Pré-voeux de fin de décennie pour les décennies suivantes

 

Je ne sais pas pourquoi “les choses” viennent à nous?

Pourquoi, en 1980, à Ferrières, au cours des vacances familiales annuelles dans les Ardennes (Belges)  j’ai dévoré les Mémoires de Jean Monnet (parues en 1976).

Pourquoi ce livre ne m’a jamais quitté?

Pourquoi j’y ai replongé, à fond, pour la seconde fois, 40 ans après, le samedi avant Noël de cette année, pour vous écrire ceci en cette veille de l’année 2020?

Je suis arrivé, au moment où j’écris,  à la page 340, sur les 615 que compte le livre…

Ma lecture est intensive, j’avance lentement, prenant le temps de tout comprendre, d’annoter, d’en recopier des extraits dans un petit cahier et en digitalisant d’autres extraits plus importants, qui résonnent en moi comme  particulièrement « actuels » …

Ainsi cet extrait ci-dessous, que je partage en avance de mes vœux de fin d’année, et qui restera valable pour les décennies à venir.

Bien entendu, avant de lire, il me semble qu’il y a lieu de comprendre d’abord  l’importance de Jean Monnet.

Pour cela, je pense que deux références suffisent:

Situation historique de l’extrait ci-dessous:

Ce passage brillant concerne les problèmes auxquels faisaient face Adenauer et Schuman, début 1950.

Le malentendu qui prit un cours tragique en janvier 1950 concernait le grand besoin de charbon Allemand dont la France avait crucialement besoin. La France dont la « diplomatie s’enfonçait dans les ornières du passé »

Cela amena même Adenauer à suggérer au journaliste américain Kingsbury Smith, en mars 1950, l’hypothèse suivante : « une union complète de la France et de l’Allemagne, la fusion de leurs économies, de leurs parlements, de leurs nationalités ». Cela fut très mal reçu en France, qui voyait toujours l’Allemagne comme un danger avec un avenir très incertain ? L’hypothèse était jugée invraisemblable.

L’extrait, trois pages, digitalisé du livre, les pages 338 à 340, n’est pas jointe. Béotien des réseaux sociaux je n’ai pas trouvé le “bon moyen”. Je réfère donc à un site où il a pu être repris: suivre ce lien. Sinon écrivez-moi: charlesvdh@gmail.com

Je termine en paraphrasant le sous-titre que Jean Monnet choisit de donner à ses mémoires, comme mes vœux à vous,  et comme un bel objectif à atteindre ensemble, dans les décennies qui viennent  :

« Nous ne coalisons pas les Etats, nous unissons des vivants[1] »

Je ne serais pas moi-même si je n’y ajouterais pas une citation.

Celle, ci-dessous, me parait très appropriée aujourd’hui ( son origine remonte à Goethe):

«A moins d’un vrai engagement, y a hésitation, un risque de se rétracter, toujours de l’inefficacité. Au sujet de tous actes d’initiative (et création) il y a une vérité élémentaire, dont l’ignorance tue d’innombrables idées et des plans magnifiques: Cette vérité est qu’à l’instant où l’on s’engage irréversiblement, la Providence se déplace aussi. Toutes sortes de choses arrivent à celui qui s’engage pour l’aider, qui n’auraient jamais eu lieu sans cela. Un flot d’évènement découlent de la décision, dirigeant vers celui qui la prend toutes sortes d’incidents imprévus, de rencontres et de soutiens matériels, que personne n’aurait rêvé rencontrer sur son chemin.
Quoique vous pouvez ou rêvez pouvoir faire, commencez-le.
L’audace génère du génie, du pouvoir et de la magie ”

Cette citation, offerte par W.H. Murray en hommage à la mémoire de David R. Brower 

(premier Juillet, 1912 – Novembre 5, 2000) figure sur sa tombe

Bonne fin d’année 2019, bonne fin de décennie, don début d’année 2010, que cette décennie qui commence et celles qui suivront soient à la hauteur des vos attentes les plus folles.

 

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Clumsily STAYING WITH THE TROUBLE towards an EVOLUTIONARY VISION

Dear Friends,

Two «epiphanies» in last few days (November 16th to 19th) are at the basis of this reflection.

  1. Situating this posting in context

Amidst the thinking about a fundamental reorienting my “crossroads announcement” is a good start. Recovering from 8 years of hardship.

Many readings, words and quotes have informed “thinking with” and pushed me to start moving.

The idiot’s Cry, is based on “thinking with” many authors (readings), encounters, and multifarious experiences[1]

Everyday words are appearing everywhere[2] and all the time? Yet aren’t they carrying ever new meanings, depending on the person using[i] them, provoking a sense of disarray, disputes often.

-Are we not very many to be perplexed and worried by the contradictions that life confronts us with, pushing us (consciously or not) to perceiving things in ever new ways.

Are we not increasingly facing ever growing uncertainty, unpredictability, insecurity, contradictory certainties often[3]  due to the multitude and nature of life’s “surprises”?

This phenomenon has probably been going on forever. Today it seems to intensity and it becomes destabilizing…: As if the very foundation of our living is shaken, disrupted.

Nothing is simple any more.  But yet we are caught with the idea that simplifying things is effective and efficient. We split and divide things up, in ever smaller entities, believing that it is the only possibility to keep track of things. And we organize, plan, and “control”, establish hierarchies, and structure, in a vain search for predictability and security, achieving the very contrary of what we intend.

May it be that this drive to simplicity is totally wrong-headed, counterproductive, misguided, and sorcerous?  May it be so wrong that it has provoked Gaïa’s intrusion?

Might it not have provoked the youth calling for Extinction Rebellion?

20191125 Post Linkedin Illustration

What’s the future if even two farmers cannot agree to “compose” and solve minute disagreements?

How were we educated? How did we and are we educating our youth? What heritage are we leaving them?

What has prevented people from learning the “Process of Understanding”? Ii is freely available at the click of a mouse, the World over, in very many languages?

This ‘Process of Understanding’ is indeed what Edgar Morin describes so masterfully in Chapter 5 of his “Seven complex lessons for the Education for the Future”[4]?

Is it not high time to ‘thinking with’ him (and with so many others) about the very foundation[5] on which our (Western) education (and since “globalization” our life and the future of life on Earth) rests?

Wouldn’t it acquire even more sense if UNESCO’s booklet had been entitled “Seven Complex Lessons for living the Future (or for Being the Future)[ii]? Why did this initiative not open up our minds and hearts and learn us to live symbiotically as a species amongst many other species (living or not), composing respectfully and peacefully a sympoïetic way of living between ever more “modes of existence”[iii]

Let’s take a pause

What do we learn, how do we learn, and what do we achieve??

“Always learning, never getting it right”

Michael Thomson

How do we think? How to be effective?

“Think we must, we must think” and “stay with the trouble”.

Donna Haraway

 

“The Idiot’s Cry’s idea and purpose was to first start thinking with scientists. It was a speculative bet.

Two epiphanies are confirming that this intuition, albeit not representing the easiest path[6], might not be so misguided.  They are “additive” to the “Idiot’s Cry”.

They are evoked here to illustrate how new ways of relating, improving, stimulating can contribute to the task of changing the present “order of things”.

The present has evolved to block any and every creative evolution. It has increasingly made change “impossible”. Or not? Cannot, against all odds, this impossibility be altered and dissolved?

Is not this task and responsibility awaiting us. Breaking the spell:  yet starting bottom up, altering one by one every “thing” that goes against the grain of evolution. In order to become “other”, so that gradually but increasingly “common sense” emerges out of an ever greater diversity of modes of existence. “Common sense” so that even the “wickedest[7]” and most desperate situations, handled according to an evolutionary vision and cosmopolitical sympoïetic dynamics, can lead to the still invisible and incon

  1. The Evolutionary Vision[8]

 The first epiphany concerns manifold and insight provoking thoughts[9] hidden in a book edited by Erich Jantsch, covering the AAAS symposium ‘”The Evolutionary Vision: Toward a Unifying Paradigm of Physical, Biological, and Sociocultural Evolution”.

Attached a copy of (i) Ilya Prigogine’s “in memory” homage to Erich Jantsch, (2) Erich Jantsch’s Introduction and (3) his concluding remarks as these three sections appear in the book[10]

The wisdom and the scientific foundation of the “Evolutionary Vision of Life[11]” clearly shows nothing less than the “direction” and the “possibility” for succeeding in transforming many “wicked” situations into as many opportunities for dissolving them, transforming (metamorphosing) them, charting effective and dignified pathways capable of leading towards a dignified future.

Hereafter a few extracts, together with some comments as appetizers and encouragements for reading the full text in annex:

Erich Jantsch’s introduction Page 5,

“The ultimate importance of the Evolutionary vision lies not just in its power to unifying scientific thinking and stimulating a truly transdisciplinary approach, but also in the philosophy it expresses – a philosophy close to life and its creativity. The alienation of science from life, which, which has become a matter of growing concern, is out to be overcome by the evolution of science itself.”

Can this be read as a confirmation that “The Idiot’s Cry” was addressed to the right audience[12]?

On page 212, Erich Jantsch’s concluding remarks end with:

“A deeper understanding of the relations between the dynamics of the human mind and the dynamics of the socio-cultural reality – the evolution of the sociosphere and the noosphere – will also open up an entirely new perspective for the social sciences. A future theory of a creative and a evolving human world will take a fresh look at such phenomena as social and institutional change, value dynamics, competition and cooperation , conflicts, crises and revolutions (as potentially creative fluctuations furthering evolution); social and cultural pluralism and “symbiosis, and the “planetarization” of human interaction in a technological age.

It will do away with any “optimization” according to utility or other economic and static criteria and emphasize dynamic criteria instead.

It will realize the basic openness of evolution and that there are usually many ways into the future.

It will also emphasize active and creative responsibility over the currently popular passive “consumption” of human rights.

“Vaste Programme, Messieurs”, as Général de Gaulle used to say – but not with reference to the implementation of such vast change, but to the resistance against it

The evolutionary vision is itself a manifestation of evolution. The academic reward for its elaboration will not only be a new (or partly revived) natural philosophy or an improved understanding at all levels, but also an immense radical philosophy to guide us at a time of creative instability and major restructuration of the human world, of both the socio- and the noosphere.

With such an orientation, science will also become more realistic and meaningful for the concerns of human life. It will be not merely an end product of human creativity, but a key to its further unfolding in all domains.

This was written less than a year before Erich Jantsch premature death (December 1980).

What do we need more to undertake?

 It will sounds like music in the ears of those who are aware of Michael Thompson’s life work. He wrote his thesis and a book “Rubbish Theory” and actually published it in 1979. BUT the unbelievable fate of this book was to be banned at its release[v] by its very publisher (Oxford University Press in1979 ??? )

Erich Jantsch could not have known Michael, nor been aware of these circumstances. He would have understood them, since both of them their faced somewhat similar fates on a number of accounts – see next paragraph for Erich Jantsch’s? Can we think with this here? Had what Erich Jantsch was predicting not already “emerged” (…) [13]

Magoroh Maruyama wrote a eulogy for Erich Jantsch describing his “fate”[14]:

Jantsch succumbed at the age of 51 to the material and physical hardships that worsened progressively during the last decade of his prolific and still young life. This makes us realize again the harsh and brutal conditions of life some of the innovators must endure. … Let us face squarely the fact that Jantsch was given no paid academic job during a decade of his residence in Berkeley—a town considered to be a foremost spawning ground of scientific and philosophical innovations.” Jantsch penned his own epitaph: “Erich Jantsch died on __ in Berkeley after a painful illness. He was almost 52 and grateful for a very rich, beautiful and complete life. His ashes have been scattered over the sea, the cradle of evolution.”

No words here!

Jantsch’s Design for Evolution is described as “a seminal work on general evolution theory (GET)” by Ralph H. Abraham in “The Genesis of Complexity”. Synthesizes the Mind boggling “rhisomic” process and result and of 30 years transdisciplinary relating! 17 (on the web downloadable) very revealing pages about how GOOD science beyond boundaries achieves progress.

  1. Linking Additive Empirical Humanities and Evolutionary Vision?

The second epiphany, occurring almost synchronically with the first, came from Bruno Latour’s “The scientific Fables of an Empirical La Fontaine” attached. He wrote his powerful reflections as   a foreword to the English translation (2016) of Vinciane Despret’s breathtaking and path breaking book entitled “What Would Animals Sat If We Asked the Right Questions”[15]

Both epiphanies 1 and 2 come at the right time.  Is it because they were needed? Or the other way around? Is it the act of serendipity? Synchronicity?

Is it the speculative act of daring to reveal and exchange intuitions?

Is it not incredibly powerful when we allow ourselves to freely “think with” one another about our intuitions and take seriously what fellow Intuitors have to say (composing intuitions?)[16]? Unanswerable question? Is unanswerability characterizing the better questions?

Whatever the reason, this reading of some of Latour ideas is powerful, and complements wonderfully the meeting of minds with Erich Jantsch.

Let’s share his ideas in a mode of “not telling”, just citing some abstracts (and maybe sharing afterwards what resonates (now and later) in us reading them)[17]:

“You are about to read scientific fables, true ways of understanding how difficult it is to figure out what animals are up to”

This immediately brings following question into mind: what if we can dream of these fables also as novel ways of understanding what humans are up to?[18]

“Scientific Humanities: all the resources of science AND of the humanities put to work for understanding”[19]

How to integrate Alfred North Whiteheads quip in this perspective: “Not ignorance, bit ignorance of ignorance, is the dead of knowledge?” Is intuition knowledge? Can it be transformed into knowledge? How?

Follows a beautiful account of

”the way science distanced itself from alternative accounts of observations derived from totally different preoccupations and experiences of dealing with them”

How do these different preoccupations and experiences come by? : Empirical observations of Phenomena? Experiences? Ideas? Mores? What other preoccupations? Modes of existence?

“The way scientists claim to study in an objective, disinterested, and distant way (free from emotions, attitudes, and mores) to protect knowledge production from the pitfall of “anthropomorphism” leads to a humorous paradox:

“Only by creating highly artificial conditions of laboratory conditions of experimentation will you be freed from any artificial imposition of human values and beliefs onto them[20]

This paradox leads to the question:

“Is the fight against anthropomorphism so important that it should give way to “academocentrism[21]”?

 This is leading to the somewhat humorous rhetoric question:

“Is it not a little bizarre that naturalistic descriptions are supposed to be obtained by artifices, whereas the naturally occurring situations are considered a source of artificial fiction?”

Is there a punchier summary of science gone mad?

  • How can it come about that even scientists become boiling frogs?
  • Or are they just living “fatalistically”, reassured behind a “After me the flood”?

Is it Michael Thompson who can provide us the answer to this last question?

I believe Yes: With his “theory of plural rationalities” he describes fatalism as being one of the 5 ways of organizing and relating in the world (each being indissociable of the other 4 that his theory proposes)

My hope is the Michael and Isabelle Stengers  bridge the gap between their “worlds” end embark on a genuine “process of understanding” to develop new “proposals, about how hope new ways of thinking and relating can bring “further epiphanies” to clear the way to the metamorphosis Edgar Morin is hinting at and hoping for. My “intuition” and “situated experience” is indeed that Isabelle Stengers’ life work (leading to her “cosmopolitical proposal”), and Michael’s lifework (leading to his Theory of Plural Rationalities  – let’s qualify it here diplomatically as “speculative additive, empiristically  grounded, humanistic philosophical proposal), should both be taken and “thought with” together very seriously, with many others[22]. Hope can have many meanings:  maybe one of them is clumsily expressed in these wishes published in 2017.

These two rather clumsily formulated paragraphs may be getting some meaning, and introduce where Bruno Latour leads us to:

The subject of empirical philosophy.

He sees two main varieties of them:

“The Subtractive ones are interested in grounding their claims by decreasing the number of alternatives and limiting the number of voices: simplification by eliminating accounts and silence their storytellers.”

“The Additive ones are also interested in objective facts and in grounding their claims, but they like to add, complicate, specify, slow down, hesitate so as to multiply the voices that can be heard[23]. “

“Rather than purveyors of “either-or”, additive philosophers are great proponents of “and-and”[24]

Hence his conclusion:

 “Science debases itself when it argues from its success to eliminate other accounts”

Follows a few magnificent paragraphs that answer the question:

“How to be a consistent additive empiricist?[25]

The core of Latour’s response is expressed in following extracts:

“When you are an additive empiricist, it is all forms of subtraction that have to be resisted: eliminativism of those who wish to kick he amateurs out, but also eliminativism of those who wish to dream of bypassing science altogether – two forms of competing and complementary obscurantism”

“… moving from the question of anthropomorphism to the much more interesting one of “metamorphosis”[26]: by exploring the protean nature of what it means to be “animated”

  1. Towards wrapping up

Can we feel reassured that Erich Jantsch vision in section 2 , remains fully compatible with the most modern thinking of Latour and Vinciane Despret in section 3, and with what “The Idiot’s Cry” tries clumsily to express?

Can we remain aware of the immense gap that still needs to be overcome, for bridging it?

Can we become even more aware where current thinking and doing brought us to?

Can we become aware of what was already “known” in 1980 and why it remained hidden to us?

Can we become more aware also that the gap between what was done since and what was known since seems not to have shrunk, and that possibly this gap may even have widened.

Can our answers to these questions provide a measure of the task ahead?

Donna Haraway words “Staying with the Trouble” are intruding again (and it might convince us to read – again – her seminal book carrying the same title)

What has blinded us, lost us amidst false illusions, pushed us to laziness and fatalism, prevented us to perceiving the trouble ahead, retained us from taking a” fresh look at such phenomena as social and institutional change, value dynamics, competition and cooperation, conflicts, crises and revolutions (as potentially creative fluctuations furthering evolution); social and cultural pluralism and “symbiosis, and the “planetarization” of human interaction in a technological age”. (Erich Jantsch above)

Is it not about time that we awaken ourselves, that we get the measure of what lies waiting?

Don’t we have everything that is needed for us to take our responsibility, to start the immense task of “dissolving” the resistance we will have to face?

  • Can we compare this resistance to David facing Goliath the invincible?
  • Should we then not be well advised to follow David’s tactic to avoid defeat: changing the rules of the game without Goliath noticing it?
  • Can we maybe introduce some novelty, some humanity, some wisdom to David’s tactic; some new vision about the purpose of our undertaking: Can we add a new “surprising element” in David’s strategy?
  • Could that change our view of what a fight is all about?
    • What would we achieve if we were out to killing Goliath?
    • What would we achieve in rather converting him to think and act differently also, in changing the rules of the game also, infusing in him the Evolutionary Vision???

Can we think with this in new ways, with and between manifold situations, diversity and contradictory certainties, composing beyond the diversity of modes of existence?

Can this lead is to think and act in new ways, to “dissolve” the complex and wicked problems facing us, metamorphosing them into possibilities for metamorphoses?

  1. Following Up

Whilst the ideas herein stem from many scientific domains (but not only) it demonstrates how perversely the system in place has captured and keep enslaving the overwhelming majority of scientists and researchers in its sorcerers grip

Not only scientists: also a great many others, maybe everyone, everywhere, at any level, in the majority of “modes of existence” have been “infected“ by the “sorcery”

Many are the obstacles to overcome. Is not the first one for us to become aware of the chains enslaving us/the many/everyone? Should we find the ways to free ourselves, us, and others from these chains?

Isn‘t it the worse perversity of the sorcerers system’s workings to convince well meaning and sane people to willfully work at their own and their fellow human’s bereavement for the sole benefit of the sorcerer’s system to keep going, thereby destroying their and their offspring’s future[27]?

Two references here are sufficient to highlight the issue, enabling understanding, allowing to become aware of the depth of the issue, so as to allow “thinking with” others to find out how to transform and dissolve these perverse effects (both in singular individual situations and in general).

The first reference lies in David Graeber’s “Bullshit Jobs[28] »

The second in Philippe and Stengers description “minions – petites mains”: see Catastrophic Times (p 119)

  • If we are to envisage our role in the future as one of taking responsibility for helping the emergence of an “Evolutionary Vision”, in whichever capacity for each of us this responsibility will be taking place and may materialize,
  • If it is our ambition to reorient situations – for people, institutions, all living and non living beings (our cosmos), or the relationship between them – to evolve collaboratively (sympoietically), we will need to question impossibly wicked situations whose origin stem from wrongheaded thinking, systems and processes.
  • If we are to catalyzing situations to transition towards a healthy and responsible situation, alongside a civilized path, we may need to allow all to very practically bridge the divide that they/we are faced with.
  • We then need to prepare ourselves/them to face the Liminal experience of moving from our/their situated present towards our/their evolutionary vision of the future, along unknown paths.

We will need to mobilize attention, energy, time and resources for ourselves and everyone.

How to mobilize people who are often unaware of the capture that prevents them to devote the necessary time, attention, energy and resources to what could change their life and life in general, for the better? How to free them from their spell?

How to alter and dissolve the wicked situations the sorcerer’s system is putting well-meaning people into.  How to transform these situations (described by David Graeber and Pignarre & Stengers – and so many others)?

Is this not a precondition for the rest to follow and succeed?

How can the “cosmopolitical proposal” and the “Evolutionary Vision” provide guidance for thinking and acting in new ways, prevent falling into the trap of “doing the same thing over and again, hoping different results[29]? :

  • “Not to say what is, or what ought to be, but to provoke thought”;
  • “Work according to a process that requires no other verification than the way in which it is able to “slow down” reasoning and create an opportunity to arouse a slightly different awareness of the problems and situations mobilizing it”.
  • “Distinguishing thinking, action and purpose from issues of authority and “generality” currently articulated to the notion of “theory”, “dualistic thinking”, and “exclusion” by adopt instead a posture of additive speculative empiricism at the service of the common good[30].

This document is an unachieved draft that is meant to start “thinking with”, developing exchanges and conversations with/between a small selective core group of daring citizens.

20191125 Never doubt Margareth Mead

The document and the “thinkers” will vary “Sympoïetically.

Welcome!

Charles van der Haegen

charlesvdh@gmail.com

Following diocuments are part of this mail.

  • The Idiot’s Cry (Page 1) ,
  • Extracts from Erich Jatsch’s “The Evolutionary Vision” as mentioned (Page 3)
  • Bruno Latour’s Epilogue “The scientific Fables of an Empirical La Fontaine”  as menioned (Page 5)

They will be promptly sent upon request to the mail above.

Other referenced documents can be made available for interested readers.

Info about the author:

https://www.linkedin.com/in/charles-van-der-haegen-5854872/

https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/here-i-am-crossroads-you-see-benefit-can-team-partner-van-der-haegen/

References

[1] Some received my CRY. To many it was “available”. New readers, curious enough to go through a simple Google search, will have no difficulty in getting it. This Cry was kept purposefully somewhat hidden. Indeed it was written as a “clumsy speculative proposal” for “thinking with science dwellers”, on the academia.edu platform.

[2] news, quotes, pamphlets, articles, books television, movies, internet dwellings

[3] The core of the work of Michael Thompson: decision making under contradictory certainties DMCC.

[4] Together with 6 other mind boggling chapters. It came out 20 years ago and is since freely downloadable on UNESCO’s website, translated in many languages. What was its impact? It almost seems to be a “forgotten book”. Maybe it had to wait? Is it not an essential to guide enlightening people on their way to the future? Might its time have come? Why now?

[5] Presuppositions, paradigms

[6] “Ad Augusta per Angusta”. As I think and write words down they acquire new and ever deeper meanings.

[7] Wicked in Collins dictionary:You use wicked to describe someone or something that is very bad and deliberately harmful to people”. From Collins dictionary

[8]We are evolution, and we are to the extent of our power responsible for it” (Erich Jantsch see the attachment on page 4).

[9] I serendipitously (or is it synchronicity rather) bounced upon this book recently in my library. It was only (already?) in 2012 that I discovered Erich Jantsch’ book “The Self-Organizing Universe”, as Gunter attended me on its path-breaking Chapter 19 entitled “Ethics, Morality and Systems Management”. I probably then acquired “The Evolutionary Vision of Life”. It remained a sleeping princess for 7 years.

[10] It represents an invaluable summary 30 years transdisciplinary scientific thinking and research “at the outer edge”. A very Incredible scientists and philosophers of many different domains exchanged on this. Erich Jantsch has “digested” and condensed them into 14 very readable and fascinating pages. See also hereafter Ralph Abraham top of page 5

[11] Illustrating the incredible foundation of Isabelle Stengers life work as (very partially) condensed in her path breaking “Cosmopolitical Proposal”

[12] Which does not mean that is was correctly formulated, to attract the outliers there. A timely illustration of “always learning, never getting it right”

[13] Michael Thompson indeed precisely had started tackling the challenge that Erich Jantsch saw as “a necessary entirely new perspective for the social science”. After being first banned, Rubbish Theory came out later: first In Germany in 2005, then, in 2017 in English. And in between Michael’s mind-boggling and path-breaking “Dynamic and Non Linear Theory of Institutional Emergence and its Implication”, timidly came out in some (excellent at that time) but “outlier” publishing house under the title “Organising and Disorganising” (2008). I cite this book and its breakthroughs amply in my Cry: I am convinced we need to be thinking (and working) with Michael in any undertaking guided by the “Evolutionary Vision”. The predicaments Michael endured are a clear symptom of the power of resistance to change and explain why his ideas remained so far “either neglected”, or “considered ridiculous”, or increasingly becoming very “uncomfortable knowledge” and altogether banned in numerous ways to “reaching the stage”. It still remains outside of the vast majority of social scientist’s and philosophers intellectual and educational horizons.

Work ahead for us thus, opportunities ahead also. It should be easier today to follow through, as the “composing alchemy” has timidly started and is gaining results and traction. Still, a long and difficult road awaits us ahead as the subject implies a fundamentally different way to consider our very ‘being” on this World. See my second epiphany hereafter.

[14]  Magoroh Maruyama  and Ralph H. Abraham are cited in Wikipedia

[15] Surprisingly Available as a free download in its English version. For me her first path breaking book ‘Quand le Loup Habitera avec l’Agneau” is neither available in English, nor available second hand in print for a fortune!

[16] Not sure if the word existed, I found following “definition in a Google search on the term: I can live with the definition I found, albeit I see much more in the concept and its power than what it contains here:

Intuitor: (noun) a person with a passion for learning and innovating that is so strong it is often more powerful than the desire to eat, sleep, or seek personal wealth”

[17] Appealing the reader’s free reflections:  In black : the writer’s comments/insights, in blue Bruno Latour’s ideas (sometimes paraphrased for simplification – the original text is attached, so no harm and no “undue interpretation” can be claimed

[18] In the end, aren’t we animals also?

[19] Hinting at empirical observations of Phenomena? Experiences? Ideas? Mores? And what about intuitions?

[20] these experimentations

[21] Administrators and planners are often guilty of academocentrism, that is, they focus to such an extent on theories generated by their own logic and methodology that they fail to recognise the existence of other logics. In practice this can produce a much distorted view of social reality. The author illustrates how a truer picture can be obtained when the purpose of the researchers converges with that of the people in the community studied.

[22] I feel it is NOT the case for both, as they are still considered outliers. Does Isabelle Stengers not endure the same fate as Michael Thompson, Erich Jantsch and so many other innovators? In this case it may imply that a task lies ahead of us! More even, the additive exercise may comprise many other empirical oriented additive humanists cum scientists.

[23] In the fashion of William James: they want nothing but what comes from experience, and certainly don’t want less that experience

[24] Stengers and Despret: science debases itself when it argues from its success to eliminate other accounts

[25] Pages IX and X

 [26] Shape-changing: constantly trying to avoid ‘deanimating’ or ‘over-animating’ those beings with whom we constantly change shapes. Shape-changing is the English equivalent of metamorphosis. For French speaking readers Edgar Morin’s text “Eloge de la Métamorphose” in “Les Cahiers de l’Herne” is wonderfully inspiring (can be send it on request).

[27] This phenomenon is better described in the Idiot’s Cry

[28] After his monumental mind boggling book : “Debt : The first 5000 years”

[29] Einstein of course

[30] Words borrowed from Isabelle Stengers’ “Cosmopolitical Proposal”

[i] Those Writing and those reading them

[ii] Indeed, personally I have difficulties with the word “education”. It can lead us:

  • away from our responsibility to self-determine our (life-long) learning process,
  • away from being informed by what we encounter in life
  • away from the essential questions: the why, what and how we think about, decide, and act upon situations we face in life
  • away from the “always learning, never getting it right” of Michael Thompson and from “Experience is not what happens to you, but what you do with what happens to you” of Otto Scharmer

 

« La vie reconnaît comme penseurs ceux qui pensent leurs évidences, alors que penser est en rupture avec les évidences de la tribu » Edgar Morin

[iv] I am paraphrasing much of Edgar Morin’s paragraph in La Voie as quoted on page 18 of the Idiot’s Cry:

On every continent, in every nation, a whirlwind of creative activities, a multitude of local initiatives are happening. They are directed towards economic, or social, or political, or cognitive; or educational, or ethical, or live enforcing regeneration. (What should be connected is still isolated, separate, scattered).

These initiatives don’t know about each other, no administration count them, no political party takes account of them.

They represent however the breeding ground for the future. Salvation will originate from the ground.

They should be acknowledged, identified, registered, collected and combined into a variety of reform paths.

In each and in all, it is required to relate, improve, stimulate.

When jointly evolving, these multiple path-ways may combine to chart a new course, to alter and dissolve the one we are following, leading us to the yet still invisible and inconceivable Metamorphosis.

 

[v] See the unbelievable – yet so instructive story – of this banning in the idiot’s Cry bottom of page 3 and 4 in His “Rubbish Theory”. It was published in 1979 and faced a fate that mirrors its author’s. As the book was just being published, the editor in chief of Oxford University Press got a letter from a board member of his prestigious institution, a professor in economics, instructing him to “dump” the book. As the editor in chief refused, he got fired, and the book was indeed literally dumped (taken off Oxford University libraries and records, diffusion stopping immediately). Michael was even refused to recover his intellectual rights on the book. The book had to wait to be re-published in 2017 in English, with both an illuminating new introduction and new afterword, under the title “Rubbish Theory: The Creation and Destruction of Value”. Mindboggling: as this books fate compares to what its author and its lifework faced during much of his career: The same fate for him and for his “Theory of Plural Rationalities”[v]:  “Down and then Up”.

 

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Message to the many accomplices I have worked and dreamt with during the last 8 years

My decision to end ZERI.EU vzw and my involvement in the ZERI and Blue Economy Networks was publicly announced here and here.

The reactions I got were diverse, but some push me to correct an impression that touches me: reactions expressing concern that I can summarise as follows:

I hope you don’t abandon us. Please make sure your disagreement with Gunter doesn’t destabilize the difficult undertaking of our “experimenting” really breakthrough new ways of “entrepreneuring“.

I wanted here to reassure every “companion” with which I have been in touch.

My decision:

  • Does not mean that I am abandoning my engagement, and hope, and belief in a new World Order.
  • Does not mean I am abandoning the people and their initiatives (so many fantastic men and women) I happened to meet, work and dream with during the 8 years at the side of Gunter in Europe.

Those who engaged in good faith, for the common good, according to evolutionary ethics, in the hope to transform the world into the promise of a “Blue future” are absolutely essential to achieving a new World Order.

Yet, I want to stress the following: there are many other types of GOOD people and good initiatives outside your network (many many more actually are outside instead of inside). They are following other “virtual lines of flights”, which is more than OK.

They pithily remained separate (sometimes excluded) from what we did, and I found this ABSURD! Relating and cooperating, accepting differences, learning from them, sublimating them, should be the secret weapon for any future. The survival of the fittest is proven illusionary. Competition proved deadly even for life on earth. Both are absurdities of the Western promethean masculine mindset.

Edgar Morin describes what he sees as possible as follows (my translation):

On every continent, in every nation, a whirlwind of creative activities, a multitude of local initiatives are happening. They are directed towards economic, or social, or political, or cognitive; or educational, or ethical, or live enforcing regeneration. (What should be connected is still isolated, separate, scattered).

These initiatives don’t know about each other, no administration count them, no political party takes account of them.

They represent however the breeding ground for the future. Salvation will originate from the ground.

They should be acknowledged, identified, registered, collected and combined into a variety of reform paths.

In each and in all, it is required to relate, improve, stimulate.

When jointly evolving, these multiple path-ways may combine to chart a new course, to alter and dissolve the one we are following, leading us to the yet still invisible and inconceivable Metamorphosis.

 Good will, good ethics, good ideas, good intentions, good technologies, good business models are not enough though. Believing this has provoked, and will further provoke, rude awakenings.

It is for me irresponsible not to warn you about this. It is irresponsible not to plan to ensure that those who dare undertaking societal breakthroughs are not made conscious that this is not simple, not easy, not without danger. In a nutshell: Everyone should be warned before being incited to embarking on such deep change initiatives. They should all have been well equipped before they undertook. They should have been provided with fall-back possibilities to be able to recover from hardship on their road. I feel this is indispensible in order to put all chances to succeed on their side.

The absence of this is one of the key motives to my decision to part company with Gunter: a deep divergence to ensure that honest, ethically sound and entrepreneurial individuals (or collectives) are not lead to believe that things were simple. Ensuring that they would not be left alone and unprepared in starting change initiatives in this world where survival and success reveals to be a game of “Phishing for Phools” (written by two – distinct – Nobel Laureates Economy!!! – a must read) …

At every occasion I repeated my warning to Gunter, reminding him oh so often of Machiavelli’s words written 500 years ago in his book “The Prince” (Chapter 6):

It ought to be remembered that there is nothing more difficult to take in hand, more perilous to conduct, or more uncertain in its success, than to take the lead in the introduction of a new order of things. Because the innovator has for enemies all those who have done well under the old conditions and lukewarm defenders in those who may do well under the new. This coolness arises partly from fear of the opponents, who have the laws on their side, and partly from the incredulity of men, who do not readily believe in new things until they have had a long experience of them.

More was needed, much more than good ideas, than innovative technologies, than engaged and daring entrepreneurs, and much more than “conceptual” disruptive business models

What was lacking, in my opinion, according to what I saw happening in the course of my 8 years of discovery, was the quasi total absence of effectively questioning the “HOW”. “How” conducting innovation from idea to success, effectively, without losing your soul. This is probably the most dangerous, difficult and uncertain aspect of innovation entrepreneuring.

  • “How” to escape the fate of Phools, easy prey for capture (or sheer destruction) by Phisherman on the outlook?
  • “How” to escape the traps of the intractable enemies of the new order of things?
  • “How” to overcome the coolness of “lukewarm” defenders?
  • “How” to foster and embed individual activities into local ecologies of mutually balanced interdependent relationships
  • “How” to achieve this in a World that has lost the very spirit and practice of cooperation
  • “How” to remain permanently alert to “WHY” you do the things you do, and how. In Gandhi’s words  “How” to “Being the change you want to see in the world”

When the “how” is missing, you can expect the venom to appear, always, from the devil’s tail.

Life- and social sciences (taken very broadly) have caught up quite impressively with the “hard sciences”. Essential knowledge (the HOW) exists today to tackle the small and big problems of our time. It however remains unknown, excluded, untaught, barred from practice, aggressively castigated to protect vested interests.

I fared very badly in my 8 years of work with Gunter, am leaving abused, ruined, with scales falling from my eyes, but rich in experience. Otto Scharmer consoles me with his:

“Experience is not what happens to you, but what you do with what happens to you”

Unabated, I am now starting again, bringing with me on my voyage everything I had to abandon before joining ZERI. I am much richer of the experience, positive and negative, gained during these of 8 years.

One more warning: It is not alone I will go on. I am convinced that it is not one man not one ordinary citizen , and certainly not a grandfather that will succeed in trying to put into practice the visionary recommendations of Edgar Morin (see above page 1 and in “La Voie”)

 Acknowledging, identifying, registering, collecting and combining this multitude of initiatives into a variety of reform paths

Nor

Catalyzing them to relate, improve, and stimulate them to jointly evolve in multiple pathways  

It is a sort of “a creative re-invention of the practice of the commons”[1] that I have in mind. Many no doubt already exist. Hey should join together and transcend illusionary barriers. They may cease individual feelings of being abandoned, they may allow each and all to believe in one (our) selves and in one’s/our initiatives. Joining with the very many will enhance our efficacy without taking away our liberty.

Let’s believe that instead of separation we need and will create “inclusion”.

Let’s believe change will befall thanks to a pluriverse, a multifarious “ensemble” of rhizome-like dynamically interlinked initiatives to spread: individually small, situated, singular, local, autonomous, creative and free. All with the “common good” in mind, joined through a (Stengersian) common sense.

Spread all over the world, undertaken by well informed and aware individuals, very many of them, from all walks of life, from very diverse experiences and “modes of existence”, experimenting with the most diverse change initiatives in fundamental novel ways, engaged in

Learning individually and from each other and from the whole, by combining their singularities and openly collaborating and sharing experience, knowledge and know how“

Maybe then the metamorphosis envisioned by Edgar Morin, while seemingly infinitely far from probable, might be leading to an even more infinitely small possibility to come about.

The “ensemble” can become BIG: a world changer transforming this possibility into the probable.

Rest assured that personally I will do whatever I can to combine (1) my calling to contribute to this metamorphosis with (2) my duty to responsibly restore myself and my family from 8 years of hardship and (3) living long enough to die with a feeling that human’s capacity is awakened and on the road of a true daring, responsible and learning voyage.

About the former, you might want to  link to the wishes I published on my blog in January 2017: they are about Hope, when I was torn, then also, between hope and despair.

Ad Augusta per Augusta

Charles van der Haegen

vdhzeri@gmail.com

[1] Happy to « think with » anyone interested in this topic. My reference to start with would be a transcript of one of Sjoerd Van Tuinen’s short intervention on February 2017 in Kaaistudio Brussels, called “Good Sense and Common Sense – A Stengersian lesson on the PSR”. I can send it by mail in pdf form to any interested party.

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“Third Siders”​ as agents for peace?

I have many reasons to post this article/message NOW!

Please read this extract from Bill Ury’s TED Talk in 2017

“Almost 30 years ago, I was invited to South Africa to do negotiation work. I decided to take an extra month to spend time with the San Bushmen of the Kalahari to study how they resolve conflicts. I was interested in them because, until not long before, they’d lived as hunters and gatherers, the way of life humans had followed for 99 percent of our history. For hunting, the San use deadly poison arrows. So what do they do when tempers rise and conflict threatens to turn destructive? As I saw for myself, someone first goes and hides the poison arrows. Then everyone sits down in a circle and begin to talk and to listen, often for days on end. They don’t rest until together they’ve reached a resolution or, better yet, reconciliation. And if tempers are still hot, one of the parties is sent off to visit relatives for a few months to cool down.

I call this mechanism of community engagement in conflict the “third side,” and this system, I believe, is probably what has kept our species alive.

Transcript in 37 languages and video available here

Three main reasons of airing this NOW:

  1. Prior to joining ZERI, I was heavily involved with conflict resolution, mediation and reconciliation. I studied and practiced it, and in doing that I was “thinking with” Bill Ury. I had to abandon this practice to exclusively focus on ZERI. I will go back NOW to this practice, essential if a dignified civilization is to emerge. It starts with resolving my own conflict in a civilized way deemed “impossible” by many.
  2. I was asked in ZERI.EU vzw to be the watchdog of “ZERI’s ethics”. It was understood to be what Erich Jantsch called “evolutionary ethics”
  3. What happened to me yesterday was beyond what I thought possible: I was excluded from the twitter stream @myblueeconomy. Such a practice reminds me of the most extreme non civilized behaviours in the past and still increasingly happening today

Oh, I know what the consequences are of the “spell breaking capitalist sorcery“. I am also aware of its effect it may have on individuals.

“Third Side” roles (there are 10 of them) are there to help people overcome the spell facing them. This is what I call civilization. I believe even more today than yesterday. Believe we should, and thinking we must, we must learn to think again!!!

In these two days since the “announcement”, I experienced so much good will from members of the networks that I remain confident that we can go to the balcony together, and start acting from a highest level of consciousness, about how to evolve our “being in the world”.

Edgar Morin’s seven lessons are crucial today to anybody who is well intentioned to “be the change he wants to see in the World”

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About ZERI.EU vzw and my involvement with ZERI and Blue Economy

To whom it may concern

Grez-Doiceau September 3rd, 2019

I deeply regret to announce that I have decided to end ZERI.EU vzw, and my involvement in the ZERI and Blue Economy Networks.

There are many reasons that pushed me. It occurs after a long process of gradually discovering increasing divergences with Gunter on essential elements of our relationship, and inconsistencies that became unbridgeable on fundamental ethical, strategic, operational, institutional and financial matters. It is not by lack of efforts, from the very beginning on, to try to start “process of understanding[i]” with him. It remained vain.

It is not unsurprising also that my decision could only occur after I achieved my main objective, aimed at Gunter recovering the intellectual assets, the brands, the image and diverse other rights illegally appropriated by his former German associates, and forcing them to give up practices which were eroding his reputation and that of his initiatives. The last favourable judgment being handed down in March 2019 ended what had motivated the founding of  ZERI.EU vzw.

I feel deeply sorry for all the magnificent people who, during these 8 long years, enthusiastically shared the hope, and supported, trusted  and worked alongside me and ZERI.EU vzw.

We all believed, trusted and depended on Gunter’s promise to bring about the so needed change in the order of things in these catastrophic times.  The will to change is however not enough to bring it about. It needs real disruption, resistance and breakthroughs on multiple interrelated fronts. It requires  multifarious capacities and open and learning collaborations with many diverse others to bring about this change.

The chasm that has to be bridged is truly immense, between the existing order of things (that has brought the situation in the first pace) and the emergence of a radically different one that is capable of mitigating the catastrophe the world is facing.  Change in these circumstances requires more that shear will and good intentions, more than an above normal capacity to communicate and convince. It requires first and foremost (paraphrasing Gandhi): a disruptive change in yourself (in order to be the change what you want to see emerge in the World).

This situates the core of what increasingly devoured our friendship.

We came increasingly in ever deeper disagreements about the way he was thinking and acting. And outright opposition appeared when I felt having being instrumentalized (and ZERI.EU.vzw as well), discovering that, he might have changed course, and was secretly pursuing partisan, personal benefits, at the detriment of others.

Possibly this announcement can come as a surprise to the many that have seen us together, the many who devoted so many efforts and energy, most of the time purely benevolently, to the many who “believed” to the point of taking (sometimes important) personal risks.

I believe they all now deserve transparency. I am preparing a 3 page memo, explaining as factually as possible, what happened from my point of view.

I am happy to share this text, “personally and confidentially”. It is entitled “Why I felt obliged to wind up ZERI.EU vzw and end my collaboration with Gunter Pauli”. I will send this text to any well intentioned person who would require it.

Wholeheartedly,

Charles

Charles van der Haegen

vdhzeri@gmail.com

+32 494 62 63 73

I would not be myself if I didn’t add one or another quote, to think “with”.

The conclusion of  “The Ends of The World” written by Deborah Danowski and Eduardo Viveiros de Castro, concluding with Gilles Deleuze’s quoting Oswald de Andrade in “CONTROL AND BECOMING” Conversations 1977- 1990

What we most lack is belief in the world, we’ve quite lost the world, it’s been taken from us. If you believe in the world you precipitate events, however inconspicuous, that elude control, you engender new space-times, however small their surface or volume… Our ability to resist control, or our submission to it, has to be assessed at the level of our every move. We need both creativity and people (1995:176)

 

And this reflection from Chögyam Trungpa, in Cutting Through Spiritual Materialism

“Are the great spiritual teachings really advocating that we fight evil because we are on the side of light, the side of peace? Are they telling us to fight against that other ‘undesirable’ side, the bad and the black. That is a big question. If there is wisdom in the sacred teachings, there should not be any war. As long as a person is involved with warfare, trying to defend or attack, then his action is not sacred; it is mundane, dualistic, a battlefield situation.”

 

  1. Wildavsky “delving into dustbins” (review of rubbish theory times litterary supplemant 12June 1980 P 736

“Through it all, if one listens carefully, is the language of the rejected who are to rise again. Would it not be wonderful if the despised object, idea, person, or group, the rubbish heap of society, were to turn out to be its transformers, containing within their collective corpus the seeds of future regeneration? If what goes down can also come up in the world, all of a sudden, like falling up a social cliff”

 

Isabelle Stengers in the “Cosmopolitical Proposal[ii]” starts it text with these two questions:

How can we present a proposal intended not to say what is, or what ought to be, but to provoke thought, a proposal that requires no other verification that the way in which it is able to “slow down” reasoning and create an opportunity to arouse a slightly different awareness of the problems and situations mobilizing us?

How can this proposal be distinguished from the issiues of authority and generality currently articulated to the notion of “theory”?

 

And last but not least his extract from Lao Tzu,  Tao Teh Ching, ahead of the fundamental Chapter 16 entitled “Ethics, Morality and System Management” in Erich Jantsch’s magistral book: “The Self-Organizing Universe”[iii],

When all the world recognizes beauty as beauty, this in itself is ugliness.

When all the world recognizes good as good, this in itself is evil.

 

[i] Edgar Morin writing for Unesco : “Sevent Complex Lessons in Education for the Future” Charper 6, (freely downloadable at https://unesdoc.unesco.org/ark:/48223/pf0000117740. A must read, it is really a passport to the future, that I also take with me to reflect on and get integrated into my being in the World

[ii] The cosmopolitical proposal is to be found following this link https://balkanexpresss.files.wordpress.com/2013/09/stengersthe-cosmopolitcal-proposal.pdf

[iii] This chapter and this book was recommended to me by Gunter at the beginning of involvement with ZERI .

Can be downloaded today here

https://fr.scribd.com/document/164688128/JANTSCH-The-Self-Organizing-Universe

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Best Wishes for 2017

Dear Friends,

I see tall the wishes wishes flowing to me… and obviously I want to send mine too…

Now I must admit that I still don’t quite know how to express sincere wishes to my beloved friends in these extraordinary times in which I feel myself torn between hope and despair.

Some speak about an age of disruption. I know that disruption is very necessary indeed, but I see so many suffering although “real” disruption did’nt happen yet. It is vain to predict or otherwise forebode what lies ahead of us…

What to say,whilst remaining  honest with you, and with myself…

As I was procrastinating the words of my friend Esa Saarinen came up to me:

“Philosophy is a state of fermentation a process without a final outcome”

 Ok, my procrastinating was just fermentation! And I know from the new science of life, that we don’t measure our actions against outcomes but against the process we follow to act…

Normal then that I am still “fermenting” how to live a GOOD life, at the service of the whole and of my cherished family. I know “there is no final outcome”. And no outcome, no roadmap… just a journey in and towards the unknown.

That brought me to remember the words of William the Silent. Around 1500 he is famous saying: “One needs not hope to undertake, nor succeed to persevere”.

He was already in process philisosophy right?

When I am “fermenting” I keep on reading, digging in old text and dicovering new ones…

I am still in this process, yet I need to send my wishes…NOW!

So I decided to share Vaclav Havel’s book “Living in Truth” and his speech at the 1995 Future of Hope Conference in Hiroshima. He qualifies Hope as:

 “…hope is not something to be found in external indications simply when a course of action may turn out well, nor is it something I have no reason to feel when it is obvious that nothing will turn out well. Again and again, I realized that hope is above all a state of mind, and that as such we either have it, or we don’t, quite independently of the state of affairs immediately around us. Hope is simply an existential phenomenon which has nothing to do with predicting the future. Everything may appear to us in its darkest colours, and yet for some mysterious reason we do not lose hope. On the other hand, everything may be turning out just as we would like, and yet for no less mysterious reason hope may suddenly desert us. Clearly, this type of hope is related to the very feeling that life has meaning and as long as we feel that it does, we have a reason to live. If we lose this feeling, we have only two alternatives: either we take our own life, or we choose the more usual way, that of merely surviving, vegetating, remaining in this world only because we happen to be there already.” (Full text can be sent on request)

Dear Friend, this is the closest I have come to share with you my best wishes for 2017, for you and your familily…It does me GOOD to write this to you, I hope it does GOOD to you.

Wholeheartedly,

Charles

Experience is not what happens to us – but what we do with what happens to us

Otto Scharmer

 

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« Evolutionary Vision”, « The Constellation » and “Perennial Wisdom Practices” United

I consider myself a lucky man to have be invited to attend this “ordinary looking” workshop. It lasted 2h30 of time. In very oblique ways it metamorphosed my belief system, fulfilling me with hope and belief about the Future. It indeed provided me with a direction and a role to play: action in favour of the effective “becoming” of a dignified future for life on earth. A powerful recipe that makes collapsology and defeatism outdated (with unknown but potentially dangerous unforeseeable side-effects).

The Workshop was organized for a remarkable and uncommonly structured R&D institution I will call “Starfish”.

It was designed to give a very humble head start for “Starfish” to embark on a broad and never ending process of self-organised “becoming” spanning the three coming decennia.

Starfish

“Starfish” doesn’t stand alone. For the past 20 years it has been the spill for the creation of very strange looking upstream and downstream “constellations”.

The upstream “constellation” appears as collaborative practices with leading university and other (private and public) research institutions with whom long time relationships have been developped.

The downstream “constellation” consists of various local, sectoral, international, very specific and specialized institutions linked together according to diverse very original “arrangements”.

“Starfish” conducts its activities in various very specialised mutually interconnected and complementary fields of R&D, in many covering the full scope of the 9 TRL (Technology Readiness Levels – TRL scales).

“Starfish” itself acts as “the spill” of the whole. It is itself structured as a fully independent “non for profit” private association, depending for the bulk of its means and resources on the value it adds to:

(i)  The partners it directs its research for and to

(ii)  Individuals, organizations, institutions, surrounding communities and society at large benefit also. Indeed, the experience, the way of operating and the networks effects that “Starfish” and its “constellation’s” derive from their activity represents a huge “potential” for many. This potential is shared, directly and indirectly, in multifarious forms by way of services, contributions, opportunities, and many other means.

 

The Workshop

The philosophy behind the organization of the Workshop is captured in the 3 sentences below[1] “Freed from our a priori, connected between humans, we can put our energies at the service of our deep aspirations. In formulating our common dream, we realize how common our aspirations are and we overcome our differences. Each and everyone can then, according to their role in the community and in society, act to progress in achieving this common dream.”

It served as the “starting principle” for the process of “self-organised becoming” to start.

In annex 1 a brief summary of the aim and the course of this 2H30 workshop.

The three stepping stones are worth mentioning here:

  1. Allowing participants to experiment “appreciation[2]” of themselves and others;
  2. Allowing participants to “appreciate” one’s own and other’s aspirations about living together on this earths in some distant future;
  3. Catalyzing a first reflection for possible follow-up actions to put the common aspiration in motion by the group and the organisation.

Afterthoughts

The success of the Workshop clearly showed the incredible power of positive “appreciation”

To those interested I refer to the extraordinary successes of “The Constellation”, the initiation of which is described in a powerful yet simple little book[3] of 85 pages written by Constellation’s “midwife” (a man!) Jean-Louis Laboray. Title  “What makes us Human – The Story of a Shared Dream”. Jean-Louis lives in my commune. I consider it a gift from heaven to have met him, only a month ago.

After walking with him in our commune a first time, I was offered his book, read it very seriously, and then I studied his brainchild and “Grande Oeuvre” (Souriaux): see “The Constellation”. After the second walk we became friends. Today our weekly walking reveals living synchronicity at its best.

Jean-Louis “embodies” the power of “Appreciation” and “community competence”.

In our “meeting of minds” many important opportunities have are already popped-up. “Meeting of minds, morphed hearts, souls and engagement into a powerful “appreciative combination of strengths”.

Moving to “Evolutionary Vision”.

Thank you “Starfish” for inviting me. It allowed me to dig further and understand more deeply the powerful “potential” of this concept.

As my frequent references to Erich Jantsch book “The Self-Organising Universe” indicate, it was in 2012 that I discovered author and book. I devoured the book, shared its importance it widely. Very many copies of its chapter 16[4] have been sent in pdf form over the years to interested friends.

Recently in November last year[5], I shared my epiphany in discovering, hidden in my library, “The Evolutionary Vision, Toward a Unifying Paradigm of Physical, Biological, and Sociocultural Evolution”. This book, edited by Erich Jantsch, is based on a symposium held at the 1980 AAAS Annual meeting in San Francisco on January 3-8, 11 months before he prematurely passed away.

Then, on Saturday January 18th of this year, miraculously, I discovered (by chance) the breathtaking article written by Felicia A. Norton and Charles H. Smith entitled “Embodying Evolutionary Vision: An Action Based Experiment in Non-Dual Perception”. An epiphany. This article is linking the “perennial wisdom tradition” with  the ideas and “science” of Erich Jantsch ,Hermann Haken, Peter Allen, Ilya Prigogine, Howard Pattee, Lars Löfgren, Ralph Abraham, Elise Boulding, Herbert Guenther, Jan Smuts, Kenneth Boulding, Erwin Laszlo, Gregory Bateson, Magoroh Maruyama, Conrad Waddington and their predecessors and successors. A daring enterprise[6].

Let me lift the veil of this (“outlier” yet, for me) must read” article by sharing here its abstract and its last concluding paragraph

Abstract:

This article suggests that “evolutionary vision,” the unifying paradigm of physical, biological, and Sociocultural evolution, needs to be fully embodied and deeply experienced in the human being, and that this can be effected by the experience at the heart of the “perennial wisdom tradition”, that is, that of “non-dual perception.”

The article suggests an “action-based” experiment paralleling the method of a “thought experiment,” based on the assumption that one way that one can experience this embodiment is by “trying on” the lens of non-dual perception, as practiced by the many traditions of perennial wisdom”

The concluding paragraph of the article’s conclusion section reads:

“In closing, we appeal to the true researcher, desiring to explore material or spiritual worlds. We again highlight the particularly awkward problem of researching a problem in a universe in which “Reality appears in the form of our belief.” To avoid as much self deception as possible, we suggest that adopting the “non-dual” perspective, embodied and experiential rather than based on a belief, is crucial to attaining an objective, expansive, and unbiased vision of reality. This is the approach to “Reality as it is,” the attainment termed in Zen of “magnanimous mind “. . . like a mountain, stable and impartial . . . tolerant it views all from the broadest perspective” (Wright 2005, 37).

For the scientifically oriented, this may bring a greater appreciation of the invisible workings and laws of change at work in the universe. For the one primarily oriented toward the spiritual dimension, it may mean a fuller embrace of the practical dimensions of life, and a tolerance and willingness to work within the imperfections and limitations of earthly existence.

For all of us, we speculate this continual movement toward “Reality as it is,” will open us more fully to a sacred calling, to our responsibility of preserving and protecting the sacred temple of the Earth.”

Let’s take a further breath, as I now propose to combine Jean-Louis Laboray’s incredible experience leading to the creation of “the Constellation” and his “Story of a Shared Dream”, with the learning’s gained from a thorough reading of both Erich Jantsch Evolutionary vision, and the recent addition to it, pin-pointed above, of the “perennial wisdom tradition”. Does it lead to us to?

Being opened up more fully to a sacred calling, to our responsibility of preserving and protecting the sacred temple of the Earth”?

My thinking now wanders back to this simple workshop organized in this more that sophisticated “constellation” around “Starfish”.

And I ask myself questions, valid for “Starfish” but in fact for any and every institution (whatever its form, size or purpose), valid also for any “Human” individual (whatever his age and position and role in (or exclusion from) “organized society”.

In trying to formulate this question I am borrowing the words of the conclusion reached by Norton and Smith at the end of Page 204 (hoping that I understand these words and the article correctly):

Only by our experience can we fully know whether “evolutionary vision” extends beyond the realms of theory.

By extension, if in fact evolutionary vision is viable, only by our own immersion in this unity of life can we wisely bring forth decisions, plans, and strategies that will be in harmony with the well-being and evolutionary thrust toward a healthier life on this Earth.

My question is:

What is “our” responsibility in (i) directing our individual and collective dreams and (ii) living our life (individually and as part of communities) according to these dreams?

For purpose of clarity they can be stated from a “negating responsibility” point of view:

  • Is it ethical to avoid (or refuse) our own immersion in the unity of life, as put forth to the Evolutionary Vision?
  • Is it ethical to design, and impose decisions, plans and strategies that are not in harmony with the wellbeing and the evolutionary thrust towards a healthier life on Earth?
  • Why would we refuse to individually and collectively to try out “learning in practice” together, in order to at least attempt to gain the experience required for immersing ourselves in this unity of life?

And here, I  find it more that appropriate to add Bruno Latour’s remarkable foreword to the English translation of Vinciane Despret’s seminal book: “What Would Animals Say If We Asked the Right Questions? (This is also covered in my post referred to in 5 above (page 2)[7]

This post will remain, and should remain a draft.  The drafts will be dated, in order for me to share how the “learning’s of life” evolve my (and our?) thinking, being and acting in the World

 

Annex 1

The Workshop

Reminder

The workshop was designed to give a very humble head start to a broad and never ending process of self-organised becoming spanning the three coming decennia.

Guiding thought that has served as the basis of its organizing design

“Freed from our a priori, connected between humans, we can put our energies at the service of our deep aspirations. In formulating our common dream, we realize how common our aspirations are and we overcome our differences. Each and everyone can then, according to their role in the community and in society, act to progress in achieving this common dream.”

Course of the Workshop

  1. Allowing participants to experiment “appreciation” of themselves and others

Firstly individually participants were asked to reflect on what made them singular and worthwhile, remind themselves of a characteristic lived experience, and draw a picture representing it.

Secondly everyone was asked to choose an unknown colleague and connect two by two by mutually explaining and exchanging about their drawing

Thirdly the pairs were asked to mutually reflect on the insight gained in this exchange, particularly in order to allow them to perceive the power of positive mutual appreciation

Finally all participants gathered on a circle to exchange impressions and learning’s

  1. Allowing participants to appreciate one’s own and other’s aspirations about living together on this earths in some distant future, for themselves and their offspring

Firstly individually participants were asked to reflect what their deepest aspiration is, and draw a picture representing such aspiration.

Secondly all participants gathered on a circle and each participant was asked to present and comment his aspiration to the circle and offer his drawing to the “common”, placing it in the middle of the circle

Thirdly everybody was presented with the opportunity of exchange his impressions and learning’s

This process allowed everyone in the group to discover how very similar their dreams were and that when significant discrepancies appeared they were related to the “how do we achieve our common aspirations[8]

  1. The final exercise in the circle was aimed at introducing further reflection, and isolating possible immediate actions, capable of putting the common aspiration in motion in the group and the organisation

This exercise showed lot of positive thinking and mutual appreciations, but also a lot of differing pathways to achieve the common aspirations.

It also revealed that these paths are not necessarily incompatible and could probably be set in motion in parallel.

Then the participants joined the rest of the organisation gathered for “Starfish’s” traditional yearly January drink.

Conclusion after the Workshop:

Within 2h30, a process with very high ambition was set in motion, timidly, in a small workshop, by a group of volunteers.

The results can be summarized as follows:

  • A-priori was not yet fully freed yet, but awareness was raised of the importance of freeing individual and collective a-priori’s.
  • Connections were initiated, and the process will expand if given sufficient “feed-stock”.
  • Deep aspirations were “appreciated” and their coherence “appreciated” as possibly universally common to all.
  • It was remarkable that “appreciation” were extended by some to “non human” life-forms and even beyond to the importance of material resources as real subjects for ”appreciation”.
  • Despite the fact that the question of “How to reach the aspiration” was not asked, answers to this non-formulated “how” question were nevertheless proposed. It appeared clearly that this was the natural extension of the exercise. It appeared necessary for this question to become subject of follow-up exercises.
  • Awareness of the common aspirations seems to clear the path for addressing it.

My impression is that the process intended to be put in motion has now started under positive auspices. The group gained clear insight that change is underway. There is a lot of work ahead and the process should not be allowed to water down.

This memo is an element of it.

For questions or requests for additional information please wrire to charlesvdh@gmail.com

[1] Google translation of an extract of an article by Jean-Louis Laboray and Isabelle Giralo in the electronic version of La Libre Belgique « Pessimisme et fin du monde : comment œuvrer ensemble à l’émergence d’une société harmonieuse? »

[2] “Appreciation” considered in its deepest and broadest philosophical meaning and “potential”

[3] Simple writing doesn’t mean superficial writing: it just means you have to read it very attentively, in order to “appreciate” what has been so simply written. I already read the book three times, and at every new reading I ever more powerful insights came up that had escaped my previous serious attention.

[4] « Ethics, Morality and System Management ». I can sent à copy on request to charlesvdh@gmail.com

[5] See my post https://charlesvanderhaegen.wordpress.com/2019/11/25/737/

[6] Very daring indeed for me also to take the risk to refer to thinkers and activists somewhat “outside” generally mainstream academic circles. Daring for me all the more, that this “post” refers to an encounter (and is the consequence of encounter) with a top R&D outfit, “Starfish”, at the very edge of (applied) “hard science”. To those willing to continue reading I offer a quote from another “outlier” thinker, perhaps slightly more acceptable than Norton and  Smith. Edgar Morin indeed received honorary doctorates from Universities in 27 different countries (see here at the end of the article). This is Edgar Morin’s quote “The tribe recognizes as thinkers those who think their evidences, while thinking is in rupture with the evidences of the tribe” (Google translation from (La tribu reconnaît comme penseurs ceux qui pensent leurs évidences, alors que penser est en rupture avec les évidences de la tribu @edgarmorinparis). “To think with”, whilst “staying with the trouble” could Donna Haraway quip once more!

[7] It contains these words “When you are an additive empiricist, it is all forms of subtraction that have to be resisted: eliminativism of those who wish to kick he amateurs out, but also eliminativism of those who wish to dream of bypassing science altogether – two forms of competing and complementary obscurantism” see here

[8] This question was not asked!

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Merry Christmas thinking with Jean Monnet

Merry Christmas to anyone who happens to read me.

I spent the few last days and today digging again in Jean Monnet‘s Memoirs (in French) published in 1976.

I read the book during family summer vacation in Flavion, (in the Belgian Ardennes) probably in 1980 or 1981.

It made an unforgettable and lasting impression on me. I abundantly marked-up my book then. Almost 40 years after, I am flabbergasted that my mark-ups still retain all their significance. I am surprised that it showed how interested and concerned I was already then.

It is all the more strange that the situation then shows to be amazingly actual. At the time of this post, I am only terminating the section on Jean Monnet’s experience in the creation and start-up of the “League of Nations” (Set-up 10th January, 1920) , after the Treaty of Versailles (28th June 1919).

Jean Monnet explains his experience of the role of very few and very different generous and farsighted persons, who were capable to influence policy in a period of extreme, military, economic, societal and political turmoil. Their work lead to fundamental institutional breakthroughs on many different and varied counts. The progress pithily got lost when the pressure on extreme crises diminished. Only to re-appear 20 years later, and it seems to me, also NOW (in 2019 – 100 years later)

Christmas seems the right moment to think with someone, a citizen who never held a political mandate, who fundamentally changed the World.

To also Think with those concerned citizens who perceive, sense, intuit that perhaps today we should revive the memory of this experience to benefit action today…

Jean Monnet’s “Memoirs” are available in several languages, probably even freely in PDF.  500 + very rich accessible pages!

Merry Christmas to all

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Can we think and act with many toward a “Metamorphosis”

201981206 Dubus Cop 25 LLB 20191203

La Libre Belgique December 3, 2019
The dramatic progression is interesting … But it must be admitted that the suspense has been drying up since a few episodes
In addition, now we know that they all die at the end

“Normally, when you challenge the conventional wisdom—that the current economic and political system is the only possible one—the first reaction you are likely to get is a demand for a detailed architectural blueprint of how an alternative system would work, down to the nature of its financial instruments, energy supplies, and policies of sewer maintenance. Next, you are likely to be asked for a detailed program of how this system will be brought into existence. Historically, this is ridiculous. When has social change ever happened according to someone’s blueprint? It’s not as if a small circle of visionaries in Renaissance Florence conceived of something they called “capitalism,” figured out the details of how the stock exchange and factories would someday work, and then put in place a program to bring their visions into reality. In fact, the idea is so absurd we might well ask ourselves how it ever occurred to us to imagine this is how change happens to begin.”

Those words are from David Graeber, an outlier anthropologist. I leave you thinking about it, deeply.

It reminds me of Michel Serres, who passed away in June, and to whom I pay homage here:

“The road to Geneva will always lead to Geneva. If you follow it, you will invent nothing. The goal of your travel will be the plan of your travel. A true voyage is the one that will teach you other things than what you anticipated. You will have to branch off, to create and discover. Think of Christopher Columbus”

Michel Serres passed away on June 1rst 2019. He expressed this idea in an interview with Julien Brun in l’Hebdo (France) on 18/06/2015

Isn’t adventure what Evolution was? You cannot remain in equilibrium on a still standing bicycle

Everything that is needed was thought and written somewhere and often some long time ago. Why did we lose the possibilities hiding in it?

I love Michael Thompson’s quip:

“Always learning, never getting it right”,

When you think it through, it summarizes a very profound experiential wisdom. Do we learn?

Bringing me to Otto Scharmer’s quip:

“Experience is not what happens to you, it is what you do with what happens to”

What can I add?

I believe in just bringing back to life, reviving all the wisdom that has ever existed, what increasingly still remains forgotten as it was once considered uncomfortable or forbidden knowledge.

Following Otto Scharmer’s idea in a broader context:

Reviving prior “forgotten wisdom”. Examining what was lost underway with the present experience of what is happening to us (not negating the issues). Not forgetting and do something meaningful and ethical with it, with an evolutionary vision.

I express what I found during three years of thinking and trying, staying with the trouble, in this blog post: https://charlesvanderhaegen.wordpress.com/2019/11/25/737/

This post doesn’t provide solutions, just “material for thinking with”.

My hope is that many (friends and foes) will be joining in thinking together, collectively remain “staying with the trouble”, and think the issues facing us from fundamentally new and many different viewpoints?

Trying out (experimenting) new civilized ways of organizing our “being sympoietically and respectfully together”, also with and amongst all the living and non living beings, on our tiny planet Earth.

Maybe “common sense” and “consciousness” of “who we are and should be” will emerge, and all grandchildren of the present may after all start hoping that life, peace, and decency will again be evolving sustainably on our “Terra”. A metamorphosis.

Join me to “think with many”, together, and act!

Charlesvdh@gmail.com

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Here I am, at crossroads: If you see the benefit, I can “team partner” with you

Age 73, bruising with enthusiasm and health, ready to engage in the last quarter of my life

Friday 27rth I posted a public message, which closed 8 years of an incredible experience:

“Message to the many accomplices I have worked and dreamt with during the last 8 years”.

I ended with

“Rest assured that personally I will do whatever I can to combine (1) my calling to contribute to this metamorphosis[1] with (2) my duty to responsibly restore myself and my family from 8 years of hardship and (3) living long enough to die with a feeling that human’s capacity is awakened and on the road of a true daring, responsible and learning voyage.

I’m convinced that I can fulfill my objectives by partnering with visionary persons, whatever their positions in life, whatever their experience, whatever their age, backgrounds, education to solve problems they face in a wicked word.

Wicked World indeed: Nobody can know where the World will be going, nobody can anymore be certain of anything anymore, yet we have to live, and living is deciding… deciding in choosing.

Some friends of mine say: we are no more in a stage of deciding under uncertainty[2]; we are in a stage of deciding under contradictory certainties[3]

Many people will have ceased reading here… Fine: I want to partner only with people who understand that we are entering an era where, as Einstein said at a time where I was born:

“Insanity: doing the same thing over and gain, expecting different results”

Quotes are dangerous when they lead to simplify things. Einstein didn’t simplify things; he quite complicated them, because he discovered the “simple” premises on which Newtonian science was based were false. Einstein was not the only one, the 19th and 20th century was replete with scientists who participated in a revolution in so called “hard” science[4] that introduced the notion of the unknown…

“Not ignorance, but ignorance of ignorance, is the dead of knowledge quipped” Whitehead in the beginning of 20th century

The revolution that begun in hard sciences didn’t up to today succeed in rocking the mainstream premises of the so called Life-, Social Sciences and the Humanities[5]. The resistance to change in these sciences seems to be impossible, and this is what leads our world to the brink.

By new I suppose only a very tiny fraction of people are still following. Fine.

Was Margaret Mead not famous in quipping?

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed, citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”

My bet is that I will be able to team up with those who are still reading, to “Think in team” about important problems they face.

And by doing that discover processes to transform these problems into opportunities that they have never be thinking about.

And then to enter into processes to decide how to set-up processes to transform these opportunities in reality.

And then to set these processes in motion, and catalyze them to completion

At age 73 I begin only to understand why during my whole life I have been faced with truly exceptional and many times unimaginable situation. I understand now that I was probably unconsciously on the look for them, I felt engaged and motivated by the very possibility of be transformation of impossibility by perceiving, thinking and acting in unknown ways.

Perhaps I was unconsciously motivated by a voyage, a real voyage, which Michel Serres describes as:

“The road to Geneva will always lead to Geneva. If you follow it, you will invent nothing.  The goal of your travel will be the plan of your travel. A true voyage is what will teach you other things than what was anticipated. You will have to branch off, to create and discover. Think of Christopher Columbus” (my translation)

Charles van der Haegen

Charlesvdh@gmail.com

+32 494 62 63 73 (I am not “smartly” equipped. On my ordinary NOKIA phones, I only respond to calls that my phone deciphers the caller of. Please leave a voice-mail (or a sms) and I call you back)

[1] As Edgar Morin sees it in La Voie: the yet still invisible and inconceivable Metamorphosis.

[2] In such cases statistics used to help us out

[3] In which case statistics are dangerous, incapable of helping us

[4] This revolution is still resisted by many, for reasons that has nothing to do with science, but with politics

[5] What happens when human exceptionalism and bounded individualism, those old saws of Western Philosophy and political economics become unthinkable in the best science; whether natural or social?  Seriously unthinkable, not available to think with….What happens when the best biologies of the twenty-first century cannot do their job with bounded individualism plus contexts, when organisms plus environments, or genes plus whatever they need, no longer sustain the overflowing richness of biological knowledges, if they ever did?

What happens when organisms plus environments can hardly be remembered for the same reason that even Western indebted people can no longer figure themselves as individuals and societies of individuals in human only history?

Donna Haraway in “Staying with the Trouble” page 30

 

 

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Involve yourself to curb stupid EC Bioplastic Decisionmaking in the interest of the common good

Yesterday I exceptionally came out of my retreat and went public on a most urgent and critical matter

I hereby follow-up providing you with the letter sent today to  EU Commissioners Vella and Malmström

Extract from the letter:

“Putting bioplastics at par with Plastics is imposing a non-tariff barrier on the bioplastic inrdustry AND opens the market to cheap paper with plastic coating: an environmental horor”

Dear Fellow Partisans:

If we want to avoid Gaïa’s wrath I believe it is of great importance to wake up and allow farsighted and responsible citizens to voice their concern.

Do think about what we will answer when our children and grandchildren will be asking us:

“You knew what you had to know, what did you do?”

Leave a positive legacy, become a “captain of legacy”

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