What can we do? (Part Two)
Empathy: When you are not you, but that which you wish to understand
For historians, empathizing means being able to see the world through other people’s eyes. Biographers “get into the minds of their subjects–their thoughts, emotions and even body feelings”. You’re beginning to understand someone you have come to know when you can accurately predict their next expression.
Kan Is a difficult-to-translate Japanese term meaning something akin to a combination of empathizing and kinesthetic thinking–becoming one with the music and the instrument producing it. C.P.E. Bach argued that “a musician cannot move others unless he too was moved. He must feel all the emotions that he hopes to rise in his audience.” Dance, music and some athletic maneuvers must simulate an empathy within the bodies of onlookers, creating within them the desire to move. A choreographer must have empathy for his or her dancers, who are the raw material from which the dances made. The choreographer, wrote Doris Humphrey, “must have a high regard for their individuality, remember that they are not like himself, and bring all of his intelligence to bear on the problem of understanding them, physically, emotionally and psychologically. Many choreographic failures are due to an insensitivity to people”. Empathizing is “a key skill for the practice of any helping relationship”.
The entire philosophy of Zen Buddhism is inextricably bound up with the idea that a person must become one with the objects of meditation, to lose his or her sense of self in order to comprehend the otherness of things as if they were not other. Thus all of the arts associated with Zen–the landscapes, rock gardens, paintings, drawings, architecture, tea ceremonies and other rituals–require the ability to empathize with nature. Buck Branneman, the trainer who inspired the novel and movie The Horse Whisperer, uses the horse’s own language of subtle body movements and gestures. “There’s no secret to this”, he says. “I just know what we need to do in order for both of us to speak the same language and dance the dance.” Jane Goodall, who has worked with chimpanzees in the wild, notes that “subtle communication cues denoting slight changes in mood or attitude toward other chimpanzees are more readily detected once empathy has been established.” In A River Runs Through It, the story of 2 sons of a Presbyterian minister, all dedicated fly fisherman, the older son achieves a strong sense of the river, its eddies and currents, the environment in which the fish hides. He says “I’m pretty good with a rod, but I need 3 more years before I can think like a fish.” The younger son, a master fisherman, responds “But you’re the know how to think like a dead stone fly.” Thomas Eisner pioneered the study of the chemical defense and communications systems of insects, and would dream of talking to ants in Spanish. Once he dreamed he was an insect talking to insects and telling them that he had dreamed he was a human. Of the oldest and best preserved tricks in the hunter’s repertoire is to throw the skin of an animal he is caught over his own body in order to blend with his prey. To be successful, you must learn to act and think like that animal. What better way then to take on the role of the hunted, to imagine how the creature will respond? A hunt is a battle of wits, and the avid hunter soon develops a deep sense of respect for his prey.
The eminent philosopher Sir Karl Popper said “you should enter into your problem situation in such a way the almost become part of it.” Charles Ketterling, the long-term director of research at General Motors, would often reprimand engineers who got lost in complex calculation by saying something like “yes, but do you know what it feels like to be a piston in an engine?” Alexander Graham Bell became the systems he studied. While he was working on new ways to educate the deaf and mute, he mentally became deaf and mute, and figuratively vanished from his family. Computer programmers and designers have walked around inside their microchips in programs like characters sucked into the world of electronic micro circuitry (see the movie Tron).
These people not only know their subjects objectively, they know them subjectively. But how can you practice empathizing? Practice inner attention, which centers on things we can see, hear, touch and feel in real and imaginary circumstances. Observe your own responses to the world. Remember physical and emotional memories of your responses. Practice external attention to people and things outside yourself. Observe how they respond and react to particular situations or stimuli. Imagine what the object of your external attention is sensing and feeling. Pretend that its world is your world. How would you respond if you were it? Find connections to sensations and emotions that exist in yourself. Act out the part of a component within the system.
Sparks of Genius: The 13 Thinking Tools of the World’s Most Creative People, Robert and Michele Root-Bernstein, Houghton Mifflin, New York. 1999. [The primary tools are observing, imaging, abstracting, recognizing patterns, forming patterns, analogizing, body thinking, empathizing and dimensional thinking; the integrative tools are modeling, playing, transforming and synthesizing.]
Be sure to finish reading Zimmerman’s treatise, esp. pages 15ff, as well as Napi in the new age, and then
skip on to The Defense Intelligence Agency and Shamanism
and its embedded story about “The Stick Game”.
Ron uses the Wu Wei theme at WordPress. I am beginning to like this man’s sense of cosmic wit. I’ve never met the man in the flesh but I betcha there’s a certain kind of gleam in his eye. It’s bright, which may be why he’s always wearing those sunglasses: he doesn’t want to blind you at first glance.
The principle of least action (or stationary action) seen in the previous entry Noether’s Theorem immediately makes me think of the Taoist concept of wu wei – literally no action or effortless action. It consists of knowing when to act and knowing when not to act (or perhaps even not knowing to act). It also means natural action, or the action of natural physical or biological systems. In Western culture, such action is considered bad and “mechanical” because physical systems are thought to be like clockwork, but in Eastern culture, it is sagelike and enlightened, harmonious. Very often intention, or conscious action, gets in the way and impedes our effort.
Another example that comes to mind is the short story “On the Marionette Theatre” by Heinrich von Kleist. In the story, one of the characters comment that marionettes possess a grace humans do not, a view which contradicts ordinary aesthetics. It is claimed that our consciousness and capacity for reflection cause us to doubt ourselves or become self-conscious, and prevent us from acting with the singlemindedness and purity of an animal or a puppet. For example, a bear in the story is able to successfully fence with the narrator, by deflecting every thrust towards him seemingly without effort. And all feints are ignored, as if the bear is reading the narrator’s mind or knowing the future before it happens.
[Does that sound like aikido?]
Find those who will walk right next to you through the orchards and the grain, someone who won’t give up in the frozen rain.
“The truth must penetrate like an arrow — and that is likely to hurt.”
The first thing that must be in place in any approach to preparing for the future is to insure that there is sufficient love, laughter, good fun, music, good food, friends and family. No one could be wrong concentrating on those qualities or insuring their presence.
Creativity has not only made the human species unique in Nature; what is more important for the individual, it gives value and purpose to human existence.
Creativity requires more than technical skills and logical thought; it also needs the cultivation and collaboration of the appositional mind. If the constraint of an intellectual ideal can make man a unilateral being, physiologically underdeveloped, a better informed and foresighted community will strive toward a more harmonious development of the organism by assuring an appropriate training and a greater consideration for the other side of the brain.
My reflections on physicians I have known
Is all this an antidote for
the perfect storm of amnesty of hyperinflation, food riots and race wars?
No. But it’s of value when combined with a totality of effort, including divestiture, self-excision from the system as much as possible, and the development of what Catherine Austin Fitts used to talk about (and probably still does) — the popsicle index, “a map, a plan, and allies”, and mapping your community for money and power. It probably includes “prepping”, some sound thinking and planning, and more.
We’re better learn quickly how to find proper leadership who has a thorough understanding of how to get the most out of others.
I’ve been a fan of the role of games and gaming in dialogue for some time:
“The true value of serious simulation games and the range of other digital learning tools can best be judged by the extent to which they bring people to a higher level of dialogue, discovery, research, learning and collaboration after the game or learning encounter has ended.”
See this (not the first time I’ve encountered mention of the board game Carcassone) and figure out where your people should place their next tile.
And after all that work is done, then the love, laughter, good food, good music and good interaction will send the message about what really works.
“… Using children, especially those living in deplorable conditions, for the purpose of a long term destructive agenda has to be considered evil beyond words. Isn’t it? ….
I’m always seeing where folks have good ideas of what must happen to stop the madness. What needs to be done, what doing this, what doing that will accomplish to achieve peace and prosperity and end the rule of the few crazies. What’s missing is the implementation. How we get there? We would like it to be without violence. I’ll have to admit that I don’t know and that is exactly the position that the powers that think they are want us in. Maybe you have some thoughts?”
Posted by kenny at 7:13 PM
Masters of Love is about research into how couples stay together. Failed couples exist in fight-or-flight mode, “prepared to attack and be attacked.” Successful couples create “a climate of trust and intimacy.” They do this by “scanning the social environment for things they can appreciate,” while failed couples are scanning for things to criticize.
I have two more thoughts. First, people who consistently get in bad relationships might enjoy the stimulation of fight-or-flight mode, and seek out partners who make them feel on edge. Second, I think these principles also apply to your relationship with the world, and with yourself. If you’re appreciating little things that go your way, or little things that you do right, you are living better than someone who gets worked up over things that go wrong. Of course it’s still necessary, when things do go wrong, to see them clearly. http://www.ranprieur.com
Thus we come back to Jane Addams and Seymour Melman. Their positive vision of a peaceful nation, caring society, and independently skilled work force is fading in memory by the day. Unless we stand up and hold these images of a kinder and more sustainable society in a public way they will be lost to the future generations.
Nothing can be more important in our lives.
posted by Bruce K. Gagnon | 11:33 AM | 1 comments
“As we can see from simply looking at a flower, nature knows how to organize itself,” Marianne Williamson wrote recently. “And this same force would organize human affairs if we would allow it to. This allowance occurs whenever we place our minds in correct alignment with the laws of the universe — through prayer, meditation, forgiveness and compassion. Until we do this, we will continue to manifest a world that destroys rather than heals itself. Iraq is a perfect example.”
http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article38928.htm [journalistic malfeasance of the highest order]
Catherine Austin Fiits, at https://solari.com/blog , says:
We are not crazy. We are not black sheep. I declare that the time to serve as sin eaters for our families is over. In fact, the time has come for us to lead.
I have members in my family who have spent a life time sucking up to the rich and famous. They are on a hunt for “pet treats” – small amounts of prestige and money for which they will do mind boggling things.
That is their choice – they make their own choices. Our values take us in different directions. So be it.
We each serve our divine purpose. Be proud of it. If you love your family, allow your courage and your intelligence to support them where their matrix-hugging now puts them at risk.
Love them, but do not permit their embrace of incoherence to pressure you to pretend that it is you who are somehow incoherent.
Keith Jarrett Everything that lives, laments
“music is simple
just sing your heart out
it’s over all too soon, as you well know
and don’t forget to do a little jig !”
Could This Be The End of E-Mail Overload? (3:41)
The Jew and the Other: Alain Soral & Gilad Atzmon in Lyon
This lecture appeared on the net 24 hours ago. In spite of its length and depth, it attracted 40.000 viewers in such a short time. The meaning of it is simple:
1. we are a mass movement
2. the future of intellectual exchange is out of the Zionised academia that is suffocated with marginal ‘studies’ that detach humans from questions to do with Being & Time.
The late Lynn Margulis
a three-day scientific-philosophical meeting on the Darwinian-evolutionary view of life
The far-more-difficult science-education problem:
The persistent problem is how to wake up public awareness, especially in the global scientifically literate public, of the overwhelming evidence that the three buildings collapsed by controlled demolition. (Much has been published in peer-reviewed scientific journals, see Ch. 4 of The Mysterious Collapse). We, on the basis of hard evidence, must conclude that the petroleum fires related to the aircraft crashes were irrelevant (except perhaps as a cover story).We citizens of Earth within and beyond the boundaries of the United States who demand detailed evidence for extraordinary claims agree with Griffin: the rapid destruction of New York skyscrapers on September 11, 2001 was planned and executed by people inside the US government.
I believe it’s up to each and every one of us to contribute our own special talents to make this world a better place for all of us.
Nothing is rich but the inexhaustible wealth of nature. She shows us only surfaces, but she is a million fathoms deep. — Ralph Waldo Emerson
“[Flight attendant Jan] Brown liked everything to be perfect on her flights and lost no opportunity to make it so. If she was serving passengers in first class, she would write a personal note to each one and tuck it inside the white linen napkin on the service tray. She always called her work “the service”, a nearly religious experience….”
Laurence Gonzales, Page 11, “Flight 232”
Laborare est orare.
In this enriching collection of eleven interrelated essays, A Way of Working explores the ancient relationship of art, order, and craft. Craft is considered as a “sort of ark” for the transmission of real knowledge about being, and about our deep creative aspirations. The book includes contributions from D. M. Dooling, Joseph Cary, Paul Jordan-Smith, Michael Donner, Harry Remde, Jean Kinkead Martine, Jean Sulzberger, Chanit Roston, and P. L. Travers. This group of authors write not as individuals but as members of a community — a guild effort. As one chapter heading put it: the alchemy of craft.
Face-to-face communications substantially increases levels of cooperation. Indeed, in experimental work done using games that mimics social dilemmas, no other variable appears to have as consistent and strong effect. Even when passing messages via computer terminals, the levels of cooperation are far below those seen in the game played with face-to-face communication. As Elinor Ahlstrom puts it, “exchanging mutual commitment, increasing trust, creating and reinforcing norms, and developing a group identity appeared to be the most important processes that make communication efficacious.” Why? We are wired that way, culturally, genetically and neurologically. Cooperative behavior promotes survival of the gene pool. Large brains, extended families, and community ties mutually embraced one another.
Liars, Lovers and Heroes: What the New Brain Science Reveals About How We Become Who We Are, Steven R. Quartz, Ph.D. and Terrence J. Sejnowski, Ph.D., HarperCollins/Wm. Morrow, New York 2002, which notes, in turn:
Marwell and Ames (1979): “experiments on the provision of public goods I: resources, interest, group size, and the free-rider problem”, American Journal of Sociology 84:1335-60.;
Ledyard, J. (1995): “Public Goods: A Survey of Experimental Research”, in Handbook of Experiential Economics, edited by Kagel and Roth, Princeton University Press, pp. 111-94;
Dawes, McTavish and Shaklee (1977): “Behavior, communication and assumptions about other people’s behavior in a common dilemma situation, Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 35: 1-11;
Sally, D. (1995): “Conservation, Cooperation and Social Dilemmas: A meta-analysis of experiments from 1958 to 1992”, Rationality and Society 7:58-92;
Ostrom, E. (1998): “ a behavioral approach to the rational choice theory of collective action”, presidential address, American Political Science Association, American Political Science Review 92:1-21.
The Forming – Storming – Norming – Performing model
of group development
Organizational learning: how a team learns to win
A learning organization is one in which people continuously expand their capacity to create the results they desire, where new and expansive patterns of thinking are nurtured, where collective aspiration is set free, and where people are continually learning how to learn together.
Most of us at one time or another been part of a great “team”, a group of people who functioned together in an extraordinary way–who trusted one another, who complemented each other’s strengths and compensated for each other’s limitations, who had common goals that were larger than individual goals, and who produced extraordinary results.
I have met many people who have experienced this sort of profound teamwork–in sports, or in the performing arts, or in business. Many say that they have spent much of their life looking for that experience again. What they experienced was a learning organization. The team that became great didn’t start off great–it learned how to produce extraordinary results.
The five disciplines of a learning organization:
Systems thinking: Events, however distant in time and space, are connected within the same pattern. Each has an influence on the rest, an influence that is usually hidden from view. We tend to focus on snapshots of isolated parts of the system, and wonder why our deepest problems never seem to get solved.
Personal mastery: People with a high level of mastery are able to consistently realize the results that matter most deeply to them by becoming committed to their own lifelong learning. Personal mastery is a discipline of continually clarifying and deepening our personal vision, of focusing our energies, of developing patience, and of seeing reality objectively. As such, it is an essential cornerstone of the learning organization–it is the learning organization’s spiritual foundation.
Mental models are deeply ingrained assumptions, generalizations or even pictures or images that influence how we understand the world and how we take action. Very often, we are not consciously aware of our mental models or the effects they have on our behavior. Many insights fail to get put into practice because they conflict with powerful, tacit mental models. “The discipline of working with mental models starts with turning the mirror inward; learning to unearth our internal pictures of the world, to bring them to the surface and to hold them rigorously to scrutiny. It also includes the ability to carry on “learningful” conversation that balance inquiry and advocacy, where people expose their own thinking effectively and make their thinking open to the influence of others.
Building shared vision: Few organizations have sustained some measure of greatness in the absence of goals, values and missions that had become deeply shared throughout the organization. “When there is a genuine vision (as opposed to the all-too-familiar “vision statement”), people excel and learn, not because they are told to, but because they want to. But many leaders have personal visions that never get translated into shared visions that galvanize an organization. All too often, the team’s vision has revolved around the charisma of a leader, or around a crisis that galvanized everyone temporarily. What has been lacking is a discipline for translating individual vision into shared vision–not a “cookbook” but a set of principles and guiding practices. The practice of shared vision involves the skills of unearthing shared “pictures of the future” that foster genuine commitment and enrollment rather than compliance. In mastering this discipline, readers learn how counterproductive it is to dictate a vision, no matter how heartfelt.
Team learning: The discipline of team learning starts with “dialogue”, the capacity of members of the team system to suspend assumptions and enter into a genuine “thinking together”. To the Greeks, dia-logos meant a free-flowing of meeting throughout a group, allowing the group to discover insights not attainable individually. Dialogue differs from the more common “discussion”, which has its roots with “percussion” and “concussion”, really a heaving of ideas back-and-forth in a winner-takes-all competition. The discipline of dialogue also involves learning how to recognize the patterns of interaction in teams that undermine learning. The patterns of defensiveness are often deeply ingrained in how a team operates. If unrecognized, they undermine learning. If recognized and surfaced creatively, they can actually accelerate learning.
“By discipline”, I do not mean an “enforced order” or “means of punishment”, but a body of theory and technique that must be studied and mastered to be put into practice. A discipline is a developmental path for acquiring skill or competency. Practicing a discipline is different from practicing a discipline is different from emulating “a model”. All too often, innovations are described in terms of the “best practices”. Such descriptions can often do more harm than good, leading to piecemeal copying or playing catch-up. No great team is ever been built trying to emulate another one; individual greatness is not achieved by trying to copy another “great person”.
When you ask people about what it is being like part of a great team, what is most striking is the meaningfulness of the experience. People talk about being part of something larger than themselves, of being connected, of being generative. It becomes quite clear that, for many, their experiences as part of truly great teams stand out as singular periods of life lived to the fullest. Some spent the rest of their lives trying to recapture that spirit.
Learning has become synonymous with “taking in information”, which is only distantly related to real learning. It would be silly to say “I just read a great book about bicycle riding–now I can ride a bike”. Real learning gets to the heart of what it means to be human. Through learning we re-create ourselves. Through learning we become able to do something were never able to do. Through learning we extend our capacity to create, to be part of the generative process of life. There is within each of us a deep hunger for this type of learning.
The Fifth Discipline: The Art and Practice of a Learning Organization, Peter Senge, Doubleday/Currency, New York, 1990. [This is not a particularly easy book to read or understand but, for the individual involved in leading organizations, it has some powerful and wonderfully unsettling ideas. See also The Fifth Discipline Workbook: Strategies and Tools for Building a Learning Organization, Peter Senge et al, Doubleday/Currency, New York. 1994.]
The coxswain voices perceptions but not judgments. By giving feedback about how the boat feels in a tone that is engaged but neutral, the coxswain hands the rowers a problem and lets them find a solution. The crew will learn at its fastest rate if it can perform its athletic experiments without the emotional noise of criticism. As in any science, the work goes best when the experimenters fix their attention on the lab bench rather than on their opinions of themselves and each other.
Mind Over Water: Lessons on Life from the Art of Rowing, Craig Lambert,
Houghton Mifflin, New York, 1998.
Mobility and Alignment of Purpose
One’s true capacity for moving, or being moved, can be achieved only when one’s commitment to others is in fact connected to and derives from his primary commitment to himself.
When we find this kind of alignment of purpose, there is a harmony of motivation that can provide the fuel in clarity overcome great obstacles in the pursuit of great challenge.
The Inner Game of Work, W. Timothy Gallwey, Random House, 2000. [Aimed at the corporate / management market, its sections on coaching are exceptional for their insights on how to empower others.]
A leader is best
when people barely know that he exists,
not so good when people obey him and acclaim him,
worst when they despise him.
If you fail to honor people, they will fail to honor you.
But of a good leader, who boasts little,
When his work is done, his aim fulfilled,
they will all say ‘we did this ourselves’.
Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching
kennyJuly 11, 2014 at 6:49 AM
“In the sixth century BC, the Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu identified the world’s biggest problem. Individuals viewed themselves as powerless. The burden of impotence made them resent others and fear life, which, in turn, led them to seek power through controlling others. The quest was not an expression of authority, but one of aggression. Lao Tzu rooted most of social problems in the individual’s sense of paralysis.”
The Power of the Powerlesst
from a comment at the article…
“It is consent, withdrawal of consent that tyrants are afraid of. Our own government see’s peoples withdrawal of their consent as the existential threat to the state, its power, and those running it.
Indeed, the truth sets one free in every myriad way, it is Liberty, it is the utmost in legitimacy of people.
It is upstream of tyranny and tyrants.
The truth reveals the illegitimacy of those in power and their lawlessness.”
[I have problems with strategies and online kibitzers who lobby for giving “The State” a few more shoves down the road toward collapse without a concerted and detailed discussion about how massive amounts of people (locally or globally) will manage to function well enough to survive, let alone thrive, or without any discussion of the types of socio-governmental approaches will prevent further violence and destruction. Sacrificing life, liberty and the pursuit of eudaimonia won’t prevent anything except life, liberty and Eudaimonia.]