Sunday Open Thread – December 16, 2007

coachweedWhat I’m Thinking of Writing (and Podcasting) About Soon:

Love, Conversation and Community: I remain convinced that

Whether you want to change the political or economic system, save the whales, stop global warming, reform education, spark innovation or anything else, the answer is in how meaning, and understanding of what needs to be done, emerges from conversation in community with people you love, people who care.

So if it seems as if, these days, I don’t write about anything else, that’s why. This week I’m going to write about what ‘leadership’ means when you believe understanding and appreciation of the need to change evolves collectively. I’m also still intrigued about compersion and the question of whether jealousy is an innate or learned propensity.

Self-treatment: I’m ambivalent about modern medicine, and also about naturopathy. Ultimately I believe we need to learn to take charge, knowledgeably, of our own health and well-being. That means focusing on prevention of illness rather than treatment, on self-diagnosis and self-treatment as much as possible, and on drawing on the understanding of many, rather than just ‘experts’ and ‘specialists’. What I want to discover is a regimen for self-treatment, based on indigenous learning but informed also by the discoveries of modern medicine. (Image at right is coachweed, or cleavers, a vitamin-C and tannin-rich aboriginal medicine used to treat inflammation and skin diseases).

Vignette #8

Blog-Hosted Conversation #4: I’m going to interview one of the women who’s lived in a polyamorous relationship or circle, and who believes that such communities can work and are the natural way to live, and love. I have five candidates, but they are, understandably, a little shy about being spokeswomen for such a complex and controversial lifestyle.

Possible open thread conversation: Leadership is about ‘going first’. If you believe, as I do, in bringing about change through emergence of understanding, consensually, without compulsion, what does it mean to lead? Is it about being a model of the change you want to see, or is it something more — being adversarial,persuasive, political, compelling, pushing for change?

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8 Responses to Sunday Open Thread – December 16, 2007

  1. Dave, you have every right in the world to experiment and /or experience the wealth of possibilities which exist in human relationships. However, you will have to forgive your readership if some choose not to believe that your new investment in polyamorous relationships is about saving the world. It is about saving

  2. Meryn Stol says:

    Dave, I truly believe you’re on the right path regarding love and meaning to be a cure for the world. The cure will be emotional, not material.I share Barbara’s concern. “meaning, and understanding of what needs to be done, emerges from conversation in community with people you love, people who care” is really good, but polyamory just _doesn’t_ follow from this. With monogamous romantic love, I feel there are more opportunities for strong ties within a community. I absolutely believe in the need of “blocks”, but I have the strong intuition that blocks of two (marriages) are ideal, blocks of 3 or more… I just don’t understand why you would bother. It’s far too complex. As soon as you go beyond two, you’ve entered the world of network dynamics.Nevertheless, I will read about your findings with great interest. I believe you’re truly committed to saving the world, not saving “yourself” as Barbara has put it, so I think you will study this subject objectively.Having said that, I hope thinking about polyamory will not take too much time away from thinking about the general problem of lack of love, trust and meaning that’s so prevalent nowadays. There are so much opportunities for improvement in the ‘monogamous’ world… I expect that the ‘best practices’ for polyamorous living will almost be exactly the same as for monogamous living, be it within or outside of the marriage/circle. I think you should focus on these principles.

  3. Chaitanya says:

    On Leadership: Gandhi once said “We must be the change we wish to see in the world”. That to me, is the first step.On “…the answer is in how meaning, and understanding of what needs to be done, emerges from conversation in community with people you love, people who care” : Very well put Dave. We already have a global community, with global conversation enabled by the internet. This conversation itself is an example, with me being in India.

  4. evenstar says:

    Interesting times ahead then Dave…I feel Barbara might be right – surely there’s no new models left to explore? Meryn’s opening and closing statements ring true to me too, although I’d consider substituting “spiritual” for “emotional”…Regarding the question of jealousy, I believe it’s innate, but expressed/suffered at different levels according to an individual’s environment and experience.I’m looking forward to the interview, it’s bound to be engaging!

  5. Meryn Stol says:

    Uh yes I’d go for “spiritual” too. I couldn’t find a good word for it. Thanks Evenstar. :)

  6. Jon Husband says:

    That’s where / how I think we need “leaders” … people who instantiate, who care enough about something to start. Kinda like Open Space, standing up for, voicing and willing to convene a conversation about why and what to do next, etc.

  7. We need to know how to take care of ourselves first before we can branch out into other things. We may adopt an advocacy of our own but if we fail to take care of the very core, the very thing that makes us up, then how much of ourselves can we really devote to another cause?

  8. Thoughts about leadership:Good leadership is often more about getting rid of obstacles standing in the way of people trying to accomplish a task or cooperating with a group of people in reaching a goal. It can be quite passive in nature or operate in the background, allowing others more qualified in the task at hand to take point. It is putting the end AND the means first. But what makes leadership unique is that the ‘leader’, at the end of the day, is accountable for any failure to reach a goal – While success is attributed (and rightly so) to the group that achieved it.Ideally.What often happens is that a leader is the person who reluctantly assumes responsibility for accomplishing an important task after giving up trying to work within an incompetent coalition of people who are mucking it up. Civil service comes to mind…Leadership can be intentional or unintentional, acknowledged or not. But if it isn’t successful, it wasn’t leadership.Just my experience, having led school and clinical programs for the developmentally disabled. All that mattered was success for the students and staff. Barb Rubin

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