This is one of series of blogs that are a retrospective reflection on Integral City Community of Practice’s experience in taking the In This Together (ITT) course on basic facilitation skills taught by Diane Musho Hamilton and Ten Directions.
In the fourth module of the course we moved from the voices we can use, to the points of view we can take when exploring issues. Points of view, or perspectives, in Integral terms can be the views we explored in module 3 through the 4 lenses of the quadrant model. Our views as I, we/you, he/she, they certainly impact how we related to the world.
But embedded in each of the quadrants are levels of complexity that reveal different perspectives that actually grow the circles of care that we can notice when we engage with any issue. The simplest forms of the circles of care is expressed in terms of what is central to one’s perspective or values:
- Ego-centric or self-centric
- Ethno-centric or other-centric
- World-centric or place-centric
- Kosmo-centric or planet/universe-centric.
Each circle of care opens our points of view to include more perspectives. When we become aware of this on an intentional basis, we can seek to listen and respond with greater levels of care and inclusivity. This is the secret to being able to “walk a mile in another’s shoes”. It is also fundamental to the development of people in bio-psycho-cultural-social domains.
What was the ITT homework?
Our homework for this week was:
- Track your conversations.
- Choose one or two conversations in which you add in more and more perspectives to get as many perspectives as you can
- Pay attention to the 1st, 2nd and 3rd person perspectives in your communications.
1.What did we experience in accomplishing the homework?
In practising the expansion of our perspectives in our conversations several participants agreed that this took a huge amount of effort to consider setting aside their predominant, usual, “correct” perspective and entertain something else. Not only does this demand effort as an individual but it multiplies exponentially when a group attempts to do this or a facilitator attempts to guide a group to do so.
Another practitioner commented that, he noticed when seeing different POV that it made him see a lot of connections to other things. That gave him insight into different connections to other parts of his personal life and he could also see how this would work on a city level.
In fact, he conjectured that as he opens consciously to the possibility of other perspectives he begins to see different perspectives he hadn’t seen before and also different connections to a myriad of things.
This realization prompted an inquiry about whether looking for connections between things, people, ideas, etc. might be a doorway to different perspectives. Maybe it is possible to start with the familiar connections and through that route become progressively more open to other perspectives?
Another suggestion was made that one experience of a different perspective might familiarize one with the pattern and therefore enable future repetitions of the pattern or practise to gain other perspectives. This could be especially valuable in situations where it is difficult to see other POV. Now we see that if you look at another situation where it is easier the more difficult situation might also open up to other POV.
2.So What does the topic/homework have to do with Integral City practice or training?
Engaging with multiple and diverse perspectives has much to do with Integral City. Every one of the 5 maps of Integral City effectively offers a different, but interconnected perspective of the city.
This is central to understanding that we might have apparently one city, but as many perspectives – and therefore experiences of the city – as there are individuals and groups in the city.
The circles of care of core to understanding the Master Code in the city. In fact, there are not only the 4 Quadrant perspectives, and 4 levels of Care – but these can be expanded to 8 levels. Thus, the Integral City has 32 archetypal perspectives that one can appreciate, use and develop.
As we discussed in Class 3, the 4 Voices of the Integral City each bring variations of these multiple perspectives to the table.
One practitioner noted that she is more attuned to Citizen Voice but she can see that by the very nature of an Integral City with 4 Voices as its core – we are inviting different perspectives to the table all the time.
As a result, an Integral City facilitator must be open to other perspectives, and be able to move from taking a position to enable the flow of information through and with all the 4 Voices.
3.Now What will we do as a result, of our homework experience and sharing?
Resulting from this discussion on perspectives, the participants identified triggers and awarenesses that they can now use to bring multiple voices to the table.
- One trigger was realizing that it is harder to allow in another POV if there is something at stake; e.g. suffering, harm from any other POV – so the stake tends to gave us a really strong investment in our POV … esp. when we think that the wellbeing of others is on the line (and not just our own).
- We could see that having a stake as a POV representing a city Voice is probably normal. We can recognize it and identify it as a kind of bias.
- We realized that When something is at stake in one POV there is an assumption of POV on many things. For example; One Dutch participant shared how he got in discussion about Black Piet – one POV is the Black Piet is racist, another POV says not. With those who say he is not racist they don’t want to change how he looks. Perhaps its because if they change one thing, it might by implication, admit that there is something racist in how they present Black Piet. This is a good illustration how many connections underlie a POV.
- A POV is very complex – it is not a single monolithic or monological phenomenon – it includes various assumptions, things at stake, fears, considerations, parties, etc.
- Expressing and/or changing POV can set up a kind of domino effect of consequences.
- However, if you only took one thing maybe could resonate with that POV -but one must be aware that could blind you to other aspects of a POV.
- Sometimes venturing into a new POV engenders going through wall of fear. But once we do this it can give us more inner strength to go through the wall of fear the next time it comes up. We can as a result, be more willing to do that.
- It is beneficial to remember that taking different POV gives us a lot of new information and that is always valuable – therefore in itself, it is already worth it.
- We can make a commitment to how beneficial it is to open up in a listening way and take another POV. It lets us be more embodied in it – in the heat of a conversation – it’s a different thing when we are busy and harder to do – but always worth while.
- We finished with a life changing anecdote shared by a participant. She once ha a list of spiritual and physics books to read and no time to read them. She wondered if she could get paid to read these books? Who would do that? No one does that!! Then she lay down on her bed. She took her belief and set it down beside her on bed – over there. The minute she did that, she got the thought– the people writing books need to read lots of books – maybe they pay people to do that for them? Do you think that would have come to me if I had not been willing to set aside that absolute belief? It showed me very powerfully how intentionally giving up a fixed perspective – even temporarily – can open new horizons.
- Impossible possibilities show up!