Society 1.0: Co-ordinate around Hierarchy.

The core characteristic of this stage of societal development is a strong central actor that holds the decision making power of the whole.

The positive accomplishment of a state-driven society, is its stability. The central power creates structure and order, with a calming of chaos that preceded it.

The downside is its lack of dynamism, and in most cases a lack of individual initiative and freedom.

Society 2.0: Co-ordinate around Competition:

Society 2.0 can be described as an awakening ego-system in which the self-interest of economic players acts as the animating force.

The dark side of this stage includes negative externalities such as unbounded commodification and its unintended side effects including child labour, human trafficking, environmental destruction and shocking levels of poverty and inequalities.

Society 3.0: Co-ordinate around Interest Groups:

The great accomplishment of the laissez-faire, free market economy is growth and dynamism; the downside is that is has no means of dealing with the negative externalities that it generates.

Measures to correct it include introduction of labour rights, social security, environmental protection, and federal reserve banks that protect the national currency, all of which are designed to limit the unfettered market mechanism in areas where it doesn’t work.

The limitations of 3.0 societies and their bias in favour of special interest groups, its negative approach to negative externalities and its limited capacity for intentionally creating positive externalities.

Society 4.0: Coordinate around Common Awareness of the Whole

In the emerging 4.0 stage of our economy, the natural self-interest of the players extends to a shared awareness of the whole eco-system.

Eco-system awareness requires us to open the heart and to internalize the views and concerns of other stakeholders. The results is decisions and outcomes that benefit the whole system, not just my part of it.

Field 1 to Field 4: A Journey of Inversion:

Moving down the matrix from level 1 to level 4 takes us through a process of opening and deepening.

Opening‘ means to take what is inside our microcosm and make it part of the larger macrocosm around us: As we open the mind, the heart and the will, we begin to connect with the intelligences that are surrounding us:

  • The Mind of the Collective
  • The Heart of the Collective and
  • The intention or Will of the Emerging Field.

Developing’ means to internalize what is outside, to deepen our own interiority. The combined process of turning inside-out and outside-in is what is referred here as Inversion.

To be an effective leader or change maker, we need to go through the same inversion. What does such a generative field experience look like from a first person perspective?

  • Time Slows down
  • Space widens
  • The Self-Other boundary collapses
  • The Self begins to ‘de-center’
  • Materiality Changes: The quality of matter and sensual perception also shifts.
  • Agency Changes: From rule repeating to rule-generating( operating from the source)
  • Thinking Changes: From habitual thinking to thinking from source: Presenencing.

This write up is based on Theory U by MIT Prof. Dr. Otto Scharmer

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