- Janet wrote
I myself am not just about talking and "order", I am about chaos and action.
I pick up on that because it ties in with other discussions I have been involved with recently
One was at an RSA network meeting in London about ten days ago. Part of the group work activities included expressing (in lego and plasticine) how we saw the relationship between the RSA network and the long established formal structures of the RSA and its fellows. Then, all together we had to go around the models we had created in our four groups and see what had come out of them. It was intriguing to see the variation between the creations of the four groups and yet certain shared key themes emerged in every one.
One key theme was that parts of the models representing the network were chaotic while the parts of the models representing the established RSA were more structured and controlled. (There were also all kinds of representations of how the two "cultures' could connect and collaborate better). What came out in the discussions was that the network did not try to control its chaos, it seemed to embrace it as evidence of welcome diversity and favoured an apporach of self-organising systems.
Of course self organising systems may demonstrate some kind of structure when they emerge around a project with defined outcomes - but I think that tends to be more in terms of roles and responsibilites for specific outcomes (often self-assigned) rather than tight control. We didn't discuss that. It is just a personal thought - not yet well considered.
Different systems suit different requirements - "horses for courses".
Another discussion (with a friend today) related to traditional authority figures, who had less power now than in 20th century (and perhaps even back in 19th centry too). That covered issues of leadership and related issues of authority and power and the difference between the those two, and how people exert power, and how people can hav autority and influence without any formal power, but just through their leadership etc.
Many fascinating issues. I would like to do more LearningFromEachOther about them. No time to explore them properly here now - I shouldn't even have started - but it is the weekend now, so perhaps I can justify following up some interests that are not my main focus. I do have such appreciation of Minciu Sodas and you and Andrius and all the other wonderful people I know thanks to this amazing network.
2009/3/8 Janet Feldman <kaippg@...>
I have not seen a letter from Sam on this subject...did I miss it? Please
repost, Sam or someone, so I can read it.
Andrius and everyone, I appreciate what you have written, and can see the
value of it. But I am also not of a mind to want to split things up into
different categories. I also do not want to work only with certain people
and not with others, so that is a question: can Dennis, for example--with
whom I have had a lengthy prior friendship and working relationship, and
with whom I would like to work here--engage with both "hands".
I would like to see him posting publicly about his own views and interests
and desires as to approaches on this subject. As I said to you both times
you have visited, and at other times when we have spoken about this, one of
things about last year that was the most frustrating and difficult for me is
that I did not get to work with people who--in one way or the other--I
brought into our circles myself, in the way that I find most satisfying and
compelling. That includes Dennis and also Rachel.
The whole premise of "holistic" thinking and helping is that there is a
linkage between what might be called "opposites": hence talk and action,
thought and feeling, structure and process are all connected in some way,
like Yin and Yang, different yet inseparable.
The two-handed strategy does illustrate that it is possible and even
desirable to have two (or more) approaches going at the same time. However,
there is also an intrinsic connectedness between the two that goes beyond
the complementary. I do not know how that will be fostered adequately in the
approach you outline, Andrius.
I myself am not just about talking and "order", I am about chaos and action.
I do not want to preside over only one hand, the one where talking and order
and the long-term are predominant. I want to be involved with the action, I
want to embrace the chaos, I want to be involved with "engaging the
enemy"--as you put it--which sometimes actually turns out to be ourselves,
or even our closest friends. This is what my deepest value is, this is what
I have been trained for academically, this is what my life is about, and why
I have focused here so much on the "holistic".
I want the same for every one of us. It is one of the biggest challenges for
all of us, as individuals and groups, to be about both. That is where
inclusiveness and integration come in, that is where we find growth and
engage the whole of what is means to be human.
You have written this, Andrius: "I plan to write a proposal to the leaderof a Palestinian mobile phone company to fund work to organize and coachI spent a great deal of time in graduate school not only studying conflict
Palestinians, Israelis and others to practice working together online to
support peace efforts around the world, such as in Zimbabwe".
and its resolution, but this particular conflict, and ways in which it might
be addressed. I also spent time with Israelis and Palestinians, working to
address peace-related issues, and have a longstanding personal connection to
Israel, where I have friends and also a part of my identity.
I would love to work on a proposal with you, I would love to extend the
online work we did with the Pyramid of Peace into work with Israelis and
Palestinians, into work in Zimbabwe. And to work with our members and
friends on that. Not in different circles and spheres, but together. There
is no reason why the "volunteer fire department" cannot work in tandem with
the "talking circles", in one and the same project or activity.
I feel very frustrated right now, because I feel like I am being boxed into
one approach, one activity. I want to promote peace centers, yes--so I would
love to work with Pam-- but my life and work have been about being a bridge,
so I want to do that with Rachel. I want to be part of the frontline
endeavors, the "fire department", and work with you, Andrius, and Dennis.
You have also said this today: "My solution is that when people like us,who have such meek resources, apply our moral sense to respond to anI absolutely and totally disagree with you: this paints such a
emergency, and when "persons" like global corporations, who have such vast
resources, neglect to act because they have no moral sense, then ultimately
those corporations should be willing to pay what it would have cost them if
they would have done what they should have. I find it is helpful to offer
this solution because it appreciates the moral strength and material
weakness of those who responded, and also offers to include those of
material strength and moral weakness who might yet act and thereby grow."
cut-and-dried picture of right and wrong, what--and who--is morally strong
or weak. You must remember that corps are made up of people: as entities,
sometimes it does seem like they have no soul, but on the other hand, human
beings who create and run and work for these companies do.
Sometimes it is helpful to remind them of that moral center, and I think it
is alright to appeal to that moral center (ie it is the "right" thing from a
human standpoint to support efforts to help IDPs who are struggling and in
need), but to portray us as morally strong and them as morally weak is too
holier-than-thou, it is too "either/or". The world is more complex than
that, and our own efforts--let alone each of us as individual beings--are
more complex than that.
I have strong questions about the ethics of this approach, just as I have
strong questions about the ethics of what happened last year, when you
appointed yourself a "commander". Peace is not just an end, it is also a
means, it is a process and intrinsic to every step we take and move we make.
Andrius and all, your letter is helpful in some respects and I do see some
merits in the two-handed strategy you are proposing. Yet it is also very
disheartening to me, I have to confess.
What I would propose would be quite different: it would involve talking and
action both, approaching funding sources in a way that enlists them as part
of the solution, not part of the problem. I would also like to see an
"organic" process develop, whereby all of us together talk about action, and
then act, where whatever structures and strategies we employ evolve from our
talking and working together.
Yesterday I felt excited and hopeful. Today I have very mixed feelings. So I
am not sure what else to say or how to evolve this conversation. I will
leave it for now and return when I have had more time to reflect.
Thanks and greatest blessings to all, Janet> ------------------------------------
----- Original Message -----
From: "Andrius Kulikauskas" <ms@...>
To: "help group" <email@example.com>;
Sent: Sunday, March 08, 2009 3:37 PM
Subject: [holistichelping] Two handed strategy for peace efforts
> Thank you for intense and helpful discussion about what the Pyramid of
> Peace http://www.pyramidofpeace.net meant for us and what we might like
> to do in the future. Thank you especially to Peter Ongele and Samwel
> Kongere for your thoughtful letters.
> I appreciate that we're inclined towards different approaches, but we've
> all worked together most impressively. So I'm sharing my thoughts how I
> want to proceed and how we might make the most of different approaches.
> In Chicago, my grandmother and I lived in a neighborhood into which
> gangs were establishing themselves. I organized a block club. The
> neighbors were all afraid of one house that was a "crack house" with
> dozens of youths who allegedly sold and used crack cocaine. I said that
> we should have our next block club meeting there. I ended up going
> there with one of my neighbors, and the mother of the house,
> interestingly enough, agreed. On the day of the meeting, none of the
> neighbors came, except for me, and all of the youth were gone, too. It
> was just me, the mother, the grandmother and a few young girls and their
> babies. And I explained my "two handed" strategy. That on the one
> hand, our block club should do everything to reach out and help their
> family. And on the other hand, we should methodically, step by step,
> through the city's legal system work to shut them down so they would
> lose their house. They were amazed that we might do both at the same
> time. It's completely disarming. It also strengthens the hand of the
> people inside the house who might bring some order.
> In that spirit, I would like us to pursue our different approaches each
> in their best way.
> One approach is the "volunteer fire department" approach. I encouraged
> that last year and I would like to do more of that. The goal is to
> provide independent peacemakers with as much authority as they might
> possibly exercise.
> Another approach might be called a "talking circles" approach. The goal
> is to include everybody and hear every point of view until everyone is
> heard, and build a space for consensus, which might blossom into peace
> The two approaches can be very supportive of each other. I would like
> to see a system where "talking circles" foster friendships and
> solidarity, decide on long term priorities, work as the treasury and
> collect and dedicate funds, and foster what is orderly. The "voluntary
> fire departments" would work in the gaps, engage enemies, and address
> what is chaotic.
> Janet Feldman, Pamela McLean, Kennedy Owino and others have written
> about both approaches. I tried to support both approaches last year
> with my draft of a "Constitution for Humanity"
> where the Stewardship Councils were for a "talking circles" approach and
> the Command Structure was for a "volunteer fire department" approach and
> also there were Cultural Congresses for fostering cultures, tribe by
> tribe, ancient and modern.
> Dennis Kimambo is very supportive and comfortable with my approach and
> leadership. I propose that he and I work at Fighting Peacefully to
> develop further the "volunteer fire department" approach, but also that
> we support a team for a "talking circles" approach. For example, Janet
> and Kennedy and Pamela might work together on peace centers. Rachel
> Wambui Kungu, as a peacemaker, might help bridge both of our
> approaches. Rachel and I and Pamela and Samwel and others could hammer
> out the implications in London.
> I have already written a proposal to host a Grundtvig workshop in
> that centers around the "volunteer fire department" that I'm familiar
> with. I plan to write a proposal to the leader of a Palestinian mobile
> phone company to fund work to organize and coach Palestinians, Israelis
> and others to practice working together online to support peace efforts
> around the world, such as in Zimbabwe. I would appreciate and support
> parallel efforts that foster "talking circles", such as "pads for peace".
> I also expect this week to write a letter to Kofi Annan, which will
> benefit greatly from our input so far and in coming days. I will write
> as my own person and not be shy to acknowledge my own work, which is
> also to cherish all of our work. I had the opportunity at the Open
> Davos Forum to ask of him one question for all to hear. He knows
> plenty about the world's problems, but I offered a new solution, which
> he agreed to support by forwarding my letter. My solution is that when
> people like us, who have such meek resources, apply our moral sense to
> respond to an emergency, and when "persons" like global corporations,
> who have such vast resources, neglect to act because they have no moral
> sense, then ultimately those corporations should be willing to pay what
> it would have cost them if they would have done what they should have.
> I find it is helpful to offer this solution because it appreciates the
> moral strength and material weakness of those who responded, and also
> offers to include those of material strength and moral weakness who
> might yet act and thereby grow. For this purpose, I will insist that we
> take a low-key approach, because we are public, but have no need for
> extra publicity, nor do we offer any. Indeed, as peacemakers we reached
> out to include violent people, and they and we are vulnerable because we
> embrace each other. Any corporate leaders that appreciate my logic, and
> contribute towards our replenishment, will not gain publicity, and will
> not simply do the right thing, but will also show by their contribution
> towards the past that they we might call on each other in the future.
> Kofi Annan worked closely with the Kenya business community, and I will
> ask their help to find global corporations that might appreciate my
> logic. We responded to a global problem, a potential genocide or civil
> war, that called for leadership from around the world, not just the
> region, and we should be replenished accordingly. I will ask for
> myself, but also express my hope that this just be a first step towards
> a general principle of replenishment for those who might accept that.
> My own estimates are that it would be fair if I receive $35,000 (of
> which $10,000 I gave away, $15,000 for my work at a corporate rate,
> $10,000 for the use of our online system), and just for the sake of
> scale, my opinion is that $100,000 for the Pyramid of Peace online team
> and $150,000 for the on-the-ground team would be fair replenishment, and
> I estimate $5,000,000 for all of Kenya, a very small amount of money.
> It would be quite surprising to get any contributions, but I think that
> these ideas might some day have great impact. They have enormous value
> in preparing and assuring in our world's uncertain future that
> individuals are ready and willing to respond to emergencies in every way
> they can. Just as soldiers receive land and pensions and health care,
> and armies are replenished with weapons, so might we be replenished. I
> am a rare individual who might apply my moral integrity and spend my
> moral capital towards such a profound solution.
> Thank you, Kennedy, Peter, Kenneth and all for reaching out to Kenya's
> Internally Displaced Persons. You are aware of the great need for
> help. I think it's fair to distinguish between global and regional
> challenges. Kenya's post-election turmoil was a challenge that clearly
> required global leadership wherever it may come. Kenya's IDP challenge
> I believe requires regional leadership. They are questions of a
> different nature. Last year the distinction was very clear, but time
> passes and so I remind us, and I also acknowledge the difference in our
> perspectives, yours in Kenya and mine from far away.
> I grew up comfortably, like most people in California, but I knew that
> my parents and grandparents didn't. My grandfather was executed during
> World War II and many of my grandparent's relatives were exiled to
> Siberia. My parents as children lived through five years of war and
> five years in refugee camps in Germany until finally they came to
> America in 1950.
> I share my imagination of such camps. If you put Dennis Kimambo,
> Kennedy Owino or Rachel Wambui Kungu in a camp for five years, then you
> will end up with hundreds of people active in community theatre,
> acrobatics, peacemaking and well prepared for life. Lithuanian refugee
> camps were crowded and poor but people had free time and they made good
> use of it, there was a flourishing of culture and learning because there
> was a national resolve to work towards independence which was, in fact,
> achieved 40 years later. Other people might turn to black marketeering,
> thievery, drugs and gangs.
> So the IDP camps may be an opportunity. I ask our Kenyans for
> leadership on a larger vision, but also, small projects. Yes, we can
> help a person. But it's a chance for a "talking circle" to bring
> together people of different tribes and circumstances to help that
> person or people. We might also help elders of various tribes foster
> their tribal cultures so that they are healthy and vibrant, so that
> people in the camps spend their time well and that tribes play a
> positive role.
> Replenishment for last year's emergency response and seeking funds for
> this year's priorities do not have to be linked. This money from
> different sources for different purposes. They work alongside each
> other like the two hands.
> Thank you for heartfelt letters and I look forward to more!
> Andrius Kulikauskas
> Minciu Sodas
> Please note our rule: Each letter sent to the Holistic Helping group
> enters the PUBLIC DOMAIN unless it explicitly states otherwise. Thank
> you! http://www.ethicalpublicdomain.org
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