[OSList] Teach Them to Fish / A Note to My Friends

Diane Gibeault diane.gibeault at rogers.com
Sat Feb 25 16:26:22 PST 2012

sequence you describe Harrison – Fish Distributors, Fishing Teachers, and
then “Gone fish‘in” looking for other fish to fry – captures well this rich
fast can people start fishing, one of your earlier questions, remains an important one.
I truly believe that people can fish for themselves? is probably a good
place to start to address the question on how fast. 
are not only ok, but are better off without the usual facilitation rituals of
personal intros and exercises to connect. Accepting that is one of the big challenges I
hear from some people who participate in OST training: trusting the OS process
and the group. 
is why, I now start the training workshops with no personal introductions or
“expectations or hopes" exercises - otherwise many leave believing that
intros etc are part of OS, and that, despite the numerous explanations and
reminders we used to give as trainers. People remember what they do, not what
you say. A change of mental model is easier when people can first experience OS
in its real form, without any distractions.
now receive the theme, the question and the givens, weeks in advance of the
training, so they are prepared, ready and willing. I basically explain in
the morning that we are jumping right away into our Open Space event so we can
have a clear unobstructed understanding of what OS is (no mix-up with training
things) and so that, with our OS experience as a level playing field, we can
later pursue our co-learing on OS.
have often said often how relieved they were to not introduce themselves at the
OS opening, not having to measure up to the one-liner of experts or renowned
participants. Instead, when joining a group to discuss a topic of common
interest, they immediately felt safe to connect, eager for introductions and
did so with greater authenticity. The moment had real meaning for them. 
- even in smaller groups at the OS opening - are also a contradiction of OS
principles, first the circle: participation on an equal basis. 
other principle: whoever comes, has some passion for the theme and is willing
to contribute. 
those assumptions as a facilitator at the OS opening, in our very first gesture
with the group, is truly modeling our belief in those principles and more
importantly, our belief in people in general and in particular, those who chose to be there. 
surprise that participants express relief at having found a way of working
where they feel trusted and respected, …without the traditional need to be
“massaged into it”.
could say they not only know how to fish but have found the Zen of fishing.
hear them talk about liberation, about being encouraged to breath freely. 
fast can people start fishing? You are right: as fast as we get out of
the way and let them go to it.


> From: Harrison Owen <hhowen at verizon.net>
>To: 'World wide Open Space Technology email list' <oslist at lists.openspacetech.org> 
>Sent: Saturday, February 25, 2012 2:43:07 PM
>Subject: Re: [OSList] Teach Them to Fish / A Note to My Friends
>Bernd – No problem. Totally understand where you are coming from. At the end of the day if you empower someone, by whatever means or degree – you have, at least to some real extent, dis-empowered them. Or at the very least, further encumbered their situation. All that said there are indeed times when the ONLY thing you can do in the moment is hand out a fish. Starving people, still less dead ones – don’t learn very well… to fish or anything else. However, if your actions end with fish distribution, or almost as destructive, you do teach them to fish, but then hover over their shoulders to make sure they do it RIGHT, well that is a different kettle of fish (sorry about that J). Maybe there is a sequence here – Fish Distributors, Fishing Teachers, and then “Gone fish ‘in” – looking for other fish to fry. Or something.
>Harrison Owen
>7808 River Falls Dr.
>Potomac, MD 20854
>189 Beaucaire Ave. (summer)
>Camden, Maine 20854
>Phone 301-365-2093
>(summer)  207-763-3261
>www.ho-image.com (Personal Website)
>To subscribe, unsubscribe, change your options, view the archives of OSLIST Go to:http://lists.openspacetech.org/listinfo.cgi/oslist-openspacetech.org
>From:oslist-bounces at lists.openspacetech.org [mailto:oslist-bounces at lists.openspacetech.org] On Behalf Of Bernhard Weber
>Sent: Saturday, February 25, 2012 1:24 AM
>To: World wide Open Space Technology email list
>Subject: Re: [OSList] Teach Them to Fish / A Note to My Friends
>I have been living so long under conditions where the giver/beggar word pairing is not only a metaphor (Beira is the capital of Sofala province in Mozambique), so I had to deal with the problem also at a very practical level and on base of that I want to say:
>I fully agree 
>and would like to complete something that I wrote in my last posting in answering what Artur has written. 
>Yes the giver-beggar relation creates conditions for helplessness and continued dependence and subservience. And yes, the dynamics is independent from altruistic intentions.
>And I would complete, if you have a feeling for yourself and/or a spiritual perspective this means, such kind of giving is also bad for the giver, his/her mental costume and/or karma.
>But when I wrote in my last posting: sometimes you should also give the fish (meaning that nobody who is starved can learn) isn't that a contradiction?
>Yes it is, but
>a) contradictions as such are not necessarily bad. At least they are good for triggering thinking processes if not for more (like being a basic ingredient for self-organization, this also refers to the dissence-thread of this groups)
>b) it all depends on the real process. If temporary dependence is a price for helping out from helplessness so that further steps can follow, like learning, like disappearing of the giver, teacher, blurring/integrating of roles to teacherlearners and learnerteachers, I would say it is an acceptable price
>On Feb 24, 2012, at 3:01 AM, Harrison Owen wrote:
>The secondary point may be less than obvious. When you are simply handed a fish the conditions for learned helplessness and continued dependence, to say nothing of subservience are created. Even with the best, most altruistic intentions in the world, a fish handout has its problems. 
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