An open space for global conversation
I was invited to host a conversation at Trinity Church in downtown Manhattan on Wednesday, February 1st from 1-2pm EST (a recording is available here). The subject I chose is "Occupy as a Leap of Faith." As I note below, my initial inspiration was the work of Frances Moore Lappe. I also want to acknowledge the influence of my time with the FOUR YEARS.GO campaign. Much of the language that came to me in my opening comments at Trinity were a direct expression of the basic message of that initiative, and echoed the words of Lynne Twist (who was central to the launching of 4YG) in particular.
The conversation began here before the event, seeded by a Cafe Call on January 6th. I have reframed the core questions, and look forward to our ongoing dialogue on this theme:
Initial post for this discussion, from January 4th:
For me, the essential power of the Occupy movement has been its ability to inspire a very large and diverse group of people to move out of a place of disempowerment into one of possibility. It is easy to understand the resigned, cynical and dis-empowered perspective given the current state of affairs on this planet. That makes the decision of so many to take a stand based on the possibility of something new all the more remarkable and precious.
France Moore Lappe's wonderful book Getting a Grip 2 presents an elegant framework that addresses this dichotomy directly, with the twin premises of scarcity and sufficiency at the heart of two different spirals. She moves from these core premises all the way through to the specific political and economic dynamics that have created a world where the 1% are increasingly able to dominate and exploit the 99% on the one hand, and a world where we work collaboratively to meet the needs of all, on the other. You can study the two spirals on her www.smallplanet.org website here [and we have also now posted them below as well].
The "spiral of powerlessness" begins from the assumption that we don't have enough "goods or goodness" (to which I would also add "time") to go around and that as a result, human nature is inherently "selfish, competitive and materialistic." The "spiral of empowerment" is based upon an assumption that we do have enough, both materially and spiritually. As a result, we can trust our "deep needs for fairness, cooperation and effectiveness," harnessing them to transform the systems by which we organize and govern ourselves so that the voices and the needs of the 99% are heard and met.
The Occupy movement emerged out of those "deep needs." The encampments were grounded in the Occupiers' faith in "fairness, cooperation and [the] effectiveness" of the people. And they were energized by the discovery of sufficiency, as the basic needs not only of the Occupiers themselves, but also of the poorest and weakest among us, were met with grace and love, despite extremely challenging circumstances.
Now almost all the encampments are gone. Perhaps they will reemerge, perhaps not. But it is their lesson that holds the greatest power, in my opinion. How can we nourish that precious faith in human goodness and the sufficiency of the universe that is the source of our ability not simply to "solve our problems," but to step into a realm of possibility in which the true genius of humanity can be unleashed with all the incredible power and brilliance that is within our grasp?
Perhaps we might start by looking within ourselves. In that spirit, I suggest that we begin our conversation with these questions:
[Note: I suggest that we move from these initial framing questions to the ones that are now posted at the start of this thread above]
I am disappointed you didn't pick up the process approach - one process, three realities: the past, the present, the future. I put my hope in it.
There is one logic in the process and the idea of extrapolation could be applied. To design the mechanism of collective model of reality must not mean the model itself - the dynamic model of global process would be created using the mechanism.
Such model is a vital necessity to "materialize" the potential of local actions in the form of power proportional to political and market powers.
Unfortunately, my first answer to the first question: when I have had lots o cash in the bank. The reality is I know it's all going to be lost. A favorite quote of mine is, "He is no fool who loses what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose." Ironically, my second answer to the first question is when I have experienced those close to me dying. It is then that I am much more aware of what is important and what causes me to be sufficient.
To the second question: It takes people reminding about what truly makes me sufficient with or without the goods. Although, it is the goodness that gives me hope and encouragement. So, I need more people like all of you, here at occupy, who understand the principles of democratic relationships.