Thursday, November 09, 2006

Eyes Wide Open

Mark Gerzon in his useful book on transforming conflict says:

“Wherever we sit right now, something stops our vision from extending throughout the world. It may be the manmade walls of an apartment building or a school or an institution. It may be the political walls of cities, states, countries, or regions; or the economic walls of wealth and poverty, privilege and oppression. If not these barriers, then it may be the invisible walls of attitudes and ideologies, mind-sets or belief systems. Wherever we live, there are walls-if not of oppression, then of privilege; if not of ignorance, then of sensationalized and incomplete information. This is why developing our integral vision is so essential: it enables us to see through the prison walls of our identity and embrace a wider world.”

“For example, instead of hiding out in his software empire, imprisoned by his wealth, Microsoft CEO Bill Gates has traveled the world with his wife Melinda in order to develop a more integral vision. ‘Some of the worst human tragedies in the world today go on because we don't really see them,’ says Gates. ‘We rarely make eye contact with people who are suffering, so we act sometimes as if the people don't exist.’"

“Making eye contact with the Other is one of the best ways to learn to see through walls. It is the most effective way to develop integral vision.”

Mark Gerzon, Leading Through Conflict: How Successful Leaders Transform Differences into Opportunities, Boston: Harvard Business School Press, 79.

Image: Bill and Melinda with eyes wide open.