Building villages together

Bruno Lavos, Chief Creative Officer, Experience Strategist & Innovator at Qualia

Over the last few years, there is something happening in the world, that is starting to show us a very different story from the one that is being told to us so far. There is a new energy growing in our cities, towns and homes. It seems like our intuition is telling us that something is very wrong in the world. On television, on newspapers, on the internet, we can already feel it growing and aching to get out of the confined space it’s in.

Here and there, we hear about a bunch of people that “made this”, a group of people that “built that”, someone that discovered “the best solution” for something. And in the end, they are not professionals in that area. When we dig deeper in that success story, we reach a common theme: they are “just amateurs”, who built and created something of big relevance, so it could solve a problem somewhere for somebody. The best part of this story? When “those” people get the answer or the solution, they release it for free. No patents, no price, no limitations. For free. Open source and free access. Anyone can see the blueprints, replicate it and tinker a little bit with it, to get a new version of “that original solution”.

All over the world, there is a new generation that got it: we are not here on this planet to compete, to fight or to kill each other. We are here to create and innovate collaboratively. We are here to reach a point of common development never seen in the history of humanity. With the advent of this exponential growth of technology, we are now able to build, create, co-create, innovate and co-innovate solutions for our communities… at the speed of light. We can share it all in our timelines, forums, blogs, pages, emails. Trillions of trillions of chunks of knowledge are shared daily around the globe in a matter of seconds. Milliseconds even. We reached a point in our collective mind where we have the answers to the majority of our human problems in the palm of our hands.

So… what is going on then? We have answers. Why are we still surrounded by poverty, hunger, violence, inequality, wars, death?

“The craving to become causes fears; to be, to achieve, and so to depend engenders fear. The state of the non-fear is not negation, it is not the opposite of fear nor is it courage. In understanding the cause of fear, there is its cessation, not the becoming courageous, for in all becoming there is the seed of fear. Dependence on things, on people, or on ideas breeds fear; dependence arises from ignorance, from the lack of self-knowledge, from inward poverty; fear causes uncertainty of mind-heart, preventing communication and understanding. Through self-awareness we begin to discover and so comprehend the cause of fear, not only the superficial but the deep casual and accumulative fears. Fear is both inborn and acquired; it is related to the past, and to free thought-feeling from it, the past must be comprehended through the present. The past is ever wanting to give birth to the present which becomes the identifying memory of the “me” and the “mine” the “I”. The self is the root of all fear.” – Jiddu Krishnamurti

Is homo sapiens sapiens able to suspend its own beliefs or “knowledge” in order to observe and learn every new interaction without any effort to label or identify it with a previous experience? In a simple and pragmatic way, this question can be answered intuitively without thinking philosophically… but once again we need to suspend much of what we “think we know”. Remember when you where a child and played for hours and hours with new patterns and new contraptions? When you interacted with your cousins or friends, in characters created by yourself? When you drew with crayons and watercolors, all those houses and animals and trees? What happens when a child is playing? Actually… what happens when any human being plays? Actually… what happens when any high order mammalian plays? Think about this for a very, very deep moment, because in these questions lies the answer for our collective future.

When we free-play, we shut down our fears, our models, our habits, our traditions. Time and space, vanishes or transforms. There is a common agreement between players… and this agreement is not even spoken. It’s culturally wired in our minds. When we play we automatically sign an invisible document where is stated that “from now on, everything is possible within the context of this play”. Personalities change, habits and traditions transform, new patterns emerge and take place to be experimented with. Play. This is what playing means. When an organism in is “play mode”, there is a natural suspension of beliefs and previous patterns. There is a process of turning of the self, the “I”. In that process of subconscious creation and free-playing, everything vanishes, except the present moment. The experience. That experience is everything that exists in those brief moments… or hours… or days, as described by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi with the concept of “flow”: also known as the zone, is the mental state of operation in which a person performing an activity is fully immersed in a feeling of energized focus, full involvement, and enjoyment in the process of the activity. In essence, flow is characterized by complete absorption in what one does.

So why don’t we play more? Why do “grown ups” seem to lose this special skill of “going inside” to learn new patterns and experiment with it? Why do we get so stressed out on a daily basis, repeating the same routines, over and over and over… if playing is the answer for our collective future?

Because there is a concept that emerged in our human history, that biased our entire notion of existence. It is actually the concept that “makes the world go round”… or so they say. Somewhere in our maturation, we are exposed to this new concept that from then on, defines who we are, who we will be, what we will accomplish in life, what can we be, with whom we will live, where we will live, what will I feel, how must I behave, how can I create things, where can I travel to, how many kids can I have, will I be healthy… and this is where “I” activates the eternal fear, from then on. This is the exact moment where stress becomes your new best friend. This is the moment where the kid in you, vanishes and you open your doors really wide for the “grown-up” in you to take care of your life from then on. This is where “it all gets serious… and no more fun and games”. Ladies and gentlemen… please welcome… the concept of “Work”.

And this is it…From then on, we activate our biological imperative, our need to sustain life, to survive the social hierarchy, the urgency of keep paying the bills, to pay the house, the mortgage, the car, the hospital bills, the health insurance, to keep our kids in schools and activities, so they have their future chance to have what? A job. So they in turn, can provide for their family and career and this narrative goes on and on and on… messing with our heads and societies. Our emotions go wild, our collective relations get skewed because I need to compete with others “so they can’t take the resources from me and my family”. And this normative social influence is our current software in our minds. We believe that even for a moment, if we stop… we die. That’s why we stop playing, and stop building and stop sharing and stop humanizing our lives.

And that is why… some people got it. Some people got connected again. Most of the people are feeling it intuitively that something is really messed up. They see people getting sick, and nervous, taking pills, gaining weight with the junk food, fighting and arguing in the streets, in their houses, in schools, in wars. Hospitals, debts, mortgages, houses being foreclosed. They know that it is not supposed to be like this and that there is something infecting our collective mind, preventing us to connect to each other once again.

Care

Those people are the ones who are really awake. They are awake to a dumb and dull reality of humans hurting each other and hurting inside without knowing… and how to get out of it. The same patterns, the same habits and traditions, over and over and over. Why? Because we stopped playing. Learning. Discovering. Asking. Searching. Questioning. Seeing. Observing. Being. Living. That is why they are spreading solutions for free. Opening systems. Opening doors. Sharing knowledge. Removing barriers. Growing gardens. Painting walls. Sharing. Giving. Touching. Helping. For nothing. There is no bigger earning than to live in a healthy community. Our communities.

It’s not easy, but you are not alone. You will be surprised if you give a shout to the people around you. So get out and start playing again. Start changing the world… by building your village together.

Featured image by Rebecca Siegel 

Modified text image by Angus MacAskill