In the introduction I wrote: "The best possible response will be for other people to run related experiments in parallel."
Thank you @hugi for responding to the challenge! It was precisely you I was writing for, along with a few others, so it is very gratifying to see the message landed well. And thanks to @johncoate for sharing some of your experiences here.
@noemi if I made it sound like blank slates are a good place to start, I have misrepresented myself. Interesting stuff can emerge from a blank slate, but my own experience is rooted in an ancient lineage, different wisdom traditions, a messy genealogy of overlapping elders, who have each taught the subsequent generation their spotty recollection of methods, poorly translated and misunderstood, but still animated with a quality of aliveness that shines through despite the shortcomings.
I thought I was just experimenting with one new community, but I'm beginning to sense I might actually be experimenting with a community development protocol. I may be articulating something at the same level as say Art of Hosting or Theory U.
My instinctive posture is against protocol, against the abstraction, articulation and comparison of different models. I have had so many experiences of these conversations rapidly departing from bodies and actions. Intellectually stimulating but practically unsatisfying. I hope to proceed in a more embodied, more active, less academic sense.
I have been documenting my journey with Enspiral and Loomio for 7 years. I'm still not sure if that documentation has done a great deal of good. E.g. the Enspiral Handbook has the letter of the law but none of the spirit. Discerning the spirit from the letter is a mystic art, as far as I'm concerned.
I don't think you can learn much about doing this stuff by reading about it. It's like trying to dance about a painting; interesting maybe, but not very effective. I think the personal stories are more helpful than the rulebooks, but then the stories don't satisfy the people who keep asking me where do I start?
I believe we learn much more by mimicry than by reading. So lately I've been saying, start by finding someone who's feet you want to sit at. Or, find a relationship you want to emulate, and ask if they'll teach you how. There is a such a subtle quality of our interpersonal relating, it's mostly impossible to detect through writing. But when we are physically present with each other, it is effortless to start copying: oh in this space people seem to maintain eye contact, speak without interrupting each other, they pay careful attention to each other's emotional and physical boundaries, they seem to anticipate each other's needs. My putting it into words can distract from the doing of it.
In my experience so far, face-to-face contact is the easiest way to pass these qualities along. I'm not giving up on the written word though, just feeling out the size of the challenge I've set for myself.
So this is a question for @noemi (and others): if you want to focus more on partnership within ER, do you have specific examples of relationships you want to emulate? Have you participated in a relationship that had certain qualities you would like to see more of in ER?
Many times in Europe I met people who seemed to move with the assumption that they needed to find the best ideas, come up with the perfect design, and then it would be time to start. Enspiral has a terrible design, it barely works, but it works enough for us to keep learning from doing. Practice, practice, practice.
Thank you for having me in your space! <3