our greatest venture?

‘Acts of selecting, refining and arranging to add value – my working definition of curation – help us overcome overload.


We solved the problem of insufficiency, only to find it was replaced by abundance.  As a result we’ll have to curate far more effectively.  In order to prosper we’ll start to appreciate the value of less, of simplicity in a complex world.’*

In a Huffington Post article published at the end of 2016, Otto Scharmer names ours as an Age of Disruption, characterised by three fundamentalisms.

The first fundamentalism, Scharmer argues, was cultural and religious in nature, highlighted in 2001 by the attacks of 9/11.

The second took the form of the social-economic fundamentalism witnessed in the financial collapse of 2008.

2016 brought to the fore the techno-political, the political upheavals being experienced, and how these were reported and spread by social media:

‘The rise of Trump in the US and the rise of the far right globally has put on display another key vulnerability of our democracies—namely, that any democratic system is only as good as the political discourse that comes with it.  In 2016, the political discourse—the public conversation—took a sharp downward turn, as if in a race to the bottom.’**

Fundamentalism stands in whatever form or sphere, as a voice crying out, This is how it was and is – one truth, one body, one action or behaviour.

Nothing is changeless, though, in a world constantly moving from ignorance to knowledge – what we do with our knowledge is, of course, another thing.

There is a need, more than ever, for cultures and religions, for societies and economics, and for technology and politics to learn and practice openness.  Where the aim is not to judge quickly or win but to remain open to one another for as long as possible.  To provide the chance we need to discover that all people are, as Roz and Ben Zander point out, ‘remarkably generative, prolific, and creative,’ especially those we disagree with.^  Such generativeness on the part of the human species means we’ll produce more, so one thing openness needs to bring to the fore is curation.

Michael Bhaskar’s words about curation which open this post, perhaps helps us to see the following practices, encouraged by Scharmer, as  curation:

‘If you want to be an active participant in co-shaping where the future takes us, here are five concrete actions to consider:

  • Adopt a practice of intentional stillness—a moment of 5–15 minutes every day when you tune out everything that isn’t essential and focus on your true intention, on what matters most to you.
  • At least once a day, listen deeply to someone who is very different from you. The more different, the better.
  • Create a circle or holding space with a few of your closest friends or fellow travelers in which you support each other in these difficult times. The more disruption we experience, the more we need each other’s support. A small number of people (5–7) meeting in person is best; but in the u.lab we have also found that meeting virtually (via Skype or Zoom) can also be very effective.
  • Find ways to link your networks with platforms that promote dialogue and function as a network of networks. Doing so will help to align your efforts on a larger scale.’**

All of this allows me to let you know that enrolment for the U.Lab 2017 course is now open.  This thirteen week online course which allows anyone and everyone to explore Otto Scharmer and MIT’s Presencing Institute’s thinking is free; it will provide the opportunity of meeting with others with whom you might well embark on some adventure to change the world for the better.

(*From Michael Bhaskar’s Curation.)
(**From Otto Scharmer’s Huffington Post article: 2017-Trump-Are We Ready To Rise?)
(^From Benjamin and Rosalind Zander’s The Art of Possibility.)


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