New Book for 2017: 'COLTAN, CONGO'S CURSE'
Dec. 28, 2016
This is an excerpt from my upcoming book ‘Coltan, Congo’s Curse’
Pauline has a chance to address the US President and the United Nations Secretary General on solving global crises such as the one on conflict minerals in Africa.
Pauline suddenly realised that a more senior and more powerful audience than today would be impossible and with a nodded encouragement of Erik, she cleared her throat and tried to simplify her answer because this would be one unique chance only.
‘Gentlemen,’ she started, ‘Systems theory or Systems Thinking is science. It is a rather recent, but not a new science of how we see, understand and experience our world. It emerged around the nineteen twenties based on the vision that the whole cannot be understood from the parts alone. We see this world, our earth or planet as a living system where everything on it, the people, the sky, the plants, the water, all, are interconnected and interdependent because only as a complete system it can create, function and sustain life. As a student of the famous physicist Dr Fritjof Capra, I studied systems thinking and clearly see in that way of perceiving our world, solutions for the sustenance of life, human and non human are possible. You see, the biggest mistake people in power have made through all the centuries was that they thought that they could control people and nature. That somehow they perceived nature or reality as some kind of phenomenon outside of them. They saw it as a clock, a mechanism they could just take apart and replace that part that was not functioning to fix it again. They were looking at a mechanistic world, but mistakenly thinking that they were living on our planet, and not in it. Hubris caused by a superior feeling to control the universe made them blind to see themselves as an interdependent, interrelated and interconnected part of earth, water, biosphere, atmosphere, the entire cosmos. A systems thinker looks at the whole, while outdated science in a reductionist manner, looks at the parts as if nature is a machine and functions according pre-set laws. But you, me and everyone in this room are living systems and dependent on those conditions that sustain them. A machine can be controlled, but nature can only be disturbed. Systems thinking starts with understanding what life truly is, for example a cell can only replicate when other conditions, such as environment, nurture, oxygen, etcetera are available in the correct quantities. Another example is that your body automatically functions; your breathing, your heart, your blood, your auto-immune defence mechanism, renewal of cells, your digestive system, your brain. They all can function exactly and in balance because we don’t meddle with them. Try to enforce breathing or to enforce digesting your food. It will only lead to disturbance of the system and therefore this leads directly to instability, sickness and physical complaints. You can use this as a metaphor for what is happening all over the world and now we are here to talk about the Coltan curse, which has been created by those people who think that they can control nature by force. They think they can squeeze the last particle of mineral out from the earth whilst leaving a trail of death and misery. A systems thinker would not do that. He or she would look at quality rather than quantity and would accept all information, even that information which would interfere with a pre-set goal of money making.’
She paused a moment, ‘so in short, sustenance of life is the same as the sustenance of business, you would have to allow all information, called feedback, and steer processes in trade, economics or finance to remain within natural boundaries of functionality, just like our bodies are doing now. Because the way we do business or politics is directly linked to a financial system that is intentionally designed to operate beyond laws of nature. It is enforced upon us all by some very powerful individuals who have been allowed to create money from nothing which they lend to us against interest. This debt generating system therefore contaminated and corrupted everything! This money supply is based on the creation of debt. It is logic that debt pressurizes people to act unnaturally because they are afraid, hence the current status of humanity. Do you see the connection? The only pure life for people left to do is trying to live off the grid as you see many people are starting to do. You have to ask yourself this question: is it good?
This, I do believe, would be the way to go from now and I hope you will address this issue at the next UN Assembly meeting in New York in order to educate, not regulate. Capra stated that the real cause of our global crises is a crisis of perception, seeing the world as something separate from us and therefore we believe that we can get away with exploiting and eventually destroying her. But once we have eliminated the conditions for life, such as our environment, water, trees or killed other species on which we depend, we too will perish. We are at a tipping point.
Dear Secretary General, Mr. President, just look at what is happening in Syria. The US and its NATO allies want to get rid of its legitimate ruler Assad and started funding and arming the rebels, but the fundamental intention is the geopolitical control over energy supply in the form of oil and gas pipelines and natural resources. A same scenario was followed when the western world decided to get rid of Saddam Hussein. Iraq is actually a success now that western oil companies have gotten access to the vast oil reserves and are selling Iraqi crude oil as if they own the place. But they were able to secure export contracts only with a favourable puppet government. Saddam Hussain would not never have allowed interference or have sold Iraqi oil contracts, so he had to go. The price of those export contracts are paid by hundreds of thousands of innocent people who got caught in the crossfire. In Systems Theory we call that a non-linear effect. For example, ISIS is a real time non linear, non-controllable and destabilizing consequence of enforced mechanistic linear control.’
She looked at the leaders of the free world and saw in them straightening their faces, a sign of acknowledgement.
‘A systems thinker would know in advance that rebels cannot be controlled because nature can’t be controlled. This could have been mathematically calculated by the intelligence agencies using systems science before that you, Mr. President, gave the go-ahead. Because physics and mathematics confirm that even the smallest differences in initial conditions yield widely divergent outcomes for such dynamical systems rendering long term predictions impossible. This actually is the definition of the butterfly effect and chaos theory. You probably agree with me that chaos has been achieved in Iraq and Syria which cannot be controlled. The chaos there is then directly causing chaos in Europe, because streams of refugees are formed which then destabilize European countries, etcetera; an interrelated and interconnected cause and non linear, non controllable effects. These so called interference factors can best understood as destructive relationships. They apply to everywhere where conflict and wars destroy conditions on which life depends, including DRC. Therefore the solution to solve the Coltan chaos in DRC can only be found in systems thinking. It means going to establish the first cause principle which is denial of reality or delusion of control, and work our way back through education and restructuring the entire area until it again functions within natural boundaries as only in that way it will become sustainable and can continue to provide essential minerals for our world, without them being covered in blood. At this moment banks, traders, energy companies, pharmaceutical companies, GMO and insecticides producers, mining enterprises, clothing industry or palm oil producers, just to name a few, try to operate beyond this universal or planetary natural capacity or beyond laws of nature for sustenance. These practices that are directly caused by an outdated reductionist illusion of control are therefore disturbing and destroying nature and thus ultimately themselves, because after all, they too a part of the same nature or natural environment. To clarify, environment is not outside people, it is a part and condition of people’s ability to survive.
At this moment poachers are killing the last of the few remaining elephants and western lowland gorillas in Congo’ Virunga National Park, exactly because they don’t understand or deliberately ignore their interdependent relationship with environment. They even kill the park rangers who attempt to protect the animals. Ask yourself; can business operate outside environment? Can life be sustained outside environment? Can therefore a business exist without life? Everything needs to be kept within natural functionality. What we now witness everywhere is an interrelated process of malfunctioning. Funny, we built computers to keep everything functioning, but human behaviour cannot be controlled by some kind of algorithm. Only human minds can do this but only by accepting that reality is real and cannot be escaped. We have to rebuild the human capacity to think.’ Pauline watched the expression on the faces of her audience.
‘Systems Theory is the ultimate risk management tool. All you have to do is steer or guide the political or business process under those conditions that do not disturb or harm human and non-human life, the environment and social cohesion. That should not be too difficult? But it is up to you. We will not be able to solve the global conflicts or crises in separation because we are facing systemic risks, which fundamentally share the same cause; we are disturbing our interdependent relationship with a natural equilibrium and use force to earn the unearned, which directly causes chaotic destabilization.’
‘And you are saying to us that this is science?’
‘Yes Mr. Secretary, very much so. This is certainly not based on some kind of left wing green ideology or populism, it is pure science which is in line with common sense plus the logic reconnected with our hearts and minds, It is replacing the old ways of clockwork universes or mechanical animals without soul or spirit. Systems thinking is reconnecting everything. We have to go back in time to understand it better. Before the seventeenth century people still felt to be a part of nature and spiritual phenomenon. That was before Rene Descartes’ Cartesian world view which defined that the world is a clock working according mechanical laws. His influence initiated the faulty perception of separation of mind and matter: the so called mind-body dualism. The mathematical certainty of Isaac Newton who stated that everything in our universe functioned according to mathematical laws, still influences main stream sciences. This mind-matter dualism actually is the first cause of all our current crises. But today exhilarating new sciences are available such as relativity which eliminated the Newtonian Illusion of absolutes. Quantum mechanics eliminated the dream of a controllable measurement process. Chaos theory eliminates the fantasy of deterministic predictability and systems theory confirms that everything is connected, interrelated and interdependent. Our reality can only be understood when we look at the whole. The observer effect confirms that we as people are always a subjective and objective part of a process and outcome and therefore are fully responsible for our choices and actions. It is of decisive importance that we start to listen to Capra, Maturana, Lovelock, Bateson, Luisi or Sheldrake. We are an anthropogenic factor either causing chaos or happiness. What is your choice?
Before I finish I’d like you to think about it for a minute and apply this systems idea on all the crises we are observing in our world today by asking yourself this one question: ‘Did we use all available information or not? An example would be water security. We know that a large part of our global population lacks access to clean drinking water. Of course, this fact is being ignored, so it becomes quite easy to understand that revolt is being risked constantly. Because of the lack of clean water, greedy companies see a niche market and offer to sell poor people the water extracted from the aquifers situated under the same lands these people live on. Is such a business sustainable? No, because I know that thousands of people avoid buying products from these companies.
Millions of people won’t buy genetically modified foods and that is why the GMO producers are fighting against mandatory labelling their products. And did you know that in India alone, almost 300000 poor farmers committed suicide because they can’t afford the patented seeds contractually enforced upon them by big GMO firms to farm their land? Another example: we all know that US and European politics are not conducted for the benefit of all people, but are compromised by allowing lobbyists to influence policies. Ignoring the voice of the populace now gives rise to right wing populism as an expression of revolt. You see, everywhere the same principle and patterns apply; not using or allowing all information because ulterior motives prevent us to see the whole system, results in destabilization. Our central planning to globalize finance, trade using computer algorithms to beat the human brain in time response, centralize military control enforce, embargoes on other nations that do not share same interests, can only thrive in separation. Such practices are unnatural and destabilize life for all. They are unsustainable, because they all try to operate beyond natural boundaries. Isn’t it wonderful to finally understand how easy it can be?’