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Systemic Solutions for a Systemic Crisis: Club of Rome

By Vala Ragnarsdottir, Vice President, Balaton Group

The Club of Rome (CoR) organized a meeting at Castell de Castellet (near Barcelona, Spain) on March 26-28, 2014 to discuss Systemic Solutions for a Systemic Crisis. To this meeting the CoR invited representatives from 25 organisations that are dedicated to improving and sustaining the human condition globally.  Vala Ragnarsdottir represented the Balaton Group as its Vice-President.  

The aim of the meeting was to for CoR to better understand the views of those present, identify opportunities and barriers for scaling up the influence of the organisations and discuss where common approaches might make the organisations “larger than the sum of their parts.”

The CoR goal was to have an informal yet insightful conversation among friends, and thus adopted “Chatham House rules” and no minutes were taken.  Each discussion was facilitated and notes taken on tables and flip-charts which the CoR took back for their analysis – but no report was written.

At the beginning each participants introduced themselves and their organisations.  After that the discussions were divided into three themes:
  1. The big picture

  2. The battles for hearts and minds: Where will change come from, to whom should we reach out to and how can we deal with the opposition organized by special interests?
  3. Wrap up, new ideas and potential collaboration
Since no report was written by the CoR from the meeting one of the participants took it upon himself to summarise the discussions.  A brief overview is given below:

The Greatest Adventure on Earth

The world faces several dilemmas which include consumerism societies, short-term and narrow minded purposed, and also cultural dilemmas where the concentration of power and richness is in the hands of a few – inhibiting the potential of most.
Potential solutions to these dilemmas that were discussed were amongst others:
  1. Unleashing the human potential in harmony with the environment with focus on knowledge, sports, crafts, art and science, beauty and truth.
  2. Extending the circle of generosity and trust to all peoples, flora and fauna – to the planet we share and in that creating more life than we destroy.
  3. Sharing feminine and masculine values by respecting diversity and the sacred principle of dignity for all and overcoming segregations, whether social, cultural or racial, as a moral and practical imperative.
  4. Changing the purpose of organizations by being devoted to problem-solving; by the societal ecosystem addressing different facets of global purpose – universal human welfare and the essential equilibria of the natural ecosystems in which we live.  For this we need fundamental changes, a combination of societal innovations and technical progress to ensure both high productivity in the use of natural resources and a low unemployment.  There is also need to abandon the self-delusions of financial accumulation and consumerism.
  5. Empowering citizens of all ages and produce what is needed with shorter workdays and variety of professional engagement over personalized curricula.  Citizens need to be empowered to enjoy substantial time in lifelong learning, exchanging across generations, practicing passions and participating in collective decisions at all levels, from local to global.
  6. Taking the holistic view. The two-sided nature of autonomy and connection is what makes society a complex system that is much more than the sum of its parts. This requires us to analyze and understand reality with a holistic mindset, where the center of the world is everywhere – and the best ideas my come, from a remote village of Africa, where the human story began.

Where organisations can work together

There is a need for all organisations to paint sketches of desirable futures that can inspire not only those who already dream but also those many more who still do not dare to dream.

We need to focus collectively on a paradigm shift of unprecedented scale in human history. This can be undertaken by assembling the energy of young, the wisdom of elders, the claim of women and the excluded, and the voices of all nations.  We can build a human world at peace with itself and the planet, an inclusive, sustainable and more feminine world where we could practice the obligation and pleasure of making life a meaningful and enjoyable journey for all of us our children and future generations.

Follow up from meeting in Spain

As shown above, during the meeting there was a lot of discussion about the importance of the emergence of the feminine (values, care, sharing, team-work, leadership…) being instrumental for the global and local changes needed to build a new paradigm.  

The CoR has since asked Vala Ragnarsdottir to assemble a group of people (women and men) to write about the emergence of the feminine from different perspectives.  This will likely start as an edited blog, that emerges as a book.  She aims to use story telling approaches to inspire people around the globe to dream and lead towards a sustainable world.  The stories will be centred on framing the paradigm we currently live and reframing a new paradigm.  In learning about new ideas we change our brain.  The new paradigm will be illustrated with examples that are already happening around the world and people will be invited into an inquiry where they can discuss ideas in a new space.  If this goes ahead, the blog/book will be edited by Vala.  

Groups presented at meeting (some had more than one representative)

Club of Rome
Club of Madrid
Nizami Gajavi International Centre
Innaxis Foundation and Research Institute
Ellen MacArthur Foundation
Wordwatch Institute
Collegium International
United Nations University
Management Drives
World Academy of Art and Science
Mava Foundation
GLOBE International
Alliance for Religions and Conservation
Balaton Group
World Future Council
Global Footprint Network

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