April 15, 2009

Effective Communication: The Main Obstacle in Solving Our World’s Dilemmas? [Ken Wilber & Ode Magazine.]

by Sarah Miller

This morning over breakfast, I was paging through the latest, greatest Ode Magazine, wishing they would go paperless (and wondering why I keep getting complimentary copies in the mail) when I came to an article called “Speaking in Tongues.”  Ode’s editor, Jurriaan Kamp, travels to Denver for an interview with Ken Wilber in order to discuss the state of the world and his perspective on how to solve the dilemmas facing our world.

The two page article gives a bit of background on the accomplished theologist, Ken Wilber, and some of his work, and discusses his latest thoughts and ideas. He states: “The general message is that humanity evolves through a series of unfolding stages, beginning with simple survival and moving into an enlightened spiritual experience…The flow is from ‘me’ to ‘us’ to ‘all of us.’ Along the way, people and cultures move through distinct stages with distinct values.”

We have to understand these various values and also the expression of those values in order to effectively communicate to diverse cultures and differences. In essence, “universal translation” is essential but is currently missing from our attempts to reorganize the globe. We need this essential link in order to get the job done. “The world needs to come to terms with different value systems. Development goes in stages and there is nothing we can do about that. We need to create social organizational structures that take [these stages] into account.”

I especially like his example of Al Gore trying to spread the message of Global Warming. Though climate issues affect every person on the planet, according to Wilber Al Gore unknowingly is using communication techniques that resonate with only about 20% of the world. It will be extremely difficult to reach the majority of the world’s population with these current tactics. He cites using the feudal clan systems that dominate African culture to help communicate the climate issues to them. And, “…Hindus may change their behavior to honor Gaia rather than in response to rational self-interest.”

It stands to reason that this methodology and purposeful thought is essential, yet also lacking, in our current plan of global action. Everything from politics to religious clashes could be helped. It will take take We, the People to perfect an effective manner of communication appropriate for our leaders in order to help them hear the message.

Check out the April issue of Ode Magazine for the full article.

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