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September 20, 2001 Issue 17
NOTE: In this time of tragedy and great loss, the Pegasus staff
offers its thoughts and prayers to all who are suffering so deeply.
We focus the current issue of Leverage Points on gaining perspective
about the September 11 attacks and working toward systemic solutions
that will lead to a better, more peaceful world.
light of our common tragedy, one thing was made
clear to me: our shared investment in the kinds
of relational practices from which more positive
futures can be molded is absolutely essential.
The day is filled with problem talk: 'If we could
just have more security,' 'If we can just find
the culprits and bring them to justice,' etc.as
if returning to the status quo will make everything
okay. But in a world of enormous differences in
beliefs, values, rationalities, and realities,
our status quo can be hell for others. I have
heard no one speak of how we might come together
to create a more positive world, how common visions
can be coordinated, how we can develop the kind
of dialogue that would make such brutality unthinkable.
Let us pull together, renew our energies, and
share our vision in every direction."
Ken Gergen, author of The Saturated Self
external manifestations of good and evil are relative
and transmutable. They only appear absolute and
immutable when the human heart is in thrall to
the spell of language and abstract concepts. To
the extent that we can free ourselves from this
spell, we can begin to see that good contains
within it evil, and evil contains within it good.
Because of this, even that which is perceived
as evil can be transformed into good through our
reaction and response."
Daisaku Ikeda, author of For the Sake
need to ask ourselves, 'What is it in the way
that we are living, organizing our societies,
and treating each other that makes violence seem
plausible to so many people?' We in the spiritual
world will see this as a growing global incapacity
to recognize the spirit of God in each otherwhat
we call the sanctity of each human being. But
even if you reject religious language, you can
see that the willingness of people to hurt each
other to advance their own interests has become
a global problem, and it's only the dramatic level
of this particular attack which distinguishes
it from the violence and insensitivity to each
other that is part of our daily lives."
Rabbi Michael Lerner, author of Spirit
to the recent tragic events, we have decided
to extend the special registration rate deadline
for this year's Systems Thinking in Action®
Conference"Harnessing the Power of Organizational
Complexity," to be held October 24-26, 2001
in Atlanta, GAuntil at least October 1.
Team discounts and scholarships are still available.
For more information about this event or to
register, go to the Conference
home page or contact the Conference Department
at 1-800-272-0945 or 1-802-862-0095.
How Do We Go On? by Sharon Eakes
Drawing on the
Wisdom of Our Community: A New Forum Addresses the Challenges Presented
by the September 11th Attacks
Centering Hints by Thomas Crum
How Do We Go On? by Sharon Eakes
I heard about the World Trade Centers attack, all I wanted to do was
weed my garden. I guess I wanted to put some order to that small piece
of the world over which I still felt some control.
11, 2001 tragedy is big: loss of life, loss of safety, loss of innocence,
maybe loss of economic security. We don't know all the losses yet.
We will never be the same, individually or collectively. People at
the grocery store stare straight ahead. We are dazed and numb. The
unanswered questions are big: Where will this take us? Who are we
I am glad everything
was cancelled: a meeting on "limits to growth," breakfast
with a friend, a coaching luncheon. There is the urge to stay busy,
and yet I feel stopped in my tracks. I listen to all the responses,
"We will get to the bottom of this," and I doubt it. Leaders
stay busy and talk tough to comfort themselves and us. We all hate
to feel so powerless and vulnerable.
The ideas I'm hearing about what each of us can do are good (give
money, give blood, pray), AND my experience with grief says that to
get through it, we must stop and feel it. Stop moving and be still.
And perhaps, in that stillness, ponder and then have conversations
with each other about some big questions. For starters:
How can I individually and we as a nation support people in the world
who feel powerless and vulnerable, as we do now?
What are the mental models of our neighbors who are very different
from us in this increasingly small world?
What actions on our part might prevent an escalation of violence?
How can we cultivate peace in our relationships?
What can we do to promote a shared vision of the global world
as a peaceful, learning community?
My sense is that the only real answer to the question "How do
we go on?" is, as they say in AA, "one day at a time."
Muddling through. Doing our best. Individually and together. And,
hopefully, stopping long enough to heal and learn some things as we
appeared in the free e-zine "Fresh Views," published by
Sharon Eakes of Hope Unlimited (contact Sharon at firstname.lastname@example.org
or visit her web site at http://www.hopellc.com).
Drawing on the Wisdom of Our Community
The terrorist attacks of September 11th have powerfully affected all
of our lives. In the days since, Pegasus has received numerous e-mails
from friends in our worldwide community. We have been deeply touched
by the emotions each has expressed and have been fortified to face
the future by the compassion, empathy, and ideas the writers shared
about how we can all build a better world together.
Inspired by these messages, we realize how much wisdom exists within
our community. In many ways, because the community is practiced in
dialogue, systems thinking, conflict management, and other powerful
approaches, we have a tremendous capability to respond to the new
challenges and to contribute to the development of just, lasting solutions.
To establish a space in which fruitful dialogue can take place, Pegasus
has created a new forum on our web site called "Leverage points
for a new world." The name, derived from the title of our e-bulletin,
again expresses the belief that wise and compassionate people with
the right tools can respond to any challenge and create positive change
in our world.
We invite all members of our community, old and new, from all countries,
to join together in the forum with both their hearts and minds to
take up this most important challenge.
Deborah and Alan
Slobodnik, longtime friends of Pegasus and experienced organizational
change agents, have enthusiastically accepted our request to host
and moderate the forum. Through their work at Options
for Change, they help organizations plan interventions in human
systems to change entrenched behaviors and produce more positive future
and Alan would like to open the discussion with the questions: "What
are the structures that led to the tragedy of September 11? What,
as practitioners of systems thinking, can we do to contribute to a
To participate, go to the Pegasus
forums, then look for the forum named "Leverage points for
a new world."
Attendees of the Systems
Thinking in Action Conference (October 24-26, 2001, in Atlanta)
will be able to meet in person to further the dialogue. Details will
be announced later.
Centering Hints by Thomas Crum
have been shaken to the core. And yet...and yet...if we have the courage
to be still, to feel and to listen within, we will discover that,
underneath the rubble, the core remains vital. It is to this core,
this place beyond our tears, our anger, and our fears, that we now
to this center does not deny grief and rage but works through themnot
by acting out of the emotions, but by feeling them, by holding them
as you'd hold an injured child, knowing that deep inside, at the core,
the essence of life and love and healing is continually bubbling forth.
to the core is to be shaken to the source of our greatest power. It
is from here that our greatest strength and our greatest contributions
have emerged throughout human history. World War II is said to have
created "the greatest generation." It is now our turn:
We can breathe deeply and bring our awareness to center, to gain the
courage and ability to let go of judgment, prejudice, and righteousness.
We can walk a new path to lead humanity to higher ground. Criminals
and terrorists are grown in a soil created by revenge, fear, and separation.
We can plant our feet in soil based on tough love and centered connection.
We can make our "rescue mission" to listen actively
to each other, to lend our prayers and our helping hands to others,
and to seek and appreciate the gift of being together.
We can be centered in the possibility of ending the cycle of
violence forever. In our own actions and conversations, we can help
others be aware that force follows force blindly, causing a never-ending
cycle of suffering and revenge throughout the ages. Only when we are
centered will we be guided to the most effective actions without injuring
or implicating the innocent.
Our greatest contribution
toward humanity may be ahead of us. May we get centered and embrace
This article appeared in the complimentary e-mail service "Centering
Hints," published by Thomas Crum, founder and president of AikiWorks
(contact Tom at email@example.com
or visit his web site at http://www.aikiworks.com).
Copyright© 2001 Pegasus Communications.
LEVERAGE POINTS can be freely distributed in its entirety or
reproduced or excerpted for another publication with written permission
from Pegasus Communications. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org.