Today in Leeds, after some 12 months, perhaps 57 years of preparation, I am starting a new, additional phase of work. One that seeks to encourage fresh ways of organising, drawing on wisdom both ancient and new, scientific and intuitive. It might sound a bit bombastic. A bit naive. But perhaps necessary.
On Monday I was with a group of leadership developers who were convened around a similar purpose, and our convenor, John Varney, shared some words that I have drawn heavily upon to find my own…
Global issues and their local reflections
I think we can agree that the world could be a better place – it seems the human world, and large parts of the ecosystem we co-exist with, is under threat from our own excesses, from humanity, and is breaking down.
Global warming, climate collapse, gross inequalities in health and wealth and justice, depletion of resources, plastic in the oceans and our bodies – are surely indicators of a general dis-ease. The system seems to be falling apart.
But of course it is not.
There is only one system – and it doesn’t much care for humanity – whether it survives or thrives.
The way humanity organises, in the face of this beautiful, but uncaring field of space and time; mass and energy; love and hate is not sustainable. It is a historic pattern, a paradigm, that has reached the end of its utility.
This is a threat – and it is also a wonderful opportunity to bring about a more wholesome global society.
Current modern patterns are struggling to maintain their dominance but there is unlikely to be anything other than more dysfunction. Yesterday’s budget did more for landowners and civil engineers than it did for our children, our youth and our elderly.
Currently, there seems to be a swing towards right-wing autocratic action with a general weakness in left-wing cohesion.
Some of the actions around Corvid19 maybe clinically justified, but they also help to normalise some of the actions of autocrats. To break this dominant paradigm seems to require some as-yet-unknown, perhaps socially self-organising response which suggests a different kind of leadership from pre-existing models of either left or right.
We know from the work we do that people can be organised differently. Indeed, they can self-organise and co-create with a little help and encouragement. Might we be on the cusp of such enlightenment (and what would be the consequences if we are not?).Without change, the pattern will repeat.
Are we part of the solution – is the solution calling for us to step forward?
Of course, not just us. But surely we could have a role to play in establishing a new movement that would tap the creative potential of the many, rather than the hierarchical model that depends on the few.
This is political! But it is not about the politics of electoral democracy. It is perhaps a participative democracy routed in peoples’ choices about what they do. How they serve. What they serve.
How we serve. What we serve.
As one of Leeds great elders, the late Zygmunt Baumann said
A consumerist attitude may lubricate the wheels of the economy; it sprinkles sand into the bearings of morality.
This is about an alternative way of organising. A leadership contributed to by every human being, united in a flow sustaining the greater good. It seems to me that people who seek to understand this inclusive way are needed to show the way – and that means us and our allies.
Can you hear the call?
We are going to use some ideas to explore the nature of this dominant paradigm and of a very different paradigm that must some day surpass it.
We are going to look at the kind of work that we might be able to do, together and apart, to allow these new ways of being, of thriving together, to emerge.
We may explore what is required to, ethically and with love, dismantle the old paradigm, to help it die with dignity and we might explore how we can support each other, find new allies and stay safe, joyful and fulfilled in our work together.
Can YOU hear the call? Let us start…