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Ted Lumley has for several years succeeded in challenging my thinking in ways that have gradually changed my old worldview.
This thoughtful response to Hal & Sidra Stone's open letter to President Bush is well worth the read.
Ted's website, where many of his articles are archived, is: www.goodshare.org.
love & peace,
Date: Mon, 24 Feb 2003 00:22:40 -0800
To: paul Swann <email@example.com>
From: ted lumley <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: Fwd: An Open Letter to President George W. Bush From Hal Stone, Ph.D and Sidra Stone, Ph.D
western psychologists and psychotherapists, the mainstream, have `taught us' for years that we are `independent' beings whose actions are the causal source of the world dynamic, . . . the good and the bad dynamics.
it would seem that this `causal' model itself is the inductive source of social dysfunction. the scottish psychiatrist ronald laing said so, and many others have as well.
psychologists embrace a cybernetic model wherein the `aberrant' individual suffers from his inability to `correctly interpret' the reality around him.
the job is to correct the interpretive ability of the person with the `disordered thoughts', and restore him to `normality'.
but as laing says;
"What we call `normal' is a product of repression, denial, splitting, projection, introjection and other forms of destructive action on experience. It is radically estranged from the structure of being." (The Politics of Experience, 1967, R.D. Laing)
so western psychologists and psychotherapists, well meaning people that they are (and were surgeons not well-meaning in the pre-semmelweis era who caringly intervened without washing their hands?) see the `answer' to our current dysfunction in terms of restoring the disordered thinking of george bush to `normality'.
if only, if only, . . . if only, . . . george could have the wisdom that we have, . . . to interpret the world in a `normal' way, . . . if only, if only, . . . then "all shall be well and all manner of thing shall be well."
this model is one that accepts `control' and those that `control' as the mainstay of managing the social dynamic.
we are trying to `correct' the wrong fault. it is not the `tactics' of the IRA that are wrong, . . . it is the ethic of control that is wrong. one cannot proxy one's morality and ethics up a control hierarchy and entrust them in a `commander-in-chief'. there is no control-hierarchy-based path to community harmony, . . . harmony is the path.
what is the ground that the `hero' and `saviour' archetype are standing on? it is not the archetype of `control hierarchy', . . . the `controller in chief' archetype, . . . or in other words, the `commander-in-chief' archetype that sits waiting for each incumbent president (as contrasted with the ecological / transformationalist archetype of the `elder', who, by being a mirror that reflects the community back to itself, uses induced transformation as a way of dealing with dissonance, rather than control-based purification).
the basic premise of mainstream psychology and psychotherapy is the archetype of the `independent self', . . . the abstract notion of the `independence' of the constituent leading directly to the control hierarchy and the proxying of local power to the `commander-in-chief' to `do it on behalf of the self-disempowering little people' rather than leading them in a grass-roots transformative effort.
Mitakuye-Oyasin (mi-TAHK-wee-a-say) means we are all related -- Ojibway language
Chief Seattle proclaims we are part of the Web of Life. What I do to you, I do to myself. What you give me, you give to the Universe. What the Universe gives, she gives to us. What I feel, you feel. What you become, I become. You are not alone, nor am I. You are forever with me and I with you. We are brothers and sisters on the Web of Life.
Manifest Mitakuye-Oyasin. Relate, connect to your sisters and brothers. See the similarities, not the differences. Recognize that water is ice, as well as vapor. Hear the one heartbeat and embody the awe of life. (mi-TAHK-wee-a-say) means we are all related -- Ojibway language
no, this `interconnectedness' that argues for a `transformational leadership' approach is not what hal and sidra stone are looking for. they imply that there is nothing wrong with the commander-in-chief archetype of the control hierarchy that the restoring of a more `normal' commander-in-chief wouldn't fix; i.e. one `like you and i', whose mind hadn't been `taken over' by an inappropriate `archetype' such as the `hero' or `saviour' archetype
but hasn't history shown us that there is a problem with the western tradition that sees us all as `disconnected' individuals ('independent individuals') and therefore that the only practical organizing influence for the social dynamic is `control-hierarchy based'?
what about `power corrupts; . . . absolute power corrupts absolutely', . . . ???
In 1887, in a letter to Bishop Mandell Creighton, John Emerich Edward Dalberg Acton ~ a.k.a. Lord Acton ~ wrote, Historic responsibility has to make up for the want of legal responsibility. Power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely. There is no worse heresy than that the office sanctifies the holder of it.
there is no `legal responsibility' for the most powerful as they `are the law'.
if one examines, in history, the list of historically revered leaders who were never `brought to justice' by the people they inflicted genocide on, . . . the list is long. count amongst them the English prime ministers and kings/queens from 1200 A.D. onwards in the case of the English oppression of Ireland and the Irish, . . . and count among them a long line of American Presidents starting from George Washington who seized native lands, made treaties with no intent of keeping them, . . . broke agreements and oppressed and inflicted genocide on the indigeneous Native American peoples.
there is a problem with the archetype of `commander-in-chief' who the people proxy even their moral decision-making powers to, . . . and, in the western `purificationist' way of thinking, to proxy the powers to `purify', to `eliminate' and to `suppress'.
but `purification' by `control' is not the only form of `leadership', . . . there is also `transformational' leadership via inductive influence.
the great transformational leaders; e.g. Jesus, Gandhi, Mandela possessed a charisma that was not based on black/white judgmentalism and toughness; it was an expression of the word's original meaning: "grace" and "rejoice." transformational leaders focus on possibility space where those with a control ethic (purificationist ethic) see things in terms of limits and barriers that must be disposed of. transformational leaders have the discipline to speak the language of possibility against the tide of the prevailing conversation about what is impossible and what will never happen.
the `transformative leadership' concept of the indigenous native american peoples, based on the interconnectedness of all people, differs radically from the control hierarchy based purificationist concept of western leadership; i.e.;
There is no fundamental barrier to prevent us from successfully shifting to an ecological style of management. What currently impedes us is the leadership ethic. Here's how Taiaiake Alfred ('Peace, Power, RIghteousness: an indigenous manifesto) describes (paraphrased) the current leadership versus what's needed, . . . and my experience is in strong agreement with his;
In the `control hierarchy', the `guiding principles' of leadership which you can expect to run into are;
--- jealously guard your reputation and status.
--- constantly analyze resources and the opportunity structure.
--- make others aware of their dependence on you; and
--- create a web of relationships to support your power.
What is seen in `ecological management' situations, such as in high performance teams, . . . are leadership principles more akin to the following counsel which is given to newly appointed chiefs in the Kaienerokawa (Iroquois nations);
--- `develop skin seven spans thick, which means that your mind will be strong and it will not let pass through a pointed object meant to puncture you while you work'
--- `protect your family and nation*, . . .'
---'be even-handed with all of the people, . . .'
--- `think of others before thinking of yourself, . . .'
[*the notion of `nation' here is a nation of people, not a piece of jealously protected, sovereign turf.]
by accepting the `independence' of the individual, western psychologists implicitly accept the notion of control-based leadership (purificationist leadership), and thus the `george bush' problem becomes one of replacing the `commander-in-chief' whose thinking has been taken over by the `hero archetype', by another whose `thinking is normal' (e.g. `normality' as in `speak softly but carry a big stick', as theodore roosevelt said).
but restoring `normality' to the `commander-in-chief' that sits at the top of a humongous control hierarchy does nothing for the dysfunction innate in the `control ethic' (as contrasted with the transformational ethic);
clearly, hal and sidra want to `restore normality' to the top of the control hierarchy;
"Something happened to you on September 11, 2001 that we don't think you understand. Something that felt wonderful. On that day you were taken over by the hero archetype"
but the normality of control, . . . even `benevolent control' as in "he may be a bastard but he is our bastard" (as franklin d. roosevelt said of somoza's dictator father), . . . is innately dysfunctional.
what we need is `eco-ethics-leadership' based on `transformation' rather than leadership based on control-based purification, no matter how well it succeeds in building crony collaboration and avoids `polarization' (the tyranny of the majority will do fine, as it has done for centuries in world power-politics*).
transformational leadership is not where the US presidency is. there is nothing `normal' in the sense of `natural' about purificationist leadership, . . . whether or not it manages to aroused an obsequious cronyism that sublimates polarization or whether its purificationist policies involve full frontal polarization.
the community of nations (people-nations as contrasted with legalized sovereign ownership of land) is diverse and the `ordering approach' in natural diversities is by `transformation' rather than by control-based `purification' based on the most powerful's view of `what is good for everyone'.
individuals need to take back their moral proxies, . . . and that is what is happening in the demonstrations all around the world [See www.hyperreal.org/~dana/, http://www.punchdown.org/rvb/F15/, and http://www.arbeiterfotografie.com/galerie/reportage/]
(* what i am saying here, with sarcasm, is that if the cronies all `fall in line', then it appears like non-polarized unanimity at the level of global `leadership' and the polarization is pushed down below the level of power-mongering leadership to the interface between the people and the `leadership', . . . something that is being induced by the powerful cronyizing forces of transnationals in the `global economy'.)