by choice or by default

3 steps to collapse and extinctions or

12 steps to quality of life in peaceful systemic sustainability.

The roots of my lifelong search for answers goes back to the spring of 1945. Near the end of World War II, I climbed out of the bomb shelter and saw Budapest bombed to rubble. My eight-year-old self asked:

Why would grownups destroy a beautiful city and kill innocent people?

My name is A. Nicholas Frank. I was born into the Great Depression, lived through fascism, survived World War II in Hungary and grew up in mindless and murderous communism. After the defeat of our 1956 short-lived revolution, I escaped to the West across the partially dismantled Iron Curtain. I live in Los Angeles with my angel of a wife; we have two lovable, grown children.

I became sharply aware of my long fermenting semiconscious question during a 1972 late evening walk in the west side of Los Angeles. I decided then that I will answer that question even if it should take the rest of my life.

I realized early on that they don’t teach that in schools, so I was on my own. It all began by reading The Stress of Life by Hans Selye (“the father of stress”). I devoted ten years studying and experimenting with stress. I learned and understood much about the stress factor in human health and behavior. Perhaps the most important conclusion in my exploring stress is the realization that

during high socioeconomic stress, collective human behavior turns predictably ugly.

It is our evolutionary legacy — our primitive fight or flight response that often leads to conflict and war.

Toward the end of that ten-year period, I realized that while understanding stress sheds light on the problem, it provides no solution. So I needed some fresh air and to find a new track to chase down the answers.

I closed my windowless garage office, packed up, and with my wife, Marsha and our two toddlers took a flight to Amsterdam in the spring of 1985. There is where our year-and-a-half camping trip around Europe began in an old VW camper van towing a travel trailer twice its size. Pulling all that with the small air-cooled VW engine wasn’t supposed to work. I made it work by developing an understanding relationship with Fritz (our VW).

Hours of walking, thinking and searching for answers were my daily routine. I made some notes but no serious writing. During the 18 months, we traveled through much of Europe, ferried across the Channel and finished our trip in England.

Back in Los Angeles I felt refreshed and full of ideas. I knew that beyond stress, I needed to understand how societal systems work. With this in mid I picked up Buckminster Fuller’s Synergetics. The fascinating concept of synergy kept me busy for the next twenty years. I put my thoughts into two books, Biosynergy and Socioeconomic Synergism (both out of print).

During that twenty-year period I still did not find a satisfactory answer. So it was back to the drawing board. The following years produced the breakthrough for me.

I came to understand that the only truly credible source of wisdom is Nature.

I had a great urge to understand Nature’s creative process. I collected my thoughts in my third book The Holigent Solution. (Available from This is a deep and brave dive into the mysteries and magic of the evolutionary process — the emergence of complexity out of the simple (not for the faint of heart). The bottom-line is that I managed to get a peek into Nature’s building and sustainability knowhow.

The challenge now is to mimic Nature’s building and sustainability code, as closely as humanly possible in reconstructing societies a community at a time.

Ultimately, you will move on to the future by choice or by default either by the 3 or by the 12 steps.

3 steps to collapse and extinction.

Step 2. Fail to examine our unquestioned belief in (diminishing) democracy — while on our post-pandemic, burning, flooded, stressed, conflicted, angry and nuclear-armed planet, the runaway complexities of life and society overwhelms democracy’s societal organizing capacity. This outcome is not surprising given that this ancient Greek invention has not had a significant update in centuries. The 12 Steps below are proposing such an update through hybrid high capacity socioeconomic reconstruction.

Step 3. Perpetuate an arms race in the context of a dangerous convergence of high global socioeconomic stress, increased levels of aggression accompanied by diminishing collective reasoning capacity (an evolutionary legacy) and new high-speed nuclear weaponry under AI controls that are outpacing reasoned judgments. Our world is silently drifting toward willful or accidental Mutually Assured Destruction. In a 21st century nuclear world war, the lucky ones will die instantly; the survivors will die horrible slow deaths in a radiation-poisoned world.

12 steps to universal quality of life in peaceful systemic sustainability.

Step 2. Understand that for billions of years of evolution of life on Earth, before humans arrived, every living organism of millions of species through countless generations have made their flesh, leavings and remains available as food and resource for other organisms without waste. Total recycling is Nature’s rule of sustainability. In a sentence: Do the essential most using the least of resources without waste.

Step 3. Remember that billions of years of natural evolution on Earth is the only successful formula for sustainability. We have to learn and follow that model as closely as humanly possible.

Step 4. Follow the Holigent (coined from “holistic-emergent”) concept of societal reconstruction that mimics Nature’s ways to be compliant with the natural building and sustainability code. Condensed in a sentence:

One for all and all for one,

doing the essential most

using the least of resources,

with smiles and laughter,

without conflict and without waste.

Step 5. Learn and practice this skill like any other. As with riding a bicycle, you cannot learn this skill from books alone; you need to practice it by doing and living it.

Step 6. To that end, build and attend special campuses in which you can live, learn and work practicing Nature’s building and sustainability code in pursuit of quality of life.

Step 7. Enlarge the sustainability campuses to become experimental live/learn/work Holigent Villages perfecting compliance with Nature’s building code. Such communities will also create socioeconomic resilience and protect Earth’s life support capacity. Accordingly, a Holigent Village will be a cellular, live/work, all green, human scale, pedestrian community with a hybrid economy and social contracts.

Step 8. Expand the successful Holigent experiments to large scale. On the national scale, the scope and cost of building a future of peaceful systemic sustainability will demand a commitment no less than what it took the U.S. to win World War 2.

Educate and lobby Congress to establish a Department of Homeland Reconstruction to secure funding for building a sustainable future. The Department is to fund Holigent/Compliant Community constructions on a national scale. Such a program would provide millions of jobs and homes — in time creating a hybrid socioeconomic system ending unemployment and homelessness for good.

Step 9. Build an experimental facility in Central Europe, to become an International Holigent Village. It is to be a permanent living world exhibition and learning center of true systemic sustainability. Invite all to participate.

Step 10. Persuade and demand that the United States and the European Union work together not on winning a future war but to avoid war altogether. Specifically, encourage the U.S. Congress and the European Union to launch a “Peace Offensive” or rather a Global Peace and Sustainability Initiative, extending Holigent Societal Reconstruction around the world including troubled regions.

High levels of global socioeconomic stress on our post-pandemic, suffering, conflicted, angry and nuclear-armed planet is a grave threat; constructing compliant communities will give people jobs, hope and purpose alternate to becoming rioters, refugees, migrants or terrorists.

Step 11. Use the Global Peace and Sustainability Initiative to reach out to nondemocratic nations such as Russia and China, as well. Inspiring and helping them to build Compliant Communities planting the seeds of hope, wellbeing and social stability that even authoritarian leaders may value. Doing so would ease the level of global tension and conflict, thus diminishing the probability of nuclear world war.

Step 12. Remember that you are a member of this last living generation that has the option to choose between the 3 Steps to extinction or the 12 Steps to peaceful systemic sustainability. Nothing in our lives will be more important than making and acting on the right choice now before the window of opportunity closes forever.

It is clear that society is a living system in which all the parts have to work together all at once. So aside from the much talked about reducing carbon emission, you also have to have the social, political, economic and environmental aspects work in tune as a fine engine.

Our existing system, built on the reductionist concept: compartmentalized, highly specialized and deeply fragmented. Our established societal infrastructure cannot accommodate the proposed hybrid socioeconomic system. For that reason we have to reconstruct society a community at a time to follow Nature’s building and sustainability code as closely as humanly possible.

Here I outline strategies to follow for individuals, educational institutions, nonprofit organizations, corporations, U.S. Congress, the European Union and the Pentagon; each to do their part in societal reconstruction to build a future of universal quality of life and peaceful systemic sustainability.


a.) Learn and understand Nature’s building and sustainability code.

b.) Write letters and petitions to politicians to establish a Department of Homeland Reconstruction to provide funding for the construction of truly sustainable Holigent/Compliant Communities or to retrofit existing communities.

c.) Encourage as many people as you can to do the same.

d.) If you have the means, set up your nonprofit organization and build Compliant Communities, such as a Holigent Village.

e.) Become a partner with Holigent.Org or simply visit and make a donation.

Educational Institutions

Set up an experimental class and in time expand the teaching of the Holigent (holistic-emergent) concept of mimicking Nature’s building and sustainability code in societal reconstruction — all in the interest of preparing students to become “solutioneers” building their future of quality of life in peaceful systemic sustainability.


Engage in fundraising to build your Holigent Village of quality of life in true systemic sustainability.


Form your nonprofit organization to build Holigent Communities. Or make donations to existing Holigent projects.

U.S. Congress

Establish the Department of Homeland Reconstruction to fund an expanding program of societal reconstruction in the Holigent model. The program will build and secure universal quality of life in peaceful systemic sustainability in ever expanding circles.

The European Union

Fund the construction of an experimental and demonstration International Holigent Village — a permanent world exhibition. Invite nations of the world to participate.

The Pentagon

Establish a section within the vast Department of Defense with the assignment to start a “Peace Offensive” in the form of a Global Peace and Sustainability Initiative — deploying not armies but builders to construct sustainable Compliant Communities. With its vast resources and global footprint, the Pentagon is perhaps the only institution in the world that, with the right spirit, could turn the course of global events away from probable nuclear mutually assured destruction toward world peace and systemic sustainability.

Escaped communist Hungary in 1956. Live in Los Aneles, CA. I founded Holigent.Org building a future of quality of life and peaceful systemic sustainability.