Locus of perception in relation to will and intentionality
From where do I perceive and act? From my need? My will? My selflessness? And selfless then in relation to what? When action is based on the perception of one’s own needs and will it is clear what the locus of the perception is: from within myself. I’m hungry and I’m going to… I want to make a career and I do… I wish my children all the best and I.…
Another entry point for action is described, for example, by Scharmer in leading from the future. It is then about handing from a connection with a whole, from a “something different” than what I need or want myself. In other words, from the here and now (precence), in reality I make a connection with the future, I perceive it (sensing). “With presencing, we connect with our highest possible potential.. .. We feel the emerging future field and act from its presence. When we connect with that field of heightened consciousness, our attention follows a certain process – from longing, opening up, refocusing and letting go to letting come, crystallize and embody the new” (p37 ‘Leading from the Emerging Future’, Scharmer and Kaufer).
Perception as a dynamic signal of context and what I can contribute to it
If I link the observations I make to my own needs, it takes the form of will: I perceive fatigue and then want to go to sleep. I can also broaden this perception by asking myself the question: what possible information does this perception of fatigue tells me about the context? Is the organization in which I work tired for example. What I have to do in that case is really something completely different instead of going to sleep, make for example a contribution aimed at bringing the organization members into (energy) balance by proposing an activity.
I find the concept of “contributions” more neutral and precise than the “highest possible potential” used in Scharmers defintion, because the latter suggests that there is something not yet, which you could reach for. Something better than what there is, a from-to movement. It fits very much in the Christian and also neoliberal traditions, it is just not precise enough, because in my opinion it has too little regard for the dynamics of the connection in which my actions have an effect on others with whom the whole field is always in motion, as the actions of others do. With that, the field is never stable and you cannot reason about more or less potential (that is only possible if you look statically in my opinion). There is much more of a continuous reconnection or in other words “updating” of perception and connection. It is therefore a process of continuous feedback loops.
The workings of action are available through reality; why big stories distract
Of course we can tell about poverty and inequality, but a contribution to that is not in telling those stories. Saying that he wants to contribute to this opens the way to the field of archetypes, such as the archetypal hero who wants to save the world, perhaps against all odds. I cannot influence the “market forces in healthcare”, “inequality between rich and poor” abstractly, but in its concrete presence, and from the place in which I am, I can. If I am an MP, I can contribute other things than as a tramp, bus driver or hairdresser.
Enthusiasm, pressure, conviction as phenomena of will grounded in 1 place: myself
There seems to be an almost insurmountable self-dynamic that makes raising awareness leads to the will to convince others, wanting to achieve goals and thus applying pressure. That is not necessarily the intention, but often a consequence. It seems that the touch by the other is fixed in a strong willpower. If, as described above, you would continue to jump back and forth between yourself and the Other, by doing so the dynamic stays intact because point of focus is constantly changing.
“Negative emotions” as a signal for the need for renewed connection
In working with the future, we may encounter a number of experiences that we often see as “negative” emotions. I interpret them as signals of a need to restore connection or in other words as signals that the “will” is fixed. Below is a brief overview of which experiences it may be:
Confrontation with the uncertain
What should I do? In the most uncertain, I am challenged to act to remove the uncertainty, or to allow and receive the discomfort. Not doing so then feels uncomfortable at first. This awkwardness can be overcome by doing something, either reproducing what I am always do or by finding “ease” with this awkwardness. And then to investigate. If I can’t tolerate uncertainty, if I don’t “want” it, then I’m going to act in ways that are familiar to me and reproduce what already was. Not a problem in itself, but it is not in connection with the whole. The whole gives a clue in the uncertain. Being comfortable with the uncertainty means allowing uncertainty in my soil and opening up to what the other, the future has to offer me.
Confrontation with the ignorant
In ignorance I am challenged, to rationalize and explain or to investigate / understand. If I can’t bear the ignorance, I produce images of what is to regain my ease (it’s clear again how it is). Ignorance can also be seen as a signal from the future that requires a new connection and a deeper understanding of what is going on now. This understanding is not rationally analytical but phenomenological-hermeneutic.
Confrontation with the unexpected
In the unexpected, I am challenged to open up instead of reproducing existing relationships and order. In case of reproducing existing relationship the desire is directed at the other person to receive something that is important to myself (affection, protection, love). The extreme form of expectations are archetypes (such as the hero, the mother), which makes it almost impossible to behave outside of the predefined expectations we have of each other. To prepare for the unexpected, we must be willing to enter a situation without will, shame, or condition, and be open to being influenced by whatever the situation brings us, and act accordingly. While it sounds simple, our cultural values make it difficult to be open to the unexpected. It requires finding ease in the fact that in these situations vulnerability, sensitivity and emotionality are the reality.
Confrontation with the unapproachable
In the unapproachable I am challenged to make meaning, or to receive meaning. There are situations, events that literally give “no sense”. We have learned by faith to face magic and rituals to the world we cannot connect with and control over.
To prepare for the unapproachable, we must hold back and accept the existential fears as reality instead of seeing these fears as a problem to be solved. This attitude toward the unapproachable opens the way to see the beauty of things and take care of the whole by contributing to life, its essence. It requires a preparedness in which the tension between the most extremes of being (existence and non-existence, individuality and collectivity) is accepted in its duality. It accepts “what is” in being without feeling the need to control it, it does not make a choice for any of the extremes.
The workings of silence
I have been asked: what does silence actually do, what is the effect when I am quiet. And what is it that this is felt by others as promoting the work and togetherness of the group. I see it this way: in this silence, the uncertain, ignorant, unexpected and unapproachable can do their work in the back and forth between me and the other. And thus space to make a connection with the future.
In the silence, no judgment takes place and space is made by literally not occupying that space with images, pressure or direction.
No pressure is applied and therefore ease can occur. In silence you can feel your own energy balance and take action there if necessary. Also realize the effects of unprocessed perception. Process these perceptions and clean up the own system again.
Leaving silence is a gesture of trust and offers space for contact with being yourself and the other. The other is given space to appear.
Time is literally stopped because cause-effect chains, problem-solution, order are discontinued and experience is turned on.
Silence wakes up.
Silence is a form of intentionality that suits me. It focuses the perception on the context and leaves space and time to the Other to be and to get to know it in it.
Intentionality as willpower without pressure
In intentionality lies attention and focus on the other. To put it crazy: it “wants” to give space, but without exerting pressure. With that, the will is over and in this can then appear what is at issue. Levinas calls this the Other and we call it “the future.” From this publication it can then become clear what I can contribute to it. For me, the form of intentionality is often the silence, honestly I’m not sure what other forms it might have.