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SOCIAL AND TECHNICAL EFFECT: INTEGRAL GREEN SLOVENIA
If a tenth daughter is being born, according to Slovenian tradition, when becoming adult, she is obliged to leave her family and her home and walk through the world for life-long, communicating with plants, animals and other beings. She has to live life beyond the usual and accepted patterns. This myth addresses a hidden and often ignored aspect of the human being related to our capacity to step out of the framework of the culturally accepted patterns. Within human beings there is a potential sensitivity towards plants, animals, landscapes and other beings that is usually suppressed. It represents the base of a new ethically more correct and loving relationship to nature and life itself. Seen in the mirror of the present moment the myth addresses that aspect within us as human beings capable of transcending political, cultural and economic norms. It addresses our sensitivity for the essence of nature, the language of birds and the voice of the heart – while “the voice of the heart" is not meant in the romantic sense but rather as a symbol for the intelligence of the heart dedicated to two basic ethic qualities, love and truth.
Marko Pogacnik, Desetnica: The Myth of the Tenth Daughter
INTRODUCTION: LIVING THE TRUTH TO INTEGRAL GREEN SLOVENIA
In our "Northern" journey toward an integral polity (see Figure 14.1. below), building at least to some extent on what had come before, we started out with Czech social dissident and ultimately president, Vaclav Havel, living in truth, as our grounding, with a view to reconstituting the natural world as the true terrain of politics, thereby placing morality above everyday politics.
Thereafter a group of social scientists based primarily in Europe, but also including Africa (including one of the authors, Ronnie Lessem), Japan and America, sponsored by the Munich-based management consultants Roland Berger, further evolved such "Living in Truth" to now also incorporate Goodness and Beauty. Indeed, picking up from where Plato left off, with truth, goodness and beauty, they co-evolved an approach to European innovation that now only encompassed our four worlds – humanistic and holistic, rational and pragmatic – but also incorporated truth within science and technology, goodness within management, and beauty in aesthetics. This, in turn, also became a composite model of integral European leadership.
Such an approach more recently, implicitly if not explicitly, is now being adopted by Slovenia, a Central European country with a long history of social-economy-oriented organizations. At the end of the 19th century, the system of co-operative societies which began to develop evolved into a mass social movement and as a defence mechanism of farmers, workers and craftsmen against the growth of capitalism. In the period leading to the war,
Figure 14.1 Integral Northern Polity
such a social economy encompassed an extensive network of associations, co-operatives, charitable enterprises, trade unions and professional organizations and unions. Noteworthy is the fact that the values which form the basis of such organized self-support and solidarity are still very vivid in the minds of people, which is an important source for the future development of the social economy in Slovenia. The end of the Second World War, however, and the arrival of the socialist social system, broke up this social economic tradition.
In addition to the reach tradition of social-economic enterprises, a diversity of sustainable practices have developed in Slovenia over centuries, for example of sustainable forestry (1) and rural tourism (2). As a country with extraordinarily rich biodiversity and landscapes due to its location at the junction of several ecological regions, Slovenia's natural endowment has been enhanced by a tradition of close-to-natural forest management and by low intensity farming (3).
In the final analysis, then, the contemporary movement toward an Integral Green Slovenian Economy and Society has picked up from where Havel left off. Building upon nature and culture, set in the context of an emerging European "network state", it is also, through its partner Trans4m, linked, locally, with a global integral green network, globally, most specifically in Africa, the Middle East and Asia.
THE FOUR ELEMENTS: MATERIAL, SPIRITUAL, EMOTIONAL, VITAL-ENERGETIC
Marko Pogacnik's (4) integral starting point, as a Slovenian sacred geographer and conceptual artist, whose unique craft takes him around the world, is the four elements that traditionally compose the fabric of life on Earth:
• the material (earth element), embodying the ecological;
• the spiritual (air element), representing the cultural;
• the emotional (water element) reflecting the social;
• and the vital-energetic (fire element), depicting the economic.
Basic for Marko's work is the decomposition of the borders that divide the visible and invisible, material and spiritual dimensions of landscape and life in general. His approach encompasses the beings of nature, like plants and animals, as well as the beings embodying the consciousness of Gaia, the Earth soul, traditionally called "elemental beings" or "nature spirits" which appear to modern human beings as invisible. Secondly, for him, there is no real border between human beings and the landscape. There are only human cultural projections that divide us. The human being is a micro-landscape integrating the plant, animal and elemental essence as well as similar power-structures that exist in the landscape as energy meridians and focuses of vital and cosmic energies, not to speak about the Gaia-consciousness that human beings share with all other inhabitants, visible and invisible, of our home planet.
Table 14.1 Dimensions of Landscape
There are indeed focal points for all four of the elements even within a small plot of land if it is cared for with love and action truthfully relating to all beings and the essence of Gaia. The extent to which these are manifest depends largely on the consciousness of the gardener, arguably then, for us, being the natural and communal base for our integral approach to sustainable development.
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