Levels of privacy

I’m generally pretty wary of models and if you want to put me off an idea, showing me a diagram is usually the best way. But I’ll cut Roy Langmaid a bit of slack partly because he’s a good friend, but mostly because in this little video he puts his finger on something quite important.

What Roy calls the “private” level of relationships strikes me as absolutely full of material that rarely gets shared but is connected to everything transacted at the other levels.

I’d go a bit further (and I’m pretty sure Roy would too) and think there’s a whole level of stuff below this – things we’re not really conscious of that nevertheless affect the meanings that we make. (Here’s one experiment that points to this in an interesting way.)

So many efforts to map the complexity of human systems are basically only working at the upper levels touched on in this model. I don’t think it’s possible to map the whole system, however fluid or brilliant you may think yourself. And I’m suspicious of the partial maps that aren’t held with appropriate humility and lightness.

1 thought on “Levels of privacy

  1. Viv McWaters

    Spot on. I’d also say that a lot of what is shared in the meeting is level 1 and 2 info, while levels 3 & 4 are revealed over a cuppa or a beer in the ‘informal’ gatherings that accompany meetings. The challenge for facilitators is to bring the informal into the formal.


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