Merely a short half year ago, the Zoom Room was foreign territory to me. Now, it is an integral and important area of my daily attention, offering me many hours of challenge and entertainment. It has been an amazing personal transformation. New insights, new people, new conversations and new concepts have become part of my daily routine. Never before have I felt so connected.
I now have two social circles; two sets of friends. The group with whom I interact physically has become augmented with a new group of ‘virtual friends.’ You will be learning about a few of them later in this blog!
Friendship and Human Connection
In evolutionary terms, the earliest socialisations took place on the plains of Africa. Other than one’s close kin, further contacts would be made by travelling to meet people on foot. Subsequently the possibilities for human communications became wider with the introduction of varying transport modalities such as bicycle, car, ship and plane. Social interactions would have initially taken place in caves, or primitive buildings and later in modern homes and offices. Within the conditions of the lock-down necessitated by Covid-19, electronic digital communication has become an integral part of the day. Whilst I sit in my private exclusive space my social life is enhanced, my educational possibilities are extended, and my entertainment opportunities have widened.
I am going to share with you some of the resources which have enriched my life during the past 6 months.
One World in Dialogue
This organisation was created in 2015 by Elizabeth Debold with her partner Thomas Steininger to develop a living global network of change-makers and activists committed to deep dialogue. The aim is to create new approaches and collaborations to support positive social change.
During April they offered a free online course for people working in the field of counselling on how to conduct their work in the Zoom room. During this 4 day, 16 hour course we examined the nuances of leading conversations in this new format. How to optimally personalise our interactions in this exciting new space. How to master the nuances of interacting with the screen image of our fellow learners and future clients
A Golden Civilisation
George Kinder introduced me to this unique methodology for leading powerful collaborative conversations. His powerful imaginary workshop starts with an imaginary exercise. Participants are challenged to imagine the conditions of a Golden Civilisation which exists 1000 generations in the future. A society in which each individual can maximise his personal potential under optimal conditions. How does it look and feel? Imagine the ideal way of governing for such a group. How would the economy be managed? What type of social interactions would be encouraged? And, what obstacles would stand in the way? These Golden Civilisation conversations are taking place all over the world, enabling participants to take the first steps in moving towards a more inclusive society.
Weekly meetings with this organisation, over the course of two months allowed me to meet leaders throughout Africa and share ideas about the philosophical concept of Ubuntu. We discussed in small groups how this profound concept can be used for developing our continent during the time ahead.
“Ubuntu is essentially about togetherness, and how all of our actions have an impact on others, and on society. It is the common thread of the UN’s Global Goals, and the motivation in the mission to end extreme poverty — so that everyone, everywhere, can live equally.”
This beautiful concept is so important in a Post Covid Era. Since the time of the Enlightenment, there has been an emphasis in Western Society on promoting individualism. I believe that the time has come for this selfish concept to be exchanged for an approach which values the needs of each individual in society.
My interest in Climate Activism peaked last weekend when I participated in 24 hours of activism promoted by Climate Reality In my presentation on Zoom, I explored my new passion. The need to play my part in educating myself, together with my peers, on the new habits we need to adopt if we are to save the planet from total climate catastrophe. This reduction in our consumption is urgent. We need to change from an economy of maximum growth to one of sustainable longevity. A society in which the Gross National Product (GNP) is not the criterion for success, but one in which wealth is far more equally distributed among the population.
Pass It On Network
This grassroots network allows older people all over the world to find ways to expand their interests whilst thriving with the challenges of longer lives. I have interacted with this group over a number of years and made many fruitful contacts.
However this month, I participated in a mind expanding on-line course on Digital Technology. I learned how to keep my passwords safe, deal with the false news of social networks and feel comfortable using the tools which allow me to share files and multiple other resources when working on line.
I recruited participants for this initiative through the University of the Third Age. We now meet on zoom for regular fortnightly discussions. Together we analyse a Ted video recommended by the facilitators of Ted Circles. This new set of virtual friends from Cape Town, the city in which I live, have allowed me to participate in rich conversations which have deepened my understanding of the TED videos.
A new collaborative lifestyle is emerging. It is exciting, vigorous and full of further potential. Who would like to join me on the journey? Let me know if you would like to participate in a group I plan to facilitate. We will work together discussing ideas on how to build a carbon free and just society. I look forward to hearing from you.