The New Light Saber


AR Scorpi
This is AR Scorpi, the first discovered white dwarf pulsar. Credit Mark Garlick / University of Warwick

When the empire strikes back, we need to respond. This is a call for the return of the Jedi. But before we all rush in with our old paradigms tools and models, let’s rethink this. I love the idea of the lightsaber. It’s elegant and powerful, part of us, and connected to “The Force.” The problem is it still divides things in two.

Our new light saber would cleave things together. It would allow us to see the paradox, feel it, get comfortable with our own inconsistencies, and work our way through the mazes, the smoke screens, the fake news, and see each other more fully and more compassionately. This new saber, again, born of light, connected to our essence and fueled by the universal force of good would enable us to immerse ourselves in our humanity.

Together we could view the planet as a whole, and begin to take actions that would make a difference. Emmanuel Macron reminded us last week that there is no planet B. And as Pogo once said, “We have met the enemy and he is us.”

I strongly believe we must immerse ourselves in each other’s stories. It is in the telling that one begins to take the necessary risks, and it is in the listening that one gets finds compassion to accept and honor the other’s experience and beliefs. Behavioral science has a great collection of tools, techniques, methods, and methodologies that have proven effective in bringing people to new understandings. New Jedi can be trained, and they need to be. Marv Weisbord said, after reflecting on more than thirty years of changing workplaces, “Every generation needs to learn the same things all over again.” Susan Glisson reminds us in her article in the Washington Post that “Person-to-person leads to group-to-group,” she says. “And groups create policy.”

This work requires effort and takes time. Tools need to be re-learned. They need to be applied with skill and practiced relentlessly. The concept of feedback needs to be revisited so that once again it gets connected to learning and not simply to results. Clickbait won’t save us, but seeing the whole and cleaving things back together just might help. Know what I am talking about, do you? Hmmm.

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