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Attitudes of the Worldworker

A central aspect of the post-newtonian paradigm is the focus on the relationship between the observer, the method of observation and the observed event. Newtonian physics postulated a fixed framework within which the universe exists. Reality was seen as some sort of play that was happening on an immovable stage, observed (measured) through the neutral lenses of the observer’s lorgnette. When Michelson-Morley devised an experiment at the end of the 19th century to find the fixed frame, or the stage so to speak, everyone was shocked to learn that there was none. To make matters worse, they were even able to prove that there was no stage to be found ever. If anything the “stage” was a concept that resulted from the projection or attitude of the observer. Quantum Mechanics, with Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle and conclusions that have been drawn from the double slit experiment, etc., is a system that explains reality as a relationship between the observer, the observed event and the method of observation. Paradoxically, the point at which we draw the lines to delineate these three entities is arbitrary. Watch an accomplished couple dancing the tango: at which point do you draw the line between the influence of dancer one on dancer two? And how do you differentiate that influence from the influence of the music onto the two dancers? This delineation is arbitrary, yet the Tango describes the relationship between the three. Within this new paradigm, not even the concept of “the observer” follows a common sense definition. “Observation” is rather a quality that belongs non-locally to the universe. When we say “observation”, we also say “attitudes”. Many physicists smile at the naïve new age interpretation of the Heisenberg principle - that the attitude of the observer influences the final emergence of the observed event - yet there is some truth to that idea. More complicated is the notion that the event itself is “looking at” or “observing” the spectator, and creating the final result of the attitude that is emerging in the “observer”.

If we believe that a person with a green thumb has a special attitude and aptitude for growing plants, we omit a possible quantum effect, which might suggests that it may be the plants that are attracted to that person for one reason or another, and therefore instill in that person an interest and aptitude towards plant life. We will discuss more of these weird quantum effects when we discuss strategies at some point further down the line.

I have described below some attitudes that are helpful for working with organizations and communities. There are many more that are not listed here, which you will find mentioned in other places on this site. Please look at them in view of what I write above. These attitudes don’t have an isolated existence within the observer; they are part of the entire group. The Worldworker is merely trained to notice these qualities and temporarily “own” them, to lead others to pick them up and manifest them in their own ways.

Openness of the shaman

The above reflections create the background of an important attitude of the Worldworker, which can also be found in shamanism. If we remain open and focused on everything that we experience, we can use the awareness of our own experiences to understand better what happens in an organization at large. The concept of the “neutral facilitator” is replaced with the concept of the “open facilitator”, which includes openness to one’s own experience. Worldwork theory suggests that in a field in which roles switch constantly and quickly, we are facilitators/participants, leaders/followers, speakers/listeners, authorities/rebels, etc. As open facilitators, we can allow ourselves to notice these various roles as they emerge in our personal experience, and use them to understand the organization better. For example, if you look at the teller behind the counter, you can guess what kind of person the CEO is. If you are not happy with the teller, exchanging the CEO won’t help, because the two represent roles that belong to the myth of the organization. However, your reaction towards the teller is an important “measurement” of the organizational field. Your own experience is not yours alone, but belongs to the community as a whole and allows you to measure or test the organizational stream.

Detachment and Attachment

In order to remain open to one’s own and others experiences, we need detachment. If I experience myself as being closed to the communication style of the leader of an organization, I must have the ability to have and track several experiences at the same time. First, I must allow myself to notice how I close up. Second, I must remain open to my experience of closed-ness, and open to studying what the person does that closes me up. Third, I must form a hypothesis or start a dialogue that unfolds the behavior that closes me up. Detachment is not, not caring – in fact it’s just the opposite. Detachment requires love and care for the whole and for the process between all parts, as well as the ability to notice it, understand it, and facilitate it. The paradox of detachment is that you actually have to detach from the concept of detachment itself, so to speak, in order to allow yourself true attachment and involvement, while at the same time remaining detached in the midst of it all.

Loving Love and Hate

In my youth I struggled a lot with natural sciences. I still do, but now this struggle has become a fun, adventurous and enriching pastime. Arnold Mindell has been a great inspiration on this path, and has encouraged me to follow my interests in studying math and physics, and to go back to the studies of my original field, biology and medicine. One of my early struggles in physics was that I didn’t understand gravity. The physics teacher at the high-school that I went to presented the formulas associated with it, but I was frustrated - I couldn’t see how these formulas explained gravity. I considered myself completely stupid, and like many of us, hid my frustration, gave up, and hated natural science instead. At the university, during my first year of pre-medicine, physics was a required topic, and I was lucky to finally find a teacher that I loved. Prof. Brun was a passionate mountain climber and often talked in his lectures about his climbs. Having grown up myself in the Swiss mountains, climbing, and feeling then isolated in the city, I thought I had found someone that I could trust. I went to him and explained my dilemma. He understood at once and said: “You know that no one understands gravity, or anything in physics really. We observe and can find rules around how gravity affects certain things that we know, but we have no clue what it is, why it actually works, or where it comes from.” I felt incredibly relieved, and became open to learning and studying about those rules, now free to continue thinking what I had always believed, that gravity was a scientific term for what we call love - that mass is attracted to mass, but so are people, attracted to one another in the same way. But then how about hate and repellence? In my view, love has two aspects – there is “little love” and there is “big love”. Little love is important. It includes the positive feelings we have for team members, for our friends, etc. Big love, conversely, is not personal. It is a sense of joy and celebration of the Universe, which includes little love, but also hate and repellence, for example. Hate has created as many intimate connections as has love, and plays an important role in community building. You got to love it, both in yourself and in others, or else you can not really understand it and make it useful to the collective that you are working with.

Curiosity of the Mystic

Working with organizations is maybe one of the most exciting adventures there is. Facilitating the process of an individual is fabulous. Think of an individual as an instrument, and the universal mind as using that instrument to play a tune. Facilitating the process of an individual is both helping the person to become aware of the tune so that he or she can actively play along, and assisting the individual in honing the instrument so that the tune can come out clearer. Now think of an organization as an orchestra, through which the quantum mind is playing a concerto written by the mysterious master of the universe, and directed by the organization’s present leadership. As a facilitator, you must assist each individual in becoming aware of the tune that is being played, and the instrument that he or she finds herself playing with. As you know, the conductor does not write the piece, and can’t be expected to. She is hired to understand the repertoire and to work out its interpretation with the orchestra. The facilitator of organizational processes must be a music lover. She or he must understand that only the orchestra and the conductor will be able to play the piece, and that her/his job is to assist in their process of becoming aware of what they are doing. By the same token, the leader must understand that she is a conductor, and that leading is not really leading in the old fashion sense of the word, but more like conducting. It is an effort to assist the band in a collaborative endeavor that allows them to follow the tune precisely, make space for solos, and focus on the timing of the flow. This requires humility, love, strength, the ability to push and also to yield, and above all devotion to the composer and to the music – finally and in short, it asks for the romantic deep curiosity of the mystic.

Love for Consensus Reality

Consensus Reality - as all students of mysticism, couples in love, jihad suicide bombers, nighttime dreamers, or actually anyone who ever had any kind of mind-altering drug experience and remembers it, would agree - is vastly overrated. We have heard countless testimonies of individuals who believed that consensus reality was the alpha and omega of existence per se, only to find when they were forcefully thrown out of it that in one way it is actually a shabby three dimensional illustration of the multidimensional miracle called life! Many of us struggle through consensus reality and long for the day that we can afford to leave it. This complicated relationship to consensus reality shows itself in many quick fantasies and feelings. We might have quick suicidal thoughts that come in a variety of forms- the impulse to drive the car straight at the curve, not wanting to get up in the morning, hoping for or looking forward to retirement or a vacation, hoping to win the lottery, etc. – these are all fantasies to escape from material life. Worldwork values equally the immeasurable aspects of our existence and the measurable, but not more!! Measurable life, consensus reality, and all that goes with it is a central, fun, and exciting aspect of who we are. Having a body, using it, enjoying the earth, touching a tree, making, spending, losing, keeping or giving money, all belong to this realm. If we focus only on the bottom line of an organization, we are like a director who spends all of his energy inspecting instruments, without ever getting the band to pick them up and play the tune. The audience will sit there disappointed. However, if we don’t think that the bottom line is the indispensable key to community health, we are like the director who has accomplished great teamwork, perfect understanding, and deep experiences within the band, but has not noticed that the players don’t have their instruments with them, and the audience is sitting there, just as disappointed. No concert tonight!! The ability to study and analyze organizational structures, appreciate the importance of administration, financial analyses and competitive advantage, understand visions and translate them into strategies, and create action plans, is as vital as one’s relationship to the emerging spirit. The two categorizations are in fact expressions of the same, and only separated through the observer’s preference for one.

Humor and Crises

"Good," said Don Juan Matus. "When confronted by the unfathomable, a warrior either makes a joke about it or he takes it seriously, and it destroys him."

Optimism and Warriorship

“You can make yourself either miserable or strong”, said Don Juan Matus, “both involve the same amount of work.”

© 2006. MaxFxx
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