When the Formless Takes Beautiful Form

An update on the emergence of Society 4.0

“The idea is not to confront bad ideas but to come up with good ones. Otherwise, your enemies define the game and you are the loyal opposition.” — Terence McKenna. Photo by chuttersnap

Today, August 16th, 2018, is a really exciting day, but before I tell you why, allow me to go back to May 2017.

Mid-2017 was a real low point in my life. Funds from shares I’d received when I was booted out of the Artificial Intelligence company I’d helped co-found were running out. Going back into the corporate world just wasn’t an option. My marketing consulting, which had served me well for many years, just wasn’t as interesting any more. As a single dad I was becoming more and more concerned about the world I had brought my daughter into. I saw no hope, and I would often fall asleep at night selfishly wondering about the best way to remove myself from the planet.

My personal coach suggested I started writing, and while the idea didn’t initially fill me with the hope I so desperately needed, I started writing Postcards— an attempt to describe the crystal-clear vision I’d received in 2004.

Postcards became an attractor — all kinds of really interesting people started reaching out to me. Very often they were technologists saying that the very platform they were building enabled what I’d just written about in each postcard. They were all part of the blockchain movement. As I started reading more and more blockchain white papers, I couldn’t help recognising the recurring theme: the desperate hunger for something entirely new. I saw, though, that there was a need to build a bridge between these technologists and social and eco-activists, who equally desperately desire a better world.

I kicked off the bridge-building initiative in August 2017 with Project 2030, in which I tried to describe how we could decisively solve every single one of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals by transcending capitalism. P2030 became another attractor and all kinds of people working on systemic issues started reaching out to me. P2030 morphed into Society 4.0 in January 2018, where I tried to show that there is an evolutionary path which has taken us from an agricultural society to an industrial society to an information society and now we’re on a cusp of the next society, Society 4.0.

Through all this writing, it became clear that the only way we could decisively solve all of this planet’s crises is to commit to building Society 4.0. It has to be done by us — you and me. We cannot wait for our governments or even international bodies like the UN. They are simply incapable of tackling the complex work required. But how do we get started? How do we coordinate such a massive undertaking? All of the important logistical considerations were completely formless to me. I had no idea where we could possibly start. Again, things seemed hopeless.

Then, along came two incredibly warm, wise, wonderful women: Gail Taylor and Elisabet Sahtouris. Over the past few months I’ve enjoyed stimulating and often challenging late night conversations with Gail and Elisabet about how we could go about birthing a future society by design, not by default. Slowly a glimmer of hope started appearing: the formless started taking form.

In June or July this year, we were introduced to the Institute for Evolutionary Leadership, an organisation focussed on conscious social evolution. We were excited, because here was an organisation who recognised, as we did, that the work required is unlike anything ever undertaken by humanity and will not be funded through traditional funding channels. We were super excited when we came across what they call their Annual Evolutionary Future Challenge. It’s a ‘contest’ to find the best solutions “that address complex, systemic issues in ways that involve intentional redesigning of worldviews, cultures, and institutions.” This is what we’d been looking for, as a way to test whether our framework of getting to an entirely new society made sense from a systemic perspective. So, we brought all of the work we’ve been doing over the past few months (actually over more than 30 years) and polished it all up into an approach we’re calling Tomorrow Makers — a collaborative way of consciously making a better tomorrow, for everyone, for real.

And that brings me to why today is a really exciting day.

From more than 50 submissions from really great projects all around the world, Tomorrow Makers has been selected as one of 9 finalists — woo hoo! We were delighted to receive the official announcement this morning from Fyodor Ovchinnikov, the Co-Founder and Managing Partner of the Institute for Evolutionary Leadership. You can see the announcement on their website, where you can also see beautiful pictures of the two women I’ve had the privilege of learning from over the past few months:

I really am excited about this! Just being accepted as finalists means that what seemed like an impossible challenge really might be doable.

“More regimes have been brought, piecemeal, to their knees by what was once called ‘Irish Democracy,’ the silent, dogged resistance, withdrawal, and truculence of millions of ordinary people, than by revolutionary vanguards or rioting mobs.” — James C. Scott, Two Cheers for Anarchism

I’m thrilled by today’s announcement and can barely wait to see how this effort will grow, morph, develop and emerge. Thank you for being part of this incredible journey. We can do this!

With much love and gratitude,
Michael Haupt
Cape Town, South Africa