TheElements ohnetxt

 The Elements

When we look at our worlds we could interprete the challenges round and ahead of us as following:

  • Hot to enable stable contexts (governments, communities, organizations, families) for people to feel safe in a sea of turmoil?
  • How to foster a spirit of improvement, invention and innovation in the technical, economical, social and other fields that nourish life?
  • How to enable peace of mind when times are difficult?
  • How to think/see/hear/feel beyond our halfconscious static isolated mental concepts and enable new ways to relate and act?

Of course I structured the four challenges in a way to offer four complementary perspectives:

  • In order to enable stability and some safety we need to "become part", enable a form of order and respecting the inherent order of systems.
  • In order to foster the spirit of improvement we need a culture of "being active", of learning and experiments, and structures and processes that support that.
  • In order to enable peace of mind in difficult times we need to learn to look within and relate in a free way to our desires that can be fuel and siren songs, to "become free".
  • In order to see beyond mental concepts we need to dialectically deconstruct and reconstruct our language and our thinking, "becoming fluid".

There are a myriad of approaches to inform us within these "slices":

As you can see, it is also an attempt to touch different parts the world: Asia, America, Europe and Africa.
It is blatantly obvious that this still is my view as a white caucasian male and I need your criticism and suggestions to widen/deepen the concept and also widen the wells that nourish the different "slices".

The draft model here is "integrally informed": It relates to Integral Theory, Spiral Dynamics, Robert Kegan´s Stage Theory etc. At the same time I took the liberty to tell a story that tries to embody the "transcend and include" (and exclude) approach inherently. Therefore I am talking about slices, like slices of a pie. I hope to avoid talking about levels, floors or stages, talking more about slices, rooms, flavours. I also hope to talk more about the relation of the slices and how they connect as a whole and less about the slices themselves and how one is different from the other.

What is connecting that all? In my perspectives the "Dao" would be a wonderful candidate, as it integrates action and non-action, order and suspension of order. Laozi (if he was a historical figure) as one representative. The work and life of Lalleshwari, the Kashmir yogini, connecting Hindu and Muslim thought, also is a beautiful lighthouse for the integration of worlds. I refer to it as "becoming empty", using the symbol of a bowl.

Still, from this picture we could conclude that there is one ideal outcome, one story that should be the blueprint for the "world". I don´t believe that any longer. The western narrative of enlighenment and liberation is very attractive for me - which says a lot about the cultural blood running through my nervous system. But what if we could appreciate that world cultures are different, and that (in the Integral terminology) they are different types and not cultures on different stages? At the same time, if they can be thought of as "types", they are on a certain place in their own development, all the time integrating new elements eand excluding others.
While we know that defining something as a different "type" can be a dialectical move to immunize a position, it is I think a good start into dialogue that tries to understand first, thereby realizing the own mental concepts, before we come to preliminary conclusions.
Having said this, what then is the speciality of the European Way? Clearly I am not objective in this. Still I make a bold suggestion and suggest: The Good Life.

The European Way of the Good Life entails polarities, A AND B, no A would be a valid A without its B:
Individuality AND Dialogue
Solidarity AND Achievement
Freedom AND Enforcing Human Rights
Innovation AND Tradition
Peace AND Strength

How can we appreciate the American Way, the Chinese Way, the European Way etc as distinct narratives, different types, even when aspects of them trigger us and our specific approach?
How can we get into dialogue, starting with curious listening, without falling into the trap of "this is a different type, therefore everything is good" or the other extreme "is is different, therefore it can´t be valid"?

This raw draft hopefully evolves into a concept that can help us

  • open and widen our heart and mind
  • transforming our systems (families, organizations, communities, states),
  • mediating interiour conflicts between flavours, conflicts that endanger our communities
  • evolving our special blend of organizational, regional, national and continental narratives
  • immerse ourselves into dialogue with cultures that are different (instead of tension, conflict and war).

MindOpening Dialogue hopefully evolves into an approach that is embodied in dialogue, while having a preliminary mental map as a context.