Global Centrum: Chicago

Global Prior's Council



I never used to look into my past. Most of you think that that is because I do not have very much past. But nowadays I find myself looking backward and wanting to do several things that I used to do when I was a boy. One of those things is playing chess. Did any of you ever play chess? I have decided that, instead of wasting my time on those trains reading books, I am going to take along a chess set, and start playing chess against myself. In a minute, I think you will see why I want to do that now. I also used to like watching cowboys and Indians movies. I have not seen any movie for years, to say nothing of a cowboys and Indians movie. But I find myself intrigued, wanting to go back and figure out why I like watching cowboys and Indians. I think that it says something about where you and I are. We are engaged in waging a mighty battle. We are waging one war­­ not 101 wars or three wars or any number of wars­­ we are waging one war. It is not a war on the church. It is not a war on the world. It is a war on human consciousness itself. It is a war on the images and the symbols that human beings all around the world live out of. It is a war on the images and symbols that tell them that they should have some other life than the one that they have. That is the war we are waging.

There are three dimensions to this war. This is the only way I can be clear about these campaigns, for we are not waging three battles. They are three campaigns in the one battle. It is not the case that you can take Your choice of one of the three. We are doing them all.

My image for the first one, Social Demonstration, is that it is as if you begin a night battle and fire off artillery shots which explode and throw out little fires into the hills. Social Demonstration is the means by which we will light our way. And I cannot believe it, but that we have only two years to get in and out of those things. Two years! It horrifies me!

Right after you send up that artillery, you send in your shock troops. It seems to me that the greater quality of the shock troops is simply that they are able to run towards the enemy. I do mean run. If you see your colleague on your right get knocked over, you don't even look at him. Just keep running. That is what these Global Community Forums are, a rapid attack. When our colleagues in North America start on Foray 216, they will not have any time to think about it any more. They will be out there running, impacting. There will be no time to turn around.

When you have your artillery, lighting things up that people can see, and you have your shock troops providing a massive shove, then, coming up from the rear must be that without which you cannot win the war. You may have fine artillery and tremendous shock troops, but unless you have a solid mass which is ready to move through and capture the land, you are not going to win the war. That is my way of talking about the third campaign.

The Primal Community Experiment is something like the tanks. They are solid. They are moving slowly. They are moving in formation. They are moving as one iron barrier that is entrenched as it moves. And the Metro Cadre is like the troops in battle dress who are marching. In Australia there were certain regiments who did the slow march. I went up to my room to practice the slow march and I discovered that I cannot do it. So I will not demonstrate it. Doing the slow march means that it takes those regiments twice as long to get through their movements, but when you are watching them do that slow march, you know that there is no way that you can stop them. Once the slow march has started, once they are moving, you had better get out of the road. The Metro Cadre for me is that mass of militia that is moving, shoulder to shoulder, on a slow march around the whole globe.

What I mean by the Metro Cadre has nothing to do with some structure that you qualify for by going to RS­1 or something else. I like to use the dimension of the Chinese meaning of "cadre" which indicates the participation of the individual. Metro Cadres are those who showed up caring. They may have showed up caring through RS­1 or through their schools or through their chemist shops. They just showed up caring. They made an individual decision. To go back to the Church Lecture: nobody, no group of people, ever decided to be the Church; that is based on the individual's decision. On the other side of that understanding, our grid tells us that they are showing up in 1944 places around this whole world. A Metro Cadre is one person who has made a radical decision about caring and who seeks out others who have made that decision so that he can do something with his care. For unless he finds colleagues, he will become paralyzed.

It seems that they just showed up. Do they show up out of the galaxy? Sure. Do they show up out of the Guild? Sure. Do they show up out of Town Meetings? Sure. Do they show up before they have even had courses? Sure. They just show up. And they show up having already decided to transform civilization. They are just looking for the means, the way in which they will do it.

The Metro Cadre, I believe, is now the Movement's basic thrust into the world. When we were interested in building a movement, we of the Symbolic Order could do things. Now we have so much to do, so much to do. I like that old saying that a good prior is someone who can get other people to do his work for him. You have to hear that correctly: I do not mean somebody who sits around and does not do anything. There is no possible way in which we could do all the work that we must do, no matter how many people we have in this group nowadays.

The Metro Cadre is the means by which we move into the world. It is the place where the Movement meets the world. This cannot­happen at the area; that is too large. And it cannot happen at the parishes.

The key to this is that we have 1944 of them now. They are there now. Someone should draw up a chart, just to prove that they are there. The very fact that we can name the names of where they are proves that they are there. We have decided to bracket some. We have decided to do 606 of them. But that is irrelevant. They are all there­­ the people who care, deciding to transform civilization.

What do they do? I suppose you start with what you have. Frankly, I do not know how else you could start; starting with what you wish you had has never helped me at all. You start with where people's passion is. If someone is a chemist and is passionate about being a great chemist, you start with his passion about being a great chemist. If someone is passionate about being a great school teacher, you start with his passion about being a great school teacher. And then you radicalize it. You move through his passion. Our role is not to get behind somebody and kick him in order to move him out; our role is to direct his passion. We forge the rivulets through which his passion may be expended. We radicalize his passion by giving him structures into which he can take his passion and through which it may be revealed to him that his passion is really about the whole world. No one ever gets passionate about teaching; you are only passionate about the globe. You are only passionate about all that you have.

Do you ever remember how you got into this outfit? I did not stand a chance. I realize that now. I did not stand a chance. I went to a PLC. I never did understand what I was doing at a PLC; I was supposed to have gone to an RS­1. But my clergyman did not have enough courage to go by himself, so he named me a parish leader. I had not been to church for years. Buss was there and Clark was there and Bishop was there and about five other people were there. I did not stand a chance. At the end of the course, Clark came up to me and said, "In two weeks' time,we have an RS­1 in Bamera." I do not think that he asked, "Would you like to come?" I think he said, "You are coming." The key was giving me a structure, even if I was not even qualified as a teacher. I was something called a Participant Observers' Participant Observer: I took notes for the Participant Observers. The key to it was assigning me into a structure, any structure. If I had been'' left waiting around, the PLC would have gone by, and I would have been a great and wealthy lawyer today. I know that that is so; there is not a question in my mind. When you catalyze a person's passion, the key is plugging it into the Movement Edge. I believe that the key is not simply plugging people into doing single Town Meetings; it is plugging them into raising one percent of this land mass of population, it is plugging them into the Primal Community Experiment where they participate in the miracles that are happening in their situation. Plug them into recruit RS­l or ITI's or whatever is available. You­are out to enable them to see that, finally, all anyone has is the globe. To come at that another way, all that anyone has is the pentagon. You are after plugging people in to Global Community Reformulation, Global Community Forum, Global Education Mission, Global Social Demonstration, Global Nurture Mission. Right now there are two focal points within those five: the Global Social Demonstration and the Global Community Forum. You are taking people on a journey to the point where they see that the only role they have is to be catalytic; you showed them what they meant by catalyzing them. It is a snowball that I am talking about. You are daring to demand that people take responsibility for the mission.

I was in a place called Patna a few weeks ago. It had been several months since we had done an Imaginal Education course there. I suppose that I should lie and tell you that we did something else. I am not sure we were ever supposed to do an Imaginal Education course, but we had to do something to get people to the ITI. We got eight participants out of that course. We did it by capturing their passion for education. It was a spirit-filled course. I was not interested in the least in teaching them educational methods. I was interested in giving them spirit. If you go through educational methods, that is fine. You could go through anything. Anyway, I went back there two or three weeks ago. And we did six days of Imaginal Education in two schools. They were phenomenal events. But what I want to talk about is the fact that that cadre of eight people got up at 4:30 in the morning and went to bed at 2:00 in the night and worked hard. The secret was allowing them to see that we were playing a game with that school. We all knew that; we needed the money. What we were doing was building a global movement. The key thing that happened was not what happened to that school. It was allowing those people to see that they were part of the total mission to this globe. What you do is take people on a journey. You allow them to see that their only role in history is to catalyze those who care into engagement. For me, the key to this journey is the circuits, which are what I really want to talk about.

The first thing about the circuits is that they must be transrational. Transrationality is not rationality. If we were being rational, we would take population as our basis. There are 10 million people in Bombay and about 300,000 out in Jabalpur. You would give Bombay how ever many more circuits than Jabalpur had, and you would get into endless discussions about how much power Bombay has and so on and so forth. You can see the confusion that you would be in.

Covering the globe with our grids is the key to our transrationality. Wherever you stand you comprehensively cover your geography. If you stand in an area, there are six regions. If you stand in a region, there are six metros. If you stand in a bi­metro, there are six polises. When the Nairobi House was the only one in Africa, I am glad that we operated transrationally. Had we moved from rationality we would have been trying to do the six areas. To have someone stay on an airplane, flying around the continent of Africa, is stupid.

One key to transrationality is the six ­­ the network. You lay that network on a timeline, and you draw it up into a great chart, and you mount that chart where you will see it every time you go out of the door. Another key to transrationality is building symbolic time. We were forced to do this because we only had five people in our house. Now you know that you cannot do any work if you have only five people in your house, so we decided to do the Metro Cadre structure­­ the ecclesiola on a Thursday­Sunday­Thursday Sunday rhythm. Then we doubled up on the Sundays, so that the house people who worked in could do both the nearest region and the next closest one in one day. There is unbelievable power in capturing time­­ Thursday­Sunday, Thursday­Sunday. Do those days mean anything to you? We got that rhythm across the whole area, and we told them that it was across the whole world: every Thursday, 101 would be meeting, every Sunday, 202 would be meeting, and all of them would be doing the same thing. We were delighted when Research Centrum: Singapore produced a great Metro Cadre Ecclesiola. We immediately typed it, put our name on it and sent out to all the cadres. The important thing is for everybody to be doing the same thing, at the same time, in the same way around the globe.

The releasing fact about working transrationally is you really have no excuse to stay at home. Having no colleagues in the Metro is not an excuse to stay at home. If you have no colleagues, there, go out and find a good coffee shop and sit in it for three days. After you have done that two or three times, you will stop sitting and go out and do something. I cannot stand sitting around in coffee shops. But if you just show up there, whether you think there are six colleagues or not, you find them. Soon they will come out of the walls and the woodwork. I have never found anybody while I was sitting in a collegium room.

The key to the circuits, as I have said, is the symbolic chart, the grid. It is incredibly powerful. I have been sitting where, all the time, I look at the North America maps with the circuits gridded on them. I have been trying to figure out how we could get the maps and circuits for the whole world up there. That is what we have to do. We must get it done for the whole world, so that everybody knows that on Thursday night there are 101 people or 202 people in 101 places doing the Metro Cadre construct. That is what revolution is.

The key to the Metro Cadre Network is the circuit team. It is crucial that the whole house and the whole movement be involved in this. There are no special circuit riders who can ride horses better than anybody else. The two­week rhythm feels right to me. Four weeks is too long and three weeks is too long and you cannot do it all in one week. There is power in showing up across the whole world with your blue shirt or your blue dress on, every two weeks. It is the symbol that is the most important about coming. People will come and find you. You do not have to go and find them.

When I first went to Hyderabad, we were the Metro Cadre meeting in the Taj Mahal Hotel. Some of you know the Taj Mahal Hotel in Bombay; in Hyderabad the Taj Mahal Hotel is exactly the opposite end of the spectrum: it doesn't rank any stars; I think that it has negative stars. We distributed a little flyer which said that whenever one of us was in town, we would be at the Taj Mahal Hotel at 7 o'clock every morning. So­you would send off a telegram that you were coming, (it was fortunate that the trains arrived at 6 in the morning) get off the train, go straight to the Ta1 Mahal Hotel and just sit there. Pretty soon A.M. Joseph would come in. And then P.T. would come in and Vivian and it seemed as if hundreds of people arrived. We used to meet in one little booth. We did not do anything much in those days; I was not bright enough to know what to do. We just talked. We figured out what we were going to do and we planned the courses and we recruited them. Hyderabad has had a course every quarter since 1971. If you do not think that the Metro Cadre gets the mission done I would like to argue with you. The key is just showing up­­ being the symbol, being the presence that gathers the Movement together.

In a religious house, and especially in this group, I feel out of place. I never went to school past the 12th grade or I cannot understand half of the words that are used here. But when I get out on these circuits, I am the king of the road. That is because I have a blue shirt on; it is not because I am anybody. You soon discover that nobody else knows any more than you do. If you have the manuals that the whole house has built telling you everything you have to do, you only have to be able to read. If they are written in simple enough language, I can do that. You become a symbol of power and presence and commonality and globality.

Another key for the circuits is taking the Metro Cadre on the Metro Cadre circuits. Someone from San Jose goes to San Francisco with you. Someone goes from Bombay to Amenabad and someone from Amenabad goes on to Ropal and Danagfor with you. You get the Movement moving. You get the Movement into mission, working as one. It is quite easy to do this with a small house; all you need is one person from the house. I suppose really you would not even need him, if you got those circuits moving and got people with trained common context. They would begin to do themselves if you set up the assignment.

These circuits must pay for themselves. I am the last person to be giving a talk on that subject. Everyone believes that we do not pay for anything in India. That is absolutely true. We do not pay for anything. In one of the houses, we did not have enough money to do the Metro circuits, so we sent someone out with enough money to get out and to get back, and we said, "Go live with the people." And he did. It does not cost anything that way. Not only does it not cost anything, but things begin to happen, Just by living with people; eating, drinking, talking, symbolizing with them. I do not mean living off people; I mean living with them. They are so pleased to have you around that what it costs them for food is irrelevant. The important thing is getting out and doing those circuits, doing them, doing them, doing them. I think finding free space and free people to be with is part of the crucial nurture that goes on both for yourself and for the Movement at large.

I remember a time when I had to go from Bombay to Hyderabad. That is a very short trip: it only takes 18 hours on the train. I did not have a reservation because the five or eight hours that you have to spend standing in line to get the reservation costs you fifty or eighty hours, and that simply is not worth it. It would be better to do something else for those five or eight hours. So I did and I arrived late at the train.

On the trains there are what are called "open coaches", that where anyone who does not have a reservation can go. Officially, an open coach is supposed to seat 72 people, but it always seats about 900. Now you can always find people who can do things for you. There are luggage racks at the top of an open coach, and they are only little wooden slats. People ride up there in India. There is a great sense of horror about those luggage racks. If you get your bedding on the rack, then it is yours, and no one touches it.

Now I arrived late, but I managed to find a little man. (You can almost always find a little man who can do things for you.) This little man had his bedding up on the luggage rack. But he was not going on the train; he was looking for some gullible fool who wanted that luggage rack. I paid him 10 rupees and took his place on the luggage rack.

You need to understand that you cannot sit up on those luggage racks. You sort of lie stretched out. You can half sit up, but that is terribly uncomfortable, so you lie stretched out.

Now I had arrived an hour before the train was to leave, because I knew that I would have to be in order to get the luggage rack. So I climbed up there, and said, "Hyderabad. here we come!"

People began to get on the train. The seats were already filled, by the time I arrived. First, people filled up the cracks in between the seats, and then they filled up the floor. Pretty soon the whole train was a mass of urinating babies, mothers talking loudly, people spitting on the floor. The train was just full of human imagination.

Anyway, I fell asleep and woke up about an hour later. There were four people on the luggage rack that I had paid ten rupees for. The luggage rack was not long enough for me to stretch out on, so I had to accordioned up to sleep. When I woke up, there was one man in the little crack I had created by putting my legs in one direction and another man in another crack and another one over there and another one sitting just behind my head. I kept my eyes shut and did a strategic rollover and kicked all of them. It did not make a bit of difference; they just stayed there. There were still five of us on a luggage rack which measured 5'6" or 5'9" by 3 feet. So I went back to sleep; there was nothing else to do.

Sixteen hours later, nature called me. And I said, "Go away. It is impossible." I rode another hour, and it became obvious that nature was not going to go away.

I knew that I would lose my luggage rack; that was one sacrifice. But there was a bigger problem: I had to get down. Below me was nothing but people.

I made it clear to the other four men on the luggage rack that we had to agree to move from our structure so that I could sit up. I looked down, and there were babies crawling around down there, and men and women jamming the seats and the floor. I managed to make it understood that I was coming down anyway, and pretty soon there was a little space and I got down. was standing upright, of course, and could not move.

Now I had to go about half way along the train to get to the bathroom. Thirty minutes later, after weaving and wading through the crowd, I finally made it to the bathroom, only to discover that it too, was full of people using it as a bedroom. By this time, nature had called very clearly. I managed to communicate to the people that I wanted to use the bathroom for its original purpose and that I would appreciate it if they would get out. Fortunately they did, and an hour and a half later we were in Hyderabad, I never did make it back to my bunk.

Now, I do not want to tell that story as "The Martyrdom of Spencer." No, that is the fun of doing these circuits. I have hundreds of great stories like that; if I had not had those stories I would have been in bed years ago, before I ever started. The key to doing the circuits is getting out and doing them.

You end up taking care of yourself. You end up being taken care of. And it grows up priorship. I know of no better way to grow up a new prior in a house than to send him out on these circuits.

We sometimes hold the misconception that only our colleagues who can think can do these things. You do not have to be able to think. You only have to be able to follow models, to follow instructions, to follow your manual. And you have to be able to get out and do it. And if you do, miracles begin to happen to people. There are those who showed up with nothing like training, who I would now trust with any group of people in the world. And the only way that has happened is that they had to go out and do circuits following a common model. What do the circuits do? They do the Movement. I do not know how else to talk about it. They do the Town Meetings. They do the Primal Communities. They do the Social Demonstrations. They nurture the mission. They do the training courses.

My key image about them is you never do anything without someone from the Metro Cadre going with you to do it. I like the stories that I have heard about Majuro. You are there in the first place only because nobody else is there. And the most important thing that you are doing is getting someone else to do what you are doing. So you take people on development calls. You take them on advocacy calls, you have them teach courses, you have them lead the ecclesiola. And people become trained, trained, trained.

The key to the slow march­­ the key to building the Metro Cadre Network is the Primal Community Experiment. The Metro Cadre orients people to the task, engages them in mission. I think that sometimes a subtle kind of spirit egotism comes upon us, and we do not dare to demand of other people what we dare to demand of ourselves. I do not mean­that we should go out and give asinine orders. I mean that we must dare to demand that people participate in the mission, as I dare to demand that of myself, and that I dare people to demand that of me. And I do not know how you grow up in any other way. Someone assigns you to assume responsibility for geography, which is assuming responsibility for the whole world. This is Xavierism. The key to it is assigning. If someone sees himself as being the mission, where the assignment comes from is irrelevant, absolutely irrelevant. The important thing is getting people under common assignment, in disciplined structures .

We will never change history by trying to persuade people to become the Movement. Trying to persuade people does not accomplish a great deal, I have decided. Involving them in structures does. You build a structure like the Ecclesiola and you put people through it, even though it may have bugs in it. It may be that only a few people come one night, and it may be that only ten appear the next night. You know that it is frustrating. The person you dream will come off drops out. And a couple of the idiots you wish would drop out keep coming back. But the structure, the structure, the structure is the key. You and I do not finally call people: they have already been called. You and I are only providing them with a way in which they can channel their care on a regular rational systematic basis

Programs come and go. Town Meetings all here this year. What will it be next year? Perhaps it will still be Town Meetings next year. But what of the year after that? I would not want anybody committed to simply a program, simply to the Town Meetings. It is the Movement, the mission ~ can be the channels of care."

I want to finish by saying that the key to the Metro Cadre is symbol. It is the blue shirts. I would know that I had a good Metro Cadre if one person showed up in a blue shirt. That would tell me that the basic symbols and images out of which people operate are beginning to be transformed. And it is songs and stories and decor. It is order, order, order. If you hold a meeting in any room that doesn't look as good as this room, you are being Satan himself. Symbols, decor, structure, ritual, songs, assignments, those are the keys.

I am excited about 1944 sociological manifestations of the care of individuals being channeled into shaping the earth. Without the Metro Cadre, those Social Demonstrations cannot happen, Town Meetings cannot happen and whatever else comes after that cannot happen. The Metro Cadre is the source of our troops. The Metro Cadre is the well from which will spring the people who are disciplined in spirit. I am very excited. The first thing I am going to do when I get home is to get a map of the world and draw those little red Metro Cadre Circuit lines around the globe.

-Raymond Spencer