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Stewart Levine

Thanks for this chapter Alan. A few thoughts....

I love the Jefferson quote about not going to heaven with a group...

The idea of a position becoming entrenched and hard to give up is tied to the identity that develops around a particular belief / viewpoint / truth. It often gets in the way of exchange of ideas and being open to influence. It shows almost as a fear of a death of sorts as people think of shifting that belief. My friend Elizabeth Bader (www.elizabethbader.com) has written extensively about this in a scholarly manner.)

I like the frame Angelis Arrien puts on this with her work "The Four Fold Way.' I translate her idea of "not being attached to outcome" to mean being open to influence which means being capable of learning which requires a mind that's open to other ideas and collaborating on discovering a resolution that addresses all needs and concerns in a situation. You never get there you can't even hear other viewpoints.

Unfortunately that's where we are today in most areas of great public concern. Given the violent tragedy of the massacre in CN what we need is dialogue that addresses gun rights, first amendment rights, mental health and school safety issues to name a few.

As Michael Douglas said in "The American President" "no one said democracy is easy!"

Alan Briskin

Great comment. No, not easy, but so necessary.

George Weis


Alan, I very much agree with what you say here, and hope, along with you, that this is the way we will collectively evolve.

But what you propose here, which involves among many other things: really listening and understanding what the other person is saying and conveying in their paradigm (not your own); being aware of all the assumptions which ground your own paradigm; being willing to open up, and suspend suspend your position and re-envision the problem (say) and find new solutions together (and moreover, it takes two to play this game):

Having engaged for many years in this kind of process, I can say that this is a very challenging undertaking, which requires a good spiritual foundation, a self-challenging mind, lots of time and patience and dedication and love of the process itself.

So, given what this takes, how can this expertise and the vision be applied in the political, economic, social and other arenas where most people are not into these values, and have very little time and energy for anything that is not on their agenda, where people who hold different positions or stand on the other side of a divide are often deprecated or even demonized, where people are bound into organizations which exercise a gravitational pull on their members and make this kind of communication even harder? How do we even begin?

I know this is the way to go. I have great confidence that together we will overcome the challenges and change the consciousness. But I am really stumped at how to proceed. I know, Alan, the answer is: step by step. You don't have to see the details of the whole path in order to take the first step. But what IS the first step?? Can you describe how you see this happening?

George Weis

George Weissmann


Alan, I very much agree with what you say here, and hope, along with you, that this is the way we will collectively evolve.

But what you propose here, which involves among many other things: really listening and understanding what the other person is saying and conveying in their paradigm (not your own); being aware of all the assumptions which ground your own paradigm; being willing to open up, and suspend suspend your position and re-envision the problem (say) and find new solutions together (and moreover, it takes two to play this game):

Having engaged for many years in this kind of process, I can say that this is a very challenging undertaking, which requires a good spiritual foundation, a self-challenging mind, lots of time and patience and dedication and love of the process itself.

So, given what this takes, how can this expertise and the vision be applied in the political, economic, social and other arenas where most people are not into these values, and have very little time and energy for anything that is not on their agenda, where people who hold different positions or stand on the other side of a divide are often deprecated or even demonized, where people are bound into organizations which exercise a gravitational pull on their members and make this kind of communication even harder? How do we even begin?

I know this is the way to go. I have great confidence that together we will overcome the challenges and change the consciousness. But I am really stumped at how to proceed. I know, Alan, the answer is: step by step. You don't have to see the details of the whole path in order to take the first step. But what IS the first step?? Can you describe how you see this happening?


George

Rick Brown

I agree with Mr. Levine that the experience of letting go of certainty is often experience as dying. As my own awareness of the very reality of an endpoint becomes more visceral, I have been playing with the notion of "graceful descent". This came to me through the writings of Bill McKibben in his efforts to describe the alternatives to the "growth/death creating" path we are on.

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