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Chance and choice experiences, presencing as community art

Andrew Campbell wrote somewhere, "The more whole and integrated each person the chances for choices are increased..." I may have found that sentence in the context of his conversation with de Lange on the Learning Organizations list, 5 years ago. The following paragraph from de Lange’s “Choice and Chance are They One?” message struck me and helped me clarifying the meaning of an interesting pattern in my own experience of navigating on the high seas of life.

The more we imagine the system's "coin" as an omnibus of "chance events", the less the coin leaves us with "free energy" to imagine its future as a "choice event". On the other hand, the sooner we deal with each "chance event" as an actual opportunity rather than stacking it together with other "chance events" of the past, the more the coin leaves us with "free energy" to imagine MANY "choice events" following from this ONE "chance event". I myself try to convert every "chance event" as soon as possible into as many as possible "choice events" so as to nurture my "free energy" and the "one-to-many-mapping" of my creativity. (emphasis added)

I found the "one-to-many-mapping"--in the sense pictured by Andrew Campbell's Lightening Branches below—of one’s creativity, both a fascinating metaphor, and a model for contributing to each other’s body of resonance with the emergent futures.


In my view, the painting also suggests presencing is a community art: the diversity of evolutionary possibilities triggered by one collective choice is a reflection of the diversity of talents and sensibilities present in making that choice.

Campbell's painting and de Lange's quote above also reminded me of what Otto Scharmer wrote in the 10th Principle of Presencing:

“Who we become will depend on the choices we make and the actions we take now. That being of the future is our highest or best future possibility.”

Attracted to realize that possibility, I notice how rapidly I flip events that present themselves by “chance” into “choice” events I use for my learning. The same attraction also pulls my attention to the question: What are the practices that communities can use for navigating their future (without blindspot) as they are co-creating it?

If “who we become will depend on the choices we make,” then what does the quality of those choices depend on? Among other things, on the qualities of our shared-attention, the shared focus and depth, scope and steadiness, alertness and multiplexing capacity of the “we’s” attention, whoever that “we” is composed of.

Besides the practices for increasing and refining their shared-attention, navigators in the resonance field of the emerging future also need good maps. I think of maps that reflect visualized observations and discoveries of collective mapping and meaning-making practices that work. They evoke more than depict possibilities. The best examples of what I talk about are “Lightning Branches” and “Cart-O-grapher Nuit” from “Mapping the Tree of Knowing - the Ringing Tree” (see below) by Andrew Campbell.


“Cart-O-grapher Nuit” is a map, for me, that evokes a deeper meaning of why presencing is a community art. Here is how. This morning, Ria asked me about what is the main difference between the "Museum of the 20th Century" dream and the recent one (that I posted here).

I said, in the recent one, the crew of the Ship returned to the harbor and brought back to the people seeds of effective practices for collective navigation, which they discovered on their journey. But how did we do it, what were those seeds, asked Ria, trying to help me remembering more details of the dream. I closed my eyes, and entering into resonance with the space from which the dream came, I saw the crew as a community of explorers, engaged in “ramping up connectivity” (an expression borrowed from Jaron Lanier) by many means, including:

• A remarkable ease with which they fall into a deep, silent, causal domain of consciousness, in one another’s company

• A heightened capacity to pick up even weak signals from the collective field of the future

• Sustaining a loving attention to the well-being of each and the whole

• Staying alert to interference from any fear or unfulfilled desire that would want to impose its version of the future

• Letting their resonant rings connect into broader patterns of meaning, as in the “Cart-O-grapher Nuit”

• Moving from inter-connections to interbeing, by expanding the self sense to include the surrounding field created by all crewmates participating in it, also as in the “Cart-O-grapher Nuit”

(The original online posting of “Cart-O-grapher Nuit” appeared here. You can also find a Campbell essay relevant to it, here.)

Deep silence, causal, ground of being. Out from that formless space, actors and plays emerge, through which evolution plays itself in the kosmic, social, and countless other theaters.

The exercise is to map the intertwining lines of the "Lightening Branches" that connect the changing patterns of present and future, as they manifest in the web of my valued relationships.

The future that wants to come into being through me, projects a roadmap into those lines, which appears first as a faint mesh of possibilities. Can I observe its emergence patiently, respectfully, and with childlike curiosity?