Human Sized Social Change

December 6, 2010 Leave a comment


My friends at the Engage Network recently asked me this provocative question:

What does it mean to create social change that is “human sized” and prioritizes people and relationships, rather than prioritizing large email lists, or campaigns, or raising money?  What does that mean to you and YOUR work in the world?

Here is my first take at an answer:

I think of our obsession with scale as a vestige of the industrial paradigm that still has many of us ensnared.  It is my hope that many more of us will shift towards a more organic paradigm as we pursue the work of social transformation.  As my friends at the Berkana institute like to say, emergence is not about critical mass, it is about critical connections.

Transformative social change becomes possible as we move away from the abstractions of social scientists and an increasingly obsolete state apparatus.  When we begin to own our role in the pursuit freedom we begin to understand that real relationships, with real people, who have real names and real faces are the actual field where justice grows.

My commitment is to design, host and facilitate spaces where this become palpably real.  As we become practiced in new ways of being-with, as we get more frequent tastes for what it means to be more authentically connected, we ourselves begin to shift – and organic, sustainable growth becomes the way we do movement.

What about you?  What does “human sized” social change mean to you and YOUR work in the world?

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  • Curtis says:

    I think you named it, Gibran – getting away from distractions. Tuning in to real people and places. Understanding the boxes and roles that we have created that no longer suit us. To me it is getting beyond organizations to the COMMUNITIES that all of this work is supposed to serve.

  • Gibran says:

    Agreed Curtis! “Whatever the problem, community is the answer”

  • Ilse Hanberg says:

    Dan on April 6th, 2009 at 12:42 pm:To many, including Winston Churchill, the British Empire was a great force for good. To an unprepossessing Indian lawyer, the British Empire, which saw itself at the bastion of liberty, was evil, for it rested on a lie. It denied to many of its subjects the very equality that was the essence of freedom. But no less evil for Mohandas Gandhi would be the use of force to overthrow it and gain independence for India. Drawing on the traditions of Indian thought and reading the “Bhagavad Gita” daily, Gandhi made his own path. Strong in the truth, he used moral power to bring a great power to its knees. His autobiography eschews many of the traditional elements in a life story. Gandhi focuses on his entire life as a search for truth, teaching us that there are many roads to wisdom and many ways to fight the battles of life. He teaches us to be true to ourselves, do what you know to be right, and never give up.

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