Urgent Evoke

A crash course in changing the world.

"Understand by observing the environment, infrastructure, culture and lives of people by being there." -- from 33 Secrets of Social Innovation

This is a valuable secret I can use to make changes within the world. Experience has shown that more effective changes arise from accurate comprehension of circ***tances than from a general survey of conditions. 'Accurate comprehension' implies that one apprehends the situation as it is, not as one preconceives it to be. Regardless of good intentions, acting from vaguely preconceived notions tends to generate flawed or ill-fitting responses. Thus it is imperative to make a structured, empathic survey of the conditions one wishes to modify -- to understand from whence they came, empowering one to cultivate processes in the direction one wills.

On a local level, it is inc**bent upon me as a parent to understand my son in terms of "environment, infrastructure, culture" and lives that he and I lead. I cannot help him effectively shape his world unless I understand him in relation to these factors. In making parental decisions, it behooves me to consider our environment on all levels, to stay informed and active in the infrastructure of his education, and be empathic to his cultural processes while cultivating new habits through enculturation. While I am not able to see life through his eyes, I am informed of and in sync with his life cycle by empathic surveys of his hierarchy of needs. The bottom line in this approach is an increase in probabilities of effective parental assistance, a widening of action-channels that would be otherwise closed to a cold and aloof parent.

Consider the physician. The first thing a doctor must do to assist a sick or injured patient is to diagnose the condition. By visual observation, direct interview, laboratory tests, etc, the physician makes an a****sment of the conditions as they are, not as they'd like them to be. Only then are they armed with the knowledge to adjust the condition. Right action springs from right knowing.

Understanding comes through direct apprehension of the interplay of conditions, and having enough familiarity with elemental properties so as to be able to make educated projections and anticipate outcomes of interplay Y with interplay Z, and so forth. While there will always be unknown factors, if one includes these as margin of error one one is still better with successive approximation than with no diagnosis at all.

While there are numerous more examples of understanding bringing light to my local conditions, I also do well to attempt to strive for global vision.

Try to describe a group, a village, a region without in any way referring to the areas 'surrounding' it. This can't be done because these divisions are cultural conventions, not intrinsic boundaries.

To understand the world of which I am locality or monadic point-of-view, I derive contextual information by immersing myself in the cultures of other lands and eras. At times it has been possible for me to actually travel to a distant land, for "observing the environment, infrastructure, culture and lives of people by being there," while at other times I have had to take the more indirect route of empathic observation through doc**entary, textual testimony, or other media of transmission other than person to person interaction. I realize that such indirect observation is not the same as being there, but it nevertheless helps to broaden my universe. The bottom line here is that I strive to put myself there, with the power of mind & heart. By this act of extending my personal universe, I am empowered to act more efficiently in the here & now; "knowledge is power."

When the oracle of Delphi's temple inscription bid us "Know Thyself," I heard a call to understand the world. For I am in it, and it is in me. To know this relationship and to rightly act upon its love is a process of understanding, one which is empowering for the will to EVOKE.


* * *

ADDENDUM:

All too often our preconceived notions, necessary as some are for survival, can get in the way of 'right knowing' or accurately perceiving conditions. Here is a TED video is this regard... for "thinking the improbable."

Views: 22

Comment by Michele Baron on April 2, 2010 at 4:27am
Interesting posting. When you have been able to 'immerse youself' in a different culture by living there, are you then better able to 'immerse yourself' and discover US culture anew upon your return? Have you traveled with your son--and does his presence color your perceptions, your experience--or does his presencein an area change as he becomes more present to the area, and more comfortable being himself in a new setting--less dependent upon, but still attached to you?
Comment by Joshua Z on April 3, 2010 at 2:21am
Hi Michele, thanks for asking!

Traveling has always had that direect effect reintroducing my own culture-pools upon return. Yes, I definitely have fresh insights whenever I come home -- if the travel was a cuccesss, ie, I was changed.

I have been to many distant lands from where I'ved lived at the time, but I've only made it out of the country once, to Europe. The same effects held true even for such short exposures.


Traveling with my son is a major variable which inextricably colors my experience -- directly, since if I'm traveling with him then I am actively engaged in Guardian Mode... this is not an unpleasant coloration -- on the contrary! 'tis the joy of interaction and enculturation that the active parent experiences on a 'mission' with the spawn. His presence puts me by default into Active Guardian Mode, so experiences are different... time and a place for all good things.

When he'd returned from living with his mother in Australia, he and I rendezvoused in a new location. As he came to know the area, this change didn't change my own perceptions but rather allowed me and him to dedicate neural bandwidth to new subjects.
Comment by Michele Baron on April 3, 2010 at 5:45am
yes, I think that is how our children react too, and we, when with them, during and after travel. I wish you both good journeys.
Comment by Joshua Z on April 5, 2010 at 3:20am
Thank you Michele! Good Journeys to you as well!
Comment by nomadHAR on April 6, 2010 at 10:31pm
i agree; one needs to know the basis of the world in order to understand the effects. it is easy to focus only on the effects that exist and try to formulate solutions on preconceived notions.

a prime example is the use of censorship to restrict art/music/video games to 'protect' the youth, instead of looking at the why and how of the problems (dissolution of the family as a unit, ethnocentrism, focus on self glory, lack of empathy, et.c.)

seek the TRUTH.

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