Life in the plate

Raw food heartResearch in collective intelligence, as you know, connects to every aspect of social life. One of them I like very much: food. Indeed, what lands in our plate comes from a collective process that involves ecosystems, animals, plants, many humans, and a lot of technology.

First, collective intelligence in the nutrient: from its birth to our plate, food carries a super complex thread of life, death, actions, experiences. Collective intelligence in the cuisine, one of the pillars of every culture. Collective intelligence in the very fact of eating. From time immemorial, a meal represents a universal space of sharing and togetherness, present in every civilization. What happens in our psyche when we eat? What does our species and our planet experience during the billions of meals that happen every day? Collective intelligence, in the beliefs and ignorance that haunt every society and every human in regards to food. Everything tells me that this ignorance plays an active role in the genesis and homeostasis of every culture. Once more, it raises the question of truth in the collective.

What food?

I had to start from somewhere in order to open this long inquiry. So I began with this very simple question that I use as a guiding thread:

What food makes us healthy while doing good to the living in general?

A first quick answer: certainly not the food that lands in our plate today.

I have explored this single question for years, both at the theoretical level –health, nutrition, environment– and at the personal level, observing the changes that happen in me when I shift my diet (I also speak about it in the about page).

What health?

What do we call health? I often hear people reply “not having any disease“. An answer somehow superficial and automatic, that focuses only on the individual. A person may have no biological disease and yet have a calamitous health due to an unhealthy lifestyle or a poor psychological, social and spiritual life. It doesn’t matter whether we talk about the body, the mental or the spirit, we quickly come to realize that health operates as much in the individual as in the collective, and that we build our connection with health with culture and unconscious assumptions.

What would happen if…

… humans began to eat consciously?

I like to contemplate this latter question. Of course we can expect quite positive consequences on health and ecology, somehow easy to extrapolate. Inner transformation catches my attention even more, as consciousness walks hand in hand with the way we feed ourselves.

As for my personal journey, the call for a healthy and conscious eating lead me to become a vegetarian first, a vegan next. Then I got rid of fat and gluten, and evolved towards raw food. People call it live food, and in this more precise case, I love to stick to the 80-10-10 diet. It seems that this way of feeding myself addresses each and every question I raised earlier:

  • At the ecological level, this diet supports ecosystems, as we need to plant trees. It highly reduces the ecological footprint (water, carbon, pollution, etc) ;
  • At the individual level, after I explored many different diets and cuisines, I have never experience something better than live food healthwise. My body works better, it has a more robust defence system (I rarely get sick), it gains energy, liveliness, endurance, sleep, sexual capacities, you name it! My ideas and thoughts become clearer, I need less hours of sleep, my consciousness keeps expanded. Body, mental, spirit… every plane enjoys the ride;
  • At the societal level, the live food cuisine builds a harmonious relationship with our environment, and with ourselves.

However I don’t say that humanity should move towards this specific diet. The question of food has an infinite number of parameters which we cannot corner in a simplistic answer. I don’t believe in the ultimate diet. Furthermore, I don’t cope with systems that want to enclose every human being in a unique behavioral model that everyone should follow so that society can work. All the “isms” of industrial society have their root in this idea of homogenization. We know the consequences. So here I just try to unveil some principles that may have interesting consequence in a vaster and more diverse landscape of parameters and behaviors.

Ignorance as an active principle

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Food offers an extraordinary space of observation for my research on the active principles that provoke and maintain ignorance and beliefs in the society. By “active principles” I make a distinction from “passive principles” of ignorance that come from a simple lack of knowledge.

For instance, people often explain to me that we can hardly survive without animal proteins. They assure with an absolute certainty that we have a carnivore metabolism, and that fruits don’t contain proteins. Have they seriously explored other perspectives than what the doxa imposes to them? Rarely.

Ontological obscurantism adds itself to these false beliefs, I mean the use of words and semantic categories that separate us from the way reality works, and from the empathy we can have with other living beings. Let’s take the word meat for instance. This word “thingyfies” the living by downgrading it to the level of inert and mineral matter. The same happens when we say we eat chicken or fish, of when we raise cattle. These words don’t connect us to the web of life. Thingyfication belongs to ontological mechanisms which purpose consists in maintaining a separation with a vaster and more evolved reality.

Even more interesting: although many people know their diet doesn’t do good to them, how many decide to change? A tiny minority. The majority perpetuates its usual addictions, saturated with certainty. Rather than radical change, this majority prefers drugs, cardiovascular diseases, hospital and all the related victimhood. What kind of dependency and belief maintains people trapped in their own jail at the expense of their own life? The discipline of collective intelligence gives us a profound understanding of this equation. I will write more about it in the future.

Sourd, muet, aveugleMeanwhile humanity dips in its own obscurantist juice and its crass ignorance. I see the signature of a collective consciousness not quite yet awaken, driven by the insatiable and anguished pulls of crowds in need of fat, sugar, salt and blood. The massacre of an unprecedented barbary perpetrated every second on other non-human beings proves it. On top of it, a disaster in the human community in which junk food became the best Grim Reaper’s ally in industrialized countries. Our descendents will likely see our societies as extremely violent and archaic.

The evolution of our species will not happen without the evolution of the way we eat, which invites us to exploring every possible direction, then share the experience. Exactly what I intend to do here.

Beyond food

In the end, don’t you think the true question consists in learning which energetic flow keeps us alive, happy and healthy? Physical food provides energy contained in the matter that the body harvests through chemical reactions. However the matter does not compose us, it goes through us. Like cresting waves, we keep a shape for a certain time. This shape erects, transforms and melts itself back in the Great Ocean.

Therefore I focus on the very way we can manifest and keep our vital energy without narrowing it to physical food, just like we cannot confuse “travel” with “car”. Let’s not confuse the end and the means. Direct experience again has shown me that no simple correlation exists between the quantity of calories we absorb and the energy present in the body. Many other emotional, psychological and spiritual factors play in the equation. We can control and regulate our energetical state not just through the sole food, but also through meditation and breathing techniques. People usually mention pranic food. I don’t cope well with this naming since no eating process happens here. An inner autonomous process takes place in the very center of the body, very different from the “filling” from an external source. Indeed, in this precise state of consciousness, the words outer and inner don’t mean very much anymore. How can we separate the wave from the ocean?

I already hear the “impossible!” shouting and other miffed arguing: how can a scientific mind like mine consider other options than physical food? Precisely, science consists in exploring the unknown and integrate what comes from observation, without judgment, and not to reject things that don’t fit in our current map of reality.

I have already tasted enough of the energetical approach to make it a privileged direction of my research. I’ll keep you posted.

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Some reference:

[stextbox id=”info” bgcolor=”ddddddd” bgcolorto=”ffffff”]I wrote this text in e-prime. As a non-native English speaker, it takes a lot of efforts for me to write like this. No matter what, it needs improvements and corrections from a native English person. If you feel like helping on this, please contact me![/stextbox]

 


From Centifolia to Centisophia

Two years ago I participated in the making of an event called Centifolia (scheduled late Oct. 2011). This event gathered players in the perfumes & cosmetics industry in the city of Grasse, South of France, known as the world capital of perfume.

What did I do in such an event, and what interest should I have in this sector of the economy?

First, my co-creative partners and I had 100% freedom to design the event in order to increase its collective intelligence. Second, the perfumes & cosmetics sector, that many people consider as superficial and useless, occupies in reality an important place in our everyday life, and in the economy in general. Indeed, viral ideas and collective intelligence actions can potentially provoke an inspiring and leveraging wave, in this sector as well as in other sectors. Yummy! So we played.

 

Lipstick - Gustavo RodriguezLipstick and gloss?

Many people, specially among the cultural creatives and generation Y part of society, have a negative and alienated understanding of the perfumes & cosmetics sector. They see it as lipstick and gloss. Wrong. Cosmetics go from make-up to toothpaste, sunblock, shampoo and soap. You can define it as any product that comes in contact with your body. Cosmetics have always existed and will always exist.

Important to know: heavy weights in this industry don’t just do “perfumes” and “cosmetics”. Take a look at P&GGivaudanFirmenich or IFF… These guys also play in the flavors & fragrance field. They decide how our food, our drink or our detergent will smell and taste (well, you don’t want to taste the detergent).

That said, this industrial sector (like so many others) shows quite some alarming facts:

  • Some products come from the extraction or exploitation of natural resources from all around the world. In many cases it affects ecosystems and hurts local populations (farmers, indigenous people…) who often operate under the control of local mafia. Child labor, degrading working conditions and wage slavery appear as common cases, from India to Haiti, from Australia to Madagascar.
  • Some products affect our health
  • Some products affect the environment (packaging, chemicals…)
  • Some products rely on animal testing

On a more systemic and global point of view, humanity has built its economies with a scarce monetary system called “money”. Scarce money provokes an incentive to “hunt” for… money. Such an activity requires the laying of “money traps” everywhere. Many, if not most, products on the market have this unique function of attracting this scarce money. We find no humanistic goal, no spiritual value, no healing function whatsoever, although these products do claim to serve a need. Therefore in many cases the making of a product comes with the making of a need. The products create the need, and not the opposite. To do so, the use of manipulation, temptation and lies to create the need have become a common and accepted practice, regardless the systemic consequences or the moral issues. This mechanism induced by a scarce monetary system leads to consumerist societies and consumption based economies.

Supermarkets and TV commercials offer a good observation field. We see in a live way how lie and manipulation principles operate.

Enter in any supermarket, observe and ask yourself how many products have a real humanistic, environmental or spiritual function? How many products provoke an immediate stimulus (pleasure), and how many trigger a genuine happiness?  You will likely conclude that humanity could thrive and have its highest needs served without most of the products aligned in the aisles. Also take a look at the packaging… the messages, the flashy colors, the subliminal words and images, the chosen spots in the store… Does it speak to your higher self or does it titillate your reptilian brain?

Watching mainstream tvWatch TV commercials, and count the number of mind-numbing and debilitating messages. Observe how they manipulate, how they trigger the most basic drives in human psyche (hunger, sexual desire, etc) or invoke the highest spiritual values (freedom, self-realization…). This dynamics, now fed with more and more neuromarketing data, institutionalizes a societal practice of lies and manipulation. “This cream will make you look 20 years younger“, “this toothpaste will give you a Hollywood smile“, “this soap will make women happier“, “this shampoo will make you look like a star“, etc.

Neither blaming and censoring the big brands, nor doing social activism against them will escape the whole system I just sketched. Only a global, distributed, systemic, innovative response can transcend it. Rather than becoming more terrifying players inside the current rules, why don’t we change the rules themselves and play a much funnier game?

Hence, the way we consider health and well-being can evolve. The way we define wealth can evolve. The way we trade with one another can evolve. The way we create economic ecosystems and currencies can evolve. Entrepreneurship can evolve. Information transparency can evolve. The whole game can evolve. It just takes a handful of committed visionary people who decide to play in another field and to show that they definitely have much more fun there.

 

What happened in Centifolia 2011?

So, back to Centifolia 2011… This event swirled around the idea of the “Perfect Product”. A perfect product embodies and manifests Beauty, Goodness and Truth, which we call universal primary values (like primary colors). Hence this conference that I gave (see below). In a nutshell it says that from this universal human value system called “Beauty, Goodness and Truth” we can build new, juicy, generous, innovative, sustainable businesses that support the emergence of conscious markets.

And if you feel like exploring a little more, you may watch this conference called “Our Species Evolves, and You?” I gave it for the opening of Centifolia. It explores some of the current trends of our society: where do markets go? Why do they become “conscious”? What any CEO should know today (that about 100% of them don’t even suspect)? What opportunities do we have ahead of us?

 

 

Centifolia 2013: “The Wealth of a Product”

From Wed. Oct. 23 6pm to Friday Oct. 25 2pm

Many congresses, fairs, shows, conferences and conventions talking about perfumes & cosmetics happen during the year in different places of the world. Well, Centifolia 2013 will NOT look like any of these events. On the contrary. So I should make myself very clear here: people who want to do business as usual won’t find any interest in attending Centifolia 2013.

Fleur CentifoliaThis year’s theme?  The Wealth of a Product.

Check the official website.

What?

What wealth can a product really create, provoke, attract? In this context, we use the word wealth in its broadest and deepest sense. Wealth as for value creation, benefits, satisfaction, health, environment, society, entrepreneurship, joy, relationships, trust, interconnectedness, universal values… In 3 words: Beauty, Goodness and Truth. We call it integral wealth.

On the societal side, can we imagine products that don’t create winners on one side and losers on the other side? Usually the “losers” side includes the environment, indigenous populations, and the society at large (alienation, consumerism…). Sellers and buyers (not always) compose the “winners” side. Actually, not true indeed for the winners’ side: from a systemic perspective, everyone loses. It just depends on which scale of time we look at these things. Only conscious markets can attract and sustain these no losers enterprises. Good news: conscious markets grow everywhere, mostly throughout the Internet. We will make a clear demonstration of this evolution during the event.

We can then ask the following questions:

  • What kind of organization does it take to enter in conscious market’s ecosystem?
  • How do we create a no losers company?
  • Where do we start from now?
  • What can conventional companies do in order to evolve?

We will address these questions through conferences and interactive spaces.

Who?

We will invite speakers that play at every levels of the chain of value creation. From indigenous producers to R&D, from purchasers to recyclers, from marketing & sales to final client, from CEOs to noses (well, not just the nose, but also the person following it)… Even more: we want to hear the voices of society and the environment. Both have amazing insights and value proposition for tomorrow’s markets.

This web of experiences will help everyone build a holistic understanding of the current human ecosystem of the sector. And when an ecosystem becomes conscious, extraordinary evolutionary capacities begin to manifest.

How?

On the methodological side, we will implement different spaces that trigger collective intelligence, creativity, consciousness, entrepreneurship. This includes:

  • TED like conferences: short, innovative, with super-prepared Ninja keynote speakers. They will inspire us with their stories and experience (check Centifolia 2011 conferences to get a sense of it)
  • World Cafés: one of the most efficient way to connect while enhancing collective intelligence in the room
  • Circles: to build a sense of the collective and see what wants to emerge
  • Informal time: to give space to the unexpected and the invisible
  • Delicious meals: to celebrate and enjoy each other’s presence with organic food (of course )
  • Online spaces: to invite global collective intelligence and connect with the world
  • Medias: to film, interview, collect experiences and insights
  • Graphic facilitation and cartooning: because no one can seriously create and innovate without them
  • Art, music, fun, humor: because we don’t want our right brain to look like a raisin

Our highest expectation? That attendees leave Centifolia with thriving ideas, innovative concepts, new connections, an open and exciting vision of possible futures, a joyful and concrete sense of no losers businesses.

Centisophia comes as an obvious next step.

 

Centisophia, the next step for pioneers!

Friday Oct. 24 afternoon – Saturday Oct. 25 evening

Centifolia, we talked. Centisophia, we do.

It will gather people who want to move on, people who want their hands on innovative projects that embody the visions shared in Centifolia. People with a pioneering drive.

Harry Atwood in Wright Brothers AirplaineThese pioneers want to operate via the next forms of collective intelligence (we call it holomidal collective intelligence), that have a much higher capacity for innovation, learning, decision making, resilience, anticipation, and wisdom-driven action. Attendees feel an irresistible attraction for integral business models and conscious markets. They come to share their direct experience and unveil concrete visionary projects, existing or future ones.

Centifolia had open doors for everyone, Centisophia will require candidates to apply for their participation. We expect motivated people and we want to make sure that everyone has a clear understanding about the objectives of the event. The applicant’s social status (global CEO or humble entrepreneur) doesn’t play any role here. Only motivation and open-mindedness count.

In regards to designing our interaction spaces, we will continue with the same dynamics as during Centifolia, but in a more advanced way. Our spaces will become super interactive. We will also play with new ways to engage with one another in order to harness our creativity.

The outcomes? It depends 100% on participants. For knowing a number of them personally, I can tell how motivated they feel and the senior experience they have. Some of them had global CEO positions in the old economy, today they decided to play like young excited teenagers in the new economy. I like it.

If I had to describe Centisophia in a few keywords? Out of the box, provoking, inspiring, outstanding, pioneering, a space of its own, business not as usual, collective intelligence, conscious markets, integral wealth, next opportunities…

Please drop me a line if you feel like playing !

 

New design to save water

 

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