2015 January

Impending Paradigm Shift

“I just received the following note from one of our Inner Circle members.  Below the note is my response.”


Here’s a prominent and highly nowledgeable witness of our times and a good story for all of you who are interested in understanding Europe (and beyond) and how it came to be where it is. A friend of mine sent me this outstanding lecture held in 2013 by Zygmunt Baumann, a polish sociologist who worked and lived in the UK. He too tells you about a monumentous  step human kind is facing and  the impending paradigm shift that Mike talked about the other day.

It’s worth watching (with a glass of port, a steaming mug of tea or whatever)


…This lecture by Zygmunt Baumann deeply impressed me. Simply awesome. The 87 year old sociologist held it at a Convention in Girona, Spain, in 2013. He tells his story of Europe, how it evolved over the past 500 years, how the idea of nationsstates came into being and how over the latter part of the 20th century they lost their power to globally operating powers they can control no longer.

During the Q&A session (1:27) he comes to speak specifically of this critical disconnect:


“….behind all this there is a very, very big question: when I was young (…I am terribly sorry but old people like to talk about their youth) my colleagues, my generation quarrelled tremendously about what needs to be done but I don’t remember quarrelles about who is going to do it … because once everybody knew what to do then it will be the state to do it because the state has everything to do it properly.

Today we have a situation where on one hand we have power, really decisive power which shapes our collective future, which shapes the prospects of our children and grand children, power which is exempted from any kind of power of political control. Power which is free to follow our own considerations of intent. On one hand power exempt of political control.

On the other hand we have politics which suffers constantly of the deficit of powers.

Now until we bring them again together I think no resolut action is possible. We go on fighting one crisis after another until such a moment when we shall be missing all the strength, all the ability, all the imagination to continue the fight.

That is one prediction that I shall want to risk: that the rest of your lives will be dedicated to the attempt of bringing together power and politics. The question whether it can be reconstituted is marriage.

This wedding being played for the second time in the interest of the nation state, that is a good question (whether it will happen). Problems are already global. Who knows, perhaps this re-marriage needs to be held in some kind of a global church, it is closer to Heaven , everybody is in this self making Heaven….”

here’s the link:

“Europe: Birthday or Death Agony?” – Zygmunt Bauman (Girona)


Mike’s response

Shower call:

Until we believe that we are basically wired with whatever it is we can contribute from inception…

And that embeds duty to humanity in kind, things will get worse and the paradigm shift will have to change us…violently.


14 replies on “Impending Paradigm Shift”

I think the paradigm shift (politics and power moving from local to nation state and now to global) is changing us in many ways. I did watch this video…one of the benefits of insomnia. He talks about the divorce of power and politics (no longer confined to nation state) which leaves many of us feeling powerless. His ideal is when these two forces power (ability to get something done) and politics (ability to choose what to get done) are married….Got divorced once we moved from containment in local villages to moving that marriage to the nation state. We are now living in another divorce of power and politics, and we need to figure out how to make the next more difficult shift from nation state to humanity. He acknowledges that this shift is a much more difficult one than the earlier one. I think I have heard Mike say, that it is probably too difficult and perhaps the route to go is back to identifying with smaller entities. However can we do that when the politics and power are living in cyberspace on a global level, not geographically around us to protect us.
Anyway, thanks Mark for passing this on.


I just don’t see us integrating at any more complex level than we can differentiate…

Power and politics can only be reunited at the level they can…wishing u can just leaves the gap in tact with the illusion working against u…


Zygmunt Baumann studied and described the social forces for decades and observes mighty changes, notably the gap between our means to understand and control our world and what is going on (e.g. that we seek our happiness in shopping). But we still pretend that the world we are in, is the world we are in control of with tools in our hands. Baumann is another voice – a wise old voice – telling us through his story to wake up as things are seriously shifting (whether we want it or not)

I think the biggest challenge today is to challenge this make belief that the powers that be are in control and that we can contain the menacing forces through national legislation (!). I take Baumann saying that we have to overcome this disaccord. He doesn’t have an answer and doesn’t attempt to have one other than this metaphorical “Who knows, perhaps this re-marriage needs to be held in some kind of a global church, it is closer to Heaven , everybody is in this self making Heaven….”.

But I don’t believe the path foreward are global superinstitutions governing the world, maybe the answer lies in decentral (antifragile) lifeforms more in tune with the immediate ecology we can oversee. Nature, our nest, has been able to evolve without devouring and destroying itself through variety.

I see my contribution in valuing and encouraging the life in local communities. Social fabric is woven through conversation, collaboration, reaching out, building and enjoying trust. Today this can involve communities like this list that help me understand that thousands of miles away there are other humans with likewise challenges as I have but not necessarily enemies as Baumann pictured his boyhood in Poland. At least this is about what I can assume and handle.

(And I must overcome my suspicions that Gary is a green-eyed alien working for NSA responsible for the disappearance of my keys whenever I look for them – maybe you can scaffold me on this, Brian?)



Aside from my latest observation and report…;)

Here is a pattern:

When most all people face a problem that contains the requirements of verticality–a recontextialization of context–they move mostly horizontally to problems that need solving.

In this same pattern, people move to any number of pursuits that require no recontextialization…e.g,, shopping, work, sex, depression, drugs, reading, socializing…etc.

1-5% are enamored with the process of recontextialization and thus puzzle at recontextialization.

This pattern or mechanism can be seen in play everywhere…wars, building space rockets, discovering biotech…we reach a level of contextualization that fits our present circumstances and fall into the rote mechanisms of making it better, faster, cheaper, moral, right, wrong…etc., at that level.

We do NOT do the things that recontextialization requires such as testing vertical assumptions, thinking about our thinking…or even vertical concept mapping, exploring feedback loops or pushing out the time bound task sequences and their feedbacks….

We lose ourselves in the moment;)


Mike & Others,
I found the pattern Mike describes below thought provoking and complex in places.
I felt that at times I understood, and at other times wasn’t quite sure I fully understood.
Then I was concerned that I might be making wrong assumptions as my tracking came to a fork in the road.
I SAID ALL THAT to say I am interested in more fully understanding the process and terminology Mike shares below.
I would appreciate if anyone can add any resources to help flesh this out for me.
–requirements of verticality
–recontextialization of context
–examples of vertically solving an issue versus horizontally solving an issue.
–examples or further explanation of the terms used of the things we do NOT do that recontextialization requires.
I think I might have lost myself in the moment 🙂


John, I’ll speak to your questions from a place of my meaning-making. In case it’s helpful.

FWIW, I have many experiences of having a sense of ‘getting’ something, or ‘almost getting’ it, but not able to articulate what I’ve ‘gotten.’ For me, an INTJ, it’s like an understanding stuck inside my intuition that I can’t yet translate for my thinking lieutenant. That experience is irresistable bait to then beat my brain & ego against that sensed wall repeatedly (interspersed with necessary ‘recovery’) until it becomes a permeable membrane (energizing progress!), and then even more painful processing until it goes away altogether. This can take years. I love a good mixing of metaphor.

–examples of vertically solving an issue versus horizontally solving an issue.

Earlier in my work life, I was stuck, unable to decide on a course to pursue to build and establish a career. I wanted to avoid wasting effort building a career in a field that wasn’t a long-term fit for me. So I chose not to choose. I waited tables, managed a coffee shop, did catering sales in a couple of hotels, returned to school, and otherwise floated through some jobs that I was wildly over-educated for until I ‘found myself.’ At some point, it became clear that embarking on a ‘real job’ didn’t mean I was stuck in a path because I self-recognized the concept of transferable skills. I began to view a group of seemingly disparate career paths as linked through some common elements. Which unstuck me. Like it’s been said, we can’t see what we can’t see until we can and then we can’t NOT see it. Somewhat hilariously, when I was stuck, I was telling myself that my aim was to avoid mid-life crisis by choosing well up front.

What it feels like to experience a vertical developmental moment. I recall talking through an issue a good friend of mine was challenged with and I was also close to. We were at a point where she cognitively recognized why her reaction to a situation was irrational but was still had by it. (The issue – a strong negative response she had to someone she and I both worked with.) She once asked me how long it takes to get past that. My response was something along the lines of “it’s a problem until it just isn’t any more.” What I meant by that was that, at some point, the problem looks different and perhaps just not a problem. And at that point, we go find new problems, but never mind that. 😉

–examples or further explanation of the terms used of the things we do NOT do that recontextialization requires.

To me, this relates to what I called “recovery.”

I’ll use analogy here to explain. In endurance athletics, performance improvement comes from cycles of goal-directional work & recovery cycles. If I am fit to run 3 miles well and wish to train to run a marathon well (however I define ‘well’), then I must engage in work that enables me to run longer, work that addresses the mental game, work that enhances my ability to recognize and be comfortable at the right pace for running 26 miles, work that strengthens weaknesses in my core strength so I can hold form, etc. The improvement doesn’t come from the doing of the work. The improvement comes from recovering from and absorbing the work.

When we are doing mental/ego developmental work, I propose that work / recovery cycles exist here too. As in preparing to run a marathon, the work/recovery must enable and privilege the progressive ability to close the gap between current fitness and goal fitness. If we have too much work and not enough recovery, we break down. If we have too much recovery and not enough work, we don’t progress our fitness.

When most all people face a problem that contains the requirements of verticality–a recontextialization of context–they move mostly horizontally to problems that need solving.”

Using the running training analogy, this is like the runner, after doing a 10 mile run on Sunday, reverting to shorter runs for the remainder of the week until the physical system absorbs the stress of the 10 miler and prepares the runner to run, say, 11 the following Sunday. OR…it can play out with the runner deciding that the pain of marathon training isn’t worth the work and that it’s fine and dandy to be a 3 mile runner and reverting to the work/recovery patterns that support that capability.

“In this same pattern, people move to any number of pursuits that require no recontextialization…e.g,, shopping, work, sex, depression, drugs, reading, socializing…etc.

Running analogy again, this is like downtime, taking a day off from running on Monday after Sunday’s long run. Shopping, work, sex, depression, drugs, reading, socializing…etc. are individualized expressions of mental/ego recovery. Not saying that some or all of those “recovery habits” don’t have their own potentially negative effects that reduce ability to make vertical leaps over the longer haul and/or create new problems unforeseen from current perspective.

I’m out of time for this. This was fun. A good exercise for me, whether or not it’s useful for anyone else, couldn’t say. 🙂

Alicia Parr

It is interesting.
Alicia, I appreciate your response and it has added to my context.
Mike, you mentioned it is interesting how people understand and talk about things.
Could you (or other members of the group) recommend articles, links, etc. to add to the groups understanding of these ideas?



There will be a resource package in the upcoming LeaderWARE program.

If you subscribed to my BmD program, you should be receiving a stream of daily emails, first starting with capability where a lot of this is discussed in greater detail although different words are used.

Over the history of this and my previous lists the adult developmental theories of

Commons, et al.

Have all been referenced.

I admit I don’t do much with Wilber as he has no primary research and relies on a synthesis of secondary research which for me is NOT second tier, and that’s my opinion.

It’s an elegant theory mashed up from the liberties he has taken from primary researchers.

What I have done is “preserved” the primary research and then using that fully in the open, I attempt to coordinate and integrate that at another level, rather then transcend and include per se…

I find that people who talk about transcending and including are probably going sideways!

Coordinating lower order actions in a nonarbitrary way “demonstrates” recontextialization and is the vertical challenge.

I will, for now, accept the argument that LeaderWARE may fall short in making that vertical leap technically and is only an oblique transition…and like Wilber…maybe just horizontal extension but over time, I believe I will be able to explain it sufficiently as a paradigmatic venture.

LeaderWARE dives deeper into the mechanics as the patterns below suggest…and at this point, LeaderWARE is not required to produce solutions of any more complexity than the problems which can be explained (not which exist;)…

Therefore, the goal of LeaderWARE is to demonstrate the mechanisms and tools which are needed to climb the next vertical mountain of conditions–a skating to where the puck is going to be institute;)

And thus, is…”a” way to approach this common pattern (IMHO)…

When most all people face a problem that contains the requirements of verticality–a recontextialization of context…

As Tesla prepares to work in space, they are building a “platform”..,

As Leaders prepare to work VUCA conditions, part of what is needed is a platform (adult development) to be, do, have, become and contribute.

At this time, there are no leader training programs using a “developmental platform” integrated into leadership training…

LeaderWARE is an attempt to codify developmemtalism for leaders.

Jaques is “an” organizational platform which integrates development into requisite structure but doesn’t teach the tools per se to leaders…

And bye the way, this is a magnificent achievement! And IMHO is paradigmatic in nature of complexity, regardless of what he left out or arrived at through other means.

Wilberians might say he left out the individual internal processes which I have added directly and Jaques designed away the need for…per se.

And through the use of multiple tools am designing–yes a more complex toolkit–for leaders to objectify the subjectivity at previously less complex levels which Jaques basically designed away and said…”…if you want this to work right, do it this way…” (Paraphrased)…

LeaderWARE is a toolkit with which to work under your own hood as well as step back and identify where possibilities lie to customize the requisite nature of the organization.

I have seen…the light (evoking Martin Luther King)…and I have a dream…that one day…

Leaders would be taught how to recognize problems as being a developmental issue of their own making rather than a problem with the people (channeling Deming).

And unlike a general rule as in RO, violating a principle but being able to recognize where in the transition the subordinate is and what scaffolding would be required for the person and the role…that people would be happy and successful…while generating coming good (generati).


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