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Towards Collective Mindfulness – Michael Pirson

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The world is full on complex problems, ranging from global warming to economic disparities, to ongoing ethnic conflicts.  Michael reminded us that mindfulness approaches involve contemplative action, restoring harmony, and questioning status quo.  Mindlessness approaches are easier and involves apathy and actionism, questioning harmony and resorting status quo.


What does it mean for a system to be on autopilot?  When it is coasting along on systems that are built on assumptions.  Most of the time it is functional.  In organizations, autopilot means that they coast on assumptions about maximizing wealthy, too often at the expense of realizing the implications on other humans.


Michael proposed that, if we follow the construct of Langer, a way to consider collective mindfulness is to think about how a group frames a problem (conditional vs. fixed), then explores novelty, then produces novel ideas/solutions, then organizes around new possibilities.    He believes that we need to adopt a humanistic perspective of organizing around key drivers around acquisition, social connection, and to comprehend.  The key is to balance these, not maximize one at the detriment of others.


Dignity is a cornerstone of a humanistic perspective.  Kant: “everything has either a price or a dignity.  What ever has a price can be replaced by something else as its equivalent; on the other hand, whatever is above all price, and therefore admits of no equivalent, has a dignity.  I wonder: what does it look like to reorganize around dignity rather than price/economics?  Is collective mindfulness normative? 

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