Posts Tagged ‘team learning’

Tools for Conscious Shifting of Communication Ends and Means

August 11, 2009

More than a century ago, a US Army officer Henry Martyn Robert, was without prior warning asked to preside a community meeting. He had zero experience in presiding a meeting, and the result was a big disaster and personal embarrassment for him. To make the long story short, he decided to learn how, did research and eventually designed and wrote a simple guidebook on how to conduct meetings. The result is the “Pocket Manual of Rules of Order for Deliberative Assemblies” that was published in 1876. Over time, it was so useful that it was republished again and again. It came to be known as “Robert’s Rules of Order.”

Various experts have since been struggling to continue to perfect the way people can productively think and decide together.

William Isaacs, in his book “Dialogue and the Art of Thinking Together”, described the Four-Player Model based on the work of David Kantor. For a group conversation to be productive, he said that four distinguishable actions must all be performed:

  • I Move“: proposing, initiating, leading, setting direction, requesting, advocating, voicing
  • I Follow“: agreeing, supporting, listening, consensus-making, completing, confirming
  • I Oppose“: correcting, re-directing, negotiating, revising
  • I Bystand“: studying, exploring, suspending choice, seeing different perspectives, weighing.

Members of the group must be able to shift from one action to another as the need arises. Getting stuck in one pattern of actions either as individuals or as a group would not be productive. Each action has a use: without a Mover there is nothing to discuss and no decision to be reached; without the Opposer corrections cannot be made; without the Bystander no one can see or weigh different perspectives; and without a Follower there will be no consensus or completion.

Edward de Bono proposed “Six Thinking Hats”, another tool to help a group shift how it thinks together:

  • Blue Hat” for designing a procedure, for agreeing on a group process or protocol, for deciding which sequence of hats the group should use to achieve what the group wants
  • White Hat” for presenting and studying facts and information
  • Green Hat” for exploring, creative thinking, innovating or improvising, thinking freely or outside rules and mental boxes
  • Black Hat” for evaluating or weighing facts or options, correcting, identifying risks
  • Yellow Hat” for identifying opportunities, advantages, benefits
  • Red Hat” for expressing feelings, emotions, attitudes, intuitions, gut reactions.

For example, if a group wants to solve a problem creatively, the sequence of thinking the group can adopt is: blue-white-green-black-blue

  1. “Blue Hat” to agree on overall procedure
  2. “White Hat” to look at all the facts about or surrounding the problem
  3. “Green Hat” to look at the problem in different ways, and to generate many options or alternative solutions
  4. “Black Hat” for weighing all options generated
  5. “Blue Hat” for selecting an option and agreeing on the next steps, who will do them and their deadlines.

The “Blue Hat” is often the first hat a group should wear. For the same reason, according to Robert’s Rules of Order, a “point of order” (to clarify what is the correct procedure or process) takes precedence over other motions or proposals.

By agreeing to shift thinking hat together, there is less risk that a member will be stuck in one position while another member will be stuck in the opposite position and the two members endlessly debate. In de Bono’s system, everyone looks together at the advantage of a position, and also looks together at the disadvantage of that position.

A facilitator (a peer) or chairperson (a permanent or ad hoc superior) must be skillful in sensing and redirecting the group PROCESS. In other words, he or she must be an expert in wearing the “Blue Hat”. He or she must have “process-savvy”. Read my narrative of how I facilitated a Team Learning process in the previous blog post “Q9- An Exercise in Team Learning: Some/the(?) Root Causes of September 11”

The key is simple: moment-to-moment awareness of group process.

Note that there are embedded links in this blog post. They show up as colored text. While pressing “Ctrl” click on any link to create a new tab to reach the webpages pointed to. Thanks to Wikimedia Commons for the use of the images in this blog post.

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L21- On Michael Jackson, or Our Mental Models of People We Know

July 18, 2009

Through our experiences with friends and colleagues, we form a mental model of each person we know.

1. The “Business Card” Stage

When you meet a person for the first time, you tell each other basic facts about yourselves. You exchange business cards (or calling cards or name cards). You get to know superficial information about each other:

  • Name
  • Organizational affiliation
  • Position in the organization
  • Academic “pedigrees”
  • Telephone numbers: direct landline, cellphone, fax line
  • Geographical addresses: work and residence
  • Email address
  • Website of the organization

When you accept each other as a friend or a link in a virtual social network such as Facebook or LinkedIn, the same thing happens when you access each other’s profile page, except that you get usually more information about each other through this medium. Members of social networks can also update, add/modify, decide who gets to see how much about himself and engage in a large variety of voluntary interactions with each other.

People can become “acquaintances” but this is a superficial level of relationship. Most relationships stop at this stage. A small percentage proceeds to the next stage.

2. The “Regularized Communication” Stage

When two people communicate regularly for personal, work-related, social or other reasons, they begin to see behavior patterns of each other and they form mental models of each other. This process is very often an unconscious process on both sides. Our mental model of a person we know consists of:

  • Memories of his actions particularly those that we liked or disliked
  • Personal or work-related qualities we attach to the person based on the pattern of our experiences with him
  • Labels or words we associate with the person
  • Our judgments or attitudes towards the person or how he “measures up” to our own internal standards
  • Our memories of pleasures or hurts we experienced with or due to (in our perception) the person
  • Our level of comfort or trust on the person
  • Etc.

3. The “Mutually Imprisoned” Stage

It is an unfortunate fact that in most cases, we form and revise mental models of people we know largely in an unconscious and therefore unsystematic manner.

Yet, our mental models of people we know, once established inside our heads, affect the way we behave and communicate with those people. They provide screens which color or slant our perceptions of those people. We stop seeing them as they truly are because our mental models act as if we are looking at them through colored eyeglasses or lenses. If our mental models of a person includes a strong judgment we have formed about him, for better or for worse, that person becomes the beneficiary or victim of our (internal) judgment.

We stop seeing people as they truly are because our experiences about him from the past intrude in how we experience him in the present. Our mental models then become our self-inflicted but unconscious mental box or mental prison that dictates how we relate to the person for the rest of our life. Then, we both become the unknowing victims of our unconscious mental models of each other. Unfortunately, we are often unaware that we have entered the “mutually imprisoned” stage.

A common negative result of this tyranny of our mental models of each other is divorce. It is likely that spouses who have come to dislike each other have formed mental models of each other that are no longer true representations of the other person. A well-known positive result of the tyranny of our mental models is the public adulation over Michael Jackson. It is likely that the mental model of Michael Jackson in the mind of a fan is a distant or perhaps distorted representation of the true Michael Jackson. Whether positive or negative, our unconscious mental models can act like tyrants who distort our thinking and seeing without our knowledge and permission.

To escape this stage, we need tools for consciously managing our mental models about people we work with — a pre-requisite for productive learning and working together as a group. We need Indigo Learning Practices.



Thanks to Wikimedia Commons and my acknowledgement to Alan Light for the use of the image in this blog post.

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L14- Voicing

June 22, 2009

If you grew up in North America or Europe and have lived and worked for some time in Asia, you must have experienced something similar to the following scenario in a meeting or conference among Asians:

    Many do not speak their mind in obvious deference to the boss, or for seeming fear of causing disharmony or ruining good interpersonal relationships, or because of a prevailing organizational culture against disagreements. The boss may be authoritative and he may have a habit of browbeating or putting down any idea of his subordinates. Women and juniors noticeably hesitate to speak most likely because they grew up in a culture where they are expected to just listen to men and elders. Opposing or different ideas that are suggested are expressed with painfully too much sugar-coating and diplomatic language.

If you are an Asian who has spent years in North America or Europe, you must have observed meeting or conference scenarios among Westerners similar to the following:

    Speakers are very direct and appear confrontational and even disrespectful. Ideas and counter-ideas fly in all directions and the debate is uncomfortable to Asian ears. The boss is not spared from opposing or critical views. People who are otherwise friends behave so strangely unfriendly and seemingly arrogant when they argue and debate their positions. After the meeting, everyone seems OK and so easily forget the heated and emotional meeting.

Have you personally experienced any of the above?

The manner that people voice their views in a group (including virtual e-group or discussion lists) determines whether and how far learning will happen in the group. If authentic sharing and group learning are objectives of a group, then it is useful for the group members to distinguish what are the more productive from the less productive ways of voicing.

From our experiences at CCLFI, and from the 12 Types of Learning described in another blog post, one way to be more aware of our habitual manners of voicing is through the following 12 Manners of Voicing:


The green areas tend to be more productive for group learning and mutual trust-building, especially those manners of voicing in the dark green area or described in bold letters. The brown areas tend to be less productive, especially the dark brown areas. I highlight respect — both intended and perceived — as a defining factor in how far communication and learning can or cannot proceed productively. This typology must be understood from the context of the earlier 12 Types of Learning.

If you are married or have been married, do you agree with me that during the courtship or dating stage your communications were in the green areas such as 3? After you are married or before you divorced or separated, did you also notice that your communications shifted more towards the brown areas? Couples married for decades stayed in Green Area 3 and/or at least one partner settled in the brown habits in Area 5.

Scientific discourse often lies in Areas 1 and 4. Generative dialogue lies in Areas 1, 3 and 4.

The stereotypically Asian authority-driven habits are also in the brown habits in Area 5 as well as in Areas 6, 10 and 12. These manners of voicing belong to Stage 1 of William Isaac’s four stages of dialogue. The Brown Areas 9-10 are more likely where stereotypically Western habits of speaking would likely land on; these latter manners of voicing belong to Isaac’s Stage 2. I will explain these stages in my later blog posts (L42 and L43).

These are only my personal impressions of stereotypes coming from eight years living in New York and travelling many times to eleven other Western countries; they are not the result of any statistical or scientific study so I may be wrong or inaccurate. My intention is to help us be more aware of our personal habits and unconscious group patterns of communication, and to contribute towards a more conscious and studied way of managing our group communications towards group learning and mutual trust-building.

What do you think?

Can you suggest how we can improve the 12 Manners of Voicing?

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Indigo Learning Practices (L Series)

June 2, 2009

Group learning is superior to individual, isolated learning. Most of us went through school using the individual, competitive and concept-based learning model. There are many reasons to believe that collaborative and practice-based learning will be the next learning model for production, innovation and conflict-prevention in the 21st century:

  • Group learning lies in the indigo quadrant (see lower left cell in the diagram below that clusters KM tools) and major world problems (e.g. global financial crisis and many on-going military conflicts) stem from our lack of knowledge in this quadrant. Read more about this in the blog post “Emerging Indigo Practices.” “Indigo quadrant” is the lower-left or tacit-group quadrant in the expanded KM model described in the blog post “Q27- Combining Megatrends #1 and #2: the Next Societal Innovations” and applied in many subsequent posts.


  • For effective group learning, group members need to learn how to value and nurture mutual trust. Trust is an indigo quality that is the fundamental value driver behind all forms of relationship capital. Trust underlies the worst fears and threats to our planetary society. Read more about this in blog post “A Value Driver behind Relationship Capital.”
  • Two long-term global megatrends converge towards the indigo quadrant. This means that major societal innovations are expected to emerge from the indigo quadrant (see “Q27- Combining Megatrends #1 and #2: the Next Societal Innovations”). Such innovations must steer clearly away from value-destruction and towards value-creation (see “Q25- Robin Hood versus the Sheriff of Nottingham” and “Value-Creating and Value-Destroying Social Innovations”)
  • Because corporate production is basically a group process, then it follows that corporate learning and knowledge conversion/transfer processes must be managed from a group perspective. Many organizational learning and intra-organizational knowledge conversion/transfer tools are available for this purpose (see “Knowledge pathways in a learning organization” and “Appreciating Nonaka’s SECI model”). However, the tools for group learning in the context of a network of equals or parties with different interests are few and less developed. The latter tools are needed for conflict-prevention and similar political processes.
  • Social networks have become very popular. They serve needs for socialization, business and professional purposes, advocacy and sometimes for group learning and group innovation.

This L Series will deal with tools and practices for group learning within a network of equals. We could label this as horizontal or network learning, but I chose the label “indigo learning practices” to emphasize the long-term importance of indigo processes and to remind us that group learning stems from solid personal learning practices. In turn, better personal learning arises from a foundation of mastery of Power of the Third Kind.

Below will be our tentative list of blog topics. If you believe that a topic should be included, please contribute a comment (click the “Comment” link below). Blog topics that had been posted appear as links (colored text) below; while pressing “Ctrl” click on the link to read the blog you want in a new browser tab.

1. Setting a Personal Learning Mode

    L11 Will to self-improve
    L12 Listening
    – Can we manage knowledge? (a practice in listening)
    – Listening (and building cross-cultural relationship capital)
    L13 Learning how to learn
    – The reflective knowledge worker
    – Personal learning history
    L14 Voicing
    – Ask high-value questions
    – The art of interviewing
    L15 Double-loop learning
    – A tool for learning to unlearn: internal “5 why’s”
    L16 Concepts can block learning
    – Your judgment can block your learning
    – Memories (or past experiences) can block (or unblock) learning
    – External attention can block your learning

2. Communicating

    L21- On Michael Jackson, or our mental models of people we know
    – How we form judgments of other people: female circumcision, lying, the jury system and the scientists’ “sacred p<.05"
    – When judgment closes the door to productive communication
    L22 200% listening
    – Internal listening and anger management
    – Listening where mental models of people conflict
    – Listening to life
    L23 What is your communication intent?
    – Tools for conscious shifting of communication ends and means
    – Personal intangible assets and intentions
    – Communication intents behind Indigo Practices
    L24 Announce your communication boundaries
    – Another communication boundary: how far can you self-disclose?
    – When your communication boundaries are breached
    L25 12 types of learning, part 2
    L26 Bohm’s dream: a revolution in how we communicate
    – John Lennon’s dream: a world free of mental boxes and mental fences
    – The dream of Pierre Teilhard de Chardin: humankind’s discovery of the “second fire”

3. Setting a Common Space of Mutual Trust

    L31 Transparency in intentions
    L32 A free and open space for sensing each other’s meanings
    L33 Sensing one another’s internal drivers
    L34 Respect
    L35 Building energy from appreciative sensing
    L36 Sharing your most fulfilling moments
    L37 Process partnering

4. Together We See the Whole

    L41 Story listening: seeing how she sees
    L42 Seeing how we see
    L43 Seeing the forest, not just the trees
    L44 Connecting the cosmic dots: three “Big Bangs”
    L45 Problem-finding then problem-solving
    L46 Sensing the emergent
    L47 Indigo governance: consensual discernment

5. Co-Creating Shared Realities

    L51 “Big Bang #4”?: conscious co-evolution
    L52 From win-win to build-build
    L53 Senge’s “presencing”
    L54 Isaac’s “generative dialogue”
    L55 Co-ownership
    L56 Co-creation
    L57 Bridging leadership

Below is a tentative (and still evolving) mind map of how the above topics are organized.

Building together

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A Paradox of 20th Century Scientific Practice

May 23, 2009

Science as practiced in the 19th and 20th centuries lies in Quadrant 3: it is biased towards observing and studying the outer world of forms and phenomena. With few exceptions, the inner world of consciousness is either ignored, denied or regarded as not real or less real, or reduced to its empirical, behavioral or operational counterparts. Listen to these authors:

    “Values, life meanings, purposes, and qualities slip through science like sea slips through the nets of fishermen. Yet man swims in this sea, so he cannot exclude it from his purview.”

    – Huston Smith

    The “modern Western character complex is connected with a peculiar perception of all things – including psychic and mental things – as ultimately reducible to quantifiable material entities. This is what gives it its ‘outwardness’.”

    – Robert Thurman

    Science views as real “any objectifiable entity or process that could be described in valueless, empirical, monological, process it-language.” According to this “flatland” view of the cosmos, “none of the interior dimensions and modes of knowing has any substantial reality at all… The mistake of modern science is that “all interior dimensions (of I and WE) were reduced to exterior surfaces (of objective ITs)… Modern science “aggressively invaded the other value spheres – including interior consciousness, psyche, soul, spirit, value, morals, ethics and art… pronouncing on what was, and what was not, real.”

    – Ken Wilber

The foundation of scientific knowledge is the scientific method of establishing objectivity and empirical validity. Listen to these quotations, particularly the eminent Austrian expert in the philosophy of science Karl Popper:

    Objectivity is based on “eliciting intersubjective agreement.”

    – Huston Smith

    “Ultimate truth, if there be such a thing, demands the concert of many voices.”

    – Carl Jung

    “…the objectivity of scientific statements lies in the fact that they can be inter-subjectively tested.”

    — Karl Popper

Current scientific practice is objective and outward in orientation, yet the very foundation of scientific validity is inter-subjective corroboration. Scientists in the 19th and 20th centuries prefer to define reality in terms of Quadrant 3, yet the fundamental basis of their method of validation is inter-subjective processes in Quadrant 4. Objectivity depends on inter-subjective invariance. Intersubjectivity is at the foundation of objectivity!

This paradoxical blind spot in modern science will fade away if science evolves to also embrace Quadrant 4 or what I call “indigo practices”. The indicators that this may have started to happen are:

  • The growth of humanistic and transpersonal psychology;
  • The emergence of experiential-phenomenological methods of anthropology (e.g. the early works of Carlos Castaneda);
  • Interest in paranormal studies;
  • Emergence of organizational learning and specifically the practice of team learning and dialogue;
  • The emergence of management of knowledge and other intangible assets;
  • The convergence between modern science and religion exemplified by the Mind and Life Institute mentioned in a previous blog.

These events are all part of global Megatrend #1: towards Yin. An interesting convergence that is worth watching is that between transpersonal psychology (Quadrant 3 science moving towards Quadrant 4) and Tibetan Buddhism (the only major religion that straddles Quadrants 1 and 4).

If mainstream scientific practice has been outward-looking, then its inward-looking mirror-image is Tibetan Buddhism. While modern science has developed empiricism (which is consensual corroboration using outward-looking data) for over 3 centuries to its present height, Tibetan Buddhism is unique in having developed the practice of consensual corroboration using inward-looking or experiential data gathered by thousands of monk-practitioners (lamas) for over 12 centuries. Quoting Thurman again:

    “In Western culture, the last frontiers of our material conquest of the universe are in outer space. Our astronauts are our ultimate heroes and heroines. Tibetans, however, are more concerned about the spiritual conquest of the inner universe, whose frontiers are in the realms of death, the between, and contemplative ecstasies. So, the Tibetan lamas who can consciously pass through the dissolution process, whose minds can detach from the gross physical body and use a magical body to travel to other universes, these ‘psychonauts’ are the Tibetans’ ultimate heroes and heroines.”

experiencing outer vs inner universe

The above critique of prevailing scientific practice is part of a paper I wrote in 2004 entitled “Patotoo: an Indigenous Concept of Validity and Some Implications” which was published in 2005 by the Institute of Spirituality in Asia as part of the book “Hiyang: Papers of the Colloquium on Research Methodologies in the Study of Spiritualities in the Philippines.” If you want to receive a copy of this paper, please email me (

Note that there are embedded links in this blog post. They show up as colored text. While pressing “Ctrl” click on any link to create a new tab to reach the websites pointed to. I acknowledge with thanks Wikimedia Commons for the images in this post.

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Practical Hint #17: Tools for Managing Relationship Capital

March 24, 2009

Here are some tools for managing relationship capital. Notice that because KM overlaps with IT, HRD, OD, CRM and QM, many tools are common across these fields.

  • Social Network Analysis (SNA), sociogram or stakeholder analysis: Maps and analyzes frequencies of communication, teammate preferences, perceived closeness of interpersonal relationships, degree of agreement/disagreement, etc. between people in a group, organization or network
  • Team building and team learning exercises
  • Setting up a cross-functional KM Team
  • Customer relations management, business development, account management, or business partnership management: Management of relationships with customers, suppliers, partners, etc.
  • Customer clubs and e-communities: strengthens a company’s communication and relationship with customers, allows customers to participate in product improvement or R&D, makes some customers feel special by receiving advanced news or product prototypes, etc.
  • “Customer ba”: Part of the task of some Japanese customer relations managers is to create an affirmative, trusting and creative “relationship space” between himself and the customer.
  • MBTI, Belvin types and other psychological profiling tests: Assessing potential for complementarity and good mix of thinking and working styles among prospective team members
  • Various tools in brand management and marketing which enhance reputation and credibility of the company
  • Various HR/OD tools to enhance employee loyalty and morale: recognitions, honors and awards; policies that allow appropriate decision-making to employees; CEOs that listen e.g. allow direct emails from employees; facilities that show the company cares e.g. day-care facilities within company premises for young children of mother-employees, etc.
  • Group exercise in mind mapping: Allows members to see and better understand the assumptions of other fellow members
  • Professional and personal profiles of staff, Expertise Directory, company White Pages: Facilitates staff in getting to know each other and each other’s skills, expertise and talents
  • Face-to-face meetings and SN functionalities among e-community or e-CoP members: Mutual trust in a virtual CoP or e-community is best nurtured through face-to-face meetings, and through appropriate social network functionalities in the website of the CoP
  • Visioning exercise: Co-creating and contributing to an organization’s vision tend to enhance buy-in and engagement of members in programs, projects and activities aimed at the vision of the organization.
  • Negotiation: collaborative/integrative negotiation training, skills development (thanks to Peter Spence), and related tools in conflict management
  • Leadership (thanks to Peter Spence), such as “bridging leadership” and leadership that appreciates and applies many of the above.
  • Technologies for building or enabling trust (e.g. TrustEnablement by Alex Todd)

Please add other tools that I missed (kindly use the Comment link).

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Q9- An Exercise in Team Learning: Some/the(?) Root Causes of September 11

January 22, 2009

Last October 15, 2001 I wrote in my weekly KM column for BusinessWorld, the leading business newspaper in the Philippines, the following piece. I reproduce it verbatim below:

Japanese folklore says there are three kinds of power, symbolized by the sword, the diamond and the mirror. The sword symbolizes force: physical, military or political force. The diamond symbolizes wealth or resources. The mirror symbolizes the most powerful of the three.

I demonstrated the process of team learning before high school teachers of La Salle Greenhills. As part of their Social Science Week, they invited a speaker each day to talk about various aspects of the September 11 Event.

I talked about implications for education. No, I did not really give a talk or lecture. More accurately, we – teachers and I – explored the issue: what can we learn from the event? More precisely, what are the root-causes of the event?

I first explained the two basic phases: inquiry followed by decision. I stressed the importance of not mixing up the two modes, which means every participant must watch his or her thoughts and statements and constantly check what mode they are in. Mixing the two is unproductive. We cannot jump into judgments too soon or before we have collected and examined as much facts, possibilities and options as the group can collectively muster.

Said Fr. Anthony de Mello, in his book “Awareness: the Perils and Opportunities of Reality” : “…what you judge you cannot understand…if you desire to change what is into what you think should be, you no longer understand.”

Suspending judgment is essential in the inquiry phase, but in the decision phase consensual judgment – if it can be reached – is the essential prelude to team action.

I performed two roles: as resource person (offering content) and as facilitator (guiding group process). It provided a good opportunity for me to demonstrate conscious role-changing as I go through the physical motion of “switching hats” before I say something in another role.

The inquiry phase proceeded very smoothly from individual to group focus. This is the result of choosing an issue that involves actors external to the group. In team learning, the issue often involves the group members themselves as actors, and thus personal issues and defenses can and often block collaborative inquiry. The most common problem in this group was the unconscious shift to personal judgments during the inquiry phase – something I point out immediately to illustrate the point.

The other problems I saw were: making careless generalizations, cross checking facts, using labels that beg the issue or borders into judgment, and distinguishing symptoms from root cause.

As facilitator, I had to clarify what a speaker means in using a word or phrase, ask what is the premise behind a statement, or summarize the essential points of a speaker who tends to ramble. Most of the time after I made a facilitator intervention, I follow it up by briefly describing or naming my intervention – a heuristic tool to illustrate how a facilitator guides a group process.

The results of the group inquiry were as follows.

  • The US government’s actions, so far, seem to indicate that it is addressing only the symptoms;
  • US policy on the Israeli-Palestinian issue has not been even-handed since the state of Israel was created by the United Nations half a century ago;
  • The US government does not seem to indicate that it can see, or fully see, the pain felt for decades by Muslims and Arabs who empathize with the predicament of the Palestinians and that this pain contributed to the behavior of the terrorists (a teacher preferred to use the term “so-called terrorists”);
  • The possibility that the US government will address the root causes at some later stage remains, or Americans will ask “What acts did we do in the last decades that contributed to the problem?”
  • The US government’s actions (“bully” was the label used by a teacher) belong to the same violence mindset as the terrorists’;
  • The bombing of Afghanistan increases the pain of the Muslim world, and may be exacerbating the problem;
  • Belief in violence sanctioned or justified by religion (or God) is dangerous for the overall security of the planet; and
  • It is likely that the terrorists’ choice of targets reflect their judgment of the two evils of America: military power and financial power.

On the last point, I briefly put on my “resource person hat” to say – heuristically again – that ascribing a judgment to an external actor is classified as an act of describing or estimating facts and, therefore, proper during the inquiry phase.

Finally, in the decision phase, we concluded that:

  • All parties should learn how to respect each other, no matter how different are their beliefs;
  • Reflecting on your own beliefs and mindsets is an important skill for teachers and for education; and
  • Reflective individuals are essential in learning organizations.

That brings us back to the third symbol, the mirror. According to the Japanese folk wisdom, the most powerful of the three is the power of self reflection and self knowledge. A man with the powers of the sword and diamond can be dangerous to others if he does not have the power of the third kind, the power of the mirror. The third power is not about winning. It is not about conquering someone else but yourself.

America is already the world superpower and a great financial power. We hope America will acquire more of the power of the third kind. On this may depend America’s moral leadership and our collective planetary fate as a secure and stable mosaic of civilizations.

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