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Our many Identities

David Snowden pointed out that¬†in social situations “the unit of analysis is the identity”. This is both a ¬†profound and practical perspective.

The opportunity is more how to bring forth the most appropriate identity rather than how to change the mind of an inappropriate identity.

It is necessary to make sense of situations and proposals.

If generative action is required, then it is also necessary to attach meaning to sensible proposals.

Meaning brings emotion to sense.

How does this work?

Meaning without sense is worrisome to say the least.

Sense without meaning leads nowhere.

How and when do these two aspects of human being show up together?

Self Silencing

How is it that people loose or find their voice?

Creative action, creative problem solving must include the voice of everyone affected by the problem. The solution design process must have room for everyone affected by the solution.

When considering voice we often focus on the listener and worry that deaf ears are the only problem. I must say, that problem can only arise once there is a voice speaking.

Speaking is a social action, it is from someone to someone. The choice to speak or remain silent is a social phenomenon. It has been the focus of considerable inquiry. Chris Argyris and John Gaventa both shed light on self-silencing. The mechanism of this self-censorship is subtle, pervasive and profoundly anti-democratic in its effect. If we are to benefit from the wisdom of the crowd in our problem solving and design work we must both understand and breakthrough the silence.

I rather suspect that silencing, listening and taking action are all aspects of one thing, not separable parts.

Health, individual and population health, requires voice and action by the people who’s personal action–participation–is required for their own health.

Self-silencing is self censorship and it is the most insidious censorship because there is no recourse. The forces in play are cultural and embarrassing and therefore hidden.

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