Rushkoff stated eloquently at the #PlatformCoop conference last weekend how Trump is the context, not the content, and this resonates with me as I see Trump as an indicator of the deep disconnections between my fellow Americans (go check out the video). I want to expand further on Paul’s point → complexity and false binaries, as even just adding a 3rd option can often help us find common ground.
Let’s go past reform vs. revolution and talk transformation as a complex process. We have all these false dichotomies of cohesion↔diversity, agency↔structure, liberty↔security, individualism↔collectivism… it’s not that there aren’t conflicts there, but their either/or quality is much inflated IMO. However, it’s important to note that Alinsky had a strong point when his “Rules for Radicals” suggested that organizers had best paint it in black and white — for better or (probably) for worse, people respond to ‘question framing’ and dichotomies — because people like a villain. Organizers and agents of social/ cultural change certainly need to have discourse on when this approach is ethically warranted in light of saving human lives, the environment, and collective trauma healing. When & how do we support people to think in systems? and at what priority level?
I’ve been thinking a fair bit about messaging that is primarily speaking from lenses such as (1) holistic e.g. “unity”, “one love”, (2) binary, e.g. “good vs. evil”, and (3) trinitarian e.g. “peace, love & understanding”, or the Maori hero’s heart concept: “Sacred, Place, Respect” — I believe there are distinct spiritual/ philosophical underpinnings to these and the people they most appeal towards. Exploring these ways of thinking may help us identify pathways to complex system-thinking, which, like you Paul, I believe to be critical for evolving our collective wisdom and solving today’s great challenges.
Some groups approaching teaching complex-system-thinking spectacularly well, I feel, are the Allied Media Projects w/ their AMConference and especially their ally-project, the Detroit Digital Justice Coalition (http://detroitdjc.org/?page_id=9)