A Technology Conversation About Lifting The Veil and Revealing Aletheia

Yesterday was a beautiful day and I had an enthusiastic conversation over lunch with a colleague who has read my blog.  We shared conversation about our “most enlightened” experiences and our interest and desire to have enlightened being occur “more often”.

Conversation is a fun, if not limiting, way to presence shared experience or the separate experience that comes from that shared place of who we all are.  We set off to lunch with an anticipated shared sense of commonality, an anticipation that we each mentally knew some of the same things and even that we had individually experienced some type of heightened state of being or being present.

Common language allows for a common way of describing the same things and knowing that another “gets” what you’re saying.  Often it’s the lack of shared language that freaks people out in conversations that are fear inducing such as the ones that  confront your ego.  In a powerful three part series of papers on rhetoric, Dave Logan from USC goes into great depth about these “terministic screens” and the way dual degree MD and MBA candidates were able to translate their medical practice into results in the financial world because of their ability to distinguish these two very distinct language vocabularies.  Having these dual terministic screens gave them the ability to powerfully distinguish things from each realm and tie the two together to make the other more useful.  http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=915321

During lunch with this “dual track” colleague of mine, who is both a long time network engineer in the Cisco Systems sense of the term, and a student of transformation/enlightenment/Buddhism/etc., I was pleased to have him suggest a model of viewing our existence in the exact same way as I was recently thinking and viewing it – through my similar dual terministic screen of vocabulary and modeling.  It’s not that it really IS this way, but it’s a way of viewing it that allowed each of us to share the idea and the experience in a way that each of us understood.

Understanding networks and the way they work requires knowing the OSI model.  If you’ve ever studied networking or ever wanted to one of the first things you’ll need to learn is the OSI model – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/OSI_model.  In simple terms, the model defines 7 layers of the network beginning at the lowest level with the “Physical” layer and moving up through the other six layers to the highest level which is the “Application” layer.  This model defines and allows various distinctions and interpretations to occur at the various layers – each within its own bounds but each complying to various rules that allow the other layers to interact in an expected way.  Certain flexibility but very specific rules.  Each with it’s own protocols and ways of interacting with the layer both directly above and directly below it.

His suggestion (had he thought of it this way before, or did my listening allow for and create it in the moment in conversation?) that there is an OSI model for our existence as human beings was fantastic.  We talked about our moments of enlightenment and how these occurred almost “below” the physical layer that we believe we interact with and we talked about how our allowing ourselves to come from and interact with more power from this Being layer allowed our applications or our Doing in the world to produce different results.  We also talked about people we’ve read or experienced and their unattachment to the various “higher” layers and that this unattachment allowed them to virtually shift the way “reality” occurred for those in their presence.

Mostly though I was just pleased that I was drawing out people around me that were willing to share their experience.  It is only through this conversation of network nodes that further realization of our human potential will occur.  Connected by dark matter, or being, or presence, or time and space, or whatever it is that we don’t yet know how to describe because we’re way up at the application layer, so far removed from the physical layer that we don’t speak in the same protocols, shouldn’t prohibit us from experimenting and reaching out to converse with each other openly and admitting that we may not really understand how it all works.  We know that there’s something there, connecting us all, maybe it’s Truth and Love or whatever words your terministic screens allow for, yet for now it’s mostly concealed behind the veil.  We get glimpses of it out of the corner of our eye or when we’re letting go of attachment to things. Join me in unconcealing, leave a comment, send me a note, have a conversation to explore – maybe you’ll expose the next human facebook riding at the application layer.  Maybe you’ll just experience Light and Beauty, Freedom, Truth and above all things Love.

With Nothing And Love,

Ed

Revolutions in Logic Result in Revolutions in Everything

I can’t explain it better than he already has.  Consider this and then consider what’s possible if our base assumptions of logic are just a little bit off…

http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/11/28/paradoxical-truth/

Not Everything Can or Should Be Broken Down to 5 Easy Steps

Tips abound on drawing traffic to your blog, or your web site or your garage sale.  They show up as advice to break things down into bite sized chunks, come up with the top 4 and a half ways to do something lists…keep them short.  I’ve read these “6 simple steps to be an amazing leader that people will follow through the top 7 obstacles your company will face”, “8.5 methods to cure your urinary tract infection”, “3.1 methods to make Windows Phone better than the iPhone” articles and some of them are posted on very reputable literary forums. I’ve been distracted and hooked by them by my lizard brain looking for that quick fix to whatever ails me.  But the Truth/Love/Aletheia about it, if you’re willing to do the work and uncover, unconceal and get to what lies at the heart of life is that not everything can be broken down and resolved in 5 easy steps.

Admittedly, my blog entries are wordy.  Some of them go on and on and I love it.  I write as much for me as for you, as we are really one in the same.  I’m also not interested in the short term change effort, the one that will satisfy me for a little while only to have the root issue, dilemma, problem, dysfunction, or organizational malformation resurface later.  Some of the concepts I want to put out there are emerging after quite a number of years of reflection and there really isn’t a short form way to express them.  Many of the diagrams and applications that I am developing need the form created by language first to accurately depict them to enable their graphical form to take shape, rather than creating the graphic first to cause misinterpretation about what the graphic is intending to say.

Most of the 5 easy steps to “fix” things are based in the inherent illusion that something’s wrong that needs to be fixed in the first place.  Really getting to the bottom of that illusion will be an ongoing underlying theme in these pages due to the persistent nature of that illusion. An unconcealing.  Change is an emergent phenomenon which means sometimes you have to let what is be, and let what’s happening happen.  And watch.  Inquire.  Make sense of.

This may, however, mean that I may not become the most popular blogger on the web.  If my aim were popularity, virality, clicks, retweets, and flash mobs of glory about my cardboard arcade (a really cool story by the way) then I will most likely fail in my ambition.  My ambition is already complete however.  It is no less than having love be present so that it may be experienced right now. (Are you experiencing that you are loved?  You little devil you…)

There are no 5 steps to removing all the barriers that human beings put up around themselves, to protect themselves, and make themselves look good (because they’re so afraid of what people may think of them if they look mad, bad or wrong).  There aren’t 3 ways to make your Organizational Change go perfectly and make you look like the brilliant beast that you are.  There aren’t 7.5 things you can do to be in this moment, not like a concept but as a phenomena, that allow you to experience all the manifested glory that each of us is – even if doing so will have leadership be a natural expression for you.  It takes some work, some reflection, some inquiry, some practice and experimentation.  Sometimes it even gets a little messy and doesn’t turn out the way you want it to.  If you can bypass your judgement just long enough to let the experience settle in, you’ll unconceal some of the Aletheia and experience perfection.  What’s there, if you look, will be love.

With Love,

Ed

We’re Stronger Together, Except When We’re Not

This blog and my life are about unconcealing what’s already there, getting closer “from” truth so it may be experienced, presenced and lived out of.  When we’re closest from truth there is an experience of love and being loved, a foundation from which all things are created.  I have no proof for this, but it is my assertion and it has been my experience.  I have also experienced that when we come from truth/love/aletheia we develop and design more powerful, stable and sustainable human institutions, relationships, and futures on top of a solid foundation.  Many of our common and current models of interacting with ‘reality’ leave us powerless and unstable, longing for and seeking something or resigned that we’ll never find what’s already surrounding us.  It’s an experience of insatiable hunger.  This makes sense to me now, having unconcealed enough of “what’s so” to be able to recognize these moments of clarity more readily.  From the moment we pop out of the chute, we are afraid, and cold, and crying for survival.  We go on in this confusion until we are able to settle into who we are, who we’ve always been, which had been concealed from our view.

Having said that, truth/love/aletheia is change which brings up that fear.  When standing in truth/love/aletheia change is. Truth/love/aletheia is right now and then it’s right now and then it’s right now.  It occurs as change to us as our memory works to process what has happened to position us to better deal with an uncertain future.  This post is a start at pointing out the paradox or dialetheia that occur alongside change.  It’s also about disrupting the world as we know it today and intentionally designing a future and a world that works, whether that be an individual world, an organizational world, or a whole wide world.  

Change is loaded language.  People know many things about change including that “The more things change, the more they stay the same.”, or that “People don’t resist change, they’re just more attracted to something else.”, or that “You can’t change, Rocky!” (did I mention yet that I’m a fan of the Rocky movies?  You can hold it against me if you like or love me more because of it…either way I love them!), and on and on.  Yet change from truth/love/aletheia has very little to do with knowing anything.  Change is regardless of what you know or don’t know.  There is however the discomfort that arises with the uncertainty and the illusion that we like to create of having some control.   Especially when things are working, can we even keep our selves from wanting to keep them working?  Or when they’re not working, that longing for all of it to be other than it is.

Intentional change requires knowing some things and paradoxically it’s an emergent phenomenon requiring giving up the control illusion.  To be able to see that something has changed you do have to know what is now, and then you have to intend what is to be then. Change is measured from one point in time to another, based in some result or metric.  The requisite of change is measuring or identifying some starting point so you can get to another point with another result and say, “Look, something’s changed.”, or maybe “Things have changed ‘the same’ over a period of time”, or sometimes, “Awww man, this stinks, nothing’s changed”, or whatever your favorite whine is. 

Anyway, getting comfortable with intentional change takes practice and a willingness to play.  It’s honestly pretty straightforward to do once you’ve done it with intentionality and if you haven’t an amazing model of “how intentional change happens” has been designed through years of research by Dr. Richard Boyatzis, one of my professors in my MPOD program.  The model, known as Intentional Change Theory (ICT), was the most pleasant surprise of MPOD for me.  I’ll be honest.  I’d never heard of Boyatzis or his theory or his work with Daniel Goleman and I’d never even heard the term Emotional Intelligence prior to my coursework.  I couldn’t believe my good fortune when I got into my second residency and started to read this stuff.  Talk about resonance.  This reading was an amazing and accurate representation of any change effort I’d ever put myself through.  Quitting smoking. developing the relationship of my dreams, creating a powerful relationship with my father, building a successful IT career, becoming a Master of Active Directory, creating a laundromat empire (laughing)…all of these successful change processes followed the spiral of ICT. 

My favorite paper reads currently are regarding the use of Intentional Change Theory in the development of groups that work.  Which is what has brought me to this post.  Because the theory is so clear, and at the same time so unknown, I want those of you who are out there struggling with change to understand a couple of phenomena that I’ve noticed.  They’re not always described in the papers that I’ve read, yet they’re painfully obvious from experience. 

The first of these phenomena goes back to measurement and touches on some of my other posts regarding knowing one’s Self.  It points to one of our delusions that keeps us from experiencing truth/love/aletheia and it’s something that I first experienced through my work with Werner Erhard.  It’s the notion of where one occurs, first for yourself as a phenomenon and then for and to others or yourself reflected from others (The meaning of the gesture is in the response – my favorite Complex Responsive Process folks say).  Werner distinguishes it as the “listening” that one is, or the space, or the clearing.  Since it’s a phenomenon in and of language, listening is the clearest distinction for me. 

Said more clearly, hopefully, I listen myself a certain way.  To use a specific example, when I smoked, I was a smoker.  There was no doubt about it.  I knew I loved it, I was addicted to it, every day the first thing that I’d reach for when I woke up was a cigarette, I knew that I wouldn’t be able to quit, and everything about myself occurred inside of that “listening” I had for myself.  In Intentional Change Theory, this is explained as my real self.  To change, I first had to invent a vision of me, occurring in the future, as my ideal self.  By practicing and experimenting with different behaviors (I subconsciously had taken stock over my many attempts to quit of my strengths and weaknesses, though they didn’t seem to occur in my experience, they did) and I, through trial and error and very unceremoniously, developed a learning plan which eventually led me to stop smoking for good about 8 years ago.  I sit here today as that Ideal Self, the person who knew at that point that if he could just quit smoking, would be able to do anything.  Here it is, anything.

Seriously.  This is anything, and nothing, and everything.  It wasn’t possible prior to inventing and fulfilling that vision of my ideal self.  It took a lot, there were many times that the hope generated by the vision of this future just wasn’t there.  That is the individual aspect, and I think it’s pretty clear, especially in hindsight the way it worked.  The Theory is a validation of the process I went through.  There is a more insidious aspect to this “listening one’s self” bit though, it’s pretty well concealed and difficult to distinguish until you’re out of it, or until somebody points to it. 

If you can see that we’re unconscious about the way we “listen” ourselves, you’ll recognize that we’re very unconscious about the way we “listen” other people.  It’s pointed to in ICT as the “Ought Self”, as the way it occurs for us, and there are additional studies that show the way our listening imposes an outcome on others.  This ought self has a pull to it which reminds me of the first attack in the movie Jaws.  She was out there swimming, just doing her thing and then it came and pulled her under.  She did her best to rise above it but it wouldn’t let her go and eventually just dragged her under.

Again, I’ll use the smoking example though I have more pernicious and wicked examples that come more readily to mind.  In the smoking example, we all reinforced each other.  See, I grew up with a group of fellows that I’d known since grade school.  Many of us started smoking together in high school and we “knew” each other a certain way.  Knowing people that way and being known that way is a very powerful mechanism – I mean, we REALLY knew each other.  So much so, that we knew each other’s strengths and knew each other’s weaknesses.  This is where much of my base experience of being loved developed…when you are loved fully for exactly who you are and for exactly who you are not and it’s never expected that you should be any other way…that is what it is to be loved.

When you are unaware of the way reality is created however, through Social Constructionism, you may find yourself stuck by the very people who love you.  They certainly don’t do it to be malicious or to hold you down, because of course they want what’s best for you (except when they don’t because they do know you’re trying to change and it scares the bejeezus out of them because they think that change isn’t already happening anyway – ha – another post, on another day).  There came a day though, with those friends that loved me, when I realized that if I was ever going to fully realize myself, or at the very least quit smoking, that I may have to separate myself enough from them to experiment and practice with new behaviors.  To surround myself with supportive people who knew that in my Ideal Self future I didn’t smoke.  My lungs are pink as my ideal self…pink as the day I was born.

I made the determination, after a while of actually pulling it off (not smoking) on my own or in my newer circle of support, that when I did immerse myself back into experiences with my friends that before I had a cigarette I would first leave where I was, being with them.  It wasn’t that I didn’t love them, but I knew that, as Martin Luther King said, “I cannot be who I ought to be until you are who you ought to be.”, and that as much as they were constraining and enabling me I was constraining and enabling them.

What’s the point then?  Be aware of the power your listening has of those around you, be aware of the power that the listening of those around you has on you, and never, ever be afraid to sometimes step out on your own and find some new friends.  Your old friends will someday love you all the more for it.

With Love,

Ed