#WorldBluBritPack Blog 5 – The Power of Soul

Posted: May 16, 2016 in Uncategorized

WorldBlu Freedom at Work Summit 2016 (aka The Power Question summit) closed on 11 May with what can only be described as a moving, powerful and insightful series of speakers and activities.  Plus a Night of Honour that was truly a celebration of the best of the freedom-centred, democratic workplace fraternity.

We started with a piece of history in Arun Gandhi.  Grandson of Mahatma and leader of the Arun Gandhi Institute (arungandhihl.org).

Describing – so eloquently as you’d expect – the impact of violence in the world we are in.  And not just physical violence but behaviour that is violent to the planet and to humanity.  Stories of mischief in his youth were then beautifully annexed the frame of penance not punishment.  Punishment being considered a violent act and penance a retribution of non-violent consequence.  When an everyday white lie was exposed, instead of punishment, his father insisted on an 18-mile walk home as penance for his (Arun’s) misdemeanour.  So guilt ridden was Arun, he drove at a slow pace following his father.  

Lying caused him spiritual pain through penance and not through physical short-term resentful punishment.

When Arun uttered the “be the change you wish to see in the world” phrase you couldn’t stop yourself from feeling his Grandfather’s legacy and the impact of this oft-quoted phrase was not lost – it was amplified.  It had true meaning.

“How do you follow Arun Gandhi as a speaker?”  said our next storyteller Sam Chaltain.

Well, you do so by touching people’s souls with a message of hope and imagination in the world of education.  Wonder (wonderbydesign.org) is a challenger organisation (my words not Sam’s) who are creating a modern education system fit for the 21st century and our future.

Metaphorically, the opening slide – and highly emotional short film – of a murmuration of starlings gave us a sound basis for our thoughts and Sam’s words.  Human beings are not programmable vessels we are complex and adaptive and our systems for learning need also to be fit for that complexity and adaptiveness.  It’s like the worlds of Organisation Development and education collided in my head for the first time.  I had a bit of moment about that.  Something I love and know/work in and something I love and want desperately to improve and change but don’t know how suddenly felt like two forces of gravity on the same planet.

An organisation that looks to set learners free of restrictive homogenous curricula? (again my words not Sam’s). An organisation that will convert a disused warehouse into a magnificent learning space.  An organisation that teaches through projects not subjects.

And then we have the looming Singularity : The coming together of the human and the machine intelligence and capability – the ability to have recursive self improvement.

If we have enough problems educating people in the world of now, how on EARTH are we going to educate our children in this technologically advancing world?

And for whatever hype you think sits in and around the concept of the Singularity, there’s some pretty sharp predictions that this will be with us from 2040 – in the shape of us no longer being able to comprehend the technology we have is actually capable of.  Quantum dilemma ahead.

And leaving us with the most moving of films aboard a kayak watching a murmuration of starlings form and shape the sky was the perfect metaphorical end for something about individuals being shaped by life instead of individuals that are shaped by a system.

Moving stuff I can barely convey in words because emotions genuinely took me over in listening to this amazing story of what we should all be thinking about: education and children.

And as if that’s not enough we then took another step into an amazingly dark world of slavery across the world.  Children – mostly – but adults taken away from their free lives and put to work for nothing more than rudimentary living standards and threats of punishment and persecution.  

Justin Dillon talked of his journey through being in a band to discovering his purpose: to expose the slavery that exists in most every product we normally purchase and consume.  Made In A Free World is his enterprise aiming to expose those companies who have a traceable 100% ethical footprint.

That Justin emailed Steve Jobs about precious metals in Apple products and got a reply is testament to the power in this area.  

Not just a nice poster campaign and a movement of principle but a set of makers who can be relied on with products that are free from slavery.  And a tool for industries to check if their supply chain is high, medium or low risk of some form of slavery in the acquisition of materials, labour or supply.

A moving film showing a little 9 year old boy freed from slavery working moved us all to tears; when asked what do you want to be when he grows up he pointed at Justin: “like him” he said.

No child or adult deserves to work in dangerous or unhealthy conditions and absolutely no-one should be working in slavery of any kind.  Justin’s mission is to help people not just in those conditions but those who unknowingly perhaps, help it continue.

It makes you wonder at the state of the world and how money drives people to do such cruel things as trick teenagers into being trafficked and steal children from their parents.  As money is the catalyst for this to happen, money and choice can overcome it and make it truly a thing of the past.

So this was a pretty moving experience.  

And when we needed a hero, up pops the most humble sort; activist of the Occupy movement in Hong Kong Benny Tai.  A real sense of spirited journey through political and controlling administrations post the handover of Hong Kong to China from the UK.  Benny shared his most troubled times leading a movement to challenge the Government on democracy.

And yet it wasn’t about him, it was about those with him.  Benny is a force of nature but it is clear that you can see he is inspired by his mission, his beliefs and the people who join him.  To answer the call from the Lords of History is quite some personal feat.

And a yellow umbrella that signalled the resistance to force and power was most poignant.

And we weren’t done yet because those organisations that form the WorldBlu list and community had their turn.  Nathan Donaldson, Ed Wesley and Garry Ridge all underscored what freedom at work was about.  A bit of a fast-forward from slavery-supporting capitalism to a form of more humane and conscious commercial application, Boost, DreamHost and WD-40 are making good on their operating mode by being inclusive, imaginative and working without fear in hiring/letting go decisions; change and restructure and a culture of learning and support.

It’s not easy being human.  Especially in the working world we occupy now.

It’s not easy taking on the system, racketeers, a profit only mentality, controlism, fear-inducing power-hungry leaders, helping scared people and children.

It’s easier with a full heart, a clear head and emotional drive and belief though.  We need other people to help us do this and the WorldBlu community and its associations with Made In A Free World, Occupy and WonderByDesign are all showing us that the movement is to be respected and regarded.  Admired and enhanced.

We all live in a complex, adaptive system.  We all need to be aware of that and work with flow to bring the best from that complexity and be adaptive to the changes we need to make the world a really good place to be for us all.  Starting with our own self, our schools and our workplaces.  It’s becoming imperative we all work towards better and not just more.

Watch out world – freedom is coming to get you.

So I’ll leave you with Nina Simone’s “Feeling Good” for that’s what we all felt after the most amazing WorldBlu summit experience.

Birds flying high you know how I feel

Sun in the sky, you know how I feel

Breeze drifing on by, you know how I feel.

It’s a new dawn, it’s a new day, it’s a new life for me.

And I’m feeling good.

nina

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  1. […] #WorldBluBritPack Blog 5 – The Power of Soul by Perry Timms […]

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