|The concept or Regenerative Paradigm, as defined from the Developmental school
|Communities of Practice:
|A paradigm guides, governs and controls the organization of individual reasoning and the systems of ideas that obey it and contains, for any discourse under its rule, the fundamental concepts or master categories of intelligibility. (For more in depth discussion, see Paradigm page this summary was taken.)
Life as reference
The regenerative paradigm serves as an instrument for the evolution of being. One comes to understand oneself as a living process, embedded and intertwined within all of the other processes that make up a living world. The sense of personal identity drops away, to be replaced by a deep and caring resonance with each specific living being one encounters. This resonance creates an unshakeable commitment to enabling all living entities to awaken and express their indwelling potential in service to life’s evolution.
Whole living beings
One has moved in a dramatic way from the broad and general to the concrete and specific. One can only regenerate life for something particular—a friend, a beloved town or landscape, a favorite business—and only when one has a deeply embodied understanding of it, alive and at work, mutually engaged with its proximate environment. One can work on regenerating larger and more complex systems, such as watersheds, nations, or industries, but only when one has developed the capacity to understand them as whole living beings rather than as abstractions. When this living understanding is present, it opens the door to enormous creative energy as the being, whether an individual human or an entire ecosystem, discovers new ways to express its essence in reciprocity with the evolving life around it.
Serving the development of others
At the level of the regenerate life paradigm, one’s thinking moves from doing things for others or to others toward serving the development of their capacities, capabilities, and agency. This implies respect for and faith in the ability of living beings to become their own sources of creativity and self-‐determination. We do not mean to suggest a laissez-faire approach that forces individuals and communities to sink or swim, depending on the resources they can muster. Rather, we are pointing to an unwavering commitment to provide the infrastructure necessary to support
the development of living systems as they become increasingly successful participants in evolutionary processes.
Working from potential
Available energy is invested in helping everyone and everything tap its inherent orientation toward growth.This dedication to developing the potential and effectiveness of every living being, from smallest to largest whole systems, is the hallmark of a regenerative economy. It invites everyone onto a path of evolution, growing their ability to manage increasingly complex relationships in ways that produce wealth and new capacity for all stakeholders. A degraded watershed evolves its ability to integrate increasingly complex biological communities so that the river it feeds can provide healthy, oxygenated water for humans, ecosystems, and eventually the ocean. A business evolves its ability to manage innovation, production, and distribution, and becomes increasingly able to bring products to market that have the power to transform the lives of its customers and its industry. A child evolves toward adulthood by taking on increasingly ambitious and personally resonant challenges, extending her ability to think, collaborate, and express herself in the process.
A path of evolution cannot be predetermined, and thus the invitation to step onto such a path must be made without preconceptions with regard to the speed or direction of growth. These must be dictated by the living being on the path, in dialogue with its context. After all, for the process to be evolutionary this being must
make a meaningful contribution to the future health of its environment, thereby securing a role and a place for itself in this future. This is how the regenerative paradigm addresses the shadow side of the do good paradigm. The good that one sets out to do at a regenerative level is always guided by the perspective, inherent potential, motivation, intention, and drive to contribute of that which one seeks to serve.
Example applied to economy
A regenerative economy works to realize the potential and grow the wealth generating capacity of every living entity it touches. The focus of such an economy is on the matches among what a living entity has the potential and aspiration to become, the role that this allows it to play within the context of a larger system, and the value that it can therefore contribute.
From a regenerative perspective, the role of social institutions, including economic institutions, is to foster and nurture this living development for all. Although we stress the importance of growing self-‐determination, we always intend this to be understood as occurring within a context of mutualistic exchange and cooperation, supported by developmental infrastructure. We do not mean to suggest that there is no role for social institutions, but that these institutions need to evaluate their effectiveness based on the degree of self-‐determination and capacity they have helped to generate.
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