rkm website: http://cyberjournal.org
West Coast tour: re/ consciousness & social transformation
Lessons from the tour: a shift in consciousness
dialog re/ recent postings
Permit me to summarize and extend the main thread that has been weaving through our recent series of postings…
• We are in the midst of a chaotic period of social and cultural transformation. The old growth-based paradigm is collapsing, and some new organizing paradigm will eventually emerge. From the center, there are forces pushing toward greater centralization; from the grassroots, there are forces pushing toward decentralized forms of organization.
• Evolutionary studies tell us that in times of episodic change, new, unpredictable forms often emerge. In the Cambrian era, we had an explosion of new biological species; following the invention of agriculture, our civilized social structures
began to emerge. In our current time of episodic change, does decentralization have any hope of emerging as the dominant social paradigm?
• The ‘mind of the center’ has a considerable degree of coherent consciousness, whereas the ‘the grassroots mind’ suffers from what I like to call ‘multiple personality disorder’. If the grassroots is to have any hope of prevailing, as the paradigms compete for emergence, the disorder must be treated: the grassroots needs to learn how to think and act with a reasonable degree of coherence.
• Any treatment for the disorder, it seems to me, must begin by facilitating the emergence of communication and mutual understanding among the multiple personalities. This kind of thing, experience shows, can only be accomplished in face-to-face conversations, and the way the conversations are structured, or facilitated, turns out to be a critical factor in the effectiveness of such conversations.
• If we are seeking to move toward decentralized modes of organization, this communication-emergence needs to be facilitated locally, within each community. Face-to-face conversations are most practical at the local level, and the emergence of local coherence would at the same time hint at the emergence of a decentralized organizing paradigm: each community a coherent cell, cooperating with other coherent cells, within a distributed social organism that has no center.
• The largest sub-personality in the grassroots is what we might call the ‘inert majority’ – all those people who don’t participate in movements, don’t go to public meetings, don’t engage in political discussions, and basically seek to get along with their lives, ignoring as much as possible any turmoil in the world around them.
• If the local grassroots is to come into any kind of useful coherence, the inert majority must be engaged in the process. A coherent choir, while the congregation remains inert, can do little beyond making pleasant noise.
Consider the example of local currencies, which have so far had only marginal successes. If a whole community came into coherence around a local currency system and its value to the community, that currency could overnight become the primary means of local exchange.
Without the inert majority on board, we could at most achieve a coherent minority mind, with no ability to act decisively.
If we seek to encourage a decentralized outcome, in this time of episodic social change, I suggest that our biggest obstacle will be getting the inert majority to engage in appropriate conversations in their communities. And if a means can be found to entice them into engagement, then certainly the more active segments of the community would automatically be enticed as well. Therefore our strategic focus, as decentralization promoters, needs to be on the inert majority, and how to get them to engage.
As regards the format and process of conversations, there is a lot of best practice out there that can be applied, in service of mutual understanding. Due diligence, with no need for breakthroughs, should enable our conversations – once convened – to move in a harmonizing direction. It is in the convening itself, of conversations involving the inert majority, that we are in need of breakthroughs.
I don’t have any answers to this one folks. I’ve got some embryonic thoughts, but nothing worth expressing. How about we do some group brainstorming? What do you think might get people away from their TVs, and motivate them to talk with their neighbors on a more-than-socializing basis?
In brainstorming, crazy ideas are welcome, so fire away!