Prevention is the best medicine.
I think the last few weeks have shown every single one of us just how intricately connected we all are.
And how incredibly vulnerable we all are.
We have seen how a small action, or decision, made on one side of the world can effect people on the other side of the world.
It has shown us how our materialistic, mechanistic, money-driven lifestyles will do absolutely f-all in the face of things if we don’t take care of our natural world and the life-giving soil upon which all life on earth depends. Including us.
And, above all, it has shown every single one of us that nature doesn’t give a shit how much money anyone has, what our race, religion, political view, culture, status, or general opinion is: nature can, and will, ultimately have the final say.
Our economies are collapsing. Our Governments are failing. Our natural world is dying. Because as long as we continue to destroy our natural world, we will continue to destroy ourselves. Right now nature is literally screaming at us in warning and anger – megafires, droughts, floods, pandemics, poverty, poaching, social breakdown, mass emigration to cities, mass extinctions, violence, climate change. She is busy building the perfect storm.
Yet we run around more and more panicked, just like chickens with our heads cut off, getting into endless conflict and confusion because we are trying to deal with all our problems in isolation of each other, as if they aren’t connected in any way. But they are. Intricately. And they are ALL symptoms of the way we make decisions and develop policies.
What we are seeing right now is institutional stupidity and the endless symptoms of reductionist decision making at its finest: causing fear, death and chaos across the world. This latest symptom all started with the Chinese Government trying to keep the coronavirus under wraps. But that is just the very tip of the iceberg.
As soon as we understand complexity and what it does in organizations (which are complex) there is little mystery in all the stupidities that are everywhere we look and the increasing symptoms of it which we are all dealing with globally today.
A complex system can only function in wholes which means that no part of it can function, or have decisions made for it, in isolation of that whole without eventually effecting something else within that system (or organization.) But we don’t develop policies in a way that respects that fact, which has resulted in centuries of our governments and organizations causing devastating knock-on consequences on our planet across the world. This is because anything that negatively impacts our life supporting environment will ultimately and inevitably cause a knock-on negative impact on our societies and economies.
The only time we are going to stop this happening is when enough of us have woken up to the fact that no man-made organization, or government, thinks or acts like an individual – as soon as humans form any organization, which is a complex system, it automatically takes on a life of its own and because the way we all make decisions never takes this complexity into account, every single decision, or policy, that comes out of any organization will entirely lack humanity and/or common sense.
No matter what happens as a result of any organization’s actions or policies: people getting sick, or dying; mass environmental destruction; mass poisonings; murder; genetically modified food; chemicals sprayed on our crops; factory farms; etc, no organization can or will ever be held accountable, no matter what they do, or how much damage they cause. And even though most individuals who work within organizations have good intentions, there is absolutely nothing they can do about the outcome, no matter how hard they might try to change it. Because of this, all organizations will end up protecting the organization and as a result will often go against, and cause damage to the exact thing they were set up to help with in the first place: a good example of this is the Catholic Church which circled the wagons and ended up protecting the priests and the organization, not the children who were being abused.
Nothing we manage by using our outdated reductionist thinking has, or ever will, work out in the long run.
Communism – FAILED
Fascism – FAILED
Capitalism – FAILED
We need to practice a completely new way of thinking and we need to do it urgently, and it needs to be based on science, not on opinions, because we cannot continue using the same decision making process that has got us into this mess in the first place. That new thinking is here and has been thoroughly put to the test and proved to be conclusively and consistently successful. It is already being used more and more amongst forward thinking individuals around the world and is starting to be practiced successfully by communities. But we need it urgently being practiced at organizational and government level.
The greatest news here is that we don’t have thousands of problems to solve. We have thousands of symptoms of ONE problem:
There is only one -ISM in the world that can save us and that will actually work for every single person, plant and animal on our planet, and that is HOLISM.
“Holism is the science of recognizing that the parts of any whole, or system (from man-made organisations to natural systems) are in intimate interconnection, such that they cannot exist independently of the whole, or cannot be understood without reference to the whole.”
Many people over the course of history have recognized and understood this, but until fairly recently, nobody was able to figure out how to successfully manage and make decisions for that fact.
That is no longer the case.
The new thinking I’m talking about is a groundbreaking new decision making process that enables us to consistently and successfully manage that unavoidable web of complexity: this decision making framework enables individuals and governments to test whether their decisions or policies will be consistently and simultaneously socially, culturally, economically and environmentally sound at any given time. And, as I said, this framework has already been thoroughly put to the test and is being used by more and more people all around the world every day.
It was developed in 1984 by an independent Zimbabwean scientist who dedicated his entire life to finding answers to reversing desertification and land degradation, which is by far the biggest threat to humanity.
The Holistic Management Decision Making Framework makes sure that with every single decision we make, or policy we develop, we are always considering the whole under management and putting the health of our life-supporting environment first, which is intricately tied in that web of complexity to our cultures, societies and our economies.
We absolutely cannot carry on and on making decisions, or developing policies, for any of those aspects in isolation of each other without creating more and more damaging knock-on consequences on all three later on.
Holistic Management creates the reverse knock-on effect – as soon as people adjust to this new decision making process, they are always making sure that their decisions will make the health of our environment paramount, which will lead to the regeneration of our environment, which means that our societies and economies automatically begin to thrive.
This link explains how our decision making became reductionist and how simple it is to update it, before nature has her final say:
And this link explains how all policies end up being reductionist, using agricultural policy as an example:
An excerpt from a recent interview with Allan Savory who developed this framework:
What is the philosophy behind holistic management?
Holistic Management is a way of managing complexity. In the 1950s I became concerned as I observed massive environmental destruction in Africa that threatened wildlife and ultimately humans. My determination to find a consistently successful solution led eventually to developing the Holistic Management framework for management and policy development. At that point (c 1984) when the holistic framework emerged, I realized we had accidentally learned how to manage complexity in any situation: from a single person engaged in a job, to family, community, governance and beyond. At the beginning I had no idea that what I was witnessing in remote areas of Africa was global and that it was just the tip of a large iceberg – mankind’s inability to manage complexity throughout history. As Rebecca Costa concluded, “early civilizations did not just fail because of their agriculture, but because they could not address the complexity of rising population and deteriorating environment. They shelved the problems for future generations and turned away from gaining knowledge (science) to religion and sacrifice.” Now we are seeing this on a global scale. More than twenty civilizations have failed in all regions of the world – armies change civilizations, farmers destroy them. And all of this has only one cause: our inability to manage complexity.
What are your expectations and hopes regarding the practice of holistic management?
We address major issues through our organizations or institutions, not as individuals. However, human organizations are defined as “complex soft systems” and as such exhibit wicked problems (almost impossible to fix.) My hope is that we can get enough people insisting that policies (particularly agricultural) be developed holistically in order for our institutions to change in time to save civilization as we know it. When we heed the research, it shows us that institutions cannot change from reductionist policy development (practiced by all nations today) to holistic policy development, until enough of the public insist on that change. There is not one case I can find of any organization ever adopting any new paradigm-shifting insight ahead of a change in public perception – no matter what the cost, or how many lives are lost. No amount of data, evidence, danger, cost in money, or lives, changes institutions ahead of the public – institutions will never lead paradigm-shifting change.”
As we can see, this is far, far bigger than all of us, and, we must take this vital cue from nature: let us all start to think in terms of the strength of the whole, not the individual: let’s put our individual differences aside and learn to work together, united in collective decision making towards a common holistic context if we want to survive on this planet. And, without doubt, let’s all insist that our governments and organizations adapt to this exciting new thinking urgently.
Sarah Savory, March 2020
This is the link to the whole interview:
Allan Savory’s paper on Good Governance: https://www.savory.global/news/good-governance/