The art of Citizenship, being Democracy and Big Blue Sky

We inhabit a world divided. The chasm multiplies each second. And into the abyss we only see more of the same. More debt, more congestion, more broken down cities, communities, suicides, violence, racism, xenophobia, isolation…..hate. And a contagion of fear…

Its 2:23AM and we wake…night after night…the tangled sheets a testament to the turbulence of our being. That something is deeply, absolutely wrong with the way we do things. With the way big business and money buys politics, and in the doing say it is really ok for people to shoot each other en mass…really ok for a whole race of people to be targets for hate..really ok for banks to be bailed out for the crimes they committed, and CEO’s to be paid obscene salaries for adding nothing to humanity in the race to have finance make money from finance so that a small few can get increasingly more powerful and rich….that these few who control our money, capital, politics, health, education, prisons….livelihoods…that they DO sleep well at night while millions of children starve, go without education, heath care….while their own employees grease the wheels on the system to keep it going around, and do so for peanuts, struggling to pay their bills, buried in medical and student debt…

We are all tired of being lied to. Extracted from. Used. Of empty politics. And solutions that simply rearrange furniture on a planet that is about to blow apart.

We are waking up to the game. That we are the pawns. That the plan has never been to lift up the people, never that. But to build higher towers for the elite few. That we have been stuffed full of promises of success, fame and opportunity. Whole industries thriving from our seduction. Few, very few, making it through this mythical layer that says you have the numbers. The followers. You are relevant for your statistics. Be that thinness, money, followers, lovers or how many people you have power over…

That we the people are simply useful statistics, contributing to the data of our lives that is owned by a profiteer who bloats on our participation.

That we are slaves to money for time. To being reduced to consumers, just as our factory animals are reduced to the food production line that says nothing worth valuing as alive lives here.

Are we alive? Really…? Is this alive?

Numbers. Data. An easy get. Branded by the luxury items we hunger for that will make us feel for just a moment… that we are part of the elite. Special. Number One.

Where our pop culture movies are thick with the super hero, the Katniss Everdeen’s who saves us all from the tyrant. Because we want so deeply to be saved from the tyrant.

The one ring to save us all…. The One.

But what if we are the One. And that there is no one One? That instead of turning our gaze to the horizon searching for the saviour…we look to ourselves?

What if we wake up to the game and say it can only be played if we continue to be pawns. If we continue to say yes…this is the way it is and will be?

We can only be extracted from, reduced, enslaved…we can only be someone elses profitable data, if we play.

That if we lift our vision, we might see that there are many others lifting their vision, asking…is this IT?

We might even see that these many others are our neighbours.

We might wake up to the fact that we have been unconscious pawns playing one game…a game that has been designed to have us fail to see the game we are in…designed to have us yearn to play the game better…to reach for the stars within the game….to feel like losers if we don’t win…to cheat and clamor and crawl over others so we might just win…to give up on our own truth, integrity, soul…so we can win…

…and yet there are thousands of other possible games we can play. The operating system we have been brought up on since birth is just one possible system. We can choose to move from OX to Linux. Heck, we can even make our own operating system, not as anarchists, but in parallel to the very one that is entirely designed to do exactly what it is doing…..which is to divide us…have us see our divisions as the problem…

…to keep conquered, keep divided.

It has to be the particular race or religion we do not like that is to blame…….lets block them from entering our world…lets make them the focus of our pain and frustration…lets exterminate them….for isn’t this where we are heading? To that place where we do terrible things motivated by decades of feeling unheard, unseen, given no value…all the while failing to see that this is exactly what is hoped and expected we will do. Blinded to the truth of our place in the game. Seeing the problem at the point of our pain…and not in the design of the game.

Isn’t this the ground that has been fertilized for us…fueled with precision by the Trumps and Le Pen’s of the world. Right into the abyss…designed to have us look to each other with hate and fear…while the real problem is *North of the Wall.

Somewhere along the way we forgot that a democracy is not something that is done to us…it is something we do. Every day. That to participate as a Democratic Citizen requires us to learn how to be Citizens. And that we have no idea…not a single idea…how to do that. To be citizens.

Think about that for a moment…

When was the last time you said…I am a active Citizen of “X” ? When did you last practice Citizenship?

Do we teach the art of citizenship at school? Is it even a conversation at school?

When did we learn the Democratic Arts? The ability to listen…really listen..to difference? To engage in dialogue..true dialogue..to invite creative conflict…as a means to learn, and find solutions that are not rooted in dogma? When did we consider that we are accountable? As citizens? Do we even understand democracy…what it means…?

As citizens, we must engage to co-create communities? We do have the power to do this.

Not the power over…but the inner power to participate, speak, listen, seek to understand, negotiate, create new operating systems, design together. Build. Thrive. Yes thrive. Even against the most broken of circumstances that the game we are in has played on communities…we can thrive. Even within in that. Ask the Hunger Project. They have been doing this for decades. Building up the most impoverished communities on the planet…through community action and citizen engagement. The myth is we need money, or access…or…’fill in the blanks’… The truth is constraints allow creativity. But only when we work together. For its is through synergy that exponential potential is unleashed. Synergy…not a bank roll..and the willingness to show up as active citizens.

We must put down our finger pointing arms that look to our leaders with blame. ‘Your incompetence!’ we yell. ‘Your incapacity.’ ‘Your greed.’ ‘Your lies.’ Even if true, blame only makes us victims…and victims are absent power. Many of our leaders have no idea the game they are in…and if they did, they have no idea how to stop playing it. Yet we look to them thinking they have the answers. They do not. When we see this, we might have compassion.

The leadership we need will not come from big business. They are too busy playing their own game of make as much profit for the shareholders…at any price. Caught in the quarterly cycle, the fat hamster on the wheel, going hard…yet a hamster on a wheel non-the-less. Unaware for the most part that they too are playing on only one possible operating system. That there are many others in existence and many yearning to be created. By us. Like B Corp’s, capped equity, co-operatives, credit based banking, integral accounting…

We must turn to each other and work on better ways, stronger communities. New systems. It will not come from the leaders. There is no Ghandi about to skip down the road. No Katniss. No Queen of the Dragons. No Captain America.

We must invite partnership with our local and state leaders on co-creating models that work for communities. For people. For our children. Most of our local elected leaders are good people working hard for the right reasons…hampered by a system designed to be slow, safe, traditional. Even if they wanted to…they can’t create the change we know we need…not in time. Not fast enough. They know it..we know it. Let’s stop pretending.

We must learn the art of citizenship and how to create living active democracies. We can do that. We have the power.

Do we have the will?

We must stop consciousness laundering…where we throw a token at the problem in the hope that our guilt will be assuaged…knowing in our bones that what is being asked of us is embodied action. But not knowing what to do…or how…or with whom…

What if there was a group of global citizens actively creating the pathways and technologies to convene and co-ordinate people together to co-create vibrant communities despite the turbulence of the world? What if there was a place you could play, no matter what your resources or skill set? That the entry to play was the willingness to wholeheartedly participate, bringing only what you have the capacity and willingness to bring?

This is what we are creating…a prototype of possibility. We are doing this in one community, as the beta test for deployment anywhere else where enough people care enough to get off the couch and act.

Big Blue Sky is a one year and counting experiment in active Citizen engagement. In creating the convening and co-ordinating platform for willing and able citizens to come together to co-create the types of communities we know possible. And to do this in partnership with local and state government. Its a bold experiment in people, in citizens, working together to create the future, intersecting with local and state government and business.

We have created the technology that enables diverse people to work together on epic projects that increase the Common Wealth of the community, and to do so with minimal human upset, mostly self managed.

Imagine that? Epic moonshot projects, co-created…in community, where you can bring both your ability to be a unique individual as well as be an active citizen in community, belonging to a tribe of like minded people who have called time on finger pointing…where the possibility is rich for fun..learning..teaching…contribution…where we prosper together…

…imagine that?

We know that the future is in our hands. Our hands. We give a shit. We care. We are not the ones lying on the couch complaining. We are in the arena. Covered in dust and sweat, working together for the future we want for our children. Working with our elected officials. Inviting business partnership. Building new models, new boats, considering the whole. Holding the intention that no one person loses while others win.

We are the grand experiment of an interdependent citizen driven partnership interface that has the capacity, capability, agility, design intelligence, and technology to work with government and business on things that government and business are not able to do on their own. Can never do on their own.

We are the model that says we can become Citizens, build communities that work, and demonstrate living democracy as an act.

It matters not who you are, how much time, or money, or skill you have…it simply matters that you know that you must get off the couch and participate.

We invite engagement. We invite partnering. We have the tools, skills and capacity to steward our project in a beautiful way that will result in human and community flourishing…that will build models of business and engagement..some as future surplus designed businesses that you may lead…or be a part of…that will increase the economic diversity and resilience of our region.

We have a plan to be profitable. Profitable across the whole of life…art, culture, knowledge, technology, money and well being. To create a surplus. To be generative and not just sustainable. To circulate our profits into the community, locally and globally.

We are a small team of people who have worked in the co-creation of this model for decades, really believing that there is a way all humans can live respected and honourable lives that do no harm to others. Engaging the art of citizenship. Being democracy. Committed to creating models that demonstrate the possibility of this. Never perfect, always emergent, powered by the intention of love, beauty, and generative inquiry.

If this calls to you…if you know now is your time…then please join us…

Here is how…

Big Blue Sky 2016, October 7 and 8th Broadbeach Australia.

Or…if you cannot attend this event, we are exploring other ways we support active democracy, the art of citizenship and building relational synergistic design teams.

If you would like to consider learning more about how to do this in your community, then email hello at bigblueskyevent.com. We are working on many ways to get this prototype into the world. We welcome ideas and comments.

 

*Game of Thrones Reference.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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