Why the optimism?

Chris Corrigan asks a really interesting question.

What is interesting is that despite the fact that we are small players working in a big system and we KNOW that our effect in the world is usually small and local there is something almost inherent in human nature that convinces us that we can have more impact than it appears. To be sure, this sentiment sometimes becomes arrogance, especially here in North America, but everywhere I have been in this world, among many different people living in wildly different circumstances, I find this pattern of optimism. Whether or not that optimism is productive, or stands a chance at worldchanging is an interesting question, but even more interesting for me is this question: if we are truly products of the global earth system, and we know that we are simply small pieces of a huge and complex living system, where does this impulse, calling or optimism come from?

I think it’s a great question because it shifts focus from arguing about whether it’s optimism or not, or whether it’s a delusion or not, towards looking at what it’s about. Maybe another way of thinking about it is to ask what evolutionary purpose it serves.

My hunch, and that’s all it is, is that we feel optimism when we feel connected in some way or other to the potential for collective intelligence, or maybe just our connection to, rather than separation from, the world around us.

In his post, Chris explains he’s using a “CoHo” tag to identify ideas and information that relate to his enquiry, which is

how hosting, facilitating and convening conversations can help shift people, organizations and communities to new levels of awareness, work and changemaking in their worlds

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