Posts Tagged ‘iran’

Q27- Combining Megatrends #1 and #2: the Next Societal Innovations?

May 18, 2009

I introduced trans-societal Megatrend #1 in an earlier blog (“Q14- Naming Trans-Societal Megatrend #1: towards Yin?”). I summarized Megatrend #1 (see blog “KM and trans-societal megatrend #1”) as:


Trans-societal Megatrend #2 (introduced in blog Q26- Information: another Force for Democratization) can be summarized as:

Megatrend #2

If we combine these two megatrends and again use Ken Wilber’s framework, we have a new way of characterizing major societal innovations and anticipating where the next major societal innovations would be emerging:

Combining 2 megatrends

Do you agree with the following observations?

  1. The combined trend is towards the lower left or indigo-colored Quadrant 4 in the figure above. Using simplistic language, the trend is towards the democratization of religions (Quadrant 1 to 4) and the spiritualization of democracy, free markets and science (Quadrant 3 to 4).
  2. There is a mega-tension between Quadrants 1 and 3 which can be seen in the conflict between Western democratic values versus Islamic fundamentalism and theocracy (which underlies the events in Iraq and Afghanistan, terrorist attacks in Europe and North America, and tension between European cultures and cultures of Muslim immigrants in Europe), the conflict between scientific empiricism and religious faith (seen in Matthew Fox’s creation spirituality versus traditional Catholic doctrines, Darwinian evolution versus creationism from Genesis), and the conflict between laissez faire capitalism and various economic models that emphasize the humanistic, psychological and spiritual dimensions (such as “Small is Beautiful: Economics as if People Mattered” by Schumacher, Bhutan King Jigme Singye Wangchuck’s “Gross National Happiness”).
  3. Regressive forces are represented by those groups which aim to maintain or go back to communism, dictatorship, theocracy, monopolistic control of national economies, etc.
  4. New practices are emerging in Quadrant 4, which I call “indigo practices.” I will write about this in another blog. The interactive practice in double-loop learning that I am proposing in the last blog (An Invitation to Interactive Practice of Double-Loop Learning) is an indigo practice.
  5. A most interesting convergence between Quadrants 1 and 3 is happening between Tibetan Buddhism and modern science: the Mind and Life Institute. Tibetan Buddhism comes from centuries of learning, experiential studies and applying consensual corroboration in the inner worlds; while modern sciences comes from centuries of learning, empirical studies and applying consensual corroboration in the outer worlds.

interesting convergence

I introduced the ideas in this blog in an earlier paper on “Information Technology and Security in the 21st Century” which I read at the Asia-Pacific Security Forum Conference in Taipei, Taiwan in December 1999.

Please tell us what you think about these.

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Q12- Clash of Civilizations or Dialogue among Civilizations?

January 31, 2009

In front of me are two books.

The first book is Samuel P. Huntington’s The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order” (1996). He said that the end of the Cold War and its ideological conflict is paving the way to global clashes between major cultures: Western vs. Chinese, Western vs. Islamic, Hindu vs. Islamic, Hindu vs. Chinese, etc.

The second book tells a story (Adam Kahane’s “Solving Tough Problems”: an Open Way of Talking, Listening, and Creating New Realities, 2004) of how leaders of warring political groups in apartheid South Africa met and talked together at Mont Fleur Conference Center — a fateful meeting where they mustered the courage and goodwill to clarify together the stark choices and futures South Africa faces, and which eventually paved the way towards the end of apartheid and the rise of Nelson Mandela.

As I read these two books, I feel both fear and hope. I am afraid of a nuclear holocaust started by trigger-happy leaders. What will Israel do once Iran develops a nuclear weapons capability? What will a fundamentalist Islamic group do if they are able to steal Pakistani nuclear weapons? Would desperation push North Korea to send a nuclear-tipped ballistic missile to their Korean cousins in the south?

We may yet save humankind from mutual assured destruction of a nuclear holocaust if we, especially our leaders, learn how to truly talk together.

Harvard Professor David Bohm and Mark Edwards, in their book “Changing Consciousness: Exploring the Hidden Source of the Social, Political, and Environmental Crises Facing Our World,” said

    “Suppose we were able to share meanings freely without a compulsive urge to impose our view or to conform to those of others and without distortion and self deception. Would this not constitute a real revolution in culture?”

I feel guardedly hopeful because I could see the solution, or at least the direction where humankind can find a solution, namely, generative dialogue (see “D19- Debate versus Discussion versus Dialogue”). This is what happened in 1991 at Mont Fleur. I said “guardedly” because there are people who think it is wrong for their leaders to compromise and who will use violence to stop their leaders. The 1981 assassination of Anwar Sadat after he dialogued with Israel in 1978-79 leading to the Camp David Accords is an example. The 1995 assassination of Yitzhak Rabin after the Oslo Accords of 1993 — the first official dialogue between the Israel government and the Palestinian Liberation Organization — is another example.

We all engage in conversations many times a day. It is so common, many tend to think they know how to engage in a productive conversation.

“Managing Conversations” is an entire chapter in the book, “Enabling Knowledge Creation: How to Unlock the Mystery of Tacit Knowledge and Release the Power of Innovation,” by von Krogh, Ichijo and Nonaka. According to them

    “…good conversations are the cradle of social knowledge in any organization…(which) allows for the first and most essential step of knowledge creation: sharing tacit knowledge within a microcommunity.”

Referring to the events after September 11, former President Khatami of Iran — who wrote the book “Dialogue Among Civilizations: a Paradigm for Peace” (2006) — said

    “Two superficially opposing voices are heard in America and Afghanistan, which in fact are the two sides of the same coin… One says whoever is not with America is a terrorist and the other says whoever does not accept this behavior is an opponent of Islam and a proponent of America… Such false and arrogant judgments are the root cause of violence and terror as well as war.”

William Isaacs, who studied under learning organization guru Peter Senge and double-loop learning proponent Chris Argyris, wrote about how generative dialogue can be achieved (“Dialogue and the Art of Thinking Together”, 1999).

Civilizational divides are threatening the security and stability of the planet and all of us, we need to learn how to truly talk to each other. If we can practice dialogue towards learning organizations, perhaps we can next practice it towards learning nations.

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