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“We are living through one of the most fundamental shifts in history:
a change in the actual belief structure of Western society.
No economics, political or military power can compare
with the power of a change of mind.
By deliberately changing their images of reality,
people are changing the world.”
Willis HARMAN (+ 1978)
Thinker of Silicon Valley at “ The Stanford Research Institute”
Co-Founder of the “ World Business Academy”
President of the “Institute of Noetic Sciences”
Many citizens around the world currently have the uneasy feeling that a transformation sneaking into their lives.
“Everything is going bad.”
“We are in crisis.”
The individual citizen feels lost and wonders what will happen to him and his children. He senses that something important and large is happening in the world but cannot identify what it is. Moreover, he believes that he is alone in his uneasiness, even though hundreds millions of others feel the same way.
He lacks a global vision.
The crux of his feeling is that something is dying. He sees its death throes every night on the television news—businesses closing, political and institutional dysfunctions, corruptions, wars and violent insurrections.
Indeed, something is dying—the existing industrial-modern, patriarchal system. If mass media had existed at the time of Renaissance, they probably would have spoken about the collapse of the agricultural and medieval society, of the crisis of the Latin language in the universities, of a horrible invention that allowed the printing the Sacred Book by machine. Word of the pioneers of change—like Galileo, Michelangelo, and Copernicus—would have been relegated to the cultural pages of the weekend paper… or in the crime-beat pages (describing the latest news from the Inquisition).
To speak about the death of this system, I use the metaphor of a five-level iceberg only the top floor of which is readily visible above the water line and is, therefore, apparent to us (see Figure 1). In the first part of this book, I use this metaphor to describe the current system, parts of which are either already dead or dying in silence or with great noise. In the second part, I re-use the iceberg metaphor under a slightly different form to show, at each level, what is already alive in a new way. Specifically, I show what is being built around new economic and political concepts of the “knowledge society”—which not usually shown on television because it is uneasy to perceive.
© Marc Luyckx Ghisi 2008
Figure 1: Iceberg metaphor (Part One)—Five levels of death
In the iceberg metaphor for Part One of this book, Level 1 is at the bottom, where it is the coldest and the darkest—a place where one does not like to visit, much less live. This is the level where we are today—the level at which our global civilization is threatened to die if we do not change anything. I put this level at the bottom of the iceberg because we do not like to talk about danger hanging over our heads. We prefer not to go down so low in the cold water of our individual and collective subconscious.
Level 2 is still very cold and low. One does not often visit there, even though one knows it exists. It is the death of the patriarchal values. One speaks very little about it, and yet we are confronted every day with the vertical, arrogant, and manipulative management crisis that arises naturally from the patriarchal system. And many people sense that no solution will be found to our global problems with its “command, control and conquest” values. One feels that to protect this lovely blue ball of a planet—the first pictures of which the American astronauts brought us in the 1960s—we urgently need a new cocktail of values of care and respect. More gentle and more feminine values. The truth is that the patriarchal system is already dead…but its corpse still twitches.
Level 3 is the midway—the death of modernity. We might not be conscious of this death, but we sense it. And for those who still are 100% “moderns,” it is very difficult, if not impossible, to comprehend that we might be in a paradigm shift that will result in its death. By definition, such “moderns” are not conscious that they are living in a paradigm since they choose to view their world as objective reality rooted in impartial truth.
Level 4 is very close to us. Many ”industrial” types of businesses are dying before our eyes. One does not usually say that a business dies, but that it “closes.” (It is a more modest statement.) But it is the whole of the modern industrial economy that is dying and for a very simple reason—the industrial approach to the problems of the world does not lead to rapidly finding a way toward a truly sustainable world. Industrial logic leads us instead toward collective death. It has no future.
Finally, on top, is Level 5—the only visible level—made up of institutions that are so seriously in crisis that one may advance the hypothesis that they are in the process of dying. Globally, however, all pyramidal institutions are in crisis if not already dead, because they are subject to corruption, lack of transparency, or worst, lack of competency—and they cannot address the question of collective survival.
Ces messieurs ont appelé dame Bess, dit-il; mais dame Bess n’est pas au cottage