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 Power.
The concept of morphic or Akashic fields creates the possibility that we could harness the intelligence that is concentrated in the city to generate much greater (more complex) intelligence capacities than we have ever dreamed of. If we could truly learn how to think together, we could harness the massive leverage of parallel processing that has enabled us to design modern computers and neural networks (like the linking of personal computers for the SETI extraterrestrial life search project). If we can do this, we will see a significant phase shift in human intelligence that will give cities major new incentives to create optimal life conditions to better support human existence. By the same token, in an optimistic spirit, I anticipate that when this intelligence is harnessed we will finally have the power to add value to life on Earth that is both sustainable (not over-using resources) and emergent (always creating new capacities from existing resources).
Hamilton, M. (2008). Integral City: Evolutionary Intelligences for the Human Hive. Gabriola Island BC: New Society Publishers, p. 73
Solstice Reflections on the Spirit of the City
Cities, like beehives, are urban energetic nodes linked within a global energetic body, which we experience biophysically, psychologically, culturally and socially. After I published Integral City: Evolutionary Intelligences for the Human Hive,readers asked, where is the chapter on spirituality?
The first time I heard the question I was stunned! Mostly because I felt the entire book had been written for, by and as Spirit. It was an outpouring of appreciation for the mystery of Spirit manifested in the city – its power to change individual and family lives, create organic chains of interconnected organizations and alter the landscapes of eco-regions.
The Light of cities can be seen from space. As this light emanates from our cities outward from the planet, I think of them as power exchanges that light up the face of the Kosmos – the bright evidence of humans, who have evolved as Gaia’s reflective organs, showing the Kosmos reflecting on herself.
I love the pivot points of Winter and Summer Solstice that remind us of how the Light that touches the planet has the power to influence our relationship to Spirit. In the southern hemisphere solstice celebrations revel in the longest day of summer, and in the north, we turn on the power to our Christmas decorations, to Light up the longest night. It’s as though the interconnected net of cities in the north and south swings on a Yin and Yang energy flow that shifts the power of Light to Light the power of city Spirit around the world.
Perhaps it is this bi-seasonal pulse that flowed through my energetic body and lighted the Spirit of the Integral City to come to life in the book?
(PS: For an exploration of Spirituality in the Human Hive – check out the peer reviewed article in the Resources section below.)
December Solstice: Mystery of City Spirit
Cities generate habitats for Love!!. People come to love their city in powerful and palpable ways. They will die to defend it against overwhelming odds (like those who refused to succumb to the 900 day siege of Leningrad; or the bombing of Hiroshima or Nagasaki; or the shunning of Hanford, Washington).
People sense the spirit of a city. This spirit is palpable and shared by city residents who sense when it is healthy, stressed or damaged and fight to return it to a state of well-being. We have seen, with the visibility of modern disasters, that outsiders will even rally to restore the spirit of the city.
One such, “outsider” is Olivia Fermi, granddaughter of Enrico Fermi, part of the scientific team that developed the atomic bomb – which was the source of one the most potent experiences of power ever experienced by any city. Olivia has created a project (and a blog), she calls “On the Neutron Trail” and has journeyed to Hanford, where the plutonium was made for the bomb that destroyed Nagasaki, and which now is the site of one of the world’s largest environmental recovery projects. She has also recently visited Nagasaki and Hiroshima to visit the shrines in both cities and most importantly to meet citizens who are survivors of the World War II bombings.
Olivia says: “To this day, humanity struggles to make sense of what happened. Victory? Tragedy? These questions are part of a larger movement toward healing that I hope to support with my Neutron Trail journey.” Read more about her visit to Nagasaki here and Hiroshima here.
Citizens – and city visitors – with intentions like these, create the true spirit of a city. The expression and realization of intentions lie at the heart of the city’s energy — its joie de vivre, its esprit de corps. Citizen intentions dictate whether individuals experience happiness, well-being and quality of life in the city. It is imperative for cities to nourish the capacities of citizen consciousness – whether that be tending shrines, or telling stories to strangers, or healing others on peace missions (like the Peace Boat that has visited many cities around the world), so that the ever-increasing levels of complexity that exist in today’s cities gain minds, hearts and spirits equal to living optimally under these complex life conditions.
(Adapted from Hamilton, M. (2008). Integral City: Evolutionary Intelligences for the Human Hive. Gabriola Island BC: New Society Publishers, p. 147)
From Russia with Love: A Short History of the Power of a Strange Attractor
Symbols and logos seem to have the power of “strange attractors” with a life of their own. Let me tell you the story of the Integral City Compass Logo. It was first created in the late 80’s when I delivered programs under the name Global Learning Connections, with a special focus on Navigating for Profits. My graphic designer proposed Logo 1 in Figure 1 for the work. I especially liked the logo because in the centre two people appeared to join hands and push outwards into the waves of directionality marked by the nested quarter circles and arrows.