At the moment there are a lot of people in Melbourne – and the rest of the country? – delving into new ways of thinking to address the future and our current problems, for example:
Quotes like Einstein’s
“We can’t solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.”
and Kenneth Burke’s
“Any performance is discussible from the standpoint of what it attains or what it misses. Comprehensiveness can be discussed as superficiality, intensiveness as a stricture, tolerance as uncertainty – and the poor pedestrian abilities of fish are clearly explicable in terms of his excellence as a swimmer. A way of seeing is also a way of not seeing”. (Permanence and Change 1954).
Don Miller, ex Melbourne Uni’s Department of Political Science, has been fascinated by thinking for a long time. I went to his workshop on ‘Thinking Differences’ at the Melbourne Hub last week and found it fascinating, probably what a lot us need at this low point in community thinking.
An Orderly Mess
For 2000 years the West has been told that ‘order’ is the natural order of thing, and the ideal state that humans should always strive to achieve.
The implications of this faith have been enormous.
Bit by bit over the last 100 years we learn otherwise – it seems ‘disorder’/’mess’ reigns everywhere; ‘order’ a deliberately constructed myth. The (potential) implications are ‘shocking’ for many.
It seems to me that the many groups looking to create a new/better future are looking at presencing and tempting the future through a wide-ranging ‘mess’ of ideas as per the huge number of Gathering ’11 tweets both during the forum weekend and afterwards.
‘Hidden Faces’ – as per Kenneth Burke
Don asked the group to redefine ourselves by translating negative images of ourselves into their ‘hidden’, for positive qualities. After we had successfully done this – which took a bit a bit of mental gymnastics – he gave use a list of examples – negative terms followed the hidden positive strength:
Enquiring – investigating complex situations – realising there is no simple answer
Quick thinker. Not suffer fools gladly. knowing when it’s time to act.
Know nothing in particular
A generalist – sees the big picture
Can empathise with others. Appreciates role of emotions. Is not a human machine.
Focussed, concentrates on significant detail
Independent, autonomous, does own thing
Relaxed, unstressed, unambitious
Stretching yourself, doing the work of three
NB Neither description is ‘more’ true. We remain mixed. The exercise is valuable for self respect (and for coaching or therapy) to remind ourselves more often of our positive qualities.
Email firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 0423 208 866
A very worthwhile exercise