What’s Next? The Lighthouse in The Storm
In a previous article, I wrote that if the COVID crisis has started as a health crisis, the real crisis, partly still to come, will be social, political, and economic. It is also, like all crises, a question of meaning, that is to say also spiritual (in the broad sense).
I hope and believe that the modern world, thanks to its efficiency (and despite all its shortcomings) and also thanks to the human commitment of the medical world, will sooner or later find solutions (drugs, vaccines) to the health aspect of this crisis. Let’s hope it won’t be too long …
So while the heroes of the medical world are still taking care of us, we can start to think about what’s next (for my advice on the crisis itself, read here and here).
Thinking about the future is also a good way to keep your spirits up… and to set a course, like the lighthouse in the storm. It’s what we call the Strange Attractor in Chaos Theories.
What Chaos Theories Tell Us
Let’s look at the situation from the point of view of Chaos Theories.
According to chaos theories (more details here), once past the Tipping Point the “system” will either collapse (second law of thermodynamics) or give rise to an emergence, a breakthrough, towards a new system, always more complex than the previous one.
Emergence is what allows us to be there 🙂
From the atom to the molecule, to the living cell, to the organism and to the mammal and the human being (in particular its brain), increasingly complex systems have appeared.
Collapse or Breakthrough?
I love the work of my collapsologist friends, in particular Pablo Servigne, Raphaël Stevens and Gauthier Chapelle.
Their work seems essential to me and I share most of their analysis. I strongly advise you to read their books during these times of global crises.
And yes, like them, I believe that the world as we know it can collapse (or is it already collapsing?)
Indeed, it seems important to me not to be naive and to prepare for a possible collapse.
I feel very privileged to be in my resilient home right now which has been designed to bring more resilience to my family, my neighbors and the community at large.
In the same way, I find it reassuring and fun to work with detachment on the preparation of my go Bag.
I believe in a possible collapse. And I also believe in another possibility, that of a breakthrough, an emergence.
The Times of The Emergeologists?
So my message is not only to prepare for the collapse but also to work on a possible emergence towards a new system, let’s not be afraid of words: a new civilization.
And if I advise you to read the books of collapsologists, I also advise you to read the books of emergeologists (I admit, I just coined the word), starting with the one I consider as the chief emergeologists: Edgar Morin.
You can also read my book Chaos, a User’s Guide in which I describe what the next world could look like (you can download my book here).
Collapse? Emergence? Or both?
Often people ask me if there is not going to be collapse AND emergence. The answer is that it depends on the scale of observation.
As we have seen, according to Chaos Theories, once past the Tipping Point, the “system” will either collapse (Second Law of Thermodynamics) or give rise to an emergence, towards a new and more complex system.
So we can say that for ONE system there cannot be collapse AND emergence. It’s one or the other.
But of course, there is not just one system. There are multitudes of systems more or less linked to each other. You are a system. Your family is a system. Your business is a system. Your city is a system. Your country is a system. Humanity is a system. The galaxy is a system, etc.
So even if for each system, it is either collapse or emergence, more generally, we observe certain systems which collapse (and sometimes this is good news …) and others which emerge.
For me, an important question is how to make the “humanity system” (itself within the “planet Earth” system) emerge towards a new system that is more harmonious, more just, and where everyone finds their just place.
In other words, how do we invent a new way of living in harmony with 8 or 10 billion human beings on our little planet?
Living Together: What Can We Learn from Nature?
In an article on how the living can inspire us, I show that the living has been able to adapt for millennia to survive, develop, and evolve in naturally chaotic and turbulent environments.
So, let us observe some characteristics of each cell, the basic elements of the living, which allowed this.
A higher goal
A cell agrees first to work for the well-being and survival of the body as a whole; it looks after its own interests only subsequently. The cell is ready to sacrifice itself and die in order to protect and ensure the growth of the whole. Each cell in our body, therefore, lives but a fraction of the time of our entire life.
Are we ready to be part of a whole?
A cell is conscious, aware, of each moment. It is capable of adapting to any change of circumstances, however sudden, and to respond to it in an adequate manner.
Are you ready to learn to learn, and to learn to forget what you have learned in the past, and to learn again? Are you ready to reinvent yourself?
A cell recognizes and accepts the importance of all the other types of cells. Every bodily function is important and inter-dependent.
Let’s celebrate diversity!
Even if each cell has a well-defined role, different roles combine in a creative manner. Thus we are able to digest some new food that we eat for the first time in our life. We are able to dance to a dance we are not familiar with and we are able to get ideas never thought before.
A major crisis is often an opportunity to make changes that we no longer believed in…
A cell functions with the minimum use of energy. It also stocks a very small quantity of it, equal to three seconds of supply. It trusts the whole to provide it with what is required.
Living in harmony with others, in harmony with the living and nature… Is this the new paradigm of our new world?
A cell knows, beyond differences and distinctive natures, that it shares the same DNA as its peers. Liver cells are different from the heart cells. The cells of the skin are different from those in the brain. However, they all know that they share the same identity that transcends them.
Are we going to invent a world together where everyone has their place?
You can find other characteristics of living things that can inspire us here.
So what Do We Do?
Let us ask ourselves if we could be like cells, not on the scale of cells in a body, but on the scale of humans and humanity.
So, we could, naturally and instinctively, find the means not only to survive but to live and flourish individually and collectively on the scale of humanity.
We will then succeed in the emergence described by the theories of chaos. What Edgar Morin calls metamorphosis.
We will thus be able to carry out our own metamorphosis and the metamorphosis of humanity towards a more complex and more harmonious system where each of us would find naturally, organically, its place.
That is Not Realistic? This is a Dream?
Normally, this is where the members of the Yesbuts tribe arise with their: “It’s very nice all this, yes but it’s a dream, it’s not possible in reality. It’s not practical…”
So my advice is to be kind and forgiving with the Yesbuts you meet (and with the Yesbut who is in each of us …)
In big transitions, it’s always difficult to see the new world emerging 🙂
The collapsing tree makes more noise than the growing forest
In the storm, this is precisely the lighthouse that gives us the direction: dreams and the ability to imagine the future 🙂
So, shall we hang on during the storm, stick together and think about what to do next?
“In desperate situations, the only wisdom is blind optimism” – Jean Dutourd
A very well written article, just like your book and the rest of blog posts. I know you are extremely well read, so I would be curious if you have given any thought to a blog post on the following – given that we all re staying home a lot right now and have more time to read what would be the top ten (Twenty? Fifty?) books you have read applied to your professional space? And if we could only read five or ten, which would you prioritize? Thank you again for all of your thinking!
Dear Alan, thanks a lot for your comment. I will send you a private message with a list of my favorite books 🙂