More Connection, Less Analysis?

More Connection, Less Analysis?

In challenging times like this, we need rich mutual connection at least as much as analysis.

Analysis is interesting but not powerful. Connection shows us what’s possible – possible for us personally and together. We need participation more than greater ideological clarification and purity. We need to hear and be heard, to build ideas together. It helps greatly to feel part of something bigger than ourselves.

I’m starting a free bi-weekly small groupto do this Collective SenseMaking starting November 11.  Call it Final Participation More below. Check if you’d like to join in.

Often we relegate the entire psycho-spiritual side of ourselves to our private meditations. It’s a cultural norm. The benefit of spiritual and human connection is much amplified when it’s brought out into the open in a shared spirit of collaboration. .

Again heartfelt connection is more beneficial for us, individually and collectively, than more refining of our ideological purity. 

Connection includes the recognition that we’re in this together. 

There’s  a price for thinking someone’s not in it with us. They feel we’re not in it with them. We miss the good and necessary things that come from mutual connection and support. Disconnection means that advantageous things fail to happen and pass by unnoticed. Disconnection is a symptom of the breakdown of community and it’s community that’s supports us.

 “When you break up the individuals from a community into individual units, they become disempowered because it’s the collective consciousness and the collective energy of the group from which power comes.”  – Bruce Lipton

We’re a long way from community at present. I often am! We’re a little like plants growing in an impoverished soil. The important community nutrients are not in wild abundance.

The strong emphasis that we place on the correct analysis of what’s happening in the world around us – the vaccines and passports, the Great Reset, corruption and deception – all these tend to reinforce a sense of scarcity and alarm. The resulting effects on the individual and the community promote a Pre-traumatic Stress Disorder I don’t mean that we’re helpless before it, only that there’s a pressure in that direction that the less well resourced among us are vulnerable to. Social distancing on the street, persistent isolation, long-term fear and alarm, concern over livelihood, anticipation of worsening future are all part of a common pattern. They weaken and threaten the social bonds of connection.

It becomes harder to connect to the deeper meaning of our lives, the potentially limitless spiritual reserves that surround us and the human community. Hope dims at moments and we can’t see it. Connection is stretched. When we try and reach out to another it may not be well received, not because the impulse wasn’t good but because the sense of disconnection was stronger than the reach in that moment.

A powerful antidote is what can happen in small groups – the being-together, the synchronicity, the surprise. Pre-Covid I hosted hundreds of hours of zoom calls, often with my friend Vihra Dincheva, to explore the mysterious more-than-the-sum-of-its-parts thing that’s been so valuable. When Covid struck, I keenly felt the intrusion of an alien and socially disruptive force in the collective social field. My sensitive BS antennae were abuzz and they still are. 

It feels important to plant new small group seeds now. What’s possible for us, individually and collectively? 

I invite you to  

Final Participation

No promises in this experiment. Sometimes it’s gold and sometimes tin but I welcome you to come on in!

​Thursday, November 11th at 11am Eastern time (4pm UK etc.)

Final Paticipation

Conversation time is  Come join in – register here! .Andrew

The Climate Conversation We’re Not Having

The Climate Conversation We’re Not Having

Is there a conversation around climate change and our survival – that we’re not having? That you’re not having? Could we invite that conversation and hold it live and online, face to face but perhaps around the globe?

Bill Kauth and I were imagining a conversation around climate breakdown (as some are calling it) and the human future – the conversation  we’d really like to have. It’s not so much about carbon in the air or rising seas, stuff we know about (though not NOT about them, either). It’s about what we don’t know about yet. We wanted a welcoming “room” for what’s showing up inside us when we consider the future for ourselves, our family – even human family since we belong to that too. A welcoming room where it was OK to talk about that without having all the answers, or even any of them.

This conversation is rare. My friend Heidi Hendersson did a series of in-depth interviews with sustainability students who, to a person, weren’t able to imagine a survivable future for themselves and their work. And they’re budding sustainability professionals! They had no language to talk about the human future because there had been no place for it. Bill and I wanted to create a pilot project to build such a place. One where we could sit with this question of climate and survival, for ourselves and others who wanted to sit with us. An experiment.

Not a gloomy room, not at all, but a room to welcome this strange guest, the unknown future and share how it is for us to be in relationship with it. What might we learn?

We wanted others who might come of their own choice into that conversation. There are no inducements or promises. This will be a welcoming space we hope, with every meeting in the spirit of the future we’d like to have. Our fear was that nobody would show up.

If you are interested, give us a call or email and let us know. There’s no dollar cost. We’re imagining a maximum of 12 people, and four 90 minute video calls in April, likely Tuesday mornings but that could change.

A word about us: With his wife Zoe Alowan, Bill Kauth builds bonded, long term, local communities. He’s also co-founder and Visionary-at-Large for the Mankind Project, a self-discovery adventure weekend that over 70k men have gone through. Graduates participate in over 1000 active ongoing Integration Groups.

Andrew MacDonald has been exploring and hosting online groups for some time. My book Evolutionary YOU: Discovering the Depths of Radical Change is about the personal and social possibilities of new conversation.

Bill writes: In his book Andrew introduces the “we-space” in a brilliant and original way that begs for an experiment. Given that both he and I have been climate activists for many years it feels like that is the appropriate overall topic of this very open exploratory conversation.

If you feel intrigued, please call!

Andrew MacDonald
Bill Kauth

Two Stories of Women and Men – Part 2

women and men part 2
plwhnawIn Part 1 I shared two stories of women and men that I’d heard in the previous week.
In one story a group of men supported a group of women who were defending a sacred site in Ireland. They stood outside the circle of women, protecting it and this gift was deeply felt by the women. In the other a mixed group of men and women who were exploring inner feelings and new consciousness gradually was reduced to women only. And the question was, why was that.
What a subject! To talk about women and men is to talk about everything and all in a little blog post! And what I did write failed to mail out due to a tech glitz caused by moi!
One reason for the difficulty is that the fascinating exploration of women and men isn’t best handled analytically.
Approaching it analytically or intellectually often makes it seem to be about two sides, which is pretty much where the conversation is in the developed west. Whereas what’s most useful – and true – about women and men together is our mutuality. Much better a safe enough place to deeply hear each other’s experience.
One entry point to the analytical conversation might be the little Viking fellow above.  A man with a helmet and a shield. His right hand is held up to his chest – perhaps he’s holding his heart. He looks ahead to his future with the small pupils that suggest fright. If he’s at all typical he has a name that celebrates martial ability because that’s how we named the men of old. And we still use those names. My own name Andrew means “strong;” my father Barry means “spear” and his father Louis’ name means “loud in battle.” If the little Viking is aghast at what he sees, who could blame him? He’s dressed to kill or be killed. There’s no pension, lousy pay, and a real possibility of not coming back alive. It’s not an enticing job opening. Yet men have always done it.
The view of evolutionary psychology is essentially that he’s fighting for his community and family and that he’s been bred for that in a survival oriented world. He’s been bred to put himself on the line so they can be safer.
Back at home his wife and the women of his community have a difficult job as well. She’s continually busy with feeding, clothing and cleaning for the children and making the home a refuge as best she can. She’s got little  time for herself and very little access to the affairs of the wider world, which after all, involve the negotiations that determine who fights who. But for all that, and because of both of their sacrifices, loves lives in the family. It was enough to make it safe for us.

These survivalist roles for women and men existed for a very long time. They weren’t optional, unless public scorn and censure of the cruelest kind is what you call a choice.  The roles weren’t socially visible either. Jane Austen for example, took the view she did, rather than the feminist viewpoint that came visible 150 years later, because the more modern perspective we see today wasn’t yet evolutionarily available. The old survival-based roles largely defined reality for women and men.

What about the story of the women who were defending the sacred site while the men were defending them. My guess is that the women inside the circle felt seen and held by the men – as a group – in a way they often didn’t in their usual lives. The men felt seen and valued offering that service. Each sex felt that they had a good place and a connection to the other. I’m guessing the women were “stunned” (as they described it) because this mutuality is seldom acknowledged in our time.

The story has some power, even for us who weren’t there, because we resonate with those archetypal roles deeply and bodily.

And yes the beginnings of change are upon us.

Maybe there’s a new world coming in which women can be fully agentic and in the world without being seen, by women or men, as less womanly or worthy. Maybe there’s a world coming in which men might permit a vulnerability that simply wasn’t possible in the survival-oriented world. (In that world, the name of the man who stopped to check his feelings when confronted with the tiger was often “Lunch”, as Ken Wilber and perhaps others have noted.)

This post-survivalist partnership hasn’t arrived yet.

What about the second story, the Focusing (body-centered inner inquiry) community in which the men dropped out until all were gone? (The “fewer men in personal growth areas” is often observed, of course, not only in this community.)

The short short answer is that men’s inner sense of vulnerability is still culturally hidden from both women and men alike. It’s in a position much like Jane Austen’s feminism was in its time, still invisible.

Men are slower because it was evolutionarily functional for women to ask men for help. She gets love, help and support by asking it of men. It’s part of her traditional territory to ask for help. It’s evolutionarily dysfunctional for him to ask for help. His role has been to protect and provide and he’s socially perceived as unmanly and unworthy for asking for help. Or to notice that he might like to have it.

A few notes towards the conversation we could be having in Part 3 very soon.

(I’ll share some news about my “Euro-pilgrimage” – which is already opening more doors than I dared hope for – soon.)