Newsletter Nr. 10 (December 2007, subsequent to our 10th Annual Conference, our 2007 NY Workshop)
Compiled by Evelin Lindner, in NY, USA, and Germany, Europe (December, 2007)
(Note: This newsletter is written in American English, since this conference took place in the U.S. In our outside-of-the-U.S. workshops, we often use British English.)
News from Evelin Lindner:
What Is the Aim of Our Work?
The Story of the Pilot
Swimming, not Clinging
Belief in the Goodness of People
Moving Our Work onto Cyberspace
How Our Work Dovetails with Recent Research on Global Teams
News from the Global Dignity & Humiliation Assessment Initiative Session
(Important note to our conference particants: During our conferences, we always make an effort to ask for your permission to have your pictures posted on this website. However, you may have overheard or misunderstood our question, or you may have changed your mind since, either in total or for specific pictures/videos, please let us know! Thank you! Since we wish to walk the talk of dignity, it is very important for us to do our utmost in respecting everybody's privacy. We do not wish to gather written permissions from you during our conferences, since we value the building of mutual trust in relationships, and we would like to refrain from contributing to an ever more bureaucratic and legalistic society. Again, thank you so much for kindly holding hands with us in respectful mutuality in this matter!)
10th Annual Conference of Human Dignity and Humiliation Studies in NY in 2007, December 13-15, 2007. Please click on the group picture above to see it larger, and on the main entrance of Teachers College to see last year's pictures of the venue of our workshop, Columbia University, Teachers College, and Milbank Chapel.
The pictures above were taken by Brian Lynch in 2006 and 2007. Thanks so much for your great support, dear Brian!
Day One! The pictures above come from Brian Lynch's camera. Thank you, dear Brian, for documenting our workshop so wonderfully!
Please click in the middle of the pictures above or here to see more of Brian's photos of Day One. You can also see all of the pictures that Brian took on www.kodakgallery.com.
Day One! The pictures above come from Evelin's camera. Please click in the middle of the pictures above or here to see more photos of Day One. The image from Google Analytics shows that this website had ca. 40,000 visits since December 2006, with 80,000 pageviews of an average of 2 minutes, from 183 countries. The picture on the right side is one of the "images of hope" that Florina Benoit and Ashok Gladston Xavier brought from India!
Please note that the jacket Evelin is wearing is part of the HumanDHS World Clothes of Equal Dignity project!
The Public Event on Day One! The pictures above come from Brian Lynch's camera. Please click in the middle of the pictures above to see more of his photos of the Public Event. You can also see all of the pictures that Brian took on www.kodakgallery.com.
The Public Event on Day One! The pictures above come from John John Bruseth's and Evelin's camera. Please click in the middle of the pictures above to see more photos of the Public Event.
Day Two! The pictures above come from Evelin's camera. Please click in the middle of the pictures above or here to see more photos of Day Two. Unfortunately, the camera's battery went flat during Round Table 2. Therefore there are unfortunately no pictures on Evelin's camera from the rest of the day.
The Day After! The pictures above come from Brian Lynch's camera. He first documented the discussion with Olympia Dukakis following the play "Masked," then the post-play get-together of some of us. Please click in the middle of the pictures above or here to see more of Brian's photos of the Day After. You can also see all of the pictures that Brian took on www.kodakgallery.com.
The Day After! The pictures above come from Evelin's camera. Please click in the middle of the pictures above or here to see more photos of the Day After.
Three days after! With Lydia and Morton Deutsch! Please click in the middle of the picture above or here to see more photos.
We had a wonderful workshop in NY! It was entitled:
2007 Workshop on Humiliation and Violent Conflict
(representing the Tenth Annual HumanDHS Conference)!
Please let me begin by sharing with you my deep gratitude to Linda Hartling. Without her wisdom, love, care, and huge investment of time, our network and our conferences would not be there.
Thank you, dearest Linda, for this wonderful heart-shaped broach "Create - creati - creare - creer - creation"! The words signify creativity and the heart-shape love! Francisco Gomes de Matos will be happy! He coined the term "CreActivators" for us being the nurturers of our network!
May I express my sincere gratitude and appreciation furthermore to all of you who joined our 2007 Workshop on Humiliation and Violent Conflict representing the Tenth Annual HumanDHS Conference! You ALL made our workshop a unique and extremely exiting experience! As after our previous conferences, I felt as if I went through a hurricane, so many creative contributions "swirled" through our workshop! I feel that I can hardly think a clear thought just now!
Our workshop was a closed conference. We could have had many more participants and unfortunately had to say "no" to many of you who wrote to us and wished to participate. We would like to express our regret to all of you who did not have the chance to participate. We will try to broaden our activities (and resources!) in the future! Please bear with us and give us your support so that we can grow in a constructive way!
I would like to thank our amazing hosts, Andrea Bartoli (formerly Center for International Conflict Resolution (CICR) at Columbia University), and Morton Deutsch and his wonderful team (International Center for Cooperation and Conflict Resolution (ICCCR) at Columbia University). I wish to give special thanks to Alba Taveras (CICR) and Beth Fisher-Yoshida, Kathryn Crawford, Naira Musallam, and Ines Anicet! I also wish to thank Judit Révész. We were able to build on the work she did for our first workshop in 2004, and without her support this year, we would not have been awarded new funding.
Please let me furthermore express special thanks to Rick Slaven, Tonya Hammer, Kathryn Crawford, Michael Britton, Brian Lynch, Jennifer Kirby, Robert English, Marta Carlson, Camilla Hsiung, Antoinette Errante, Hua-Chu Yen, who so wonderfully helped to keep our workshop in shape, with wonderful name tags, with caring for our food, and with video-taping the entire conference. Our warmest thanks also to Linda Hartling for setting the frame of appreciative inquiry in and Donald Klein's spirit. Our dear thanks furthermore to our moderators Beth Fisher-Yoshida & Michael Britton, Maggie O'Neill & Philip Brown, and Carlos Sluzki & Emanuela Del Re!
And, of course, our warmest gratitude to Alan B. Slifka for his financial help for our workshop! We were able to have catering and participants who otherwise would not have been able to attend, received support!
May I end by thanking our presenters for their inspiration at our Public Event on the afternoon of Thursday, December 15.
Finally, Michael Britton moved us all deeply on Friday morning in his Don Klein Memorial Lecture for Don's originally planned lecture The Humiliation Dynamic: Looking Back... Looking Forward. Don showed us how to live in awe and wonderment. We will always need your wisdom, dear Don!
A very very warm thank-you to all!
Evelin, on behalf of our entire network.
Linda Hartling announced in our workshop:
• May we share the great news with you that we now have non-for profit status! (So far not yet globally - as we would wish for - but, to start with, in NY state.) Please see our Contributions page! We all thank Nitza, Linda and Rick for their incredible work to make this happen!
• Linda created space for discussion forums for us on Ning.com!
• We would like to collect stories/cases/witness accounts of dignity and humiliation.
• We would like to seed our Call to Creativity with actual examples to encourage people to submit their own achievements and ideas.
• See also a list over our achievements.
Philip Brown announced in our workshop:
• Phil announced that we are invited to create "Humiliation in the Academic Setting," A Special Symposium Issue of Experiments in Education, published by the S.I.T.U. Council of Educational Research, India.
Evelin Lindner announced in our workshop: in our workshop:
• Linda Hartling donated $1000 to HumanDHS in loving memory of Don Klein. A million thanks, dearest Linda!
• We have two yearly conferences, the Workshop on Humiliation and Violent Conflict in December at Columbia University in NY, and an outside-of-the-US conference. This year this conference took place in Hangzhou, China, in April 2007. Our next conference will be in Norway in June 2008!
• Good news for our work to promote equal dignity for all and transcend humiliation! Betsy Kawamura and Rune Kvist Olsen are in the process of founding The Equal Dignity Group - Den Likeverdige Organisasjonen - for Sustainable Institutional Change in Society! See their message to our workshop!
• Good news for our work to promote equal dignity for all and transcend humiliation! The journal "Choice" just released its list naming its 2008 Outstanding Academic Titles, and Evelin's book Making Enemies: Humiliation and International Conflict is among them! Thanks to YOUR inspiration and support, this has been possible!
• Global Coordinating Team: We need more helpers, people who would love to commit for a longer time period, who would have ample time (like half a day per day), who would know how to write appreciative emails, and how to maintain a website!
• Please welcome and celebrate Michael Britton’s leadership of the Global Coordinating Team, especially his compassionate approach walking the talk of human dignity. Michael is the HumanDHS Director of "Global Appreciative Culturing." He has been negotiating up to 1000 emails weekly (channeled to him by Evelin), and continues to establish positive, appreciative relationships with people new to the network!
• We look for directors/coordinators for our Intervention projects. See for example our World Clothes for Equal Dignity project. Companies who are already in the fashion business, might be interested? See also our World Art for Equal Dignity project, where Peter Max offers us to paint portraits and give the 20,000 - 30,000 USD remuneration to us! Please find able people who wish to have a portrait by Peter Max!
• Good news for our Office Cockpit Project! We have a Director and Coordinator! Please welcome Sigurd Støren!
We would be very happy if more people were to volunteer to help our rapporteurs!
• See here a “wish list” over ways to contribute to our work (we no longer take notes but do video taping)!
• We need NY homestays!
• On the “wish list” you see, for example, you see that we would like to carry out a Literature Review of Survey Instruments Relevant to Human Dignity and Humiliation.
News from our workshop:
William McConochie kindly stepped forward and offered to coordinate our Global Dignity & Humiliation Assessment Initiative ! Thanks most warmly!
Please see the contributions to the Global Dignity & Humiliation Assessment Initiative Session at the HumanDHS Workshop on Humiliation and Violent Conflict in NY in December 2007.
The following is a recapitulation of the first part of Evelin's presentation at our workshop. She tried to spell out the aim of our HumanDHS work.
Linda Hartling and I hold two main roles (at least)
First, Linda and I, we are the principal conveners of our network and our conferences and workshops. Second, we are also researchers (Linda began to work on the topic of humiliation in 1991; I began in 1996, using a particularly broad historical and transcultural lens).
The motto of our work is Unity in Diversity. Our roles mirror this motto. In our role as conveners, we attempt to shape unity (we are united in our wish to discontinue cycles of humiliation and not continue them), while we hold diversity in our role as researchers (our respective conceptualizations are NOT meant to dominate - we encourage a multitude of approaches to exploring dignity and humiliation, and wish to develop our website as a platform for a rich variety of perspectives - even if they contradict each other).
What is the aim of developing our HumanDHS network?
Our broad starting points are as follows:
1. We need to make sure that the carrying capacity of our eco- and sociosphere is made sustainable.
2. In an interdependent world, global cooperation is not optional, it is compulsory.
3. Like love in a marriage is more than the ability to manage conflicts, peace is more than resolved conflict, and dignity is more than the absence of humiliation.
4. The minimum that we as humankind need to muster can be subsumed under the metaphor “shared custody after divorce.” Let me quote: "In many countries parents increasingly receive joint custody for their children after divorce. Humankind has joint custody for the planet - irrespective of any interpersonal or international falling out. For divorcing parents joint custody is only one among several alternatives - a family judge may decide for it or against it. However, for humankind this arrangement is compulsory" (Making Enemies: Humiliation and International Conflict, p. 195). The maximum that we may aspire to is a Mandela-like ability to turn enemies into friends, to create I-Thou relationships locally and globally (Martin Buber contrasts 'I-It' relationships, where people instrumtalize each other, with 'I-Thou' relationships based on mutual respect). Mandela wrote: "I always knew that deep down in every human heart, there is mercy and generosity. No one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin, or his background, or his religion. People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite. Even in the grimmest times in prison, when my comrades and I were pushed to our limits, I would see a glimmer of humanity in one of the guards, perhaps just for a second, but it was enough to reassure me and keep me going. Man's goodness is a flame that can be hidden but never extinguished (Long Walk to Freedom, Nelson Mandela, 1994, page 542).
What needs to be done
1. In order to achieve sustainability, locally and globally, and ecologically and socially, we need to mobilize everybody to stand UP (and not BY). We cannot have some paid specialists do the standing up for us (and everybody indeed has the necessary abilities, if nurtured appropriately, see, for example Ramses Wissa Wassef's experiment).
2. When we consider the research of the last decade in positive psychology (Martin Seligman et al.), we recognize that embracing a larger definition of responsibility - responsibility not just for one self and one's family, but for building ecological and social sustainability for the entire human family - is not only useful for solving the problems of our world, but will also increase the sense of fulfillment and meaning for every individual who embarks on that path. Seligman, about a decade ago, reflected on the question of whether solving conflicts and undoing problems indeed was enough. He sensed that happiness is more. It is, for example, fulfillment and meaning in life. As we see, Seligman drives and is driven by a changing Zeitgeist that frees individuals from traditional ranking orders. Focusing on conflict resolution is a project that still fits into traditional order - "how can we keep the order we have running smoothly?" Seeking meaning is a much more revolutionary undertaking. If thought through stringently, it very much risks upsetting traditional order - "do we really need consumerism to feel fulfilled? Perhaps it just lines the pockets of a few, but otherwise empties our world's resources, and leaves our souls empty as well?"
3. A vision of a world of dignity, of equality in dignity, requires that we dignify our relationships, including those in our network, which means that we need to care, that we need to show to each other that we matter for each other. Relationships need proactive nurturing, they do not "fall from the sky." Not investing into relationship building represents a cultural poverty that is akin to the manager who cuts cost by firing employees, and has to declare bankruptcy two years later, because all creativity is gone also (see the second Harvard Business Review article further down).
4. For me personally, many elements in mainstream "culture" all over the world represent a prison. Most people seem to make their home there voluntarily - perhaps because it offers a certain amount of security and predictability - however, without noticing that their ailments (depression, apathy, feelings of emptiness) can only be remedied by leaving prison. A globalizing and increasingly interdependent world is like a river that grows ever deeper and broader: clinging to some fragile twigs cannot be the solution - the solution is learning to swim - learning to swim in human relationships, rather than clinging to allegedly more "tangible" handles, from material possessions to national identity. Relationships are like water that carries.
Developing an alternative local and global community
With our Human Dignity and Humiliation Studies network, with our global transdisciplinary network of academics and practitioners who wish to promote dignity and transcend humiliation (to say it very short!), we attempt to plant a seed for an alternative local and global community, a community of "Mandelas." To date, we are ca. 1000 invited members, and since December last year, we register 40,000 visits from 4,000 cities in 183 countries with 80,000 page views of average two minutes of our website.
The metaphor of a tree
Several metaphors can be used to describe our work, in other newsletters we used the metaphor of a forest, or a raft, let me now use the metaphor of a tree:
1. Our global fellowship represents the "roots" and "trunk" of the "tree" (this reflects the Unity part in the "Unity in Diversity" motto). For this part of our work, for the development of our global network in its entirety, the template of "fertilization" and "nurturing" is suitable. What we wish to nurture is the growth and the unfolding of I-Thou relationships of mutuality, embedded into equality in dignity. What is important to note is the inherent limitation in "nurturing," namely the lack of control and predictability: One cannot FORCE the growth of I-Thou relationships. One can only inspire. One can only inspire people to invest their soul, time, and resources in creating a decent global home for our human family. The "fertilizer" is the atmosphere of respect for equality in dignity that we try to create, an atmosphere of mutuality, an atmosphere that opens up space for people to unfold their creativity, and find meaning and fulfillment in creating a decent local and global ecological and social environment (see also Martin Seligman's work on happiness and meaning - it does not only helpe the world, but also each individual, to seek meaning in life).
2. Our research, education, and intervention initiatives represent the main three “branches” of our "tree." Also here, the template of growth applies (the Diversity part in the "Unity in Diversity" motto, however, is reflected more).
3. Our "achievements" represent the “fruits” that grow on the tree (here, the Diversity part in the "Unity in Diversity" motto is reflected). For making "fruits" the template of stringent management applies, if necessary with businessplan and deadlines. Here, control and predictability play an important role. When members of our network feel sufficently inspired, we encourage them to brainstorm and identify those ideas they wish to implement, and from that point onwards, systematic planning and implementing is needed (see our Call for Creativity).
See here some of the "fruits" that the "tree" of our network has produced so far, see our achievements:
• "Humiliation in the Academic Setting": A Special Symposium Issue
• Sigurd Støren is our new Director and Coordinator for our Office Cockpit Project!
• The journal "Choice" released its list naming its 2008 Outstanding Academic Titles, and my book Making Enemies: Humiliation and International Conflict was among them.
• "Humiliation and History in Global Perspectives" (2006) has generated great interest!
• Our Journal of Human Dignity and Humiliation Studies
• Our Global Dignity & Humiliation Assessment Team
"Roots, trunk, branches":
• Ca. 1000 members, 40,000 visits, 80,000 page-views of 2 minutes
• Not-for profit status!
• Our conferences - our last conference took place in Hangzhou, China, in April 2007; our next conference in Norway in June 2008.
What motivates me personally, and what I want to achieve
1. My ”religion” is ”humility and love” (I-Thou).
2. I have learned to tackle frustration by applying the "glass is half full" approach that our dear Don Klein always advocated.
3. We are all flawed, vulnerable people - I am no less flawed and vulnerable and wish to share this, embedding it into mutual support.
4. My aim is to achieve what I call "turning around." I wish to inspire our members to turn their attention to others, to seeking meaning in creating a decent local and global ecological and social environment. This means that we need to prioritize prevention & advocacy over "therapy."
Roadmap for our “Mandela” contributions to building a global I-Thou fellowship
1. We begin with identifying what we need to do next in our network by
a) creatively reflecting on what may be needed,
b) and/or by drawing on our frustrations, the frustrations we feel when our ideas are not coming to fruition as intended.
2. We embark on "next steps" by
a) checking if WE can lead the implementation of our idea,
b) if not, we need to help find other people;
c) throughout this process, please let us integrate our help into an I-Thou dialogue within our network, let us stay patient, inclusive, and constructive.
3. Continuously, let us regularly double- check:
a) Let us please attempt to avoid “addiction to humiliation” (chapter 7 in Making Enemies) - let us make sure that we do not engage in projection (bad parents); let us avoid "moral righteousness entrepreneurship" (“indignation/martyrdom hooliganism”); and please let us avoid the “secondary gain” of using frustration as glue for subgroups that fragmentat our work.
b) Please let us be aware that also help can humiliate (chapter 4 in Making Enemies). Please let us make sure that the ideas we have in mind are not based on misunderstandings of our vision and aims (Marie Antoinette's "why don’t they eat cake"). Let us also check whether our ideas are not based on outdated expertise; we need to be cautious with old solutions and old expertise - "the Titanic was built by experts, Noah’s Ark by laypeople, which one went down?," said Stein Villumstad to me prior to our workshop; see also a recent article, "Ending Famine, Simply by Ignoring the Experts," by Celia W. Dugger, New York Times, December 2, 2007, "Stung by the humiliation of pleading for charity," Malawi disregarded "expert" advice and succeeded to end famine.
Frustrations that we need to hold (and avoid short-circuiting)
We face two “frustrations” related to our two-fold aim to grow I-Thou relationships (first aim) globally (second aim):
I-Thou relationships cannot be bought, as much as love cannot be purchased. Money must be secondary for our work (see also our "Heart versus Money" paragraph). Even if we had all the money of the world, and could pay for the most flashy office with the most stylish receptionist, this would not bring our work forward nor give us credibility, and it would not help to have a less flashy office and a non-stylish receptionist either. Our aim of building global I-Thou relationships must come first. If money were our first aim, we would destroy the core of our work.
We furthermore wish to encourage ALL citizens of our world to "wake up," and increase their sense of global responsibility. We wish to call upon everybody to stand UP, and no longer stand BY. Paying some specialist administrators for doing the "waking up" for us, would be inherently self-defeating for our work.
However, even ”lovers” must eat. Love does not make money superfluous - even though money must be secondary it does not mean that it is not important for sustenance, including the sustenance I-Thou visionaries. The point is that I-Thou visionaries need to find ways to sustain themselves and their work by ways that coincide with their vision. The need for funds must be defined by the vision and stay secondary to it. The need for funds must not be allowed to undermine the vision. Since our vision is global, we have to stay away, as much as we can, for example, from being defined nationally (please see also our "Locality versus globality" paragraph). However, at the current point in historic times, most avenues to obtaining funds indeed are anchored in national frames. For example, we would have liked to apply for not-for profit status at a world government (of course, a democratically legitimized global government, built according to the subsidiarity principle, NOT a global dictatorship). And we could perhaps have a headquarters, if we had a world capital. As long as there is no world capital, any decision to have headquarters brings our organization down from a global level to a national level, because these headquarters would have to be placed in a particular place, within a national framework (we would become an "American organization" or an "European organization," etc.).
The Internet is the only place that is truly global at the current point in time. In order to make genuinely global work possible, including our work of building I-Thou relationships globally, we see no alternative but to encourage the creation of a world government (with the qualifications mentioned above). In the meantime, we are stuck in our current ”starving lovers” predicament, by definition. We can only work with imperfect solutions, while preserving as much globality as possible by staying as decentralized as possible and use the Internet as vehicle for our work as much as possible. (We will have to do that also when a world government is in place, of course, however, then we will have an additional institutional level, a global level, in which we can anchor our work.)
At the current moment in time, we are stuck in our "frustration" of being "starving lovers." We are stuck because of the lack of global institutions that support our global vision. The United Nations are a "club" of nations, which have national interest at heart; there are few global institutions that have the common good of the individual global citizen at heart. As long as this is the case, we need to encourage the creation of these global institutions, while staying patient with respect to the frustrations that their lack inflicts on us. While aiming for more organizational structure in our global fellowship, and more funding, we need to resist the temptation to "shortcircuit" and try to "solve" our frustration by "going national" and thus losing our global vision to national interest. Staying patient in the face of frustration requires great courage. Let us therefore muster the courage to stay decentralized in our effort until world society has built institutions that focus on the common good of all humankind!
What we can learn from couple therapy in our attempt to "walk the talk"
1. We need to overcome constantly criticizing others as much as the tendency to feel criticized when we are not being criticized, and emotional over-reacting when we are being criticized.
2. We need to overcome any inability to communicate positive emotion, as well as the tendency to feel unloved.
3. We need to overcome being domineering and unable to see others’ viewpoints, while at the same time overcoming the opposite tendency, namely unassertiveness, over-concern with pleasing your partner, and the resulting tendency to feel obligated and controlled (Milton Spett).
4. We need to use the “increase positive interactions” approach to hold conflict, and attend to meta-emotion (John Gottman). We need to heed the two critical components of all psychotherapies, namely experiencing our emotion while changing our cognition (Spett).
The help we need in our network at the current point in time
1. We need to build a group of helpers who strengthen the "roots" and "trunk" of our tree (this is ongoing, please see our Global Coordinating Team)
2. We need to move the nurturing and coordinating of our network onto cyberspace (and develop an address database, and organize our upcoming conferences and workshops, etc.) (this has still to be done)
3. We need to reform our website, so that project leaders can maintain subpages on their own (this step can only be envisaged when 1 + 2 are functional)
4. during this process, we need to maintain a "glass is half full" approach - "glass is half empty" lamenting discourages everybody and slows down the entire process.
Appropriate framing principles
(for global and local institutions and organzations, including our HumanDHS work, as well as for the shaping of our identity; even our neurological structures follow these principles)
• Unity in Diversity
(or, more precisely, More Unity in More Diversity)
made operational by applying the
• Subsidiarity Principle
(matters are handled by the smallest or lowest competent authority - the European Union is based on this principle, my identity as well - see my sunflower metaphor; and the brain is organized in a hierarchy of loops)
made operational by the
• Appreciative Approach
We need to hold complexity
(engage in mature differentiation, "swimming, not clinging," or "weak ties" - Mark S. Granovetter, page 158, Making Enemies)
1. Unity in Diversity means more unity and more diversity, NOT less. Unity is turned destructive if it is driven to the point of Uniformity (e.g. as "communism"), and Diversity is turned destructive if it is driven to the point of Division, Confrontation, and Polarization (e.g., as ruthless individualism).
2. The concept of equal dignity has NOTHING to do with concepts such as uniformity/sameness/all becoming identical/communism, on the contrary, it is the only way to celebrate difference in a framework of unity in diversity.
3. Promoting equal dignity has NOTHING to do with demeaning hierarchy, on the contrary, hierarchy is more effective when everybody enjoys equality in dignity. Hierarchy is much less effective if rank is abused as rankism (Robert Fuller), i.e. when people's rank in a team is essentialized, and some people are treated as lesser beings and others as higher beings.
4. The appreciative approach (realizing equality in dignity in relationships, "walking the talk") has NOTHING to do with avoiding clarity and conflict, on the contrary, it is the only path to clarity and the fruitful addressing of conflict, the only path out of monologue toward dialogue ("waging good conflict" (Jean Baker Miller).
5. Shared selfless leadership requires mutual nurturing and support, NOT old-fashioned power-over strategies.
6. Description is NOT prescription, not conceptually nor in practice: Understanding terrorism, for example, does not mean condoning it. Speaking with one’s "enemies" to better understand their position, does not mean accepting their actions. However, description does indeed carry the power to pave the way to prescription (see phenomena such as self-fulflilling prophecy, framing effects, etc.) and must therefore be framed constructively.
7. Being socialized into a certain cultural context does NOT give the individual all agency nor deny it (there are limits and thre is space for individual responsibility).
8. After 27 years in prison, many of Mandela’s prison guards had become his friends - we need to learn how to make friends, not enemies. Equality in dignity is NOT achieved by identifying "enemies" and excluding them, but by turning them into friends.
During our workshop, dear Lynn King asked about the story of the pilot. I learned that I need to revise this metaphor, a metaphor that I use to highlight that equal dignity does not mean the dismantling of all hierarchies, but the dismantling of rankism (to use Robert Fuller's term). What I usually explain is that "a pilot does not need to discuss with the passengers how a plane must be flown." (I never say that passengers should unconditionally accept whatever pilots do.)
This is what you find on page 30 in my book Making Enemies: Humiliation and International Conflict: "I prefer to use the term vertical ranking of human worth and value, rather than inequality, hierarchy, or stratification. The significant point for my discussion is not the absence or presence of hierarchy, inequality, or stratification, but the ranking of human worth. Hierarchy, inequality, and stratification can very well coexist with the absence of ranking. Robert W. Fuller (2003) describes this in his book Somebodies and Nobodies. According to Fuller, humiliation is not the use of rank, but the abuse of rank. The pilot in a plane or the captain of a ship are masters over their passengers when in the sky or at high sea. Clear hierarchy and stark inequality characterize these situations. The pilot and the captain, however, need not look down on their passengers as lesser beings."
What I should add, is that there is a larger context. Passengers will not fly with an airline that has a record of air plane crashes. Passengers make this decision by way of observing the results of this airline's pilots' actions. In the case of spaceship Earth, currently, some inept pilots bring about both external crashes and internal failures.
Humankind has to understand that on spaceship Earth all humans are crew, nobody is a passenger (Marshall McLuhan). Everybody has the responsibility to acquire and contribute with relevant knowledge to a global team of pilots, which includes all human beings. In this team, a division of labor is helpful. It is helpful, however, to have expertise for sub-tasks. The workings of the engine of spaceship Earth, for example, would benefit from being maintained by apt engineers. As soon as it is established that an engineer can deliver, s/he is elected as "boss" for a agreed-upon period of time, and accepted as the head of the team of engineers for the engine.
(or, holding complexity, engaging in mature differentiation, or "weak ties" - Mark S. Granovetter, page 158, Making Enemies)
During our workshop, dear Michael Sayler asked about how I feel while engaging in my work for HumanDHS. I replied that I am always terrified, terrified of the ice being too thin and braking. Upon reflection, the metaphor of water carrying the swimmer (or not) is a better metaphor. Let me explain. Creating a global alternative community of people who "walk the talk," of Mandelas, of people who cooperate to build a dignified world, is as challenging and scary as an expedication to Mount Everest, or the crossing of a big ocean swimming. Many in today's world have not yet understood that we need to keep a fragmented world together, that in an interdependent world self-interest coincides with common interest. Therefore, our initiative is always in danger of being thwarted by those who define their self-interest as different from common interest. In other words, we are always in danger of being thrown off Mount Everest, or of drowning in the ocean. This danger is real, and I believe it is wise not to ignore it. An ambitious project by definition faces significant challenges, otherwise it would not be ambitious.
However, on the other side, I am also fearless. Or, more precisely, I do not let my fear define me and my actions beyond the down-to-earth utility of the information that is conveyed by fear. Throughout my global life, I have learned to "swim and not to cling." I have experienced that water can carry swimmers. And it is much wiser to learn to swim in an ocean, or in a river, than trying to hold on to fixed objects. Human I-Thou relationships of equality in dignity represent the water that can carry, unconditional generosity carries. Being anchored in my "religion" of humility and love, of I-Thou love, indeed does carry me.
After our workshop, dear Arie Nadler wrote to me about the belief in the goodness of people. His remarks made me think. May I explain my view? I observe (rather than believe) that people are "good" or "bad" relative to larger contexts (... a soldier who kills enemies is a hero prior to the peace treaty, and a murderer subsequent to it...).
We learn from recent research (see William Ury, 1999, or Piero Giorgi, 2001, or, see also recent brain research) that human "nature" evolved in the rather benign context of the egalitarian societal structures of the first ninety percent of human history. Social relationships and cooperation were writ large.
This state-of-affairs changed, dramatically, roughly 10,000 years ago. Due to new circumstances, agriculture, and thus land, became the basis for most people's livelihoods on the globe. This meant that a win-lose frame forced itself upon the human citizens of the planet, together with the so-called security dilemma. People were pressed into hierarchical societies, where underlings were instrumentalized by the masters of their ingroup (defined as humans), and sent out to fend off outgroup "enemies" (who were dehumanized). In the context of the security dilemma, during the past 10,000 years, much of the humanity of humans, a humanity that had evolved during the first ninety percent of human history, was sacrificed. "Good" and "evil" were negotiated and decided upon by masters ("we" are "good," and "they" are "evil"). However, no "good" could truly flourish during those 10,000 years, since the tragedy of the security dilemma made it impossible.
Today, we live in times of promising change. However, we have to own and develop this promise so as to give it true life. The emergence of one single global knowledge society entails a number of benign promises. First, as Ury argues, knowledge as basis for livelihood brings back the more benign frame of the first ninety percent of human history. Second, the more humankind perceives itself as one family, it is liberated from the malign grip of the security dilemma. Space opens for a transition from coercive hierarchies of ranked honor to creative networks of equality in dignity.
This historic change is highlighted, not least, by the emergence of the new meaning of the verb to humiliate in 1757. Prior to 1757, to humble and to humiliate were used interchangeably, and both were regarded as prosocial. Masters humbled and humiliated underlings to keep them submissive, and this was deemed as utterly legitimate by everybody, masters and underlings alike. In 1757, for the first time, in the English language, to humiliate transmuted from being a "prosocial" tool in the hands of masters, to connote a violation - to humiliate acquired the meaning of to violate a person's dignity.
The promise that is entailed in the vision of one single family of humankind, with knowledge and not land providing the livelihood of most people, is the promise that all humankind may cooperate to take care of their shared home Earth and the well-being of each and every family-member. Yet, this promise must be nurtured intentionally so as to have a chance to be fulfilled. The promise is so novel in historic terms, faintly emerging during the past 0,3 percent of human history only, that it risks not to be noticed. The backdrop of the past 10,000 years' inhumanity is still too strong. During the past 10,000 years, inhumanity and "evil" were inescapable, the security dilemma was a tragedy with an iron grip. The historically unprecedented fact that humanity has a chance NOW, may be overlooked merely because we all are still socialized into the old cultural templates, which are all predicated on the old, malign context.
However, slowly, people begin to understand that the new situation of global interdependence creates the new Realpolitik of "needing to keep a fragmented world together in cooperation," leaving behind the old Realpolitik of "needing to keep enemies out." In a new world of global interdependence, by definition, self-interest coincides with common interest. "Shared custody after divorce" is a good template for the minimum of cooperation that needs to be mustered in this new situation, namely cooperation for shared custody of our world, even if we do not love each other. (The highest, most ambitious template would be the Mandela-path of turning "enemies" into friends.)
However, all these large-scale insights do not trickle down in society easily. People hesitate to embrace the new reality. After 10,000 years of "evil," it is hard to understand that calling for global cooperation and solidarity no longer represents the naive and blue-eyed failure to understand "real" Realpolitik, but that such calls, today, are mandatory, and at the very core of the new "real" Realpolitik of an interdependent world.
If the new Realpolitik of "keeping a fragmented world together in cooperation" shall succeed, all cultural, social, and societal scripts and templates need to be changed accordingly. This is what I do when I work for creating a global alternative community of people who "walk the talk," who wish to create a world of equality in dignity for all. Our work is nothing less than the attempt to translate the large-scale, macro-historic insights explained above into the workings of social and societal life at meso- and micro levels, so that they can feed back constructively into the macro level.
If we extrapolate the above laid out thoughts, then the liberation of the world from the security dilemma and its reverberations is bound to offer a number of "sub"-liberations. It entails the potential to liberate us from the need to pit ingroups against "enemy" outgroups, which, in turn, liberates us from malign outgroup biases. It also liberates us from having to build collectivistic and ranked societies where a few masters turn underlings into mere tools, robbing everybody of their humanity. Today, we can free each and every individual on the globe, and give them back their humanity. We can free people from humiliation - during the past 10,000 years, humiliation was perpetrated routinely on underlings and enemies, and it dehumanized and humiliated the humanity of victims and perpetrators alike. Today, in a world of one single human family, we can liberate humankind from having to dehumanize and kill "enemies" (as in all "villages," also in the global village, global and local police can apply the template of respectful social control).
To make all those benign opportunities for big and small liberations visible and real, first, a "seed" community needs to be created that models the new world in a coherent way. From there the new experience can radiate out. All this is not easy. However, this is what our HumanDHS work is about! And our experience indicates that, after initial hesitation, people are thrilled when they see that it is possible to create what our forefathers of the past ten millennia would have dismissed as an illusionary utopia, namely a web of I-Thou relationships of mutuality and equality in dignity, where a sense of fulfillment is multiplied for all involved. This is a historically new form of group cohesion, more inclusive than ever in human history. In former times, many groups held together against "others," we, in HumanDHS, attempt to draw our cohesion from our dedication to work for a decent future for all. And this web of the relationships not only extends a sense of meaning, it also forms the carrying capacity for diverse, more specifically "applied" projects (in our research, education, and intervention branches).
(See also newsletter 9)
May I update you on the past year's discussions. We continuously discuss the future of our work, ever since our network began to emerge (starting with the idea in December 2001). At our 7th Annual Conference in Costa Rica, we dedicated a specific Open Space session to discussing the future of our work. Intense brainstorming was thus opened that continued, via email, until the end of 2007.
In the past year, we have collected an avalanche of suggestions. At the end of this period, we have now "filtered out" the conclusion that there is one single next step that we have to embark on, and this is to move the nurturing and coordinating of our network, which is currently done by email, onto cyberspace. The latest and perhaps most promising proposition is coming from Schlumberger, a global corporation that has very similar needs to ours, and they recommend that we use Sharepoint.
Dear Linda kindly offers to re-structure her life, so that she can give us more time. I have a vision of Linda and Rick creating our HumanDHS Pacific Rim Branch Office, where she will host our new Sharepoint server (or an equivalent web-based collaboration and document management platform solution) and build from there our cyberspace solutions for all our needs, from nurturing relationships to having projects (research, education, intervention), to our e-classroom.
In other words, let us now draw the conclusions of more than one year of brainstorming, experimenting, and preparations, and move to the next level of implementing solutions! At the current point in time, we need to make ONE SINGLE DECISION, the decision of which cybersolution is best for us: is it Sharepoint? Or is it something similar? In other words, we are no longer in the brainstorming phase of our preparations for sustainability, but in the implementation phase!
Linda kindly made us aware of these two very important articles from the Harvard Business Review (read more about both articles further down) !
"Even the Largest and Most Complex Teams Can Work Together Effectively If the Right Conditions Are in Place"
"Solve the Succession Crisis by Growing Inside-Outside Leaders"
Our experiences in our HumanDHS network during the past years, as well as my contact in Schlumberger, the global corporation with very similar needs to ours, confirm the message of these articles.
In other words, we are assured to be on the right path - this we learn from cutting-edge global business research and from global practitioners!
Working together globally and virtually works, we only have to apply new approaches, and leave behind how teams worked together in former times.
Our way of combining face-to-face and virtual communication is the correct vision for our ever more interdependent world. It is a good idea to serve this goal through having me as a globally mobile "face-to-face recruiter/ambassador/nurturer," plus organizing conferences where we can meet, plus developing our virtual communication. My global mobility furthermore helps preserve the "inside-outside" perspective that is stipulated in the second article.
This confirms that we have to build, as a single next step, before embarking on anything else (reform of website, etc.), a better solution for our virtual communication. Hopefully we can do that through our new HumanDHS Pacific Rim Branch Office, that dear Linda and Rick will create!
For our face-to-face communication, in the long run, apart from me being a kind of globally mobile "glue" in our network, we need to help more people attend our conferences (we need to be aware, though, that it is impossible to ever collect sufficient funding for that, and that investing in good video-conferencing may reach more people), plus, we can envisage having regional conferences.
Thank you again, dear Linda, for making us aware of these articles, and thank you for planning for our new HumanDHS Pacific Rim Branch Office that will be our Virtual HumanDHS hub!
Eight Ways to Build Collaborative Teams by Lynda Gratton and Tamara J. Erickson (Harvard Business Review, November, 2007):
Even the largest and most complex teams can work together effectively if the right conditions are in place:
What Executives Can Do
• Invest in building and maintaining social relationships throughout your organization.
Example: Royal Bank of Scotland’s CEO commissioned new headquarters built around an indoor atrium and featuring a “Main Street” with shops, picnic spaces, and a leisure club. The design encourages employees to rub shoulders daily, which fuels collaboration in RBS’s complex teams.
• Model collaborative behavior.
Example: At Standard Chartered Bank, top executives frequently fill in for one another, whether leading regional celebrations, representing SCB at key external events, or initiating internal dialogues with employees. They make their collaborative behavior visible through extensive travel and photos of leaders from varied sites working together.
• Use coaching to reinforce a collaborative culture.
Example: At Nokia, each new hire’s manager lists everyone in the organization the newcomer should meet, suggests topics he or she should discuss with each person on the list, and explains why establishing each of these relationships is important.
What HR Can Do
• Train employees in the specific skills required for collaboration: appreciating others, engaging in purposeful conversation, productively and creatively resolving conflicts, and managing programs.
• Support a sense of community by sponsoring events and activities such as networking groups, cooking weekends, or tennis coaching. Spontaneous, unannounced activities can further foster community spirit.
Example: Marriott has recognized the anniversary of the company’s first hotel opening by rolling back the cafeteria to the 1950s and sponsoring a team twist dance contest.
What Team Leaders Can Do
• Ensure that at least 20%–40% of a new team’s members already know one another.
Example: When Nokia needs to transfer skills across business functions or units, it moves entire small teams intact instead of reshuffling individual people into new positions.
• Change your leadership style as your team develops. At early stages in the project, be task-oriented: articulate the team’s goal and accountabilities. As inevitable conflicts start emerging, switch to relationship building.
• Assign distinct roles so team members can do their work independently. They’ll spend less time negotiating responsibilities or protecting turf. But leave the path to achieving the team’s goal somewhat ambiguous. Lacking well-defined tasks, members are more likely to invest time and energy collaborating.
This HBR in Brief presents key ideas from a full-length Harvard Business Review article. See the entire article here.
Solve the Succession Crisis by Growing Inside-Outside Leaders by Joseph L. Bower
(Harvard Business Review, November 2007):
The most successful CEOs, on balance, are those who are developed inside the company—but manage to retain an outside perspective
When a CEO retires or steps down, companies are often left in the uncomfortable position of trying to find a new leader without having anyone in ranks who is prepared to take over the job. Bower argues that, rather than hiring an outsider as is often the case, companies should try to actively cultivate future CEOs on the fringes of the company. These employees would presumably have a hybrid "inside-outside" perspective. Bower very clearly outlines the numerous ways in which both outside and inside perspectives are essential to leadership, as well as the proper methods for "grooming" such individuals.
Please read more at http://harvardbusinessonline.hbsp.harvard.edu/.
I would like to end this newsletter by thanking you again for all the wonderful mutual support. I think there was nobody who did not contribute generously, therefore let me give my warmest thanks to ALL OF US! I very much look forward to our next conferences in Norway, in June 2008, and hopefully in NY in 2008!
Evelin, Europe, December 2007
William McConochie kindly wrote (05/01/2008):
Bill McConochie, a newly "lassoed" member of HDHS, has volunteered to spearhead/coordinate a research project to measure humiliation and related traits with several initial goals in mind. He's done a study of the Victoroff oppression questionnaire and learned that persons who feel oppressed tend to have felt differently and unpleasantly treated in their own homes as children. And, as a result, apparently are hyper-sensitive to "oppression" and see it everywhere, in teachers, police, governments, persons of other religions and of other countries. He's gathering hypotheses, references, definitions of humiliation, etc. and designing a research questionnaire that he and his core team will send out to all interested HDHS members for review and comment. He'll include an explanatory introduction/essay. The expectation is that we can agree on a final version of this and then Bill will put it on the Internet so HDHS members can get groups from anywhere in the world to complete it to provide data. Once a sizable sample is obtained, the file can be accessed by any HDHS member to analyze. We'll then publish the findings in one or more venues, perhaps including our new journal. Bill is excited, he says, as he expects we'll learn much from our project. For example, he expects that people who feel humiliated will also have been sensitized by childhood experiences. This will raise an intersting question: when is feeling humiliated not just "projection" but a legitimate offense in response to unjust and wanting community, national and world problems? Our project will be coordinated with a research project in the EU conducted by another HDHS member, Emanuela Del Re. Bill is especially grateful for help from Lee Beaumont, another HDHS member who has researched several key issues as groundwork and offered several hypotheses.