August 30, 2008

Our steady attention...

Our steady attention to what is moving us in the luminous moments of co-inspiration
transforms the fleeting experience into continuous celebration of the awakening of the collective learner
to its potential for higher intelligence and wisdom, capable to hold more compassion and complexity.

August 6, 2006

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?

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Escaping from the Museum of the 20th Century

As I woke up, I immediately knew: the meaning of this dream will grow with me, keep unfolding; I will see clearer the guidance that I’m getting from it, over the years. At the time of that dream, in the early seventies, I was living in Hungary under communist governance, between two markers of my life's journey:

• being freshly released from prison, after serving 20 months for organizing a student movement, in September 1969

• being forced into exile for continued opposition to the policies of the ruling elite, in July 1975

Back then, there was an artistic avant-garde in Hungary, mostly young people who expressed their dissidence by engagement in artistic happenings, street theater, amateur films, etc. that was considered too "edgy" by the communist censorship. I was part of the scene, and after years of the rather ascetic, movement organizer lifestyle, I really enjoyed the fun, and was inspired by the irreverent, creative manifestations of my peers; some of our best happenings started as a "chance" experience. Like this one:

I am walking on the "grand boulevard' of Budapest, named "Lenin boulevard,'" in the afternoon rush hour, the sidewalks teeming with people streaming from the offices. In their midst, I feel my movements slowing down, my legs move more and more unhurriedly, hardly lift, and advance at a snail's pace. It feels like time itself slows, while the rushing continues around me. The boulevard is crowded and a bit dangerous because some people are so little present to their body or the space around it, that have a hard time to avoid bumping into and getting mad at me.

As I turned the spontaneous slowing down of my movement, into an "experience," a happening, I didn't intend to provoke the people on the street; I knew it may happen but that was not the point. My way of walking became a full-body, immersion experiment of not being part of the system, stepping out from the drub reality of living in a country without freedom. It was a little bit like a walking meditation, except I didn't know that time what meditation was. I performed that slow-motion happening at different places of Budapest, a couple of times, weeks before the following "teaching dream" occurred.

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July 29, 2006

All presencing is co-presencing

Talking about “presence,” Andrew Campbell wrote in email, “what it means is not what it is -- and does.” It reminded me of Aurobindo’s saying, “Man’s greatness is not in what he is but in what he makes possible.”

What our times demand us to make possible is nothing less than what the unknown author of the following graffiti on the wall of the occupied Sorbonne asked in 1968: Soyez réalistes, demandez l’impossible! It is to bootstrap ourselves onto higher stages of individual and collective consciousness by simultaneously letting go of the illusion of a separate self-sense, yet embracing our full respons-ability for our choices in every moment.

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June 27, 2004

From intersubjectivity to collective objectivity: a socioeconomic imperative

There’s nothing like the joy, freedom, and deep intimacy of intersubjective space, in which ego-driven programs are effortlessly replaced by the curiosity of who we really are when we are free from the illusions of a separate self. A passionate yet playful curiosity of what our connection is about floats in the room when the tyranny of the ego’s desires and fears that drive our acts, is gone or, at least, suspended for the time of being together with other aficionados of Truth, Beauty, and Good.

Traditionally, the experience of reaching a heightened state of awareness and interacting from within it with others in the same state was the privilege of participants in shamanic dances, Tantric sex ceremonies, other mystic traditions, and the modern-day group experiments with “psychoactive vitamins,” and rave parties. They’ve certainly reached a level of intersubjectivity not accessible in ego-driven states but they all shared a pre-rational logic that made those occurrences of collective consciousness unfit for dealing with challenges that required cognitive skills in managing complexity.

Intersubjectivity in the trans-rational is a whole different ball game! What prompted this blog entry was my experience of it in a circle of “enlightened communications,” last Friday:

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June 19, 2004

Intersubjectivity in an organic pub

I wrote about intersubjectivity as a direct experience of CI, in a couple of entries of this blog but until recently I didn't put myself in a situation of responsibility for facilitating it. That opportunity was given to me when following our conversation about How local meetings with global experts can boost CI, Chris Macrae invited me to talk to a small group in London, last week. We were all guests of the Duke of Cambridge who was very generous to us. No, not the member of the royal family but a trendy organic pub sporting his name, with good food and a lovely, little patio where we enjoyed the sun and an intriguing conversation. The invitation was to speak about my life's work. Given that it's CI, I thought it would be more interesting to not speak about but trigger an experience of it.

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April 12, 2004

What's between individual and collective intelligence?

Commenting on The emergence of CI, an online experiment, Charles Savage asked a powerful question that, I believe, deserves a lot of attention from all who don’t only want to theorize about CI but experience it live, vibrant, and tangible. He wrote:

>I have one questions, is there something between:
>Individual Intelligence
>Collective Intelligence

> Is it not possible to have a "collective intelligence" context where the "individual intelligence" comes alive?

Charles, thank you for inquiring into the very heart of what I find the most exciting about Collective Intelligence as theory AND practice. In my experience, individual intelligences come alive and shine best, indeed, in the context of a collective intelligence. Autonomy and community are not only not opposite but one doesn’t really exist without the other.

> In other words, how it is possible to have a dynamic interaction so that as individuals value the intelligence (and emotions) of the other, the collective intelligence emerges?

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July 25, 2003

One Mind

Shortly after quoting David Bohm on the need to develop a higher collective intelligence, in my blog entry related to Andrew Cohen’s ‘Intersubjective Enlightenment’, I've discovered another gem from Bohm. It became yet another source of my inspiration to create a new Learning Expedition, a form of collaborative action research, It would target the conditions of reaching and sustaining higher levels of collective intelligence and wisdom, over time.

In this entry, I share with you both the Bohm quote and the very first articulation of the action research’s general frame, with great curiosity of what you think of both.

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July 22, 2003

Intersubjective Enlightenment

In the Spring/Summer issue of “What Is Enlightenment?” magazine, there’s a remarkable exchange between spiritual teacher Andrew Cohen and integral philosopher Ken Wilber, that touches the very heart of and upgrades my concerns for collective intelligence and wisdom.

My first concern was a moral one. Seeing so much unnecessary, man-made suffering in the world, I thought there must be a better way; all we needed is an enlightened society driven by the high ideals of one for all and all for one. Later, as a young and radical sociologist, I’ve been studying laws that govern the social dimension of our existence, hoping to get a clue of how to bring an enlightened society about, and how I can add my talents to trends pointing that way.

In my thirties, when I became a meditator, the context shifted again, each shift encompassing and transcending the previous context. The new, higher concern became the “reaching of irreversible loving-kindness” as my best bet to contribute to social enlightenment, in a way that has a chance to make a positive difference.

In the late 80’s, I met David Bohm, in a small group that gathered in San Francisco, in the house of Sidney Lanier, to learn from this pioneering physicist, philosopher, and teacher of true dialogue. After the meeting I started reading more of his writings, and to my delight, I discovered a paragraph that became a new focalizer of my quest that’s still what drives my work and being. (At least, in my best days, :-) Here it is:

"I'm proposing that we need to learn how to dialogue with each other because of all the fragmentation in the world. It seems to me the only way we can overcome that is by experiencing our wholeness together. We need a kind of social enlightenment to help that take place. In the past, people have developed ways to foster individual enlightenment, a higher intelligence for the individual through meditation or mystical insight or what-have-you. But we haven't worked on ways to develop a higher social intelligence."

So, the key to the future is to learn “experiencing our wholeness together.” How can we do that? It can be learned, obviously, only in experience but not any kind of experience.

Holding that question in my attention, I discovered another piece of the puzzle: "This is something that is a permanent cessation of these emotional negative thoughts. So that is my private nirvana. What we really need is a nirvana for society." -- The Dalai Lama

Learning from those wise teachers, and others not mentioned here, whetted my appetite for growing capacity to experience it in the company of others. Then, I became lucky and got a “big meal” of experiencing our wholeness together, when it occurred spontaneously, around the dining table in Les Courmettes, a French retreat center just North of Nice, August 2002.


It happened in a 2-week retreat with Andrew Cohen, and 200 of its students. Looking back what happened, I’m not sure whether I can really call it “spontaneous,” given that we received ample guidance from Andrew that helped us refraining from ordinary chit-chat at meal times. Whatever happened, it’s interesting to see how it kept gaining more depth and meaning as I was reading the transcript of Andrew’s conversation with Ken Wilber. All quotes below are from the Spring/Summer issue of “What Is Enlightenment?” magazine.

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