There is a field…

Somthing else I meant to say about goodfornothing.

I spent some time working on the brief for Global Generation. They create urban gardens sometimes in unlikely spaces that create interesting engagements between young people and the businesses located in their community. We got interested in the idea of the gardens as common ground: a place where things that might seem like opposites can come together. Urban youth & corporate staffers; nature and the city.

I’m easily excited by ideas of physical and psychological meeting spaces, and I found myself thinking of this Rumi quote:

Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing

and rightdoing there is a field.

I’ll meet you there.

When the soul lies down in that grass

the world is too full to talk about

That’s a very poetic description of an idea that I think is operating in all sorts of mundane places, without us noticing it.

And that’s one of the interesting things about the goodfornothing space. Often, a gaggle of people would gather around a task and there’d be a falatering attempt to work out what we should all be doing to be effective together. The conventional assumption is that without co-ordination, we’d risk wasting time on things like duplicated effort.

There comes a point, though, when arguments about an ideal structure get in the way of getting on with the work. And then we find ourselves sucked unwittingly into status games that can start to interfere with the goodwill of the group.

What was nice about goodfornothing is that I think everyone got this on some level, and no one got carried away with the idea of control.

Goodwill may be a better co-ordinator than a clear structure. This weekend, I think that’s the way everyone chose to play it.

With goodwill, efforts get co-ordinated without having to be made explicit. I tweeted something to the effect that there is a field holding us together; we’re all communicating in all sorts of non-explicit ways and the co-ordination will be taken care of, without a lot of special effort.

What I don’t mean here is that we can simply rely on goodwill and everything will always turn out fine. I think where I am going is: being sensitive to the goodwill is really useful.

And perhaps when we talk about goodwill, we’re using a slightly loaded term to describe the field. That might be an important distinction: there will be many times when we feel a lack of goodwill, but the field will still be there and it might be very important to realise it.

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