Real Change Is Incremental
149 pages
English

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149 pages
English

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Description

Real Change is Incremental is a broad-ranging collection of essays by a writer with broad-ranging interests, including magic, philosophy, poetry, comedy, and international development. An exploration of change and ideas through a series of reflections on knowledge, experience, and how we see the world, the book urges intellectual humility, being open to the ideas of others, and meeting the challenge of taking practical action together to change the world moment-by-moment, day-by-day, and generation-by-generation. Real Change Is Incremental is an eloquent plea for all of us citizens of the world to admit what we do not know and sincerely search for truth in what other people may not know that they know.

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Publié par
Date de parution 15 mai 2014
Nombre de lectures 0
EAN13 9781927483886
Langue English

Informations légales : prix de location à la page 0,0032€. Cette information est donnée uniquement à titre indicatif conformément à la législation en vigueur.

Extrait

REAL CHANGE
IS INCREMENTAL
REFLECTIONS ON WHAT WE KNOW, WHAT WE DO AND HOW LITTLE THINGS MAKE A BIG DIFFERENCE
DAVID PECK
FOREWORD BY RUPEN DAS
Copyright © 2014 by David Peck and So Change
All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publisher.
Published in 2014 by
BPS Books
Toronto and New York
www.bpsbooks.com
A division of Bastian Publishing Services Ltd.
ISBN 978-1-927483-86-2 (paperback)
ISBN 978-1-927483-87-9 (ePDF)
ISBN 978-1-927483-88-6 (ePUB)
Cataloguing-in-Publication Data available from Library and Archives Canada.
Standing on the Edge first appeared in Genii , December 2000. What’s the Big Idea first appeared in At Guelph , October 2003. In the Moment was first presented at the University of Guelph, 2003. Beautiful Things first appeared in ChildView , 2010. Face, Forgiveness and the Other was first presented at the University of Oxford, 2010. Networking 101 first appeared in Lifetimes , vol. 2, 2011. The Unqualified Poor was first published in Monthly Developments Magazine , 2012.
Cover: PAGECREATIVE.CA
Text design and typesetting: PAGECREATIVE.CA
Ink drawings by Gretchen Sankey
in·cre·ment . noun 1. something added or gained; addition; increase. 2. profit; gain. 3. the act or process of increasing; growth. 4. an amount by which something increases or grows. 5. one of a series of regular additions.
“The most political decision you make is where you direct people’s eyes. In other words, what you show people, day in and day out, is political…. And the most politically indoctrinating thing you can do to a human being is to show him, every day, that there can be no change.” —Wim Wenders, The Act of Seeing
CONTENTS
FOREWORD: THE WONDER OF CONFUSING KNOTS AND SKIRTING CHAOS
THANKS
PROLOGUE: TO START
ONE WHAT’S THE BIG IDEA
TWO STUNG
THREE THE UNKNOWN REBEL
FOUR STANDING ON THE EDGE
FIVE ON THE HOOK AT BARK LAKE
SIX TO SEE
SEVEN IN THE MOMENT
EIGHT RETIRED HUMANS
NINE LIFE’S ONLY CONSTANT
TEN WHITE, WESTERN AND WAIST-DEEP
ELEVEN NETWORKING 101
TWELVE EVERY BEAN YOU GRIND
THIRTEEN BEAUTIFUL THINGS
FOURTEEN ARISTOTLE, MENTORSHIP AND ALEXANDER THE GREAT
FIFTEEN A CAUSAL DISCONNECT
SIXTEEN THE UNQUALIFIED POOR
SEVENTEEN THE FACE, FORGIVENESS AND THE OTHER
EIGHTEEN SEPSIS AND SAGE ADVICE
NINETEEN MADE LOVE. WAR’S BETTER .
TWENTY FOR THE TIME BEING
TWENTY-ONE PRACTICAL ACTION
TWENTY-TWO GENTLE REMINDERS
NOTES
BIBLIOGRAPHY
FOREWORD
THE WONDER OF CONFUSING KNOTS AND SKIRTING CHAOS
W hile growing up I had the opportunity to live in various parts of the Near East due to my father’s work. The Iran of the day was not treated like a pariah state and used to showcase its art and handicrafts as evidence of the richness of its centuries-old culture and history. Iran’s handmade carpets are among the most exquisite in the world, not only because of their intricate designs and subtle colors but also because of the range and quality of the material that is used – all the way from wool to silk. Yet the most intriguing way to enjoy the beauty and quality of a carpet is to see it being made. The weavers sit in front of the loom with the carpet stretched on it as they weave the threads, tie the knots and then cut the yarn before repeating the process all over again. Experienced weavers have the image of the design imprinted in their minds and know how each knot in a seemingly messy jumble of thousands of individual knots is part of the design, which then becomes a thing of beauty.
The essays in this book by David Peck are like the knots of a handmade carpet; they seem to deal with disparate parts of life, yet when taken together somehow make sense and bring wonder and mystery into a world that at times seems confusing. David draws from his rich experience of being a father and husband, philosopher, electrician and magician. Somehow these have all contributed to the critical skills he needed to be a development professional. More importantly, David addresses the issue of change and wonders about the kind of world we dream about. He asks the most existential of questions about what in life really matters.
In my years of teaching students of international development who dreamed of changing the world, I often struggled with their expectation that I would provide them with formulas and templates that would identify what was wrong and then lead them to the solutions. How could I tell them that change is not a straight line between how things are and how they should be, with packaged solutions providing the means? The only approximation that comes somewhat close to how social change actually takes place comes from the complexity sciences in which the dynamics of turbulent systems resemble the messiness of human relationships, the struggles for power and limited resources and the constant search for security, all interwoven with dreams of a better life. Turbulent systems are not random but reveal complexity even as each element is subjected to violent forces that simultaneously push the system in different directions. In what seems like chaos, there are fundamental laws that regulate the system and cause it to move in specific directions. If these laws are understood, the power of turbulent systems can be harnessed to bring about significant change. As much as this model explains much of social reality, social systems are not always subject to the same exacting certainty of physical laws but are influenced by the complexity and frailty of human nature.
However, life is not random. One of the basic premises of Chaos Theory is that there are hidden patterns in what seem to be random behaviours and events. Fractals in geometry reveal intricate patterns in what may have seemed as unstructured as a jagged shoreline or random shapes in nature. Perceiving and understanding these patterns is fundamental to being a change maker. The dynamics of how these patterns come into existence reveal how even small changes can have significant impacts.
Herein lies mystery: that in the midst of seeming chaos is incredible beauty; that at a time when the complexity and bleakness of a situations belie any hope for change, we can see that small changes do make a significant difference.
While David is a philosopher and moves in the world of ideas and logic with ease, it is his sense of wonder in the real world that peels away the layers of mystery. The fourth-century thinker and theologian Gregory of Nyssa, living at a time when conflicting ideas trying to define and articulate the Mysterious often resulted in rigid dogma and the branding of heretics, wrote, “Concepts create idols; only wonder grasps anything.” As you read this collection of essays, may David’s sense of wonder be contagious and challenge you to see and experience life differently.
Rupen Das
Beirut, Lebanon
THANKS
“Don’t walk behind me; I may not lead. Don’t walk in front of me; I may not follow. Just walk beside me and be my friend.”
—Albert Camus
T here are a lot of individuals to thank for this little book project of mine. It wouldn’t have been possible without so many significant people. And as it may be my first and only “real” book, I need to cover quite a few relational bases. My influences have been formative, engaging and mostly friendly. I have been mentored by many and am the sum of various relational parts.
James, thanks for pushing me to take the next step and for transforming the manuscript into a book. I do appreciate your friendship and generosity.
To Eden and Bruce, thanks for the sushi, the conversation, our shared love for film and the incomprehensible dialogue around financial markets. Still doesn’t make much sense to me.
Jim, your invite to Eldoret, Kenya, in the late eighties has made all the difference. Truly a sign that the little things do indeed matter in ways we rarely imagine. The trip changed my life; thanks for convincing me to go.
Michael, what can I say but a heartfelt thanks for the listening ear over the past few years. It’s so good, right, true and affirming to be able to share the ups and downs with someone who understands.
To my brother Stephen, thank you for your editorial eye and precise blue pencil. As a principal you are a manager of big ideas in small packages. Thank you for all that you do. I believe teachers are underpaid and that schools should be palaces. Keep planting seeds in the next generation of change makers.
My first introduction to Michael Polanyi came through Lance Muir, whose thoughtful and steady encouragement and consistent and helpful critique have been a welcome part of my education and writing. Thanks, Lance. You are a good friend.
Victor Shepherd’s careful commentary along the way has proved stimulating and an important part of my philosophical development. Your friendship has been rewarding. Your openness, generosity and gracious approach will continue to influence my thinking and writing.
My undergraduate professors at York University, including Claudio Duran, Arnold Itwaru, Jean Saindon, Sam Mallin, Stuart Shanker and David Jopling, all played a significant role in my academic growth. These people are scholars of the most serious kind. A special thank you to Jean and Claudio for your close friendship and

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