One of my mantras around network building and social change is that creating greater (and new forms of) connectivity is not simply a “so that” or a “nice to have” but is really an “as” and critical to the work of systems and structural change. This is echoed is some way, shape or form in many of the posts that appear in this space, and I think it bears repeating. Consider the following:
“Whether we learn how to love ourselves and others will depend on the presence of a loving environment. Self-love cannot flourish in isolation.”
Isolation can kill. Science shows how loneliness and social isolation can ravage the body and brain. As noted in an article in The New Rebublic – “A partial list of the physical diseases thought to be caused or exacerbated by loneliness would include Alzheimer’s, obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, neurodegenerative diseases, and even cancer.” And who are the lonely? In many cases the poor, the bullied and oppressed, the “different.” When we consider how isolation can impact genes, we see how the cycles of poverty and oppression can play out at a fundamental psychobiological level. What this calls for, in part, is work that reconnects those who are currently in isolation and on the margins from/of myriad social goods including emotional support, tangible services and other critical resources.
Disconnection breeds irresponsible behavior and prejudice. Science is helping us to understand the role of implicit bias in all of our lives and in society. Furthermore, the work of people like Paul Piff shows how those with considerable privilege who isolate from the rest of society (and keep to their own) tend to lose touch with empathy and any sense of egalitarianism. As my colleague Cynthia Parker notes, “Engaging with people unlike ourselves in situations that involve meaningful activity [and] counter-stereotypic experiences” helps to eliminate biases. In other words keeping and strengthening direct connection is a key part of the work for equity and democracy.
One of the many things I like about celebrating New Year’s Day is that for a moment in time the awareness of millions of people is simultaneously focused on the same point of transition. We conspire to create an opening. We align ourselves with the cycle of the planets. We leap into a future that is necessarily new.
I’m not big on apocalypse or fear mongering. But I am often in awe of the stars. 2012 is going to be a big year for the stars. We’ll hear a lot of silliness, but creative are good alchemists. Let’s allow ourselves to toy with the idea of transition – of shift, of developmental leaps.
The whole globe is shook up, so what are you going to do
when things are falling apart? You’re either going to become
more fundamentalist and try to hold things together or you’re
going to forsake the old ambitions and goals and live life as an
experiment, making it up as you go along.
I’m blown away by #occupywallstreet. And I am thrilled by the conversation it has unleashed – sometimes amused, sometimes frustrated and often moved. I’ll be at Liberty Plaza this Friday.
I’m appreciating the political discussion, the strategic questions, the desire for racial inclusion in this emergent process. However this turns out, it is way bigger than a protest. Something is changing, Kevin Kelly points to it: Read More
The “No Labels” political effort feels more like the work of well resourced spin doctors than an emergent political movement that can address the paralyzing institutional polarization that might bring our country to its knees. I was struck by this quote from a New York Times story focused on Bloomberg’s role:
In fact, though, the rise of the independents represents a movement in exactly the opposite direction — away from party organizations altogether… This isn’t so much a political phenomenon as it is a cultural one. In the last decade or so, the Web has created an increasingly decentralized and customized society, in which a new generation of voters seems less aligned, generally, with large institutions. MoveOn.org and the Tea Party groups, for instance, were born as protests against the establishments of both parties, and they empowered citizens to create their own agendas, rather than relying on any elected leadership. Read More
The most important tool in that leadership technology is the emerging Self – the leader’s highest future possibility. Theory U is based on the assumption that each human being and each human community is not one but two: one is the current self, the person that exists as the result of a past journey; the other is the Self, the self that we could become as the result of our future journey. Presencing is the process of the (current) self and the (emerging) Self listening to each other.
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?
I had the pleasure of meeting Jennifer Sertl on the twittersphere. Together with Koby Huberman, they have written a book that seems to touch on many of the aspects of this paradigm shift that I spend some much time writing about. It looks like in writing Strategy, Leadership and the Soul Sertl and Huberman are articulating a series of powerful responses to the changes our organizations are experiencing. I see a lot of alignment between the principles outlined in this 3 minute video and the work we do here at IISC. We are moving forward, see what you think.
(1) The leadership process requires three movements: (1) establishing the horizontal connection (“observe, observe, observe”), (2) establishing the vertical connection (“connecting to Source”), and (3) acting from what emerges in the Now (“acting in an instant”).
I am a huge fan of C. Otto Scharmer’s Theory U. It is one of the most powerful frameworks for understanding the essential shifts we need to make as we step into this paradigm shift. Scharmer sums up his Theory U with seven propositions, I’m going to write a series of blog posts taking a closer look at each of them: Read More
I’ve been getting into Umair Haque lately, he is among those of us concerned with this emergent paradigm shift, and he comes at it from a business perspective. I was specially appreciative of one of his manifestos – yes, he has many.
This is a very exciting time for those of us who are working to apply the logic of networks to the work of social change. Our ideas are gaining traction as more and more experiments start to point towards success. Life online, the viral nature of meaningful stories and our human desire for deeper connection all serve to confirm our intuitive understanding of life in a network. However, as we step into this paradigm shift, as we start to approve of these ideas, we still have to contend with the constraints of the organizational and funding structures within which we currently work. Read More
|Photo by TeresaM3Kids|http://www.flickr.com/photos/teresam525/3530463356/|
|Photo by Johan J.Ingles-Le Nobel|http://www.flickr.com/photos/43147325@N08/4370125469/|
I’m a big fan of Kevin Kelly. His latest blog post reflects on what he calls “Two Kinds of Generativity” and it has me thinking about the next phase of movement. Kelly describes the evolutionary process of an innovation. He speaks of the first stage as one that is “vague, incomplete and open to change.” This first stage is appealing to the early adapters, “tinkerers, nerds, fans, and hacks who will make it do all kinds of things no one had thought of.” Read More