Transition, mycelium, and interbeing

Transition, mycelium, and interbeing

Today, I felt drawn to a question. I yearned for some clarity, connecting threads and ideas to make sense of the whole. 

I wanted to reflect on the fact that the Transition Movement is sometimes described as a ‘mycelial network’. I wondered why one of the characteristics of the movement is that we ‘Apply Living Systems Design’

Among the people working to support the international movement we use that metaphor to express the fascinating ways in which the movement spreads, grows, contracts, shifts, distributes energy and resources, interacts with others, etc. It points to a sense of awe and delight at what can emerge within an otherwise extractive capitalist society. 

Photo: Triana Nana / Unsplash

One can only wonder how far we could take the metaphor. For example:

  • Does the movement decompose and transform what has come before?
  • Does the movement develop symbiotic and/or parasitic relationships with other organisms?
  • Does it move energy and resources from places of abundance to those experiencing scarcity? 
  • Does the movement continuously explore its environment to identify opportunities to make a difference?

I consider these rhetorical questions. Of course it does. 

Furthermore, if you were to cut off one part of the system from the rest, would that part continue to live, carry the DNA of the movement, and attempt to make the most of its situation. I would certainly think so. It is for this reason We adopt subsidiarity’ (on of the principles of Transition). We practise shared governance to decentralise power and support collaboration across the distributed organism.

But there is more. Transition is about Head and Hands and Heart. ‘Applying Living Systems Design’ sounds very heady. We may think about an issue in our community and then apply the methods and tools of living systems design to address the issue. It may lead us to create a community garden, set-up a repair shop, start a community owned energy company, or whatever else is necessary. We certainly get the hands involved. 

Photo: Luca Bravo / Unsplash

Mycelia, however, is also a supreme metaphor when it comes to the heart aspects of Transition. Emergence Magazine has recently published this conversation about ‘Mycelial Landscapes’. What caught my attention was that, in it Merlin Sheldrake states that: “One of the things we might learn from fungi … is that to adapt and to move through this mess, we will need to form new types of relationship with non-human, more-than-human organisms, but also with humans, and across human ages, cultures, different points of view, disciplines.” Whilst the conversation is quite ‘heady’ (abstract/academic) at times it manages to explore this well. 

Merlin Sheldrake also states that, science talking more and more about the relational aspect of the living world “is really modern science catching up with what is a very, very old idea among humans—that we live in a living world, we are alive in a living world made up of intimate, reciprocal, dependance”. In so many ways, science is stating what in other areas of human culture has been obvious for thousands of years. 

And this brings us full circle. It brings us to the heart. Inner Transition has, over the last years, been working to bring the idea of Interbeingness to the core of Transition. Building new relationships across ‘human ages, cultures, [and] different points of view’ becomes more realistic when our view is one of interbeingness; when every conversation starts with the posture of ‘I am, because you are’.

I feel content with these reflections. I feel that Head, Heart and Hands can be aligned in their striving for a new world. I feel called to invite you to join one of the Interbeingness sessions held by the Inner Transition Circle.
The next one is happening on Friday March 29th at 15:00 UTC, in English and Portuguese. Check the following link box to know more:

Inter-Beingness gatherings
Inter-Beingness is a meditation and deep listening virtual space where all kinds of Life Caring activists from around mother Earth gather to be nourished in an international community.

Part of the Transition movement