Okay! Okay. So, my last blog was a little esoteric and maybe even perplexing. Maybe it turned a few readers off. My bad. My goal is to encourage you to want to learn more about Generative Communication.
Let’s keep taking it one step at a time. This time I’m asking you to play along with me and my imagining. . .
What if we’re living in an interdependent, connected and continually evolving community? World? Universe?
What if we could shift how we see reality? What if the way we see reality gets folded into the way we communicate.
What if Thomas Berry’s vision could help us restore the continuity of humans with the natural world?
Thomas Berry (1914–2009), a cultural historian and process philosopher, is seen by many as “one of the twentieth century’s most prescient and profound thinkers.” He envisioned reality to be an evolutionary process in which humans recognized their place on a planet with complex ecosystems in a vast evolving universe. And, low and behold, his story is actually being confirmed by science!
Berry’s story follows the work of mathematician and process philosopher Alfred North Whitehead (1861-1947), among others. Whitehead put forth the notion that the universe is a place of endless creativity that calls us to be attuned to new ways of thinking and being (a perfect place to be for problem-solving). And because we’re not just separate little egos running around doing things but connected-in-community, when we interact with other people we’re actually changing—being changed and helping others change our view of reality.
What if Berry’s vision of reality explains the world?
How would that different reality shift how we would want to communicate?
What if we consciously stood in a different place in relation to others and the world around us?
This “different place” is in our relationships with a vast universe of interconnected life as it is happening, unfolding, and evolving. It assumes our interrelationship with all of humanity but also the pulsing, ever-changing life of plants, animals, insects, microscopic organisms, the air we breathe, the food we consume, the water we drink, and the ground we stand on within the larger universe in which our living planet rotates on its axis.
In my last blog, “Where Do We Go from Here?” I painted a partial picture of that place by describing a different way of communicating—what Generative Communication IS—based on a different view of reality. I contrasted that with what Generative Communication is NOT, describing communication informed by our current (dominant) view of reality. I talked about seeing a different view of reality as a paradigm shift.
Let’s now imagine what a new-thinking reality might look like. Here is some of what I envision:
We can find hints of this place, if we look for it, in our everyday interactions with other people and our environments.
How about the place we choose to stand with the grocery store clerk and other customers when we’re in a hurry and the line is long? Maybe we choose to be patient, offer a smile, and let a mother with a fussy baby go ahead of us in the line.
I recently read in the local newspaper about the squabble at a city council meeting over proposed roundabouts on a heavily traveled street. Council members may have been seeking a conciliatory place when they chose not to act before listening to the opponents with apparently sound pedestrian-safety concerns. While everyone agrees with the need to slow traffic on that street, maybe there are other solutions?
What about choosing to attend a conference in which one will be surrounded by people seeking to stand in a place together to generate workable solutions for equitable health care in America?
There are others who are finding a new place to stand in their relationships with people, their circumstances, and the natural world. We must find them to sustain ourselves in this transformational quest.
We can—and must—open ourselves to an emerging WORLDVIEW of reality backed by philosophers, spiritual leaders, complexity scientists, and people who are searching for better ways to address social, economic, and environmental challenges.
We can practice communicating generatively when we find a new place to stand as we deal creatively with our collective challenges. And when doing this, we help others open to a new view of reality.
2 Alfred North Whitehead Biography
3 First described by James Lovelock in 1979, the Gaia Principle describes the Earth as a single, living organism, with all its biological, geological, chemical and hydrological processes acting in concert to regulate the planet and ensure its survival through an exquisite array of feedback loops.
Thank you for your comment. We are indeed interconnected with all of life as one. And because we humans are blessed with conscious awareness of ourselves in relation to others and the whole of life, it behooves us to communicate within ourselves, with each other and our natural environment, as if our lives depend on it.