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Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Reflections on The Integral Living Room 2013, Part 1 Harvesting vs Trusting

Constructively-Critical Reflections on The Integral Living Room 2013

Part 1: 

“To Harvest or Not to Harvest,” or

Purposeful Maximizing of Effects vs “Trust the Field, Luke!”

This is the first in a series of 6 blogposts, which are supplemental to the Notes from the Field report I wrote about the Integral Living Room event for the January 2014 issue of Integral Leadership Review online journal.
These blogposts represent my more personal constructively-critical reflections and musings, and are not purposed for reporting, as the Notes report was. They'll make limited sense if you haven't read the Notes report, but, I hope, are of some general usefulness.

Note: This blog contains only a couple of my reflections as a member of the ILR Harvest Team; there is much more to be said, and that is a future blog, around our questions, our process, and our relationship to various elements of the Integral Living Room happening! These are dear to my heart and closer to my Divine Passions than some of the reflections and musings below, and more important to the world, IMO, than some of what is below, but these posts got written in the timeframe I had up until now. Stay tuned!

The blogposts are about various themes I’ve organized my reflections into:

Part 1. Theme: “To Harvest or Not to Harvest,” or
Purposeful Maximizing of Effects vs “Trust the Field, Luke!”

That's this post, read below. Find the others via the links to them.

Each theme section is independent, so you can skip around if you like!

Part 1. Theme: “To Harvest or Not to Harvest,” or
Purposeful Maximizing of Effects vs “Trust the Field, Luke!”

There was a polarity or at least tension in some of us around how much or little seemed designed-in to the Integral Living Room that might maximize its effect on the world. On one hand, clearly the event changed people, and generated specific friendships, projects, collaborations, as well as “Integral artifacts” such as the audio recordings of the pre-event calls, the video of Ken’s talk, the Facebook posts, etc. Much was contributed and will continue to become generated and contributed to the energetics of the Morphic Field/Kosmic Groove of a Second-Tier humanity. That is all extraordinarily powerful. I fully acknowledge it, and to say I appreciate it would be an extreme understatement!

On the other hand, especially in the view of those like George Por and others in the ILR "Harvest Team," so much more could have been “baked in” with relative ease, which in our view would have amplified many-fold the potential effects and benefits generated by the ILR to the Integral community, the Collective Intelligence-interested folks, and to the world. A great deal of “information” and insights or even heuristic questions generated in the large-group and small groups, which could be of interest for the purpose of the Integral Community’s exploration of higher-consciousness we-spaces, was not captured, and as far as I know now, is lost except for whatever effect it had on the folks involved at the moment and whatever can be remembered or exists in individual’s notes.

There are so many angles to “harvesting” which, if approached with the expertise available before and during the event, with people willing to do what needs to be done, might create more widespread and lasting value for those on the cutting edge of this human capacity for higher-consciousness we-spaces.

Diane said that 2T is “efficient” yet so often like at ILR we get together and fabulous things happen, and there is no organized plan for maximizing the ripples out into the world; that decreases efficiency and minimizes, rather than maximizes, leverage of all the huge time and effort that go into creating the event in the first place.

And perhaps this kind of harvesting/maximizing of impact on people and on the Morphic Field of Second-Tier humanity isn’t just a matter of efficiency. Perhaps it is actually part of the “responsibility of Second Tier” to the world.

Here are three of the possible angles to harvesting:

a) A “memory” harvest of simple records which can be made available to many, such as the various recordings, but could have included detailed (yet essentialized) notes on so much that was said in the large and small groups, put into forms which are shared and ongoingly available to the world as resources for those interested in we-space development. Even such simple things as Rebecca Colwell’s notes and the Open Space Groups’ notes; what will happen to these? What availability will there be so that someone might make use of these? Yes, a lot of people photographed her notes, but some systematic future use might have been baked-in. They could serve more purpose than adding energy and interest in the moment.

b) A “meaning” harvest of collective spaces could be provided during and after the event for catalyzing, sharing, and recording reflections, second-order learnings, insights, etc. This need not be limited, as currently, to a Facebook page; specific interest groups could have been encouraged to continue their conversations in various ways. For example, the Open Space Group around Momentum has its own Google doc and email exchanges. Some people could have been encouraged to share blogspaces
for continued conversations around topics which sparked interest. Face-to-face and cyberspace, real-time and asynchronous, there are many platforms and vehicles and containers which could be provided and/or named and encouraged for use and/or fostered as self-generated options. All kinds of things like that could have been “in the conversation” formally, i.e. spoken about by the Hosts. Is there any responsibility, given humanity’s “urgency,” for this kind of leveraging of our efforts?

c) A “momentum” harvest could be set up and ongoingly enriched by encouraging participants to share how the event has affected and influenced their lives, and continues to do so. What have they done? What have they started, what collaborations and projects do they seek others for?  Again, a Facebook page is not particularly an inspiring place to do this.

Participants could be encouraged to become active shapers of what is generated and gained. For example, not just doing an exercise, but being mindful and pro-active about what could be done with whatever emerged that wants to continue, and about sharing far and wide what was learned, what was experienced, what could be learned on reflection -- catalyzing, synergizing, maximally.

A huge part of “momentum” is, of course, hooking up with other islands of interest in higher-consciousness we-space and merging our learnings and our ripples for maximum effect on the future. This could be regarded as a sub-theme of this Harvesting theme. How isolated from vs  integrated with other similar explorations/endeavors, can this one be designed and allowed to emerge, to be? (And this in turn as noted below, is related to the use of expertise in the audience.)

I was fascinated that there were no mentions (that I recall) of who else is doing what on this leading edge of Integral and humanity’s conscious evolution; Jeff didn’t mention his previous interview of Patricia Albere about the Evolutionary Collective; Terry didn’t mention his upcoming participation in Bonnitta Roy’s Symposium on Collective Insight. Those would have been a bare beginning of the synergy possible; my ideal would be that some time (more than one exercise, if I recall rightly) be devoted to whole-group sharing of what individuals might have already been doing, studying, teaching, around the purpose and focus of the gathering!

Harvesting as going for “highest potential of this conversation”
If we are to ask of all of our conversations: What is the highest potential of this conversation? then let us ask that of the conversation that is the event! What is its highest potential, and how can that be maximized? How can this event become, in Marilyn Hamilton’s metaphor, a more significant force in helping us be one “reflective organ” of the Integral eco-system of collective-intelligence explorers.

A team of experienced, even expert, “Harvesters” could help with both the design and the spontaneously-emerging opportunities to serve this purpose, because indeed harvesting for maximum value is one of those “skillful means” which requires study and learning toward mastery.

Sub-theme: Use of technology for harvesting
A sub-theme on this issue recurring during the event was: How can we best use technology to co-create, continue, and use our we-space and our networking, collaborating, etc.? Do we need to design new stuff? The answers to those questions are being developed, and that new technology can be drawn upon in the near future, for maximizing the benefit of the event, to the world.

Sub-theme: The deeper issue of divergence/emergence “vs” convergence/intention/purpose
This particular tension or issue is of course one manifestation of the deeper tension between various “purposes” or “intentions” for we-space, namely the “let’s explore and deepen” vs “Why are we getting into this we-space?  We reflect on it, learn from it, now what wants to happen as a result? Can we do something with this awareness, use it to some emergent purpose? Has some purpose emerged beyond the exploration? Now what?” (I’ll be doing a blog on this issue soon.)

by Rev. Alia Aurami, Ph.D., Head Minister, Amplifying Divine Light in All Church
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