2 trees wandering

A person of the crossroads making notes while tracking patterns in relationships within the Web of Life and its Mystery

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Collaborate or Die

Many years ago I read an article in Forbes magazine entitled “Collaborate or Die” which talked about the need for businesses to learn the art of building relationship internally and across the perceived boundaries. Since then there has been a both a hunger and an action oriented movement toward community building and collaboration. It was so pervasive that the terms have lost much of their power but the hunger and longing is still there. What is also still present is the need to be able to live in healthy relationship with the human and non human world in order to survive.

At the time of the article I was struck by the question of whether or not we had the capacity for collaboration or whether it pointed to a period of learning and growth that built our capacity for relational thinking which is the foundation of collaboration. I believe that the cultural norm prizes activity over learning and therefore what sprang forth from the call to collaborate or die was a flurry of activity and movements, many of which offered valuable insights into the possibilities for collaboration but may not have built a learning process for relational thinking. The result is clear when we look at the environment, health care, political unrest and individual search for meaning through self help.

Each day that I read the news headlines I am struck by the web of relationships and the separatist nature of our current thinking. Some unexpected coalitions are occurring and they are occurring because of similar goals around issues. This creates some new energy for problem solving and falls far short of creating the most creative possibility thinking. Solutions to our problems as the focal point of relationship definitely keeps consciousness focused on problems and solutions rather than the creation of a great new story that is the vision of the future.

The wealth of our current world is that through awareness, technology and a desire for learning or even simple curiosity we are able to intersect with other people, environments, cultures and ideas. How we use this resource is up to each of us and requires us to examine our vision to see whether it is a story built on the problems of the past which we wish to unmake; or whether it is a story of possibility that can only be completed by reaching out into the grid of relationship so that it’s making is a relational effort pointing to more than the sum of what exists at present.

This kind of effort requires a rigorous use of our intellect in the terms of Cornel West which is the marriage of spiritual awareness and critical inquiry. It calls us to nourish our bodies, minds and spirits so that we can remember that we live in relationship and our lives are enriched and expanded by relationship. Solving problems becomes the by-product of continuing to illuminate and create activity from the insights gained through the illumination of our place in the grid of relationship and the search for the health of the whole.

What more can we do for ourselves and each other to build our capacity to think, feel and act more fully into this grid of relationship in a healthy and vital way?