michaeljohnson's blog

In this series of blogs I am developing a narrative about how we maintain and change ourselves and our cultures. Here’s the core of it (taken from the first in the series):

This may be a challenge to read. It’s unusually long, but particularly because the first part gets a bit dry and conceptual. However, I share an intense story to bring that to life, and then I reflect on that story.

IN PRAISE OF BRENÉ BROWN  

Blame and punishment head toward destructive outcomes. Empathy and loving move toward creation. The first are grounded in an relational under-culture of scarcity and fear; the second, in a relational under-culture of abundance and basic goodness. Both of these relational under-cultures are intertwined within every individual I have known (whatever their original culture), within every situation I have been in, within every social change movement I identify with, in every historical event I have read about.

INTERNAL OPPRESSION. 

Three keys to that ‘other world’ we know is possible: empathy, sane rationality, and compassion. Empathy is our biological capacity that enables us to get another in their reality. That other includes everyone and everything, human and non-human. Empathy gives rationality the gut-level information it needs to make sane decisions, to keep it from running amok. It makes compassion—the deep caring for someone or something you have gotten—possible.

In MMT 2 I identified four key questions confronting any effort to bring autonomous democratic movements together. In MMT 3 I discussed the first one, and here I want to get into the second one, on which I think the whole game rides.

We did some crazy stuff in the 60s, but here's one for the books:

Burglars Who Took On F.B.I. Abandon Shadows

SENSITIVITY.   That "other world" that we know is possible becomes realized much more by our becoming its people than by the projects and institutions we create on that journey. We create from what we are far more than from what we think we should be. And we create stuff outside us to help us become more aligned with what is possible. So let us focus on our projects and institutions emerging and developing out of our continually becoming more cooperative and democratic beings, not from who we are now.

Floating like a butterfly and humming like a mockingbird                                                                                                                                                              

Here's one reflection on the first of the four questions I identified in Movements Moving Together 2:

michael johnson

FOUR IMPORTANT QUESTIONS

What I am trying to do in this series of Movements Moving Together (MMT) blogs is think out loud about how movements that want to advance democracy more deeply and broadly into our cultures can work together in this multi-century project that is probably in its 3rd century at this point.

Here’s a short TED talk that might send you off wondering about empathy and compassion.

Some time ago, Paul Hawken accurately proclaimed “a blessed unrest” pulsating across the planet. Few folks were seeing such rich possibilities for a better world. A few years later came Occupy Wall Street and all that responded to it. That phenomenon lit up the “blessed unrest” like a global Christmas tree.

Proposition: first, experience; then, words and stories.

Pope Francis just released his first encyclical, "The Joy of the Gospel." And indeed, Cardinal Óscar Rodríguez Maradiaga of Tegucigalpa, the new Pope's primary spokesperson, seems to have been a genuine herald.

It seems like the Pope Francis team is rejecting "neoliberal dictatorships that rule democracies" and promoting "the globalization of mercy and solidarity"

Bedrock conviction: oppression is a relational dynamic involving at least two roles: oppressor and oppressed. If we want to relate to someone or some situation in a different way, then we have to move out of and beyond these two roles. We have to focus our attention in a way in which we can experience the other as neither oppressive nor oppressed. It has to be focused on the other as genuinely and humbly as possible in order to experience them as they are. At least as much as possible.

It’s goal is to address strategic barriers limiting the creation and growth of worker cooperatives and show how they can be overcome.

A friend sent this link to this New Clear Vision piece. In Swanson's piece there is a paragraph worth posting in your bathroom to get you going every morning:

Here’s  a stunning video report on some research that is looking with some depth at economic behavior and how we see ourselves and others. I think the implications of this work for economic democracy and understanding empowerment processes could be awesome.

Over her 20+ years as a reporter she has gotten a sense of what's happening that isn't easily replicated by anybody else. She sees a crisis and opportunity like that famous Chinese character.

Pages

Subscribe to RSS - michaeljohnson's blog