Viewed from the flip side

Over the weekend, I continued to play with the visualization of viewpoints in my last post. I had been thinking there was another viewpoint besides the two in the diagram, imagined to be above the others looking down on them. I then realized there could be another viewpoint at the same level, that did not see ALL the connections, but had a transformational effect on the unwanted reactions to the actions and the outcomes too. This transformational viewpoint sees the whole situation from the flip side of both the persistent and alarmist viewpoints.

A transformational viewpoint cannot see the original problem that was getting solved by the actions. This fits the advice from creativity experts who say "don't become an expert in the problem". Whenever we know too much about the problem, we fall into arguing for limitations, getting intimidated by constraints and losing sight of possibilities. When we know less about the problem, we've set ourselves up to conceive of solutions beyond the immediate quick fix.

A transformational viewpoint is coming from a better place than either of the others. It sees the actions as a partial solution in need of refinement. It sees the unwanted reactions as the specifications of the design challenge. It allows for the situation to present a double-bind at first, like the quip "you cannot live with them and you cannot live without them". In this place, it's natural to ask what-if questions to explore possibilities. It's easy to see the function of forms, the uses made of actions and the effects of what's missing on what's getting done.

From this transformational place, it's possible to realize both/and solutions. Perhaps there are combinations to keep in balance instead of going to one extreme. There may be a synthesis of the "thesis and antithesis" which is much better than either alternative. The action may be done slightly differently in a way that eliminates the reactions and improves the outcomes.

In pondering what prerequisites may constrain getting to this flip side, I came up with the following list:
  • being motivated intrinsically, not being paid contingent upon getting creative enough or getting successful enough at transforming the situation
  • being clear of fear and the dysfunctional thinking we do whenever handling threats, dangers and enemies
  • being inclined to choose how to see things, what incidents mean and which lenses to use to frame complex situations
  • being free to express oneself, be different and seeing things unlike others
  • being sufficiently self confident to unlearn prior certainties, to let go of preconceptions and to trust processes with unpredictable outcomes
  • being future focused enough to put the past where it belongs, forgive the harm done and expect changes will be significant improvements
  • being imaginative enough to play around with possibilities, visualize alternatives and picture the solutions before they're prototyped

Thus, the migration from the persistent or alarmist viewpoint is a daunting challenge. Both non-transformational viewpoints are self-maintaining. Neither embodies the prerequisites or welcomes double-binds. Perhaps the transformational viewpoint has to be introduced by an outsider to the situation and the history of the conflicts.

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