The war on poverty, the beating cancer plans. We are essentially fighting issues we don’t fully understand.
We study them, blind-folded by institutional inertia. Trapped into an expiring paradigm that fiercely fights to prolong its existence. We privilege old ways of doing and a narrow subset of human knowledge. This is akin to only looking for the lost keys under the lamppost where there’s light to see.
We ignore the roots. The fundamental splits within the human self, and between self- and others and self- and nature. And yet it is perhaps where we must look first.
Multi-dimensionality is present in our words but is rarely embodied in practice.
Integrated development considers the interconnections between various sectors; it sometimes focuses on muti-stakeholder partnerships and cross-sectoral collaboration bringing government, business, academia, and civil society together. But when it does this from the same level of awareness, it is just this, integrated. True empowerment requires a vertical leap up the spiral, where new capabilities for flourishing are accessible.
Overly focused on tools and methods, we forget they make up barely 20% of any outcome. Our own internal capacity to implement a tool makes the rest of the difference.
As quantum physics has well demonstrated, the observer always influences the observed.
This is as true for developers and medics, as for target beneficiaries of interventions.
We attach an outsized importance to technological innovation and pay relatively little attention to social technologies that can support expanded capabilities and awareness of the individual and the group.
And yet it is social technologies that can create the conditions for liberation.
In both our science and our practice, it may be helpful to draw on alternative sources of knowledge, even when they may not at first appear to be justified by conventional means.
We advocate for policy instruments and funding tools that support such innovative approach and practice. We believe the times of transition and the multiple crises we are living through call us all to the task.
We could begin by, individually and collectively, looking in the ‘mirror’ today’s challenges hold for us, and staying open to the subtler processes, and silver linings, and even gifts, inherent in any such adventure.