Here are Amy's notes from that call (Chris' to follow):
Charles: What’s the guiding question behind this event?
Chris: How can we help the community re-connect. Cast the largest net and ask what we all have in common.
Ilona: This is an opportunity to get the community back in relationship, although there is a question of whether there IS a community – I don’t think there is.
Chris: To your question, Ilona, the three points that have been driving our dialogue have been community, leadership and dialogue. You can see some of this thinking in our graphic capture.
Ulrich: How can we work from dialogue to community – what kinds of structure are necessary to support that?
Charles: Human beings used to live in communities but when we moved into the industrial age we went from community to association, and we lost that sense of community – and yet as humans we need that for our sense of connection. Our corporations didn’t care about people or the environment. So we are reaching for community within our own World Café community, but there is a hunger for connection in all other places too. Is that within the scope of what we want to take on?
Ulrich – what kind of culture do we want to create in this meeting? It’s connected to your question Charles, in that we want to role model – put the seeds in the group and for a new thing that may be what you’re describing as a very old thing.
Charles – I have the feeling we have to go back to early indigenous cultures to learn, and to set what we’re doing in a larger historical context.
Amy – and there may be a new sense of community emerging – what does community mean today and is it different now, in the time we are living? This Internet Age, where you can have immediate online connection with the rest of world? Is it possible to experience community in this medium? And what does that say about community?
John – in some ways these tools connect us, but in others they give rise to the longing for connection that they aren’t receiving. I've been watching Bowling Alone – a TV series about how a community would come together for a specific event or interest and feel the sense of connection, but that connection would not be about participation it would be in relation to a paid situation – an association. The World Café is different and that’s what draws me to this dialogue. We don’t just ask for money, we ask for contribution and dialogue.
Charles – my interest is in how to bring community into the educational space, the corporate space – we’re just at the beginning of thinking these could be questions. Here are some real crisises in front of us, so that it’s not just nice to have it’s necessary to have in the future.
Ulrich – how can we address the shadow of community – competition and the fear of collaboration, betrayal of trust, etc. how can we address the tendency to stay the same when there is need for change? And how to create the cultural structures to hold this transformation. And Chris brings up the point of staying in conversation together even when there are conflicts. Howe can we create something that is really lasting, and not what we experienced with Pat and Jeff.
Charles: spot on – that’s exactly the challenge
Ilona: I have felt the joy of being connected with a larger community, and also the pain of not being connected. There is so much going on already right now, so my question is it necessary to think about the other movements like chanting where people get connected on a different level than just speaking, a healing through singing together. The need is there to get connected, and we need to get connected to heal ourselves and be who we are and what we can be.
Charles – this idea is pointing us to how we can connect with resonance, resonate with each other.
What kind of dialogue do we have in ourselves as individuals? In Vienna I asked people to be very quiet and imagine a dialogue between their thinking and their feeling.
Sabina: It’s past the time where leadership means one person guiding a large number of people – we need to learn to guide in groups and I think we can only resolve today's problems together. What kind of structure do we need – now here in this little group, just to build up trust. Has there ever been a community in Europe? With meetings or something like that here? If not, we are in the first steps of building that community. To reach out to each other and begin to talk with each other.
Charles: no, there have been individual people who have been interested in that. Jeff had been having meetings in Vienna and David brought him together with me and Alexander Shieffer. And Sabine Breydemeyer has been doing work for some time as an individual. At this point we are re-grouping, to create something together, and to help spread these ideas in the world.
Chris: In a strange way there is a strong WC community in the UK – they don’t like the idea that there was a book written about it. They like to say that conversation has been happening for ages. They already feel connected and don’t see a need for a larger community.
Amy: Yes, and there are many ways of thinking about community – there’s the individual personal urge for community, and the way we’re talking about fulfilling that as an international or regional group of practitioners in the World Café, and there is also the larger sense of the World Cafe helping to support community on a global level through hosting World Cafes that connect diversity within larger systems.
Chris: There’s a need for that larger connection, and people will pay to go to these one-off events, including me. But I go to these events and leave frustrated, because I have not been invited to participate.
Charles: If there is a way to talk about slow and local at your meetings it would be brilliant.
John – I’ve been reading a book about a garden, that looked like chaos, an absolute mess. From the ground level it looked bad, but the gardener said that you have to get above it in order to see it – it’s a fractal and from the smallest to the most global it is a repetition of the same principles. The fact the groups in England stay small is just a fractal of the largest and most abstract. That we are sitting here on Skype from different cultures proves that. We know what it’s like to behave in association, but do we remember what it is to be in community? And do we need to extend forgiveness for those who have forgotten how to be in community?
Charles: the idea of forgiveness brings in the best of the heart.
Ulrich – my question is what is community? We had it before, but we use the word and assume we are talking about the same thing, and what is it? Do we need it? It might be evident to us, but in the larger perspective it might be over the heads. I think we really need to talk about what is community?
Ilona – for me, it’s how do we make meaning, bring meaning into life – meaning and community have a strong correlation for me. In one sense, meaning can only be made collectively. Individually we can make sense of things of course, too, but an individual is not a community.
Community – it means that what is common. It needs individuals who carry the “common sense” or those things that make sense to each other, and there is this sense that I can bring new things to it – the line between community and individuality, and learning new things/ Who belongs to the community? Those who participate in the same thing, or share the same values? It’s about making or bringing meaning into life.
Chris: Sabina Soeder and I have been doing graphic recording classes, and unlike my colleagues in the states we’ve been getting a lot of positive response to these classes – it’s not me or Sabina, but through the World Café connections in Europe there is a virus that is growing! The connection is that harvesting in the broadest sense – through photographs, notes, graphics, always in some kind of visual way, making meaning visible to the participants who are making meaning together is a catalyst for making community. With visual recording our ideas are populated all in one place and in seeing them we can feel connected in a way we didn’t in the beginning.
These graphics make meaning together and show the importance of HARVESTING.
That’s a way to make community. Different groups are making meaning of their lives in very different ways.
Charles : you were doing more than just harvesting – you are also working at the metaphor level – using images that crystallize ideas that are affirming others, and listening into the future.
Ilona: together we can grow. Up until now we still think we are learning out of ourselves, but now we are realizing we need each other to grow.
Charles: to your question, we are still experimenting – so little time has gone by on the larger scale of how we understand each other and human nature. On this scale, we are just babies and learning.
Chris: It’s hard for the systems to let go of themselves. We recently saw this disintegration in banks, and now it’s happening in government.
Charles: we don’t yet have the metaphors in place for the next era – we’re using industrial words for what we don’t even know will be there. The unknown is where the transformation will take place.
John: You don’t even have to go back to the agricultural level – just go out and talk to someone in Ohio who’s still farming. I described what I do to her and she said “I don’t know what you said. But it sounds important” so you’re right – we don’t even have the words. We have to go back and embrace something beyond the industrial.
Ilona – I had the pleasure to meet Charles last week and see his book forming. He’s really able to visualize these big ideas through time. I’d like more people to have the chance to see Charle's pictures on this.
Charles – (will send images) (Talking about a World Café process he’s bringing to the parks in Vienna.) I’m interested in how we can bring World Café into the classroom all the time, how we can change the tyranny of the horseshoe table in business meetings, etc.
Ilona – how can I help? I would like to build another culture – not what Peter Senge is doing of charging large amounts of money just for the ability to connect worldwide. I want to come to someone’s place and really experience hosting and living together for periods of time rather than giving my money to something I don’t want to support (five star hotel). I’d like a gathering to have a different face.
Chris: If you think about those people who are dear to you, both personally and professionally, what do you think they’d need?
John: Ilona, that is a great suggestion and that’s what we need from you. If we want to do something different, let’s put it on differently, and as part of the invitation invite people to house others in their home.
Ulrich – what do we each take from this conversation? A short moment of reflection, and what resonates most for you?
Ilona – I take a big smile on my face (and reflected in my heart) from John’s recognition of my participation. It feels like a reconnection and that a kind of community is evolving and that makes me happy. The question I bring is how do we make meaning and bring it into life, which leads to community?
Sabina – when we checked out yesterday my word was life, and after this talk I can only say “yes” – I feel very vital vibration and am curious about what the result will be after this weekend. And I’m feeling grateful in this moment. Thank you!
Ulrich – I’m really happy this conversation took place, that there was interest to use this possibility of a Skype conference even though the set up was complicated this morning. I’m glad you took the chance to share your thoughts. I’m taking something about creating shared meeting at the heart of community. I still don’t know how to do it, but before creating strategy you should really be on the same side of some shared meaning, and to create it is a huge challenge.
John – Charles, I’ve heard your name and am so happy to have you participate in these conversations, as I can see now why people have said you have to be involved. Some of what I’m taking away is what you have brought to the conversation – reawakening my awareness of interest in the meaning in my life. Being in community with all of you is part of things I really find important and needs work. One of the things you brought, Charles, that’s important to look at as we revitalize the WC – how do we use that as a means to get people back in community and to re-learn the ability to get back into community and not just be in association.
Charles – part of the fun of doing this is to discover the uniqueness in each of us. Amy, I sense so much more in what you are doing and striving for that I would love to understand, John your garden is showing the background of what we need to be doing, and the beauty of what Chris and Sabina are reflecting, and the art and scope of what you are able to see, Ulrich. I love what you said about love, Ilona and makes me wonder if we can have TWC as a dancing agape. I sent power points about what I’m doing. When we talk about community we’re thinking about being there for each other. It was so beautiful we embraced silence in this conversation, too.
Chris – the real gift of the human species is what’s possible when the right brain and left brain can work together. Moving from the industrial brain to the conceptual brain. The ability to be with something that we don’t yet know what is.