2NDMovement: Think Together
Everyone has experienced the power that a team of people, working together effectively, brings to the resolution of a problem. But Thinking Together transcends the concept of teamwork and brings the concept of the power of working in groups to a whole new level of performance. The second movement expands the awareness of what can be accomplished by individuals in a group through the power of working and Thinking Together in a field of consciousness.
When two or more individuals come together and begin to interact and understand each other, a “we” is formed. The marvelous thing about a “we” is that somehow individuals are able to get into each other’s mind so mutual understanding can occur. The effectiveness of the “we” depends on the quality of the intentional and meaningful communication and interaction of its members. If “I” understand “you” and “you” understand “me”, then the “we” that is formed takes on a life of its own that is apart from the understandings and interpretations of each of us as individuals.
Once you become aware of your habits of mind, you can learn how to temporarily suspend those habits of mind: in suspending your habit of mind you then have the capacity to open up to the thoughts and ideas of others. The practices and the exercises of the second movement help you allow the other members of your group or organization to say something “new” and to be deeply and truly understood. Rather than filtering what the other is saying through your habits of mind, the second movement teaches you how to suspend those filters and to understand the other on their own terms rather than yours. By listening with openness, new ideas and thoughts are able to penetrate and enter into your consciousness and the consciousness of the “we”. When this occurs, you shift away from the need to constantly advocate for, and defend your ideas: instead, you move toward relationships with others based on influence and collaboration. The understandings brought to the collective consciousness of the “we” then create multiple, new, and almost endless possibilities for the future.
Egypt: The Power of Thinking Together
A concrete example may help to clarify the abstract concept of the power of Thinking Together. For more than thirty years, Egypt was a dictatorship ruled by Hosni Mubarak. Yet, in the span of only a few weeks, the Egyptian people overthrew Mubarak’s regime in a peaceful revolution. Mubarak’s regime had dominated for decades. What changes occurred to sweep away the regime in only a few short weeks? Did Mubarak change the way he ruled Egypt and thus, let his ironhanded grasp on the people slip away? Did the military and police suddenly become less powerful? Did courageous politicians risk their lives to offer political alternatives to Mubarak? The answer to all these questions is: no, none of that happened.
What seem to have happened is that the Egyptian people, through social networking such as Facebook and Twitter, followed the upheaval in Tunisia. The virtual experience of becoming a “we” enabled the Egyptian people to experience a radical shift in their collective habits of mind. For more than thirty years the habits of mind out of which the Egyptian people acted, were dictated by the specific expectations, beliefs, feelings, attitudes, and judgments that they had no choice but to submit to the oppression of the Mubarak regime. By communicating with each other through social networks such as Facebook, Twitter and other means, they were opened and awakened to the possibility of achieving democratic freedoms. The actions dictated by those habits of mind began to change as the peoples’ specific expectations, beliefs, feelings, attitudes, and judgments were transformed by the idea that if democracy could occur in Tunisia, it could occur in Egypt as well.
As groups of individuals in Egypt began to Think Differently, the effect was amplified many times over by the power of Thinking Together. By working and thinking together in a field of collective (un)consciousness, the Egyptian peoples’ awareness of what could be accomplished changed dramatically. Because of the openness created by the Tunisian revolution, new ideas and thoughts began to penetrate and enter into the collective consciousness – the “we” – of the Egyptian people. The new and shared understandings brought to the collective consciousness of the Egyptian “we” then created new possibilities for the future that were not visible a few weeks earlier. Thinking Differently and Thinking Together brought transformational change to Egypt.