That Place called … “I don’t know”

I sometimes wonder what happened to our natural fascination with the mysteries of life, to our awe of the power of nature, to dreams and imagination, to possibility, to our ability to see the wonder of evolution …
… without which we would not be alive
… without which we would not have had the scientific advances that enable us to understand our world so much better
… without which we would have none of the technology that places such an integral part in our lives today and through which you are reading this communique.

I also sometimes wonder what happened to our natural instinct to want to discover … and … learn.

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Until 1976, I had lived all my life in London. I’d been on a couple of trips with friends to the European continent and one extended trip to Israel, and of course, to other places in the UK. Nevertheless, my world was extremely limited.

Towards the end of that year, in an era in which there were few if any useful guidebooks, I packed a few possessions into a backpack and started travelling.
I sometimes feel I have never stopped.
I became aware that my perspectives of life were being challenged almost daily.
I began to discover the fascinating diversity of our world, and at the same time, found myself Questioning my ideas, saying over and over again … “I don’t know” … because I didn’t.

And this is still the case today.

*  *  *

I open the serious news websites and read the hypocrisy and violence of the politicians who either have been vested with or seized the power enabling them to exercise legislative control over our lives.
And these politicians all “know” how citizens “should” live their lives.

I visit corporate clients and experience how power vested in decision makers has such a significant influence on the lives of their employees. The quality of this influence lies somewhere within the range from highly generative to atrociously dictatorial. The values of each leader tend to be reflected in the quality of working life of the organisation’s employees, customers and suppliers.
And so many of these decision makers at the dictatorial end of the scale all “know” how employees “should” behave.

I view the posts of colleagues in the social media, and read their reports of their approach to their work, which tends to reflect an attitude somewhere within the range from open curiosity with continuous learning to being the consultant with all the answers.
And so many of these colleagues at the latter end of this scale simply “know” not only how their clients “should” “manage” their business, they transfer their expertise of managing a set of technical skills to proclamations on how society should “manage” and “change”.
Some blindly follow manifestos and proclamations published by others. A few even create their own.

History ought to have taught us the dangers of blind followership.
Alone the wish to create a manifesto reflects the extent to which we still need to learn so much from history, and I find this deeply disturbing.
Forget Manifestos is a short piece outlining the dangers of manifestos, accompanied by an alternative disposition:

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I took the photo above many years ago while trekking in Nepal. The locals call this stretch “Heaven’s Way” and for me, the clouds on this particular day represent a metaphor for a mystery of a journey in which something new awaits around every bend. In 2005, I spent 3 months living and working in this beautiful country, mostly in the mountains, where I experienced the unique indescribable energy amongst the highest peaks in the world.

And here too I experienced the beauty of that place called … “I don’t know”

… which is the reason I ask Questions continuously, regardless of who I am working with …

*  *  *

One of my core principles when working with groups is …

The group knows what it needs, even if it doesn’t know that it knows.

… but this is a different kind of “knowing” …

You may download this post as a pdf, here: That Place called I dont know (for pdf)