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Federating Efforts. The commons as scaffold and underlying guiding principle

This presentation part of the Cultural Diversity and the Common Good at the 'Imagine the Common Good' conference in Paris earlier this week illustrates how the commons can manifest as underlying foundational principle in various action logics and serve as scaffold of the emergence of a more thrivable world. The question it raises is how we can use the commons logic at the same time as a means to strengthen disparate efforts individually and to protect, nurture and grow the commons as a whole.


Discussion (2)

  1. Profile photo of Myra Jackson Myra Jackson says:

    Dear Helene:

    I do not know where to begin in my comments to you, though I arrive in this window with a virtual 'applause' to you.

    I am enjoying your effort to aid this movement. It is daunting what you are seeking to advance. The underlying principle in my experience is extant and not a creation of any human. So my head literally hurts a little as I go through the slides. Nonetheless, the questions raised in your slideshow can lead to useful breakthroughs in our awareness that can alter the way in which we see ourselve and our shared challenges. So what am I saying here?

    What we refer to as commons-based approaches is a baby step toward awakening to our interrelatedness and interdependence within that web of life. In our community at present, we are each blinded to seeing the whole and yet what we do see – we tend to lead with as the whole. And yet, we each find oursleves without the cohering principle of the whole to give it full meaning.

    I love the analogy of the three blind people who are backed up against an elephant are asked to describe what they are experiencing. One is standing at the tail; the other at the trunk;  one is up against the side of the elephant and naturally what they are reporting is so different is seems impossible that there might be anything common or shared by way of their descriptions.

    You are asking seminal questions in your slideshow, however you may well miss some of the genius that can arise from your query if you insist on sources of information deemed solely as logical. The kind of breakthroughs that may serve us, may come from non-rational or illogical sources. For example, my creative insights often come from following the breadcrumbs that consist of glimpses that when tracked often become synchronicities that provide critical insights and clues that can be revelatory, directional and clarifying.

    I recently attended a presentation to membership of the Depth Psychology Alliance members (of which I am apart) called 'Mythic Activism' that generated a great deal of practical insight on how to look for the emerging narrative (myth, archetype) by Craig Chalquist, PhD. He is a professor at CIIS. What he did was walked us through the elements of sharing the story in a way the speaks to us at the mythic level. The story behind the story in a sense that is activate within the collective.

    Your slideshow is a form of recognizing we are in need of a narrative that conveys our shared values and contain what we envision in the world of greater harmony and far less suffering.

    The need for the new story: systemic breakdown

    What are the images that are coming out of this systemic breakdown like climate change, etc.? We need to mine the images to find what will emerge as the resonant narrative that will attract new creative ways of being and doing that work.

    Should institutitions created in the 1700s guide the activities of a connected world of more than six billion people?

    Denial is rampant and is a defense. Not being in denial of what is breaking down…that in itself takes time. There are many mechanisms of denial and one is a form of numbness as a psychologial defense. There is a great deal of breakdown occurring: political, economic, social, religious, environmental,etc. Breakdown itself is a psychological term.

    Let's look at:

    fungicide – pesticides – herbicide – genocide

    We miss how they are related and how we become numb at each stage as a defense when we face the unknown. So our story much reach past the numbness.

    Helene — I do feel it is the Earth — our common planet in the end that will bring for the image, however in many ways we are cut off from the earth. The path of restoration may be waiting for us to discover. I have some clues and it seems you do too.

    Let's continue what you have begun here..




    • Myra, thanks for bringing up this ancient fable of the blind men and the elephant.

      It is totally relevant as the goal of this presentation is to show that the commons as a whole can progress because of the actions of a variety of uncoordinated people and communities who actively work to make the world a better place with their own identity, interest, intent and capacity. Each of these people and communities hold one or a combination of what is needed for a new paradigm to emerge without being constructed as a whole.

      You mention "sources of information deemed solely as logical", but I think there is a confusion here. When I speak of a commons logic or action logic, I speak of logic in the sense of Susanne Cook Greuter's leadership development framework that she describes in these terms:

      "Leadership Development Framework describes a psycho-logical (sic) system with three interrelated components. The operative component looks at what adults see as the purpose of life, what needs they act upon, and what ends they are moving towards. The affective component deals with emotions and the experience of being in this world. The cognitive component addresses the question of how a person
      thinks about him or herself and the world. It is important to understand that each Action Logic emerges from a synthesis of doing, being and thinking despite the term logic, which may sushowggest an emphasis on cognition. Metaphorically speaking, the Leadership Development Framework provides us with one possible account of how individuals navigate the straits of human existence by using navigational lore, common sense, increasingly complex maps, algorithms, and intuition."

      Susanne Cook-Greuter 2002

      So we are not in the realm of logical reasoning here, but rather looking at how the main dimensions that motivate action are expressed (logos) as detailed above. The action logics I describe in the presentation reflect different preferences in terms of functions and expression of these dimensions.

      I would love to learn more about the Mythic activism workshop that you attended, maybe you would like to share some key elements?

      Indeed Myra, let's continue the work and look at how each of these logics can manifest through and for the commons.


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