July 26, 2010

Meaning flows more smoothly if we compact before we ship

compact before shipping.pngThere was a skype call between @ffunch, @sebpaquet and @technoshaman on July 9, 2010. 

Below is a small pattern offered as a self-running demonstration of its content, inspired by our rich conversation.

Can you think of any additional heading for the meta-data that would make this pattern more useful to you? 

If yes, pls reply.

Key thought:

New experiences & meaning from inspired conversations flow more smoothly in and across nodes of innovation, if we pay attention to how we can help it.

Relevant excerpts:

@ffunch: I accept your suggestion that we reflect and polish and send something out; it's not just a matter of summarizing it, but there are also some other dimensions. We need to make a pretty compact form; a 1.5h recording is not compact. We need to distil the core of it and pass that on.
@technoshaman: Groups of conscious people have a responsibility of bringing out as much coherence as possible outside of their group.

@ffunch: What I heard you saying is that we have a responsibility to package insights. It's not a great service necessarily to share a long conversation or a long set of notes.

Reviewer note:

Listening to the record of the conversation, @cyber_shaman commented:

Distillation of information, creation of new languages, passing on coherent meta-messages

To adequately convey something to the future it needs to be in a compact form.

Attention to consciousness of common process ie converging/diverging

Rendering effective processes into pattern language

Observing responsibility to bring coherent information, distilled and synthesised, to the whole in accessible and appropriate ways

April 5, 2008

How well can collective self-reflexivity scale?

I woke up this morning 4 o’clock and not only because the jetlag. Yesterday was the first day of the first World Café Research Conference. Due to the delay of the flight from New York, I arrived late and when I entered the room, I stepped into a conversation about the reflexive nature of knowing and research. It was strangely familiar and excitingly new, at the same time.

It was familiar because a central theme of my thesis, 30-something years ago, was a critique of the objectivist sociology and its claim that its interview methods are neutral. (I suggested that interviewer and interviewee interact and their relationship constructs the meaning of their exchange as much as the words uttered by the second.)

It was also new because the context, the implied assessment that the quality of new knowledge developed in a typical World Café setting is a reflection of the quality of relationship between participants, as well as, the attention they give to the inner space, from which they are listening and speaking. (Bow to Otto Scharmer’s concept of the “blindspot.”)

At the dinner table, I happened to sit next to Fred Steier of the Fielding Graduate Institute and editor of a series of books on reflexivity in research. Fred is a gentle man with deep caring to squeeze out every once of learning from a conversation, with the power of second order self-reflection. In my exchange with him and the others around the table, I discovered this:

If people in conversation are observing and reflecting on both the source and the direction of their attention (the inner and the inter-subjective space), and sharing those reflections, a spontaneous combustion of consciousness can occur. If so, collective self-reflexivity can lead to deeper, more fine-tuned sensing of reality, thus to wiser action.

How well can collective self-reflexivity scale? What does it depend on whether it will grow into a system of influence or wither away, unfulfilled its potential? I feel those questions deserve a focused and rigorous research. My first thought about it is this:

For conversations that matter to grow into communities of practice and social systems at increasing scale, they have to be able to absorb the increased complexity involved with those systems. What does it depend on whether a community or a network of communities is capable to do that? One of the factors seems to be the trust and appreciation that flow among the participants in the conversation, besides their capacity for double loop learning in real-time, on the spot…

That’s what I got out from the bed with. Now, I go to get a breakfast, and continue the conversation, in the 2nd day of the conference.

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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April 17, 2005

The subtle, the causal, and the evolutionary movement

Fernanda Ibarra is a visionary of virtual communities of practice, who wrote in the Club of Amsterdam Journal "The main source of value creation is shared knowledge and collective intelligence, not land, labour or capital. It is that shift in the basis of value creation, what propelled virtual communities in the limelight as collective players with largely untapped potential for radical innovation."

She has just commented (see below) on my entry about Collective consciousness: a “peer to peer” phenomenon?, which inspired me to learn more about her thinking.

Continue reading "The subtle, the causal, and the evolutionary movement" »

May 27, 2004

The collective intelligence of the imaginal cells

This afternoon, I heard of "imaginal cells," the first time, from Peter Merry. I've immediately googled the term but found mostly bio-science references, except one webpage that had some thought-provoking excerpts from Butterfly , a bookby Norie Huddle , published on Earth Day, 1990.

I thought if fans of collective intelligence are a little bit like me, then they'll appreciate Norie's beautiful story about the butterfly's 'imaginal cells. It evokes images of possibility to escape to a higher level of intelligence and fitness, with utter naturalness and eloquent simplicity.

Here's the story:

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April 10, 2004

Collective consciousness: a “peer to peer” phenomenon?

I woke up in the middle of the night after a very inspiring dinner conversation with a friend. I woke up from deep sleep, a state of consciousness, in which there’s only the formless ground of being, the source of all forms.

“So as the body goes to sleep, the subtle mind and soul appear vividly in dreams, visions, images, ad occasionally archetypal illumiations—the typical dreaming state. At some point the subtle then also goes to sleep—the mind goes to sleep, the soul goes to sleep—and that leaves only formlessness, or deep dreamless sleep, which is actually the Witness or primordial Self in its own naked nature, with no objects of any sort.” (One Taste by Ken Wilber)

An intriguing after-the-fact awareness of that state has been occurring with increasing frequency in the last couple of weeks. It’s like as if I lent my body’s CPU to a higher form of intelligence to use it for whatever it wants it; my reward is getting glimpses of its intent, just by sensing--in the minutes of waking up--what has just passed through that CPU in the deep, dreamless sleep.

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