VIGDEOCS and CULTURAL CREATIVES # 9

What Business Are We In?

Thinking, acting and learning together.

Let’s just re-cap a bit. So far we’ve touched on Gaia Theory, Systems thinking, Argyris and Schön’s concepts of Espoused Theories and Theories in Use, Lincoln’s vs Schumpeter’s Theories of Democracy, Cybernetics and Viable Systems, Liberating Leadership, Paulo Freire, Problem-posing dialogues and processes such as Charettes and O.R.A.K.E.L,

We’ve skimmed over a lot of ground . And this is just the start. We will never be able to co-create Viable Innovative Gaian Democracies, Enterprises, Organisations, Communities and Societies without all of these ideas and many more.

But, we are not alone. We are a network of networks of groups of people. We have every chance to think, act and learn together to liberate our individual and collective competence, confidence and creativity.

It will take a lot of work and thousands of hours of your time over the coming decades, Studies show that it takes about 10,000 hours of practice to produce a virtuoso pianist or tennis player or chess master, Those who practice less become less proficient than those who practice more. And similarly, if you spend four or eight hours a week thinking, acting and learning together, the results will come more quickly than if you do one or two hours a month.

All the topics that I’ve raised added together are just a few examples of the new ways of thinking that we will need to apply to make our Democracies, Enterprises, Organisations, Communities and Societies into Viable, Innovative and Gaian systems .

For practical examples of how to transform every kind of system you will need to see how people with very clear pro-human values like Peter Checkland, Dee Hock, W. Edwards Deming, John Seddon, Jim Lancaster have applied systems thinking in the real world.

How do we do this?  By mutual support, encouragement and improvement.

The Mutual Improvement Model

The model we try to emulate in our groups is the one that the British working classes developed to think, act and learn together for nearly 400 years, from about the end of the 16th Century to the middle of the 20th century.

Thanks to King Henry v111th’s over-active sex-drive, England had shaken off dead-hand of the Roman Catholic in the mid-16th Century and soon, labourers and artisans started to form mutual improvement groups. Some were illiterate but they didn’t just want to learn to read and write. They met semi-secretly at first to discuss the Bible in English and the torrent of new books that were challenging traditional interpretations of the scriptures. Soon, they were widening their range to include books of science, mathematics, exploration, philosophy, and then novels, biographies, classical texts in Greek and Latin and much much more besides,

The whole story is told in a wonderful book by Jonathan Rose, with the defiant title, “The Intellectual Life of the British Working Classes”. Until the end of the 19th Century, it usually cost a penny a week to join a mutual improvement group. For a couple of centuries, they had no professional teachers. Each week a member of the group would lead the others in a discussion on something that he – and very occasionally she – had studied.

Over time, the groups became more formalised, created ever-larger libraries, built thousands of halls for their “Mechanics Institutes”and “Literary and Philosophical Societies’, codified rules of procedure, created colleges for the working classes, and Amateur Operatic Societies, sports clubs, and leagues, linked to Trade Unions, supported radical politicians , and were a major force for positive change in Britain.

A penny a week would be equivalent to how much in today’s money? You’ll need to work that out when you start your group. But certainly, it should not be a derisory amount. A penny was between 1% and 2% of an average weekly wage in the 17 to 19th Centuries.  So, what’s 1 – 2 % of the average weekly wage hereabouts?

At one level that penny a week is a statement of your seriousness in wanting to think, act and learn together to co-create Viable Innovative Gaian Democracies, Enterprises, Organisations, Communities and Societies.

Then, your group will need those subscriptions to  fund the activities that sustain and expand the business that you and the rest of the VIGDEOCS network is in.

What Business Are We In?

The people who have created the Global Monetocracies that got the human family into the mess we are in, know very well that their business is to get their President in the White House, their Prime Minister in Number 10, their majority in both houses of Congress and the House of Commons, their nominees on the Supreme Court, their protégé(e)s in the Cabinet, their technocrats at the head of major national and international businesses and agencies, their Mayors and Governors running key cities and states, their allies in key positions on radio, TV and the print media, their theorists in key university posts, their publications given prominent exposure in their mass-media.

To change the disastrous and dysfunctional system that they have created, we have to be in the business of putting our President in the White House, our Prime Minister in Number 10, our majority in both houses of Congress and the House of Commons, our protégé(e)s in the Cabinet, our technocrats at the head of major national and international businesses and agencies, our Mayors and Governors running key cities and states, our allies in key positions on radio, TV and the print media, our theorists in key university posts, our views and analysis given prominent exposure in the mass-media.

It won’t happen this year, but the sooner we start to think, act and learn together to co-create Viable Innovative Gaian, Enterprises, Organisations and Communities, the sooner our people will be in the positions they need to be in to lead the co-creation of Viable, Innovative and Gaian Democracies and Societies.

However, as the British working classes insisted on all those years ago, the VIGDEOCS networks must not get stuck in any kind of an ideological or intellectual rut. We must not be boringly intellectual, like  Marxists and neo-liberals.

In order to be seriously effective, we must  enjoy asking difficult questions and having fun,  Boring and solemn we must not be.

The only entrance qualification is a willingness to pay a weekly subscription and want to think, act and learn with you and co-create  VIGDEOCS.

At the same time, although the range of concepts and methodologies offered by  the thinkers I’ve suggested are anything but narrow, they have not written great poetry or novels or music.  Do not under any circumstances neglect the lessons that you can learn from great literature and art and history, even though it comes from a tradition that may seem obsolete.  There can be no fundamentalists or ideological commissars amongst us.  If you think that it would be valuable to spend an occasional evening reflecting on “The Wire” or “The Office” or “Hamlet” or “Carmen” or “The Prince” or “Persuasion” that isn’t some kind of backsliding or apostacy. Its broadening your minds.  Equally, linking up with a sports clubs, forming choirs and holding 1970s discoes,  must be a good thing.

Now, lets break for five minutes and then get down to the business of organising your next meeting.

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