[Springboard] A Contribution from Tolleson, Arizona to the Springboard Initiative . . .

James Wiegel jfwiegel at yahoo.com
Sat Mar 29 23:48:51 EDT 2008

  Some thoughts from Jim Wiegel, Tolleson, Arizona
  Around 1977, Joe Mathews did a talk, summing up what he saw had been accomplished, called, What God Hath Wrought.  Actions and impulses of recent days make this seem to me an appropriate exercise to undertake at this point.    I have been stewing on this for a while and decided, now, to put these reflections out and invite others to add in.  To be responsible as we move forward, I believe it is important that we re-locate ourselves both re:  what is going on around us and in our own history.
  1977 - 2007:  What God Hath Wrought (at least in part with our aid)
  It has been 30 years, time flies, eh??  Who would have thought, in 1977 that in a decade we would take it all apart?  Standing in 2007, looking back over the past 30 years, I had to answer in 2 ways – 
  First, it seems we live in a deeply different world today – I had to say what's been wrought in the world that is different from then, just as a way to get started, then second, what hath been wrought out of our common history – things that likely would not have happened without us – without OE, ICA, EI, “the movement”, etc.
  Here’s Joe, he had 7 answers:
  A few months ago, when I first began to see that the life force was coming, I tried to draw together the statement of what it was that we have wrought, and then, quickly, I changed that into the statement of what has God wrought in us. Or, what have the powers that are beyond our activities and efforts made of us. I listed these. 
  First, He has made of us a global service network:  104 Houses across the world, The Centrum dynamics, Our polity dynamic
  Secondly, He has made of us a global corporate style:  A disciplined body globally comprehensive, Corporate, Caring
  Third, He has made of us a worldwide credibility net. We have far to go but this has been done:  Governments, Church forces, religious bodies, Private sector aristocracy
  Fourth, He has made of us a worldwide development system. Again, we have far to go:  A single system, Everybody a developer, Nexus exchange
  Fifthly, He has made of us a worldwide support force. I mean by that, and I want the word "US" to be very large, it includes patrons that would never be guardians. This includes the guardians who would never live the kind of life you live or I live. And it includes the local men and women in the villages of the world who would never find themselves in the blue, but who care. This is the support net. Mark you, if all the patrons put the blue on, then we embarrassedly would have to go out and constitute another patronage. Do you understand that?:  Movemental force, Guardian network, Local forces
  Sixth, we are a comprehensive philosophical ground and I want to start talking in a minute from that beginning:  Ontological, Theological, Sociological
  And lastly, we are a comprehensive methodological schemata:  Intellectual methods, Social methods, Human methods.
  Since 1977, God has wrought:
  1.  an astounding electronic revolution that has:  
            1a.  bound our species (and our organizations) together in ways unimaginable before through cell phones, satellites, the internet, video, computers and all
            1b.  changed, with the advent of cheap, extremely rapid processing power, how we think we know and research and find things out, as well as how we manage and administer our organizations and institutions -- statistics abound, opinion surveys, the whole "new science" of complexity, demographics, etc.  This has also led to a thorough going reconstruction of our understanding of the human organism -- brain function, the human genome, role of microbes, do not believe, love, not think . . .
            1c.  shifted us, as a species, from an oral and print literacy to a multimedia world -- this is as deep, radical and irreversible as when writing was invented and the printing press.  The vast majority of us are barely "literate" in taking in this new medium.  Almost none of us, outside the privileged experts, have capacity to express ourselves.
            1d.  Left us awash in information where we can no longer hope either to get the real truth on anything (information not biased by the purveyor of the information) or get the whole truth (a comprehensive view of something -- information about things is being generated far more rapidly than we can ever discover and digest it) or get the unvarnished truth the bulk of what is presented for us as "news" was designed and planted because someone wanted us to see or know that at that time)  The critical scarcity is no longer information, but a scarcity of attention
  2.  a fundamental and deep reaction to the rapidity, glitziness and negative consequences of popular, secular culture mainly coming from the west.  It is a deep seeking for roots in religious and cultural tradition and is manifest in the immense fundamentalist and conservative movements seen in hinduism, christianity, islam, and  nations and families all over the world. . . one way or another of dealing with our mythic past . . . this is a looking for something fundamental to hold on to
  3.  About 2 billion more members of our species have been born on the planet (from 4 to 6), making our public sector focus on preventable mortality increasingly difficult to hold onto -- also, these (including the younger of our children and all our grandchildren do not know or remember the world we grew up in).
  4.  An incredible boom in development of all kinds, in people's engagement in development -- agricultural development, industrial development, commercial development, international development, real estate development, fisheries development, organizational development, energy development what have you that has placed dramatic and precipitous pressures on all species and ecosystems on the planet.  One driver of this development has been the myth of rapid change, the dominant myth of the last century, which has inserted the value of rapidity strongly into the development process.  Ironically, the benefits of all this development do not seem clear in the lives of most people.  An important aspect of this development boom has been the realization that it does not need to benefit the bulk of people in order to continue.  This has been driven in large part by the widespread adoption of the notion of mission or entrepreneurial spirit or the necessity of being the sensitive and
 responsive part, social innovation, myth of rapid change.  The Church lecture from RS-1 may have been partially behind this boom in development and social innovation at any cost.  At any rate, the combination of 3 and 4 are now provoking an ecological  reaction of incredible proportions -- microbes, extinctions, changing atmosphere composition, genocide, etc.
  5.  A clashing surge in identity politics at all levels where tribes, peoples, genders, ages, classes, all are demanding an alignment between their cultural identity and their governance.  A large part of this comes from the breaking up of the remaining colonial hegemony that had white Europeans and North Americans and males of all cultures with a sense of privilege (interestingly, this also includes a preference towards tall people, in the main) -- this shows up in gerrymandering of communities, regions and nations towards communities that are "like us" (and the consequent increased persecution of those not "like us") and also in the preoccupation, politically, with the identification and guaranteeing of "rights" through policies, procedures and legislation.  A sense of "the common good", or the ability of any voice to speak for the common good is not, for the most part, possible today without a lot of suspicion.   This clash led to unprecedented levels of intraspecies
 violence from the domestic homestead on up and is challenging governance in particular all around the world.  Former President Bill Clinton talks about this as a clash between 2 standing points -- do we value more what we have in common or do we value more what separates us?
  6.  Something has happened with our understanding of change – the existence of so very many, scarcely noticed remarkable movements and projects and initiatives, whether for local development, social justice, or simply humanizing and holding accountable the many large organizations that have so much sway in how things work here on Earth.
  7.  I know there are more, what are they??
  And, what of our efforts?  What remains?  I see these, please add:  
  1.  A self-standing network of independent National ICA's operating as non governmental, non profit organizations in 30 countries in every continent linked together through ICAInternational, quadrennial conferences, etc.
  2.  A refined set of learnable methods for social interaction, the Technology of Participation is available for delivery around the world.  Basic ToP methods are codified, documented, and widely used.  Training systems and trainers developed and in place, these are "in the marketplace".
  3.  Publications:  growing number of books, studies, etc. available -- from "Hey, White Girl" to “Brother Joe”. 
  4.  a loosely connected "diaspora" of folks touched by “the Institute” involved in all manner of things, attempting in some sense to carry the legacy of our collective endeavor forward -- permeating structures and communities all over.
  5.  Examples of collective "guilding" activity among this diaspora and their colleagues, with a prime example being the developing and supporting of what is now the professional field of Group Facilitation with its own professional association, conferences, websites, list serves, publications, certification processes, etc.
  6.  Organizational and social institutions developed and in existence in some sense as "living illustrations" of what the values, methods, approaches and spirit of our collective endeavours look like in practice today -- these include a wide range:  some local congregations, some companies and corporations, some communities, 5th city preschool, Kanbay, Northwater Capital, Shadow Rock, Songaia, Coevolution Academy, Stover Center and project in Chikhale, etc.  This also includes a whole lot of small group / individual "practices" primarily in organizational development and change, and community development, often with facilitation as a core competence, loosely linked including ICA Associates in Canada, Shankland and Associates, Marilyn R. Crocker and Associates, Kevin Balm's work,  the work of Ken and Dorcas Rose in Troy, NY, etc., and countless examples of organizations, individuals and communities affected by their work
  7.  a couple of million leaders, teams, individuals in organizations and communities who have been touched, inspired, equipped in some way, evidenced in personal anecdotes, legend and . . .which collectively create a clear demonstration of the power of local people to guide their destiny and their development.

401 North Beverly Way   
Tolleson, Arizona 85353-2401
+1  623-936-8671
+1  623-363-3277
   jfwiegel at yahoo.com

Strangely enough, this is the past that somebody in the future is longing to go back to.    Ashleigh Brilliant
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