Dialoguing Peter Block’s Activating the Common Good & Ted Rau’s Collective Power

r3.0
24 min readDec 21, 2023

What We’re Reading at r3.0 (9)

By Bill Baue & Ben Roberts

For this edition of What We’re Reading, we shake it up by introducing a dialogic format — a conversation between r3.0 Senior Director Bill Baue, who covers Collective Power, the latest book from Ted Rau of r3.0 Advocation Partner Sociocracy for All, and r3.0 Funding Governance for Systemic Transformation Lead Author / Project Steward Ben Roberts covering Activating the Common Good, the latest book by Peter Block.

Ben & Bill find convergence between Rau’s focus on power-under, which aligns with Block’s critique of bottom-up framing, as well as overlaps of Rau’s common ground with Block’s common good.

To watch the recording of the discussion, see here.

See below for the transcript of the conversation (lightly edited for clarity).

Bill Baue: Hi there. This is Bill Baue. I’m Senior Director with r3.0 (Redesign for Resilience & Regeneration). Welcome to a new iteration of the What We’re Reading feature from our Newsletter and we’ve decided to shift things up a little bit here. I’m here with Ben Roberts, who you may recognize as the Lead Author and Project Coordinator for our eighth Blueprint on Funding Governance for Systemic Transformation. Ben and I have each recently read a book and we think there might be some interesting intersections between them, even potentially some disagreement between them. We figured let’s give it a try to just do this format, where we have a conversation about these books that we’ve read as a kind of an interactive review process. So that’s what we’re going to do here. We will each do a brief introduction of the book that we read, and then have that lead into a conversation. So over to you to get the ball rolling on that front.

Ben Roberts: You know, it may just be that these are both books we find interesting, and we’re gonna share them. There may also be some connections but we’ll have to explore that further. So I just finished reading the brand new book by Peter Block: Activating the Common Good, subtitled Reclaiming Control of our Collective Well-being, which is a surprising subtitle for me because so much of what I love about Block is how well he frames the paradigm of control as being something we need to let go of. Including inside of this book where he talks about two core perspectives: the business perspective, which is how we’ve decided to run everything, not just businesses. Other folks might call it the narrative of business-as-usual or of progress and modernity or development or the “industrial growth society” (to use Joanna Macy’s term). And what he’s done so well in this book, I think, is in very plain and simple language to present an alternative narrative, which he calls the “common good perspective.” And he’s done it in a way that’s really accessible. And so it’s a book where I read it and I think of all kinds of people who are not activists, who aren’t systemic transformation change agents, who don’t try to support “regenerative” anything, who could read this and get something out of it. Not only get something out of it but be inspired to think differently about what’s possible for them in their lives. Because that’s sort of the core thesis of the common good perspective, isn’t it? It shifts the narrative from one where those who are in charge and who are managing and controlling things have all the power and the control, and they organize us into this consumer culture where we make a god of the market. And our job is to be consumers, even when it comes to leaders. When we don’t like the one we have, we say “let’s pick a different one.” As opposed to saying we live in a world that’s fundamentally abundant. And that our goal is to have “enough,” not “more, more, more.” And that when we shift to that perspective, even in neighborhoods that we’ve labeled as “poor,” that if we look at them instead not as poor but as simply having the potential to have all they need if there’s greater connection among them among the people there. Block has this term “relational activism” to define the way for any of us to step into the common good perspective as activists, in a way that’s accessible to people who might not want to think of themselves as activists, right? So that’s kind of the essence of the book. Maybe there’ll be some sections that come up in our conversation to read.

The only other thing I want to add is that I first fell in love with Peter Block’s work when I read his book Community: The Structure of Belonging, which came out in 2008. I read it in 2010 and it transformed my work and my perspective. There were so many things he said that I couldn’t unhear about the language we commonly use. That once I got the distinctions he was making, I then saw them out in the world and it fundamentally shifted how I heard those words. And this is the essence of what he says is possible in relational activism: that right kind of language — and there’s this wonderful section on what sort of just talk that doesn’t change anything versus language that moves us towards a different future — does have that power in the moment just from the act of it being said, and heard and witnessed, especially when done in community. So I think that’s so powerful. That book (Community) to me is a much richer and more complex exploration of these ideas. This new one is like the Cliffnotes version, in a way. But it’s more than that. He has a broader audience here. I highly recommend Community, if you’re going to read one book, but again, depending on your audience, I think this one also is worthwhile. There are some limitations too and maybe that’ll be something we loop back to her kind of my one big question or concern in the framing. That does relate to somebody Ted Rau sent to me once upon a time so we’ll see if that comes up in our conversation.

Before we continue, let me read that thing about the language since I referenced that. My work is around convening, and I read Community (and other books) because I wanted to learn about large group processes for dialogue. And so for 14 years now, I’ve heard people say “we need more action and less talk” or “there’s talk and then there’s action, and disparaging “conversation.” And so I’ve had a sensitivity to it for a while and I think he articulates some of what’s behind those discontents, and how you can reframe it to understand the power of conversation, right? So this section from the new book is called “Conversational Domains for Activating Trust and Accountability:”

To change the culture, change the conversation, Werner Earhart introduced me to the concept of speech acts, which is the basis for the conversational protocols in this section. These domains hinge on a distinction between words that move the action forward versus “just talk.” Just talk includes opinions, persuasion, feedback, complaints, intellectual analyzing, explanations, excuses, naming people’s deficiencies, the call for more research and planning, arguments, political points of view, appeasement, lip service. All the ways we detach from the present and the burden of being accountable and an agent. The advantage of these kinds of conversations or speech acts is that they’re interesting, rewarding, self-expressive, declare that we are right, and are steps to certainty. All diversion from anything really changing in terms of impacting the world. These conversations do not fulfill their promise, and leave us with a sense of helplessness. Every time.

What we are seeking in creating a common good counter-narrative is dialogue that moves the action forward. Dialogue where, in their very expression, the words chosen and said to one another produce accountability and agency within the speaker. And also, in the vulnerability of the expression, words that build trust with the other. The other being someone you might know the least, someone from a different culture, someone with whom it has been difficult to be yourself. Words that have the power to bring something new into being include declarations of possibility. Such as, in an extreme case, “I do” or “you are under arrest,” or “you are hired” (or fired), or “we hold these truths to be self evident,” or in a sermon given on the mount. Other more day-to-day words that are powerful speech acts are saying no, stating wants, making a request, commitment, promise, covenant, confession, agreement, naming people’s gifts, offering forgiveness or declaring your unwillingness to do so. Each of these has choice embedded in the act. Each demands vulnerability on the part of the speaker. This is not a matter of semantics. Accountability and a declaration of our citizenhood are embedded in the statements themselves, regardless of the impact or how the world responds. There is the power to create an alternative future in the words themselves, the moment they are spoken, and through the vulnerability they invoke. And the choice is never an easy one. This is the essence of agency as social capital. When this is done as a collective, knowing all in the room are participating in the same conversation, the common good is activated.

Bill: I can see why you like that. That’s good stuff. And now I can’t ask for feedback. Or claim to be right.

Ben: Right?! I already knew that was maybe not the most constructive thing. And yet I’ve been doing it my whole life. Just ask my wife!

Bill: Yeah, you could ask others about me too. Cool. Well, I don’t necessarily have earmarked passages to read. But you mentioned Ted Rau, and so the book that I read is Collective Power: Patterns for a Self-organized Future, by Ted Rau. And if you don’t know Ted, he is co-founder of Sociocracy for All along with Jerry Koch-Gonzalez. He is co-author of the book Many Voices, One Song, which is essentially a guidebook for enacting Sociocracy. I’m good friends with Ted and have known him for over a decade [we lived in the same cohousing community]. In fact, since before Ted was Ted — I was great friends with Jennifer Rau.

Ben: I met Jennifer too. We collaborated on a Transition Towns meet-up that I helped organize.

Bill: So now Ted identifies as a transgender male, and I have trouble seeing him as anything other than Ted now, which is appropriate. I think what I really appreciate about his book Collective Power is that it uses his experiences with Sociocracy — advocating for it and consulting and training people on it — as a foundation. He shares many stories that he’s gathered over the years, and there’s an appendix here of all of the various different stories that Ted tells. Which is a very effective mechanism: asserting a point and then demonstrating it through hands-on real-world (or composite) examples.

But this is not a textbook about Sociocracy per se. It is about self-governance, and Sociocracy is merely one form of that. There are other forms of self-governance that one could pursue. I think I just I want to pinpoint a couple of instances — there’s no way that I could encompass this in a brief period of time — but for me, really, there’s a few things that he established up front and then came back to that are that are profound and worth establishing (and that I think speak with Block). One of them is the distinction between “power with” as compared to “power over.” Many of us have heard of the term “power over,” but I particularly appreciate that Ted introduces the more complex concept of “power-under,” and this is a concept that I’ve spoken with him about in the past. There’s a book that I think is a sort of a “bookification” of a PhD dissertation by Steven Wineman, called Power-Under, and it’s essentially the assertion that power-under is a dynamic that is sort of developed or emerges when one is deprived of power or when one is victimized; that one reverts to a kind of appeal to power that is equally as problematic as power over. I think that Ted’s primary assertion is that, much of the time, we are using governance systems that trigger a power-over dynamic in particular, and I think that might be where you know the Block piece comes in. Or they are reactive and using power-under, and both of those are dysfunctional and not as effective as power with, i.e. power that is shared. One of the core essences of Sociocracy is that it’s a consent based form of self-governance, whereby everyone is equally empowered within a domain. So if you’re in a domain — a shared domain, or a “circle” in sociocratic terms — then nobody has more power than another, particularly when it comes to consenting to an agreement or a proposal.

The other core issue that I think is really interesting — and I focused on this because I had a sense of the possibility of this conversation around common ground — is what Ted calls “common ground.” He’s saying that, if you’re going to be pursuing an issue, you need to actually understand that all parties involved are aware of what the issue is. And he gives the example of being at a bus stop where you run into a friend and both of you independently happen to know that the bus is going to be late. One of you saw it on the app, the other saw it some other way. But you don’t actually know that the other person knows this. And so you have to establish common ground. In other words, what is the shared body of information that is necessary for making a decision together? And that may seem sort of intuitive or common sense, but something about it just struck me as profound: that often we actually don’t know where we are in terms of common ground around shared information, or at a deeper level, around shared beliefs or shared values, which would be a sort of deeper integration of that.

I thought that those are two ideas in particular that may lend themselves to an examination or exploration of intersectionality between these books. The last thing I’ll say is just that, if you’re familiar with Sociocracy, maybe the first half or two thirds of the book even would be relatively familiar to you. And so for me, the latter part of the book was most valuable, where he talks about not just implementing Sociocracy within an organization, but within a consortium or a movement or at the societal level. He proposes ways in which self-governance principles at those higher levels of order could be very useful. So I’ll leave it at that in terms of putting some things out on the table, and let’s see where these might speak to one another.

Ben: Well, I think your instincts were good, Bill, on how these two books might make for an interesting conversation together. First of all, the notion of self-governance and shared power is completely congruent with what Block is saying comes out of a common good perspective on things — that collectively we have the power (when we claim it) to create the things we most care about, whether that’s a welcoming street or thriving children or caring for the land that we occupy, etc. That we don’t need to be waiting for other people, and saying the problem is that those people aren’t doing what we need them to do and we need to get them to change. Especially people at “the top.” And I think that the power-under dynamic you name is also absolutely something that Block talks about in his own way as well. He doesn’t use that term, but he has a whole section, for example, about the limitations of “bottom up” as a frame, and I think it actually is quite congruent. Because that implies there’s the top and the goal is to get the top to change or for the bottom to become the top. And why are we even calling it the bottom, you know, as opposed to just “the people?” In Community, he has a whole section about the limitations (as well as the appeal) of “rebellion” as a form of dissent, as well. So I think there’s a lot of common ground there. Block uses a lot of stories as well. He’s very good at illustrating all these points with concrete examples. Though I wish the examples in the new book struck me as, I don’t know, not necessarily bigger or more powerful but less unique and unusual, in many cases. He calls for transformation in different domains where he thinks there’s a real opportunity and it’s most important that there be change: journalism, architecture, religion and neighborhoods. And in some cases, the stories could have been richer, in my opinion.

To the last point, though, this idea of common ground — needing a shared understanding of the issue, the context we’re dealing with, etc. — that’s a really interesting one. Block doesn’t talk about that, but he talks about how acting from the common good perspective, particularly with the kinds of speech acts that were listed in that quote I read, are ways to transcend polarization. And so I think that if we start from saying we’ve got to agree on what the facts are… in this world that just takes me straight into a place of hopelessness and believing that collapse is inevitable. And so I think there may be a little bit of disagreement there. At the same time, I think there’s also this interesting question around the likelihood of collapse that Block doesn’t get into at all.

I famously remember Ted, in a meeting at Cherry Hill Cohousing (by the way Block does mention cohousing in the architecture section as a core strategy for the common good) really beautifully declaring how the things that we want to do to regenerate our communities or our bioregions — the things that are most powerful for us to do to bring about “a world that works for all,” or the world we want — are also the things that have the most value if we want to manage, or thrive, or at least respond well in the context of collapse. It’s the same stuff we would do either way. Ted really named that so powerfully. That’s another example of words that have stuck with me. Block is really focused on the hopeful story in this book. But I think that the social technologies and the perspective that he’s advocating for apply whether things turn out really well, really nightmarish, or somewhere in between.

Bill: I think that’s almost a litmus test if you will, of the value of something — you and I would agree that we’re in a context of collapse of collapse at a societal level. It’s at subsystems levels that we’re experiencing it most clearly, but it’s also at a societal level. Though others who are listening to this or reading this may or may not agree, we may not have common ground on that.

I’m really interested in things that will benefit us in the context of collapse, but also are relevant in a post-collapse context. These are things that we need to do regardless. Sociocracy or self-governance is something that is relevant on both sides of the line and I think that it’s inherently towards a kind of common good self governance. When you have all of those who are impacted involved in the decision making, almost by definition it is a mechanism for pursuing the common good. And that’s where I guess this notion of creating common ground also comes in. Just to be clear, I’m not reading Ted as saying that equals agreement. Even consent can be given to something that you don’t necessarily agree with. You could say, “well, I actually don’t think that’s the best way to do it. I just think it won’t create harm.” Common ground is really just around what we feel are the kind of prerequisite or pre-existing understandings, if you will. And that could potentially be disagreed with too.

Ben: I see us living in a world where that’s more and more the case. You say we’re waiting for a bus and it’s late, and I think, “no, it’s a subway and it’s early!” I mean, we’re that far apart in terms of what is going on in the world in so many crucial dimensions. And there’s a growing cohort that is not interested in the common good, or finding common ground, or what common understanding is. It has bought into a violent us-versus-them, scarcity-based mentality. They are taking the business perspective to the extreme and saying that it’s all about having the right leader: a strong authoritarian leader who’s going to save us from all this danger out there. That’s part of why Block is saying that the business perspective is taking us into a more polarized world. And I don’t know how Sociocracy works you’re dealing with those kinds of divisions. But I think the point is that it’s meant to operate at a more intimate scale. A circle has at most eight people in it, right?

Bill: Yeah, but Ted is talking about how it can operate at higher scales too. And he does do a very good job of demonstrating the overlap between self-governance (sociocratic, in particular, but self governance in general) and the work of David Sloan Wilson and others around multi-level selection, including the work Sloan Wilson did with Elinor Ostrom around Governing the Commons. Ted shows where all eight core design principles apply. Those are from the Ostrom Nobel Prize-winning research, and they have been sort of ingested into the proposal concept that David Sloan Wilson advocates. Ted shows how these pro-social mechanisms can be used to advance a decision that meets the common good. He doesn’t use that term, but I think that that’s ultimately what you’re seeking to do with self-governance: foster the collective good over the individual good. And what I was going towards originally is that that can happen at the organizational level, but it can also happen at higher levels of scale. By you know, pursuing a power-with approach as compared to a power-over or power-under, for one thing.

Ben: One of the other things that Block has written about that I can’t “unhear” is the importance of shifting from prioritizing speed and scale to depth and connection. He talks about how ”the small group is the unit of transformation” and how the neighborhood is the scale where we have agency. It relates to the idea that a local economy movement is the only way that we can imagine thriving collectively on the planet without having people at the top extracting massively and oppressing those at the bottom and then the planet as well, right? So I just want to name that I think Sociocracy clearly works really well at creating a power-with environment when we’re in relationship with each other and connected to something we care about. And I know there is a very large group in India that’s organized Socratically, right? It’s got, I don’t know, millions of people in it, maybe? It’s a youth thing. So this it has scaled, but is it scaling out, versus scaling up, maybe?

Block talks about the spread of this culture, or this perspective, of the common good being the way he would imagine that we transform collectively, with it being picked up in lots and lots of different places in lots of lots of contextually specific ways, right? Not anything that even remotely looks like a single social movement, let alone an organization.

Bill: Scaling out as compared to scaling up…

Ben: Yes. And then there’s this idea of “scaling deep” that some folks have been naming too, that I think Block resonates with. That’s about valuing connectedness and relationships, and lived experience, as the soil from which transformation can grow.

Bill: My reading of Ted is that, when he’s talking about self governance at a movement level, for example, I don’t think that he’s he’s saying it as as as scaling up, I think that he is talking about scaling out in terms of multiple different instances of organizations that are self-governing coming together in a in a horizontal or lateral way, not necessarily in a in a vertical way. But I would leave it up to others to read this and see if see if they agree. Or I’ll hear from Ted and they’ll admonish me for reading it wrong!

Ben: There’s so much we just don’t know, right? I mean, we know what can what works in a certain context, but if we’re trying to imagine things happening globally, there’s so much complexity there and much that we can’t really visualize or get. Even the idea that we’re going to get data about it is a limiting perspective. Because how do you measure how much there’s a consciousness shift from one perspective to another? I think the business perspective is losing its resonance quite a bit. There are some people that are clinging to it even more fervently and saying the problem — the reason it’s not resonating — is that it has been corrupted. But I think there are more people looking at it and saying, “this just isn’t what I want. I don’t want to run my life based on management and control and optimization and more and more and more for me as a consumer, or by becoming the leader and telling everybody else what to do. None of those things work for me.”

Bill: Right. And I think that there’s certainly research that suggests that the more stratified things are, the unhealthier it is for all involved. I just recently reviewed a book by Peter Turchin called End Times that looks at a clear dynamic assessment of history and finds that it’s the stratification between elites and commoners that is the most predictable, most reliable predictor of collapse.

Ben: The MAGA world is all about calling out “elites” as being out of touch. It’s at the heart of their sales pitch to people, and it’s not wrong.

Bill: No, it’s just that, is it actually looking to not pursue elitism? It’s informative leaders and we might say but that’s not that’s maybe a rabbit hole that we want to avoid going down.

Ben: One of the things I love about Block is that he doesn’t say that business perspective is useless. He’s not telling you that you should never think in these ways or that markets have no value. He’s very generous about saying that these things have their place and can make things better in lots of ways. But it’s not inevitable that it be dominant. It’s not who we are. We’re not wired to have this perspective. It was inculcated into us in very discreet ways, often quite intentionally. He mentions, for example, the Mount Pelerin Society meeting after World War Two that created neoliberal economics. So our choice about what we put at the highest level is something more like what we choose for a religion. And I don’t think we really want the business perspective to be the religion we chose, even though we’ve made it that. We’ve bought into this promise. Some of us anyway. I’m using the word “we” but clearly a lot of people — maybe the majority of the global south — doesn’t look at it that way. But, but actually that’s also not true, right? You have the narrative of development being absolutely embraced by many, many people and governments there too. So anyway, Block’s not saying this is evil. Elites and even traditional leadership have a place, but let’s put it in the right place. And what Ted is offering and what Block is pointing to are a doorway into something you could really embrace more as an alternative religion. I’m willing to embrace power-with as a tenet of a new global religion: one I think already exists and I’m a part of. I recognize it when I meet brothers and sisters who are fellow congregants.

Bill: Yes. If we were to call that a movement, I think it’s got a lot of both, sort of a lot of pre-existing support behind it. There are a lot of people who already feel this way whether they name it as such or not. And I also think that it’s something that is attractive for those who may not already be inclined in this direction to go towards, because I think what we’re increasingly experiencing is not only sort of collapses of physical systems and infrastructure, but a kind of collapse of our internal satisfaction. The landscape of of our inner lives is similarly lacking. We’re not achieving fulfillment through, to use Block’s term, the business lens. I love the spirit level of research that says that well-being correlates with income if you go up to about $70,000 US dollars per year (I think) and then it flatlines. You can keep making more money from there on out and you don’t get any more fulfillment. In fact, there’s a there’s a dip back down.

Ben: Yes. And of course, what that income number is will depend on where you are too. I’m amazed at some of the people you and I are collaborating with in parts of the Global South who are working with much smaller amounts of money and, you know, thriving to varying degrees.

Bill: Yes. Well, what do you think? Is this is this a good enough taste for folks to want to delve in? Are there any other really enticing issues that came up from your read that you want to get out there on the table?

Ben: It feels pretty good. There was something more that has to do with you know, the tenants of a new religion, if you will. I think it’s even bigger than “a movement,” right? It’s a movement of movements. And Block is really interesting because he explicitly talks about religion. He’s got a whole section on religion redefining itself, but I think there is a meta sense to this as well. I’ve talked to a lot of people about the idea of a new religion and that’s the last thing they say they want, because they see that institutionalized forms of religion have been so toxic. Block has something to say about that. But there’s this bigger sense of “religion” too. It reminds me what Kim Stanley Robinson talked about a number of times in The Ministry for the Future, his wonderful novel imagining how we might actually solve the climate crisis before we cook the planet. Two characters that are at the heart of the Ministry have at least two or three conversations where one of them says the other “you know, we need a new religion. What we’re doing now should be enough, but it’s not quite enough. We need a new religion.” This speaks to a spiritual stance that we take in the world. You don’t have to call it “a religion” though. I think Block is very good at talking about it — and Ted is pointing to that too — as a spiritual stance where I say “I want to operate from a place of power-with” and “I want to operate from common ground,” versus “I want to be at war with you because there isn’t enough for us, and I’ve decided you’re evil, and I like having an enemy.” It really is a spiritual stance. It’s not like we’re going to come up with the evidence to prove you should take one view or the other. That’s what makes it spiritual. It’s a choice. It’s a leap of faith. It’s not even about outcomes. It’s about how I want to show up in the world, here and now.

Bill: It’s compelling in and of itself. Although I guess there is a compelling aspect of power over as well!

Ben: Ask my wife! She’ll tell you that I buy into that too!

Bill: Yeah, and I think I know you well enough to know that your aspiration or your valuing is around power-with. I don’t know if I would use the term “religion,” but I do think that religion as an institution has gone off the rails and failed us, if you will. So looking at some of religious institutions and the degree to which they are in alignment with their moral underpinnings is sort of questionable. I think that if we look at it less from the lens of it as a religion, but rather as a lens of “do we have institutions” and “do we have ways of self organizing” that are fit to task for both the physical and the moral challenges that we face? Many institutions beyond just the religious institutions — business institutions, civil society, institutions, religious institutions, etc — are failing us. And what’s being offered here is a kind of institution, if you will, that is actually fit to tasks that may help us on this side of collapse. And on the other side of collapse.

Ben: Yes, and I would say it’s bigger than an institution. All our institutions are so obviously failing us precisely because they come out of the power-over perspective. It’s how it’s how we built the world we have, right? Whether you call it “power-over” or call it “the business perspective.” And we’ve made a God of that. We’ve made a religion of that. That’s kind of the point. So it’s fine for people to say, “oh, I don’t want to do religion. That sounds terrible!” But what about admitting that we’ve already made the market, and money, and consumer culture, and a view of the world that says the leaders (”those people”) are in charge, and were victims of their bad judgment or evil intent the religion that many of us have bought into? That’s Block’s point. It’s a choice and it’s a spiritual stance. We call it “reality.” But it isn’t. It’s it’s a story we tell ourselves, and we could change that story.

Bill: So calling it choice, I think, really puts it back on to our own agency. And I think this may be the strongest point of commonality — that from the way I’m hearing you describe Block and from what I know of Ted’s book, they’re ultimately about agency. They’re about self-empowerment. Collective self-empowerment, and if you trust in that.

Ben: Yes. That we actually will make wise decisions if we have a good process for all voices to be heard and then for things to only happen with our consent. We actually can do that and make decisions. We won’t be bogged down forever in endless discussion if we have good process, like Sociocracy. And those decisions will be wise ones. They’ll almost certainly be better than the ones that were just dictated from our own perspective. And they’ll have much more buy in — they’ll be more effective. And that we live in uncertainty — that’s part of the shift too — is accepted. “Dynamic governance” is another term for Sociocracy, right? “Safe enough for now, good enough to try.” We’ll look at it again after we try it out, and then we can change our minds if we need to. And so I think that’s also part of the core philosophy: just trusting in our own wisdom and capacities. We’ve taken the stance that has taught us we are helpless that the only thing we can do is vote with our dollars, or vote for a different politician.

Bill: Right. And that assertion of agency also carries with it and is counterbalanced with accountability. Ted does a good job of underlining this. That if you assert your agency, you are also stepping into self responsibility, which is a stronger form of interacting with one another because instead of me blaming somebody for not taking accountability, they proactively claim their own accountability because they asserted the agency to begin with.

Ben: And that’s not easy! It’s much easier to play the blame game or the victim game or the power-over game. We’re trained in it and, as Block would say, it has much to recommend it! Though won’t give you what you want…

Bill: …such as achieving the common good.

Ben: Right. Well, this has been really fun, Bill.

Bill: Yeah. Thank you, Ben. This has been a real pleasure. I love all of our modes of interacting with each other and this is wonderful. Thank you for experimenting with this new mode of interaction.

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