Our current work 2008-2009
We work for the future, calling the future into the present to
create spaces of possibility in which people can make a more significant
difference. We work for future generations who will be living
in and co-creating a very different world than the one we live
in now. We are not working for change so much as preparing resources
for evolutionary leaps.
1. We initiate work on powerful systems
of design guidance for conversations that matter and sustainable,
consciously self-evolving societies.
A "pattern language" is an articulation of interrelated
design elements that are present in a healthy, dynamic living system.
The first pattern language was developed as guidance for the creation
of life-enhancing, vibrant, delightful communities (see Christopher
Alexander's A Pattern Language). Pattern languages
have since been developed for many other fields, from computer programming
to education to sustainable economics.
in 2008 Peggy
Holman and Tom Atlee initiated research into a pattern language
for "conversations that matter." What factors make a conversation
juicy, productive, transformational, and/or influential? To kick
off this as a public inquiry, we held an all-day
session immediately prior to the August 2008 National
Coalition for Dialogue and Deliberation conference in Austin
in which participants created and shared patterns and rich pattern
maps that they found important in their work.
We turned the results and lists of interested people over to Tree
Bressen, who has convened a 5-day gathering in December 2008
to continue this creative inquiry and intends to organize ongoing
work on it (including an online component), likely working with
CII president John Abbe.
We expect to identify underlying patterns that will make sense
of the vast array of powerful conversational processes (see, for
Change Handbook by Peggy Holman and others) and ultimately
lead to the creation of ever more simple, potent grassroots conversational
forms that can spread virally and have a profound impact on the
evolution of society.
We also introduced activists working with the Center
for Conscious Evolution and the vast WiserEarth.org
database to the idea of using pattern languages as powerfully
holistic portals into the world of alternative initiatives, wisdom,
2. We research what evolution can
tell us about catalyzing profound transformations, and how we can
participate more consciously in the endless process of evolving
into more intricately alive forms of wholeness.
Last year's research on evolutionary dynamics that can be used
to transform social systems (published in the Integral
Leadership Review) is still underway. In several months we expect
to have a booklet on evolutionary agentry for the broad public available
online and at Michael
Dowd's and Connie Barlow's evolutionary spirituality events,
bringing a co-intelligent activist spirit to this growing movement.
Tom Atlee is pursuing a new branch of this evolutionary R&D
effort inspired by Michael Dowd's passionate commitment to "evolutionary
integrity" which Dowd defines as "being aligned with reality
as it really is". The reason evolution is important (says Dowd)
is that at all nested levels -- from the individual to the whole
planet -- it is vitally important to be aligned with reality. The
more profoundly we understand reality (including our own deepest
selves) and partner with it on its own terms, the greater our chances
not only of surviving, but of thriving joyfully.
Atlee says: "This definition fascinates me. It says that evolutionary
integrity is about FIT -- how we fit with each other and our environment
--'evolving wholeness' and 'right relationship' -- concepts which
have been at the very center of my work for decades. These are ideas
I explore in the Co-Intelligence website topics on Wholeness,
"Evolutionary integrity means being one with the motion of
life towards ever-evolving 'fit' or wholeness. It means being in
partnership with Grace - the force of goodness in the world. It
is sort of like activism turned inside out (so that we aren't doing
it - it is doing us!) and given a 14 billion year history. Evolutionary
integrity ties any entity -- any person, group, economic system,
civilization -- to the well-being of the other entities around it,
to the smaller entities that make it up (like cells or people or
nations), and to the larger entities it is part of (like communities,
countries, and ecosystems). It is the perfect integration of personal
and political, global and local, individual and universal, personal
experience and systemic reality -- all in the vibrant activist framework
of conscious evolution. It covers virtually all aspects of both
the human potential movement and social change movements. The trick
now is to research its full implications and articulate it in ways
that attract, inspire, and activate thousands of people. I see that
as central to my work during 2009."
3. We are helping set up websites
where process specialists can share their expertise and inquiries
about various conversational, organizational, and democratic processes
with each other and the world.
The first site, currently under construction but available for
visiting, is the first Process
Arts wiki being developed largely by CII president John
Abbe using materials from the original National Coalition for
Dialogue and Deliberation process wiki (initiated by Tom Atlee)
and the Urban
Research Program Toolbox. Another process wiki is also being
developed by Kaliya
Hamlin, another CII associate.
4. We share insights about how current
developments look from a big-picture perspective, and their implications
for long-term shifts in human civilization. For
example, we sent out several mailings on the current financial crisis,
5. We introduce powerful social innovations
into institutions seeking to facilitate change.
6. We work with leading-edge social
innovators -- often behind the scenes -- exploring new perspectives,
new directions and new possiblities -- all at no cost to them.
Through both private conversations and
a vision of an integrated national dialogue and deliberation
program sent by Tom Atlee to the listserv of the National
Coalition for Dialogue and Deliberation (NCDD), we encouraged
NCDD leaders and members to consider NCDD becoming the steward
of innovative multi-process
programs. Then we opened up a very rich discussion of the
Agenda document on the NCDD listserv, making space for the
creative sharing of upsets, visions, experiences, histories,
and lessons from the field work of many participants, including
support for the integrated multi-process approach.
We encouraged The Center
for Wise Democracy -- advocates of Dynamic
Facilitation and the Wisdom
Council -- to convene a dynamically facilitated session
to wrestle creatively with the obstacles and opportunities involved
in spreading these powerful innovations. We expect to help organize
this and plan to attend.
We sponsored the new nonprofit Evolutionary Life until it
got its nonprofit status and helped it clarify its founding
effort: convening a group of evolutionary leaders -- people
like Barbara Marx Hubbard and Deepak Chopra and Michael Dowd
-- to explore how to catalyze
a movement for the conscious evolution of increasingly conscious
We helped leaders of Journalism
that Matters distinguish between change (from a->b) and
evolution (ongoing responsive transformation) and to see novel
ways to put their vision of "journalism AS a conversation"
We helped attendees at the September
2008 Nonviolence as a Way of Life conference see nonviolence
in an evolutionary perspective -- as part of the evolutionary
process through which consciousness -- in the form of intelligence,
compassion, new sciences, perceptiveness, deeper awareness,
systems thinking, conversation, wisdom, etc. -- makes it possible
to survive and thrive with progressively less force, violence,
We joined a dozen other leaders in a working gathering sponsored
by the Global
Systems Initiative seeking to create systems thinking guidance
for policy makers in the new administration. Our main contribution
was the idea that the most important systems-conscious activity
for leaders is the empowerment of the systems they lead to think
for themselves, to self-organize and to self-evolve.
7. One of our greatest gifts to the
world is the way we reframe things into perspectives that are more
inclusive and filled with potential for a better world.
There's nothing small about what we -- and you -- are doing.
We invite you to
support our work..
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