Theory of Change

Integral consciousness provides a new way of seeing–an expanded epistemology–that can recognize how two seemingly conflicting propositions can work together as a system for development. This way of seeing involves more than simply weighing the alternatives and assigning different degrees of worth to various components; it’s a method of understanding that requires an intuitive sympathy achieved only by entering into the alternative perspectives that generate the opposing values. When we look at value conflicts without this ability, winning or losing seem to be the only options. But when we come to recognize how these cultural structures are working together within a larger overall trajectory of historical development, this allows us to engage these structures more creatively.

Steve McIntosh, Developmental Politics

The strategies we use to widen perspectives and integrate politically opposed viewpoints are based on fresh insights into how worldviews form and how human culture evolves.  By illuminating major worldviews at work in Canada’s political and policy environment, we seek to expand the analysis of these dynamics in ways that can lead to new alliances and bold new policy initiatives.

I have chosen an excerpt from an article by Daniel Christian Wahl, Activism Revisited: Conscious Participation and Collective Intelligence to articulate our Theory of Change:

“In Reflections on Evolutionary Activism, Tom Atlee highlights three evolutionary dynamics:

i. Integration of diversity
ii. Constant alignment with reality, and
iii. Self-interest rooted in the wellbeing of the whole.

These are key characteristics of regenerative cultures aligned with the evolution of life.  They are also guidelines to help us, as individuals, keep on learning and contributing to the creation of regenerative businesses, communities and cultures.

Atlee begins his book by reminding us of the long evolutionary journey from the beginnings of the universe to our times.  Our bodies literally contain atoms forged in the death of giant stars.  As participants in this ever-transforming and evolving whole, we are expressions of what Atlee calls the Creative Power of the Universe (CPU).  He extends an invitation to all of us:

As evolutionary activists we can step out of [separation] and into the awareness that we are part of the ongoing creation of the universe, that our power is the Creative Power of the Universe working through us, and that we have a creative job to do, a really important undertaking to be part of.

We are the eyes and ears and hands and feet and heart and mind of the Creative Power of the Universe at work in our world at this time forming the first sustainable self-evolving, wise civilization ever seen on this planet. 

Every decision we make – including how to spend this precious moment and where to put our precious energy and which precious people to work with and how we are going to be with them – all these decisions are the Big CPU feeling its way about what to do next here, what is possible now. […] 

You and I are that Power, in that Power, of that Power.  Welcome home.  We’re all in this job together, backed up by the greatest creative force on Earth – and beyond.  Let’s go to work, as consciously, in tune, and together as we can manage.
– Tom Atlee (2009: 33-34)

He describes how a series of questions has guided his own journey as a life-long activist (and which our Sympatheia blog will focus on):

How can I help make a better world?
What is the meaning of self-organized collective intelligence?
How can activist groups become more collaboratively effective?
How can communities and countries be more collaboratively effective?
How can humanity wisely and creatively work with the crises of our time?
How can we help our social systems and cultures consciously evolve?
How can we grow into being evolution – and take responsibility for our role as the increasingly conscious co-intelligence of the
How do we activists humbly become the world consciously evolving in directions that deeply support all forms of aliveness?
-Tom Atlee (2009: 43-47)

The last two questions invite us deep into a participatory and evolutionary perspective, which we are participants in and expressions of, aiming to become more fully conscious of how our being and doing creates conditions conducive to life.”

The Sympatheia blog will highlight, discuss and champion these types of conversations and solutions.

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