|New Civilization News: Common Denominator|
19 comments7 May 2002 @ 02:40 by ashanti : Innovators
Picking up on this (sychronicities aside), I would explore - are you looking for Innovators? People who have demonstrable contributions? Pioneers? My understanding is that these types of people can be in ANY field - cartoonists, engineers, social scientists, politicians, you name it - but make a unique contribution, from their own inner creative resources/inherent genius, which *tangibly* makes things better for everyone else. And they get totally excited about the thing they are doing/making/creating so that surfaces of, for example, political correctness, disappear. People who pierce beyond the outward forms, the surfaces, of how it *appears*, digging further to what it *is*, working with concrete essences instead of illusions and apparencies. People who just plain get on with it, enthusiastically, and come up with things that improve conditions for others. Yes?
7 May 2002 @ 03:35 by ming : Demonstrable contributions
Yes, I guess that's what I want. Although the solutions possibly aren't always new. Sometimes it is well-proven, best-of-breed practices. But, yes, key is some sort of tangible measure for delivering solutions that work for the world. With the emphasis on *delivering*. Getting something better into the hands of the people who's life it is making better.
I suppose part of what I'm asking for, looking for, is a way of cutting through the BS. Finding the stuff that really works, the people who are making the biggest difference, the ideas that truly have potential. And help those to be raised above the background noise.
7 May 2002 @ 04:58 by scottj : The number one thing for me
in this post is something you keep on coming back to, the stated theme, and that is that what this is all about is working for the bigger picture, transcending self interest. This is what we are talking about here, a collectivism that is about individuals who care. It's as simple as that and if there is going to be any kind of labelling of dividing going on it is on that issue as far as i am concerned. Is this abour YOUR private life or OUR shared world? Take it or leave it ......... if there is a future it lies in our collective ability to evolve or metamorphose to a higher level of collective social consciousness. Forget the competitive career, money in the bank and security for the old age all these things are taken care of in a community of caring people in other ways. We can also forget about striving for solutions in any sort of complicated way. Over the last few hundred years we have put together all the high tech tools we need, at least for the time being.
Answers are to be found in how we relate in terms of our awareness of the other person and other living beings. This is why it is never enough to specify an objectice agenda - Education, New money systems or whatever - it has to be Education for a shared world a new money system for people who respect themselves, each other and the world they live in.
7 May 2002 @ 06:02 by istvan : AGree
Both of Yasmir;s and Scottj's suggestions are good toward a change we have to make if we want to proceed.
We have a lot of good tools, but we have to learn to use them right.
For this purpose we have to change some of the ways we communicate.
Sometimes we have to go back to re examine earlier ideas and suggestions , those that "got lost in the shuffle".
One example:[ http://worldtrans.org/transproc.html ]
The current format allows for treasures to get lost in the process of too much opinions.
Yes we have to put more emphasise onto settiong up databases that are permanently available to support our individual work.
Example: Database for effective communications (effetive,cheap computind),
easy access to wholistic health,economic survival,energy,spiritual support,mentaland emotional support,etc...etc...etc.
The basic success of the corporate world boils down to just one thing EFFICIENCY. We do not have to go their way, but can use their methods those that are not destructive in some ways.
7 May 2002 @ 11:11 by dadak : a
may be part of the difficulty in your predicament is wanting something to happen without you wanting it to happen.
Another thing could be how language is the only tool to fabricate something in a network of this kind (internet). Language is deep but at the same time it is basic, binary, in that any expression can only be distinguished from what it is not, its opposite, and therefore a duality is involved. But the network doesn't seem to be binary.
Which brings to mind the question how a network works to produce creatively or meta-activities. There is the idea of emergence out of complexity, as in cognitive systems or cybernetics, but beyond that enaction as Francisco Varela calls it, to which i can only point here in that i would need to go back to my books if i were to give a fair account;-)
Anyway idea is that thought and language me not be enough to create a synergy. Not that language is not powerful, but it would require to be used to its limits to convey a creativity that would pay homage to the network you envision.
And that is may be why motivation, lovingkindness, care, good heart are also part of the dance. So language is not the only tool after all, nor rationality and efficiency.
In my view, but this is merely my belief, there is also karma, collective karma that is, which would need some clarifications since anytime i heard some theories about it, it would never adheres to its original thought. (Anybody could create a theory but would have to give it another definiendum).
So that all that comes to mind at the moment. Take care.
7 May 2002 @ 11:47 by sharie : Common Sense
Having a sense of our common good means recognizing that when others are deprived of food, water, shelter, *safety* or energy, their ability to contribute to the world as a whole is damaged. Likewise, the health and well-being of our Mother Earth is essential to world peace because without food, water, or energy... all hell breaks loose.
Some people thrive in angry, threatening environments. Others aren't impacted by it one way or another. But I can't concentrate in it, so I maintain a respectful distance. I'm limited by the people I can work with, but it's never limited my productivity. I know they can do things and see things that I'm oblivious to, and I appreciate their work and contributions, but for me to be my best I have to keep a respectful distance.
7 May 2002 @ 15:38 by mmmark : Three Things
Common Sense indicates at least Two of Three things seem necessary to network people cooperatively.
1] Form an exclusive group of people that already have a common understanding of a mutual goal. This leaves lots of people out, but the operation will have fewer obstacles from interpersonal conflicts. The groups mission may be to plant flowers, so all people who like to plant flowers can join. Those who dont want to plant flowers, dont. How will the flowers be planted and where, and how will they be cared for?
2] Form a group with the understanding that the founding authority will dictate specific rules of participation which must be adhered to, or expulsion will result. There are usually a substantial set of qualification that a member must possess to qualify for consideration. Many call this unfair, yet it is the basis of most corporations and military organizations, not democratic, but not many arguments occur and they do move effectively as a single unit when called to perform.
3] In either case, it is necessary to define very clearly what is expected from prospective members in the from of a creed. This is most often done as a declaration that should be agreed to/with in order to become a verified member. If this motto is weak, or too open ended, it invites disaster to the group for the lack of leadership, confusion and contest among group members.
7 May 2002 @ 17:51 by finny : Doers and Talkers: Leadership.....
I'm not trying to pee on your parade, but as I've mentioned before, the very nature of cyber relationships are that one just talks. I have been involved in several groups, most notibly: Heart Politics and Men's Leadership (NZMLG and ANZMLG). For each there are montly meetings face to face five to six months before a gatheringor event. Each also has an email conference. When it comes to the email conferencing, it often goes to custard. Interestingly it is leadership that breaks down. I can see that if groups agreed on a focus and somebody took leadership, things can happen. Except I have spent years debating leadership online. It pushes so many buttons when somebody takes leadership, even in the more collabrative models. Yet I have also seen how powerful leadership can be. Ideally the leader holds the vision and those that relate or have a similiar vision gather round. Again ideally those that 'gather round' have processed their anti authority stuff and can support leadership. This then becomes a leadership group or core group, that plans, organises and develops its vision on the ground.
7 May 2002 @ 17:57 by ming : Networking of Teams
Lots of great stuff. Let me answer the last one from Mark first. I think such criteria are indeed crucial for the formation of a well-functioning team. Not a network, but a team, organization or corporation. It needs to be very clear what it is about, what it is trying to do, who's controlling it, and what the requirements are for being part of it. An effective team rarely forms from vague ideas and casual involvement. A great deal of discernment and hard work is necessary to get somewhere, and there needs to be some people who will carry it through no matter what: one or more leaders.
But I make a clear distinction between a team and a network. A network can consist of such teams and be a TeamNet. That's what I hoped for with NCN. But it is important to notice that the network itself doesn't follow the same rules. Any team can link up with any other team as necessary, and they can arrange themselves freely in any way they find convenient. There's no hierarchical power structure. Teams don't have to agree in their aims or their approach.
The mixup between the two is probably what has given rise to more heated arguments and more disillusionment here than anything else. NCN as a whole is a network. But ideally it should consist of teams - teams that are defined with such stringent parameters. NCN as a whole is never going to be one such team. And not much is going to happen in any efficient way in any particular area unless somebody forms a team that makes it happen.
7 May 2002 @ 18:12 by ming : Best Practices
And to Yashmir: yes, yes! I would very much like that to happen. And it would need to happen with a similarly stringent analysis as one would use for business purposes. The question is whether that is something we can do in a collaborative, grassroots kind of way, or whether it requires funding and experts who work at this full time.
Somebody who does something like it is http://www.bestpractices.org/ . That's excellent stuff: best practices for social, economic and environmental issues of an urbanizing world. One problem with their database is that they don't share it entirely freely, one has to subscribe to see the full thing. Although they happily sent me a free account when I contacted them, so they might be open to other arrangements.
7 May 2002 @ 18:55 by mmmark : Networks & Teams
In order to network teams one will have to do the same leadership things in order to organize a team of teams. There must be some protocol of participation for the teams, let's say to share info in a certain format, or perhaps to focus team specialty for the same synergistic result. I understand the differences you are pointing out, but I do not think that precludes careful definition of purpose. This is a Universal problem for humanity, not just a concern of a few organizations. We're talking about making a self correction and setting a healthy model for participation, where welcome participation is growing harder to come by for more and more people. Charles Reich has written a book entitled, "Opposing The System," in which he discusses in detail how the wealthy power structure is depriving a greater percentage of folks - so too our activies should offer opportunity, or create opportunity, that does not currently exist. We may not have the perfect way to do that to start, but including others is the process is the healthy process we need to advocate.
7 May 2002 @ 20:35 by ming : New Structures
Yeah, the problem is that there's not a perfect model for how to do it. Most groups that successfully do anything have so far usually been hierarchies where a lot of people have lined up behind the vision and under the direction of one person. That can work well at an assortment of sizes, but breaks down when it reaches a certain scale. And it breaks down at any scale if there's no leader around who seems to have all the answers. We haven't quite figured out how to tie unity and diversity together in a synergetic way on a large scale. And, indeed, it is vital for humanity that the problem gets solved.
8 May 2002 @ 00:05 by scottj : One of the best group projects
I ever saw working in practice was a whole food co-op in the UK. How it came about was as a result of some people who knew they wanted to work on something but they were not sure what. They kept meeting for over a year getting to know one another and sharing without anything specific in mind. Then one day the opportunity arose and they did their work without hierarchy, very effectively and with a number of very innovative features.
The key was that they knew each other and had dealt with their interpersonal problems and areas of non understanding of each other.
From this came the provisional conclusion that it is necessary to have a group before one can work on anything.
This is supported by experience where one sees time and time again projects being dominated by lowest common denominator interpersonal politics with authoritarian hierarchies forming and subsequent loss of effectiveness.
Set up goals and objectives as a rallying point for a project and it will fail and in the end perhaps serve the purpose of a few individuals at the expense of the frustration of the rest.
IMO nothing worthwhile can happen until a group is formed but anything is possible once it has.
PS: There is of course a huge difference between leadership and authoritarian manipulation. Once leadership is demsytified the false identification of status with leadership falls away and with it disappears the possibilty for control and manipulation. Leadership is an essential element in any group but it can be like a baton that is held by different people at different times and does not confer any status.
8 May 2002 @ 01:52 by jazzolog : The Coach and the Team
I started a comment back at Finny's message, but my daughter threw me off the computer in favor of the Neopets ChatRoom (now there's a site that's changing the world!). Good friend Finny was asserting the importance of leadership at a site, and in the meantime Ming has put up his remarks about the commitment of the team. The team can always get better, and dammit if we're not winning those games it's because you're not working out hard enough, not involved totally enough! The team blames the coach and the coach blames the team. I hear this stuff everyday at Athens High---hardly a paradigm of the New Civilization.
I think a good coach or teacher makes all the difference. A coach can build a good team, but I've never heard of a great team turning out a really good coach. When I was in school I made it a point to seek out the great teachers, never mind what they taught. My advisor thought I was nuts; I ended up with 3 different departments in which I could have written my thesis. Graduate school was worse. Here I am, a Renaissance man---no-account, penniless, happy and fulfilled. So I believe in leadership---and, sure, working out authority problems (as Finny says) but if the leader hasn't worked out those problems there never will be greatness.
Thirty years ago I accepted a job at a private school outside Amherst, Mass. I was a mess. I still was shattered by a divorce 4 years earlier, and just had been dumped by a Joffrey ballerina I had been living with. I had been hired to assist a master teacher in the new techniques of creative composition in an Open Classroom approach. I was eager to learn this stuff, just starting to happen in education back then. A week before the job started the guy called and said he had quit the school and was headed for the desert and a life of pure freedom. Stupidly, I went ahead with the job anyway, even though the new person they hired was an entirely conventional teacher---excellent but the type to bail out in the middle of the first term, which he did. The school was staggering, and I was completely on my own to "be" in classes of students that I had no clue how to do. I tried NOT to use my old style, but to hang loose and just "let" the creativity bloom. Some students seemed to like it, and there was some good writing---and improvement (they nicknamed me The Dude, if that's any indication of what was going on) but the more conventional students, headed for Princeton and Harvard, complained the courses were chaotic. Sometimes I would determinedly just sit in class and do nothing: it was up to them to come up with an idea; after all, it was their course and if they wanted to use it and me, fine---if not, no skin off my nose. Some students organized a committee to nominate me for Headmaster, but I became depressed and left after 2 years feeling ashamed and a failure. The English department chairman called me a charlatan. I guess I was too. I never admitted to anyone I didn't know what the heck I was doing. I needed that leadership the guy took with him to the desert and the students needed leadership that I couldn't provide at that time in that non-structure. The one thing I can be proud of about that job is that I never blamed the students for not being good enough.
Beyond all the hocus pocus of NCN is the simple dilemma of the relationship between the leader and the group. Pure and clear. Either (s)he's a person who says "Here's the program and this is your assignment," or (s)he sits there waiting for you to do something, like maybe ask a question. Age-old human organization.
8 May 2002 @ 14:14 by finny : Leadership
You are coming through loud and clear to me Jazz. Not sure it's as simple as your last few sentences suggest, although it could be. I think leadership it the hardest thing, most people prefering to follow, or not to be involved. Good leadership encourages and fosters leadership in others. I'm still warm to the idea of leaders, despite the heiracy arguements. As Ken Wilber beautifully explains there are natural heiracies and dominater heiracies. A natural heiracy in my mind is a leadership that is supported and "held" by a group or team, say something like 'elders'. Thus leadership is in constant feedback and accountablity.
So Ming, I like to hear more of the Vision for NCN.
8 May 2002 @ 15:36 by ming : Leaders
I can resonate with Jazzolog's story. That's how I'll usually feel about NCN. Hey I'm here to help out, just tell me what you'd like to do. Expecting the initiative to come from the students .. eh.. members. But the responses are likely to range between people thinking you're not doing your job to people who want to nominate you as the headmaster. Quite a similar situation, really.
And, if I for a moment forget about the actual stories here, a number of basic facts about leadership come to mind. A common saying is "Lead, follow or get out of the way". A leader needs to either lead or pass on the job to somebody else. It is rarely a good idea to be firmly the one in-charge, but not to do anything about it. Hardly anything happens without leadership. It can very well be a leadership where people take turns to take the initiative and be the "leader", but it doesn't work if nobody ever takes any initiative.
So now back to NCN. We come back to the distinctions I tried to make above, between a team and a network. And we come back to a problem I've had all along in NCN. My vision was that a bunch of teams would come together, and that each team would show leadership in some area, and within each team there would be leaders who would push that project through. And to my horror I realized at some point that instead I had gotten together several thousand individuals who now attentively were looking towards me for leadership. And when I then tried to explain that that wasn't at all what I had in mind, the responses from people ranged between: calling me a wimp for not being willing to take charge; defending my position and confirming that I really shouldn't try to take charge; recognizing me as a leader, but one who leads in a different direction than people were used to; accusing me of being a dictator who's deciding everything myself.
My dillemma isn't really solved. I personally don't shy away from being the leader in a team I feel I'm in-charge of, or spontaneously being the leader in some in-promptu group that seems to need it. I've managed various kinds of departments in companies I've worked for, and I've owned my own small companies with employees, and I've usually done fairly well.
But I'm not in-charge of you folks, and I'm not the instigator or driving force behind your projects. I'm not aspiring to being the leader of the free world or something like that. I did start NCN and I recognize that I probably screwed up by leaving it rather vague and unclear what that really is.
To me it is like I made the phone system. I strung the wires and I'm handing out phone numbers to everybody. I might be the hardworking leader of the team of phone technicians and wire planners, and I'm not going to sleep on the job. But I have no say about what you're talking about on the phone. Maybe I have a grand vision that the phone system will turn into a collective brain that will suddenly come alive and do amazing things. But still I don't plan on telling it what it should do.
So, I probably failed in that I accidentally made NCN look like something different than what it is. Or maybe I'm failing in not recognizing what it now is, and acting accordingly. I still don't know.
If I need to try to pinpoint it, I think the most common misconception is for people to regard NCN as something smaller than it is. Although the way I'm looking at it might translate into the oppositite in some poeple's minds. If NCN were a team or an organization, of course we need leadership and we need to define some goals and some aims, divide up the different jobs amongst us, and we need to get moving. A team or an organization has a relatively narrow and specific focus and is usually inspired by or run by one person. But the reality I'm trying to connect with is like that of a whole planet, populated with lots of diverse folks with lots of different plans and ideas. The problem of managing and improving that is a very different problem from how you lead one individual team.
Lots of people have asked me to scale it down, so that if we could just all choose one thing together, we would actually get something done. E.g. if we all support a certain campaign and sign the same declaration, or if we all decide to move into a physical community together. But it is never going to fit what works for everybody here. It is going to work for some people, and sure, they should organize in some effective way, and somebody should lead it. But not me. I'm the leader in developing communication infrastructure, not in much else. Sure, I'm also one of the "leaders" coming up with philosophical concepts that might serve us. But that still doesn't mean that I have much idea about what you specifically ought to do.
My vision is one of many leaders and many teams working hard on different pieces of a bigger puzzle - that of how to arrange our planet so it works for everybody - and I envision a free market self-organizing set of relationships and interactions between these different teams. And I expect this all to become something much bigger than its parts, and to take on a nature that couldn't have been planned by any one of its members.
8 May 2002 @ 17:28 by finny : That's very clear!
Very clear statements Ming. Just leaves me thinking what are those self organising groups? What I'm getting from you is that you are the technicial (as in providing the tecnological means) leader of NCN with an abiding interest in the idividuals and group that may evolve. However you don't see your self as an overall leader (overlord) of NCN. Your vision is that that comes from us.
Well, if I look at NCN as a community with say a purpose of doing things differently and making a difference. I know pretty vague! I'm struggling to get beyond any other purpose other than networking, imformation exchange and general communications. My exprience with groups of diverse people, is that so often it is one or two individuals that make things happen, and there are always those that will ride the boundaries doing various other things including sabotage. I need to think about this some more.
My areas of interest are political/environmental activism, media, men's issues, gender politics, Globalisation to name a few. Sometimes they overlap but more often than not I am involved in several groups. On NCN there is a lot of overlap, but it is just discussion and information sharing. To lead a group of NCNers I would be stuck with what the possible focus could be other than the above.
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