Chronicles of our journey as Syntony Quest — from our origins to today.
Peace, education, human rights, the environment, community development... there are thousands of separate organizations addressing these compelling issues. But who is addressing these issues in an integrated way, by focusing on creating alternatives rather than on solving problems? Who is going beyond activism? Who is supporting their actions with the emerging scientific world-view? Who is providing ways for people to live these concepts in day-to-day practice? For many years, the answer was, "very few."
The ideas behind Syntony Quest began to take shape when we met in Monterrey, Mexico in 1992. We came from different cultures and educational experiences, and yet we resonated with each other’s dreams and ideas. One of us was interested in issues of national development planning, asking "how can a people develop their own ways of thinking, doing, and being without having to submit to the hegemony of technology transferred from some other culture?" The other was interested in issues of individual empowerment and lifelong learning. Our conversations lead to a common focus: an approach to lifelong learning that facilitates societal evolution in partnership with Earth.
In 1993 we began participating in the annual Conversation Events sponsored by the International Systems Institute (ISI) in Asilomar, California. In 1994 we formed an action-research team within ISI and developed the notion of an Evolutionary Learning Community (ELC). At the time, exploration of these ideas was tangential to our professional activities in Mexico. We had each other to talk to, but there were precious few others with whom we could really work on them, and we wanted these interests to be at the core of our lives.
In 1996 we came to San Francisco looking for ways to dedicate ourselves to bringing ELCs into being, and to facilitate the emergence of a sustainable and evolutionary future. We found many interesting organizations working on issues that related to our interests in different ways. But we could not find an organization where our interests and visions could be effectively combined. It became clear that it was up to us to bring our dream into being.
We began the tradition of taking a "futures design retreat" every six months. During these weekends of walks and conversation, design and meditation, we clarified and articulated what we wanted to do. In one of these retreats we brainstormed about possible names for our initiative... and we had a hard time. Finally, after reading Eric Jantsch’s book Design for Evolution we realized that the name Syntony Quest was the best possible name for our organization.
By 1998 we had founded Syntony Quest as a nonprofit educational corporation in the state of California. Since the beginning we wanted to make sure that Syntony Quest would be a different kind of organization: an embodiment of the values and ideas that gave it birth. In a sense, Syntony Quest is a holding container where, together with others, we integrate meaningful work and learning and continue on our path toward sustainable and evolutionary futures.
Syntony Quest received its 501(c)(3) recognition as a federal tax-exempt organization in April 2000. In this same year it opened a subsidiary office in Monterrey, Mexico.
We hope that our professional efforts serve not only our own learning and development process, but also inspire other individuals, organizations, and communities to engage in their own syntony quest, designing their own ELCs and systems of syntony in light of a future-sustaining evolutionary ethic.
Alexander and Kathia Laszlo