Archive for the ‘new paradigm’ Category

A right to insolvency. We’ll not pay the debt.

Tuesday, December 6th, 2011

I’m posting some quotes from an article Collapse and Uprising in Europe:
The Right to Insolvency and the Disentanglement of the General Intellect’s Potency
, by Franco Berardi. I’m fascinated by what this Italian autonomist philosopher and media activist is writing. What follows are just a few quotes that give you an impression of what he is writing about.

A new concept is coming out from the fogs of the present situation: a right to insolvency. We’ll not pay the debt.

Try to imagine that all of a sudden we stop organizing daily life in terms of money and debt. Nothing would change in the concrete useful potentiality of society, in the contents of our knowledge, in our skills and ability to produce. We should imagine (and consequently organize) the disentanglement of the living potentiality of the general intellect from the capitalist Gestalt…

The concrete useful productive ability of the social body is forced to accept impoverishment in exchange for nothing.

But the present situation is paradoxical – simultaneously exciting and despairing. Capitalism has never been so close to the final collapse, but social solidarity has never been so far from our daily experience.

Recht op wonen, op een nieuwe maatschappij

Tuesday, May 31st, 2011

Voor het eerst hoor ik van dit project in België: een gebouw waar een zestigtal mensen samenleven, en waar veel gebeurt rond recycling en upcycling. Goed dat het ook hier gebeurt!

Pods of Awakening

Monday, May 9th, 2011

My dear friend, Judy Wallace, is great in sensing the subtle. She is trying to bring her experiences in that domain into language, in an effort to share the wisdom she gains in this way. She started recently a series of blogposts called Pods of Awakening. To me it seems like pieces of the new story that we are in need of, and that are now showing up more and more.

I see pods of human and collective creativity, of all beings, now more visible to us and working intentionally, all of us together. Circles, morphing, moving effortlessly, interpenetrating realms and functions as we gracefully and effortlessly move in a life of wholeness, of co-creation. The pods seem like large bubbles of light bouncing on the land, connected to energy places on the Earth where the new collaborative wholeness of Earth civilization is taking form.

Outside the bubble of light there are still many areas of devastation, and suffering, death, or humans barely surviving. The old ways are dying, the new is manifesting in the midst of the compost heap of the old. The humans still living the old way do not see these lighted bubbles, these places and pods of joyous collective aliveness. We see them (from the bubble) around, they do not see us as they still do not perceive beyond the veil.

There are those of us who are Bridgers, the connectors, and we are teams of humans and invisible beings on the outside. We pierce the veil to re-enter the dying space-time continuum, to work with and offer possibility to the young especially, who are curious, open, and wanting to transform. They are open to new learning.

I know that once I saw an artwork from Dana Lynn Anderson that was exactly picturing these bubbles in the landscape. I still remember the imprint this art work had on me, although I didn’t have the financial means to buy it. It is still on my inner eye, and Judy’s blogpost revived this image. (Too bad I couldn’t find a picture of this art work.)

On resilience

Thursday, May 5th, 2011

I came across the website of Human Systems Dynamics Institute, of Glenda Eoyang. I haven’t met her, have not heard her, but here is a part of her latest Info-letter on Resilience, that I find useful. She is also the author of the Questions in Chaos: What, So What, Then What; a described in her Info-letter of Feb.’11.

We can think of resilience for an individual or a group as stable equilibrium—the system is balanced and is able to return to its original state after it is disturbed. The lack of resilience is unstable equilibrium—the system doesn’t return after being disrupted. We can use this distinction to build our capacity for resilience in three ways.

1. Take the opportunity in quiet times to gauge the stability of your own equilibrium with the following questions:
* How quickly do I recover from little disturbances?
* How comfortable am I in my current state and how afraid of disruption?
* What was the last time I was really surprised (positively or negatively), and how did I respond?
2. Assess the factors that influence the stability of your equilibrium with the following questions:
* How many and what kinds of connections hold me in place?
* Who are the people that I interact with each day and how do they make me more comfortable or less comfortable?
* What resources (emotional, financial, relationships, etc.) do I have and how long and how well could they sustain me?
3. Test your own equilibrium to build your resilient capacity by:
* Challenging your own assumptions and values
* Playing “what-if” games with others and by yourself
* Noticing how you respond to the small, everyday disruptions of life and finding ways to react with more grace and good humor

None of us knows how we would respond in such extreme stress as the Japanese, Egyptians, civil servants, or Burkinabe. We also do not know what challenges await us in a future that will test our stability, but we do know that our equilibria will be tested in the months and years to come. Will we find a stable equilibrium? Will we respond with resilience?

Walk Out Walk On Song

Tuesday, May 3rd, 2011

Recently a new book was published – my copy is still on its way – written by Meg Wheatley and Deborah Frieze: Walk Out Walk On. They wrote stories about many friends and people that I know of, so I can highly recommend this book (even I haven’t read it yet); and you can check out the website that is build around it to check for yourself!

The writers asked another friend to write a song about it; and that is what Tim Merry did. This is what he writes:

Here is a song Marc and I wrote to to support Meg Wheatley’s and Deborah Frieze’s new book. It will also accompany an RSA video coming out soon.

In this era of increasingly complex problems and shrinking resources, can we find meaningful and enduring solutions to the challenges we face today as individuals, communities and nations?

In Walk Out Walk On: A Learning Journey into Communities Daring to Live the Future Now, Margaret Wheatley and Deborah Frieze invite you on a learning journey to seven communities around the world to meet people who have walked out of limiting beliefs and assumptions and walked on to create healthy and resilient communities. These Walk Outs who Walk On use their ingenuity and caring to figure out how to work with what they have to create what they need.

– By the bestselling author of Leadership and the New Science and Turning to One Another

– Provides an intimate experience of how seven different communities took on intractable problems by working together in new and different ways

– Immerses the reader in the experience of each community through stories, essays, first-person accounts and over 100 color photos

Other news from Japan

Friday, April 15th, 2011
Bob Stilger (picture taken by Tenneson Woolf)

What follows are two messages I received from Bob Stilger, who is related with Berkana Institute and with the Art of Hosting community. He has a life long relationship with Japan, knows a lot of people there and has been introducing Art of Hosting practice there since last year. Of course he was and is very much touched by what is going on there, and has recently shared some stories in an attempt to get some clarity for himself, and also to let others know what is going on there. He actually loves it that we spread this news, as he hasn’t much time to blog himself. Here he is:

April 12, 2011:
I’ve been in Japan for a week. I’ve worked with about five different groups and been a witness to what’s unfolding here. I’ve been writing e-mails, at different times, almost as a journal of my experience here. In being here, I am working on behalf of The Berkana Institute, New Stories and the ALIA Institute. Soon we will launch a small website to host these e-mails and invite response. I’ll appreciate your reflections and responses to what I write – you help me find my own center here, day-by-day. Your thoughts will help us all in our learning.

Mount Fuji

Mt. Fuji revealed itself today, for the first time since I’ve been in Kiyosato, a small town in the mountains a couple of hours south and west of Tokyo. This silent sentinel is always on the rim, hosting Japan. Often hidden by many layers of clouds, it is always there. Sometimes just a glimmer… I love it when Fuji-san shows itself. It helps me to quiet my spirit and simply be present. Again and again, that is what many of you have said in these days: Stay present. Be where you are. Notice what calls your attention. Act with respect, compassion and dignity. Stay clear while staying unattached. Be prepared to be surprised. Stay connected.

Yesterday we met for a day to sense why might want to happen. Let me give a little background. The KEEP at Kiyosato was started in the 1930s by an American named Paul Rusch who brought modern farming practices to Japan. He helped people here transform their mountainside into a demonstration center for new ways to raise cattle. Along the way he helped to build a hospital here, another in Tokyo and founded a University in Tokyo. Quite a guy, to say the least. His spirit is deeply present here, although he died in his early eighties more than 30 years ago. There never was a grand plan for the KEEP, it simply evolved over time, working with the people and possibilities present in this one small area in Japan.

Among other things, it is a lovely space now where groups come to meet and people arrive for quiet retreats. Last year we held two major training events for Art of Hosting here. While the Tohoku region where the disasters struck on 3/11 is some 250 miles to the north, the disasters struck here as well. First, and most powerful, it shows up in the subtle field. The deep connections which hold people together in Japan also mean that the grief in one part is felt throughout. So there is a deep collective grieving here. People say time and time again is that the future for all of Japan is different now. Some things may stay the same, but everything needs to be re-imagined. The new Japan that emerges will be grounded in traditional values and beliefs, they say, and the future is different now. Secondly, on a more material level, everyone is affected as well. Occupancy at the KEEP is down to 30%. Most young people have lost their part-time jobs. Rolling power black-outs have hit all of Japan, including here. Quakes have happened here in the last month as well. People know their lives have changed. They’re not sure how.

The week after 3/11, Yamamoto-san, a wonderful deeply present man who has been here for many years, got in the KEEP’s bus and drove to Fukushima, the area where the power plants are. He had to do something. Somehow he found his way to one shelter among many. A sports complex, it has some of the best conditions around. 2000 people — mostly in their 60s and 70s — now live there. Only a small portion of the total number displaced by the disasters. Only a small portion and totally overwhelming as well. He brought 43 people back to the KEEP to stay in better conditions for a while. A small drop in the bucket, but it was what he could do. 43 people who could sleep in real beds, have real baths, eat real food. 43 people who could be warm even while they still shivered with their grief. Yamamoto-san took this small step, not knowing what was next — but trusting this beginning.

So yesterday we met: What is next? What can this small place do that might make a difference? A difference in the lives of people who live near here, those from Fukushima, those from other parts of Japan. A difference in the lives of those who work here are have seen the future they know disappear. It is easy to get overwhelmed. I know I did when I first heard Yamamoto-san’s story. 2000 people living with almost no privacy in a sports complex; for four weeks each day the government has brought them rice balls to eat. Four weeks in which life as they know it is gone — and nothing in sight. What can make a difference?

Kato-san had just returned from Sendai, a region he has been many times before. When he got off the train, he knew the difference. Not just the broken buildings — but what was in the air. It just felt different. Subdued, almost glazed over. He saw some young people and talked with them. Wandering aimlessly in the rubble they wanted to know — what can we do? He had no answers of course. Almost overwhelmed by his own sense of grief and loss, he could only stand with theirs. Devastation, devastation, overwhleming devastation made even more real by the many pockets where life looks like normal. Stores destroyed. Stores shuttered. Stores opened. Side-by-side.

We spent the morning just dwelling in our confusion. Sharing impressions. Letting the grief flow. Bewildered. 2000 people. What could the KEEP do. And what about the people here, and elsewhere in Japan, with their own grief. We went on a trip to visit to the Paul Rusch Museum here to see what inspiration it might provide. Paul’s story is quite inspiring. By the end of his life, his motto of “do your best, and make it first class” was well know here. It reminds me of the principle “get a clear sense of direction and then find the minimum elegant next step,” something Berkana has learned from the World Cafe Community.

What’s the direction? Where are the starting points? What resources does the KEEP have and how can they be used? What can be done to invite people into their wholeness? What might make a difference. Many of us started drawing concentric circles KEEP in the middle, then Kiyosato, then Fukushima, then all of Japan, then all of the World. It’s all connected. AND, one of the things Paul Rusch did was he connected people.

By the end of the day, there was still no clarity. What’s the stone to drop in the middle of the concentric circles so they become ripples, leading outward to a newness? A sense was present that some of what the KEEP might do is around youth and youth leading. A sense that this facility has a new purpose. A wondering if it might be one of the Future Centers — places of innovation to discover the future — needed now in Japan.

This morning an idea began to crystalize. Yamamoto-san leaves tomorrow for Fukushima for three days. He goes to discover what they have — not what they need. He goes to look for several youth who have dealt with their grief enough to be ready to stand with each other to discover a next step. Contours of a possibility began to be visible. We will host an 3 day event at the KEEP in the middle of May. It will be for around 100 people. Most of them will be youth. The majority will come from Fukushima and they will come from three sources — youth living inside the sports complex shelter who are starting to come back to life, youth serving in the shelter, and youth from the “normal area” around the shelter. They’ll be joined by 25 or so youth from the Kiyosato area and 25 or so from Tokyo. Purposes envisioned for this gathering include:

1. Be in our grief together. Be in all the different griefs surfaced by these disasters.
2. Enjoy and breathe in this beauty.
3. Connecting youth of different ages with each other as well as with other generations.
4. Begin to see the resources we have and how to use them. What strengths, what assets, what dreams, what skills, what muscles?
5. Learn some about how to host dialogues that matter, which surface grief and joy and possibilities and actions
6. Begin to support each other in making the changes we need ourselves, while visible to and connected with each other.
7. Sensing into what else is possible in each of our lives and in each of our regions.

Of course, this will emerge and shift and change. It may be something entirely different when Yamamoto-san returns. But I think the core will remain: releasing grief while continuing to stand with it. Connecting with each other. Regaining some measure of authority over our own lives. Discovering the minimum elegant steps which will allow self-organizing to emerge everywhere, and especially in the Tohoku Region, in Fukushima, at this one shelter for 2000 people whose lives have shifted so dramatically.

Honored to be here in these conversations. Providing a listening presence and occasionally being able to speak in stories and ideas from Berkana’s work around the world.



Bob Stilger
A next email in the following blogpost.

Understanding Living Systems

Monday, April 4th, 2011

Most of my readers might know the TED-talks, with tons of great and inspiring talks. Many evenings they are my private television screen. More and more, there are TEDx-talks all over the globe, yet another stream of great content.
I’m posting here one by Michelle Holiday in TEDx Concordia (no clue where that is), explaining what is essential in the living systems view. Great explanation – straigth to essentials…
I wish I could do it that way!

what stands in the way…

Thursday, February 24th, 2011

We know what makes us happy—
but too often
our economic decisions stand in the way.

This I find is such a great, true quote. I would say ‘our economic beliefs’ stand in the way. The quote is related to a new documentary The Economics of Happiness.

The Commons

Wednesday, February 16th, 2011

There seems to be more and more attention to what is called The Commons. One blogger that I have been reading regularly lately is David Bollier. To this date, it is always inspiring what he is writing about.

Here is the beginning of one of his latest blogposts. It seems here and there something is really changing! More gentleness, more vulnerability, more community, more inner dimensions…

While common lands and waters are being stolen by investors and developers the world over, the Supreme Court of India decided it was not going to look the other way. In a bold, surprising ruling, the Court made a sweeping defense of the commons as commons.

In the January 28 decision, the Court held that the enclosure of a village pond in Rohar Jagir, Tehsil, in the State of Punjab, by real estate developers was a totally illegal occupation of the commons. The developers, who were appealing a lower court ruling, had filled in the pond with soil and started building houses on it. The Court ruled in unmistakable terms that the pond/land must revert to the commoners immediately and the illegal occupiers must be evicted. Even more remarkable, the Court held that similar enclosures of common lands elsewhere in India must be reversed even if they have been in effect for years.

On the Commons

Monday, October 25th, 2010

For me this is a must read about one of the current new developments: understanding more about what The Commons is about. Here you find an interview with Silke Helfrich, one of the leading ladies of this ‘movement’ of commoners.

I thought you could do this one click to read it, instead of copy/paste it over here. You might find other interesting stuff over there, who knows?