Superordinate Goals !

The FN climate meeting in Durban didn’t do much to give us a sense of progress in solving the world’s climate challenges.  And since most people point to governments and politicians to make the rules and incentives for change, the lack of progress can leave people disappointed and pessimistic.

Is this because we believe that there is nothing we can do as individuals? Perhaps that is true on one level.  But  what seems to me to be the evolutionary step is to move beyond individuals into supporting each other to do something that seems to be bigger than what we actually can do on our own.

Lynne McTaggart’s book The Bond tells of something called “superordinate goals” and gives many examples of how this works. A common, overarching goal in a situation where the goal may seem impossible, can only be achieved by cooperative teamwork.  There is a lot of research showing that working together to achieve the “impossible” creates a high sense of motivation, erases differences, synchronizes energy, even creates friendship among foes and unleashes creativity and innovation.

McTaggart gives an example of this from her own life when she and some friends gathered together to fight an unwanted situation in their own neighborhood and succeeded.

The best examples I have seen of superordinate goals are in Margaret Wheatley and Deborah Frieze’s eye-opening book Walk Out Walk On.  On the back cover of the book is this quote: “No one is coming to help.  Now what?”

Answering this question becomes the powerful stories in this book.

This video is about one of these stories, this one from Brazil, where play, not power, evokes people’s passion and creativity. Read the book or visit the website to see the other equally amazing stories.

But the question lingers with me.  Who do we believe is coming to help the planet?  How long will we ask that question before we do something on a grassroots level, in our own communities?



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