Last weekend my daughter and a friend climbed Mt Warning, Northern New South Wales, a 1,156m mountain that looks across at the most easterly point of Australia, Byron Bay. The climb gets tricky towards the top, with rocks and mud and slipperiness. It requires intense concentration and a good dose of courage.
I wonder at those people who forged paths through new territory, back in the beginning of humans existence on earth. Where there were no maps. No one to seek advise, no one who said…go this way. No one to cut the rock in advance.
The archetype of the pioneer is one who goes first. Into an unknown. Different but similar to an adventurer, as both may seek new paths, but the motivation for the adventurer is adventure, whereas the motivation for the pioneer is discovery. Different to the leader, who requires followers. The pioneer will go alone if needs be. People may choose to follow, but the motivation, the driving force of the pioneer is discovery. They do not need pedestals to stand on, or the adoration of thousands. They are nourished by endless curiosity and the quest for the unknown. Seeking answers to questions not yet asked.
Yet pioneers do use a compass of some sort. A North. Or South. A moon or star. The Sun.
Be that a set of values, inviolate. Or a question that must be answered. The compass guides them, as the path is mostly obscured.
Our time as humans in Universe is becoming more complex. It no longer suffices to kill the beast, eat the beast, sleep and move on. We are entering territory that has an absence of maps. Where the population of the world is exploding, the treatment of our fellow humans as a humanity is not something to be proud of, where leaders of the ‘free’ world are hard to distinguish from leaders of the ‘unfree’ world. Where corruption and greed in business is business as usual. Where we roll over and shrug when another species becomes extinct, or several hundred people get killed in some un-important place, or a whole community must evacuate their homes because of the folly of man.
Now is the time to put away old maps that no longer serve, to throw out the book of rules that were written for another era and are simply not valid and to return again to the compass.
Now is the time for the highest order of moral and ethical values, where human dignity is at the forefront of our decisions, and we truly believe that we can co-create a world that works for 100% of humanity, without ecological offense or the disadvantage of anyone.
The path of the pioneer is not an easy one. Each step is a risk. False moves are more likely than not. Falling down in the mud is an hourly occurrence. But that view. Sweet view. Sweet discovery. (Or sometimes bitter and cruel.)
Do not tell a pioneer that the path is too hard. You are likely to get the response that refuses to concede. Persistence, perseverance, tenacity, endurance, these are qualities rooted in the marrow of the pioneer.
More often than not, we pioneers will be able to move faster and with more ease if we work together. When we know we are better together. We must be united around the compass’s direction. The particular set of values, ethics, morals and integrity, the purpose, the reason we pioneer.
We need to forge new ways of human enterprise, where no one gets to lose. We need to learn to collaborate. We need to respect that complex problems require a field of diverse thinking in order to be solved. That it may not be the expert who comes up with the solution, but the stay at home mum. Do we give air time to the stay at home mum? Or the 12 year old? Do we ignore their words, and the words of the ants and bees?
We need to create systems of governance and enterprise design that removes the god of money and profit from the centre and instead places money and profit as a part of the whole. Where money cannot make all the decisions, and those who have all the money have all the decision making power.
None of this is rocket science. Indeed, to build a world based on human dignity and respect is probably far easier than we think. But we do have to start with a clean sheet of paper, and the heart of the pioneer. And in a world of accelerated acceleration, know that history will certainly teach us much about what not to do, but little about the new path ahead that we must forge with increasing urgency.
Care to join me?