For stakeholder capitalism to work, doesn’t civilization need to first ? Might both already flourish around us, if not for human arrogance in the way of seeing it?

  1. Tree society gives unconditionally. On a hot day they provide shade and fruit equally to all beings — whether they be mammal, reptile, insect, black-skinned, white-skinned, brown-skinned, fur-skinned, right, left, liberal, conservative, activist, Capitol marauding supremacist, police officer, nun, serial killer, girl scout, logger, treehugger, etc. They just give and leave the vaporous ideas of good, bad, right, wrong, merit, and worth to others.
  2. The old and dying trees are revered and heard. Sensing their eventual demise, they intentionally pass almost half of their nutrients to local younger trees in the process of their decaying departure, the rest going to the soil to help seedlings become saplings.
  3. Tree groves, because they are communities of true advancement, take self-care to the highest degree. They only consume the very best and freshest the universe has to offer: nutrients straight from the soil, water fresh from the clouds, CO2 fresh from the air, photons fresh from the sun. And so trees are able to give to other beings (even those who aren’t exactly like them, or “share their values”) the very healthiest the universe has to offer: the healthiest fruit, seeds, leaves, nectar, sap, and, oh yes, the one getting a lot of attention because the concrete groves are still learning civilization — pure, wonderful, oxygen.
  4. Trees don’t live a zero-sum paradigm, but a paradigm of “if we don’t thrive, I don’t thrive”. When one tree is under attack by insects, it lets all the other trees know, regardless of species, so they can excrete a defense substance to repel the intruders and prevent all others from suffering the same fate.
  5. And yet, they do not experience the “against-ness” which is the number one plague in the concrete groves today. Even when excreting a substance to repel the beetles trying to eat them alive, the trees bare no against-ness for the beetles, they bare just for-ness of each other’s health and wellbeing. That works well for the trees. In our concrete groves if one is for something we feel we need to be against what we perceive as its opposition, to the point where we are no longer acting to solve what we are for but only to hurt what we are against. This does not work well for us humans. Look around. I remember the story of a particular “tree-sitter” — those who would bravely climb and dwell high on ancient redwoods to protect groves from cutting — upon returning to earth victorious after over 700 days over one hundred feet high, being swamped by reporters and hearing one yell,“You must be so happy — you beat the logging company! You really showed them!”, so they abruptly stopped the media mob’s yelling and replied, “Oh no. You have it wrong. I have nothing against the logging company. I am just for the trees.”
  6. There is no resource inequality in the tree grove. As dramatized in my ad hoc humanized tree conversation above, the moment any deficiency among them comes into their awareness, it is remedied through a redistribution of the collective wealth of that particular resource. There are no “tent cities” on the outskirts of redwood groves. If, like in the concrete groves, only 10% of the trees tried to keep 70% of all the grove’s resources, there would be no forests. There would be no trees. There may be no life as we know it. Perhaps that is what is happening now in the concrete groves.
  7. There is no force or coercion in the tree grove, instead there is only cooperation and collaboration. While the mycorrhizal fungi, an entirely different phylum altogether, is passing on valuable information and nutrients from tree root to tree root, the trees are passing back to the fungi a specially created sugar substance for them to thrive on given photosynthesis is impossible for them.
  1. Do I provide and share my natural gifts (ie the shade and fruits of the trees) unconditionally? Rating = 2. The painful truth is, while I am making inroads in this area, , the more consistent truth is that unlike the trees I still label and categorize my universe on fictitious scales and base my generosity of spirit, care, resources and time, on whether those scales have them in alignment with my own transient “left/progressive” ideas of right and wrong, good and bad. Not the true attributes of top level 21st century leader. While I serve clients with love who may be on “the other side of the aisle” than me, and also do volunteer work to serve lifers in prison with love who may have committed horrific crimes, it is sporadic behavior at best for me. I am nowhere near as advanced as the trees who give you all they can give regardless of who/what you are, 24/7, nonstop, as a way of being.
  2. Do I revere the elders who came before me and receive all they have to offer me? Rating = 2. As someone who is actually more in that demographic than I like to consent to, I am shocked at how little I reach out to those with long and amazing tenures here on earth to both receive their wisdom and experience, and then give back to them in gratitude. Leaders today need to live and model that.
  3. Do I distribute resources around me to where I sense need is? Rating = 3. Average. I could do better. I’m nowhere near a tree yet, but working on it daily to be the kind of leader a new economy will require.
  4. Am I capable of, and do I practice, acting and advocating for what I am for, without needing to be against or make wrong those who don’t share my “for-ness”? Rating = 4. I have been working hard on this particular issue in myself for 15 years and sense I have made progress given how much more I anger people on “both sides” who can judge being “for” and acting on that behalf but not being “against” as a kind of betrayal. Leaders in a new imagined civilization and economy will need to lead companies, people, colleagues, clients with this capability at “5”.
  5. Do I treat my body as the miracle of nature it is, consuming only the universe’s best, purest, and freshest? Rating = 0. Yep, off the scale in the wrong direction. Diet Coke. Enough said. Let’s move on.
  6. Am I in a constant state of interdependent flow where coercion and force have been replaced with cooperation and collaboration, to both abundantly receive and then give for the highest good all of us? Rating = 2.5. Below average. I have worked hard to detach from old patriarchal leadership standards of coercion and force and do my best to open to allowing, including, cooperation, and co-creation. While I might get decent marks for the giving part of that, I get dismal marks for the receiving and/or asking-for-what-I-need part of it. That actually may seem noble, but it isn’t noble at all, it’s selfish: The tree grove teaches me that it needs to receive and suck in as much as it can from the ground and the sky if it is to adequately give to others the gifts of its fruit and breath.

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