Saturday, December 11, 2010

Pace - Within and Without


Roland Sullivan has been the prolific social networker before the age of the net. From the greybeards in OD (Organisation Development) to Bob Marshak and Chris Worley of today; from Swami Shivanand, the late Udai Pareek to the Far East practitioners in developed and developing economies of the world, Roland is known to editors, conference events organizers and university professors all over the world. He has been at work with his Whole System Transformation agenda lately. He introduced me to the term 'dizzying' pace of change. That was in 2008. And the world has been a different place since then, right? Richard Florida's book the Great Reset is a virtual mind-grabber. IBM, Bersin, you name it - and they all have a phenomenal view of the future. It begins with complexity and is followed by creativity and expertise. Within work groups, I see the restlessness writ on the faces at discussion tables. They reflect the response, nay the reactions we offer to the environment around us at a Pace without precedent.
When cycling on a homely street for morning exercise, a few insights flashed by as the 'good pain' of cycling uphill got to my senses. Firstly, there's the self that is experiencing the change. Do I cause the change? What will inaction do to it? What action will enable it? Am I changing merely because all and everyone around me is changing? Whose action and inaction am I to be bothered about? The deterministic view is to say that adaptation is either to change one's expectation about the future or to change one's experiences as they come. There's the probabilistic view that says the deterministic view is possibly right. 
Slowing down on the uphill was a great leveler. The pain of adaptation is a reminder of the resources within me. The Pace within me had changed without me knowing it. The relentless and relaxed unconscious was already taking care of my needs. The determination and the probability were both at once upon my awareness. I was determined to reflect within, and accept the goings on around me. This was a determination that was without intent. This was a change with intent whose destination did not matter to me. The Koan and the Zen, the Yin and the Yang as forces of an abundant Nature. Awareness of being still is most valued in the turbulence of the dizzying paces.
So if the self did that, what do groups do to distill their collective awareness? What is in the collective unconscious that serves a group? What is within each group member that seeks the force of that or those outside of the self? What unifies the spirit of togetherness but the uniqueness of each member? What can we do to facilitate that state of awareness and resourcefulness? As my mind searched those answers, words and images flashed by from the virtual connect of the internet. 
The empty Nobel Chair in Oslo and the empty Parliament seats in New Delhi were more than the symbols of the large country economies. The noise of democracy and the stillness of communitarian control shone through as though each needed the other’s shadow. The virtues of moral conduct and the insanity of moral crusade are matters of deep intrigue. The nature of selfish attribution in success and the relinquishing self in the joy of selfless teaming explains much. The poverty of the spirit in the self that acquires all glory; and the richness of the group that shares all or anything at all that becomes of togetherness. stand apart. What is the 'will' that determines against the 'grace' that accepts? 
We take liberties with nature, assuming all the force in the space of a moment to make it grander than it can be. The grandeur of that thought is but a fleeting moment. The humility of self-acceptance will grace our surrender to the unknown. But that is slow in awareness. What unifies a group is in the light. What tears a group apart is its ignorance of what is in the group's shadow. Business aiming to be at the speed of light can slow considerably due to individual folly in the longer shadow of time. A minute of selfish glory could give way to years or millennia of genuine striving amidst the masses. Striving without sharing the moment with others could give way to endless search for meaning in a self that vainly seeks sanity from the multitudes who survive their moments.
Harmony is a pace within that resonates with what is without the self.