An open space for global conversation
Please use this thread to post on anything that struck you about the conversations you had in small groups during a Cafe Call that were focused on a particular question.
This "harvest" allows us to collectively make meaning of our conversations and to bring the insights, patterns and deeper questions that emerge into our next round of dialogue.
Everyone's voice matters--please share yours!
Woohoo, Aerin! Awesome scribing, as usual. And yes, this is the right spot. As we get more sophisticated, we can move content out from here to other conversation threads as well.
The practice I propose is the routine asking of two questions:
When asked repeatedly, an upward spiral path to autonomy and connection unfolds.
...and when many are asking right where they are, in the midst of people they can see, hear, know and have working relationships with, there is a multiplier effect.
I'm loving re-reading these questions. A few things come up:
1. What do you mean by whole person? Myself? Or all people? Or are you inviting with the question to engage with the phrase "whole person" as one's intuition might hear it in the moment?
2. These two questions evoked two questions for me:
In what ways am i a force for good in my place?
In what ways am i a force for good for the whole person?
By whole person I refer to the several thousand years old notion that each of us is a unique association of body, mind, heart and spirit. It is a consideration to which reductionism and industrialism have done violence, reducing people to things. See this blog on this site for more.
So, holding and repeating that question, one's attention can oscillate between self (Which dimension or dimensions have I neglected? or What is my unique personal significance, aka voice?) and other[s] (How has this person I'm with balanced and integrated her/his multidimensionality? or Are we arranging ourselves in such a way that we can mostly complement each other?).
That said, I've also been weighing the possibilities of simply asking people "What seems whole?" just for the practice of recognizing and acknowledging health, balance, integration and beauty. That is to say, your fourth question, too, is right on. You are welcome at wholeisbeautiful.net, a forum, for now
Whole place represents another important multidimensionality that I'll elaborate another time.
I believe good = whole, after 400 years of reductionism.
Thanks for this, David!
I look forward to checking those two links out!
Indeed, up with multidimensionality!
And... all the processing power is in place. Choices and commitments make the way.
Thanks for the thoughtful posting... sorry for my quick-ish reply...
There is a difference between protest, alternative actions and VISION IMPLEMENTATION (my term). Vision implementation is an action which both protests/highlights a problem AND shows the solution, at the very same time. By finding the energy seam between protest and visionary action, one changes the consciousness of all -- including those supporting the status quo.
The present "Occupy" actions are the equivalent of the "Boston Tea Party": definitely shows the anger, and the guts to stand up to the powers of status-quoism. And, neither OWS nor BTP are visionary -- I cannot see the kind of society that is intended by the actions.
Gandhi's Salt March and the lunch counter sit-ins of the Civil Rights Era were brilliant, in that they were truly "vision implementation". The action of the Salt March stated that Gandhi wanted to see a country where people were free to make salt -- which implied an end to British rule, since they expressly said that one could NOT make salt. The actions of the lunch counter sit-ins stated that King wanted to see a country where people were free to eat lunch -- which implied an end to American Apartheid.
Making a worm bin or planting a garden are not on the order of "vision implementation" for one simple reason: THE ACTION HAS TO BE ILLEGAL, AND HAS TO CALL INTO QUESTION THE LEGITIMACY OF THE STATUS QUO. The action, in and of itself, has to say, "The Government has lost its moral authority".
I have been deeply meditating on exactly what kind of an action is necessary in these times. So far, I have not seen the vision. [To give you an idea of what I've considered and rejected: A "Smoke-In", where people roll and sell their own cigarettes, and sell/distribute tobacco seeds. Unbelievably illegal -- there's a special branch of the US government just to maintain the monopoly of Big Tobacco over this plant. The problem: I don't want to see a society where everybody is smoking. The average person has to be saying, when the visionary activists are being hauled off to prison, "What's wrong with making salt? What's wrong with eating lunch?]
The visionary action is there, but eludes me for the time being... stay tuned...
The condition of illegality certainly has history on its side, but if a cultural shift is brewing, reversals of all kinds (to go with the diversity of human beings) may suffice.
Think of ac action that has the power to incite people to take action to change the status quo that is NOT "illegal". (Hint: It ain't worm bins...) (I should have added earlier... highly illegal and highly MORAL.)
It is precisely the illegality of OWS that captured people's imaginations. If they had applied for a park use permit, they would have never spread beyond Manhattan...
I'm not sure the established order necessarily needs to be challenged directly to create the new vision. I can think of one example that might demonstrate this point--
the work of the citywide placemaking initiative City Repair in Portland. What they are doing is essentially creating a village effect, recreating powerful community right where people live and not necessarily fighting the powers that be. Sure there was some conflict with City Hall in the beginning, however things - to the best of my knowledge
I think of City Repair's placemaking work as one of those things many of us have probably never heard of (and probably never even thought of) that can change the world (of course there is no one thing, probably, that changes the world : ) )
In a sense, I think of City Repair as doing an end run around the existing order.
These two videos, the first short and the second longer say more about City Repair.
Transforming Space into Place (10min)
Chronology of City Repair (2 hrs.)
p.s. I look forward to meeting you one day, Sharif! While visiting in Seattle a few years back your name came up several times!
interesting comments, sharif. we did talk about how certain kinds of gardening, for example, are illegal. so, it may not be illegal to garden in your home, but it would be illegal to plant a garden in a privately owned plot of land in a city. i also made the comment that while it isn't illegal to grow your own food or turn your own waste into useful items the society we live in makes it almost impossible (or at least very difficult for all but the very motivated) to do this in a way that could shift us away from big agrobusiness and landfills. i'm still mulling this all over though.
i hear what you're saying about visionary action and am not sure that guerilla gardening or what I'm proposing around waste is quite "it" - or at least not all of "it". I wonder if we could start to think and dialogue together on Occupy Cafe about what the visionary action(s) of this movement could be.