How to bring forth a Living Community?

Series 7: How to bring forth a living community?

If we apply Life principles to our technologies and law systems, the next step is to apply them to build human “living communities”. This series of seminars aims to present to you a new concept of human organization.

The concept of a “living community” or of a “living social organization” is not easy to be grasped. We are used to think human organizations as something hierarchical, with centralized government and centralized institutions, rather than something resembling a living organism. Our religious and educational system tell us the same story: that centralized government is absolutely necessary for the well-being of human societies.

Of course, beyond these kind of statements, there is a invisible metaphysical assumption – that there is something wrong with us, that we can not govern ourselves and there is always needed someone to do it for us. Actually, humans do not need centralized governance. All the societies based on centralized governance are inevitable unfair, exploitative and destructive to the environment. And all, with no exception, have collapsed, often in a bloody way. So, why we continue to employ this obvious dysfunctional political arrangement?

The answer is simple: because of the metaphysics we still employ, that is speaking about separation in ranks, competition and conflict of interest. It says that this is normal, this is the way the world it is. Nothing more false and nothing more misleading! Look at Nature: there is only mutually-consistent cooperation. The so-called “competition” between hunters and their pray has nothing to do with the understanding of competition humans employ to describe their relations. We really have to find a better term to name the relation between hunter and prey because is not at all competition.

Even though the relations between pride of lions could seem at first glance competition, it points toward a higher order of coherence within the ecosystem those lions are a functional part. Playing the role of more and more efficient hunters, the lions fulfill their role in the Great Circle of Life. As efficient they become, they increase the coherence and functionality of their grassland ecosystem, thus the ability of the grassland to efficiently perform its functional role in Gaia homeostasis. The lions are not so much “competing” with their pray or other hunter species, but just fulfilling as efficiently as possible their functional role – as a species – in the greater super-organism that they are a part of: the grassland.

Cooperation and competition are complementary and synergistic processes that build-up the mutual-consistency of Life Great Circle.

We can change our obsolete and dysfunctional organization with one that can resemble Life. So, in this series of seminars we will present a new social concept – the holarchy – that could prove a solution for building a fair human society.

The holarchy is the architecture of Life. In a holarchy nobody is primary to anybody: all participants are mutually-consistent.

Take the example of the cells in your body or of the plants and animals in a forest – they are all in a mutual-consistency and they all learn how to cooperate in a mutually-consistent way. This is what holarchy is all about. Employing Life principles as organizing principles for our society, the holarchic structure will self-create and self-govern naturally! So, the holarchy is not only a “fair organization”, but is also a “living” one, that could sense its environment and co-evolve with it.

We say that, under environmental changes, an ecosystem “collapses”… But its collapse is radically different than the collapse of a complex society: it is rather a transformation, an adaptation to the new environmental conditions. Actually, it is an evolution. Employing a holarchic way of organization and governance, our societies will start to resemble living ecosystems, sensing their environment and co-evolving with them. They will never collapse, just evolve!

There is a very important aspect I want to underscore – and it is related with holarchy. We humans are already biologically evolved to live harmoniously, mutually-consistent inside our tribes, inside our human-scale communities. A human-scale community could be easily organized in a holarchic way. What we did not learn yet is how to cooperate between our tribes/human-scale communities. We never manage to build stable holarchic organizations larger then tribes. Because there was another kind of organization that could unite tribes in more powerful organizations than holarchy could. We are speaking about hierarchy.

Of course, many tribe federations were initially beautifully holarchic – and this was the main tendency at the beginning. But for those times, there was a better solution than holarchy: the hierarchy. The hierarchic federation of tribes – the chiefdom – has proved more powerful in a war-like environment, being able to out-compete holarchic federations. This kind of hierarchic organization emerged around 7000 years ago somewhere in Caspian steppes. A new political organization and a new religion, both conducive to war, managed to open a new evolutionary cycle for human evolution – that is now ending in a global social and ecological crisis. Hierarchy broke the human holarchy (human mutual-consistency) and has thrown us in never-ending wars and conflicts, in exploiting the planetary ecosystems. Our powerful technologies are following and serving this tendency.

So, why not to revive the holarchic federations of tribes? Why not to build larger-scale organization following a holarchic model? As long the war and exploitation could be considered a solution, hierarchy still made sense, but now, when is becoming painfully clear that it is not anymore the solution, why to insist on it? Why not to return to holarchic/ mutually-consistent human organization? Butterfly Community open-project offers a social architecture that mimics Life holarchic organization.

If you want to understand better how a human community could be organized as a holarchy, just engage this series of seminars. I said “engage” because it will be as inter-active as possible for a seminar. I would like that each seminar and each series of seminars to be engaged as a journey of discovery. Everyone of them was thought of as a puzzle of a map. Connecting these puzzle pieces in your own way, you can craft your own map that could help you better orient in our changing world.

Each seminar will have 2 parts. In first part we will talk – around only 25 minutes – about 4 or 5 ideas. I do not want to make it complicated. I will make it so you to have time to take some notes. The second part – around two hours – each of you could come with its question and I will answer. Hence, the discussion will be always oriented to your interest. Anyway, I will be glad a third part to follow – free discussion between audience triggered by the presentation. I will happily join this dialogue, ready to listen to your points of view and to improve mine.


Seminar 7.1: An organic evolution

If we let ourselves be informed by the principles of Life, the structure of human organization will create itself naturally, in a holarchic fashion:

1.From individuals to brotherhoods (5-6 persons)

2.From brotherhoods to small groups of good friends (10-12 persons)

3.From small groups to big groups of good friends (50-60 persons)

4.From big groups of good friends to tribes (150-180 persons)

5.From Butterfly Communities to Butterfly Villages (8xBC = 1200-1400 persons)


Seminar 7.2: Butterfly Communities seen as tribes

The question is how can we build inter-dependency? What are the main features of a solidary community?

1.Shared worldview

2.Shared vision

3.Shared purpose

4.Shared space

5.Shared fate


Seminar 7.3: Butterfly Communities seen as economic entreprises

First of all, Butterfly Communities are economic entreprises purposely designed to be fair, cooperative between them and generative toward human and planetary ecosystem.

1.Cooperative organizations

2.Regenerative forms of ownership

3.”Teal” / Holarchic economic organization


Seminar 7.4: Butterfly Community seen as commons

A common refers to three components: a resource, a community and rules. Fundamentally, the commons are probably the most ancestral relationship to property known to humankind.

A commons integrates humans along with their shared environment in an indivisible, integrated whole. Commoning is the art of stewarding this whole in a regenerative way. All the people which bring forth their commons have a shared purpose: how to fulfill together their surviving needs and spiritual aspirations in a fair and regenerative way.

1. What is a commons?

2. How  a commons work? (holarchic organization)

3. Shared environment

4. The commons movement

5.P2P relations

Seminar 7.5: Butterfly Community – a living organization – the holarchy

In Reinventing Organizations, Frederic Laloux, mapped the emerging organizing principles of future economic organizations. He gathered all these emerging patterns into an elegant concept: the Teal organizations and their 3 breakthroughs: evolutionary purpose, self-management and wholeness. I’ll present a collage of texts about Teal Organizations and their breakthrough: 1) Self-management 2) Evolutionary Purpose and 3) Wholeness.

The Butterfly community breakthroughs will be much more than those three “economic breakthroughs”, as they are explained by Teal promoters. Their most important, long-ranging breakthroughs are brought forth simply by their higher level of consciousness. Manifested in their solidarity and voluntary simplicity, in their more humane and integral way to live, by their less consuming, but more playful, joyful and meaningful way to be. It is not about the priority of “economic growth” anymore.

The Yellow-Turquoise communities will be much more than “economic organizations”: they will be “ecological organizations”, having a much higher purpose and role to fulfill than just economic: they will be more spiritual, more humane, more ecological and more livable communities.
Butterfly Communities are about a totally different paradigm of human living and purpose, an expression of a whole new level of human consciousness. Their breakthroughs are not only into the economic layer of human society, but into all its other layers.

1. What might a “living organization” look like? (organism-like)

2. A human community purposely designed to fulfill an ecological role in its environment

3. A human community purposely designed to inter-relate with other similar communities in a holarchic social architecture

4. How to build a network of such communities?

Seminar 7.6: Butterfly Community a new educational paradigm

The old institutionalized school is informed by the old myth of competition and separateness that saw the human world in endless war and the natural environment as dangerous and without intrinsic value, that should be kept under control and exploited for our benefit. It was invented to fulfill two important needs of industrial revolution societies: to instruct people to work in the industrial environment and to be “patriots”, to be ready to fight for their “nations”.

More than 200 years passed while the society changed dramatically, but the goal and the scope of the institutionalized school remain the same: highly conformist people, taught to obey ideological authorities and to compete between them. The institutionalized school is completely outdated. You can not prepare people for the incoming VUCA times and challenges through old-style institutionalized school goals and methods.

I easily can imagine how the parenthood of each Butterfly Community will design for their children a learning environment as adequate as possible. It will be based on interactive, co-learning methods, self-determination, self-motivation and self-evaluation. It will be a collaborative education for collaboration and solidarity; a inter-active education for social participation; an education for continuous self-education, a creative education for sense-and-respond ways to engage life. All these beautiful ideas are the door toward a higher level of education, that we barely can grasp now. A new level of human consciousness will bring forth a new level of conscious self-education.

1. A new educational paradigm: The Theory of Multiple Intelligence (Howard Gardner)

2. Self-determination



5. Community-based inter-active education

Seminar 7.7: Butterfly Community a new spiritual paradigm

Reality is my God. Evidence is my scripture. The Universe Story is my creation story. Ecology is my theology. Integrity is my salvation. Ensuring a just and healthy future, not just for humans but for the entire body of life, is my mission.” ( Michael Dowd)

A spiritual perspective – a metaphysics – expresses itself throughout all human manifestations: social, political, economical, religious, educational, artistic and so on. Some people are often saying: “I am a spiritual person, but not a religious one”. Here it is a misunderstanding, a confusion of terms. Correct would be: “I express my spirituality through political, economical, religious, artistic and many other kinds of expressions”.

Religious expression is actually the main way to express your spiritual understanding and relation with the Universe.

We are not only political or economical beings: we are first of all religious being. The word “religious” comes from the latin “re-ligare”: to reconnect.

Religious expressions are aiming to inter-connect us with “something greater than us”. They are modalities to dialogue with the Universe, with Mother Earth, with other humans or other living beings. Their prime aim is to connect us with our inner core, with our purpose and meaning, to give us a sense of belonging to a “greater than us” living reality.

Of course, political, economical, social, artistic and religious expressions are in mutual-consistency, all of them being brought forth by the same spiritual perspective and are aiming together toward a unique direction: to insert yourself as adequate and authentic as possible into your environment. What we call paradigm is an integrative perspective where all its aspects: social, political, economical, artistic, religious, scientific are in a mutual-consistency, reinforcing each-other.

1. A living religion: how daily life activities could become veritable rituals?

2. A participative religion

3. An evolutionary religion

4. Life and living beings as sacred, as numinous realities

What will we learn?

My hope is that we will learn that we are still able of intentionality, self-determination, creativity and imagination; that we are still able to co-create, at least around us, the world we want.

Be a Collaborator!

Anyone can become our collaborator!

We are searching for artists, trainers, film-makers, web-designers and for everyone that is inspired by the same vision as us.

Whatever the challenges of the future, cooperators will have a clear evolutionary advantage compared to non-cooperators.

In the new VUCA world, we will have to survive and thrive in new ways, different from those that have been successful so far. As a multicellular organism is smarter and has better capacities to deal with its environment than a cell alone, as an ant-hill is smarter and has better capacities to deal with its environment than an ant alone, the cooperative groups will be smarter and better equipped to deal with future challenges than single individuals.

Educators, trainers or artists – those who aim to have a social impact, to spread an idea – have to cooperate, if they want to succeed. However, the evolution of Life has a clear direction: towards ever-increasing scales of cooperation.

Those who want to move forward must learn to cooperate in mutually enhancing ways.

The open project “Butterfly Communities” is an emerging community that is searching for young artists, trainers, filmmakers, etc. that have understood that we have to help each other to have a stronger social impact.