We Are Moving, Part 2

September 6, 2012 Leave a comment
evolution 2

|Image from Anders Sandberg|http://www.flickr.com/photos/arenamontanus/273180669|

Yesterday I posted a bit of a summary of Carter Phipps’ provocative new book, Evolutionaries, which included the suggested trajectories from a variety of evolutionary thinkers and observers, including greater (and increasing rates of) external and internal complexity, convergence, creativity and change.  The implications I left off with included a call for a stronger embrace of our creative self-starting (entrepreneurial) potential and also the necessity of engaging in more intentional and skillful collective (cooperative or collaborative) effort.

To take this another step, there is much in the evolutionary (biological/physical and philosophical/spiritual) literature that validates and extends our thinking about how to work with life and dynamic systems to steward change in broadly desirable, just, and life-affirming directions.

  • Embrace diversity, deeply.  As Brian Swimme has written, “Diversity is a great way in which the universe explores its future.”  Diversity, when authentically engaged, provides a reservoir of creative potential and resilience.  We are all impoverished, and put at risk, by the loss and rejection of diversity.
  • Look to the edges, be boundary crossers.  Evolution happens at the edges, where different fields and diverse perspectives meet.  New ideas are birthed when and where disciplines meet.  New forms and capacities develop along the borders of different ecological zones.  As Anil Gupta has put it, “Minds on the margins are not marginal minds.”
  • Surface and work with worldviews.  If we do not, they have us, rather than us having them (the worldviews, that is).  There is good evidence to suggest our worldviews and cognitive structures change with technological advance, and given the increasing rates of change, we might expect our internal worlds to shift more often.  Let’s make sure they are going where we want them to!  Think about how you think and what kind of thinking best serves us.
  • Focus on the quality and quantity of human interactions.  These dynamic and critical connections are key to setting and shifting shared meaning, agreement, and values, that are the foundation of our change work.
  • Do not depend on best practice, know what’s really in front of you.  If everything is changing, then just because it worked then and there does not mean it will work here and now.  There is an essential quality to each moment and “structure” that it behooves us to explore and work with.

What else, good readers and change agents?  What does an evolutionary perspective inspire in you and your work?

No Comments

  • Gibran says:

    Curtis, I’m loving these posts! Finding them extremely helpful and really digging your practical applications as outlined here.

    I think of it as “aligning with the evolutionary thrust,” and I see it as both a spiritual practice and a political act.

  • Curtis says:

    A political act – yes! Love it. Check out this from Fisher Ames writing in the late 1700s –

    “Politicks is the science of good sense, applied to public affairs, and, as those are forever changing, what is wisdom to-day would be folly and perhaps, ruin to-morrow.”

    To be blatantly partisan, seemed like at last night’s Democratic national convention we were looking at evolutionary politics, especially in comparison to the RNC’s approach – “Let’s go back to where we were 100 years ago and, by the way, we’re all in this alone”!

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