Human Learning Ecology in a Time of Unrest

Dana PenriceArticles

Human Learning Ecology in a Time of Unrest

Human Learning Ecology in a Time of Unrest

by Dana Penrice
Board Chair, Human Venture Leadership

As we are sorting through the recent events in America, it is important to recognize that this is a significant source for learning and reflection, and an important time to pause to take stock of the situation and to learn. As a community involved in Human Learning Ecology, we have some amazing principles and resources to draw on to guide our inquiry.

As many of you probably are, I am feeling bombarded by information from friends sharing their views, by political analysis and rhetoric, and it is difficult to sift through and figure out what we should pay attention to and what would be helpful. To be honest, I feel a sense of inadequacy in managing this. I keep thinking that I haven’t read enough and that I haven’t dug into the situational analysis enough to keep up with what’s going on, let alone provide some insightful interpretation into it. But it is that feeling of inadequacy that pushes my resolve to keep going, to circle back to principles of disciplined inquiry and to learn.

As I watched U.S. events unfold, I couldn’t help but think about how we are living in unprecedented times. While a bit scary, unpredictable and depressing, it is also exciting to be part of the creative realization process of humanity and our species’ process of becoming. As I dig into resources like H. G. Wells’ Open Conspiracy: What are we to do with our lives?, I am reminded that there really has never been a dull moment throughout our history. We have always been living in unprecedented challenging and exciting times as humans. We have such a rich history of people who have stepped up to the challenges of their times and couldn’t help but engage in the process of waking up to what it means to be alive and human and engaging in the battleground for a better future for humanity. This is progress.

My thoughts have drifted back to the role of the Human Venture community as we move forward in this creative process together. It is clear that the progressive movement in society needs to seize this opportunity as a chance to thoughtfully, strategically and wisely re-imagine how we move forward for the betterment of humanity and our planet. That fight is not over, it never is. Coming out of the election, I feel a deep sense of resolve for my belief in the relevance and importance of Human Learning Ecology.

As we continue to build a supportive, mutual learning community of increasingly resourceful, resilient, responsible, life ranging human beings, this is also perfect time to creatively imagine how we can be working on the wise reconstruction of our organizations, institutions and cultures to support systemic adaptive transformation.

How can we support post traumatic growth in this time of unrest?

As these global and species level challenges continue to face us head on, we will rely on the sense of responsibility and co-responsibility we share for the value of this work and the need to create co-learning as we continue it. These are part of the capacities we must cultivate in each other. There is a lot of detail in our current unfolding situation to dig into, and probably will be for some time. As Ken Low says, events like this are like a super nova for Human Learning Ecologists. It is an event that will provide a wealth of things to study now and in the years to come so we might as well get on with it. We are living through the closing chapters of the established and traditional way of life. We are in the early beginnings of a struggle to remake our civilization.

“It is not a good time for politicians. It is a time for prophets and leaders and explorers and inventors and pioneers; and for those who are willing to plant trees for their children to live under.”

– Walter Lippmann (1889-1947). “The American Promise,” Newsweek, 9 Oct. 1967


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