What happens when humans become more than they were?
When someone transforms to become a new, better version of themselves, what is it called?
Fifteen years ago, my life was tossed into a blender and fate hit “Puree.” For the next decade, my life transformed me in ways I never would have dreamed or even been able to understand prior to that moment.
Three “take you to your knees” slammed into me, one after another, making sure that whatever I had to hold onto from the external world was up in the air, and the only stability I could find was that which was within me. Time and again, I relied on my human ability to actively restablilize and adapt so I could get to a new version of me.
The wild part is that I saw a pattern to how I kept doing it and realized I had built a new set of capabilities that enabled me to travel this transformational journey faster each time.
But I had no word for that journey.
For three years, I asked people everywhere:
"What is the word for when people go through a hard experience and rise to realize a better version of themselves?"
Most people were stumped. They didn’t have a word for it.
Yes, but there were so many different kinds of change someone can go through. This was a change, but it was more than that too.
Yes, it certainly felt like evolution, but out of respect for biologists everywhere, evolution describes the process a species goes through over generations to physically adapt to changes in the environment. While this experience is certainly about adapting to new conditions of life, it doesn’t have to result in physical changes, although it definitely involves a mental transformation.
Yes, but it wasn’t related to just a career. It could be entirely about personal growth or healing a relationship.
Yes, but transformation can go in any direction. This transformation was in a definite direction – towards a better fit between the capabilities of an individual and the reality of their life – a move away from surviving and towards thriving.
This was perhaps the closest idea, but I wanted to know if you could experience this kind of growth without the trauma.
I was talking about human emergence - the process of becoming a better version of ourselves. However, emergence itself is in reference to everything from trees to software to systems.
Nothing worked! There simply wasn’t a word that described what I was talking about.
We are in an era where there are many new experiences, tools, problems, and situations that are challenging status quo. The words we have – those created in a different era – are insufficient.
To help humans learn to thrive in the upheaval all around, it would help to have the language to talk about it, don’t you think?
A new word was needed.
The process of a human coming into a new state of being, one that is better equipped to thrive in the conditions of their life.
When a group of humans develop properties that each individual do not have on their own. The properties or behaviors are ones which emerge only when the humans interact as a wider whole.
Now that we have the language, what will we do with it?