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Exploring Humanity's Growth Paradigm: A Critical Conversation on the Future of Businesses
Episode 621st November 2023 • Elements of Community • Lucas Root
00:00:00 01:03:16

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In this episode of the Elements of Community, Lucas Root dives into an eye-opening discussion with Ryan James. Ryan the creator of (re)biz, shines light on the important task of re-evaluating our understanding of growth, as it applies uniquely to businesses. Weaving vital elements of humanity, sustainability, and the environment, he deftly underscores the urgency of shifting business paradigms for both social prosperity and sustainable development. Together, they dig deep into the Anthropocene, the concept of infinite economic growth, and rediscovering our symbiosis with Earth. 

Don't miss out on this critical conversation that questions the very foundations of our existence and responsibility towards our planet. Tune in to learn, unlearn, and relearn the fabric of future businesses!



ssage that you have to share [:

l from San Antonio in Texas. [:

Lucas Root: Yes. Sweet.

Ryan James: And there is something really important about right before we started this call talking about community and understanding the nuances of human community, but also the nuances of the more than human community as well. So, yeah, I'm really happy to dive into some of these things with you today and see where we end up swimming.

If we have a paradigm and it [:

We have a paradigm where we believe, and you can see it everywhere, and all of the actions that we take, and all of the ways that we exist in the world, we believe, at our core, that in order for us to survive as an animal, we must adversarially kill a piece of earth and keep it dead forever. That's our paradigm, and here's what I mean by that.

that piece of land is forever[:

And then we build a in a very real sense, we build a thing on top of it, which is entirely designed to keep all life out. It's our own little, like, life free, safe space. That we go into and we play inside of that is void of nature. When we want to have a workplace, we do exactly the same thing. We kill a piece of land.

n to the other place we have [:

We need to shift our paradigm and we need to shift it really badly for all the reasons. And your Rebiz is is having that conversation in a beautiful way. So that we're with earth instead of on earth.

Ryan James: I'd love to add when you say we, I think we need to be careful when we use the word we, because as it's often put, we believe we're in the Anthropocene or shifting out of what the Holocene into the Anthropocene meaning an epoch that is correlated directly with the effects of humanity with the planet.

However, it's not all [:

That is not necessarily inhabited by all people. So I just want to start with that just so that we can become just to bring that understanding of a more nuanced, we, as opposed to a generalized one.

omfortable way is definitely [:

I mean, is this even considered progress? And to be able to ask those questions is something really important in this continual march towards some utopia that seems like an oasis that technology promises us. So

need to hear this generality[:

But also you're right. You're 100 percent right. We do need to point out the nuance. Not every human is living extractively. Not every human believes that in order for them to survive, they need to kill a piece of the earth and keep it dead forever. And we can learn. We can, and we should learn from that. Yeah. Tell me more about Rebiz.

Ryan James: Rebiz is a business as usual unschool that equips people in business, not necessarily needing to be a leader, but anyone existing within the economy or functioning within business with the worldview and the skill sets to enable a regenerative and post growth world. So there's a bunch of terms in there that I can unpack.

a reductionistic standpoint, [:

Unschool or unlearning is rooted in the fact that we continually are attempting to digest and consume information, thinking that more is better when actually, as Krishnamurti once put knowledge is more wisdom is less. So to be able to step into an unschool and to unlearn the programs that are enabling this paradigm that you referred to earlier, and then replacing them with a higher order intelligence, which we can call natural intelligence is what the unschool is focused on.

a lens that we don't know is [:

So, whether or not we actually can shift out of the lens that our mind is set in is actually what the worldview is. Because if we keep changing mindsets with the same worldview, then we're just recreating the same things with different names and different aesthetics.

So a worldview is an actual way of living that is then translated into language and adopted into a life way. And then there's regenerative, which that term has already been co opted and commodified, but there's some things we can clarify about regenerative .

And then, post growth being incorporating other potentialities and realities beyond the continual onslaught of an infinite growth model, which is sometimes viewed as Positive with our connotations of growth.

But if you [:

Lucas Root: I love that you made that connection between the notion of infinite growth and tumors.

Ryan James: Yeah.

Lucas Root: That's such a powerful connection. We need to let that settle in a little.

Ryan James: Yeah. Especially because tumors, the way that they function, interestingly enough, is that they view themselves as separate from the host. And if we look at the paradigm of separation. Inherently within that is us thinking we're separate from the host, therefore enabling us to act in a way that is directly related to how a tumor would act, and which is a parasitic relationship that ends up consuming the tumor and the host rather than a symbiotic one.

Lucas Root: And I think [:

Ryan James: Yeah. Well said.

Lucas Root: Yeah, regenerative is another great one. I've been having a lot of fun with this one recently. So there's a rancher down in Chiapas, Mexico, probably one that you know, probably, I don't know who moved into the desert, got a bunch of land for basically nothing because, you know, it's desert land and who gives a damn and started a ranch, a cow farm.

quick turnaround time, this [:

And a clear straight line and his fields and he does it all naturally. He's not out there using, you know, petrochemicals and enormous machines and massive amounts of water that he's pumping out. He is very thoughtfully and carefully a very natural rancher. And when you look at that, like a picture of that, or when you read his book, or listen to him speak, or maybe even go visit, and I would love to someday, but have not it's almost impossible to look at that, and conclude that extractive is better, maybe equally the same.

ue that extractive is equal, [:

Ryan James: Yeah. first question that emerges is, was it already desert? Like, was that the original function of the land before he then altered it?

Lucas Root: Yeah. Great question. I have no idea. That's a great question.

Ryan James: Yeah, there's, extractive is part of how we function naturally. It's impossible to not extract anything, right? If we look at the way extraction functions with our breath, right, we can say we're breathing in, but in a way that's an extraction, but naturally within reciprocity, we breathe out in equal and opposite.

ste and they breathe out our [:

Ryan James: Right, exactly. So I mentioned that because extraction is unavoidable for us to live. Everything consumes something to live. So whether or not extraction taken out of context of reciprocity is the bigger issue. I think that's something that we can look at because there's also multi multidimensionality of reciprocity. Which most of the ways that we function now, especially if you look at for something as an example, like net zero, which is a really common thing that people are, what's called carbon tunnel vision is there's all of these other variables and nuances, but everyone's focusing in on net zero and carbon sequestration.

e air, which then they plant [:

That's not the same as planting a monocultured, monocropped forest to extract carbon so that we can balance out the balance sheet. You know, so a lot of these, a lot of the approaches that are being taken and labeled as regenerative are really taken out of context and they're taken out of reciprocity and out of an ecosystemic nested approach to revitalizing our relationship rather than just evening out the inputs and outputs.

plant a tree. That's a unit [:

Ryan James: Yeah, so regeneration is a really good. I think at this point, especially to be talking about, and I don't have all of the answers, obviously.

Lucas Root: Not sure that anyone does, but I do like your questions.

Ryan James: Yeah, I do have a lot of questions for sure. You know, as Rilke says, it's more important to live into the question than to attempt to have answers because when you live into the questions like locked doors that you don't necessarily have the key to, you eventually live into the answer far into the place where you can actually embody the question and to be able to do that is what I understand emergence to be.

g immense harm and ones that [:

And as of now, there's seems to be a dismissal between these two words, which for me is at the heart of regeneration, unique and unity, both sharing the prefix uni. So for me, those two words, if we can truly connect and understand those things, we're going to understand regeneration really well.

we can exist as an infinite [:

Which is so far beyond absurd, it's ridiculous but again, that's not my fight. So, let's accept that paradigm. Let's say that it's okay to allow that idea to continue. So that's the 100%. I can be 100 percent individual, all me, all the time, all day.

Sure. Awesome. Then what I'm looking for what I want to bring to the world is this other place where that can exist and in fact it must, and you just gave beautiful words to it with your description of harmony that each and every instrument Not only can, but actually must exist in its beautiful individuality and by collaborating together with other 100 percent what other 100 percent beautiful individual instruments.

s even greater together. And [:

ique individual exclusively. [:

So, their orientation accounted for place, community, and a diverse web of relations, rather than this pursuit of a rootless narcissism. Because they believed that the child was born self actualized, and then entered into the community, and the place which rooted them into a belonging structure that didn't... Even enable an individual to exist in the same way that we're thinking about individuals.

So, in the reference to your 200 model, and even the reference in general to the fact that we can even imagine that we're an individual, right? Which we hear it a lot in business and other ways. I think it came from, I don't know if it was Benjamin Franklin who popularized it, but it was like the self made man.

who birthed you, right? who [:

Part of the reason why we've been cut off from kinship, not only from humans, but more than humans as well. So, I really liked the understanding of Maslow's pyramid versus the Siksika understanding, which is we based rather than I based. And funnily enough, the difference between illness and wellness are in those words as well.

ou said we cannot be without [:

The irony is that it is community that makes all other life as a human possible. And so community actually has to come first, but here's what's amazing. It doesn't just come first, right? As you said, understood this from a "We" perspective and now I'm going to have to go rewrite my paper.

But here's the thing. I cannot have food, water and shelter, which is Maslow's base without WE. I cannot have those things without WE. A human's not even capable of changing his location or her location on his own for the first year ish of life. I cannot have food, water, and shelter without we. It's not possible.

all by themselves after they [:

But it's so remotely challenging to approach that it's just not worth considering for the vast majority, 99. 999 percent of people. It's just not worth it. Don't even think about trying to do it alone. That's silly. We're actually designed as an animal in order to take community input, in order to take the input of the people around us and to ascend together.

faster than when I try to do [:

Ryan James: Because it incorporates responsibility. And freedom without responsibility is just escapism.

Lucas Root: It's just escapism. Yeah.

Ryan James: So basically now what we're witnessing with a lot of this sort of movement of escape the matrix and all of these sort of freedom constructs that, as Steven Jenkinson puts it, are consumer reality, the way that we're moving in these freedom without responsibility, we're actually just escaping and untethering ourselves from the roots of, from which we're birthed, from which we are made up of.

ty, and especially this term [:

First, we're in our own body, but then we understand that our own body is not really our own. Our own body is made up of and more interconnected and needing the organs of the earth itself than sometimes our own organs. So which level of embodiment do we want to move in? You know, which level of self do we want to navigate?

And I think, as you're mentioning within this community, the responsibility to the community, also known as a mutual indebtedness

The community, human and more than human is what has constituted the way that these communities have been since time immemorial.

non human cell bacteria that [:

And so in order for me to survive cold nights, I actually require the support of at least one other person who makes clothing for me to survive the cold. Now I can farm, but I can't farm everything that I care about. Let's be very honest and look around the world. I can farm beef, but right now, inside the life choices that I've made, I can't farm beef and coffee.

ving my coffee. And each and [:

Ryan James: Yeah. Including the actual materials of the shirt, the water, the clouds, soil, all of the microbiome of the soil, all of these communities as well, that go into you being able to be warm.

Lucas Root: Yeah.

Ryan James: All of the people who have cared for the actual seeds over the course of time to enable that cotton to be here today, the ancestral inheritance that we're receiving through wearing our clothes. And then our placement within that ancestry towards other people who eventually will also need to wear clothes,

Lucas Root: Yeah.

look at this more than human [:

Lucas Root: Oh, cool.

Ryan James: And understanding that continuation and how that this is another way to position ourselves within an understanding of time.

And why it's really important to understand ancestry as well as the pursuit of what is being labeled as the future generations that we're directly impacting and affecting now with our actions.

Lucas Root: Yeah. What are they going to wear and how am I ensuring that they have access to the same things that I consider to be quality of life today or something equal and or similar?

Quality water.

Ryan James: Quality water for sure. I mean, that's a really the water should be the main focus of everything because water is life.

Lucas Root: Water is life.

water is also living, right? [:

So they're actually synonyms. So water is really the most important thing that we can focus on and we can simultaneously focus on rebuilding our relationship with water as well.

Lucas Root: You know, it's funny. In most cases, when a material is moving versus not moving, when it's moving, it takes up more space than when it's not moving, it takes up less space. So the less a material moves, the less space it takes up. But if that principle were applied to water, Earth would not be possible the way that we understand it today.

possible for us to have the [:

How much different could our life be if we just anchored? Like, one thing, just like that, one piece of gratitude of water.

's been shared with me is to [:

So in general, a lot of us have these concepts in our minds, right? Like we are nature. That phrase is, a lot of people know it. Whether or not they have integrated that from a conceptual level into an actual embodied life way is a different story.

So one of the things that I often encounter within Rebiz is there's people from all over the world coming through who are sustainability leaders and working in regeneration and all of this sort of stuff. And the first question that I asked them is, How many of you have ever said thank you to the water?

And it's been way less than 1%.

Lucas Root: Oh.

have a relationship with the [:

I asked them this. None of them have ever even heard of this. So for me, I'm like, well, we have a long way to go here. Because we're trying to practice sustainability and create policies, but you don't even have a relationship with life itself, despite your understanding that we are nature. So there's this disintegration between a conceptual understanding and a life way.

f different questions that I [:

Like whether or not someone has studied sustainability in university or practices regeneration, or if they've planted a seed in the ground and grown it into food,

Those are also very disintegrated. A lot of people who are in sustainability don't even know where their food comes from.

Lucas Root: Yeah, my beef comes from the supermarket.

Ryan James: Right?

Lucas Root: I've actually heard that and the person who said, the first time I ever paid attention to it, and the person who said it was being serious.

Ryan James: Well, they're not incorrect. There's just more steps to how it got to the supermarket.

Lucas Root: Yeah.

Ryan James: Yeah. It's a limited purview of how that happened there, but I saw this meme recently. I don't know if it's true. I haven't completely corroborated and found if it's true, but I think it was around 50 percent.

Lucas Root: All memes are true. All of them.

n in the United States think [:

Lucas Root: My biggest takeaway from that share is that I find it believable.

Ryan James: Yeah.

Lucas Root: Not that it's true. You yourself has already said that you didn't fact check it. You don't know that it's true. I find it believable and just that I find it believable is enough of a two by four to the head for me. I want that to be not believable.

Ryan James: Same. Yeah. I mean, you may have seen the image where it shows a bunch of different leaves and then a bunch of different brands and it says, name these leaves and then name these brands and the rapid ability for most people to name the brands versus the leaves shows us where our attention is.

ked the percentage, but it's [:

Lucas Root: Mine, by the way. It does not.

Ryan James: That's good.

Lucas Root: And in fact, I personally know the cow that I eat. I spend time with him. Sometimes I like to eat, the farmer is a about an hour drive from where I live. I like to go there once a month. It doesn't always happen, but that's an important ritual to me to go and give love to the thing that will be my food. And that could be plants, my favorite blueberries are are grown in Northern Canada. So unfortunately I don't spend a lot of time giving love to my favorite blueberries. But I do go and give love to the cow that I'm going to be eating.

Ryan James: Which once again is a relationship.

Lucas Root: Relationship.

s phrase right relationship, [:

means inanimate object, not [:

Lucas Root: Huh?

Ryan James: right? So there's a really interesting thing about relationship and our ability to understand our language and why maybe the way that we perceive things through our thoughts in the language limit our ability to be in relationship.

Lucas Root: Yeah. Now that's, I mean, I am in relationship with the cow and that cow will eventually be my food. It's astonishing for me to listen to this and like really internalize that I'm calling it an inanimate object, even when I'm in relationship with it.

Ryan James: It's definitely good food for thought because language, huh?

Lucas Root: As we talk about food.

Ryan James: Exactly. Yeah. Pun intended there.

elationship with my food, but[:

So you have found different ways to be in relationship with the food that sustains, that makes it possible for you to have the life you have. Can you talk about that?

n I was living in Cameroon in:

Killing the animals that I was going to eat never before in my life that I'd done that and that completely altered my relationship with food. Because it put into perspective, like what chicken wings are, for example, right? It's like, there's two of them. First of all, like when we used to go to Buffalo, where my dad is from and go and eat Buffalo wings at the anchor bar, which is like the home of the Buffalo wing.

We used to eat like, yeah, really good spot. Good sauces, but like there'd be like 25, 30 wings, right? So that's like, 15 chickens.

Lucas Root: 15 chickens.

Ryan James: The ability for me to even be with one chicken and the amount of intention and even shock and all of the emotions that come from doing that process of the actual killing of it.

Then the soaking of [:

To the food itself, because I know that animal is a living being that breathes and bleeds just like me and may even have more complex emotions, depending on who you talk with and what animal we may be speaking about. But so first of all, acknowledging that life is alive and conscious and that it is feeding my life.

rmally pause and give thanks [:

Lucas Root: Garfield style.

Ryan James: Yeah, exactly.

So the actual pause to give thanks before we take, or to give before we receive even that neural pathway is something that is not highlighted very often because we normally are taking without giving even our thanks. Right. Not to mention like a reciprocal actual action, which also moves gratitude from a concept and a noun and to a verb and an action.

r even listening, never even [:

I mean, Thich Nhat Hanh talks about interbeing or inter are and the reality of, when he touches a piece of paper, he says he sees a cloud. So how, when we're also giving thanks to our food, to this animal, can we give thanks to all of the pieces of the interconnected web that enabled us to be eating that now?

And that practice of visualizing and Sometimes even actively speaking, whether it be in like a prayer with your friends around the food, but acknowledging the interconnection is something that's really valuable. And it has helped me to stay connected despite the different geographies that I navigate.

nothing else away from this [:

nd Ryan, you just brought it [:

And those of you who have moved away from religion, maybe consider this particular ritual as something that you should bring back in a way that suits and serves you, but give thanks for the things that have become your food.

Ryan James: Absolutely.

Lucas Root: Yeah. I could also spend all day talking about the neurological impact of decisions like that as well. We as a being very much dislike not knowing what's coming and your stomach doesn't necessarily know you're about to eat or even what you're about to eat.

when you pause, rather than [:

Ryan James: Yeah. And to add another thing that just from traveling to a lot of different places that has become an integrated habit of mine, but I normally don't use forks or knives or anything like this. I eat with my hands, whether it be with tortilla or whether it be with pita or like a different type of bread injera.

But most people in the world don't eat with forks and knives and spoons. You know, even soups, like there are places you eat, you learn how to eat soups with your hands with maybe food, these different sort of things, but actually touching the food before you eat. It is really also very beneficial for the body.

onship with the food. You're [:

Lucas Root: I love that. I use forks and I probably am now gonna either stop or at least incorporate that into part of the way that I approach food. Thank you. What a gift.

Ryan James: And it's more fun to

Lucas Root: it's cheaper. This it's cheaper and more expensive. I got to tell you this right here is a far more expensive tool than this.

Ryan James: It's evolved over longer periods of time.

s right. And replacing it is [:

Ryan James: Stigma.

Lucas Root: stigma. Yeah. We have a cultural stigma.

We have a rule that we've chosen to follow. And until this moment, I had never questioned it.

e out of my mouth, you know, [:

How do you know that the doctor knows that's true? And whether or not the doctor is saying something that's true or correct or not isn't the point, right? The point is to continually ask yourself the things that we are routinely adopting without a second thought, including what we're speaking, right?

oot apocalypse or emergency, [:

Emergency, the root word means to bring to the light,

Lucas Root: Yeah.

Ryan James: which suits for emergence, right? So sometimes people talk to me about the climate and the emergency and I say, well, if we haven't listened by now, then maybe the emergency is going to help lead us into emergence.

Lucas Root: Oh, huh.

Ryan James: Because they're part of the same word, right?

y, as a collective, you know,[:

Lucas Root: Yeah. Amazing. I have appreciated this tremendously. I like to wrap up my interviews with three questions. And the second and third are curve ball questions. So, you know, make sure you're seated.

Ryan James: I used to be a baseball player and I was really good. So just make sure you don't leave the curve ball hanging or else.

Lucas Root: Thank you. First is for the people who can't stand the notion that they haven't yet been unschooled and they need to reach out to you. What's the one best way that they can find you?

Ryan James: To become engaged with the actual unschool, they would go to www.Rebiz, and

Lucas Root: io.

from Sydney, who focuses on [:

So that's how anyone listening could discover the actual unschool, but I also just have my personal website, but you can reach me through there. I think that'd be the easiest way without diversifying all the different ways to get in touch with me at first. I also have an Instagram which I believe is _Ryan James.

I believe that's the Instagram address.

Lucas Root: Awesome. Yeah Reviz.Io And i've been to it. It's a lovely website and I am very excited that everybody pop on over and take a peek at the very least if not go deep, please do.

yan James: Yeah. It's been a [:

ish I had asked but have not.[:

Ryan James: It's a good curveball.

Lucas Root: It's hanging though we're ready for you to knock it out the park.

Ryan James: Yeah, I think maybe a good question that would have been cool to have asked is what was one moment in my life that could have helped me to course correct into pursuing a pathway of deeper alignment and purpose.

e way that we share language [:

Your question opens up the floor to you sharing a story for somebody else to step into that reality and maybe end up walking a path of rebiz. Would you share it?

Ryan James: Yeah. Or just a path of recognizing that their unique instrument or sound has a beautiful placement in the world that they can play their part within, and for them to have confidence in the ability to not suppress their melody.

Lucas Root: Yeah. And join into the harmony.

Ryan James: Totally.

Lucas Root: Yeah.

Ryan James: Yeah. So you want me to answer that, my own question?

Lucas Root: Yes, please. I want that story. Thank you.

Ryan James: I've already [:

Hong Kong, which then had me [:

And then ending up in Cameroon was this opening of the realization that our intuition often knows far deeper levels of ourself than our conscious mind does, and to be able to follow those things sometimes into places of discomfort and strangeness. Oftentimes are going to lead us into the places that, that we want to go.

So also within that space, going to Cameroon and living in these ways and stepping out of my, what I would call the comfort zone, for lack of a better word our comfort zone actually traps us in discomfort. So to be able to step out of our comfort zone is something that's really powerful because it enables us to birth ourself from the future.

Lucas Root: What a thought. [:

Ryan James: Exactly. Rather than what was presented to me for me to develop skillfulness in.

Lucas Root: Well said. Yeah. Yeah. Fun.

Ryan James: Alright. Next curveball.

Lucas Root: Yeah. What is [:

Ryan James: I gift many books. But one that I recommend extremely highly to everyone that I interact with now is from one of my teachers and friends Wahinkbetopa or Four Arrows. And he co wrote a book with Darcia Narvaez, who is a childhood psychologist from Notre Dame called Restoring the Kinship Worldview. It's published by North Atlantic Books, which is a nonprofit publisher out of Berkeley, I believe.

I like to gift that book or [:

Lucas Root: Oh, yes.

Ryan James: which is a great one.

And then Autobiography of a Yogi was another one of the first ones that he recommended to me.

Lucas Root: I have that right over here.

Ryan James: Yeah, so those two are also really great. And I love Thich Nhat Hanh and the way that he writes as well. So, it's just so simple and you're reading it and the whole reading of it is a zen experience because of the way that he writes without an emotional charge.

Like it's just right there, you know. So I also recommend reading anything from Thich Nhat Hanh.

Lucas Root: Yeah, you are now Probably my guests haven't noticed it but now I'm gonna call attention to that you are now the third person to bring up Fyndhorn on this show.

Ryan James: Oh, cool.

time. It might be a pattern [:

So yeah, go out and buy the magic of Fyndhorn like right now.

Ryan James: Which I never knew, but like, that was one of Paul Hawkins. I think it was his first book. I don't know if it was one of the first ones he wrote, but like he's also now sharing and doing a lot with the regenerative movement. So there's, and one of my favorite lines from him is you either steal or heal the future.

Lucas Root: Oh Yeah.

Ryan James: So the Findhorn, that's a great book. I tried to go there when I was in Scotland but was unable to make it because the buses and trains don't really go, don't really go out there.

t time I was in the UK was in:

Ryan James: Cool. Yeah. Cool.

Lucas Root: Yeah.[:

Ryan James: Do to your best to live a beautiful life for yourself and for those that you've never met, and for those that you don't even consider people.

So, all of this work, all of these discussions, all of these talks, if we don't remember the beauty that's already here. It's really hard to create more beauty.

So remember the beauty that's here so we can continue to create beauty in the world. You know, war doesn't create peace. Only peace creates peace. So in the same way, beauty will create beauty. So live a life of beauty by recognizing beauty. And I think it'll help us all out.

Lucas Root: thank you, Ryan.

Ryan James: Thank you.

Narrator: Thanks for joining us this week on Elements of Community.

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