MISSION is keenly aware and excited that a better country is being born through these individuals, their initiatives, their networks, and others aligned with the same vision and love for country and the planet. Thus MISSION realizes the importance of bringing these individuals and their initiatives together so that they all will enhance each other and create greater impact in their own communities and beyond. MISSION provides an occasion for all these individuals to meet with and inspire each other. Out of that meeting, movement members can strengthen each other’s initiatives, harmonize their diversity and richness, and inspire each other towards new forms of collective action for integral sustainable development of our country and the world.
This movement has its origins in the association of volunteers and supporters for a new politics embodied in the presidential campaign of Nicanor Perlas. After this presidential initiative, there was a very strong desire and intention among these volunteers and supporters to continue with the task of transforming the country, albeit, now through a different path and approach. From being a mostly political initiative, the new movement is now societal in nature and predominantly cultural. Also, individuals not groups constitute the movement.
MISSION, however, wants to emphasize one thing. Although the movement has its beginnings in a presidential campaign, the movement ultimately wants to include all those who truly want to create a better country and sustainable planet. It is a movement of individuals who are determined to create a better world on the basis of spiritual renewal and inner change.
“Imaginal” is a scientific term that is relatively unknown to the general public. Nevertheless, MISSION wants to use this relatively obscure but profound idea as an occasion to explain the meaning, importance, and indispensability of “imaginals” in the quest for a better world.
The word “imaginal” comes from the science of biology and its study of “imaginal cells”. The almost miraculous transformation of a worm to a butterfly begins with imaginal cells. These imaginal cells are different from the ordinary cells of the worm or larva. The imaginal cells begin to develop after the worm builds a womb (cocoon), dissolves itself into liquid form, and undergoes a process of profound transformation inside this womb.
Scientists call these new cells “imaginal” because they are the cells that form the butterfly. They are the “imagination” of a future reality, the butterfly. These imaginal cells come together and form the tissue, organ,, and ultimately the organism we call the butterfly.
Similarly the transformation of any struggling society (the “worm”) begins with “imaginal individuals”. These individuals already embody the future in their present deeds and initiatives. The future form of a sustainable society starts becoming a reality in the present when these “imaginals” act on and implement an image of the future and then organize and form networks with other imaginal individuals to turn this positive image of the future into reality and transform the ecological, cultural, economic, and political life of the country.
The movement has incorporated “Imaginal” in its name to emphasize a central point: there can be no authentic sustainable society if individuals in that society do not undergo a path of inner change and self-transformation.
Recall the worm. It dissolves itself! It dies to its present form and possibilities. Likewise an imaginal individual is willing to undergo the existential pain that arises from “dissolving” an existing friendship, worldview, and lifestyle if these latter have become obstacles to the pursuit of integral human and societal development.
The imaginal individual becomes detached or “homeless” to what many in society have accepted as “normal”: poverty, corruption, environmental destruction, mis-education, exploitation, conflict and so on. The imaginal individual has the courage to take up the challenge of transforming the “normal” into “healthy”.
Creative new powers arise in this process of inner purification. The imaginal individual develops a new and more comprehensive and inclusive identity as well as a deeper understanding of and commitment to a sustainable society. These creative new powers are ultimately spiritual in nature.
The new can never come from a repetition of the old. That is why “imaginals” tap into their inner creativity to birth the new. And this inner creativity is nothing but one expression of the spiritual capacities latent in all human beings.
In short, “imaginals” are the bearers of a future that wants to be born through and with them. Without the imaginal quality, the quest for a sustainable society is doomed. Self-transformation, within the context of societal responsibility and transformation, is at the heart of MISSION and will be the heart of a more spiritual and integral civil society, new socially green businesses, and new politics.
Mindful of the central importance of the imaginal process, MISSION has established an Institute for Self Transformation. This Institute will nurture a more conscious understanding and nurturing of the inner change process. The Institute has pioneered in the use of the Leminiscate Approach to self and societal transformation and will use this as its central methodology in nourishing the emergence and/or further development of imaginals.
For a further elaboration of imaginal cells and an appreciation of the importance of imaginals or imaginal individuals for creating a better world, kindly click this article: “The Butterfly Effect and Societal Transformation”.
The challenges of the nation are many, systemic, and multi-dimensional: climate change, deforestation, trade deficits, narrow economic base, transactional and trapo politics, injustice, conflict, criminality, budget deficits, taxation without service, corruption, moral decay, poor quality education, shallow media, poverty, homelessness, drugs, egotism, meaninglessness, and materialism. (For a more comprehensive treatment, read “Challenges Facing Philippine Society, Our Role in Creating These Challenges and the Necessity for Change”.)
It is clear that the challenges facing the country are not just political. Thus, a narrow focus on a purely political, state-centered approach would miss the point.
We need to simultaneously address human/spiritual, ecological, and societal questions. We need to advance integral sustainable development (ISD) and its seven dimensions of ennoblement: ecological, economic, political, cultural, societal, human and spiritual. We need a society, human, and nature-centered approach to uplifting our nation and contributing to the betterment of the world. (For more details, read “Dimensions and Principles of Integral Sustainable Development (ISD) and the Quest for a Sustainable Society” and “MISSION’s Framework for Achieving a Sustainable Society”.)
Using ISD’s dimensions, principles, and framework for change, MISSION envisions a prosperous, peaceful, democratic, moral and visionary nation, living in harmony with Nature and energized by creative, honest, responsible citizens who are aware of their divine origin and purpose; citizens who have united together to sustain a free, vibrant and diverse culture, a broad-based and inclusive economy, a participatory, just and compassionate governance that contribute positively to world affairs.
Societal structures and their institutions do not run themselves. Ultimately human beings run institutions and systems. As is well known in the computer world, if we put “garbage in”, we get “garbage out”. Unskilled, unimaginative, mediocre, and emotionally challenged individuals cannot be authentic agents for addressing the challenge of poverty, corruption, environmental destruction and so on. If people are ill-prepared, then transformational initiatives will fail.
Because qualified human beings are at the center of the change effort, MISSION, in the near future, will set up an Institute for Societal Leadership. This Institute will train individuals to become visionary, moral, socially and emotionally intelligent skilled and productive agents of change in culture, politics, the economy, and Nature – all in pursuit of a sustainable society.The Institute will soon offer cognitive, relational and skills training as well as mentorship possibilities in the area of Cultural Creativity, New Politics, Green Entrepreneurship, and Restoration Ecology. These advanced modules will require passing the course on self-transformation offered by the related Institute for Self-Transformation. (See above.)
The nemesis of Filipino excellence is nigas cogon, the tendency to be enflamed with enthusiasm for an idea but then to fail to put this idea into action and turn it into reality. The movement has placed “initiatives” in its very name to emphasize that MISSION will encourage and nurture rapid prototypes in pursuit of a sustainable society.
Rapid prototypes are a key practice of some of the most innovative individuals and institutions in the world. These visionary innovators realize that mistakes in implementation can become opportunities for greater sophistication and refinement in advancing initiatives.
This is the reason why rapid prototyping is sometimes called “Principle 0.7” by innovators at Silicon Valley, a global hotbed for the computer and telecommunications industries of the world. After implementing version 0.7 of an idea, the world responds to it. And this response becomes the basis for the further improvement and evolution of prototype, version 0.8. In the process, the rapid re-invention of the prototype results in a more perfect expression of the vision in the real world, version 1.0.
Implementation of rapid prototypes also has the added advantage of providing a powerful support for maintaining inner change while pursuing initiatives beneficial to society.
Trainers and training participants are all too familiar with the so-called “training effect”. One undergoes training. One is excited about new ideas and new possibilities. However, after a few weeks, one is back to one’s old unimaginative, reactionary and often procrastinating self. This backsliding from the “high” of a training to the “lows” of day-to-day life is called the “training effect”.
Rapid prototyping reinforces simultaneously the individual and societal change process in three ways. First rapid prototyping offers us the opportunity to relate with others in the pursuit of an initiative. This collegial relationship with like-minded and equally enthusiastic individuals reinforces our belief in future possibilities and in the change initiative that we are undertaking. The momentum of the group provides impetus to continue pursuing an initiative.
Second, rapid prototyping allows us to repeat actions that result from an intention to do something in the world. This repetition has the power to actual rewire our brain and our character making it easier for us to continually do similar actions in the future. Each new activity in the pursuit of an initiative makes it much easier to bring one’s vision into reality.
And, third, rapid prototyping encourages us to reframe our experiences on the basis of our experience with the initiative. Our mind is a very powerful agent of either stagnation or transformation. If we start having doubts about our initiative, then these doubts tend to become self-fulfilling. But, with the proper support from colleagues (relate) and continuous pursuit (repeat) of an initiative not just in the realm of ideas but in action, then our mind convinces us (reframe) that the initiative is doable and that it will succeed.
Organizing and Networking
Society in its essence is a collectivity, a collection of individuals with each collection doing differentiated and diverse tasks. If we want to transform our nation and create a sustainable society, we must find a way to organize from the individual and from the ground up to the level of the country as a whole. Only then can we attain a sustainable society.
Remember the imaginal cells above and how they ultimately become the cells of the butterfly. The imaginal cells achieve this unconsciously through organization and networking aided by a higher organizing principle. Similarly, while we all have to have our initiatives, these individual aspects of a sustainable society will be meaningless if they do find a way to come together. What the imaginal cells achieve unconsciously and instinctively, we have to undertake consciously and strategically.
MISSION will find a way to relate and network all these initiatives together into larger and larger collectivities. As larger and larger collectivities surface, then facets of the longed-for sustainable society become more and more visible.
MISSION can envision this new higher collective initiative on the basis of imaginal individuals who are already there in the field and are friends of MISSION. Take this as one of many possibilities.
A tribal chieftain from Bukidnon, is an expert in the medicinal properties of plants, especially those found only in a forest setting. With his talent, any forest can now be the basis of a new nationwide barangay-based natural pharmacy network that can heal the illnesses of thousands of poor Filipino.
Among others, MISSION has contacts with chemical engineers who can extract the active and precursor ingredients of these medicinal plants in order to make the latter more easily available throughout the country. MISSION also has connections with a nation-wide micro finance network that can provide the necessary capital for the barangay-based pharmaceutical initiatives. MISSION also has media contacts who can spread the news. And so on and so forth. There are no limits to all kinds of linkages, except our imagination.
And on top of all these, our lumads can get rid of poverty thru their forests. They can also protect and expand their forest cover because now they realize that the value of the forest will be much greater than the value converting their forest into lumber. There are also global implications connected with climate change and appropriate carbon trading initiatives, which latter can further improve the living conditions and quality of life of our indigenous brothers and sisters.
In this context, it is important to realize that this challenge of “mainstreaming”, of achieving higher collectivities for the different spheres of society, has never been achieved by any movement. MISSION has set for itself this task by involving tens of thousands of citizens in the renewal of the country.
Nothing is impossible if others contribute their share. Nothing is impossible especially if imaginal individuals have consciously prepared themselves for the task and work with others to create a better world. That is their mission and their contribution to MISSION.
Thus, MISSION realizes the importance of bringing these individuals and their initiatives together so that they can enhance each other and create greater impact in their own communities and beyond.