Posts Tagged 'Radical Middle'

Disagreement is a puzzle, not a problem

Disagreement is a puzzle, not a problem.

Disagreement is an opportunity to learn, to create a greater whole.

The problem is hostility.

Arrogance, ridicule, self-righteousness, disrespect, spurious and misleading arguments are all forms of hostility – non-physical violence.

The good news is that many of us who disagree on important things, still agree that hostility is a mistake: We don’t have to defend ourselves from each other. We are only defending ourselves from the hostility we fear coming from others.  

Yet,  many also attack to gain control, or to defend, pre-emptively.

When the dominant paradigm (social rule) is to gain control and defend, then forget learning, forget creating a greater whole, ultimately, forget keeping the Earth alive.  Fortunately, at least, this is becoming more obvious.  Competing desires to gain control is finally becoming a threat to everyone.

OK, so now the problem is that while many of us agree that we keep making the same mistakes, we’re still having trouble agreeing on common solutions.  

Learning to listen, and talk without defenses, has become a very tricky thing !  This is what we have to work on.


The Radical Middle, Willie Nelson and Authenticity

The signs indicate that a majority of Americans are getting tired of bi-partisanship, and especially tired of phony positions and policies designed only to win elections (and to increase the power and wealth of the proponents).

The Radical Middle is one name for the movement to unite diverse perspectives into a collective search for truth and best solutions. (I first came across this term from an Utne collection in Sept. 04.)

Spreading a radical middle is a noble and necessary goal, but a tough one amid the natural complexity we all face, and the intentionally confusing noise of position jockeys trying to get votes and eyeballs.

What are the traits needed by those who can be genuinely respected by people from diverse perspectives? The main trait seems to be authenticity. In our complex times authenticity is, ironically, often expressed as irony. But there is also a type of authenticity that is much more simple and straight-forward. Just now I came across a relatively simple example in this excerpt of a review of a book about Willie Nelson:

“In parts of the country that are culturally and politically conservative — Texas being the most obvious case in point — he is often more likely to be greeted with a smile than a frown. Probably this has something to do with his passionate embrace of the cowboy myth … but my own hunch is that across the political and cultural spectrum, people simply understand that he’s totally genuine, devoid of artifice, and that this defuses whatever negative feelings they may harbor about the way he lives his life.”

A major key to success for the Radical Middle is the ability to defuse negativity. David Bohm, the renowned physicist and proponent of dialogue talked about the need… Continue reading ‘The Radical Middle, Willie Nelson and Authenticity’


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