The Next System

The term the Next System has a particularly appealing and intriguing ring about it for me.  It expresses the need for radical change on a systemic level, but also that there are practical examples of it for us to learn from.  The term is associated in particular with the work of Gar Alperovitz and others.  The Next System web site is a great exemplar that I am sure will continue to provide inspiration and practical ideas in my own work, and I will be referring to it in future posts. Click here

Much as I admire the ideas found in this web site, I am not its spokesperson.  Rather, I am inspired by what I see there, and find it to be a helpful reference point.  Most of all, in my own blog, I am concerned with the interaction between our inner experience and the way this is interactively formed and expressed in the outer world.  My own Next System posts, taken as a whole, reflect  this interaction, but the emphasis is somewhat more on the outer.

Blog posts of this category are, in one way or another, to do with this beautifully succinct “mission statement” for the world, formulated by Buckminster Fuller or “Bucky” as he will be called in this blog.

To make the world work

for 100% of humanity

in the shortest possible time

through spontaneous cooperation

without ecological offense

or the disadvantage of anyone.

In future Next System posts I am going to write, among other things, about Bucky’s use of language.  The word “spontaneous” above is used, very consciously, with a meaning that extends and deepens our usual sense of the word: it is suggestive of the need for change in the world to spring from intentional creative energies within individuals.  I will explore the phrase “spontaneous cooperation” in a subsequent post.

Beyond the beautiful economy of his expression that we find exemplified in the “mission statement” above, he freely created new terms when he felt that conventional language locks us into a mindset from which we need to be free. And he looked at everyday language  usage — words such as  “up” and “down,” for example — to show how language locks us into an antiquated flat earth world view that is totally inadequate for solving problems our global problems.

The clarity and simplicity that characterize Bucky’s writings are the qualities that render his thinking a towering example of global thinking: I have never come across someone whose insights into the interconnectedness of the world yield so many fresh approaches to problems in such a wide range of disciplines. For me Bucky’s work is an important place to look for an understanding of “global thinking” or “global education.”

Underlying Bucky’s work is the need for us to understand what it is to be a human being.  Indeed, nothing is of more fundamental importance than for each of us to able to look within ourselves, to be able to appreciate and enjoy our own humanity: the uniqueness and the peace that pre-exists at our core.

My own understanding in the “inner arena” (my words) has been supported most of all, over 45 years, by  my listening to talks by another global educator: Prem Rawat. The lack of pretension of his words sometimes causes people to miss the extraordinarily sophisticated understanding of the relationship between the individual self and global issues that his words embody.  I have not seen anyone share insights into the connections between individual happiness and the problems of the world with so much clarity and focus, originality, warmth, sensitivity, patience and sheer hard work.  Not to mention sense of humor and fun.                           Click here for more.

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