What Went Wrong

Critical thinking and a willingness to examine one’s blind spots, goes hand in hand with creativity and a willingness to explore fresh new perspectives. In fact, how do fresh new perspectives differ from our uncovered blindspots? Perhaps only in our willingness to retread what we deem “old territory” – for in the most familiar places, the places with which we have the most daily and habitual contact, we will find our most profound and crippling ruts.

The vast realms of unexplored territories don’t exist on the distant periphery of our cultural worlds, but right in our own backyard.

Right in our own living rooms.

Right in our own minds.

Time for a short intermission:


What happened? What went wrong?

When we surround ourselves with people unwilling to inform the emperor of his nakedness, people who censor themselves when confronted with our fallibility, we venture into the place at which the venture of civilization has arrived: collapse. And everything looks great, doesn’t it? Except for the innumerable cracks and fissures erupting willy-nilly all over our culture and planetary ecology, of course. But the shiny new gadgets keep rolling out for us to buy, so why should we worry?

I would propose that by its very nature hierarchy invites collapse because of its resistance to the free flow of communication. Much of what I do now concerns opening up lines of communication: Open Space gatherings, Rewild Camps, the Rewild.info wiki and forums, Agile Team development, efficient and energizing meetings, clarity work and compassionate dialogue.

If you’ve read my series on Breaking the Spell, you’ve read the connection between the rise of science culture and the emergence of printed journals and scientific societies. The first could not occur without the second – peer dialogue and co-exploration of ‘what we can know’ about the world drives science, not a mythological scientific method invented by a nonscientific philosophers rather than actual scientists doing the work (indigenous trackers and knowledge workers have exquisitely developed systems of honest inquiry into observable phenomena for countless millenia, systems that often continue to make us look ignorant and stubborn by comparison). Look into the history.

Examine your blindspots. Forgive yourself your humanity. And, like the Kiai Master in the video, have the balls to put your insights and experience to the test: what you find out may just change your life.

Written by Willem