Last month, a group of 13 people interested in collective work met for a day-long workshop. We spent the day with various collective selves of Israel, The Jews and Humanity. This was our third group-meeting with collective voices.
We are exploring, learning and developing a new tool, a new way, which we feel may contribute to both personal and collective healing – whether of smaller collectives such as businesses and organizations or of larger collectives such as ‘Israel’, ‘The Jews’, ‘Humanity’, etc. As we explore and work, we ourselves experience healing and a growing clarity.
Collective Systems that Learn
Naturally, doubts arise. How can personal work, or even work in a small group, contribute to large-scale healing? One of the interesting answers that came up is that, under certain conditions, even unaware systems learn.
In personal Voice Dialogue, we see how becoming aware of selves and working with opposing parts enables us as a system to learn new ways to relate to life and to operate.
It is very possible that when we do this our brains are rewired in new, fresh, ways. By the way, it’s important to keep the ‘old’ routes open and not to simply exchange them for new routes. If we don’t do that, we remain one-sided. What we are after, among other things, is to have opposing selves available to us, to have choice.
Back to large systems. Something similar may be happening when working with a collective. When representatives of a collective discover the forces driving the collective, accept them and stop identifying with them, and also experience other possible available options, it seems the entire system learns. This cannot be scientifically proven but it feels this is what happens.
It may be less surprising if we remember ideas about computers and robots that learn from experience. As a matter of fact, all organisms automatically change to adapt to changing environments. That too may be seen as a kind of learning.
In the case of collectives we are trying to find out whether the process can be more conscious – at least for some of the members of the collective who will influence the whole collective both consciously and unconsciously. It is clear then that from this point of view a collective is a sort of organism that can learn and change, to some extent.
Apart from allowing the collective to become more conscious of itself and its parts and thus learn new possibilities, there seems to be much good in a simple venting of steam. This is most noticeable with collective selves that seem about to explode because they feel extreme pain, distress, anger, despair. This is very common with the collective inner children and with aggressive and angry parts.
Embracing the Selves
Finally, just as with personal selves, we see again and again that accepting a part without any judgment, helps collective selves to calm down a bit, whether they are violent, hopeless or in pain.
All this is the tip of an iceberg, as usual, but information and understanding gather little by little, and some of it is already hinted at in this blog.