Tag Archive: thinking

May 15, 2014

Degenerative Habits of Mind

“A great many people think they are thinking when they are merely rearranging their prejudices.”

― David Bohm

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By Vincepal

 

I have learned a tremendous amount over the last several years from practitioners associated with the Regenesis Group – Carol Sanford, Bill Reed, Joel Glanzsberg, and Pamela Mang.  Specifically, they have pushed my own thinking about my own thinking, and how this kind of awareness is key to supporting successful system change.  I recommend all readers of this blog to check out the wealth of resources on the Regenesis website.  And I want to highlight a blog post from Pamela Mang, a segment of which I have included below, that points to how our dominant ways of thinking can undercut our stated aims.  The full post can be found here on the edge:Regenerate site.

“The way we think is shaped by patterns that we’ve been taught or picked up over the course of our lives, patterns that are deeply embedded in our culture and institutions. Over time, these patterns have become increasingly interdependent and self-reinforcing and, most problematic, increasingly habitual because they are invisible to us. If we want to change how we think, the first step must be to make visible the patterns that currently shape our thinking. Only then can we decide which are useful when, and which condemn us to degenerative outcomes. . . .  Read More

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December 12, 2013

Thinking Like a Network

Over the past five years or so of supporting self-declared “networks” for change, I have evolved in my understanding of what is new when we call something a network, versus a coalition or collaborative or alliance.  On the surface, much can look the same, and one might also say that coalitions, collaboratives and alliances are simply different forms of networks.  Yes, and . . . I believe that what can make a big difference is when participants in a network (or an organization, for that matter) embrace new ways of seeing, thinking, and doing.  So let me propose that network approaches at their best call on us to lead with some of the following: Read More

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June 5, 2013

Keep Dancing

Dancing Feet

|Photo by Joanna DeSilva|http://www.flickr.com/photos/22699882@N05/3925277668/in/photolist-6YS5ib-731gRb-7xiBcx-a1ytiD-7CaEeJ-ajVWkp-98jyKZ-dpFP4y-a4Kv9w-a8mSWm-a4Kth5-c3wLoG-7UDmJg-cJkmD7-7MfYHF|

I read a quote earlier this week that I had seen before that went something like, “We need to act our way into a new way of thinking.” Indeed, increasingly what seems to be called for is the practice of prototyping and risk-taking, breaking the more linear and often drawn out process of plan-act-reflect-refine. This poem by Mary Oliver, from her book A Thousand Mornings, captures something of this spirit for me: Read More

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October 31, 2012

Practicing Wholeness

alchemy of wholeness

|The Alchemy of Wholeness by Armanda Moncton|http://www.flickr.com/photos/armandamoncton/1705798622|

On Sunday, Gibran Rivera and I facilitated a workshop at Connecting for Change/Bioneers by the Bay about change practices for a networked world.  Another way of thinking about what we were exploring was to put it in terms of “practices for wholeness.”  Part of our premise was and is that we are suffering from a worldview that leads with and to fragmentation and fixity.  This is part of our inheritance from the industrial age that strives to understand through division and an associated mindset that believes we can make a separation between observer and observed with no associated impact.  For certain tasks, of course, it makes sense and is possible to divide, diagnose and put back together.  But this does not make sense, nor is it possible, in the case of complex living systems.  Furthermore, we have gotten ourselves in a bind because our habits of thought have led us to thinking that the divisions and categories we have created are in some sense primordial.  And so we are hard pressed to believe, or remember, that what we do to our “environment” or “others” we do to ourselves! Read More

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April 11, 2012

The Subtle Power of Networks

“Life is irresistably organizing.  Life opens to more possibilities through new patterns of connection.”

 M. Wheatley & M. Kellner-Rogers, A Simpler Way

dandelion

|Photo by Kelly B|http://www.flickr.com/photos/foreverphoto/147660610|

The late David Bohm pointed out the lost potential of quantum physics as he saw it being assimilated by a traditional and very mechanical mindset that wanted to make it another instrument of control, prediction, and quantification.  For him the power of the field was much more subtle, qualitative, and lay in the understanding that there is an “implicate order” to reality from which form emerges via our thoughts and efforts to make meaning.  From Bohm’s perspective, much of what ails us stems from disorganized thought that has us attaching to form, regurgitating and defending our prejudices, as opposed to thinking that embraces the more creative flow of life.  As he once expressed it, “Thought is creating divisions out of itself and then saying that they are there naturally.” Read More

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March 29, 2012

Are We Really Thinking?

“A great many people think they are thinking when they are merely rearranging their prejudices.”

~ David Bohm

The great theoretical physicist David Bohm was known for his explorations at the intersections of science and mysticism.  His writings on the nature of thinking have helped to inform some of the current conversations about deeper sources of innovation that transcend individuals and what typically passes for creativity.  His question to all of us is whether we are truly thinking, creating “new sensory orders and structures that form into new perceptions,” or simply recycling old, dysfunctional patterns that are then reflected in the world we physically inhabit.

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March 14, 2012

A Systems View of Opportunity

“If you don’t understand your role in contributing to the problem,

you can’t be part of the solution.”

– David Peter Stroh

This post is a slightly edited version of something I wrote for the upcoming State of Opportunity convening in Michigan.  My colleague Cynthia Parker and I have been working with the Council of Michigan Foundations staff and membership to design this gathering, the focus of which will be philanthropy’s role in increasing social equity in the state.  We are looking forward to facilitating the proceedings on March 27th. 

The quote above comes from a systems thinking expert with whom we’ve partnered in our collaborative change work here at the IISC.  We’ve found it to be a powerful way of introducing the idea that the complex systems (education, health care) that many of us are trying to change to yield better and more equitable opportunities and outcomes are not “out there.”  Rather, to rift on the old Pogo saying, when we have truly seen systems, we understand that they are us!  Read More

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January 25, 2011

Voices Calling

My_Humble_Abode

 

We at IISC have the privilege of witnessing heartful, sometimes heart wrenching dialogue about critical issues in our world from multiple perspectives. We work with passionate laypeople and professionals focused on education, environment and sustainability, public health, peace and justice, youth development, racial justice, city planning and community development, to name a few disciplines.

I’m encouraged by a few themes that are coming up more and more in our work. And, I’m even more encouraged that increasingly, they are emerging as imperatives, not just “nice ideas.”  As we facilitate processes and bear witness to the struggle to bring forth justice, here are some of the voices we’ve heard calling out: Read More

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