The World as Café

Right now Juanita started to tell about how the World Café was born in their living room. At that time, Finn Voldtofte was staying in their home for a gathering on Intellectual Capital. At lunch time, after they had sensed that something new was being born, Finn said: Hé, we have to understand what we are doing here!” The next day they used a tape recorder to record some of what was said.

Finn Voldtofte died last December, after a dramatic sickness, after being with some of us to host the World Café Stewardship Dialogue.

Finn’s invitation was always to be aware that the World Café was not a method alone; nor was it a single conversation alone; but rather it was a doorway into something much more profound. It had to do with
collective intelligence and collective wisdom, in service of the problems of our time.

David is now reading some of what Finn said in these early conversations, of which Anne, Tom, Juanita and David were part of. These essential ideas are also projected on the big screen in front of us. Finn would say: Listen to the middle, listen to what is beneath the words…

“I think I have it! The World Café is a metaphor by which we have been able to understand the connectedness of the social processes by which we in human systems have the capacity to bring forth generative futures.”

“Power comes from small groups of people engaged in connected conversations about questions that matter to them where they find the ‘magic in the middle’.”

“An individual Café where magic happens is  the key unit of change force. When the conversation is alive, people cannot help but act. But in order to acquire enough change force or potential for large scale transformation, we need to connect the conversations and we aware they are connected.”

“Another metaphor for the bigger idea of the World Café is the life-net, just like you can be connected to the internet and have access to a vast field of information that will be here whether or not you are connected to it, you can also have access to a larger held of consciousness and wisdom with your mind, heart, and body. I call it ‘life-net’.”

“World Café” is drawing on and adding to the pool of understanding and wisdom that is accessible to the life-net. What if I believed that my insights and actions are not only gained for the people in my conversation, but for all other conversations with similar intentions and questions?”

“Café conversation where ‘magic’ occurs can be a womb that helps nurture the next stage of evolution – our collective intelligence and wisdom becoming aware of itself at increasing levels of scale?”

“I want to be there to take the World Café into the world. Our eyes and hearts are open. Will you be there too?”

Juanita again: In the spirit of the echoing harvest, are there some echo’s now? in one word? Then share it… It doesn’t matter who is speaking the word, as we are all parts of the whole, as Finn would say.

Quote from Finn 3

vision… hope… intuition… spirit… friendship… transformation… trust… all one… systems wisdom… thank you… peace… natural purpose… presence… listen to the source… love… beauty… joy… children of heart… respect…

Andri is speaking now. She lives in Denmark, engaged in Finn’s group of Collective Intelligence: We were working in this field, with Finn always guiding this process; combining the personal and the impersonal. In the process of his being ill, I was there too. This kind of silence, as is now tangible here in this room, was very much there when Finn was ill. You can only BE there, with a person that is ill. In his funeral was played a song. For his 50 birthday, his men friends – with whom he would meet regularly – offered the opportunity to make a recording, when he would make the music and the lyrics of this song. This is a gift from Finn to our community.

The song is played… the words are there for everyone to read..
Look a friend in the eyes…
and see what is…

see beyond
see life
see death

see what is…
see the deep time
see the deep love
see universes of universes

see what is…

There is deep silence now in this big ballroom. Tom Hurley is guiding the global development of the World Café, as one method of many as a doorway in.

“When Finn and I were designing the WC Stewardship Council – together with others – Finn said: “All these years we have used World Café as a process, but there are also other ways of how we talk about the World Café. Sometimes we use it as the Community of hosts. And sometimes we talk about something much deeper: the deeper work. The principles – as they are here hung around the room here – and the questions are part of this deeper work. The future will emerge out of these conversations, also one of this deeper work.” We realized that the World Café had spread worldwide, and with the development of the hubs in Europe, Asia and Latin-America, then what would be the unique gift of WC? This deeper work is what it is about! Let’s not talk only about it only late at night.

On the new website, there is a new blog: Conversations as an Evolutionary Force. That is about this work, on these deeper levels. You are invited to add your thoughts there.

Tom is naming Anne Dosher, as elder and guardian of the World Café. She opens and closes every meeting of the WC-team. “I have been privileged to call in the four directions in every meeting. This came to me as a gift from the Great Spirit. Had we not attended, we might have missed it! Had we not attended, we might not have seen what is the true gift of WC. During Finn’s illness we were all present in this collective field. He sent a message to us, to hold the collective field, whatever site we were on. Knowing that each of us is a moving event in a moving universe. The great blessing is to come together where we can source wisdom and much more. We are blessed!”

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