“Everyone is born a genius, but the process of living de-geniuses them.” Buckminster Fuller
Our minds bombard us constantly with stories about our relationship to the world and ourselves. Efforts to build a sense of value and worth are regularly challenged by the consumer culture, reinforcing a singular message; “You are just not good enough”. Designed to make us buy things, so we can look like the photo-shopped chiseled men on billboards and too-skinny girls in magazines. As a result, we use the thinking that created the problem to try and solve it because social structures and academic institutions teach us to uphold this system. Worse, we judge our failures and celebrate our ‘successes’ according the the values of a system that has as much concern for planetary resources, as it does for unleashing human potential.
Imagine the planet from outer space. The solar system contains Earth and society – which contains organisations and us. In turn, we contain cells which consist of atoms – which will die if we are not healthy.
As long as the consumer culture shows no consideration for the rules of its ‘containing system’, its inhabitants are doomed to the same fate as cells in a dying body. The billion-year old planet will survive, humans not. Consumption as an economic driver has way outlived its time. Since the invention of the printing press and first newspapers the global narrative has been one-sided, contributing to many of the problems we experience today. We secretly hoping it will fix itself, but if our efforts to solve problems remain grounded in the thinking that created them – our actions, values and behaviours will stay the same.
Buckminster Fuller also said:” Don’t fight forces, use them.”Mass media mostly divides us as a collective, so it’s easy to forget that our ultimate nemesis is not any one world leader, country or ideology but ignorance and an inability to claim power over our own stories. When we give these phantom enemies ‘the pen’ to write our stories, mass media becomes a weapon of mass destruction and the dominant narrative of the few continues to inform the values and economy of the many. In the same way our containing system needs its biodiversity to thrive, humans need diversity to flourish. This is a culture in which social changemakers naturally blossom and prosper.
To help shift our worldview, Fuller created a powerful simulation known as The World Game: Operating System (OS) Earth . Using a ‘Dymaxion Map’ – or Fuller map as its foundation, the planet is depicted as one Island – literally ‘Spaceship Earth’. It shows how traditional world maps reinforce humanity as separate, disowning the process of globalization from a cosmic and comprehensive viewpoint. Fuller’ s perspective on the other hand asks the question: ‘How are we sharing information? Are all channels flowing optimally and is all the knowledge in the system contributing to its development as a whole – or is only a small portion being used as a lens through which to view its entire potential.’
Imagine a culture focused less on perfecting consumption and more on self-healing and social innovation. Where mass media tells stories that encourage individuals to think “I have value”. What could humanity look like as a whole, with the potential to be so much more than the sum of its parts. Where individuals embrace negative and positive equally in service of evolution. Where diverse perspectives unlock bigger picture solutions and individual self-determination writes the story of humanity. If we take back the narrative, write our own endings and new beginnings there is still time to leave a legacy of hope for future generations.