our circles of compassion. Some Russians in the diaspora in the rest of the world have been able to demonstrate compassion for those involved in the conflict, including Ukrainians. The Ukrainians have been reduced to care for self and their immediate families and countrymen and women – while desperately trying to live as their human habitats (cites, towns, villages) have been assaulted. The Master Code of Care has been seriously injured, even while the Rest of the World assimilates the impact of refugee migrations.
  9. Weaponizing Human Security mechanizes human disconnections creating deserts of Peace. This most fundamental assumption of daily life – that safety and security is fundamental to all human endeavours – has been transgressed by the attackers and the cause of fear in the victims.
  10. Traumatizing the 4 Voices of Community  prevents the emergence of a 3rd Side able to engage any issue and blocks the healing of trauma, pain, injustice, conflict, pollution, degradation. The impact of the Russian-Ukrainian war will last generations, as it derives from unhealed traumas from previous wars and conflicts. The great wounds of distrust and disrespect have damaged both victims and aggressors. Rescuers, Rebels, Witnesses cannot be effective while the conflict continues.

How Might We Heal ?    Click to continue to next section.