the fourth miracle: transforming attentional violence

Wednesday, January 13th, 2010 | Uncategorized

i just posted a video that talks about three major miracles that happened in my lifetime: (1) the collapse of the berlin wall (ending the cold war system), (2) the collapse of the apartheid system (marking thepeaceful transition into the post-apartheid era), and (3) Barack Obama taking office in the White House in January 2009. Three miracles. Three defining moments in my generation. And yet, the most important one may still be ahead of us: (4) the current transformation of capitalism from the current 1.0 and 2.0 system to a possible 3.0 form of economy and society. Check out our new website on this.

What struck me is that for the fourth miracle we have to transform all three forms of violence that currently defines the relational space in society: direct violence (terrorism and war), structural violence (misery and poverty), and what in my first blog entry i started calling attentional violence. Attentional violence is to not to be seen and recognized in terms of who you really are–in terms of your highest future possibility. Instead you are only seen in terms of your journey of the past, that is, in terms of the circumstances of the past, in terms of who you happen to be today. Attentional violence is hitting hardest those of us, who live in marginalized groups.

just as the battle of the 20the century geopolitics–the cold war system–was a battle between system and system (capitalism vs. communism), we now move into a new era in which the major battlefield extends into a different theater–the theater of our inner SELF, that is, the battle between self and Self. the battle between (current) self and (emerging future or originating) Self is the central conflict of our time. unless we are waking up to that deeper (and largely invisible) battlefield, chances are that all the political fights between left and right, between progressive and conservative and so forth, will lead us pretty much nowhere–will lead us into a dead end. its the connection of the deeper personal and yet collective playing field with our everyday life and public collective action where the real power of the next transformation is coming from.

The power for pulling off the fourth miracle stems from the capacity to linking all three spheres: the battlefield of our SELF SPACE (relinking self with Self), of our SOCIAL SPACE (relinking “us” with “them”), and of our ECO SPACE (relinking human beings with our planet). its only when we succeed in linking these three spheres we wake up to our real power–our power of bringing forth the world anew.

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5 Comments to the fourth miracle: transforming attentional violence

January 15, 2010

Thanks Otto! I’m really liking this concept of attentional violence as it correlates with my thoughts an its opposite. The more I learn within this field of organizational development/group process/personal development the more clear it becomes that beyond all the cool tools, processes and frameworks, the most important aspect is the practitioner’s capacity to give attention – to listen deeply – to hold and create space – for the group or individual to shift into their higher Self.

Cynthia Hoag
January 15, 2010

I also appreciate the concept of attentional violence. Many family and work issues come from outdated views of ourselves and others–the refusal to update our opinions regardless of how much things all around us change. People are overwhelmed and do not want the extra work of having to pay attention to everything and everyone. So we blindly go forward, hurting ourselves, others, and the future from our willful attentional negligence of our fellow humans. We marginalize others, and therefore ourselves, because we are all inevitably interconnected. If “they” are not important, then neither are we, because what brings down one is bound to us all and sinks us all together.

Stephen Thorpe
January 25, 2010

I have been grappling with my understanding of attentional violence over the last week as you have described it Otto (a very new concept for me). A colleague had mentioned it and I wanted to know how it was defined and articulated. I found I was both challenged by the ‘violence’ aspect and also attracted to the radical and transformative nature of its significance. When I see how some of the the media operates – in particular to our current political leaders – I can see clearly examples of how this form of violence is playing out as the small ‘s’ are sensationalized and dramatized and the big ‘S’ are ignored and discounted. A helpful link for me lies in the radical educative nature of attentional violence as a naming or distinguishing concept. It sits well with me when I see it in the context of Paulo Freire’s work (i.e. Pedagogy of the Oppressed, 1970) in that building our awareness about and attending to the forms of attential violence – collectively questioning those forms that do not serve uS – provides us a path to transformation (and evolution). –Stephen

February 11, 2010

This sounds like the a discussion between Krishna and Arjuna before the epic battle in the Mahabharata, which led to the Bhadavad Gita

A beautiful film on the same note is ‘Baggar Vance’.

February 28, 2010

Hi Otto- there is no battle- our past is with us as much as our future. Our challenge is one of integration- that is self in process- perpetual U.

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