OSONOS-my struggles,my viewpoint

Denis Hitchens denisch at alphalink.com.au
Mon Nov 23 23:40:38 PST 1998

>Reporting about Open Space on Open Space is hard. Hard to put into words.
>For sure, the notes below are my own experience, my own opinion, opinions
>which may not be similar to those of  anyone else. Please bear that in mind
>if you read further.

Thank you Birgitt and Jody,  cos you have casued me to write about something
I intended to write about for another audience and other reasons, but simply
put off.

Like Birgitt I am writing principally for myself but in the sense that it is
intended to share with others.

I belong to what I regard is the most worthwhile church group.  We attempt
to increase the sprituality of our marriages.  And we attempt to do this by
a number of practices related to a study and implementation of the Jesus
story.  So we too think we know something about love in wider than the
marriage dimension, because we know that to succeed as a couple requires
giving as a couple as well as an individual to ourselves, our partner, our
children, our wider family, our church community, our wider community, and
the world a large.  Not much of a task !!

Accordingly we are expected to be an inclusive organisation.  But we
(inadvertently and perhaps not so inadvertently) create "insiders".

Let me give an example.  Once we gathered, rather like on OSONOS, except we
were selected and invited by a national leading couple, and to "outsiders"
this was ultimately elitist.  At that event I did something which I do
rarely in my life, demonstrating I guess that I can really do it, but
gaining a handsome reputation for it.  Later at a State Conference I did
something similar and "enhanced" my reputation, but again only to those who

So sometime later, two years even, at a National Conference, people would
come up to me and say things in front of those who had not attended either;
cryptic sayings which clearly both of us understood but the "outsider" did not.

The crunch came for me when the National Leading Couple also participated in
the practice.  They had created "insiders" and "outsiders".

I suspect much the same is at work in this inclusive organisation.

And I suspect that this was a large motivating factor for the "thank
goodness Harrison is not here" view.

Inclusiveness properly practiced is a most elusive quality.

I am also a Director of the Future of Work Foundation in Australia.  This is
another would-be inclusive organisation, which is well if you are an
"insider" and not so well if you are not.  We use the same words:  "you have
to experience it".  This in fact marks the "outsider" from the "insider"
But like the church group you are perceived as more "insider" if you relate
to exclusive things and you bring them up in front of others.

These experiences and your story of sadness causes me to continue to reflect
how easy it is to do.  And I put it down to the fact that we don't really
think enough about what it means to be an "insider".  Of course we welcome
others, we want more to join with us on our journey and to experience the
joys and satisfactions of our ways, but I suspect we also want to confirm
our own view by showing people how good it is on the inside, not for one
moment thinking that they could be seeing it another way.

We might be frustrated , but most likely so are they.  While it is easy to
say this a part of the human condition, our own awareness can do much to
alleviate it.

With no intention to denigrate Birgitt's feelings and no intention to hurt
in any way, I would like to suggest that the love that we profess needs to
be there all the time (impossible in humanity, but to be striven for) and
when the insiderisms strike, we alert the whole community, the three or more
of you in conversation, and work to alleviate it immediately.

Tough call, but if we love, then to me it's all a tough call, but then also
we also get the most out of it.

As I wrote to Brian Bainbridge recently on another matter (see the
insiderism, seeking authority by being confirmed by another, perceived by
me, insider), I don't know if that is meaningful or meanderingful (Why, oh
why couldn't I just stand on my own two feet ??  --  Why didn't I just rub
the reference out ?).  But I know that I have been in it more than once and
the "insider" view is not helpful.

I am sorry for the painful experiences, pleased for the joys and hopeful of
the learning

Cheers from downunder where the spiritual signal strength just bounced the
needle of the edge of the dial.  Thanks again

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