Our Myth Story

Every society has its myth, the story of its search for truth, for meaning, for significance, according to Joseph Campbell.  The word “myth” comes from the Greek mythos, which means “speech, thought, story, myth, anything delivered by word of mouth.”  Why do people care about their own myth?  Joseph Campbell suggests that, “Myths are the stories of our search through the ages for truth, for meaning, for significance…Myths are clues to the spiritual potentialities of the human life.”

What does a myth mean for us?  It is a framing for our deeper shared purpose, describing where we came from, how we started, what we serve, and why we need each other.  Campbell found four functions of the myth:

  1. The Metaphysical Function — Awakening a sense of awe before the mystery of being
  2. The Cosmological Function — Explaining the shape of the universe
  3. The Sociological Function — Validating and supporting the existing social order
  4. The Pedagogical Function — Guiding the individual through the stages of life

We can explore our creation myth, where we came from, and our foundation myth, how we started.

Creation Myth.  Where did we come from?  What is the model that describes our essential character?  We are Homo lumensbeings of light, of infinite creative potential with the ability to tangibilize the infinite potential we see.  As Homo lumens, we all want to experience resource abundance, appropriate inclusion in decision making and enforcement, vibrancy in what we value, and the harmonic in our interactions.  Since we are Homo lumens, which drives what we all want, this influences how we try to engage in this world together.

Foundation Myth.  How did we start?  As Homo lumens, we started unconsciously trying to express our infinite potential, from the beginning.  Anthropological evidence seems to show that many people have figured out thousands of ways to manifest our infinite potential.  It seems that most of these examples, where people learned to express their infinite creative potential, were in small groups.  As we progressed as humanity to very large nation states, we have struggled with finding ways to manifest that infinite creative potential on much larger scales.  Our research suggests that many efforts today that try to explore this abundance frontier seem to do so from scarcity-based agreements.  And, some are beginning to start a new foundation myth, from explicitly abundance-based agreements.

This new foundation myth starts with our experience, what we all know within our own experience.  We then use an abundance-based framing to support our ability to see what we experience and what we authentically want, indicating ways in which we can begin to take on abundance-based agreements consciously.  From this foundation, we are beginning to see pathways for co-investing in cohosting collaboration, a way to engage all of the required perspectives to address what we really want as Homo lumens, to experience ourselves as Homo lumens, as creative beings with infinite potential to manifest the realities we envision.


The Memetic Code of an Agreements Field

Juanita has worked for two years with a high-performing, very engaging team developing website ads for local nonprofits.  She is very comfortable in the creative processes and high-participation expectations of this team.  She has worked hard and really enjoyed it.  Over the summer, she is recruited to a new company and asked to join a new team.  This team achieves much lower performance and is less engaging, with a strong hierarchy where people are expected to follow directions and only speak up when asked to do so.  Will Juanita’s disposition to higher performance and engagement bring greater vibrancy, performance, and outcomes to the team or will the team’s lower engagement, outcomes, and vibrancy win out?

It turns out that Paul was recruited over the summer by Juanita’s previous company.  While Paul was very comfortable working on a low vibrancy team with poor performance and low engagement, he was asked to join the high-performing team that Juanita used to work on.  Will Paul’s disposition to lower engagement and results lower the team’s vibrancy, performance, and outcomes or will the team’s higher vibrancy win out?

In these two examples, we are looking at the agreement disposition of both the individual and the team.  Which one dominates?

We can provide hypotheses for both.  Clearly an individual predisposed to greater engagement and performance can inspire a team to higher performance in a more engaging way.  Or, clearly the team culture provides the stronger influence on what is possible.  That we can argue either way, individuals dominate groups or groups dominate individuals, makes it an exploratory question.  We don’t know the answer, and it could go either way.

Under which conditions does the higher vibrancy disposition dominate?  When does the individual disposition dominate?  The group disposition?  To assess these questions, we can assess the agreement-field memetic code of both individuals and the collective, and see how the agreement field evolves on a fitness landscape, where fitness is assessed by the outcomes (impact resilience) and experience (harmonic vibrancy).

First of all, if we start with the assumption of Homo lumens, then we assume that every person has the potential to experience all levels of harmonic vibrancy.

Second, the agreement field that an individual or a group is most comfortable with–they know how it works and how to interact successfully in it–is distributed over a range of lower to higher vibrancy and agreements.  They usually function at one level, sometimes at a higher level, and occasionally at a lower level.  We can label the higher as (P)otential, the middle as (L)ikely, and the lower as (C)ollapsed.

These three levels are probable states of the individual’s or group’s agreement field.  Over time, one can assess the probability of the agreement field being experienced in its (P)otential, (L)ikely, or (C)ollapsed state.  We might find that Juanita’s group experiences the (P)otential level 20% of the time, (L) 65%, and (C) 15%.  Or that Paul experiences P 8% of the time, L 87%, and C 5%. We could then say Juanita’s team’s agreement field probability is 0.2P/0.65L/0.15C, and Paul’s is 0.8P/0.87L/0.5C.  This is a rough estimate of the distribution of experience states available to Juanita and Paul’s teams.

We can then map the level of agreements that are (P)otential, (L)ikely, and (C)ollapsed.  Each of the 4 lenses can be characterized along a 9-point continuum, from low to high.  The Economic Lens of how much varies from levels 1, 2, and 3 of scarcity to 4, 5, and 6 of sufficiency to 7, 8, 9 of abundance.  The Political lens of who decides, likewise varies from 1-3 of one primary relationship to 4-6 of multiple relationships to 7-9 of all 5 relationships.  The Culture lens of what criteria varies from 1-3 of low vibrancy, 4-6 of medium, and 7-9 of high vibrancy.  The Social lens of what rules varies from 1-3 of melody of one voice to 4-6 of chord of multiple voices to 7-9 of harmonic.  We then have an agreement field distribution for the individual or group. (See Paul’s in the table below.)

Pauls Table 081516post

While Homo lumens ultimately has the whole spectrum available to be experienced, knowing how to interact within a specific set of agreements seems to be distributed across a narrower normal range.  This assumption remains to be tested.

This agreement-field memetic code assessment will allow us to see what happens when an individual or a group is exposed to a memetic code of higher performance and vibrancy.

Guest post — Homo lumens — Where Attention = Love = Energy

Guest post by Leslie Ritchie-Dunham, Director of Creative at Vibrancy Labs

The work of Vibrancy is to surface, understand and rethink the underlying agreements of how we, as Homo lumens, recognize and organize ourselves.

Why do we do this? Because what modern organizations are still doing for the most part; how they work, how they are structured, how they ask people to enter into and accept unhealthy agreements already set in place, isn’t working for most. So people tend to disengage, many even actively disengage (i.e., consciously hurting the organization through their lack of engagement), BUT, if you ask, anyone and everyone (at least every person I have asked) wants to be more engaged in their work and lives, wants to connect more to others and to the earth, to work more and harder on something they love, to just love more, to live more, and enjoy the ride together more.

So why don’t we? Because of Available Capacity. Just like on your iPhone. If you buy the 8G iPhone you will fill it up pretty quickly, so then you get the 16G, and then the 32G and finally the 64G, maybe even the 128G! And what happens… yup, regardless of the amount of storage you buy, they get filled up too darn quickly with all those wonderful photos of friends and family, entertaining videos, songs for every moment, seemingly infinite docs, notes and drawings, and all the interesting stuff one finds online that is really, really cool and you don’t want to forget or that just might be useful some day…

People fill their phone to its available capacity. People do the same thing in their lives, for the same reason. They shine their light to the capacity available in any and every moment (unless the impulse has been educated out of them…). Because people are Homo lumens, or beings of light, and they are all these forms of light energy: life, light, energy, color, bodies (mass) in space with movement, playfulness, thought, intelligence, joy and love (and of course potentially all the opposites as well if not engaged).

ALE Graphic

The ALE graphic, above, was my first graphic, done years ago, to demonstrate the insight that Attention = Love = Energy. They are all manifestations of the same universal energy. We as Homo lumens manifest all three through our thinking, feeling and willing.

A human being as a being of light naturally wants to fill all the available capacity they can find with their creative gesture through their own unique forms of expression. And they will look in the nooks and crannies of their lives (just like on our phones) to find those spaces of a bit more available capacity to fill. The more spaces of available capacity they find to fill, the happier they are, the more they shine and it just goes up and up and up until they hit the Available Capacity Bar.


Humans beings, as beings of light, shining through our thinking, feeling and willing. What is the available capacity of our cultural and organizational structures for us to shine within?

What is the Available Capacity Bar? It is the bar (or ceiling of glass, or even brick as the case may be) of available capacity set by the structures of modern culture and organizations. Overall these seemingly set structures keep the available capacity a human being can shine into shockingly low. In fact, many, if not most organizations keep the available capacity bar below the point where a being of light can function in any healthy way. So people have to medicate themselves because it is unnatural for a being of light to NOT shine. It is actually quite painful to be required to extinguish the light that wants to shine from each and every one of us.

So what if? What if we discontinue using cultural and organizational structures that by their unconscious, or perhaps even conscious design keep the available capacity so painfully low? What if we actively start to design organizational structures that, instead of continuing to foster that low bar, actually raise the available capacity bar?  And, as we change the organizational structures, we can begin to change the cultural structures as well.

This is what Vibrancy does. We do this by helping people, through their organizations, make the flip from Unconsciously Accepted Agreements to Consciously Chosen Agreements. We do this by shining a light down into the basements and foundations of our cultural and organizational structures to find the agreements we are actually working from, so they can now be seen and understood.

When the true underlying agreements are seen and understood, people can either consent to the existing agreements by choice, or take them out back and throw them in the dumpster so that we can start again. But on purpose this time. With clearly understood, agreed upon purpose this time. And, as we start to develop these new structures, learning from the organizations already forging ahead out of a similar understanding and desire, we will learn, and we will add the ability to keep raising that available capacity bar in our organizational structures so people can continue to find new ways to shine. Because, unlike our phones, we as Homo lumens can generate our own infinite available capacity.

And why? Because that is what people do. That is what Homo lumens do. They strive to shine. And they strive to shine together, each interaction capable of setting off an exponential chain reaction of energy as our lights fuse. That is why we love to come together, to ride together through this life, relishing those mega-ton moments of juicy creative explosions along the way.

When people shine together and make those creative explosions, we all benefit. As more and more people live into their consciously chosen agreements, the available capacity bar just keeps getting higher and higher and higher…. and we all get access to that increased capacity, thus raising the vibrancy/capacity level of the world.

Vibrancy is a choice. We can, individually and together, make choices for ever more conscious agreements, by doing the work to identify and understand the underlying agreements we have accepted, to examine them and choose for ourselves ever more available capacities of love, connection, experience, work, play, joy, and life. As Homo lumens it is too painful to do otherwise.

Is the State of Nature LOCKEd In or enLUMENSed?

Are we locked in to or liberated by our natural state?  This is an old question.  With a hat tip to Hobbes, Locke, Montesquieu, and Rousseau, perhaps I provide a new twist here.

If Nature is the essence of the reality we experience as living beings, what is real to us?  How do we define reality?  People seem to know that the tangible things we can touch are real.  We can touch them.  They are part of Nature.  People also seem to acknowledge that people, animals, plants, the planet, and the universe all change over time, they develop, they evolve.  We can see this.  This changing over time is also real, it is also a part of Nature.  And, people direct much of their creative efforts towards things they envision, designs for a home, for work together, for a meal to be prepared, for a journey on the road ahead, for what the day looks like.  We invest lots of energy towards this vision, this possibility, this potential.  We can see this.  This potential is real, and is a part of Nature.  So Nature is composed of what we can touch right here right now, in this space-time, and of what we can see changing over time, and of the potential to which we can see how to give our future resources.

What seems obvious about reality might also be supported by the physical sciences.  Physics uses similar definitions of what is real in Nature.  Particles that attract each other in particular structures to form matter.  The kinetic energy of the particles in motion over time and in relationship to other particles over space.  The potential energy of the particles in relation to a field or system of particles.

If that is Nature, who is experiencing Nature?  I have suggested in previous blogposts that we can conceive of human beings as Homo lumens, beings of light.  There is plenty of data from our research to support this suggestion, as well as thousands of years of wisdom teachings.

If we are Homo lumens living in Nature, what do we experience?  What would our experience be like without human agreements, before we put in place of all the agreements we consciously and unconsciously accept?  Philosophers have called this the “state of nature.”

I have asked this question of people in hundreds of groups in over a dozen countries in the past two decades.  In what people share, I see a pattern.  People describe their experiences, awful to great, through the vibrancy they experience in five primary relationships: to the self, another human, a group, to the creative process of nature, and to the spirit of the source of creativity.  I experience greater or lesser vibrancy for me, with you, in what we each contribute to the group, through the process of nature, out of the spirit of the creative force.  So Homo lumens feels more engaged in reality when it experiences greater vibrancy, as experienced through the five primary relationships.  This is our experience of the state of nature, a state prior to the rules of society.

When trying to understand how we humans think about reality and how we engage with it, I have found four basic lenses that we use, over and over again, throughout human history, to define our human duties and privileges.  These lenses ask the questions of how much is there, who decides and enforces how to allocate what there is, with what criteria, and what are the rules of the game?  We also think of these as economic, political, cultural, and social questions, respectively.

With each lens, Homo lumens seems to naturally seek to maximize a different dimension of the human experience.  Through the economic lens, asking how much is there, Homo lumens seeks greater abundance of resources.  Through the political lens, asking who decides and enforces, Homo lumens looks to maximize power, the control of how people are related (to self, other, group, nature, spirit), or relatedness.  Through the cultural lens, asking what criteria are used to decide and enforce, Homo lumens wants to maximize what it most values, the wellbeing experienced in its primary relationships, the vibrancy it experiences.  Finally, through the social lens, asking what the rules of interaction are, Homo lumens works to maximize the harmonic experienced in the synthesis of the contributions of each unique voice.  Abundance, relatedness, vibrancy, harmonic.  This seems to be what Homo lumens naturally seeks to maximize in the experience as a living being in Nature.

We do not have to be told to do this, we naturally do.  And, many times we forget.  For those times, as Homo lumens, we create agreements–ways of thinking that guide how we engage in Nature.  We agree with each other, through unwritten codes of natural law and through written codes of social law, that each individual Homo lumens has the liberty to decide for its own potential, development, and use of existing capacities, with others who equally have the liberty to decide for their own potential, development, and use of existing capacities, in the contribution of the unique gifts each Homo lumens brings to any given group, manifested through their own access to the creative source and process.  These are the rights or privileges of Homo lumens.  We desire to maximize these rights, until they infringe on the rights of another.  For these cases, as Homo lumens, we have created agreements in the form of laws to remind and protect ourselves.  Laws, derived from the word that means “to lay down,” are where the individual lays down the right to something, where the individual is deprived of the freedom to choose one’s own response.  These agreements can be guideposts to remind us of the experiences we want to have as we individually and collectively attempt to maximize the abundance, relatedness, vibrancy, and harmonic we experience.  These agreements can act as guideposts, when it all works well, and as penalties or constraints when it does not work well.

My colleagues and I have spent the past decade actively searching across the globe, for examples where people are learning to maximize the individual and collective experience of abundance, relatedness, vibrancy, and harmonic, through their agreements and their experience of the natural state of Homo lumens.  We are mapping the global social topology of human agreements, at their best, at their worst, and at their most common, in a diverse set of cultures.

How Is Light Energy? — Recommended Reading

Arcand, Kimberly, and Megan Watzke.  2015.  Light: The Visible Spectrum and Beyond. New York:  Black Dog & Leventhal Publishers.  

Butcher, Ginger. 2010. Tour of The Electromagnetic Spectrum. National Aeronautics and Space Administration, Science Mission Directorate, Retrieved January 25, 2016, from Mission:Science website: http://missionscience.nasa.gov/ems/.

Working at NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory, Arcand and Watzke specialize in communicating science to the public.  In their book Light: The Visible Spectrum and Beyond, Arcand and Watzke provide an enlightening story about what light is, way beyond the light we can see with our eyes, and how humanity has discovered and worked with light’s many properties.  Light illuminates this understanding with many beautiful pictures of the microscopic to the macroscopic.

“For many people, ‘light’ refers to what we as humans can detect with our eyes.  However, as we’ll discuss, this is merely one small slice of the whole range of light that exists.  That’s because light, including the human-detectable kind called visible light, is simply a form of energy.  The light we see with our eyes is a tiny fraction of the available light in the Universe…There are other types of light with less energy than visible light, and there are forms of light with much more energy” (Light, 10).  “All forms of light are energy, and the term scientists have come up with for this energy is ‘electromagnetic radiation’” (Light, 12).

“The terms light, electromagnetic waves, and radiation all refer to the same physical phenomenon: electromagnetic energy.  This energy can be described by frequency, wavelength, or energy. All three are related mathematically such that if you know one, you can calculate the other two” (Tour, 5).  “The electromagnetic waves that compose electromagnetic radiation can be imagined as a self-propagating transverse oscillating wave of electric and magnetic fields” (wiki).  In physics, “any simple vibration is described by three factors: its amplitude, or size; its frequency, or rate of oscillation; and the phase, or timing of the oscillations relative to some fixed time (see harmonic motion)” (encyclopedia.com).

I open the possibility of a connection: when people describe their experience of an energizing group, they often describe the vibrancy of the group they experience, and the harmonic of the interactions.  They might be describing, consciously or unconsciously, their experience of the light they experience in the interactions with others.  I also offer the connection to the possibility that we humans are Homo lumens, beings of light, which I have discussed briefly in a previous blogpost.

How Can We Manifest God-like Technologies within 600-year Old Institutions, Making Primitive Daily Choices?

While Homo lumens is constituted to manifest potential, most live within value-creating institutions, unconsciously accepting scarcity-based agreements (2014 Ecosynomics).  Why?  Harvard biologist E.O. Wilson suggests, “We have created a Star Wars civilization, with Stone Age emotions, medieval institutions, and god-like technology” (2012 The Social Conquest of Earth, 7).

Fig 1 062915a


What do you think?

2015 the International Year of Homo Lumens

The United Nations General Assembly has proclaimed 2015 as the International Year of Light.  This seems like a great opportunity to also celebrate the beings of light — Homo lumens — that we humans are.  Our research at the Institute for Strategic Clarity suggests that people describe their experience of themselves and others in terms of the energy, vibrancy, and light available.  That was energizing.  This group has a great vibe.  She is a bright light.  You shine today.  What if we humans are actually beings of light energy?

If we are Homo lumensthen maybe we don’t need to focus on engaging disengaged workers, increasing the efficiency of inefficient workers, developing the capacity of low potential employees, or enlightening unenlightened people.  Rather, if the energy, light, and potential are already there, by definition, then it might that we should focus on not covering it, not smothering it, not attempting to extinguish it, since the light is already there.  Maybe we should stop dampening the amplitude and frequency of what we prize.

From this perspective, the issue is often not that we need more light, which we say, rather that we don’t know how to handle the intensity of the light that is there.

What do you observe?  Please share with us in the Comments section here.

Guest post — Reflections on “Homo lumens” post

Guest post – Jim Throneburg, founder of THORLO

I love the observation in the “homo lumens” post, but I have a couple of things I think are a little misleading by making it seem that the cost of engaging people is low. I have to challenge that, on principle.

I distinguish between the “cost” of a salary and the “investment” in supporting growth and development. As far as the cost of the salaries of the people engaged, I agree with the point you make, there is little to no difference in this cost. And this misses the significant investment required to support the on-going growth and development for both the individual and the group. This can be significant, such as the time spent in dialogs, workshops, and coaching-feedback sessions, which for us easily reaches 10-15% of the individual’s salary. This investment is not little, as your blog suggests.

And, by focusing on the cost plus the investment, one can then ask about the return on this investment. Here I agree with you. The net result, the “synergistic savings,” can be huge. For example, we saved over $5million from just such a shift in agreements for a group of 50 people. So, if you take the net effect of the synergistic savings into account, I agree with what you say.


previous post on “From Human Resources to Homo lumens”




From Human Resources to Homo lumens as Competitive Advantage

We all have access to a vast competitive advantage most never see or use.  The question of “competitiveness” seems to be ever-present, whether you are an individual looking to exchange money (wages) for a labor contract or grants for project impacts, or a group providing products or services in the marketplace, a community attracting homeowners and taxpayers, a state attracting job-creating industries, or a country attracting economic growth.  In all of these cases, the focus is on being competitive.  What is “being competitive,” and what might we see about it when looking through the lenses of Ecosynomics?

Competition is when multiple people, whether as individuals or organizations, interact for their own gain, according to the Oxford Dictionary of Economics.  This definition highlights the net result of the transaction-exchange, which I have suggested in earlier blogs focuses on the outcomes-noun level of perceived reality.  Being competitive in a transaction means that the other picked you over someone else, because you offered a higher net value to them, a higher value experienced for the price.

This is pretty straightforward.  More value experienced for a lower price, on the consumer side.  On the producer side, it is greater value received than the cost to produce the experience.  This logic leads to common responses when others increase the competitive pressures.  As a producer of the experience, you can lower your costs to produce the experience, or increase the value provided.  Both of these possibilities work within the existing competitive environment.  Another option is to change the existing competitive environment, by innovating in what experience is provided, or how it is provided, or by appropriating part of the value others in the system used to perceive, such as making the consumer print out their own forms, relieving you of the cost.

These are traditional forms of looking at how to be more competitive within a given exchange system or in changing the exchange system.  In all of these cases, the focus is on the amount of resource available, whether labor, land, or capital, and using less — lowering costs — or increasing the perceived value of them — increasing price.  This focus on available resources narrows your vision to what is available here now, what is available at hand.  What can we do with what we have right now?  How many courses can we teach with the staff we have?  How many shirts can we produce with the machines we have now?  How can we lower our costs to produce the same number and quality of courses and shirts?  How can we increase the perceived value of those courses and shirts for the same costs?

These all assume focusing exclusively on the outcomes-noun level of perceived reality.  This means I only look at the capacities, the stocks of what is right here right now.  While this might make sense for a quick production decision, it is critically wasteful of a huge competitive advantage available to you, the value available in the development and potential of the people, processes, and natural resources within the organization.  I refer to this thinking as working with all three levels of perceived reality: valuing the potential when it is recognized and engaged, engaging the pathway for developing that potential and the value perceived in that development, and realizing the value in the outcomes from that development.  Instead of just valuing the outcomes level, you also perceive the value in the potential and development levels.

This simple shift, from seeing only what is available now to seeing the potential and development of what is available now and in the future, is a profound shift, especially when dealing with people.  It is a shift from seeing “human resources,” exchangeable capacities that interchangeable humans bring to work, to seeing “Homo lumens,” human beings full of potential-light that they value developing over time, as well as using to deliver specific outcomes.  For basically the same cost of inviting someone to work with you (their salary), you can either access the “human resource” in them — the capacity they have right now — or you can access, for the same cost, the “Homo lumens” in them — the potential capacity and energy they can value and develop over time, while they deliver today.  Much greater energy and value for the same cost.  That is a huge, mostly untapped competitive advantage available to everyone today, for little to no cost.

A couple of recent studies highlight the obviousness of this shift from seeing human resources to seeing Homo lumens.  In its 2013 report on the “State of the Global Workplace,” covering 180 million employees from 140 countries, the Gallup organization found that only 13% of the workforce was “engaged,” while 63% was “not engaged” and 24% was “actively disengaged.”  When I read through the methods Gallup used and the results they found, I see that people respond poorly to being treated as expendable, replaceable, interchangeable “human resources.”  The study highlights the huge costs of having 87% of your workforce not engaged or actively disengaged.

At the same time, other studies have highlighted the impact of treating people like engaged people, seeing their potential, engaging the development of that potential, and acknowledging the outcomes they deliver daily.  See examples such as Robert Kegan, Lisa Lahey and Andy Fleming’s study on Deliberately Developmental Organizations, or research on high vibrancy groups in Europe, McKnight and Block’s work on the “abundant community,” the Zanders’ “art of possibility,” or my own research.  All of these studies highlight how engaging Homo lumens is a much smarter way to achieve competitive advantage.

Harmonic Vibrancy – How Does It Show Up in the World? Results from a Survey

Harmonic Vibrancy. People are quite adept at explaining their experience of the many textures of harmonic vibrancy they encounter in any set of agreements among humans.  They feel its existence, they sense its vitality, its balance.  They can taste it, smell it, see it, and perceive its warmth.  They can hear it.  There are places they love to go, homes they enjoy visiting, conversations they relish.

As Homo lumens – beings of light – people are highly sensitized receptors of the infinite textures of harmonic vibrancy, the human experience of the flow of spirit.[1] Harmonic is the fitting together, the experience of something extra, something special emerging.  Vibrancy is the experience of vitality, exuberance, flourishing.  People know when they are in the presence of higher or lower harmonic vibrancy.  They use this knowing, whether conscious or unconscious, to guide their interactions with other people, always seeking greater harmonic vibrancy, greater social health.  Quality of life, often described in terms of happiness, is the experience of the flow of light, not the temporary attainment of a specific amount of light.

Why Care. Thousands of years of human experience show clearly that scarcity and abundance are perceptions – perceptions of one’s relationship to the flow of life.[2] Everyone is clear that they suffer most when in the presence of the perception of scarcity and that they live most fully when in the presence of the perception of abundance.  Everyone is seeking greater abundance.[3] The challenge comes in how to achieve it, with an infinite number of philosophies and frameworks for achieving it.  Most pathways do not lead to greater abundance: some do.  More and more people are discovering pathways that do.

Questions This Raises. If people care about the harmonic vibrancy they experience, what are the characteristics of this harmonic vibrancy?  Can people discern higher and lower levels of it?  What is the role of leadership in the experience of harmonic vibrancy in a group?  Do all groups have access to this higher harmonic vibrancy or does it depend on the resources the group has?

What We See. We surveyed 126 individuals about groups of people they had experienced.[4] They told us the following story.  In some of the groups, they experienced total scarcity, in others some scarcity and some abundance, and in still others they experienced deep abundance (see Figure 1a).  They told us that the groups where they experienced greater harmonic vibrancy, they also experience a higher quality in the group’s leadership (see Figure 1b).  They also shared that where they experienced greater overall harmonic vibrancy, they experienced a greater harmonic vibrancy in their relationship to their own self, to others, to the group, to nature, and to spirit.  These relationships are experienced at similar levels of health – when any relationship is strong, the others are also relatively strong, and when any relationship is weak, the other relationships are also relatively weak (see Figure 1c).

Implications. These findings go directly in the face of prevailing theories of economics, where one relationship (e.g., the self, the other, the group, nature, spirit) prevails over all relationships.  This changes how we deal with the resources that sustain human life, how we organize our work together, and how we exchange value in our agreements.  If there are indeed groups where people experience the deeper abundance all humans desire, and these groups seem to have similar characteristics, what does this mean for how we engage in groups together?

Recent Observations. Our recent read puts the number of collectives experimenting with new agreements based implicitly on ecosynomic axioms at over ten thousand.  Some are well known as radical departures from simple economic principles, while others are just being discovered because of their much greater performance outcomes, described in exceptional terms under traditional indicators and with additional expressions of much higher vibrancy and harmony.  These collectives are redefining health, how it is assessed, and how it is achieved.  They are sustainably doing what others thought to be impossible, in the most normal of ways.  A school in El Salvador has tripled the local percentage of young girls entering and staying in primary school.  A community health center in Texas maintains top-hospital level services for an increasingly uninsured population, when all other centers are cutting even basic services.  A textile mill in North Carolina pays living wages to its high-craftsmanship shop workers in an industry that has outsourced its low-margin, commodity products to low-skilled workers in Asia.  A small town in New York created the equivalent of hundreds of jobs by circulating millions of dollars of trade with its own local, complementary currency.  A private currency system in Japan has replaced a large percentage of expensive, hospital-based elderly care not covered by the national insurance plan, with people exchanging “caring relationship” credits.  These collectives are redefining ordinary, by acknowledging and stepping further into the multiple manifestations of light.

Next Steps. To identify, connect, and support these experimental collectives, the first step is to begin to define a model of health.  We have developed a model of ecosynomics, a first step in this direction.  With this model of health, we are working on two pathways to identifying the 100,000 collectives: through observers and through surveys.  We are connecting with and engaging observers on the fringe of many different disciplines.  As thought leaders in their own fields, they are aware of many of the emerging models, which we hope to connect across disciplines. We are also expanding the survey.  We invite you to join our exploration of ecosynomics and the agreements humanity is discovering to save itself, by taking the survey yourself, or visiting our website (www.instituteforstrategicclarity.org).

[1] Understanding the human experience as Homo lumens – a being of light – leads to very different observations than Homo sapiens – being of wisdom or understanding.   As a knowing being, once we know something, we think we are done – I studied, now it is time to do.  I already know what to do.  As a light being, we are always on the path to more light, an infinite source.  While knowledge could also be seen this way, it is usually not experienced this way.

[2] From the Oxford English Dictionary, we can distinguish among scarce, sufficient, and abundant.  Scarce means restricted in amount.  Sufficient means an amount adequate to the purpose, enough.  Abundant means overflowing, more than sufficient, plenty.

[3] Interestingly, this seeking of abundance is directly in contrast with the economic observation that something is only of value, from a supply-demand perspective, if it is scarce.  Others will want it because I have it.

[4] The 126 people surveyed come from 17 countries, range from 21 to 77 years old, and tend to have a graduate education.  They described groups ranging from less than 10 people to over a 1,000 people.