Everybody is talking about the need for radical change, and some are even starting to see solutions in each field: politics, medicine, economics, society, etc. However – and most of us forget – “No problem can be solved from the same level of consciousness that created it.” (Einstein) To solve the problems, we have to move to the next level of consciousness and communication. We “interculturalists” are confronted, in our working areas, with the question of which intercultural competence is going to be required for the level of “cosmopolitan communication” in the future. To answer this question we need a good future-oriented “map“ that can show us the evolutionary process of communication. In the SIETAR Forum 2012+38 we went, on the basis of a map (AQAL Model from Ken Wilber), one step towards the paradigm shift of intercultural communication by dealing in numerous events with the following questions:
- How shall our communication in the future (2050) – cosmopolitan communication – be?
- How can intercultural competence be developed in order to make “cosmopolitan communication” possible?
- How can various training approaches in areas of mind, brain, culture and system be integrated?
Sergej van Middendorp’s Story
My own story concerns the emergence of we-space as it is needed. One of my contributions to SIETAR was to facilitate the half-time dialogue. For this, I used the metaphor of a jazz club. This jazz club, the in-groove, is situated in the CMM Institute for Personal and Social Evolution’s project Cosmopolis 2045. This imaginary city of the future explores a society that has mastered cosmopolitan communication. The in-groove jazz club at SIETAR was meant as a first experiment to bring together musicians and dialoguers and help them apply principles from jazz improvisation to questions that matter.
I used Juanita Brown’s World Café as the design, and provided the instructions to the participants as if they were jazz bands. I could draw on seven years of experience with a jazz band, playing principles form the scholarly field of Organizational Improvisation and four years of PhD research into its working. But nothing could prepare me for the beautiful emergence of my own ‘band’ at the conference.
In preparing, I had asked Kazuma Matoba, who chaired the conference to offer me assistance with facilitating this dialogue. On the day of my work in Berlin, I asked Kazuma who would help me out. Quickly, I was connected with Rita, Veronique, Brenno, and Olga, and a few minutes later we sat down at a small table where I explained my intentions. As I started into a turn explaining the principles of jazz in theory, Rita breaks in and says: “Oh I get it, and I would love to co-present this with you, I love and get jazz, is that ok for you?” I look her in the eye, and I see her understanding of jazz and improvisation. “Do you need more structure than this? “I ask her. “No, we can do it” she says. A few minutes later, we have the whole team aligned around a minimal structure, where Rita and I will improvise the briefing together. Two hours later, we are on stage, improvising, finding our groove, and it just works.
What struck me most was that the band came together as it was needed. There are always musicians who are willing and ready to play, whether with instruments or with words, it works out if I let my controller and perfectionist relax. It was a great performance with all the tensions, imperfections, and groove that goes with jazz improvisation. It was a grand opening of the in-groove jazz club, and judging by the mindmaps that the participants drew, a lot of knowledge converged and got shared. As of this forum, I will always ask myself: who would join the band today? Where is our stage, and what can we let unfold.
Kazuma Matoba’s Story
As a chairman of SIETAR Forum I had a question whether participants can understand the meaning of this event – to research a combination of integral theory by Ken Wilber and cosmopolitan communication by Barnet Pearce for developing “global integral competence”. Most of the participants, especially the members of SIETAR don´t know about these two concepts well. But our goal was not to let them understand the theoretical collaboration between these two concepts, but to experience essences of cosmopolitan communication through keynote lectures, input dialogues and many workshops.
This experiment was very successful because most of the participants are now so motivated that they want to continue to research cosmopolitan communication based on their knowledge and experiences gained during the three days.
On the third day I had to facilitate a large dialogue process with more than 150 participants. Prof. Claude-Hélène Mayer, co-facilitator, gave a short input story concerning the healing communication. This strong but short and pregnant input impressed many participants sitting in the circles and a kind of coherent energy emerged. So I did feel very strongly in the center of the large circles. The dialogue process went on very slowly with comfortable silence and we all were competent listeners who encouraged us to speak sincerely. Surpassingly three young conference helpers who were not participants talked about their positive impressions about our experiment and dialogue process. After a while I was so struck by one lady who said “We are now practicing cosmopolitan communication!” that I felt strongly the power of dialogue.