Each of us hold a deep desire to belong, to participate, to be of service to something that is much bigger than us... an idea, a dream, a journey into the possible, a process of being and becoming.
Integration, collaboration, and communication between different communities through human and virtual networks has opened the floodgates for creative entrepreneurs. This convergence of ideas transcends traditional business models. It is being aided by peer-to-peer exchanges and internet-technology but is also happening in traditional gathering spaces like conferences, co-housing communities, and festivals. Humans are recognizing that crowd-sourcing for ideas and for capital can facilitate growth, produce solutions, and outperform the top-down, competitive structures of the past. The communities that are emerging through this movement are also a lot more inspiring, fulfilling, and in line with ecological, spiritual, and basic human values than predatory capitalism. Here’s a small glimpse of what is emerging.
“The Assemblage is a community of individuals who believe the world is at the verge of a collective conscious evolution, transitioning from a society defined by individualism and separation into one of interconnectedness.”
Convergence: I recently participated in and presented at a special gathering called Convergence hosted by Arcosanti in Arizona. Arcosanti is an urban laboratory conceived by the late Paolo Soleri, an architect, visionary, and designer who was a contemporary of Frank Lloyd Wright. He has built a small city based on the concept of Arcology which means a blending between architecture and ecology. This place where human, urban environments converge with living, natural environments is potent for creative exploration. It is also a great place for visionaries of all kinds to gather and exchange ideas.
“Metadesign (or meta-design) is an emerging conceptual framework aimed at defining and creating social, economic and technical infrastructures in which new forms of collaborative design can take place. It consists of a series of practical design-related tools for achieving this.”
Urban Design, Permaculture, Blockchain and Sharing Networks: At the Convergence event there were lectures, panel discussions, break-out sessions, yoga, independent films, performance art, music, late-night dancing and even a collective dreaming experiment. Rob Jameson, CEO at AnyShare and Co-Founder of Arcosanti Cooperative produced this magical event with Sean-Paul VonAncken, Elana Novali, and Colleen Reckow. Fellowship For Intentional Community and Global Ecovillage Network hosted their board retreats at Arcosanti right after Convergence which added to the growing sense that this movement is reaching critical mass.
Mark Lakeman, a Designer, Permaculturalist, Placemaker and Co-Founder of The City Repair Project gave an electrifying presentation on ways to transform stale urban environments into living communities with food forests, sanctuaries, and vibrant art. Jessica Hernreich of the Ecosa Institute spoke about restoring health to the natural environment, as well as the human environment through education in design. David Casey of Numundo, an online platform that connects eco-communities through educational travel programs, ignited the broader conversation of utilizing the internet, blockchain, and other technologies to assist in evolving the global permaculture movement.
“Society requires a new social architecture that nurtures the individual, but not at the expense of the crowd. It is the notion of thinking about others first — not in an altruistic way, but rather as a form of self-interest.” -The Assemblage
Local Food, African Drum and Dance: With my head buzzing from all the informative presentations and discussions I wandered down to the cafe where people were sorting Mesquite Pods that had been picked from local high-desert trees. This exercise provided a real sense of community for attendees to talk story while preparing for the farm-to-table pancake breakfast facilitated by Molly Beverly of Slow Food Prescott. I let myself shift from the cerebral into my body through movement and rhythm at a drum workshop by Afia Walking Tree to help me integrate my experiences in this immersive environment.
“Society today does not reflect the highest manifestation of who we can be - and to transform it we must go within and transform ourselves. We see the false consensual belief of separation between individuals as the core problem. Isolation is not our destiny. We do not pretend to have the answers or know how to help anyone, so we come together to start a journey in the pursuit of individual purpose as a function of positive impact on others.” -The Assemblage Manifesto
Media, Education, Interactive Technology and Ancient Traditions Converge: Kumiko Hayashi presented her new film, The Roots Awaken, which is about indigenous practices and struggles to protect sacred places in South America. Hugh Denno presented his educational film about watersheds, Viva la Verde. Bill McDorman and Belle Starr of the Rocky Mountain Seed Alliance spoke about seed saving and showed the spectacular film, Seed the Untold Story. While I was shocked to learn that 94% of our seed diversity has been lost, I was empowered to learn about the emerging global movement to preserve heirloom, non-GMO seeds. Did you know that there is a seed library social network? I was impressed with their use of technology that includes an online interactive map for finding local heirloom seed varieties, along with their use of media for educational purposes to bring awareness to this ancient and important tradition.
“Access to technology is creating new opportunities for entrepreneurs and businesses to grow their ideas and maximize financial performance and social impact.” -The Assemblage
Musical Collaboration and the Circus Bounce: Live music is powerful because it allows musicians and audience to simultaneously listen, share a vibration, dance and interact. The internet and social media also exemplify a similar kind of lateral exchange between individuals. Filmmaker and Augmented Reality Designer, Chase Bowman has found a creative way to merge these ideas with a project he calls Circus Bounce. At Convergence he created a recording studio with spectacular Producer/Engineer/Musicians, Rick Louie and Jordan Welner of Indaba Music.
The studio welcomed conference attendees to come co-write and record music that would be performed in a concert to culminate the weekend. Many had never recorded before or performed on stage, some barely considered themselves musicians but showed up to record clapping tracks or sing along in a chorus. The result was pure magic! The music was surprisingly good but the best part is how the project captured the joy of co-creation, collaboration, and community expression which you can get a taste of in the video below.
Meanwhile in New York the Assemblage Community is taking these same concepts into established urban environments through co-working, and co-housing spaces and community events. Utilizing crowdfunding models in collaboration with the Prodigy Network, members of The Assemblage cooperate with like-minded individuals by pulling their capital to create impact by offering diverse entrepreneurial opportunities. These collectives of individuals are aligned with community values like sustainability, mindfulness, and healthy life-style. By investing small amounts of money to purchase buildings that host space for other creative people to converge, dream, and collaborate they are exemplifying a powerful new model.
Through these carefully curated and cooperative efforts, individuals within these communities have the power to create new markets in a similar way that nature creates self-replicating systems. Just as a tree produces a sweet fruit with a seeds for the next tree, this model is shaping an emergent society based on the pillars of collective well-being and interconnectedness. It is a new mind-set that is nested within old structures which allow transformation to occur from the in-side-out. Combined with mindfulness practices like yoga or meditation, we will see a conscious society arise from the ashes of a dying predatory capitalism paradigm.
“Our aim is to generate knowledge that expands the realm of the possible, helping our community to envision a collectively desired future and carry that vision forth into reality.” -The Assemblage
Putting the Pieces Together: Whether it is encouraging human connection, or a deepened relationship with nature, we are learning to hold space for individual brilliance and collective expression through these community networks. The sense of place within the larger whole is empowering beyond words. Each of us hold a deep desire to belong, to participate, to be of service to something that is much bigger than us... an idea, a dream, a journey into the possible, a process of being and becoming.
Just as we can collaborate to make beautiful music or art, we can do the same thing in our communities, states, nations and planet. This is a future worth believing in, worth exploring together, a future worth creating for ourselves and each other. We have the tools, now all we need to do is converge and assemble something awe-inspiring and magnificent. If you are curious about what this might look like, you will enjoy to read about how the Damanhur Community exemplifies a beautiful future. This synergy is contagious and inspiration is the currency that powers it.
Whether it is collecting audio samples to create music, crowd-funding to buy a building to host creative entrepreneurs, producing a festival, or sharing inspiring content online, we are entering a beautiful chapter of collaboration and interconnectivity. We can’t wait to see what you create. Please join the conversation at Future of Humanity Facebook Page or on my author page. Give a visit, in person or online, to The Assemblage to learn about their diverse offerings and events. Plant some seeds in your own networks and strengthen the bonds of this emerging Global Community of Creatives!