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Friday, October 17, 2014

Saving the World: Whose Problem? Whose Solution? Having More Skillful Enrollment Conversations

Saving the World: Whose Problem? Whose Solution? Having More Skillful Enrollment Conversations

I've just had a sobering realization, which might be called pessimistic, except that I've now seen something potentially useful, and that could foster optimism. I'll let you decide. One pointer to optimism is that I don't think I am the first person to have this insight/realization. I've just never heard it clearly articulated before. If you can find other articulations, please help change the world by sharing them here!!!!
(As with all my blogs, this one is not meant as a presentation of truth, even "my" truth. It is intended as speculation to serve as a conversation-starter.)

This sharing is aimed at people who are passionate about "changing the world" and who have the broadest view, a view at least global in scope if not larger, of what is happening, what might help, and what could happen that they want to have happen.
The framework I'm going to use for talking about this is the Spiral Dynamics one of "life conditions" which naturally lead people to experience "problems" for which they seek solutions, and by which they are naturally led to not just different actions or behaviors, but eventually, if they don't "crash and burn," to an evolutionary expansion of the capabilities of their consciousness, which we can describe as their 'worldview." A "worldview" is one's felt, experienced, and lived (not usually conceptualized or languaged) answers to the basic questions of life: Who am I? What is reality? What is life about? How am I to live? How am I to relate?
So here's the thing. People whose scope of awareness in those answers is large in terms of time, space, and objects/creatures included, see huge global-scope problems such as climate change, depletion of earth's resources on which our lives depend, etc. AND those people see how the problems they see, are going to impact EVERYONE. So they go about proposing solutions, both action/behavior and "how we must change our consciousness in order to survive as a species on earth." (My most current instance of this is Leading from the Emerging Future -- From Ego-System to Eco-System Economies: Applying Theory U to Transforming Business, Society, and Self, by Otto Scharmer and Katrin Kaufer.)
What rocked me back this morning is the realization that so many of the world-changer-authors I read, especially the Integrally-informed authors, (me among them, often) are addressing ears of the people they perceive as causing the problem, ears which cannot hear that description of the problem. Authors like this are also proposing problem-solutions their problem-causers can't do.

So many of these authors, and I so far see Scharmer and Kaufer as among them, are perceiving/describing/analyzing certain "life conditions" from within their own worldview and answering the evolutionary imperative to move to THEIR OWN NEXT STAGE OF DEVELOPMENT OF CONSCIOUSNESS, and putting forth that move as "the solution" which is needed by everyone, and should be/must be engaged in by everyone, in order for us as a species to survive.
For example, it appears to me, in Spiral Dynamics language, that Scharmer and Kaufer attribute the global-life-threatening problems they describe (pp. 1-13) to (unhealthy) Orange-stage "me with no regard for you" "ego-centric thinking." And the move they propose is a move to Yellow "seeing the whole system and care for all the parts" "eco-system" thinking. Well, that probably won't work, without the ability to see and care deeply for others, which comes with living through the Green stage.

Not only that, but I haven't yet (as of p. 29, so that might change) seen Scharmer and Kaufer, or others (exception noted below) asking: "OK, I see this problem from within my worldview. How might the same problem be seen, if indeed it shows up at all, from earlier worldviews?" For example, imagine you ask a lot of people "What is the biggest problem you face in your life, what's causing it, and what is the solution you see; what have you tried and what are you thinking of trying, for solutions?"
For a lot of people, the biggest problem in their existence is that their drinking water is making them sick, but they believe they can't move. What they want, is someone to solve this problem for them. For a lot of people, the biggest problem in their existence is the infidels who pollute the world with their ideas, and the only imaginable solution, is to kill them all. For others, the biggest problem they experience is there is not enough love in the world, and their only imaginable solution is to force or persuade everyone to engage in their idea of loving behavior.
Not only are those differing problems, not all of them are among subjectively-perceived "life conditions" which begin to motivate people to go beyond new tactics and new strategies, and shift ever so gradually, piece by piece, into the next natural scope of worldview/way of being available to humans.

So my sobering realization is that in the framework of Spiral Dynamics, not everyone sees what to one is a "given circumstance" affecting everyone, in the same way. AND, unfortunately, the calls to greater awareness are not addressing that not only is not everyone is seeing the same problem, but also not everyone is experiencing the same life conditions. Thus, the calls for change of consciousness from one stage to another, fall on deaf ears.

For example, climate change. Some people see it on the global scale, and can see present and potential impacts on food supply, water supply, weather-related disasters, potential destruction of large cities, etc. If, like Scharmer, they attribute the problem to the cause of "ego-centric consciousness," and their proposed solution is a call to "world-centric consciousness," there is too big a stage-gap. The ego-centric people supposedly causing the problem, cannot answer the call to jump to worldcentric consciousness. One of the realities of maturation, thus of Spiral Dynamics' view of the evolution of consciousness, is that one cannot skip stages. More precisely, trying to skip a stage generates an unhealthy resulting consciousness which itself will be the source of problems.
Now, some of the people with world-centric consciousness do realize that what THEY perceive as problems, might or might not manifest in some way among the most subjectively pressing problematical "life conditions" experienced by people at earlier stages. Example: Gail Hochachka and her international development team [as described in Dustin DiPerna and H.B. Augustine, eds. The Coming Waves) sat down with villagers to discover how they might be directly experiencing a life-challenge, which to Gail's team was "climate change." To the villagers, it was that an old river had dried up, creating a hardship for them. The "solution" co-created was not for the villages to shift from tribal-scope to global-scope consciousness; the solution was to expand slightly in scope of consciousness in order to figure out some actions which would give themselves better access to water.
There's another eddy in this stream of insight about problems, change, and solutions. We also know from Spiral Dynamics that people faced with a problem will first try trial-and-error behaviors, more of the known ways, to solve it. (Single-loop learning, in some frameworks of discourse.) If that doesn't work, they might step back, zoom out in perspective, reflect a bit, and try a different strategy, come at it from a different angle. (Double-loop learning.) Both of those can be comfortably engaged in within their worldview and do not reflect their awareness of a "life condition" which would lead to questioning the worldview itself, to a deep impulse to begin to expand, to look for new answers to life's questions, to be willing to shift who they are being, in order to solve (or dissolve) the problem. (Triple-loop learning.)
So unfortunately, if we think all our wonderful insightful "Integrally-informed" books and articles about THE nature of THE problem, and THE nature of THE solution, are going to make a difference on a massive scale, we'll be disappointed. 

Please note, this is important: I am not ignoring The Butterfly Effect; I grant that to make changes on a "massive scale," we do not need to address everyone, enroll everyone, change everyone. The whole point of this blogpost is to offer some perspectives that might help us more intelligently target our communications for greatest potential impact, effectiveness, leverage in making "massive" changes.

The first reason we'll be disappointed is because we are naming/describing "the problem" as we see it from our zoomed-out perspective, not naming/describing "the problem" as perceived by most of humanity.

Second, we are also often proposing a solution which is perhaps more ours, not necessarily theirs: move to greater world-centric awareness and shift your way of BEING, your identity and thus your whole consciousness into that particular scope/stage.

Third, we often aren't taking into account that they might need to exhaust all the potential solutions available within their worldview to the problems they perceive within their worldview. IOW, even if they can perceive their own experience of the "problem" we experience in our way, this might not be a "life condition motivating evolution of consciousness" for them even though our perception is that profoundly growthful, for us.

Fourth, we are often not seeming to take into account that the worldview we propose as a 'solution' is OUR next step, but not necessarily the next natural evolutionary step for the people whose consciousness-level we perceive as 'causing' the problems we perceive. Also, even if they tried what we propose, which they have no incentive to do, they would be trying to "skip a stage,"  (or two or thee) resulting in suffering for themselves and others.
So here's what I am going to be doing henceforth in my own world-changing-motivated communications, based on these musings, and what you might do too.

If I see a problem (or a potential -- this blog would be too long if I explored that angle,) I would ask myself what worldview would perceive it in the same way I do.

I would ask myself whether to me this is just a problem, or whether it feels like a limitation of my worldview which I have just bumped up against, and which is therefore one of my own perceived "life conditions" fostering my own willingness to grow my worldview.

As part of that inquiry, I would ask myself which kind of response I am feeling motivated to engage in with respect to the problem. (Spiral Dynamics names stages: alpha, beta, gamma, etc. and others describe the different loops of learning; different frameworks can be used.)
If I am seeking to enroll others in engaging toward some kind of solution, I would ask myself

  • WHO, WHICH OTHERS, I am wanting to communicate with, and
  • what stage of consciousness they are in, and thus
  • whether they can perceive the problem at all, whether they can perceive it as I do, how they might be perceiving it, and 
  • whether the problem as they perceive it is actually among their (what we might call) currently psycho-active "life conditions," and
  • what level/stage of kind of response to the problem they perceive, they are ready for (single, double, or triple-loop learning.)
I would shape my communications to specific others, based on my perceived answers to those questions about them.
Make sense? All the above is my invitation to you, for a conversation. What do you have to say, reflect, suggest, expand, etc.? Am I mis-perceiving something, mis-characterizing, oversimplifying, etc?


It might sound above as if I'm regarding individual people as being entirely in one stage or another, and therefore unable to have parts of themselves one or even two stages higher than their "center of gravity" stage; in truth, I'm aware of that "mosaic effect," and it's "thinking" not "people" which form the object of my discourse above. A deeper conversation on this topic would take that complexity into account. This is a blogpost, not a book.

I note this blogpost fell out from a "perfect confluence" of recent participation in reading the two books noted above, listening to MetaIntegral's just-concluded four-part minicourse on Vital Skills for Thriving in a Wild, Complex World (where Enrollment conversations were discussed,) [email me divinelightchurch at gmail dot com for shareable copies of the audios, I can't find good links right now] and my ongoing conversations/collaborations with world-class world-changers George Por (http://blogofcollectiveintelligence.com/)and Marilyn Hamilton (http://integralcity.com).

If you'd like to explore my own deeper dive into the concepts of the loops of learning, it's here: http://organizationalintelligences.blogspot.com/p/learning-more-intelligently-and.html

I do align with the favorite quote from Einstein among Integrally-interested folks, that a problem cannot be solved from the same level of thinking which created it. Therefore, I am not arguing against analyses of problems perceived, say from within the Integral worldview as affecting everyone, and having those analyses pinpoint the "level of thinking which created the problem" as a much earlier stage of consciousness development. That seems eminently realistic. 

What I am seeking to point out is that the "solutions" proposed FROM a stage two or three stages later than the "cause"-stage, won't get much traction if they directly attempt to move those people into the later-stage thinking directly, for all the reasons described above. Solutions proposed FROM wider-scope worldviews have to be aimed at particular people in ways which are skillfully shaped to motivate and foster the desired internal and external changes, and that could be quite complex, design-wise.

by Rev. Alia Aurami, Ph.D., Head Minister, 
Amplifying Divine Light in All Church
"Amplifying Divine Light in All" is a completely independent church fostering empowerment of people to co-create loving, thriving God-realized lives, and wellbeing for everyone, on a clean, peaceful Earth.
Our main religious purpose and mission is to amplify the Divine Light in everyone. When you read this blogpost, you will agree or disagree with its various points, and find new insights, and then you will know more about what is true for you. Knowing more of your own Truth amplifies your Divine Light. Thus providing/presenting this blogpost is one way for us to accomplish our purpose and mission. 
This blogpost and our providing/presenting it are therefore a central and essential part of our exercise and practice of our religion. 
None of the contents herein are claimed as absolute truth. They represent one possible perspective which might prove useful for you.

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