nora on changemaker’s trap

nora on team human: the changemaker’s trap

Team Human (@teamhumanshow) tweeted at 5:49 AM on Wed, Aug 05, 2020:
Playing for #TeamHuman today, filmmaker, writer, educator, and systems thinker, @NoraBateson.

Bateson and Rushkoff interrogate our moment of global crisis to challenge the systems that drive human behavior and thought.

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50 min podcast.. nora starts at 20 min

nora bateson on the changemakers trap []

20 min – this whole field of changemaking.. uncomfortable because i love all these people.. i’ve been a part of this for generations.. but something’s not right.. that something is this trap ..that we are capable of manifesting thought, language, expression that is somehow going to be outside the system that created it.. no matter how ernest/rigorous/deep/good the intention is.. the thing just keeps feeding itself..

21 min – an epistemological loop.. we’re caught in this soup of fluid mind traps.. even t his word sensemaking.. it has no sensorial ground anymore.. it’s actually a tag into a body of prescripted ideas..t

22 min – so i’m really worried about.. what are we talking about when we’re talking about change.. it’s so urgent.. in every sense.. there is the need for something completely diff.. and how do you do that.. when you’re inside the system .. t

via a means for 8b people to leap to ie: cure ios city.. with idiosyncratic jargon as a means of communicating (so we’re not caught in the trap/enclosure of looping systemic language) as a means of undoing our hierarchical listening to self/others/nature 

23 min – d: you can’t start again.. and we’ll take people here and get them to think this


24 min – exactly.. that’s the thing.. where it goes.. that we’re going to change people’s mindsets.. raise their consciousness.. and there’s something about that.. that is actually in deep violation of what actually is life.. the way life changes/moves is thru unanticipated pathways of relationship to relationship.. and you don’t get to say which way that goes.. so there’s something really important about showing up and standing back at the same time and not really knowing what that looks like.. that paradox is a really important place to hold

telling people what to do

25 min – harari – ‘if you think you have free will you don’t have free will.. because all the choices came out of the context before you’.. you think you’re making some big choice .. but those things were there to choose from..t .. so who gave you the choices.. where did those come from.. so it’s not really your free will.. is it

this is why we need to let go of finite set of choices and decision making and abandon ourselves to daily curiosity

first thing.. everyday

then he (harari) goes on to say.. well the second you realize you don’t have any free will .. you get a little..  who are you to think you are more righteous than others to be a part of the change

27 min – d: group like this gives you the courage to stay in that liminal space (rather than battling the binaries – of which cause and how to address them)

28 min – metaphor on sinking the boat.. on why we can’t let everybody in.. but no.. 32 people in water isn’t 1-32.. it’s 32 systems.. it’s not numbers floating in the water.. the logic of the numerical process there does not apply.. we would find a way

has to be all of us.. or it won’t work

d: talmud ie: not allowed to count people.. when counting people .. tend to think of humans as property/slaves.. 

29 min – and the logic of numbers doesn’t work.. it de humanizing them.. if we were on that boat.. we would work it out.. if you play it out (like the problem asks) .. you end up asking the wrong questions.. like.. who gets to be on the boat..

30 min – who gets to decide criteria for being on the boat.. you get into all this crazy stuff.. that are all the wrong questions.. but they become very engaging when your life is on the line.. and those are the questions you are living by

31 min – d: these are iterative systems we’re talking about and not arithmetical quantities

32 min – exactly.. and when you go there.. there’s vast possibility.. but the  possibility is not the same.. you can’t map/chart it.. but you know it’s there.. recognizing the living complexity.. and the untold possibility.. it’s untold/unwritten.. it’s wild.. that’s what it is..t

33 min – capitalism built on this false quantification of humanity.. 

d: it’s a tricky thing to unwind

it is.. and it’s about a diff question.. it’s about finding a way.. which is really a diff question that .. how do we change people’s mindset

it’s about reset ing our minds back to the natural/indigenous ness.. about conditions that would undo our hierarchical listening 

d: it’s so.. we know better because we’ve done iawasca.. all these well meaning white males.. that will bring their psychedelic knowledge of indigenous knowledge to all .. as if we’re going to figure it out.. and once we’ve figured it out.. we’ll share it with everybody.. 

not about knowledge.. not about bringing/telling things to other people.. it’s about uncovering/hearing/seeing.. what is already on each heart

otherwise.. the dance will never dance

ie: in undisturbed ecosystems ..the average individual, species, or population, left to its own devices, behaves in ways that serve and stabilize the whole..’ –Dana Meadows

34 min – and that is the piece.. that is the system reproducing itself.. that image you just painted is the perfect description of what i started saying.. the system keeps trying to describe itself in new ways and have another round

good bye cycle

35 min – d: it’s a survival mech.. we don’t realize it’s 2nd verse little bit worse.. we don’t even see it

same song ness

or the next new thing.. it was the green econ, then sustainability.. then it was.. they just keep coming.. but each one of these things is an iteration of the system producing another map of itself.. but obscuring the territory

d: systems theory itself has gotten a bad name.. because people are using systems theory the same way.. ie: an eco city.. like a sim city.. they use fractals and iterations to show how it’s going to build out.. but it’s like.. now you’re recontextualizing systems as another new project as western civ

36 min – and it comes thru this instrumentalized thing.. like.. we’re going to use this tool to do this thing.. and i guess what i’m really looking for in my world right now .. in this warm data stuff.. is giving communities on the ground access.. and this experience of their own complexity.. so that they can actually find the way

yeah that.. 

imagine if we just focused on listening to the itch in 8b souls.. first thing.. everyday.. and used that data to connect/coord us.. we might just get to a more antifragile, healthy, thriving world.. the ecosystem we keep longing for

the energy of 8b alive people

it’s something so different than collaboration.. because collab i think can get pulled into this discourse and start to think like that lifeboat.. ie: douglas is good at this and nora is good at that.. and everyone’s going to do the thing they’re good at.. no no no.. we’re going to have to do things we never did before.. and find that we’re good at things we never knew we had in us


37 min – d: we’re trying to retrieve the human ness.. 

38 min – yeah.. and that’s the thing.. you can’t count the productivity .. there is no impact measurement.. if you’re really doing systems work.. it’s impossible to have an impact measurement..t because the actual consequences are taking place outside the context in which you started.. they’re happening in relational process.. not in direct response to the thing you thought you were solving.. so that’s a tricky one because it’s not on the spreadsheet

ie: in undisturbed ecosystems ..the average individual, species, or population, left to its own devices, behaves in ways that serve and stabilize the whole..’ –Dana Meadows

no one measuring.. no one telling people what to do.. et al

we need to let go any form of measuring/accounting

here’s the thing.. saying.. can’t we make a cambridge analytic for good.. 

d: you can’t .. because the medium is the message

exactly.. you can’t do that.. and the second you ask that question.. your whole way of thinking has actually just changed over to the dark side

39 min – d: the computer can’t nudge me to be a better human.. it can only nudge me to being a better computer

because being a better human requires all sorts of possibilities that are not present in the configuration/listing of what makes you a good human

this was my critique of limits.. possibility space has to be limitless.. otherwise.. someone is actually telling us what to do .. and so ..not self-limitation (that kallis keeps saying it is)

i’d add.. calling it a ‘better/good’ person.. is limiting to the possibilities as well.. maybe even more dangerous.. because it sounds so good/benign et al

and that has to do w somebody who sat next to you on a bus in 3rd grade

d: exactly.. it’s what computers would consider the junk dna of human behavior.. is where the real signal is

but it’s not the computer’s fault.. we’re the ones writing the code.. and expecting them to do something.. 

what we need to do is realize what tech is capable of .. that we (at least currently) aren’t.. ie: judge\ment

i know if you read this – which you won’t most likely.. you’d freak out about what i’m saying.. w/o listening deeper.. because of trigger words (which is ironically analogous to your boat problem point.. trapped in words when the reality isn’t about that at all).. et al.. but.. perhaps we can have tech w/o judgment ie: tech as it could be

40 min – d: what this makes me wonder about.. which seems like a diff question but it’s not.. is it possible to be doing what we’re saying while still having a plan b 401k retirement plan in the bank..t in other words.. most of us.. still have enough resources stored away.. to survive.. even if things go to shit.. does the ownership of that stuff.. the presence of that personal lifeboat.. most of us are trying to hang onto.. do we have to let go of that in order to hold onto this.. i’m starting to think we do.. i’m starting to think what i have in a fund.. is doing more damage than i can correct thru rightful living and having that parachute/safety-net.. if i have that does it make it impossible for me to be all in on the society we’re talking about 

indeed.. we have to let go any form of measuring/accounting

but.. it’s unethical.. to claim that diagnosis.. without an alt for 8b people ready to roll.. 

this is huge

i wish you could hear it

41 min – i don’t know.. i have a couple diff responses to that.. i think it’s a really interesting question.. on the one hand.. there’s still something to lose.. so still something to protect.. and w/o knowing ..  you can protect things accidentally while thinking you’re transforming them.. this is textbook addiction behavior

42 mi – you talk about the quitting.. but still having cigs sometime.. you know you need to .. but still actually.. the addiction factor is a non trivial factor.. it has to do w imagining that we could actually live so differently that we can’t imagine what that is

again.. unethical.. costello screen\service law

it’s like.. someone once told me.. if you told everyone they had to learn how to breathe underwater by next week.. it’s that level of panic.. the panic of.. i don’t know how to do that..t

yeah.. see this is huge

this other way.. has to require no training.. no prep.. no pre req’s.. it has to be about a way.. that is already in each 8b people today


it has to be done in sync.. our we keep missing that systemic dance you alluded to earlier (the 32 people not numbers but systemic)

humanity needs a leap.. to get back/to simultaneous spontaneity ..  simultaneous fittingness.. everyone in sync..

43 min – and in the panic.. you try to figure out a way to not quite.. and we see a lot of .. figuring out a way to not quite .. make the change.. we’re going to almost get there..t

spot on.. and we can’t do this part\ial.. for (blank)’s sake .. like your boat ie.. it has to be all of us save.. (or none of us will be)

there is ..  a nother way.. to do just that.. 

a group i was working w a few years ago had an interesting take: ‘not how do we stop the upheaval of this transformation.. systems breakdown.. whatever you want to call it.. but what can we put in place for the people who come after to rebuild’ now that’s an interesting question because it changes the thinking.. it stops being about how do we trim/adapt/taper.. and all those things that don’t actually make the change

it is.. but not interesting enough.. doesn’t change the question enough.. when we have the means to put something in place now

we have the means now for 8b people to leap to another way.. 

which again.. is what we need in order for the sync of the system

44 min – d: the things we would do to make the inevitable collapse less painful are the same things we would do to try to prevent the inevitable collapse

exactly.. but we’re afraid to do them.. that’s my point exactly

d: we’re going to try to have a softer lander.. so collapse of western civ will kill fewer people.. what does that look like.. so what do these people need.. ie: alt currencies.. ways of communicating.. regen food supplies.. and something like covid is a teacher on that level – saw limits of 3d printing

i think i might be lost.. because your first ie: alt currencies.. is a huge red flag we’re doing it wrong – that’s not letting go of any form of measuring/accounting .. and i thought that’s where you were taking it .. that making the landing softer just perpetuates the corrupt system.. but now you’re talking like those are good things ie: regen food instead of outsourcing et al

d: not just what it looks like.. but it’s a less totalizing way to go about structural reform.. less about having to replace this system with that one.. less about some ideological battle.. it’s (they’re) like no.. let’s just ie: make this town a little more resilient

ok.. maybe you were saying what i first thought.. ie: that part\ial is killing us

46 min – on the one hand it’s like.. do we need to address this.. or is it just going to happen.. and there’s a part of me now that’s just like.. i don’t know if we should even be talking about the future anymore.. because i don’t know what we can even know.. 

exactly.. it’s not about the future.. otherwise.. we’re thinking in terms of maps/scripts.. we have no idea about the future.. whether we change the system or not.. 

the system change our hearts are seeking.. is about revolution of everyday life starting today.. and then.. ongoingly

i feel like every time there’s a convo.. it turns into these weird flat imaginings.. that don’t have the complexities of all the pathways that life requires

indeed.. back to the need to let go of this notion of some finite set of choices

so then you get these weird ideas like.. we have to make sure every community has a community garden.. and that seems like a great idea.. except that community doesn’t want that community garden.. and it fragments them

we’re doing that with what the center of the problem should be.. ie: climate change; econ; health; data; .. 

when the center of the problem.. the deeper problem.. has to be about the essence of being human.. we need to org around that.. something we’ve not yet tried (because we keep getting distracted by all these things we keep telling other people about what they need to be focused on)

47 min – for me.. it’s certainly this work that i’m doing w communities in warm data

which is lovely.. but not urgent enough.. ie: shouldn’t have to ‘work w communities’ – red flag

it’s what we did ie: findings abstract

absolutely that’s what it’s all about.. it’s about allowing other people to see their own complexity and in other people and to start to ask questions and create pathways that come out of their contexts overlapping.. that’s beautiful.. and it’s so unfamiliar.. you can’t find a grant for it.. you can’t describe it to a charity.. and if you really want to know how life happens.. that’s how it happens

so.. what we found.. is that we need a way for 8b people to leap to that place/space.. 1\ it is urgent  2\ it won’t work until it’s all of us.. sync matters


1\ undisturbed ecosystem (common\ing) can happen

2\ if we create a way to ground the chaos of 8b free people

50 min – you have to let go of what will happen.. have to let go of all that planning.. imaging.. 

d: way to embrace uncertainty is to realized team human is a team sport.. if you try to do it alone.. then gosh.. that’s like my way of coping w/the brittle ness. ie: if i’m holding nora’s hand i’m not as scared..

yeah.. but the team has to be all of us.. or it won’t work


Simone Cicero (@meedabyte) tweeted at 10:17 AM on Thu, Aug 06, 2020:

It was interesting to listen to this. I think the *throwing up after smoking a whole box of cigarettes* works very well with the – too often pointless and superficial – discussion around systems change


even deeper.. the ‘not quite’ default at 42 min..

perhaps @timberners_lee’s: ‘has to be all of us or it won’t work’ is key to legit change.. and it’s that out of sync ness from defaulting to part\ial that keeps us in whatever addiction..

which is great insight.. ie: if we org around that deep desire already in each one of us (getting back/to the whole of the system)