OSLIST Digest - 23 Dec 1999 to 24 Dec 1999 (#1999-197)

Chris Corrigan corcom at interchange.ubc.ca
Fri Dec 24 23:51:44 PST 1999


Peg wrote, among many other fine things:

"My experience of OS is indeed that it allows both the indivual and the group to
be most fully themselves....<snip>...I want to poke a bit at this work being
about consensus.  I think it moves into something much richer than consensus.
This may be subtle, but for me part of the power of what happens in AI, OS
and/or Dialogue is that a collective understanding of essence or spirit
emerges.  And people act from
that place.  They don't necessarily act from consensus, they act from how
the whole's spirit moves through them.  In OS, we speak of this as passion
and responsibility."

Exactly.  The points I made on GRP-FACL about this reflected this experience.  I
was essentially saying that in collectivist cultures, there is no distincition
between the individual and the group to the extent that there is no distinction
between an atom and a living body.  They can't exist in the same way without
each other, so in this respect, the individual and the group both come into
their own only when they are moving together.

In the Mohawk system of governance, a chief who blocks consensus for selfish
reasons may be removed by his clan mother and ultimately exiled unless he learns
to see what he's doing.  He's actually spoken of as being "dead" to the Nation
after such an exile.  That is how important it was in traditional Mohawk society
to be aware of the role you play within a group, and to exercise your
responsibility to hold space as a participant.

What I see happening in Open Space is people gradually realizing that all the
tools they need are in the room.  In fact this is a line I use in my opening
quite often:"All the tools you need are here; the wall, the computers, the
people and the circle.  All of these are tools that have been assembled for your
use."  Most First Nations people know what I mean when I talk about the circle
being a tool.  It's exactly what Peg says...the individual and the group come
fully into themselves.

Dialogue, it seems to me, expresses these same ideas in a different way, and I
especially like the part about having the facilitator, in Bohm's words "hold the
context."  I go further when I'm working with traditional consensus
decision-making processes, and look at every individual to "hold the context."
This applies in Open Space too, which is as close to the old ways of just doing
consensus.  It works really welll when people, motivated by their passion nad
responsibility, all agree to hold the space.  I'm dying to have one like that,
so I can go off and have a nap, just like Harrison taught me.

In the final analysis, with both consensus and Open Space, I think the same
adage holds true:  if you have to think about it you can't possibly be doing it.

Merry, happy, joy joy joy...


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