Hugh talks here about love as the key new creative relationship
In a 'market'
economy, says Hyde, the highest status belongs to those who have
acquired the most.
In a Gift Economy, the highest status belongs to those who have given the most. But what is most important, he says, is that the gift must always move. This idea was recently popularized by the terrific little movie called Pay it Forward.
Every gift is its own reward, but that reward is multiplied, without limit, when the gift, or any gift, is passed along to others.
A story is a gift. Blogs are gifts. Ideas and insights and teaching and counsel are gifts. Conversations are gifts.
Much of the content of the meeting has been blogged already - Andy has some wonderful video that will give you the key ideas and the energy behind them in short well edited snips - here, here, here, here, here and here. Here are some photos on Flickr. Dennis has a great review of all the posts so far here. I want to use my space to tell you about what I think the meaning of the meeting was - at least for me.
The underlying question for the meeting was this - What is the new relationship that must underpin Public Radio in an emerging world where more and more people will reject being merely a passive consumer/listener but seek to become an active co creator and contributor?
My take away was that the entire meeting "Embodied" what I feel to be the new relationship. I witnessed this new relationship in action. I am now sure that the new relationship must be that of the Gift Economy. It's most advanced application in North America is described here. Please see the Follow on for more.
In the new world, where the listener moves from passive to active and becomes a co-contributor, their gift to public radio extends from a few dollars, extracted from guilt, to a more complete gift based on the supporter offering their story and their whole potential.
I saw this in what Jeff, David, Jay, Zadi, Doc and Euan offered last week. None were paid. All gave their all. When I asked Jeff to ask his friends and I told him that we would not be paid. He reminded me that "This was God's work."
They offered to the room all that they knew. They brought their full selves to the task. Every erg of energy and knowledge that they had was offered up. Being all together in the same space was electric. I said that the meeting was like Jazz. How many meetings do you go to that are like a Jazz?
Imagine all the jazz greats in one session and what they would do to each other? To hear Miles Davis live would be great. To hear him play with Duke Ellington is much more.
I say this not to be self congratulatory but to make the point. If NPR and Public Radio invite this more compelete gift from their listeners they will receive it. There is a hunger, a longing, to give. People seek a safe place and a great cause to make this gift.
Millions of people have been silent about who they are and what they are for too long.
They seek a place for their voice. If they can speak their truth, that is itself, their reward. That is the essence of the mutual gift that public radio and the people can make to each other. It is larger even than that. If Public radio can offer a space where like minded people can connect to each other - as I witnessed in the room - that is the most compelling gift of all. We know that this life is so short. We seek the comfort of spending time with people who make us feel not alone. We want to set out and do the great work with each other. We are oppressed by the mundane. We want to die knowing that we did our best to make our community and even our world a better place.
So how does Public Radio activate this nuclear energy? You start by the Invitation.
We came because we had been invited by a great organization who saught to find a better way to serve it's country. As I went through immigration on my way to DC, the 'Man' asked me who I worked for. I said NPR. "Good for you" he replied "Welcome to America."
People want to do good and they know what good is. People want to be able to say to each other - "I work for Public radio" If you invite people to contribute, you will be amazed by how much is offered in return.
The Gift of the Guests was returned by the grace of the NPR team. I don't mean the dinner, I mean that NPR offered the best of what they had. NPR offered all that they had, the minds and hearts of their best people. They offered their full attention. That was the Gift being returned. The visitors were being shown in every way how much they were appreciated.
So for me the meeting had three products:
- An amplification and an alignment of a set of ideas that will give NPR confidence to proceed quickly and with confidence
- The settling of the new key relationship between NPR and its own staff, between NPR and the Stations and most importantly between public radio and its listeners and now between listeners and listeners
- The experience of these ideas and of this new relationship itself. The meeting was this new relationship. If any of us want to remind ourselves of what to do - go back and re-live the meeting itself
The pile is now critical. Nuclear fission is available. I saw it. I feel it. Let's stay engaged. Let's widen the invitation
The Presidential election offers public radio a new start. What if Public radio were to authentically invite Americans to participate in setting the agenda and in really choosing the candidates?
What would it be like if Public radio and Public TV were to empower the people in this process?
Here is more from Dave Pollard who refers here to a Skypecast by some friends.
Here is a gift from Chris Corrigan, Jack Ricchiuto and George Nemeth, a wonderful 45-minute Skypecast conversation (with George's contribution unfortunately inaudible). I am paying it forward by linking to it and by summarizing below some excerpts I have taken from it, much of which are about the Gift Economy.
you put something in front of people that they are hungry for, you
can't bring out the best in them. We all have a hunger for connection,
for "mates" who understand our frames, our terms of reference.
Weblogs can create powerful virtual relationships. After reading them for awhile you come to "know" the author and when you then "meet" them you can then go to work with them right away.
The media have stripped us of direct emotional connection to our world. We now look at the news anchor for clues on how to respond to the news. The media 'mediate' our emotional response to the outside world.
When tribal elders witness Open Space they say "This is exactly how we used to meet". Open Space is an indigenous technology, a technology of connection, allowing rapid emergence of understanding.
When something is given, something is always inherently given back in exchange. But gifts work best when you pay them forward. You must find another place to use your learnings acquired from others -- it's this passing along that creates the Gift Economy.
Scientists have long understood the Gift Economy, the networked way of giving their thinking to each other and relating with one another. This is where the real science happens. The Internet serves a similar purpose, as those who have tried unsuccessfully to make money or bottle up knowledge on the Internet have discovered.
The Gift Economy is about 'agency' -- you can't be a passive consumer of gifts. Everyone has within them the capacity to contribute, and the network will only grow if everyone turns the gifts they have received to others. We need to learn to become aware of our own agency.
A friend of [Chris'], a Lakota doctor, speaks of the 'circle of courage', and describes the way giving builds self-esteem and hence spirit. Everyone, he says, must build four 'capacities':
- The capacity of belonging -- reflecting the need to be recognized
- The capacity of mastery -- reflecting the need to build personal competence
- The capacity of independence -- reflecting the need to know your own power and agency
- The capacity of generosity -- reflecting the need to know our own goodness
The ways in which we connect --
these 'technologies', need to be in the service of presence. Open Space
and similar technologies create the conditions for authentic presence.
These technologies work best when they 'go away', when due to good
process design the technology becomes invisible, transparent. Then,
when you're in it, it's simple because it's natural. It is just a part
of the process.
Good technologies provide 'back porch aesthetics' that enable natural conversation, comfort and connection.
If we accept that we do not have all the answers then we acknowledge that each one of us has a crucial piece of the answer, and what is important is the aggregation and emergence of the pieces of truth each one of us carries.
Here is Hugh on the same idea expressed in terms of Love