cj#1125,rn> Report on Berkeley & Eugene seminars


Richard Moore

To: cj,rn
Bcc: seminar invitees


You don't always get what you want, but sometimes you get
what you need.  That seems to come up a lot.  It came up in
spades as regards the seminar in Berkeley on the 27th. My
attempt to push through a particular agenda, and the
rejection of that attempt by some group members, provided a
perfect beginner's workshop of how group process can work,
how it can go wrong, and how conflicts can be harmonized. 
Many of those attending were very experienced facilitators,
and I was amazed by their competence and sensitivity.

The upsets created the learning opportunity, although
consternation was how I, and perhaps others, experienced it
at the time.  Fortunately, those who have written in
afterwards all said the day was worthwhile for them and they
were glad they came.  Here's the summary I sent out a few
days later to those who attended:

    Being with you all was a humbling experience for me, and
    also an experience whose lessons are still unfolding.  In
    setting up our session, I had some fantasy that my role
    would be, in part, 'teacher'; in fact it was me who was
    'student', a novice at that, and I had no idea what I didn't
    The patience and support I received from the group - in the
    face of my incompetence - was awesome, and I receive that as
    an expression of love.
    In terms of linear results, what I learned is that without
    correct process, content is irrelevant.  The space of
    appropriate process must be entered, and then collaborative
    endeavors become possible.


The Berkeley session was on a Sunday, and the Eugene session
was scheduled for Wednesday.  In between I wrote lots in my
journal and the lessons of Sunday gradually creeped into
consciousness.  Monday night and Tuesday morning were spent
on the funky Green Tortoise bus which was a perfect setting
for contemplation of harmonious groups and collaborative
group process.

The Tortoise is a travelling community more than a piece of
public transport.  There is a non-invasive hierarchy - the
two drivers and their sensible rules - and the society is
otherwise spontaneous and cooperative.  It felt quite a bit
like a river-raft trip.  If you're ever travelling up and
down the West Coast, check them out:
        415 956 7500
        800 867 8647


I was met at the bus in Eugene by Tom Atlee (Co-Intelligence
Institute), who - with his white guru beard and sparkling
originality - resembles "Mr. Natural" of R. Crumb fame.  I
felt very honored that he had set aside most of Tuesday,
Wednesday, and Thursday for us to get to know one another.
We had so much to talk about that we experienced a traffic
jam of words and ideas.

Tom makes a study of collaborative processes, as you can see
by checking out his impressive website:
<http://www.co-intelligence.org>.  Our ideas are very
similar, but with differing perspectives.  My expectation
was that during our time together we would reach a consensus
on our process ideas.  Just as in Berkeley, my expectations
were not fulfilled and I found I had other lessons to learn.

On Wednesday twelve folks showed up for a discussion.  They
were activists, and generally experienced with groups and
facilitation.  Tom had asked them all to read "Escaping the
Matrix" and the morning session was a kind of Q&A where
people shared what came up for them from the article, and I
responded.  The afternoon was rambling and relaxed, partly
outside on the grass, and we experimented with various
processes.  Very pleasant, and very nice people.


In both Berkeley and Eugene, I can see in retrospect, my
interest was centered on ideas rather than people. People
were going to come together, and the important thing was
going to be the exchange of ideas.  A rather anti-social
attitude.  In Berkeley I learned that ideas aren't going to
get anywhere if proper attention isn't paid to people.

In Eugene I learned to forget about the ideas altogether,
and enjoy getting to know new people, and learn about a new
community, without any particular motive.  When I said
goodbye to Tom on Thursday afternoon, I was telling him how
happy I was to have made a new friend, rather than commeting
on what we had talked about.

These are the kinds of things most people learn by the third
grade, but I'm a slow learner.


As I sit here on Kauai, trying to make sense of what
happened, it has become very clear to me that this is a
turning point in my work.  For six years I've been
interacting with people remotely, via net and print, and
developing an intellectual understanding of certain things. 
The time has now come to work with people directly.  I'm not
quite sure which people, or where, or what my role will be,
but that will sort itself out soon enough.

One of the ways I know this is by the number of pages that
have filled up in my journal since the Berkeley session.  A
whole creative explosion emerged about the revolution and
its various dimensions, and especially the social dynamics
involved.  I'm in a new place and in the process of
discovering where that is.

More to come, but that's it for the trip report per se.

all the best,