Emergent Solutions for a World in Crisis (Part 5)

The Whole That is Greater Than the Sum of its Puzzle Pieces

The Whole That is Greater Than the Sum of its Puzzle Pieces

Let’s recapitulate the journey through the various puzzle pieces presented in this article series. Each article contained a guiding question, the answer to which sparked a new question that led to the next puzzle piece promising to hold a potential solution. To bring this series to a (preliminary) close, we will now bring all the pieces together and look for the Emergent Whole which is bigger than the mere sum of its parts.

Overview of the journey through the articles with their respective guiding questions and puzzle pieces

1) “What is the case?” Ken Wilber’s Integral Methodological Pluralism (IMP)

We started out by stating that the world is currently in a major state of crisis, with various crises coagulating into a global Meta-Crisis expressing in many forms. The growing complexity is overwhelming us on many fronts. If we want to have any hope of addressing it, we will need to start keeping track of the many interwoven threads (and threats) we need to deal with as humanity. The best tool we’ve developed to figure out what is the case is the scientific method. But there is not just science of the exteriors, but also science of the interiors, both individual and collective.

2) „What is the root cause of the most pressing global problems? “ Daniel Schmachtenberger’s Analysis of Existential Risks (X-Risks)

Drawing on the work of Daniel Schmachtenberger we can gain deeper insight into all the existential risks we are currently facing as humanity. The main takeaway from the analysis of various troubling issues is that there seems to be an underlying commonality, a hidden pattern, or shared “Generator Function” driving all of them and preventing us from making any substantial progress on solving any of them. Climate Inaction, Erosion of Environmental and Work Standards, Proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction, Tax Evasion, Increasing Wealth Gap, and Erosion of the Information Ecology are all just the tip of the iceberg. Under the surface, they are all connected by a similar pattern.

3) „How can we solve the Tragedy of the Commons politically? “ — The SIMPOL Campaign by John Bunzl

Like Daniel Schmachtenberger, John Bunzl of SIMPOL arrives at the same conclusion: there is one central dilemma that keeps the world in constant political gridlock. It is the same “Tragedy of the Commons” dynamic. He calls it “Destructive International Competition”. In order to stay competitive, national governments have entered into a destructive downward spiral with each other, competing for capital, investments, and workforce (and other things) on a global level. In a race to the bottom, they lower taxes, their work standards, and environmental standards to not lose out to other nations. They are being had by a pattern they either don’t understand or don’t have an idea how to overcome.

4) “Which process should we use to craft policies to efficiently integrate key concerns?“ — Holacracy & Integrative Decision Making by Brian Robertson

We will need much better ways to explore the design space of potential solutions in an intelligent way

Luckily, Brian Robertson and his Holacracy colleagues have developed a very robust way of reaching a highly integrated solution by using a process called “Integrative Decision-Making” (IDM) that is being used by companies to define and refine policies of organizational governance. It is a highly disciplined process led by a trained facilitator, which works in an additive “yes, and” way instead of an oppositional “yes, but” manner and no team member can block the process through a veto. Instead, concerns with regard to the adoption of policy proposals undergo a thorough testing process and only those objections need to be integrated that satisfy certain objection criteria that have proven to be useful in filtering out irrelevant concerns.

Putting it all together

One morning I woke up with a hazy vision of how to fit these lingering puzzle pieces together which were floating around in my mind. Writing it out helped me to gain more clarity for myself. I hope the result is useful for you and that you do something with it. I will certainly try to fill out the gaps, holes, and overlooked pieces, the known unknowns, and the unknown unknowns.

I think that each one of us holds unique insights and perspectives that can help create a saner, more whole world. Each one of us is a unique intersection of experiences in the grand Kosmic web of existence.

Nobody is quite like me. Nobody else could have written this. This fact confers a felt moral obligation for me to share my particular and maybe exotic favorite puzzle pieces and not to withhold the gift that is only mine to give. I encourage you to do the same so that we all discover an ever-extending pattern of wholeness and start healing a world that is utterly broken.



Integral pioneer from Germany. Holacracy Master Coach at Xpreneurs. Partner at encode.org. Co-founder Integral European Conference. www.denniswittrock.com

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Dennis Wittrock

Integral pioneer from Germany. Holacracy Master Coach at Xpreneurs. Partner at encode.org. Co-founder Integral European Conference. www.denniswittrock.com