Achieving a Sustainable Society
Radical problems require radical solutions. However, the Movement for Imaginals for a Sustainable Society thru Implementation, Organization and Networking (MISSION) does not advocate violence and totalitarianism of any kind. Our radical solution is empowering, systemic, peaceful and democratic. We will advance true freedom, prosperity and sustainability. Our sustainable society will thrive on the basis of excellence. And most important, we understand that we can only transform societal structures to the extent we transform ourselves.
As a people, we have relied too much on government to give us peace, prosperity and happiness. Not only have we disempowered ourselves. We have set ourselves up for one disappointment after another.
We expect political miracles when we have not changed our culture and ourselves. We expect a political revolution without undergoing the necessary cultural transformation. We expect the same old mindset, beliefs, habits to result in something new and truly wonderful. But all is in vain. There will be no political change without cultural renewal and no cultural renewal without accessing the deep creative powers of our spirit and Divine Providence Who makes it all possible.
When we complain about government, we are actually giving too much importance to government and too little to what we can do in our work, in our culture, in our everyday life. MISSION will mobilize all key institutions of society and all citizens of goodwill, not only progressive individuals in government, to create a visionary country. We will create a new nation right here, right now, with ourselves and with our networks for meaningful lasting positive change.
Concretely, here is MISSION’sframework for peaceful societal revolution leading to the creation of a sustainable society.
Inner and Local Change As Foundation
We will start the process of transforming the Philippines where we are—in ourselves, our families, our friends, our communities, and our work, whether in business, government, or the diverse areas of civil society. From this starting point, we will reach out to like-minded individuals—young and old, male and female, rich and poor, of whatever religion—all over the country and in the different parts of the world. Eventually we will unite our efforts with others who have a similar vision and passion for creating a different Philippines with a meaningful presence in world affairs. We will also reach out to others whom we perceive to be part of the problem, hoping to establish a common ground for lasting social change through authentic dialogue.
Local change has the advantage of empowering those who will take social action for the first time in their lives. Trying to start with national problems can paralyze the will, because of its scale, complexity and difficulty. However, if we start with local problems, then the solutions are nearer at hand and within our reach. Later, we will unite our efforts with other similar groups to solve more challenging national and global problems.
But, from the start, we will see our tiny initiative not as an end itself. We will see our local work as a building block, within the context of, a larger project, an exciting new country that many are longing for. This mindset of seeing the larger whole towards which we are contributing something meaningful does make a difference in terms of our own motivation and perseverance. For we will indeed need heroic and almost superhuman motivation and perseverance to renew a country.
Radical social change can only begin with our self. We can only inspire and encourage others to the extent that we embody in ourselves the change we want to see in society. Institutional or structural change can only be progressive and long-lasting when these new institutional and social arrangements are activated by individuals with skill, knowledge, passion, integrity and honesty. We need to take control of our individual lives and our fate before we can help chart the destiny of our country.
Small, Independent But Networked Groups
Many have avoided action because they think that the task is too big for one or a few persons. But history has shown, time and time again, that we cannot underestimate the massive impact of a few individuals who are determined to achieve profound change. All great movements started with a few committed and dynamic individuals whom hundreds, thousands, and eventually millions joined in concerted action. For example, the mass movement that ousted former President Estrada started with less than two dozen deeply committed and extensively connected people.
We also have the unique historical advantage that, for the first time, the dynamics of peaceful societal revolution through networking are now better understood than ever before. There is a convergence of a wide range of scientific disciplines which can now be harnessed to advance positive and comprehensive social change. They reveal how a small group of individuals can achieve lasting and profound societal change.
Humanity, for example, has learned from the limits and disastrous results of bloody revolutions of the past two hundred years. Social scientists now understand how social movements emerge, develop, and succeed. The new science of networks details how social movements can further enhance their positive impact. What took decades to achieve can now be done in a few years, especially with the help of advanced telecommunications systems including the Internet and the ever-present and sophisticated cell phone. It is very difficult for dictatorships of all kinds, including trapo politics, to survive the realities of the Information Age and its smart social movements.
Society-Centered Threefolding Approach Instead of a Narrow Focus on the Government
Society is complex. It has three dimensions. It is more than just politics even though we, as a people, have an almost incurable addiction to confusing political change with societal transformation.
Societies also have an economy that can provide for the physical and social needs of its citizens. Therefore, the economy, not just politics, has to be transformed to make it more prosperous, efficient, equitable and caring. Society also has a cultural dimension. We are all embedded in a cultural reality that deeply affects what we think and how we feel act. We also need to change backward aspects of our culture to enable us to birth innovative approaches for saving a dying country.
The battle for hearts and minds is the mother of all battles, and will deeply affect what happens in the economic and political arenas. This is also why the peaceful societal revolution of MISSION requires an inner revolution in order to succeed in transforming Philippine society.
Ask the U.S. troops in Iraq how it felt to win military battles and lose the war of hearts and minds. Cultural power is the major power in any society and it is organized citizens and cultural institutions that wield it for good or for bad. This is the reason why MISSION will start first as a cultural revolution, and from this vantage point, it will influence the direction of politics and economics in the Philippines.
Lasting change thus will come only when we mobilize concerned citizens in ALL realms of society – economic, political, and cultural (especially civil society organizations). We need to build strategic alliances with citizens in all realms of society to successfully undertake the kind of radical societal change we want for the country.
Our call for transformation is therefore society-centered, and not state-focused as has usually been the case. We call this a societal threefolding revolution, referring to the peaceful radical transformation of all spheres of society. This does not mean shying away from political advocacy. Rather it means broadening the arena of struggle to include not only the political arena, but also the economic and cultural ones as well.
In this regard, MISSION will encourage, as a priority, the sprouting of thousands of visionary civil society initiatives and green businesses to begin the arduous but exciting journey of cultural and economic renewal. MISSION will also have a supportive but critical relationship with PANGMASA, PartidongMarangalnaSambayanan, a political party that focuses on mainstreaming new politics. (See www.nicanorperlas.com for more details on new politics and PANGMASA.)
MISSION expects that its work in the culture, together with the spread of green businesses, will ultimately be essential for mass acceptance of new politics. And all three – visionary civil society, green businesses, new politics, will eventually become the founding pillars of a sustainable society.
Rules of Engaging the Different Spheres of Society.
Our potent resource for nation-building is precisely our commitment as citizens of the country and the world, our passion for a better nation and our adherence to moral standards that we apply to ourselves.
We will condemn acts of violence and manipulation. But we will also praise acts of courage and creativity whether they be found in the realm of politics, culture, or the economy.
But we will not only stay on the sidelines, just criticizing or praising. We will also initiate innovative programs and projects, no matter how small, that will contribute to the betterment of the country. We will cooperate with individuals, groups, networks, and movements that seek a similar transformation of Philippine society.
One area of needing urgent innovation is the financial and resource sustainability of civil society. As we have seen, culture is central to the creation of a sustainable society. MISSION is introducing a new practice that will give sustainable support for and encourage creative freedom in the various institutions of civil society, the key actor in culture. This innovation is the practice ofsocietal giving, afreely given, no-strings-attached monetary and other support for civil society.
By its very nature, civil society work is non-profit and non-government. It therefore has to rely on external support to continue its work. Of course, civil society can raise internal funds through membership, sales of books, provision of services, and other means. But, often, except in rare exceptions, these means are not enough, especially if it wants to embark on major programs and project, for example, innovative schools, training centers, documentaries, to name a few.
In societal giving, individuals and businesses (or even other non-profit organizations) give 15% or more of their net income to a civil society initiative or institution. In the case of MISSION, movement members, who have the financial means, will give the 15% to MISSION’sBirthing Center to help the latter nurture the movement as a whole as well as other initiatives within the movement.
This practice is but one example of how there can be constructive engagement among the different and often conflicting societal spheres of culture, business, and politics.
As we advocate universally-accepted benchmarks for public, institutional and individual performance, we will not shy away from affirming performing public servants and institutional leaders just as we will uncompromisingly censure the underachievers, specifically those involved in anomalous transactions. We will encourage the emergence of new leaders and doers who exemplify innovative, dynamic and promising approaches and solutions to burning social questions.
MISSION is acutely aware that it needs to install “societal infrastructures” to facilitate the emergence and the functioning of the whole. Societal infrastructures are functions and resources that serve not just part of but the whole societal system.
MISSSION sees the importance of installing at least four “societal infrastructures”: human development, new integral communities, communications and finances.
Human Development.We have seen above the importance of human transformation in the pursuit of a sustainable society. MISSION will soon start its Institute for Self-Transformation and Institute for Societal Leadership to help the process of self-directed inner change as well as birthing new initiatives that will be the guiding lights along the way to a sustainable society.
Integral Communities.Part of the new skills to learn at the Institute for Societal Leadership is how to establishintentional village-levelintegral communities. It is relatively simple to start an initiative. But it is more difficult to establish an ecological farm, an alternative school, green businesses, renewable energy, organic architecture, holistic health facilities, and other sustainable initiatives, with all interacting harmoniously with each other in the same geographic area.
But once established, these integral communities will be the microcosm of the sustainable society of the future. They will be the testing areas, breeding ground, and staging centers for the new integral thinking, relational and practical skills necessary to build a sustainable society.
The impact on people near and far will be “electrifying”. People from all over the country and the world will visit these integral communities. They will become key nodal points in a network of light marking the advance and spread of sustainable society practices. They will become the new lighthouses for a radically different kind of sustainable tourism that will double as sources of inspiration for the pursuit of similar initiatives in other parts of the country.
Communication System. Of necessity, the movement will need to establish a national and global system of communication to spread their ideas on and initiatives towards a sustainable society. MISSION cannot rely on mainstream media to do this since the latter are the communication vehicles maintaining the decadent order of the old nation.
MISSION will set up an Internet-based communication system that will have TV, radio, and publishing capabilities in cyberspace. Its present website is but the germ of a future more comprehensive vision of a robust communication system that will reach millions. MISSION will cooperate, on a case to case basis, with existing mainstream media outlets that are genuinely interested in advancing integral sustainable development and the pursuit of a sustainable society.
Finances. Needless to say, all these initiatives will require huge amounts of financial resources. As discussed above, MISSION has set up a new system of societal giving to make this possible in the medium and long term. MISSION also foresees the possibility that, one day, out of the generosity and commitment of individuals who have a passion for the future of the nation and the planet, new donors will emerge who will give substantial amounts of their own wealth to advance the pursuit of a sustainable society.
Framework for Systemic Change.
MISSION’ssummarizes its framework for radical systemic change towards a sustainable society in the chart below.
MISSION’S FRAMEWORK FOR ACHIEVING A SUSTAINABLE SOCIETY
Change starts within each of us. We transform ourselves but within the context of the societal problems we want to solve. Participation in MISSION’sInstitute for Self-Transformationand training in the use of its Lemniscate process and other advanced modules can aid in this task. (read, “What is MISSION” for more details regarding the Institute.)
We then join with others in MISSION to participate in helping build a sustainable society. With them, we form the different autonomous local groups of MISSION.All the different movement groups undertake programs and projects that they think are appropriate to their situation. These can be political, economic, or cultural actions.MISSSION’sBirthing Center can help support and mentor individuals in successfully implementing and advancing their initiatives. (read, “What is Mission” for more details on the Birthing Center.) Successful initiatives then become the promising examples and best practices for others who want to also participate in the difficult but inspiring task of societal renewal.
Slowly but surely, MISSION, in partnership with the various initiatives, will encourage the networking and consolidation of the various initiatives in the cultural, economic and political spheres of society. The movement will then facilitate the cross-sectoral convergence of the various cultural, economic, and political initiatives – all geared towards integral sustainable development and the attainment of a sustainable society. Together these groups and their unification into a vibrant national network will create a powerful force for peaceful societal transformation towards a sustainable society.
In all these, MISSION’s societal infrastructure, as explained above, will play a key strategic and indispensible role.
Taken as a whole, we expect to have thousands of groups and initiatives all over the country and in the different parts of the world. While each action may seem limited to only a small aspect of societal transformation, collectively, these thousands of initiatives will start the necessary and radical transformation of the nation. This approach allows for the greatest creativity and local involvement to flourish while collectively impacting the future of the country at the national level and beyond.