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From Separation to Reconnection – Regenerative Cultures

From Separation to Reconnection – Regenerative Cultures

  • Susana Cravo • Consultant & Founder of Kutsaca and Platform

This is, I have no doubt, one of the most challenging articles of this journey.

Firstly, because of its title, which will produce in the reductionist thinking an automatic judgment. Even so, I intentionally chose to keep it, because there are no more adequate words for a theme that is basilar and root of everything we live.

Secondly, because it is a woman who writes it and therefore, although she is more likely to be accepted and less judged than a man, many and many may consciously or unconsciously give in to the tendency to categorise it as a subject of “feminine goodness” or “doing good” and of little relevance to a magazine on Economics and the Market. And this is also why the emergence of Regenerative Leadership is so important.

My main literature inspiration for this article is “Regenerative Leadership – The DNA of 21st Century Organisations that give primacy to life”, for the excellent and consistent summary that authors Laura Storm and Giles Hutchins manage to make, of the journey of separation (Page 17).

Although humans began to leave sub-Saharan Africa for various parts of the globe about 100,000 years ago, let’s jump to the last 10,000, where records and evidence from various researchers help to demonstrate that in this period societies were peaceful, egalitarian, with a strong integration and bond with nature and with a trait common to ancient cultures around the world:

A sacred male-female communion, fruit of the vision of God-Heaven and God-Earth and the deep sense of reverence for life.

With the climate change of 10,000 years ago (a drop in temperature between 10 and 4 degrees) which humanity has survived, the social change and change in the perception of identity – in which, for reasons of survival, we came to see ourselves not as part of, but separate from nature – and the advent of the agricultural revolution, brought with them “the rise of patriarchy, the increasing stratification and division of society, the prioritization of God in Heaven over Goddess on Earth, widespread militarization, the mechanization of weapons and tools for exploitation and domination of other humans and nature, the widespread use of currency, the advent of the written word, land tenure rights, and many other cultural innovations” (Regenerative Leadership L. Storm & G.Hutchins), yet a deep respect and relationship between nature and human life was maintained despite them until about 500 years ago.

This was followed by the Little Ice Age, the dogma spread by Christianity of “God separate and above all”, and even the condemnation of the previous symbiosis with nature, manifested above all by women who, besides the strong connection with the natural elements, used their medicinal properties.

It is with the Middle Ages that God and Man became divorced from Nature (and Woman).

And although it may seem shocking to us to read excerpts by Bacon (1603) on “how nature is to be made man’s slave (…) squeezed, moulded and dominated”, this distorted and obscure vision is not only evident in the intensive and destructive practices of exploitation of nature – and its communities.

The ignorance and prejudice towards the concept of gender still touches all worlds, from the south to the north, from the low class and illiterate to the upper class and over-educated

It is evident in the way we still today view life through the lens of the struggle for survival, dog-eat-dog competition and Darwin’s “survival of the fittest”, which still make us think that this is our nature, and do not highlight the countless forms of relationship, partnership, cooperation and networks present in nature and, of course, in us as part of it.

This profound imbalance, caused by the divorce (and domination) between man-nature, masculine-feminine, mind-matter, internal-external, based on rational-analytical and mechanistic reductionism, which still today dictates the rules in economic, social, cultural and political life, is the root of all the instability, degeneration and exhaustion we are witnessing.

And if we really want to ensure that life goes on, we had better focus on our original, innate and natural competences of cooperation and partnership, ensuring that the path back to harmonisation allows the sovereign intelligence of life to do its work of regeneration. This is the path of reconnection.

It is also from this vision of separation, that the focus on problem-solving, which I addressed in the last article, emerges, and which perpetuates the ‘categorisation-resolution’ of isolated problems.

The unbridled ambition to “solve gender inequality by manufacturing programs for women in automatic mode is one of the examples that best fits here, and that, notwithstanding the relevance of many of them, ignores the core of the issue: the distortion and imbalance between feminine and masculine.

All human beings have feminine and masculine characteristics. However, history shows us that masculine qualities have been perceived as superior and more important than feminine ones.

The ignorance and prejudice towards the concept of gender still touches all worlds, from the south to the north, from the low class and illiterate to the upper class and over-educated. And the boom of initiatives aimed at contributing to the much desired gender equality, not only ignores basic issues, but often generates fragmentation, sectorial and geographical, between classes, industries, regions, unequivocally between the urban and the rural world, developed and underdeveloped, global and tribal, modern and ancestral, but also and not least between women and men.

What we need is to attenuate the hyper-rational, competitive, masculinised, action-oriented, conquest- and domination-oriented form, and to open ourselves to a more feminine, cooperation- and relationship-oriented form, connected with the heart, intuition, creativity and in accord with and deeply respectful of the cyclicality of life.

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Also our longing to understand, systematise, control, extract, placing ourselves not only separate from the outside, but as owners and dominators of the outside, has taken us away from the centre of life, from our empathic, sensory and intuitive capacities, which, even today, are often seen as irrelevant, harmful or even ridiculed.

There is a clear imbalance (and dominance) of the qualities of the left brain hemisphere (linear, causal, focus on parts, polarisation, one against the other), over the qualities of the right brain hemisphere (systemic, relational, focus on the whole, relationships and patterns, creativity).

However, the extensive research, particularly by neuroscientists on this topic, shows that this tendency limits our ability to deal with the complexity of the times we live in.

It is primarily with the qualities of the right hemisphere that we can deal with the challenges of living, emergent and complex systems.

Some of the attempts to bring about this awareness, most evident from the end of the last century, have detached themselves from rationality and competitiveness, but have fallen into a spiritualised, inconsistent and moralistic approach, which obviously does not generate the discernment that is needed.

The organisational approaches which, in the meantime, have become commercial, partial and often unethical, are still far from doing a deep systemic work leading to regeneration. We lack Cooperative Architects, Regenerative Leaders, who activate the collective intelligence of the systems and enliven them.

The path of reconnection, reintegration and regeneration is taken by all of us. Each one in his or her family, organisational and community sphere.

In partnership, in a network. We can all activate our systemic thinking, our state of agency, our internal and external sustainability, our symbiotic relationship with life. And this is the way to reconnect with the sovereign intelligence of life.


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