An open space for global conversation
“We can't solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.” This quote goes along with, "Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again but expecting different results."
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It's not really due to fault that we go round and round. Cyclical iterations are a function of consciousness evolving itself. It's why systems tend to change slowly, outside of revolutions, that is. However, how many revolutions might be true revolutions? How many revolutions might actually express a radically [Latin for radical=radix=root] new dynamic? How might we escape our reiterative cycles?
Consider how many times you reenact behaviors and circumstances in your personal relationships before you: a.) notice you're doing or being some way that is less than optimal; b.) catch yourself in the moment; c.) identify what you can do differently; d.) begin to actually do that different thing; e.) do that different thing on a regular basis; f.) have that new behavior become a seamless, automatic part of your life. (I oversimplified this process quite a bit so as not to belabor the alphabet.) How often, might you guess, do individuals succeed in a making a complete shift in any one behavior in the course of their entire life? Now consider the vision we have for our global community. (This is fun, isn't it?)
Yesterday, I spent time with Barbara Marx Hubbard and a group of 70 intrepid travelers as we explored the possibility that something radically new is at hand, preparing to emerge in a surprising form. To consider making radical change the way we've always done it can feel daunting. Finding our way outside the box of current thought into fresh perspectives is energizing, creative and positively uplifting.
This topic is of great interest to me, Jitendra. Since I won't be taking part in the phone discussion, I hope you will post some of the highlights here. I've noticed that the worker-owners at my local organic food cooperative don't seem to think the same way that workers in corporate groceries think. They take everyone else's welfare into consideration. But it is not individual actions alone, it is the structure of the cooperative that facilitates and allows them to do that. While it may not be revolutionary (I happen to think that it is), it is radically different from what most people in the US are accustomed to.
I'm scribing some notes. You can also check out the podcast once we get that posted.
One of the core dynamics of different thinking that I am proposing here, is to expand the field of awareness in which we hold this entire play. In other words, that the organic food co-op folks and the industrialized food folks are both reflections and demonstrations of particular roles in a larger evolutionary story and context than the one we tend to focus on. What might we begin to notice if we soften our focus, so that the surface story of good food ethics vs. unhealthy food ethics goes blurry, and look for deeper dynamics within our collective psyche that might reveal some core drivers to the current symptoms of dis-ease in our food systems? When I do this, I see some clear common denominators that connect virtually all of the ills and challenges you so passionately address in your posts.
For me, personally, that's where I like to focus, on what I perceive to be the core drivers common to us all, regardless of the "side" we're defending. This is my version of thinking differently—looking for an alternate context from which to view and respond that might allow my responses to be be outside the realm of a push or a pull. Well, let me qualify by saying this is the current experiment, which I feel holds the promise of our solutions. We're not there, but moving toward. Buckminster Fuller always proposed designing something of a higher order rather than fighting what's in place. Easier said than done, though, I believe, worth the journey.
We also start where we are. I joined my first organic food co-op in 1976 and started a bakery called Food For Our Children. FFOC was both a legal non-profit and a practical non-profit. I was the baker, labeler, bagger and deliverer of awesome fresh organic bread from my bakery outside Woodstock, New York to half of New York state. My father used to harass me about tracking my profit margin to which I could only say, "Dad, it's about good food for the people, not making money." Apparently, I still have the same ethos, since I get paid even less with Occupy Cafe. Anyway, I digress, though fondly.
My roundabout point is that thinking in opposition, as I did with my father, is not necessarily thinking from a new paradigm...though it wasn't exactly old, either. That's why this is an experiment...as evolution always is.
Apologies in advance, Jitendra, as I feel like not only like the proverbial bull in a china shop trying to talk with you, but like a particularly careless and clumsy bull in a very exclusive up-market china shop. ;)
I understand your father's old paradigm to have been the traditional capitalist one that we're here to make as much money as we can and businesses exist to make as much profit as they can. I understand your new paradigm with your bakery as having been that both you and the bakery were here to provide good food for the people. Perhaps the paradigms were in conflict or opposition, and your father may have opposed your paradigm, but I don't think that you or your paradigm opposed your father. I think you were creating something of a higher order rather than fighting what was in place, exactly as Bucky suggested.
I don't understand the industrialized food folks and the organic food coop folks to be playing roles in the same, larger, evolutionary story. I think the industrialized food folks are the equivalent of Creationists, in that they believe that their way is how things were meant to be, and I think the organic food coop folks are evolutionists because they're saying that things can be different and better and we're going to make things different and better.
I don't see that there is opposition or a push pull between the two groups, I see that one group, the traditionalists, are opposed to and trying to prevent change, while the other group is open to and trying to create change. So where the evolutionists would be open to a new context, the traditionalists would not be, and in order to establish connections between the two groups, both groups would have to be open to participation in the process. But that's probably old thinking and therefore not suitable to solving the problem. So, although I may not be able to contribute, I'll try to follow along. Thank you for your patience.
I find this exchange between the 2 of you quite interesting. I can appreciate the little "leap" of seeing a "higher order" evolving - rather than an opposition between dualities.
And does it have to be "one or the other" ? I am a business person. We are involved in producing a product from recycled feedstocks. We are not seeking to make "as much money as we can". We price our product only to make "enough", to help to support our family from the business and to keep it viable, so that we can be here "tomorrow", still doing a "good" work by what we choose to do to support ourselves, by our efforts within.
Similarly, we have a farm. And we are coming around to doing selective logging of our forests. This has taken some time for us to "come around" to at all; and it is not without some trepidation, for there is always a bit of collateral damage that our hearts find very hard to accept. Still, where many in our geographical area that are landowners and choose to log their properties do what is called "high-grading" and take EVERY marketable tree over a certain size, we are doing sustainable and un-even aged logging - artistically chosen by a forester with heart - to preserve "special" trees - "we won't take that one, because it is a Bee tree" and "we'll leave that one because it has character", "we'll insist the logger take down these trees, even though the market isn't good for that particular species because we need to thin that area for the "health" of the forest overall" - to enhance the growth potential for the trees beneath that canopy.
So, what I see as the difference between these contrasting perspectives, and perhaps with Jitendra's business of baking bread as well, is that the focus is on "value" and not exploitative for gain only.
I don't mean to exclude all other options and tactics by voicing the "higher order" perspective, Mark. By saying that "higher order" explorations are experiments, I am validating that we can only start from where we are. Like your logging exploration Deborah. You're feeling your way into something new/old and it's a little radical from both perspectives. It would be best not to try and judge whether something is higher or lower order, though it seems to be one of our greater talents—judging that is. (I do hope you're smiling here...I'm playing) I don't think we can know for certain to what degree something is part of a higher order until we look back from the change.
Better to keep doing what we're inspired to do in any moment than remain paralyzed in analysis, though slowing down to analyze has its place, like discerning which trees are which for health of the whole forest.
Mark, I don't want to discount your perspectives or judge them one way or the other. I might have a personal reaction, but that's about me, not you. We all have our role to play.
An example of what I mean by roles is this: If I'm a progressive leaning person, which I am, it might be easy for me to discount and completely marginalize the value of Mitt Romney on our political scene. However, he's incredibly valuable to anyone who feels strongly about values that Mr. Romney appears to run counter to. He's like an alarm clock, serving to roust any number of slumbering progressive leaning people who might not have been paying attention. I bet more people have activated their will center and are taking action since he started opening his mouth.
On a deeper level, people are being called to question their individual influence and examine what this all means to them. Are we truly victims of "Them" or are we willing participants who have chosen to abdicate responsibility to others for such a long time that we gave the farm away. Now we want the farm back, but possession can be a bull to take back once we've handed it over. So one dimension of Mitt's role is to inspire folks to take relatively greater responsibility if they want a different outcome in Washington and/or their community.
I know, for example, Mark, your response to political influence is to withhold your participation in an electoral process you feel is corrupt. Without going into that debate itself, your choice is what empowers you and it's how you believe you can most effectively influence the situation given all that you know. Though I might not choose that tactic, I acknowledge the value in having you in my community to illuminate it. I think the diversity of our expression is what rounds the whole picture into view and, in fact, gives impetus to a new and higher order emerging over time.
I love Bucky Fuller's principle of precession. We believe we know what the effect of our actions are to be by gazing straight ahead toward the horizon, toward our destination. However, the true purpose of our actions is likely taking place perpendicular to our line of sight, just out of our periphery. Our true effect is most often hidden from view, like the honey-minded bee that is oblivious to its critical role as pollinator.
Perhaps the most powerful different thinking we can enact is in understanding how to expand our capacity to respect, listen to and digest dissent at increasing levels of divergence. I have really good days and really poor days to this end. Thanks, Mark and Deborah, for caring to deepen our exchange.
I think broken China is unavoidable in this process. I'd take it as a sign of progress ;-)
Yes, I'm smiling, Jitendra. Your words always tend to be uplifting.
One of the ways in which shoplifters used to operate was to have several people go into a store at once. Two or more would start a staged fight. Once the shopkeeper, clerks, security guards, and customers had been drawn to the fight, the others would rob the store because nobody was paying attention to them. They'd leave with their booty, and when the cops arrived, the "fighters" would show that nobody had been hurt and that they didn't want to press charges, and would also be allowed to leave, as they apparently hadn't caused any damage or harm.
That's how I see the US electoral system, Jitendra. The candidates stage the distraction so that we won't pay attention as the rest of the gang robs us blind. ALL the candidates, not just some of them. It has been pointed out that Ron Paul has made a career of railing against the US government--a government he has been a part of for the past 30 years. Dennis Kucinich made a career of speaking out for peace and against war, but in '08 he threw his support to Obama, an openly pro-war candidate. One of the 10 Key Values of the Green Party is decentralized government, however they betray that value when they run for office in a centralized government. In my view it is all just staged distraction so that the thieves can get away with robbing us.
From that perspective your statement that, "...the true purpose of our actions is taking place perpendicular to our line of sight, just out of our periphery," is much too literally true. Enough to make me smile once again. ;)
Perfect. Much potential in an experiment like this. Too busy at the moment to participate, so thanks very much to Ben for the scribing. Will participate by post. love, Chris Wroth
Here is a link to the collaborative tablecloth for last week's conversation, which contains an outline of the "ALOHA" mediation practice for those who wish to have something written to support this process.
Thanks, Ben. GREAT job scribing our call!
Scribing highlights from the conversaton on the call:
Imagine now, what might it take to engage this process of new thinking collectively?
Here's a GroupWorks card, drawn at random, to inspire our conversation:
"May the best truth win!"