CHANGE : Thrive/Conspire

Please view/read this 12 minute video (lecture in French with English subtitles). Then I invite you to read my commentary on his message, below in this blog, and reply if you feel inclined.

This is a very concise listing of seven complex issues facing education and essential for the emergence of the future we desire. I was aware of and am sensitive to everything Dr. Morin says, and feel them deeply from my life’s experiences. How to make the changes recommended? Not turning each of the seven lessons over to specialists. We currently have no systems or processes capable of performing such a complex undertaking; but “we” can and should develop the requisite competencies. My BUS and UPLIFT are suggested processes whereby “we” create scaffolding that will seaf humans in cycles of organizing/learning while becoming collectively competent to do what is needed.

The best of our current change agents believe that the “coming together”, “unfolding”, “conspiring (Marilyn Ferguson)”, “thriving (Jean Russell)”, “breaking-through”, “awakening”, “etc.”  will magically emerge through collective swarming without an accompanying conceptualizing of alternative wholes. UPLIFT doesn’t claim to provide that conceptualizing – but proposes a viable process to seaf its manifestation. History demonstrates that most major changes were accompanied by conceptualizing that provided context for those whose actions give “direction” to movements. Today we are awash in a cornucopia of emotion-laden visions of what might be. Between these hopeful visions and our contemporary Here&Now is a wide abyss of absent agency. But for most, the gap is either invisible or suppressed.

If, as our best “seers” acknowledge, the transition we face is of a “kind” never experienced before, then it demands action commensurate with the challenge. The changes we face are global, “fractal”, rapid, and existence threatening. No suggested reforms of existing systems (even the good ones), if honestly assessed, hint to any future capacity to manage the transition. That converging change movements (if converging) will result in mid-wiving the birth of Humanity is a vague dream without foundation – except that this is what I propose for UPLIFT. Can UPLIFT manifest without being conceptualized? By “conceptualized” I don’t mean top-down planning. I mean applying the seven lessons of Dr. Morin, which calls for an integration of reason and emotion (also see: Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman).

One of the analogies in defense of depending on magical emergence is the “S” curve – systems start slow, go through rapid change, and then slow down. The slow down is envisioned as our achieving a balanced humanity, free from the dangerous turbulence of today (the rising curve). But, this is for single “SYSTEMS”, and the whole of humankind/Gaia is much more than “a system”. Furthermore, many “systems” collapse with a sudden vertical drop to non-existence. From the NewAgers of the Sixties to the present, naive analogies to physics are employed to justify inaction. Dr. Morin calls for “strategy”, which appears absent among many contemporary change agents.

The best minds and the most concerned are trying to get governments and corporations to change their ways, or to organize/educate “grassroots” people with minor reforms of educational systems. Should we question whether either path has a chance of succeeding? Will a “revolution” (like in the past) succeed? Might the “powers” have undergone (their own) phase shifts resulting in their being immune to historical means of change?  Replacing (not transforming) our economic/political systems (local2global) by using a radical Organizing-for-Learning=&=Learning-for-Organizing process may be much easier and may have a good chance of succeeding. This path, however, is in the blindspot of everyone. There is no dialog on alternative “big pictures”.

I recently read THRIVABILITY, by Jean Russell. My friend, Glisten, will soon be running an online Magellan course with Jean.  IMO, Jean is a 21st century Marilyn Ferguson (The Aquarian Conspiracy, 1971). They each catalog many of the positive things happening and believe that it WILL all come together – conspire for Marilyn, thrive for Jean. Almost all of the active change agents today believe that it will all come together WITHOUT DELIBERATE STRATEGY.  Each individual is creating and changing; soon they will all come together – or so it is believed.  It cannot be proven that it won’t “just happen” this way, but I wouldn’t risk Humanity/Gaia on its inevitability.  While many will continue to work in their silos, making significant gains; others could work on strategies to better insure conspiring/thriving.

The collective action of humankind, for our unique Crisis-of-Crises challenge must be commensurate with the magnitude, scope, and complexity of the challenge. See Ross Ashby‘s Second Law of Cybernetics, the Law of Requisite Variety.    In very rough metaphor: to manage a system of n independent variables you need n points of influence. Or: “every Good Regulator of a System Must be a Model of that System” This “law” is as difficult to violate as the law of energy conservation, yet persons regularly design plans that violate it.

Everyone talks about the need for radical and significant change or paradigm shifts, for OTHERS. They want others to shift to viewing the world as they (the enlightened ones) view the world.  Jean is explicit in telling how she changed and works hard and well to get others to go through the changes she went through – or similar ones. To bring others up to your level of insight is a worthy challenge; but it shouldn’t stop there. I have never encountered a person calling for significant paradigm shifts to admit that they, themselves, need additional MAJOR AND SIGNIFICANT changes. Oh, they all want to be better at what they do; they are open to improvement. But a fundamental shift in how they view the world and themselves?  True, one can’t really know what such changes would be, but one could be open to more big changes. But, this may be what we need to do: all of us pulling ourselves, collectively, up by our bootstraps.

I very much desire MAJOR changes in myself.  In metaphor, I am a caterpillar dreaming of being a butterfly, and accept that I can’t (as a caterpillar) know many details about the butterfly I may become. I know it can only happen in the context of an “uplift” of others and myself. I am wide open to major changes, but all that I see available call for me to narrow my visions and move into a belief system that is already part of my worldview (seen as part, and not THE whole). WE must move forward, not back; but in nu directions never before attempted. An AMAZING FUTURE is in humankind’s potential, not as an existential vision-state founded on our current knowledge, but as a nu process which integrates learning and organizing.

Author: nuet

01/24/1935. BS-physics RPI 1956; MS-physics UofChicago 1958; PhD-physics Yale 1965; PhD-Edu Psy Uof MInnesota 1970. Auroral Research Byrd Station, Antarctica 11/1960-02/1962. MINNEMAST curriculum dev 1964-68. Woodstock. faculty Pima Community College, Tucson 1974-1997. Transdisciplinary scientist, philosopher, educator, futurist, activist. PC user since 1982. "Wife". daughter, 2 grandsons. 5 dogs & 7 cats. Lacks mental imagery in all sensory domains.

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