Relational Systemics

Relational Systemics

This section presents just a few of the areas of existence that can be viewed at a planetary level.  They affect humanity as a whole, or shape the nature of life around the globe.

They may be regarded as containers, or meta-systems within which individuals or organisations are operating, and which present their conditions for existence. 

They may also be viewed as major arenas of shared challenge and collective risk, and as the subject of our most significant vulnerabilities and the threats to sustainable existence or potential to thrive in the coming decades.




Humans spend a great deal of time thinking about money.  It has come to represent our success and our greatest fears.  Through recent centuries, we have managed money as if this would enable us to manage life itself and we have constructed systems for doing that.  This has been an unsuccessful strategy, even a disastrous one, such that systems like climate, ecologies and quality of life, which had no economic measurements, were placed beyond our criteria for choice-making.

While new approaches to economics are beginning to reshape our thinking, most of the structures by which we operate continue to generate damaging consequences.  A system which is intended to serve us is currently our master.  It is also under major threat of collapse.


Our understanding of life itself has taken a long time to develop.  For almost two centuries, evolution was viewed as the outcome of competition for existence.  Only in more recent decades have we begun to understand the true dynamics of life as a dance between diverse ways for organisms to survive.  These exist alongside deep and intricately interconnected webs of shared interest and mutual enrichment through which eco-systems evolve collectively to create sustainability through dynamic balance.  This is central to the Relational approach, with its understanding that the whole affects the parts and, vice versa, all inseparably. 

Ecologies and living systems provide a model for economics with the potential to shape how we see resources and the way in which these may flow, be shared, generate functional diversity and produce collective growth within natural boundaries.

National Politics

The ways we govern ourselves and make choices that are for the benefit of all are also under significant threat.  Some of the world’s largest and most powerful nations have been affected by repeated patterns where power is usurped by sociopathic and psychotic individuals who create internal chaos and/or drag their people and others into war.

This is a systemic problem because it operates throughout all layers and decision-making processes.  It is a Relational problem because it exists in multiple mind-sets that drive how we see ourselves, others, and what will generate constructive outcomes.


Geopolitics is contaminated by the machinations of sociopathic leaders and this is highly visible, but also distracts from the real problem.  It is also dysfunctional due to the side-effects of the global economic structures and by the same competition-focused mindsets that created our inability to understand ecosystems.  Geopolitics too, is a form of ecosystem, though never treated as such.  All of the systemic aspects listed here interact with each other, and Relational thinking is needed if we are to engage constructively with the complexities of this reality.    

Contributing to the above are a range of sometimes incompatible and sometimes unhealthy thinking systems which are present in humans and through which the world has emerged.  Major among the lenses described elsewhere on this site is the Spiral Dynamics Integral model, which lays out the mindsets concerned in detail, maps the dynamics of their interactions, and in consequence offers a range of solutions to bring integration, coherence and health to this complexity.  It brings an inherently Relational approach to these high-level systemic challenges and is a major component in creating the New Reality.

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