Igniting Presence

Is it in my power to change something?

«We see it in the destabilization of the climate, the sinking of the groundwater level, the loss of topsoil, and the alarming loss of biodiversity. […] in an increased degree of polarization, inequality, racism, violence, and war as well as in the beginnings of climate-induced mass migration,» so Otto Scharmer describes the great signs of our time – «a time of accelerated breakdown and collapse.» In his contribution ‹Schütze die Flamme› (Protect the Flame), close to the well-known Beuys quote, it is not, as the opening suggests, about collective despondency. The co-professor and founder of Theory U dares an entirely different, radical thrust: He accepts the collapse and depression as something positive. Not sarcastically or ignorantly in the face of the manifold suffering, but with a view to the possible and the freedom that remains. He looks at the change in collective consciousness: 1. Denial 2. Dissociation 3. Depression 4. Deep Feeling and Co-Creativity. Thus, especially in the third stage, which is described in many places today, there is something very good: because it seeps into the collective consciousness that it cannot go on like this; the denial phase will gradually be overcome. At this point, the ability to act begins. How will the gap between better knowledge and actual action be closed from then on? In addition to a long series of system-related conclusions, Scharmer’s call contains the real flame: If what has become disintegrates, only our relations remain. In the smallest circle, it is vital to learn what is systematically needed: the ‹radical presence› of the I.

MoreProtect the Flame – Circles of radical presence in times of collapse›, 9/7/2022

Photo Paul Bulai – Translation: Monika Werner

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