In September 2015 the Centre for Human Emergence Netherlands explored with me a proposition: The politics of fear can be trumped by the politics of dignity, regarding refugees, immigrants and voters.

refugees-flooding-into-europe low

We explored this question (drawn from Angela Merkel’s challenge to Europe in the face of the tide of refugees) using Systemic Constellation Work (SCW). SCW is a core process methodology that Integral City uses to do research and development to expand our ways of knowing the archetype of Integral City as a reflective organ for Gaia. SCW supports presencing, prototyping and processing for issues, questions, situations and challenges encountered by the Integral City Community of Practice.

SCW as a methodology taps into the collective unconscious (or Knowing Field (KF)) and reveals to participants, the archetypal patterns embedded in the field of the human system of interest. (SCW’s derive from Bert Hellinger’s family system constellation work that has expanded into many human systems including organizations, social issues, indigenous tribes, nations and in the case of Integral City – cities.)

Our NL experiment began with identifying the key Elements of this proposition: Fear, Dignity, Refugees, Migrants, Voters, Trump (the verb not the US mogul), Policy and Politicians.  An eighth element self-identified as Non-Voters.

Mapping out the Knowing Field (KF) within the circle of about 20 Witnesses, volunteers stepped forward to represent the Elements across 2 intersecting axes: Future/Past and Below/Above.

The first pattern within the KF was very chaotic with Elements strewn about helter-skelter – Policy bumping into Refugees attempting to move to the Future; Dignity being elbowed aside by Voters and Migrants; Politicians positioning themselves close to the Past and Non-Voters (expressing anger) stepping right outside the Circle of Witnesses. Fear started out close to the Past – and started talking argumentatively with little intention of shutting up. Trump hovered with no direction. Another new Element emerged as a possibility – Courage – who became a disembodied position (marked by a card) almost out of the circle above the Future axis point.

The second pattern with the KF emerged when Fear made his way from the Past to close to the Future, causing a ripple effect where the other Elements stretched out in a zig-zag pattern along the Future/Past axis like this:


Fear          Refugees

Voters   Migrants

Dignity                (Courage disembodied)

Something Missing    Trump




Meanwhile Fear kept up his verbal rant, taunting the Facilitator and other Elements. In the midst of this a mystery Element emerged that we simply recognized as “Something Missing” and Courage became embodied by a tall imposing man.

In the third and final pattern, the Facilitator demanded that Fear lie down and “be quiet” slightly offside from the Future.

This move precipitated a final pattern where Courage moved quite compassionately to stand beside Fear, while standing behind Dignity. From the zig-zag of Pattern 2, the other Elements moved so that the Refugees and Something Missing became the centre of a circle held by Dignity (located at 12 o’clock), Policy (located at 3) Voters (at 7) and Migrants (at 10).  Politicians, Trump, Non-Voters (now happy with the outcome) clustered together behind Past.

Discovering How Politics of Dignity Counters Politics of Fear Image_Page_1

Politics of Dignity Trumps Politics of Fear

Comments from Witnesses and Non-Voters produced the insight that the “Something Missing” was Respect (as it relates to the Integral City Master Code). We also received a reframe of the proposition: The Politics of Dignity can trump the politics of fear by respecting refugees, migrants and voters.

A post-SCW debrief produced these insights for Individuals, CHE NL and the World in Transition (resonating with the sequence of the Master Code – Take Care of Self, Others, Place-Planet):

For Individuals

I have a better sense of Dignity.

I recognize the importance of Courage.

I was struck by the importance of Non-Voters in the world (and that they represent both ancestors and marginalized voices).

Politics doesn’t represent the people.

We didn’t need Policy – Policy self-organizes what is in everybody.

This is a complex issue and we made visible many intentions related to it.

Politicians never solve problems.

Everything got easier when the Refugees moved into the centre – when they were in the centre, Light came in.

I sensed a strange connection between Dignity and the Non-Voters.

I see so much potential in the Refugees.

Actually there is no separation between Refugees and Voters.

I have more respect for the Refugee(s).

I am struck by the power of Fear and Not Knowing.

Fear recalibrates Not Knowing.

Courage is replaced by Self-Confidence.

Our final image was like a ship pointed towards the Future with the circle in the centre. I am curious about the Element of “Something Missing”.

Perhaps this is like (Clare Graves’) Never-Ending Quest? – Where Fear disappears as Integral thinking and approaches emerge – maybe that allows Fear to even recalibrate as Unknowing?


For Centre for Human Emergence NL

CHE NL started by looking for core problem underlying refugee crisis.

This is an exercise in consciousness to step up to global consciousness.

Simply talking is not enough.

When Fear is out of the way, the systems self-organize.

We can work on our self/selves.

Politicians don’t seem to be part of the game.

Spiral Dynamics integral shows us multiple levels of Dignity and Fear.

We can’t design solution that is a one size fits all. There are needs for Purple/Red and Blue/Orange solutions (and even the basics of Beige).

We must look for the half a step ahead of the natural leadership that is being expressed.

For the World in Transition

The original proposition is a major challenge but it can unify EU.

Politicians relate to Politics of Fear.

Voters relate to Politics of Dignity

Even such a serious inquiry produces moments of truth and humanity.

We need to work our self/selves to make change.

Core Values (like attending to Basics of Life, Belonging, Self-Expression, and Respect for Life-Giving Order) underlie the possibilities for positive change.


The concluding reframe of the proposition helped us to discover how the Politics of Dignity can counter the politics of fear when both Courage and Respect are practised by people – especially when they combine their role as Voters with their role as Hosts.  Individuals, associations/organizations, communities, cities and nations all play roles in enabling The Politics of Dignity to trump the politics of fear by respecting refugees, migrants and voters.

(And since we completed this inquiry 6 weeks ago, the steadfastness of Angela Merkel to enact a Politics of Dignity in the face of mounting difficulties seems to embody the qualities of Courage, Dignity and Respect.)

This newsletter is published quarterly using a cycle of perspectives on the Integral City viewed from:
Planet, People, Place and Power. The theme of this issue is Place.

Just as honeybees adapt themselves to different geographies, human settlements must adapt different solutions to the same infrastructure problems. Each location provides a unique combination of matter, energy and information in its resources. Over time humans have discovered and developed different technological solutions for city infrastructure that are appropriate for each distinctive environment. This has required ingenuity and experimentation. 

Hamilton, M. (2008). Integral City: Evolutionary Intelligences for the Human Hive. Gabriola Island BC: New Society Publishers, p. 7

Micro, Meso, Macro Place Caring and Place Making

Place is becoming a favored and favorite term in the language of urban planning. From Integral City’s perspective “place” has both qualitative and quantitative meanings. When we talk about creating an Integral City we say that both Place Caring and Place Making must occur.

Place Caring happens when people are mindful, conscious of self and others, embracing the visions and beliefs they share. From the perspective of the integral quadrants this includes both upper left awareness and lower left relationships. If Place Caring are weak, then the capacity to build, sustain and adapt to the challenges of Place Making are undermined.

Place Making happens when people behave in ways that contribute to manifesting the city by building structures and infrastructures – shelters, commercial establishments, transportation and communication systems. From the perspective of the integral quadrants this includes both upper right actions and lower left urban and rural production. When these Place Making systems of structures and infrastructures are weak then the capacity to support Place Caring is undermined.

Place Caring and Place Making are inextricably linked to the macro geographical location (of the geology, environment and ecology), the meso location (of the footprint of the city or urban center) and micro location (of city address), all of which add up to a human habitat. As a result Place emerges from the tetra-realities of the invisible personal and collective sensitivities that connect individuals to the families, groups, clans, organizations and communities who care for a Place and the visible actions and interactions in living, recreating and working that actually produce a design for the way the systems of a Place work.

The history of the Human Hive indicates that as our human habitats have expanded in size, our natural predisposition for creating Places that serve us has cycled from Traditional settlements with an emphasis on Caring, through Modern settlements which swung towards Place Making. Now living in Post-Modern times we have tried to return to more emphasis on Place Caring than Place Making with only marginal success. It is only when we shift to Integral City strategies of engaging the four voices of the city, mesh working organizational directions and prototyping whole city systems, that we grasp the truth, beauty and goodness that can emerge when we balance Place Caring with Place Making and generate a naturally Smart, Resilient and Integral City. Essentially we “wake up the human hive to its full potential” (as discussed in the next article and series of blogs below).

place making

Waking Up the Human Hive Beyond the Smart & Resilient City

IDG IT Smart Cities conference in Amersfoort NL (September 23, 2015) invited Integral City to keynote.The topic of interest was Waking Up the Human Hive and we chose to talk about How to Recalibrate Care, Context and Capacity for a Planet of Integral Cities. Here are the key points we made:

1.     Waking up the Human Hive happens when we live the Master Code: when we take care of our Selves, each Other, our Places and our Planet. This connects our Caring Capacity to our Carrying Capacity and is the core of wellbeing.

2.     The metaphor of the Human Hive offers us an integrated whole picture of the city aligned with the Master Code (Self, Others, Places, Planet).

3.     The Human Hive embraces the relationship between 3 types of cities and how they are interrelated: Smart Cities, Resilient Cities and Integral Cities.

4.     4+1=5 Voices in the Human Hive contribute to city wellbeing.

5.     Each type of city is powered by different energy sources and the Integral City GPS offers key indicators for recalibrating our cities with the Master Code.

6.     The Integral City GPS aligns City Types, City Voices, and City Energies with the Wellbeing indicator of the Master Code. It aligns the natural evolutionary potentials of the Smart City, the Resilient City and the Integral City. It gives us the feed
back to recalibrate Care, Context and Capacity for a Planet of Integral Cities.

Read the whole keynote here (and the series of blogs under Free Resources below).waking up the human

Pop Ups are Places Too

At Integral Theory Conference 2015 – which took place in mid-July 2015 at Sonoma State University – Integral City took a new initiative to offer Systemic Constellations as a lunchtime harvesting process for participants to discover the invisible, non-linear insights they were gleaning from the conference plenaries and presentations.

Integral City’s PopUp Playgrounds were “temporary Places” designed to attract spontaneous, unexpected, unplanned diverse people to discover in the moment what they can do together. All of a sudden the city’s voices PoppedUp together – in an instant forming bonds amongst citizens, community and cultural organizations, the business community, and civic institutions. Our PopUp Playgrounds were intended to remind us of our capacities for joy, creativity, acting as a “we”, and rediscovering our brilliance. They brightened our day and reminded us of the interconnections that we are so often blind to. We just published a Harvest Report – and you can find out more about the PopUp Places, Process and Purpose here.

integral city has catalyzed

Celebrating “Place-focus” in the Third Quarter of 2015 

September 21 marked the start of what Integral City calls the Place Quarter (from September 21 to December 20). What Place perspectives does the change of season bring to your mind? What Place Caring processes wake you up?  What impacts of Place Making connect you to Place in deeper, wider, clearer or higher ways?  Visit us at Integral City Collective on Facebook and post a short note or a photo about a Place for which you are Caring and/or Making.

Meshful Blessings for the Planet’s Emerging Integral City Places

Marilyn Hamilton and the Integral City Core Team


Here are some some Free Resources for learning how Integral City practitioners work with Place:

1. Imagine Durant Policy Makers Dialogue Harvest Report

2. Janice Simcoe writes “There are many roads to the High Place”. The story, as she received it, is about different kinds of leadership and how each has its place and space.   She tells of the Anishinaabe, also called the Ojibwe, people have a clan system that, among other things, helps to identify relationships between families, connections with those newly met, and the teachings – including some of the roles and responsibilities – of an individual’s ancestors, and thus perhaps the individual her or himself.  Each clan traditionally has a particular responsibility to the community.  Read the whole of Janet’s article “A Circle of Aiijaakag, a Circle of Maangag: Integral Theory and Indigenous Leadershipin Integral Leadership Review here.

3. Check out the series of blogs that expand on Waking Up the Human Hive Beyond the Smart and Resilient Cities: Recalibrating Care, Context and Capacity for a Planet of Integral Cities:

4. Here are two more blogs that give “gentle” Integral City guidance to share as “Householder Dharma”

Householder Dharma: The Best Exotic Qualities of Home

Householder Dharma: Gaining Altitude on a Community of Blessings



One autumn weekend, I joined some friends hiking up Sumas Mountain when skies were clear, air was crisp and the view went on forever.

Abbotsford Looking North to Coast Mountains

Abbotsford Looking North to Coast Mountains

We took binoculars with us so that we could zoom in from the heights above, on life below. As we gazed over the valley fields, it was easy to see the source of life in our crops and flocks and herds. We remembered Thanksgiving and sensed deep gratitude for the producers and processors who raise and harvest the food that is served at our tables. We saw beside the river, the fishers and the gleaners gathering contributions that would go to the Food Bank. We realized that no matter how technologically sophisticated our lives have become, survival depends on access to the basics of life — water, food, clothing and shelter.

Turning our gaze from the fields, our binoculars picked up the cluster of houses around a local church. We could see a wedding party, with family and friends gathered for a reception laid out in the nearby garden. We heard bells peal and laughter drifted up on rising air currents. The value of kinship and the marriage ritual reminded us warmly of the family dinner awaiting us on our return.

We climbed higher to get a view of the track-and-field stadium. We could see hurdlers, jumpers and racers leading the pack – inspiring roars from the crowd. Our binoculars picked up the winners on the end-zone stage and we glowed with memories of our teenagers who seemed so invincible, they couldn’t imagine the danger of no boundaries.

We climbed another 100 feet. Turning around, city hall clock became visible above the fire hall, police station and two schools. Around the corner we could see the hospital and further beyond vehicles in the public works yard. Then a holiday harvest parade marched past in multi-cultural pride with a First Nations hoop dance, followed by a Christian brass band in blue uniforms, Sikhs in their orange turbans, a Chinese red dragon masquerade, a Japanese lantern float, a Dutch flower boat, and Scottish bagpipers. We smiled at the organization of the parade – it revealed the essence of what makes our community work so well – municipal chambers, school board, health authority and social services bringing systematic peace, commitment and duty to the practical obligations of life.

As we continued our upward path, we could see beyond the city, the international airport, with a steady stream of planes exporting and importing people, cargo and produce to and from the four corners of the globe. We recalled when unintentionally we imported the mysterious avian flu and became aware, that despite our modern technology and world-class strategies, we are still vulnerable to invisible micro-biological life-forms.

That was a wake-up call! We learned that reaching out to one another matters more than ever – especially to those who are different than us. Our neighbouring communities shared care-giving capacities and reminded us of the importance of inclusive social networks to solve tough problems.

At the apex of our trek, stretching below us in the valley, we saw the other cities that connected with us in tough times. The river that flows through all our centers connects us as one ecological system through water, air, soil and even our wastes and pollutions.

With our seven “stations” for viewing life from the valley floor to the mountain top, our hike showed us how our different value systems have woven together a bio-psycho-cultural-social web.  Our values of survival, kinship, power, order, success, caring and flex-flow are not only meshed together from the past but are dynamically reinventing the future all the same time.

Every step of altitude on our hike expanded our appreciation of the magnificence of existence and our many blessings as community members. We hope it reminds others of their many blessings too – especially at this time of Canadian Thanksgiving.

When we place all the locators of our GPS compass in the service of our cities, we have the very real opportunity of re-calibrating our intentions, expectations and outcomes for cities.


Working together as 4 Voices of the City, we have the intelligence to go beyond the Smart City beloved of Civic Managers and Citizens, beyond the Resilient City beloved of Business and Civil Society into the Knowing Field of the Integral City – beloved by the interdependent Meshwork of 4 City Voices in the Integral City.

Happiness as Evidence of Success

Now we can ask, how can we use the Integral City compass for aligning performance that produces well being and re-calibrating our intentions, expectations and outcomes for cities?  Where is the evidence or the sweet spot that aligns Smart, Resilient and Integral intelligence’s for optimum living in the Human Hive? What is the equivalent target of 20kg of honey to measure well being in our cities?

As simple or as trite as it may sound – I think our friends the honey bees suggest an obvious location for such evidence. Remember they used a very practical measure to trigger change – namely, their pheromones that measure depression. In humans we can also measure that – when it is in a positive state, we call it happiness. And Happiness Studies have become early evidence for the wellbeing of individuals, cities, cultures and nations. (GNH, Dalai Lama, Happy Citybook, Happiness Studies, etc.). This kind of happiness is not merely ego or self-centered, nor is it ethno or regional centered, nor even merely place or planet-centered. Instead this indicator integrates all the scales of possible happiness that arise when our decision sets are aligned. This happens when we live the Master Code – choosing to take care of our selves, each other, our cities/places and the planet all at once – simultaneously.

Integral City International Faces

I suggest to you that the bees have modeled for us the great value of why happiness is the ultimate feedback loop for re-calibrating our cities because it ultimately measures the relationship between Caring Capacity and Carrying Capacity. We must learn to notice when our BEEings are depressed and what we must do to steward all life in our eco-regions and planet. We must listen and respond to the Evolutionary Intelligence at the center of our compass which has offered a path of Caring Capacity (a gold dot to locate us on our GPS maps??) and by now also offered many means to move the path of Carrying Capacity beyond traditional cities to Smart Cities to Resilient Cities. Out beyond all these there is a Knowing Field where you will find the Integral City.

In closing this blog series, I would ask Smart City and Resilient City experts – what roles can you play as Civic Managers and Business Innovators, as Citizens and Civil Societies to build on the potential of Smart and Resilient Cities and working together co-create the Knowing Field of the Integral City? This time in our history is an opportunity to discover that Care lives in the center of that Knowing Field.

I believe, that together we can co-create the next generation of IT – the Integral Technology that will enable us to implement the Master Code. – This Evolutionary Intelligence of Care that is so needed by our Planet of Cities.

I invite you to dance towards that Knowing Field so that our Human Hives can add the distinctive capacity of Care so that Earth’ cities can work together to create an Integral Ecology.  By aligning our Caring Capacities we will naturally expand the Carrying Capacity of our cities.  We may also  take the critical next steps to avoid the human version of Colony Collapse Disorder that our dancing cousins the bees have warned us about. I will meet you on the dance floor!

If we are willing to consider the city as the human hive, then how would we locate the four internal roles and one external role that enable its survival and ability to thrive?

Integral City GPS Locator Compass Locating Smart – Strategy Locator: Inquiry, Navigating, Meshworking Locating Resilient – Context Locator: Eco, Emergent, Living … Integral Locating Integral – Integral Locator – Consciousness, Culture, Care, Capacity Locating Power – Evo Locator – evolutionary impulse/drive/energy

Integral City GPS Locator Compass
Locating Smart – Strategy Locator: Inquiry, Navigating, Meshworking
Locating Resilient – Context Locator: Eco, Emergent, Living … Integral
Locating Integral – Integral Locator: Consciousness, Culture, Care, Capacity
Locating Power – Evo Locator:  evolutionary impulse/drive/energy

And how would we notice if our Human Hive were a Smart City or a Resilient City or what I propose as the Integral City?

I offer a tool to assist us to see how the fractal system patterns have evolved and operate. This tool is an Intelligence Compass for the Human Hive – a kind of GPS for the city. You’ll notice this GPS has unique Intelligence points on it – and in fact has four GPS locators on it – they move and scale independently from and interdependently with one another.

This GPS represents the early technology for the human hive that will one day evolve into something as elegant as the bees have evolved in their amazing dance. Traditional cities have not needed this compass technology because they have been able to function with low tech solutions unmediated by high tech supports. But today, few cities in the world do not have some Smart technology driving human behavior – if only and especially the endemic smart phone. But for now I will focus primarily on the relationship between the Smart, Resilient and Integral Cities.

In the next blog we will start with pointing out instructions for the Smart City.

(This blog is one of a series on Waking Up the Human Hive Beyond the Smart, Resilient City to the Integral City – thinking notes for a keynote speech at IDG’s IT Smart Cities Conference, September 23, 2015, Amersfoort, NL.)

The first GPS locator we look at we could call the Smart City Locator. It tracks the logic of cities using Logic Models – based on Strategic Rational thinking. It depends on scientific and methodical Inquiry – Research and Development in other words.

Smart City Locator

Smart City Locator

It collects BIG DATA. It uses the Inquiry intelligence to notice patterns in the BIG DATA, design maps, select Vital Signs Monitors and Navigate the city’s neural networks for effectiveness and efficiency. The Strategy Locator can ultimately align connections and create a Meshwork of city operations that are Smart and responsively intelligent.

The Smart City Locator is produced originally by the Diversity Generator/ Business Innovators of the Human Hive and when its efficacy has been proven becomes the favorite functions used by the Resource Allocators/Civic Managers and Citizens who manage the internal functioning of the Human Hive – how are we doing in accumulating our 20 kg of honey per year (i.e. reaching our sustainability targets)?

It is also the locator used by Forager-Producers/Citizens to mark the implicit value exchange of their efforts – Do I have the basics of life? Do I have a job? Are the stores open? Do the buses run on time?

(This blog is one of a series on Waking Up the Human Hive Beyond the Smart, Resilient City to the Integral City – thinking notes for a keynote speech at IDG’s IT Smart Cities Conference, September 23, 2015, Amersfoort, NL.)

All cities of any size draw on energy sources to power functions. Smart Cities and Resilient Cities source their energy externally.

Evolutionary Power Source

Evolutionary Power Source

To build Smart Cities we drew on fossil fuels. To develop Resilient Cities we are drawing on renewable energy. To energize Integral Cities we tap into the energy at the center of our GPS compass – the internal energy that makes all the other locators respond and register intelligent responses. It has many names – Energy Source – Evolutionary Amplifier – Evolutionary Impulse – even Spirituality. I have called it simply the Evolutionary Intelligence. For good reason it sits at the center of the Integral City GPS Compass.

However we choose to understand or explain this intelligence, I believe it has left the evidence of 14 billion years of track record that has brought us to this room today. The consistency and persistence of its driving force is now explored by both scientific communities and spiritual communities, and begs us to discover the next evolutionary step of inter city and intra city collaboration.

The tentative explanations of both scientific and spiritual leaders seems to be converging into Quantum Thinking Theory and Field Theory – an energetic “Knowing Place” where visible and invisible energy open our understanding of cities – ecologies – and the universe – into other realms entirely.

Business Innovators tap its mysteries to leap ahead of what Citizens and Civic Managers sustain as the status quo. Civil Society Integrator’s observe its evolutionary patterns to discern alignment and re-balancing of systems.

As the sciences of mind and matter listen more closely to each other, it has become obvious that we need to convene the  4 voices of the city so that together we may tap into the power of this evolutionary intelligence as a Human Hive Mind. (Indeed over this last summer a movement of Russian cities is illustrating this principle by embarking on defining a Living Cities Charter to identify and operate by the principles implied by evolutionary, integral intelligence’s.)

(This blog is one of a series on Waking Up the Human Hive Beyond the Smart, Resilient City to the Integral City – thinking notes for a keynote speech at IDG’s IT Smart Cities Conference, September 23, 2015, Amersfoort, NL.)


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