Synthesizing Our Local Communities
The global systems failure on many fronts points to the end of centralized control and an emerging synthesis of restoration, recovery and reconciliation of local communities.
At The End of the Road in The Middle of Nowhere
Julie Miles 2016
Understanding How “All Crises are Local”
Almost two and a half years ago I moved across the country, at the height of the pandemic, into a small community in the foothills of Northwest North Carolina. At that point in time, masks and social distancing were being enforced by customer service personnel in businesses and offices all over the country. I knew intuitively that these were about social control.
That year I crisscrossed the USA three times by car and truck and another time by air. Earlier that year, I traveled through three countries in Africa as the COVID outbreak began. Even then, I only wore a mask when someone personally asked me to do so. If a business, like a coffee shop that I had entered in the Midwest, tells me no mask no service, I’d leave, never to return to their store.
As all this was happening, I wrote a short book called All Crises are Local: Understanding The COVD-19 Global Pandemic. I described what I saw.
“In November 2019, a virulent novel coronavirus, COVID-19, emerged in Wuhan, China. It quickly spread across the world in a matter of weeks. The complete story of this global pandemic has yet to be written. My interest is not the virus, but the world’s response to it.
The pandemic response by nations and global health organizations is a case study in a global systems breakdown. In the following pages, I want to illustrate how systems work. We are surrounded by biological, organizational, ideological and social systems. All of them are in play in this coronavirus crisis. To see them is to understand them. To understand them is to be able to solve the problems that are inherent in them. …
The COVID-19 pandemic is a case study in a global systems breakdown. …
COVID-19 is not simply a global health crisis. Public health is one function among many. As a systems crisis, the coronavirus pandemic impacts every person, organization, and community on a global scale. The crisis is impacting the economies of the world, the political cultures of nations, and the social progress that has advanced world-wide over the past century.
The question that I am asking is how to address one aspect of the system – public health – while maintaining a healthy alignment with all aspects of the system.”
The failure of the worldwide response to COVID, and yes, it has been a failure, measured in every statistical category imaginable, is premised on the false notion that centralized control is the best way to manage a global crisis.
In my short book, I treat the pandemic as a systems problem seeking a solution. Imagine if our public health lords were to simply ask, “What kind of problem is this pandemic?” Maybe they would have seen something different than lockdowns, closing schools, businesses, and churches, and fear-mongering the public into mass hysteria. Of course, as one former White House official once said, “Never let a crisis go to waste.”
If they applied my Circle of Impact model of leadership as a problem-solving tool, then they would have avoided the problems that they created. If you see the world through the lens of systems theory, you understand that things like viral pandemics, broken supply chains, out-of-control inflation, and proxy wars are intentional actions of the system. There are no mistakes. Everything is intentional. Even the lies used to cover up the most egregious aspects of the system’s breakdown could not be hidden by more lies. I’m not pointing a finger at any one person. For up-and-down throughout the organizational system of the world, people have been programmed to exert authority to avoid accountability.
The place where this system’s failure had its greatest impact was at the local level.
Is Collusion a Feature of A Systems Breakdown?
My Substack colleague Margaret Anna Alice, who writes Through the Looking Glass, has been a strong voice in the COVID pandemic resistance movement. Her research and clear writing support my perspective on the system’s failure at the heart of the pandemic. The system function at every level, from the Presidents of the US, both Trump and Biden, the trolls who wander social media looking for people who are out of compliance with the dominant narrative, down to the lowly barista in the coffee shop I mentioned above, see themselves as agents of the state.
In this post from two years ago, Margaret Anna Alice wrote a letter to the colluders.
I followed with this comment to this post.
“The question your letter raises is what happened generations prior, or centuries before that led to this state of mass conformity to evil. Two things can be said.
One is that this is not a bug, but a feature of social and institutional control. If you look at the history of Alexander’s March across the world, you’ll learn that he carried his own chronicler of his campaigns in order to get the story he wanted told into the history books. In other words, it requires a compliant media.
Two is the loss of the awareness of our own individual human agency. The best means of doing this is to create revolution against the current power structure. This begins with the tribal declaration of the requirements of justice against the current regime. In order to do this, you have to reject all legacy beliefs, whether religious or philosophical, and the institutions that they created, in order to declare a new age of freedom from the tyranny of the past. You can see this in all the revolutions that swept across Europe over the past four or five centuries. And the impact of Nietzsche’s rejection of metaphysics which conveniently was used to rationalize National Socialism.
The question is what do we do about this after we become aware? The first to realize is that we can become like them. If we are not careful, we’ll fashion our own revolution to throw the bastards out, because we, not they, are the righteous ones. The vehicle for this approach is to create institutional hierarchies where authority gets separated from accountability, and the people at the top become a rule of law unto themselves.
Second is that resiliency and resistance to tyranny begin at home and in local communities. It begins with our relationships with one another. There we support individual initiatives derived from our individual human agency to create strength between people and the institutions that serve people.
Three is the importance of understanding the shared values that unite a community together. They may be inspirational, but they must also be practical.
Fourth is that the difference between people and communities doesn’t automatically imply that they are a threat. Instead, it means that it is harder for a dominant cultural tyranny to dictate belief. When we can celebrate those differences, not as some political manipulation for revolution, but build networks of collaboration and reconciliation between people, then we can build ways to care for the whole of our communities.
Lastly, recognize that our responsibilities are far more important than our rights. As it is clear, those rights are being used to divide us and control us. When I recognize that the health of my community is dependent upon my fulfilling my responsibility as a citizen, I recognize why my own agency as a human being matters.
As always, Margaret Anna Alice, thank you for your brilliance and deep work to provide clarity in a time of confusion.”
Here is what I want you to understand. If you are a nice person, and you are used to go-along-to-get-along, you end up supporting tyranny. Naive trust kills people. Most people in countries around the world do not realize that they have become innocently complicit in the deaths from the virus and vaccinations. The reason why I believe this is that those who are in charge of society’s response have been unwilling to debate those who are challenging the official narrative.
When the authorities will not debate, tyranny now controls the nation. The number of deaths and the cause of death can be subject to interpretation. But if there is no discussion, no debate, it then shows us two things. One is that those in authority treat the people with disrespect. Two makes people like me wonder, what else are they hiding from us?
I return to what I said above. The breakdown in systems is not a bug, but a feature of our current institutional culture. I began my short book, Seeing Below The Surface of Things: The Brokenness of the Modern Organization, with this illustration.
“None of us see below the surface of things. We fool ourselves into believing that we understand what is going on, when we only see the shiny surface of things. As Paul Simon wrote in his great 1960s pop hit, The Boxer, “People believe what they want to believe, and disregard this rest.” If seeing is believing, then we only believe in the appearance of what we see, not the substance of it.
My former wife and I bought a house. At the time, it was almost a half century old. It sat on a beautiful piece of rural land in the middle of a suburban development. The house began as a vacation home. The owner before us was an architect who was more of a tinkerer, than a builder. He had done strange things to the house. We bought it because it was surrounded by woods, water, and land where our children could play.
What we didn’t know was that the house was falling apart in places that you could not see. The place looked great, but the concrete cinderblocks that were the original superstructure of the house were disintegrating. Not only that, but the blocks were leeching moisture up into the walls so that mold infected parts of the house. After I moved out, and our marriage ended, she tore the house down, and replaced it. It was then that she discovered that the house was close to collapsing on top of her.
The world of organizations is in a similar state. Looks great on the outside. Leaders exude confidence and authority. While on the inside, their control is disintegrating.
The structure of the modern organization is collapsing. It is crumbling from within. The structure is no longer adequate for the fast-paced world of change that we live in. In many respects, its persistence is an act of denying reality.”
This is the world that revolutions brought us. They are born out of righteous anger, fired by ego and the lust for power, and in the end, the collapse of the revolution will be surrounded by death and destruction. Think this is too hyperbolic? Think again. A century ago, The First World War was to be The War To End All Wars. The opposite happened. It set the stage for one century-long global war that is still being fought in a series of proxy wars up to this very day.
The Synthesis that Follows The Collapse
A collapse is coming. Presidents, Prime Ministers, Corporate CEOs, Reserve Bank officials, the media, Hollywood stars, and the wealthy 1% won’t tell you that, but it is. I see it in the breakdown of organizational systems. I see it in the growing separation between Upper management, Middle management, and workers. By the collapse, I don’t mean The Great Reset. It is going to collapse too. The Davos faithful are already abandoning their grand program of centralized control.
What does this collapse look like? Let’s use my Circle of Impact model to solve this problem.
We use the three dimensions of leadership to identify the problem. The measure of each dimension looks like this.
Ideas - Clarity of thought and purpose.
Relationships - Respect, trust, and mutual accountability.
Structure - Production of impact making a difference that matters.
We ask three questions.
What kind of problem is the coming collapse?
Is it an Ideas, a Relationships, or a Structure problem?
Based on what I have written above, the problem could be any of them.
If it is an Ideas problem, then it has a lot to do with the philosophies of business and revolution that have driven social development for centuries.
If it is a Relationship problem, then it is exhibited in the divisive tribalism that intentionally disrespects people and groups who are viewed as opponents of the revolution.
If it is a Structure problem, then it is a systems problem that infects all organizations and institutions globally.
If it is possible for each dimension to be a problem, we then choose the dimension that has the most critical need for change. In this case, it is the Structure dimension.
I am convinced that the institutional structures of the world will collapse. It will no longer function in the manner it was designed to do. We are already there in many areas.
What is the solution to the coming collapse?
As a problem-solving model, the Circle of Impact operates by a counter-intuitive principle. The two dimensions that are not the problem become the resources for the solution. For this problem, the Ideas and the Relationships dimensions are the resources for solving the systems breakdown of organization structure across the spectrum of organizations.
We are talking about creating concrete solutions to the real dilemmas of the organizations of society. We are not talking about an abstract proposal here. We are not talking about warm and fuzzy inspirational ideas. We are not talking about in-service training for better collaboration and communication. Both of those approaches assume the state of the Structure of the organization as a given, or only moderately a problem.
We are looking for a solution that recovers, restores, and brings reconciliation to the society of organizations globally.
We are looking for an anti-revolution born of relationships of respect and trust.
We are looking for a way for communities to identify shared values that guide them in how they address the crisis of organizations at their doorstep.
What is the context where this solution will be implemented?
I have described the world we live in as a Culture of Simulation. This culture hides the problems of society behind the Spectacle of the Real. It is how mass conformity and compliance were so easily achieved. People were seduced to believe all sorts of ideas without any proof based solely on the word of an authority figure. The lack of skepticism was a mark of the wholesale incorporation of people’s minds and hearts into the machine of the broken system. The case for compliance was rarely made in person. Almost always through the agency of the media and public relations experts.
If a solution is to work, it must be a solution that builds on relationships of respect, trust, and mutual accountability. There must be an environment where direct interaction with people is supported. For this reason, I believe the response to a global collapse will originate in local communities.
Your community may be a small town like where I live, or it may be your street in a suburban neighborhood or your floor in an apartment block, or the place where you work, play or worship. It is any place where other people meet to do things.
In those places, relationships can be developed by talking about the values that are important to you. Or, that can develop out of shared concern for people in hardship because of the collapse. It can happen as people gather to talk about how to develop new organizations to replace those that failed.
In my book, Circle of Impact, I write about the Two Global Forces. There is “the global force of centralized institutions of governance and finance” and “the global force of decentralized networks of relationships.”
Also see my three-part series in Substack -
They each relate to the subject addressed in this post.
This relationship represents the transition that I see happening through the collapse of Structure. The structure that replaces what I see disintegrating is the Network of Relationships.
The Synthesis is An Emergent Local Community
As I have written about Synthetic/Synthesis, I have had conversations with people about these ideas. These conversations have helped me to see the Synthesis bringing together all aspects of a community. Where something is missing, it will emerge and be found. This Synthesis will be driven by human initiative and creativity to recover, restore, and bring reconciliation to locales where collapse and revolution have brought pain, sorrow, death, and destruction.
It is best not to wait to begin this venture for your community. Begin now with clarity of thought. Shared values. Respect for differences. Trust in one another. Mutual accountability. And a commitment to stay the course, no matter how difficult life may become.