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Rethinking Complexity

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Posts tagged with the category Transformative Learning

I have been teaching systems thinking as an approach to deal with complexity for many years. Complexity has become a catch word, something that is recognized as a part of modern life, something that should not be ignored or simplified. We have too many examples of reductionist approaches that tried to solve a problem through a technological (quick...
When I left my job to start out on my own, after 4.5 years of working with a non-governmental organization (NGO) in underserved communities in Ghana, I knew I wanted to work with people. My experience working in these communities brought me closer to people in a different way. I was slowly able to relate to what their needs were, and I found that...
This is the title of a seminar I will be offering next week at Saybrook’s Residential Conference to launch the spring semester. I’m excited to be offering it in collaboration with my dear friend and colleague Nora Bateson who has produced a profound film about her father — the anthropologist and systems theorist Gregory Bateson....
Fear is often a hidden and unconscious emotion, an emotion that is at the root of our inaction and ‘stuckness’ in our careers and personal lives. What we often see on the surface are the symptoms of fear. Those symptoms may manifest in many ways: as anger, grief, physical pain (yes, physical pain), lack of energy and motivation,...
One morning last week, I awoke from a strange dream. I don’t recall all the particulars, but it involved a scene where I was living and working with a group of “not-quite-human” creatures made of silicone, integrated circuits and bio-engineered, synthetic flesh. These engineered creatures seemed to have acquired human-like...
The Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) program developed by Jon Kabat Zinn at the University of Massachusetts Medical School is now a global phenomenon with programs running in every continent. Mindfulness studies conducted from the school’s Center for Mindfulness in Medicine, Health Care, and Society, and involving over 20,000...
These days, I find myself eager for spaces designed for emergence. I think I have graduated from the “pretend to be in control” stage and I'm now getting acquainted to the “be ready to be surprised” stage. My life’s philosophy has always been: everything is learning. But now, I have an intense awareness that every...
When the pace of things is fast and we have too much to do, we drain our inner resources --resources that are necessary for creativity. Stress is an energy hog that depletes our concentration, and it cuts us off from our best thinking. There's a whole bunch of brain science behind this.  Practices from Mindfulness & MBSR that spark...
In a letter to Jean-Baptiste Leroy in 1789, Benjamin Franklin stated: “our new Constitution is now established, and has an appearance that promises permanency; but in this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.” I would add to this quote the fact that change is also certain. In a way, both death and taxes are...
Photo provided by Kathia Laszlo
One of the wonderful things about being part of Saybrook’s community is the opportunity to connect with and continue to learn from the faculty teaching in the different schools and programs. Ever since I was enrolled as a student in the late 1990s, I have been an admirer of the profound scholarship, intellectual brilliance, and refreshing...
Photo courtesy of BlueMeme.blogspot.com
Consciousness is a term related to awareness. Awareness of what? Awareness of ourselves and others. Those things we can observe and those that we cannot. Those we can measure and those we intuit. Individually, our consciousness is a product of our capacities and capabilities in relation to our life conditions, those elements that impact how we...
Photo courtesy of ChicagoSnowboarders.com
Last February, I went snowboarding for about the 18th time in 14 years. When 50, on a bit of a lark, I learned how to snow board. I was already too old to do this. The young boarders call any boarder over 50 “a gray on a tray,” and that was me. I so loved it. The joy of swooshing down the huge, miles-long slopes in Utah or Colorado....