Patterns of Change

These are the Great Stories of Transition

Once we understand that we live in a living universe, the question arises: How Does Life Do Change? What are the clues of successful transition held in Nature’s patterns? How does one thing lead to another in a natural sequence and how might those natural processes help guide us in the transitions and transformations of our own lives? If you’ve experienced going through adolescence to become an adult, it’s easier to understand the steps that might be called for in Humanity Growing Up. If you have witnessed the birthing process, as the mother or the child or the midwife, you can imagine humanity going through a Planetary Birth. When your old belief systems begin to dissolve into a green gooey mess, the story of the Metamorphosis of the Butterfly helps you watch for the imaginal cells that begin to herald a new reality of greater perception and mobility. And the Hero’s Journey, a pattern "with a thousand faces" as Joseph Campbell put it, gives many guideposts for finding the way through difficult times, both for ourselves and our cultures. So too do the insights coming out of observing cultural change over time, like the Two Loops, a more newly articulated theory of change. And what if Humanity is Becoming a Superorganism in exactly the same pattern that produced the first cell and from that multicellular organisms, and then organs within a body? What could that mean? What would it look like? There is hope and direction, guideposts and lessons to be found in following the already successful path of how life does change.

from Jeremy Lent, Author of The Patterning Instinct: Culture Shift: Redirecting Humanity's Path to a Flourishing Future

It’s time to build a new worldview around a deeper sense of connectedness.

We have the capacity to build an alternative worldview around a sense of connectedness within the web of life—a sense shared by indigenous cultures around the world from the earliest times. ...Insights from complexity theory and systems biology show that the connections between things are frequently more important than the things themselves. Life itself is now understood as a self-organizing, self-regenerating complex that extends like a fractal at ever-increasing scale, from a single cell to the global system of life on Earth. ...Rather than trying to transcend what we are, our most important task is to peel away this received worldview, reach within ourselves to feel our deepest motivations as living beings embedded in the web of life, and act on them.



The “Planetary Birth” story uses the patterns and archetypes associated with the human birth process to name and give meaning to the experience of Humanity as a whole as it undergoes difficult changes that look or feel like being squeezed through a birth canal.


Growing Up

People intuitively recognize that the human family is growing up. What stage of development best describes the human family: toddler, teenager, adult, or elder?”

heros journey


The hero’s journey of separation, initiation, and return can be expanded from the scale of an individual to the scope of the entire human community. When we step back and look at the human journey, it is evident that for thousands of years we have been on a path of separation.



The story of how the caterpillar transforms into the butterfly has long been used as a metaphor for the process of transforming states of consciousness from one dimension to another, from knowing something on the surface, then undergoing a deep experience that leads to a whole new capacity and perception.


Two Loops

There’s a normal curve that life follows. Things get better and better, there are some bumps along the way, they peak, they fall apart. Sometimes it’s a long curve, sometimes a short one. Nothing lasts forever. Conditions change.



noun: cataclysm; plural noun: cataclysms
  1. a large-scale and violent event in the natural world.
    • a sudden violent upheaval, especially in a political or social context.
      "the cataclysm of the First World War"

Humanity as a Superorganism

There is a pattern being uncovered in biological science that reveals the steps by which fragmented pieces of cosmic material coalesce into single cells, which evolve into unified organisms with subsystems that are vital to the well-being of the whole. The next natural step in the development of humanity is to become an increasingly cooperative and dynamically integrated superorganism.