I’ve been working with Jerry Ashton on Let’s Rethink This since the concept was just a gleam in Jerry’s eyes last fall. When he first presented the concept I thought it was intriguing. The more I thought about it and the fact that the world is in such deep shit, the more and more I came to realize that practically everything requires some rethinking.
As the team came together and we went through the bumpy process of conceiving the startup Jerry has often used the mantra "trust the process". I listened to Jerry and would rethink the phrase. I listened to John Coltrain’s A Love Supreme as I chanted "Trust the Process." It's a powerful phrase, a phrase often used in sport’s jargon. It can be a magical phrase with deep meaning.
For me, at the most fundamental and personal level, the phrase can mean "Trust the Way". The Tao Te Ching, is a Chinese philosophy book written over 2500 years ago by Lao Tzu, a humble historical figure known as “the old boy”, containing 81 simple chapters. It is considered by many as the wisest book ever written. The Tao is “the Way”.
The tao that can be told
is not the eternal Tao
The name that can be named
is not the eternal Name
At the level of the Tao, trusting the process means trusting the universe. I believe that this approach could be considered “radical middle of the road.” Stepping outside of the left/right paradigm and conflict while attempting to live in harmony with the universe, in harmony with nature.
From a human perspective, how do we trust the process when we find ourselves in the 6th great extinction and environmental catastrophe, the greatest wealth disparity that has ever existed, and increasing social division and breakdown?
From a systems and sensemaking perspective, a different approach is taken. Some questions we might ask are: What is a trusted process? Is there only one process? Does the process have an outcome? If we are trusting the process, shouldn’t we make sense out of it? These are some of the questions and issues we hope to rethink.
The 10th Anniversary of Occupy Wall Street, on September 17th marks the time when Jerry and I first met in Liberty Park. After ten years we are now looking back and revisiting through the lens of rethinking. Occupy was an amazing event to have been involved in. It was a spark, it was the first truly global people’s movement with over 3,000 Occupations worldwide. Yes, even an occupation in Antarctica, staged by research communities, appeared.
Occupy rang the alarm on a globally dysfunctional system, a dysfunctional process. The noise in the streets woke people up. It has helped to set the ground for other mass movements such as Black Lives Matter and the Extinction Rebellion. The public movements and demonstrations are like alarm bells - a wake-up call.
From a systems perspective, we could ask what would be the most effective way for the opposition to fight back and suppress the noise? The opposition could attempt to be louder, it could create so much noise as to drown out the impact of any other noise. If citizens have alarm clocks, the opposition has air raid sirens.
The noise from the opposition acting like a white noise machine creates a masking effect, blocking out coherent narrative, obscuring truth leading to malignant normality. This function is being accomplished through a KGB-developed propaganda technique Firehose of Falsehood.
“in which a large number of messages are broadcast rapidly, repetitively, and continuously over multiple channels (such as news and social media) without regard for truth or consistency. Since 2014, when it was successfully used by Russia during its annexation of Crimea, this model has been adopted by other governments and political movements around the world.” (source)
Just keep pumping NOISE into the system. Distract everyone with confusing noise, divide and fractionalize the population as much as possible, and pump as much noise into the system as possible. We are in a world of Post Truth politics, a world of ongoing propaganda war. Social control through deliberate Mindfuck, the new realpolitik.
We can no longer trust a system that has grown pathological nor the multitude of processes of which the system is composed. How can we begin to understand the popularity of QAnon?
Sensemaking is an emerging academic discipline that is founded on a comprehensive systems design approach to problem-solving. Sensemaking is an antidote to propaganda. Based on systems theory and complexity sciences, it gives us the tools to rethink from a higher perspective. The methodologies enable us to build trusted processes, processes that work.
A major step towards once again trusting the process and ultimately the system. There is no left/right way to design and engineer a helicopter, the same is true for a healthy society and environment. Through sensemaking, we are now developing the tools to start visualizing the world we want while engineering the most effective solutions.
Our individual, environmental, and social crises are all fundamentally a crisis of consciousness.
This is something to think about. Perhaps even, rethink.
The Sensemaking section of Our Newspaper contains many introductory videos to help you to get acquainted with sensemaking as an approach.
Let's Rethink This members also have access to the Sensemaking Collaboration group for additional videos, information, and discussions.