Every thoughtful observer of contemporary life has his or her own own list of current planetary challenges. As we walk into the Anthropocene Era, the footprint of human beings grows larger and larger. Demographers tell us that by mid-century there will be 9.7 billion people on the planet. To this add economic uncertainty, escalating terror and violence, resource shortages, and climate change. It is no wonder why a growing number of future scenarios suggest that tomorrow will be increasingly less safe, less secure, and less happy. And while there is no lack of suggested solutions proposed by the UN, nation-states, and civil society, they do not address the fundamental or root issue.
What is the fundamental issue? Simply this: our governing institutions, economic frameworks, and guiding cultural presumptions are out of sync with the way things really are. We have not yet internalized what quantum physicists have told us for decades and what sages have told us for millennia—at its most basic level, all of life is an inherent unity, an intrinsic indivisibility.
At present, people of goodwill and their institutions look out and see a fractured world beset with problems and then try to solve them. The radical approach is the other way around—to begin with a working presumption of our prior or a priori unity and then address why systems are not working as they should. Such an orientation is, by nature, inclusive and engenders a basic spirit of cooperation and tolerance. It sparks unlimited creativity and innovation. Such an orientation also has the potential to enlist vast numbers of people across the fictional divides of race, religion, ethnicity, nationality, caste, gender, and so on. As humanity learns to come together as a unified force, it will unleash the power and energy for just and lasting change.
The intention for Redesigning the World is to launch a truly unique, global process that begins with the working presumption that humankind is a totality. This starting position is 180° in contrast to conventional change initiatives. It requires that each of us, in our disposition, stand for and represent not just a part of humanity, but humanity as a whole. It is envisioned that, over time, this work will enable fundamental shifts in social, political, economic, and cultural systems—at every level, global, regional, and local.
It should be noted that this radical approach is still experimental and there is much to learn. We are working at the very edge of human comprehension in discerning how this orientation affects decision-making, collective behavior, and complex adaptive systems. In the spirit of innovation and discovery, the Kylemore meeting will be more like a working laboratory than a traditional conference.
Redesigning the World is intentionally a small gathering, a maximum of 20 people. This will allow us to develop a level of trust and intimacy and examine issues at deeper level. Participants will represent multiple generations, from 25 to 73 years old. This work requires a choir of inter-generational voices, some with deep experience and some with the tenor of new and fresh ideas. And it requires all of us, young and old, to stand together with boldness and courage.
Conference Structure and Expected Outcomes
The conference will examine big picture topics such as the environment, the global economy, and human security. There will also be an inquiry into developing systems of inclusion for the wellbeing of all of humanity. Fundamentally, this is a strategy meeting for implementing specific plans for effective action.
At the Kylemore meeting there will be the launch of the Global Cooperative Trust, an institutional mechanism that serves as a catalyst for systemic change. The Trust will sponsor a growing network of initiatives that, taken together, have the potential to shift broken systems and re-empower humanity. An initial strategic outline for the Trust will be circulated during the meeting. The attendees at the Kylemore meeting are invited to participate in the ongoing work of the Trust in one way or another.
Through a generous gift from the Manning Family Endowment and contributions from other donors, all invitees will be guests of the University of Notre Dame. All expenses will be covered while in Ireland. As of this date, expenses to and from Ireland will not be covered.