Alexander. There is a progression talked about in educational systems where you go from unconscious incompetence to conscious incompetence, to conscious competence to unconscious competence. That last level is when you are in flow, but that is not the highest engagement because unconscious competence is still a form of abdication, if you will; an eschewing of the co-creative relationship. You are letting yourself be completely flowed by the moment, without appreciating how “I am the co-creator of this moment,” too. In the martial arts, that is particularly dangerous, because if you are engaged with flow in the moment — and you can be engaged in a way that you can have such a beautiful dance with your sparring partner that your actions are in complete flow of the moment — then if you abandon all oversight, things can happen that you may not have wished to occur.  People can get hurt — just because you are in that state of unconscious competence and let the moment move you one-hundred percent. I have had instructors who say that is the highest point of the practice; when you enter into a state where you are no longer responsible for your actions. I wonder if there is a desire in the world for this sort of transcendence, this abdication and absolute neutrality that removes us from co-generative responsibility. It doesn’t seem to be alive, present, filled with syntony or love. At least, to me, that’s not attractive and not a goal or state of being to which I aspire.

Embracing being Human 

Alexander. So, this sort of transcendence that asks us to forget our humanity is not the answer. We must always be truly, deeply, fully, and even passionately human. No matter the calling, we must always care and be present.  To say, “well, I’m just going to be in the flow,” or to offer the justification that, “well, certainly in martial arts can be dangerous,” as reasons to allow yourself to do things – or even think or intend things – that aren’t grounded and informed by humankindness means to abandon the evolutionary quest of syntony. Letting go of the rudder or the steering wheel and trusting that the universe will be responsible for the outcome is taking flow too far and allowing things to spin out of control. In sailing, you have the notion of pitch and yaw. Pitch is the up and down motion yaw is side-to-side. Things can start to wobble and get out of balance because there is always a slight imperfection in the movements. When we start to move very fast the wobble will appear very quickly.  There are also the centripetal and centrifugal flows of movement. These are the things that will be expressed when you ramp up a system into higher flow rates!   

For me, that is the difference between a Buddhist and Daoist approach, for example. In Zen Buddhism, for instance, the focus is precisely to let go and flow, in complete harmony with the universe. If death is part of the flow of the moment, then death is part of it. The Daoist approach would be more to focus on how to harmonise these flows for the greatest goodness. That is subjective of course, but the idea is to foster dynamics that emerge the greatest healthy patterning for all concerned. And that, for me, is the core of syntony. As such, it is much more Daoist than Zen Buddhist. There is an interest in creating an alchemy of flow. If things are off, you seek to create harmony — not just to say, “well, that’s what is; if it’s off, let it be off”.  Instead, the impulse is to explore, “how can we create a greater harmony of flow?” I think that is a healthy role for humans to engage with – not only to be the connectors of life with life, but also to be the augmenters of the dynamics of coherent emergence — a coherence that represents health, vitality, thrivability, and aliveness for individuals, communities, societies and for all living environments.

The Space of the Possible and the Flow

Alexander. I see that is what you are doing with Complexity Patterning when you are in the classroom; you enable flow. You are not telling students how to flow but rather you help create the space of the possible in which they can practice alignment, practice flow, practice syntony. They also get to practice discernment among those things with which they align so as to distinguish between things that are not healthy and things that are, where what is considered healthy is always a function of the embedding context, what I refer to as the Syntony Spheres. 

Shae.  Yes, Complexity Patterning engages with constraint and enablement, which are very paradoxical. As we have seen, constraint can be a good thing, but too much of it may not be a good thing. Similarly, enablement is a good thing, but likewise too much can get a little bit tricky. I use these concepts for discernment and engaging with some ethical understanding of agency, engagement, and responsible co-creative relationship. This includes the balance of freedom and responsibility, and individuality and community. These concepts are paradoxical rather than creating certainties and absolutes. They thereby avoid the reductive approaches of dogma whilst encouraging co-generative relationship with and within the dynamics of the complexity of life. 

We have covered wide fields of considerations for transformational education. There is so much for me to think about. Lots to ponder. I feel inspired. 

Alexander. I appreciate our Daologues, Shae. I benefit immensely from engaging with so many concepts and perspectives and terms, but mainly from gaining perspectives that I have found tremendously enriching for me. And I am hopeful, because the work you are doing bridges paradigms, and that’s not easy to do. Your work is bridging education, consciousness, evolution, and sentience, four strong domains!  I look forward to where our Daologue will take us next.

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