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Archive for the ‘E. Evolutionary Intelligences’ Category


This newsletter is published quarterly using a cycle of perspectives on the Integral City viewed from: Planet, People, Place and Power. The theme of this issue is Power.

The reality of the (modern) city is that the issues of consciousness, intention and responsibility are the gateways of understanding, preventing and transforming material challenges because the boundaries of local environments are perpetually porous. When the elements of life can manifest butterfly effects (Lorenz, 1995) half a world away, with disastrous consequences in remote and different environments, then resourceful conscious attention and intention may hold the only keys to survival.  

Hamilton, M. (2008). Integral City: Evolutionary Intelligences for the Human Hive. Gabriola Island BC: New Society Publishers, p. 14

Solstice Reflections on the Power of Caring 

The spectrum of governance systems in cities around the world is revealing that 21st century city governance demands a range of varied capacities for responsiveness to immediate emergencies, emerging sustainability and long term resilience. Modes of governance, range from the dictatorial to the democratic. They are not accidental expressions of human consciousness, but reflect the interior worldviews and mindsets of both city leaders and citizens.

While we imagine and even expect that city governance systems should be steady structures, in fact, they are ever emergent and constantly being renegotiated because the stability of cities is forever dynamic. But one thing is becoming increasingly clear: some worldviews are more inclusive and more soundly contexted than others.

In other words, the internal life of those who coalesce authority, power and influence in our cities contributes largely to the capacity of cities to be coherent, adaptable and sustainable. The events that Paris faced in 2015 (from the darkest disasters of the Charlie Hebdo and November 13 attacks to the most hopeful dignities of the COP21 Climate Conference) particularly showcased the range of responsiveness that city leadership now requires in this stage of human system development.

We are fast becoming aware that seeking sustainability and resilience in the urban world demands mindfulness about our relationship to realities within our cities, across cultures, spanning ecoregions and impacting the world. Our inner capacities must match our outer intentions. And just as Paris demonstrated in 2015, the Power of Caring for our cities can be  (perhaps must be??) amplified when the Circle of Care expands through the scales of Self, Others, Place and Planet – because a whole “family of governance systems” arises from the nation (France), regional affiliations (EU), transnational agreements (NATO) and international organizations (UN). We are living in an age where the city is the Power focus of human systems, but at this Solstice time, it is fitting to contemplate that city wellbeing depends on the healthy interconnections of People, Place and Planet.

When City Crisis Calls for Greater Leadership Power 

With cities facing such a variety of leadership demands in 2015, we can see that the need for extraordinary leadership capacities is growing exponentially. In Integral terms we can frame this as Leadership to “x” Power. And it appears that we may have broken through even the levels of complexity that defined a Leadership to the Power of 7, to a need for Leadership to the Power of 8? If I were going to point to a triggering life condition that is calling forth such Leadership I would target the refugee crisis in the Middle East and Europe. If I were to name a Leader who is demonstrating the needed qualities of Leadership to the Power of 8, I would offer Angela Merkel. Mrs. Merkel may be a national Leader – but her decisions regarding an open refugee policy are impacting every city in Germany – and as a result many other cities in Europe.

Leadership to the Power of 8 understands the infinite qualities of adaptiveness that enable human systems to thrive (and reproduce themselves) in endlessly changing life conditions. In the spirit of Leadership to the Power of 8, Angela Merkel has taken the courage extend a Circle of Care that embraces not just the voters who put her in office, but to embrace the imperiled condition of the refugees and expand the possibilities for everyone.

In contrast to such Leadership to the Power of 8, we can also see on display Leadership to the Power of 4 that depends on authority and uses barbed wire to create a barrier to change (e.g. Orban in Hungary). Those using Leadership to the Power of 5 are invoking fear of change and “the other”, depending on manipulation and competition to foment resistance (e.g. Trump in USA). Others using Leadership to the Power of 6 are depending on arguments for justice equality but ignoring the “idiot compassion” where gang and/or tribal underbellies take unfair advantage of liberal societies (e.g. Brussels and its hotbed of jihadi neighbourhoods). Even Leadership to the Power of 7 that depends on complexity and the awareness of the environment and ecological realities risks being undermined by clashes of culture (e.g. on the streets of Paris at COP21).

Leadership to the Power of 8 transcends and includes even the healthy expressions of all less complex Leaderships (from Powers of 4 to 7). It depends on integral evolution – standing firm in the face of opposition from all the other Powers of Leadership because it can see a greater superordinate goal. Through the interconnections and cross-collaborations that are emerging on an increasingly global scale, we can see that Merkel’s intuitive (?) Leadership to the Power of 8 is creating the conditions that enable a transnational (if not global) flow of people, energy, security and resources. Today’s cities need leaders, like Angela Merkel, who have developed a consciousness that understands the interconnected, evolutionary, developmental nature of all life – and particularly of city life.

Read more on Leadership to the Power of 8 in these 2 articles:

·       Concise Version: http://www.integralcity.com/discovery-zone/Research%20Docs/Leadership%20to%20the%20Power%20of%208,%20WiPsy-3-2012_Hamilton.pdf

·       Complete Version: http://integralleadershipreview.com/7686-leadership-to-the-power-of-8-leading-self-others-organization-system-and-supra-system/

 

Enlivening Edge Calls Forth the City in 2 Ways

1. Enlivening Edge a new ezine for next-stage organizations (inspired by Frederic Laloux’sReinventing Organizations) is theming the mid-January issue around reinventing cities to their next-stage of consciousness. Like Integral City, EE sees cities as part of the fractal sequence of reinvention and evolution emerging between organizations and societies. Integral City will be contributing one of the main articles for the city theme! Add your own voice to the City issue by following the guidelines here http://www.enliveningedge.org/get-involved/enlivening-edge-writers-guidelines/ (deadline extended to December 28)!

2. Join EE for the 2nd (international) Integral European Conference (see below) Reinventing Europe: Integral Reflections in a Rapidly Changing World

Enlivening Edge is curating a Teal Organizations Track there and city-related content is especially invited!

Call for papers for the Teal Organizations Track (and all tracks):
http://www.enliveningedge.org/news/gathering-of-people-organizations-going-teal/

 

Invitation from Integral Europe 2016: Reinvent Europe

Mark your calendar for BEFORE January 10, 2016 – and send IEC2016 your proposal for a presentation, paper or provocation.

What does it take to reinvent Europe from an embodied integral perspective, synchronizing different value-systems?

IEC - Flow Therapy Group Circle - Copy

That is the question IEC organizers are designing into their innovative conference format that will seamlessly interweave crisp presentations, juicy transformational workshops and heart-opening communal events.

May 48, 2016 at Lake Balaton Hungary is the time and place.

Advance whispers say Dr. Don Beck and Elza Maalouf will be keynoters and presenters.

Show Up. Speak Your Truth. Be Part of the Results. Learn MORE here.

 

The Power of WE: MetaIntegral Foundation’s Candidates for Integral Prpjects 2016

MetaIntegral Foundation, an Integral City constellation partner, continues to raise money to support some of the world’s leading Integral thinker/doers. Through their pooled resources and stewardship, research leaders will be supported as they apply integrative approaches to solving real-world challenges. Together, MIF and donors build credibility for these impactful applications and help to advance the field of Integral Theory and practice. The list of the candidates for 2016 Funding is below.

MIF uses an innovative approach where your votes generate funds AND help select the finalists.

Click here to read more about the projects, their leaders and how to add YOUR IMPACT.

  • Caucus for Children’s Rights (CCR) led by Kate McAlpine
  • Developmentally-Oriented Fundraising led by Jennifer Jones
  • Energy Futures Lab (EFL) led by Tamara Connell
  • Homeless Services Leadership Training led by Heather Larkin
  • Integral Economics led by Elizabeth Castillo
  • Integral Nepal Project led by Shushant Shrestra & Gail Hochachka
  • Let’s Drink Less by Half led by Riina Raudne
  • PUP Global Heritage Consortium led by Jon Kohl
  • SSU Core Leadership led by Mark Fabionar
  • StagesLens Text Analysis Research led by Tom Murray
  • The Natural Design Navigator led by Mark R. Dekay

 

Meshworkers of the Year Award 2015 – Imagine Durant, Oklahoma, USA

Imagine Durant diamond logo

Imagine Durant has created a bold invitation to the 4 Voices of Durant Oklahoma, USA to imagine a vision for the future and develop the strategies to implement it.

Imagine Durant has systematically documented the process, results and interconnections amongst a series of three Dialogues on the Economy and the Community. Imagine Durant brought together 24 Thought Leaders, 39 Community Members and 24 Policy Makers to learn what was most important to the community. From the contacts made through these representatives of the 4 Voices of the city, it is estimated that Imagine Durant has touched thousands of Durant stakeholders since inception in 2013. Read the full story HERE.

 

Power of Gratitude: Ken Wilber Gratitude Fund

KWF-200x200-C - Copy

Something quite moving and amazing is afoot in the Integral world. It is called The Ken Wilber Gratitude Fund which we might call the Power of Gratitude. This is an opportunity for all of us who have been affected, moved, and transformed by the brilliant work of Ken Wilber. The Ken Wilber Gratitude Fund represents a movement of those who have been enlightened and inspired by Ken’s gifts to the world, who relish the opportunity to be able to concretely say thank you with our financial contributions and to continue to support Ken and his work.

As Ken so eloquently communicates on The Ken Wilber Gratitude Fund website, he is far from finished with his life’s work and is currently entering a phase of massive output of new works that continue to build on the foundation he has created in his previous books, teachings, and articles.

It is the intention of KWGF founders that Ken will be supported abundantly for all of his physical and medical needs, and at the same time be held by love, support, and appreciation for what he has given us.  Thanks for giving – just CLICK – YES, I’LL GIVE

 

The Power of Learning Integral City Practices

We’d like to refer you to several Powerful learning resources that contribute to Integral City practices:

1.     Edited by Tom Christensen and published by Integral Publishers:

a.     Innovative Development: Emerging Worldviews and Systems Change

b.     Developmental Innovation: Emerging Worldviews and Individual Change

These 2 books featuring chapters from many of the big players in the Spiral Dynamics world provide practical applications of Spiral Dynamics Integral theory to all scales of life. Written by leaders for leaders responsible for healthy cities, states, countries, non-profits and businesses. – Educators guiding students from elementary school through university. – Economists concerned with money, finance, lending, and what is next for capitalism. – Policy-makers dedicated to disabled, impoverished, and other underserved citizens. – Those wishing a deeper yet practical understanding of large systems changes. – Therapists, counselors and coaches wanting a more nuanced view of their roles. – Lifelong learners who love personal stories of challenges, triumphs, and epiphanies.

2. The Amplifield connects you with a global community of people who meditate and share intentions together. Joining, gives you access to several frequencies of sound entrainment and a psycho-active globe that shows how your intentions amplify others’ and vice versa. It is a seed-bed for practicing WE-space.

3. Systemic Constellation Work with Jane Peterson in Vancouver, BC, Canada. She is offering 2 programs on Feb. 18-20, 2016:

o   What lies beneath: understanding the hidden dynamics in organizational relationships, a workshop on Friday Feb 19 for leaders, managers, and entrepreneurs, and also for consultants and coaches.

o   Coaching sessions on Thursday Feb 18, and Saturday Feb 20. Each will be two hours long, experiencing many applications of constellation work – including what Jane calls the “FOO Factor” or the family of origin factor that keeps us stuck and unable to move forward as we sense is possible.

o   Contact Kate Sutherland for Registration Details kate.sutherland@thnk.org

Celebrating “Power-Focus” in the Coming Quarter to Light Up 2015 and 2016

December 21 marks the start of what IC calls the Power Quarter (from December 21 to March 20). What powers of leadership, creativity and meshworking do you bring to celebrate the Spirit of the City in this quarter? What WE-stories and Legends give you strength to embrace compassion in the face of adversity?  Where do you notice the Power of Cities expanding their influence on our Planet of Cities? Visit us at Integral City Collective on Face book and post a short update or a photo.

Meshful Blessings for December Solstice from

Marilyn Hamilton and the Integral City Core Team

PS

Here are some some Free Resources for amplifying Power in the Human Hive:

1.     Integral City’s ITC2015 Harvest Report The Fruits of Deep Design: How Integral City Harvested Pomegranate Impact of Integral Theory Conference 2015 – full report HERE.

2.     Tam Lundy’s Generative Change Primer has just been translated into Russian– click HERE for the link to download your pdf copy.

3.     Cherie Beck observes that she is very curious about technologies that use “vectors” to reveal what we would call Meshworks and/or architectures for our 12 intelligences. A wonderful example is in this demonstration that all roads lead to Rome:   http://www.wired.com/2015/12/here-are-all-the-roads-that-lead-to-rome/?mbid=social_twitter

4.     Check out the series of blogs on European Refugees and Paris:

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Integral City nominates Paris as City of the Year 2015. Paris is the city featured on the cover of the Integral City book.

Integral City :Evolutionary Intelligences for the Human Hive

Integral City :Evolutionary Intelligences for the Human Hive

The City of the Year is a new – but natural award for us to make. We have recognized the importance of cities as both trigger points and tipping points in their respective nations and for the world at large.

Paris has been particularly on our heart/mind this year from January through to December. We have been learning how Paris has made possible a new sense of connectedness.

Paris has shown us three new ways of appreciating the Master Code through taking care of Self/ Others/ Place/ Planet.

Je Suis Charlie

Je Suis Paris

Je Suis COP21.

Each of these experiences, may not only represent breakthroughs from the “fever crises” of the human species, but also represent the vestiges of an early “We Consciousness” – the glimmers of our collective consciousness shining through Paris, the City of Light. This consciousness is shining through all who have supported her from the great to the ordinary, from the “present in body” to the “awake in spirit”, from the displaced refugee to the homeful citizen, from the reflective practitioner to the expressive artist.

What synchronicity and foreshadowing inspired the graphic artist to select Paris as the quintessential city for the cover of Integral City: Evolutionary Intelligences for the Human Hive?? That choice, made in 2008 has always fascinated me (and intrigued city planners and integrally informed readers alike) – but little could we have known that it would presage Paris’s high profile in 2015.

When people have asked me to identify Integral Cities, they have anticipated that I would point to particular cities demonstrating the features of an Integral City. But as I explained in the book, at the time of writing I was noticing the patterns and “weak signals” that indicated a new paradigm of the city was emerging. Many cities exhibited some qualities of an Integral City – but it has not been easy until the paradigms of the Smart City and Resilient City emerged in the last seven years, to point to particular cities as “Integral Cities”.

In nominating Paris as City of the Year, we are not even saying that Paris IS an Integral City – yet. But it has demonstrated a powerful City Spirit that responded immediately and deeply to the Charlie Hebdo attacks. Its defiance in the face of the multiple November 13 attacks continued its enactment of the key values born in earlier times: Liberté, Egalité and Fraternité. And its gracious and surprisingly secure hosting of the COP21 conference demonstrated alignment with a global purpose and strategic capabilities to keep safe space and time during a global conversation on ecology.

So in respect to the Integral City Intelligences we could say that Paris enabled a global conversation on ecological contexts, demonstrating inner, outer, cultural and social capacities, supporting strategies (inquiring, meshworking, navigating) that framed outcomes and walked through a refiner’s fire of dissonance for evolutionary breakthroughs.

If any city deserves the City of the Year 2015, Paris does. At this stage of human development none of us has a perfect record of living the Master Code – but collectively we are learning our way through to taking care of Self / Others/ Place / Planet.

Paris as City of the Year 2015 has offered a city-focused model of how the Master Code works – even on an implicit level.

Congratulations and Gratitudes to Paris – City of the Year 2015.

 

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Is it amazing that 195 nations were able to draft an agreement for Climate Change in Paris last week?

banner_01 globe EU Africa

Euphoria, celebrations and emotional highs marked the conclusion of the gathering. COP21 had been a long time coming with holdouts, recriminations and resistances marking its predecessor gatherings and the planning for this event.

But I wonder if the agreement could have been reached in any other location or year than Paris 2015?

Paris has suffered a year of unspeakable effrontery and pain with the Charlie Hebdo and November 13 attacks. Paris could easily have receded into a cave of cowering fear and justified cancelling COP21 as too demanding and irrelevant to Paris’ security, safety and sanity.

But with counter-intuitive courage Paris stepped into the refiner’s fire and affirmed its commitments to host COP21. What’s more, the participating countries took this opportunity to fly in the face of VUCA global-sized threats and attend the conference with the highest levels of state and working delegates.

In contemplating the Charlie Hebdo and November attacks as evolutionary eruptions of the human condition, I wonder if the terrorists behind these attacks have inadvertently created a “fever crisis” of the human system that demanded/demands a global size immune response?

While the Paris terrorists thought they were attacking representations of infidel practices, perhaps they actually created the conditions for the demonstration of a global immune response?  If so, the terrorists may have perpetrated a major unintended consequence that holds the seeds of undoing for their espoused system of barbarity and the seeds of the doing/being for global wellbeing?

COP21 had the intention of gaining global agreement to hold the impact of human-created climate change below 2C. And it celebrated the achievement of agreeing to an even more rigorous goal to limit temperature rise to 1.5C.

At the core of this agreement was the recognition that each person, organization, community, city, region and nation can contribute to the outcome. Self-responsibility is required at every level of scale.

And while the critics bemoan COP21’s lack of verifiable national targets, inspection processes and mechanisms for climate equity, the key vision and intention was named and endorsed. That is a significant beginning.

In evolutionary terms, what was set was a superordinate goal – one that transcended individual national interests – along with an intention to attain it through self-organizing means.

In the face of logic, scientific evidence and rational behaviour, critics lambaste the COP21 as hypocritical and illusory. But what they don’t recognize is that the agreement defies reason because of the emotional climate created by the Paris attacks. Underlying COP21 was a global need to demonstrate solidarity around an issue that matters to everyone.

The climate of outer change that was sought at COP21 was foregrounded by need for a climate of inner change for which Paris became the focal point.

Ironically the “fever crisis” of outer climate change has been proposed to be no higher than 2C. But the climate of inner change to achieve that will demand that the world work together in a way where metrics may well be measurable in evolutionary terms of the functionality of Gaia’s Reflective Organ (humans and our Human Hives).

What has been festering and boiling over in Paris’s cultural divides is a metaphor for what afflicts the inner climate of our human being (on a global scale). And the COP21 agreement as a global agreement sets the wellbeing targets for our outer climate. Together, the responses of Paris and COP21 provide both metaphorical and metaphysical grounds for a climate of change.

Thank you Paris for reflecting Gaia’s Light and displaying the courage we will need to make these inner and outer changes our new reality. You have shown me three new ways of appreciating the Master Code through taking care of self/ others/ place/ planet.

Je Suis Charlie

Je Suis Paris

Je Suis COP21.

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I have been mesmerized into muteness regarding Paris since the November 13 attacks.

banner_01 Paris

Je Suis Paris

A strange sensation like holding my breath has overtaken me – a kind of numbness and muteness. Writing has happened only in my head – and even then without much coherence.

Funny, since I was impelled to write quickly and passionately about Paris earlier in the year in the face of the Charlie Hebdo attacks. I named that experience an Ebola of the Soul. It was so shocking to the human system because Paris has been the archetype for Liberté, Egalité and Fraternité. The native and planetary support for Paris in January 2015 was immediate, public refusal to succumb to the real severe bodily injuries and the greater threat to freedom of speech (and the implied hostility to evolutionary consciousness itself).

But the November 13 attacks give bleak evidence of the dark intelligence behind the war theatre that was choreographed into the daily life of Paris – slaying and injuring people at sports, entertainment, dining and shopping venues. Re-creation itself was targeted – selecting places where all the 4 voices of the city congregated for the simple enjoyments and pleasures of life that renew, refresh and reconnect.

The planned simultaneity of the attacks heightened the reactions of fear, even as it stretched the emergency response systems to points of ineffectiveness. Our belated overviews of the situation reveal the reality of the VUCA intentions designed into the multiple attack zones:

Volatility at each site heightened because of the synchronization of the many battle zones;

Uncertainty because each and all City Voices (Citizens, Civic Managers, Civil Society, Business) at the many sites became confounded by the scale of local horror and disconnection from what people expect in their normal lives;

Complexity because people were overwhelmed with threat, injury and death without immediate explanation; and

Ambiguity because the meaning of the incidents and perpetrators of the acts emerged from shadow, disappeared into shadow and acted in darkness.

Moreover the timing of the attacks in the evening, literally taunted the City of Light by turning it into a city of darkness.

While the reactions inside and outside Paris to the Charlie Hebdo attack were swift and positive, the November 13 attacks were designed to overwhelm and confuse the responses of the city, nation, EU and world. They were deliberately designed to bring out the worst of human reactions – provoking counter threats, counter attacks and revealing the ineptness of authority and power in contrast to the self-righteousness of the attackers and their cause.

A month later authorities remain confounded by the death of martyred perpetrators at the scenes and/or the escape of perpetrators across borders and into the thousand hidey holes that support them (and their brothers) in the “sophisticated” cities of Brussels? Geneva? San Bernardino? It is a message with a strong “sous entendu” that no one is safe – not just in Paris but in any city of the world.

This fear and disconnectedness is exactly what the guerrilla factions want. They will be rejoicing at the political contractions and blame postulated by the far right (Le Pin, Trump). They are working at creating the conditions for expanding and spreading the Ebola of the Soul that Charlie Hebdo spawned, to a more Culturally Viral Ebola of the Body spawned by the November 13 outbreaks.

Does this mean that Paris’s natural contraction to protect itself is not appropriate? Or can we acknowledge that we all have been wounded. My own muteness/numbness is a reflection of Paris’ condition. Je Suis Paris – just as Je Suis Charlie. The Paris-wide scale of attack leads not only to the viral dis-ease but also to post traumatic stress disorder. Paradoxically just as we seek to hide from one another – in our pain, suspicion and pessimism – this is the time when we need each other most. “If you want to improve the health of a system, connect it to more of itself.”

Just as we discovered in contemplating Charlie Hebdo and the reality of the Politics of Dignity Trumping the Politics of Fear (regarding the not unrelated refugee situation) our first and strongest defence has to be to look within our own body/mind/heart/spirit. That is where we find the source of courage, respect, dignity, love and light for enacting wellness. But in order to do that, we need to connect to each other even in the times of greatest darkness – with compassion – so we can amplify the best of human nature that enables us to confront our deepest fears.

When the City of Light turns into the City of Darkness, perhaps there is an immune system, so deeply rooted in Life that our human system can find the way through our evolutionary battlegrounds back into the Light?  Let us hope that such a visceral dissonance to our calling to be Gaia’s Reflective Organs prompts a compassionately fierce immune response. Perhaps we are even witnessing in Paris the “fever crisis” that presages a breakthrough to a new level of evolutionary wellbeing for humans (and our Human Hives)?

 

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The biomimicry pattern of the Human Hive (aka city) draws on fractal patterns and systems in play in our global ecology and human species.

Integral City International Faces

Homo sapiens sapiens is supposedly the most advanced species of the vertebrates. We have developed four types of cities in our Human Hive line. Moreover we have also developed four roles that are active in our cities similar to the four roles in the beehive.

The four types of cities I want to consider are Traditional, Smart, Resilient and Integral. Together they form an evolutionary spectrum.

In this blog series, I will only point out the Traditional City, driven by managing the transactional exchanges of the basics of life but will not spend time on it. I am more interested in exploring the potential of the Smart City driven by technology and industry; the Resilient city driven by ecological and eco-regional interdependencies; and the Integral City driven by the flex and flow of cultures, consciousness and care – the very energies of the Master Code.

4 + 1 Roles

Now let’s explore the 4 roles of the Human Hive.

In the Human Hive, I have noticed that the 4 bee roles provide a fractal pattern filled by what I call the 4 Voices of the City.

  • Who are our Forager-Producers?  I think of them as Citizens
  • Who are our Diversity Generators? I think of them Business (Private Sector)
  • Who are our Resource Allocators? I think of them as Civic Managers (Government and Agency Sector)
  • Who are our Integrators? I think of them as Civil Society (our NFP/NGO sector)

These voices/roles in the human hive follow the same fractal patterns of roles that the bees have evolved. And not surprisingly others have noticed similar fractal patterns in organizations and nations. Dr. Ichak Adizes has noticed these patterns in family behaviors and applied these same roles to organizations as: Producers, Entrepreneurs, Administrators and Integrators – his famous PAEI pattern.

Moreover, I take the license of suggesting that the Pope himself has chosen “Integral Ecology” as the title of a key chapter in his encyclical “Laudato Si”, because he recognizes the ecological realities that permeate life at all human scales.

I am curious, as a Reader – while you are doing your work in the city – would you name your role as Resource Allocator or Civic Manager? Diversity Generator or Business/Private Entrepreneur? Forager-Producer or Citizen? Or perhaps Integrator or Civil Society? Or maybe a combination of multiple roles?

As you compare notes with voices/roles in other cities – will you remember to see that at another fractal scale that city’s roles act as the important fifth voice/role of the inter-city competitor?

For Human Hives all five roles in all city types are critical for cities to survive and thrive.

(This blog is one of a series on Waking Up the Human Hive Beyond the Smart, Resilient City to the Integral City – thinking notes for a keynote speech at IDG’s IT Smart Cities Conference, September 23, 2015, Amersfoort, NL.)

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The Human Hive has many lessons to learn from the honey beehive.

Honeybee Hive

Honeybee Hive

Some years ago I was introduced to the biomimicry magic of the beehive and was fascinated to learn that apis mellifera –  the honey bee – has figured out a system that enables Smart behavior that not only produces energy for the functioning of the hive –  but Resilient inter-ecological action that enables renewable resources for the entire eco-region of the hive.

Paleo-biologist, Howard Bloom, describes these four roles of the bee hive in terms of systems performance that is modulated by what many are now calling the “hive mind”. Like all Smart Cities the bees have developed code that communicates resource data – like modern millennials they prefer a dance-rap code to a digital or spoken mode. They choreograph their Big Data information on a figure 8 design at the door of the hive. Like all Resilient Cities, the bees have measured their Eco footprint and figured out how much energy a hive of about 50000 bees needs to produce for survival – about 20 kg of honey per year.

The beehive is organized so that 90% of the hive are Forager-Producers – who have the job of foraging for nectar and pollen in the eco-region of the hive. They fly out, find a patch of flowers and return to the hive with both bountiful samples of the harvest and dance the information for other bees to locate it (with coordinates matched to distance from hive, angle of the sun, type of flower, maturity of flower, etc.). With 90% of the bees attending to this duty – the dance soon becomes a rave.

Meanwhile there is a special contingent of bees who have been given different roles to play – complementary to the Forager-Producers. These are the Diversity Generators – and they make up about 5% of the hive. It is their job to go anywhere the Producing Foragers DO NOT go. As a result they return to the hive with harvests from different flowers and therefore a different dance – let’s say a clog dance instead of rap rock n roll??? While most of the hive is preoccupied with the success of the Forager-Producers, the Diversity Generators are for the most part ignored. (Do you ever feel like that in your work – no one ever appreciates what you do???)

In order to fully appreciate the system of the beehive, we must stand back a little from the dance programs of the Forager-Producers and Diversity Generators and observe what the Resource Allocators and the Integrators are doing. Altogether these 2 roles are a very small percentage of the hive performed by mature bees and the wisdom of the hive mind.

The role of the Resource Allocators is to reward performance of the Forager-Producers and Diversity Generators. They measure the returning harvest loads and reward the foraging-producing bees with “Bee Juice” proportional to their performance. 100% load receives a 100% reward. In the background the Integrators check out how the hive is doing in manufacturing the annual goal of 20 kg of honey.

Bees Knees Pollen Harvest

Bees Knees Pollen Harvest

Sounds like a good system yes??? But what happens when Forager-Producer bees keep returning to the same patch of flowers? Sooner or later they deplete the patch – and the Resource Allocators reduce their rewards accordingly – from 75% to 50% to 30% and finally to 0!! And with the recent EU experience of risk/reward scenario analysis – what happens to bees who are cut off from the expected rewards of their non-performing efforts?? You guessed it – they get depressed. How do we know? We can measure depression in bees by the drop in their pheromones!!

But there is a benefit to this downturn in energy/performance of the Forager-Producer bees. It means that finally the hard-working Diversity Generators can finally be noticed. Because they have never stopped returning to the hive and doing their little clog dances. And when the poor depressed Forager-Producers have given up on their big party, they finally can take notice that another “hearty-party” is going on with the returning Diversity Generators. A few depressed Forager-Producers take notice and follow the information dance and discover the DG’s new location for nectar and pollen resources. When these newly motivated Forager-Producers return, they stir up the old party pheromones once again and the Forager-Producers fly off in pursuit of new harvests.

The Resource Allocators are happy, the Integrators are on target and the hive system survives and even thrives – not just because its internal conditions for wellbeing are met, but because the external conditions of the eco-region have also been supported by pollinating the producing plants – thus ensuring a variety of renewable resources for the next year.

And in nearby beehives the same system is being practiced, in competition with our exemplar hive. This ensures the evolution of optimal variations in the bee species that allow for adaptation and mitigation of changing life conditions for apis mellifera. (This may be what is going on with the hives that survive Colony Collapse Disorder while others don’t.)

Thus, it appears that the honey bees have devised a true metabolic economy that actually catalyzes and supports an integrated ecology following the rules of complexity.

(This blog is one of a series on Waking Up the Human Hive Beyond the Smart, Resilient City to the Integral City – thinking notes for a keynote speech at IDG’s IT Smart Cities Conference, September 23, 2015, Amersfoort, NL.)

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Are metaphors useful when real life intrudes on their original power as a pattern framer?

Colony Collapse Disorder

Colony Collapse Disorder

For instance (almost a decade ago) when I coined the term “Human Hive” as a metaphor for the living, evolutionary human system of the city, it predated many life events that have since occurred. Perhaps the appropriateness for using this biomimicry term to look at the city as a living system is outdated? These days, when I share my ideas about the Human Hive, a series of particular events have become frequent challengers to thinking about the city in the terms of a hive metaphor.  Those most disturbing events have become known as Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD).

This is the alarming phenomenon that is endangering the honey beehives. The result of the syndrome is simple enough to describe – the majority of the honeybees abandon the hive and do not return. They apparently lose their carrying capacity to sustain themselves, the hive and contribute to the wellbeing of their eco region (through pollination).Why honey bees do this is as mystifying as it is disturbing. Scientists do not have consensus on whether the fault is the neoconitide pesticides that were introduced in the last decade (and are now being made illegal in many countries); loss of diversity in the gene pool; mites; changes in the environment – both man-made and natural; loss of flower habitat; and/or all of the above.

However, Colony Collapse Disorder has not dissuaded me from considering apis millifera – the honey bee – a worthy teacher. (In fact, cities in the Middle East may well be going through the equivalent Human Hive disintegration, as migrants pour out of their borders and seek sanctuary in European cities?)

But one of my deep consolations, is that the bee as a species, is 100 million years old and has adapted to every geography on earth. Entomological evidence indicates that CCD has happened before and the trusty bee has survived, adapted and continued to thrive. The most recent recommendations I have read about treating CCD is for humans to stop interfering by applying technological solutions and let the most advanced species of the invertebrates – for that is what the honey bee is considered to be – to let apis mellifera get on with developing its own solution to CCD.

As human migrants swarm out of one endangered city or country they are creating life conditions where the Human Hives they target become endangered themselves because of their own lack of carrying capacity. But as homo sapiens sapiens is supposed to be the most intelligent vertebrate on earth I wonder what natural intelligence we must release in order to overcome and/or avoid the human version of Colony Collapse Disorder that our invertebrate cousins the bees are hopefully figuring out how to do? As a radical optimist I think I will continue with the Human Hive metaphor, confident that Life’s Evolutionary Intelligence can see us through.

(This blog is one of a series on Waking Up the Human Hive Beyond the Smart, Resilient City to the Integral City – thinking notes for a keynote speech at IDG’s IT Smart Cities Conference, September 23, 2015, Amersfoort, NL.)

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