Push Me Pull Me: How We Experience Higher Dimensions

Sometimes I feel the strong radiance of the sun, or a beautiful performance, or just looking at the face of my wife and kids.  I experience this radiance coming out of them, like it is pushing its way to me, and I bask in its outward rays.

I also experience an attraction in these same experiences.  A desire to be closer, more connected in the experience.  I experience this attraction as a pull, like they are pulling me towards them.

A push I get.  A pull I get.  A push and a pull at the same time?  How can that be?  Mustn’t it be coming in or going out, pushing or pulling?

When I experience something that I am part of, I feel both its radiance, its vibrancy, and I feel its attraction–the desire to engage more deeply in it.  If I think of the essence of these experiences as geometries with higher dimensions, with dimensions that include my four-dimensional experience of it in space (3D) and time (1D) and dimensions that include the experience of energy, of deeper shared purpose, of reflection, of witnessing, of the creative process, then I am experiencing many more than four dimensions in the direct experience I am having.  I know this higher-dimensional experience, and I know the experience of the simultaneous push and pull.

Now, what if I try to make sense of this experience from my “normal” 3D or 4D world?  In lower dimensions, I feel apart from the higher dimensions.  They are not “here now” with me, in my four dimensions.  They feel like something else, out there.  I can see and touch the table in front of me or the face of my child.  I experience being with them over time.  Those other dimensions are not here right now in the same way.

Feeling separate from them, I feel the push from them and the pull to them.

And, when I simply sit in the higher-dimensional experience, I feel like a part of it–no push and no pull, rather one with.  So, maybe I experience the push from something and the pull towards it when I bring only the lower dimensions of the experience into my awareness.  When I bring the higher dimensions into my awareness, I feel at one with.  Not apart, rather a part.

Hat tip to BB for sparking this insight.

Weak and Strong Agreements Fields

Agreements Fields.  Fields are systems where people interact, where there is a coherence that holds those interactions together.  An agreements field then is the coherent capacity of interactions to tangibilize the potential energy available in those interactions.  Experience seems to show that people experience weak agreements fields and strong agreements fields, which is supported by Agreements Health Check survey responses from 124 countries.

Weak Agreements Fields. When agreements fields are weak, we experience little capacity to making something with the available potential energy.  Though we might see the potential in individuals and in the group, our agreements make it hard to work with that potential: we tend to focus more on getting the required outcomes, and much less on developing capacities and relationships or on seeing and engaging potential.  To be responsible to the resilience of the group’s efforts, in weak agreements fields, we tend to try to increase resilience by increasing the flexibility of our capacity to get people to do work–our resource of human bodies.  From this perspective, we need to be able to scale up and down the number of human bodies available to do work.  When we need more output, we contract more bodies, and when we need less output, we contract fewer bodies.  We can do this more efficiently by contracting that pool of labor–bodies to do work–and keeping investment in their training and benefits low.  This leads us to focus on having flexible financial capital to be able to scale the number of contracted bodies available.  Does the liquidity of this flexibility of capital reduce the return on investment, since it needs to be more readily available?

Strong Agreements Fields. When agreements fields are strong, we experience a high capacity to tangibilize the potential energy available in our interactions, by definition.  We see potential, pathways to manifest that potential, and we use the outcomes of those pathways as feedback about the potential and pathways we saw.  In strong agreements fields, we seem to increase resilience by increasing the capacity of our interactions to leverage our inputs, by working with the reenforcing and balancing feedback loops in our interactions and in the viral nature of our social networks.  We study our interactions to find leverage through the nature of social systems.  This allows us to scale efficiency, achieving much greater outputs with the same inputs, the same number of people with the same level of financial capital.  By keeping the same people, we want to invest in their capacities and their benefits.  This leads us to focus on being more strategic, more systemic, and more collaborative, as a way to engage and learn from the potential energy available to us in the strong agreements field.

If agreements fields have within them the capacity to tangibilize the potential energy available in the individuals present and in their interactions, strong agreements fields seem to engage our intention and our attention–what we do for what reasons and what we focus on–in very different ways than do weak agreements fields.  I am curious what you find in these two different settings.

Then There Were 10D Glasses — Recommended Reading

Bryanton, Rob. Imagining the Tenth Dimension: A New Way of Thinking About Time and Space. 2006, Oxford, UK: Trafford Publishing.

For thousands of years, we had the rich inner pictures we perceived from elaborate storytelling.  Then there were the 2D images in black-and-white then in color on the big movie screen.  Now we have 3D images popping out at us, from screens big and little.  In Imagining the Tenth Dimension, Bryanton jumps way past 2D and 3D to 10D, inviting us to imagine the 10D reality that physicists tell us we live in, and possible implications of that 10D reality.

For the timid of mind, Bryanton starts by warning the reader that, “anyone wanting to dismiss the levels of detail we are imagining in these pages as ‘too extravagant’ would do well to keep in mind how extraordinarily, inconceivably extravagant we already know the universe to be” (p 5).  “All of these theories [of physics, such as string theory] tell us that it is the harmonics of superstring vibrations happening in the tenth spatial dimension that create the basic laws that define our reality–the strength of gravity, the charge, spin and nature of subatomic particles…It is the energy of these strings’ vibrations which is converted into mass” (p 5).

Bryanton walks us quickly through the initial build up of the dimensions, showing that 0D is a point, 1D is a straight line, 2D is a split, a branch into two lines, creating a plane, and 3D is a fold, which is “what we move through to get from one point to another in the dimension below” (p 11).  Instead of adding a third dimension to space, creating a volume, like most do, Bryanton uses the fold to start us thinking about how we perceive reality differently from different dimensions, a mechanism he uses in the subsequent dimensions.  So, the third dimension is how we can jump from one point to another in the perception of the second dimension.

He now repeats this pattern with the 4D being a line, which connects two points or states of existence of the 3D being.  Two different states of you, for example, connected with a line, as perceived from 4D.  5D is a split, branching into different possible lines.  You know one of those lines, which you live on as time, because that is the one you lived on, in your 3D experience of a 4D reality, branching in 5D.  Which branch you experience is a function of choice and circumstance. 6D is then a fold into different worlds of branches you, as you experience yourself, did not take.  The pattern then repeats, with 7D being a line of all possible timelines for the universe we experience, 8D is a split, and 9D is a fold.  10D consists of the vibrating strings that make up existence, according to string theory.

This is how Bryanton builds up an inner image of the experience of 10D reality.  For the rest of the book, he looks at some implications of this image.  Such as, what or who chooses the path we take at each branch in the 2D, 5D, and 8Ds?  Is it you when you are aware, conditions when you are not, or a higher-order existence?  He then explores the notion of time.  Does time exist as a separate thing, a dimension, or is time what we call the experience of movement through the changing of energy states?  If existence is full of energy everywhere, and energy moves, through power and work, then maybe the higher order dimensions of energy shifting states is what we call time, in our 3D experience of reality.  And we only experience one line of shifts in form–our time–because that is the one we experienced.  Time is what 3Ders, like us, call the experience of 4D.  Bryanton also explores why the speed of light is constant, while Einstein found all other speeds to be relative.  “In the ten dimensions as we’re imagining them, the speed of light is defined by interactions in a higher dimension than the one we live in.  This is how it can be independent of how we move in the fourth dimensions.”

Through these explorations, Bryanton leads us to choice. “As creatures with free will, we are constantly moving through the fifth dimensional paths that are available to us, selecting one of those paths as our personal timeline…a life-changing decision or event that breaks old habits and old patterns will certainly direct a person’s life to a new trajectory, making other future paths more likely to be followed from that point on” (pp 118-119).  Awareness matters.  Choice makes a difference.  And this is the link to ecosynomics, that choice makes a difference in the agreements we consciously enter, and that these agreements change everything.  And, as I explored in an earlier blog, you already know all of this, from your own experience.  The question is whether you use what you know to choose the agreements that influence the interactions that determine the experience and outcomes you achieve every day.  With Bryanton’s enjoyable read, you have 10D glasses with which to perceive the multi-color, multi-possibility universe of choice before you.  It is your choice whether or not you put on the 10D glasses.

Really Real–What You Know About What Is Already Born, An Ecology of Nature

You have superpowers.  You share this with some people, and not with a lot of others.  You can see or sense things that many others don’t seem to see or sense. The question is not whether this happens at all, or whether it only happens to a few people, everyone has some form of these.  It is natural.  The question becomes, what is natural, what is nature, what is the ecology of nature we live in, and that we each seem to have the ability to access in different ways?

Here are two ways of entering into an understanding of this nature; what you already know about what is already here.  Let’s start with nature.  The word nature comes from the Latin nasci “to be born.” So this is an ecology–the relationships of organisms with their surroundings and each other–of what is born.  A system of what is real.  A system of dimensions of reality that are always present, in everything.  What do you know about what is already born?

One way to look at this is through your experience.  You experience creative thoughts, insights.  They seem to come from somewhere.  Some people are better at knowing how and where to access them, on a sporadic or more continuous basis.  Possibilities are there for us to access.  There are specific ways that groups of us see how to manifest possibilities.  It seems that each group of people develops its own way of making meaning out of experience and of finding particular pathways to manifest those possibilities.  We often call this a culture.  You experience the difference in these cultures when you move from one group to another, whether meeting people in another town, another discipline, another country.  Some people are better at seeing the nuances in culture, and others at moving across cultures.  You experience outcomes, nouns, things that seem to be “already completed.”  These are forms that we see, which we can use for other purposes.  A piece of paper, an apple, a profit.  Something that, for an instant, is here now, a noun.  These forms that we can see and engage with also change over time.  Technical and social innovations constantly produce new and obsolete forms.  Some people, such as designers and artists, are able to see forms in possibilities and how to shape them.  A smart phone, the internet, speed dates, slaves, feudalism.  New forms come, old forms go.

You experience extension over space and time.  A fabric in which we live.  Some of us perceive these dimensions in very subtle ways, some perceive over great spans of spacetime, and some of us experience the expanse of spacetime more unconsciously.   You experience movement through space and time.  Some of us are more subtle in our awareness of this movement and some more expansive.  You experience the ability to witness, to experience that something is happening.  You experience this as learning, as change, as evolution.  You are not the same person as ten years ago, or as one year ago, or even as one hour ago.  Things have changed.  Some people are very attuned to this evolutionary process, the cyclic spiral of coming back to the same experience from a new place in spacetime, seeing it anew.

You experience things in their reflections.  We perceive things in their reflection off of something else.  We do not see light: we see the reflection of light off of something else.  Psychologists suggest that we also learn about ourselves by seeing ourselves reflected off of others.  Some people are very aware of these reflections, experiencing very subtle dimensions of what is happening in the reflections off surfaces, off of faces, in body gestures.  You experience form and direction.  Something pulls you in life, to other people, to your avocation.  It is an attraction, a calling, a purpose.  Most people feel the attraction, the pull, and respond to it, consciously and unconsciously, all of the time.  Some people are highly attuned to this attractive force, to recognizing it, naming it, and inviting others into engaging with it.  You experience energy.  Whether it is the energy of life that sustains us, the energy in a relationship or an activity, the electricity in life, or the lack of energy in many groups, we sense it.  Some people are finely adjusted to different forms of energy, able to synch with it or be highly affected by its presence or the lack of it.  You experience love.  Whether it is the love of another person, what you do, a place, an animal, an activity, nature or spirit, you experience it.  Some people are deeply moved by this love, orienting their lives to its expression.

Ten properties or dimensions of nature that are present in everything always, some of which you access more consciously, more readily, than others.  They are all there, all of the time, properties if you will of what is already born, of nature, of your reality.  Whether you access them frequently or infrequently is more a question of your awareness and your practice.  They are there, so they are available, always.

Another way to look at what is already born, what is real, is through physics (from Greek for the knowledge of nature), which has developed supersymmetric string theory.  Through the math of physics, attempting to develop a theory that explains the phenomenon we experience, physicists have come up with 10+ dimensions of reality.  The first three dimensions are length, height, and depth.  The fourth dimension is time.  These first four constitute the spacetime fabric we experience.  The fifth dimension is a different expression of the same 4-dimensional spacetime, where other outcomes, cultures, and possibilities come into being.

The sixth dimension starts with the same initial conditions as our reality, allowing for a plane of different expressions of 4-dimensional space.  The seventh dimension starts with the same universal constants, allowing for different initial conditions.  The mirrors or reflections are constant, and the witnessing forms of evolution vary.  The eighth dimension starts with different universal constants.  Energy still reflects, but is witnessed in different ways.

The ninth dimension is a plane of all the different laws of physics possible, with different universal constants and different initial conditions.  Pure energy.  The tenth dimension starts with all possible reasons for existence of all possible forms, with different expressions of energy or not energy, other purposes, other pulls, the ultimate reason for existence.  After that, there is the before existence, the primordial (from the Latin primordium for the first beginning), the creative force.  Existence comes after or from this force.  

Each of these dimensions described by physics seems to relate to the dimensions of reality we experience, as described above.  Adding these dimensions up, I experience that I exist.  I have form that extends over space.  I evolve over time.  I witness my experience.  I co-create my experience.  I form the pull to love.  I am love and energy.  Subtracting these dimensions, I also feel the pull of intention, I see the calling, I experience a call, I experience change, and I am here now.

So, as beings of nature, we all experience all of these dimensions of reality, of nature, all of the time.  This means that they are part of us, part of everything in and around us, always.  The trick is to know how to work with these dimensions.  Each of us seems to be wired, whether through evolution, mutation, or curiosity, to be able to work directly with some of these dimensions more so than others.  And, there they are.  Available to all of us all of the time, if we want.  Part of what is already here, already born, and we already knew that.

Low-Value Traps

Recent reports on global disengagement and lack of wellness suggest that people across the globe have persistent “low-value” experiences–they spend all day gaining little value from their efforts, feeling like they contribute little value to their organizations and communities, and experience little sustainable value in the material things they purchase.

If this is such a widespread and common phenomenon, why have people not figured this out?  It seems like the sufferers of this include the poor and the rich, those with little formal education and those with lots, and those in the global south and the global north.  It seems that they are caught in a “low-value trap.”  A low-value trap is when the experience of low value in a specific social system persists over time, where people feel “trapped” in long-term experiences of low value, of not getting much or contributing much for a lot of time and resource spent.

The authors of a recent book on the science and practice of resilient social-environmental systems  suggest a nice metaphor for this trap.  “Imagine a crater at the top of [a] mountain…The ‘trap’ would be water stuck in the crater, unable to get over its walls and thereby take advantage of the multiple development paths represented by the descending valleys” (Pursuing Sustainability, 2016, Princeton Univ Press, p 66).  For a more mathematical treatment of these crater traps, see “local minima.”  The point is that, within the crater, it is very hard to get out, because in the crater you tend not to have access to the very resources that you need to climb the walls, so most efforts to climb the walls only result in falling back to the bottom of the crater.

The very resources one needs to experience high value, in what one gives to and receives from human interactions, do not seem to be available in the low-value trap.  We need support, recognition, and the ability to make a unique contribution, yet these resources are usually not available in the low-value trap.  Are we stuck, then, or is there a way out?  The emerging science of agreements fields suggests there is a way out.  A way that is both simple and hard.  We simply need to see the agreements that we have unconsciously accepted, making them conscious and choosing whether and how we enter them.  This is hard, because we human beings seem to be designed to continuously and consistently fall asleep to these socially embedded agreements.  Over the past decade, in our work with organizations, networks, and leaders in over a dozen countries, we have developed a prototype, a 4-step process for seeing, choosing, and enacting these agreements, getting out of the “low-value trap.”  While hard to see at first, especially when you have spent years experiencing the low-value trap, you do have the resources needed to get out of the trap.  It is a choice.

Our Experience of Light, as Seen 2,500 Years Ago — Recommended Reading

Lawlor, Robert. 1994. “Pythagorean Number as Form, Color, and Light,” in Homage to Pythagoras: Rediscovering Sacred Science, Christopher Bamford, ed., Hudson, NY: Lindisfarne Books.

In this chapter, Robert Lawlor explores the early observations on light of the great Greek philosopher Pythagoras, who lived 570 – c. 495 BC.  Pythagoras, famous today for the Pythagorean Theorem, was a very influential philosopher and mathematician.  This is a fascinating journey through thinking that influenced the last 2,500 years of western thought about what light is.

“The Pythagorean symbolists assumed what may seem an obvious cosmological ground for their numerical procedures: that God has manifested himself in this universe as light…Certainly spiritual texts from many cultures abound with the association between light and the universal creator.  But Pythagoreanism, like its Egyptian sources, is an instance in which this association may be taken not only as an inspired metaphor, but also as a protocol-scientific analogy.  Leibnitz beautifully restated this Pythagorean time, saying, ‘The exquisitely orderly behavior of light indicates the underlying radical patterned order of reality'” (p187).

Light and other forms of radiation can only be absorbed if they carry precisely the right amount of energy to promote an atom from one rung to a higher rung.  As the atom falls back to its fundamental state the absorbed radiation must be removed, carrying away the difference between the two levels.  This released energy appears as a photon or a quantum of light having a particular wave-length determined by the energy difference in the rise and fall within the structure of the atom…[This] occurs according to a very precise rhythmic scale.  Every atom possesses a preset harmonic energy scale, ‘a musical organization’: an in-formed vibratory gradation” (p201).

Substance and light are of the same electromagnetic energy; they are fields of force whose movement/form is detectable as wave phenomenon.  Substance varies from radiated light in that it has been organized into relatively stable geometric vortices by the three primary principles of organization, the protonic, the neutronic and the electronic: the movement towards centrality, centrality and the movement away from centrality.  The varying proportions of these three powers determine the geometry of the substance” (p203).

All light is invisible until it has encountered a substance.  All substances to some varying degree absorb and re-emit light.  This interaction is color, and it is the signature of the inner form of the substance” (p203).

“The logic of Pythagoras is the logic of light and vibration.  It is inclusive of the concept of an octave contained within an octave; but it also understands that the essential form-nature of an octave (the consonance of its proportions) is connected to all other octaves through resonance” (p204).  “For the Pythagorean, this universe is a universe of perception.  Perception is the transformation of light into forms of itself.  And light is consciousness imaging itself” (p 205).

The development of a perspective that still penetrates much of our current understanding of the experience of light.

What Could You Do With a Surplus of Human Energy?

“Calories measure the energy resources of a civilization, and with a surplus of calories .. early communities were able to invest in infrastructure and organizational complexity” (Jonathan F.P. Rose, 2016, The Well-Termpered City, New York: Harper Wave, 44-45).  When there is no surplus,  focus is on getting enough calories–what comes in immediately goes out.  With a surplus of energy–more comes in than needs to be used immediately, focus can shift to investing in non-calorie-gathering activities, such as building common infrastructure, philosophizing, creating art, and managing projects.  The surplus of energy changed the game.

A calorie is the amount of energy needed to raise the temperature of one gram of water by one degree Celsius at a pressure of one atmosphere.  In our field work of the past decade, we have found a related energy source in human interactions.  People describe being much more engaged with much greater energy when they experience a healthy relationship with their own self, with others, with the group, with the creative process of nature, and with the source of the creative spirit–five primary relationships.  Through the Institute for Strategic Clarity’s global survey research, we have found this experience described by people in thousands of groups in 98 countries.  From this research, we find this human-interaction energy, a lumens.  A lumens is a measure of the energy resources experienced in the set of the five primary relationships (self, other, group, nature, spirit).

Like with calories, with a surplus of lumens, communities are able to invest in collaborative efforts, which require the harmonic combination of everyone’s unique contributions in a continuous process of tangibilization of what can be seen as possible together, in service of a shared deeper purpose.  When there is no surplus, when the lumens experienced are less than the lumens required for human interaction, the focus is on getting more lumens.  Harvard professors Kegan and Lahey call this the “second job,” protecting oneself while engaging in lumen-exhausting interactions.  Kegan and Lahey find examples of lumens-enhancing groups, where people are better off from being together, generating a surplus of lumens that can be invested in even more exciting, more productive human interactions.  Our impact-resilience research finds these people achieve much greater outcomes on a much more sustainable basis.

I have described many examples of the lumen-enhancing experiences we have described through the Global Initiative to Map Ecosynomic Deviance and Impact Resilience.  Have you experienced lumens-enhancing human interactions?  Please share them with us.

The Memetic Code of an Agreements Field

Juanita has worked for two years with a high-performing, very engaging team developing website ads for local nonprofits.  She is very comfortable in the creative processes and high-participation expectations of this team.  She has worked hard and really enjoyed it.  Over the summer, she is recruited to a new company and asked to join a new team.  This team achieves much lower performance and is less engaging, with a strong hierarchy where people are expected to follow directions and only speak up when asked to do so.  Will Juanita’s disposition to higher performance and engagement bring greater vibrancy, performance, and outcomes to the team or will the team’s lower engagement, outcomes, and vibrancy win out?

It turns out that Paul was recruited over the summer by Juanita’s previous company.  While Paul was very comfortable working on a low vibrancy team with poor performance and low engagement, he was asked to join the high-performing team that Juanita used to work on.  Will Paul’s disposition to lower engagement and results lower the team’s vibrancy, performance, and outcomes or will the team’s higher vibrancy win out?

In these two examples, we are looking at the agreement disposition of both the individual and the team.  Which one dominates?

We can provide hypotheses for both.  Clearly an individual predisposed to greater engagement and performance can inspire a team to higher performance in a more engaging way.  Or, clearly the team culture provides the stronger influence on what is possible.  That we can argue either way, individuals dominate groups or groups dominate individuals, makes it an exploratory question.  We don’t know the answer, and it could go either way.

Under which conditions does the higher vibrancy disposition dominate?  When does the individual disposition dominate?  The group disposition?  To assess these questions, we can assess the agreement-field memetic code of both individuals and the collective, and see how the agreement field evolves on a fitness landscape, where fitness is assessed by the outcomes (impact resilience) and experience (harmonic vibrancy).

First of all, if we start with the assumption of Homo lumens, then we assume that every person has the potential to experience all levels of harmonic vibrancy.

Second, the agreement field that an individual or a group is most comfortable with–they know how it works and how to interact successfully in it–is distributed over a range of lower to higher vibrancy and agreements.  They usually function at one level, sometimes at a higher level, and occasionally at a lower level.  We can label the higher as (P)otential, the middle as (L)ikely, and the lower as (C)ollapsed.

These three levels are probable states of the individual’s or group’s agreement field.  Over time, one can assess the probability of the agreement field being experienced in its (P)otential, (L)ikely, or (C)ollapsed state.  We might find that Juanita’s group experiences the (P)otential level 20% of the time, (L) 65%, and (C) 15%.  Or that Paul experiences P 8% of the time, L 87%, and C 5%. We could then say Juanita’s team’s agreement field probability is 0.2P/0.65L/0.15C, and Paul’s is 0.8P/0.87L/0.5C.  This is a rough estimate of the distribution of experience states available to Juanita and Paul’s teams.

We can then map the level of agreements that are (P)otential, (L)ikely, and (C)ollapsed.  Each of the 4 lenses can be characterized along a 9-point continuum, from low to high.  The Economic Lens of how much varies from levels 1, 2, and 3 of scarcity to 4, 5, and 6 of sufficiency to 7, 8, 9 of abundance.  The Political lens of who decides, likewise varies from 1-3 of one primary relationship to 4-6 of multiple relationships to 7-9 of all 5 relationships.  The Culture lens of what criteria varies from 1-3 of low vibrancy, 4-6 of medium, and 7-9 of high vibrancy.  The Social lens of what rules varies from 1-3 of melody of one voice to 4-6 of chord of multiple voices to 7-9 of harmonic.  We then have an agreement field distribution for the individual or group. (See Paul’s in the table below.)

Pauls Table 081516post

While Homo lumens ultimately has the whole spectrum available to be experienced, knowing how to interact within a specific set of agreements seems to be distributed across a narrower normal range.  This assumption remains to be tested.

This agreement-field memetic code assessment will allow us to see what happens when an individual or a group is exposed to a memetic code of higher performance and vibrancy.

The Whole Agreements Field Is Always Active — Sometimes Towards Purpose, Often Not

All elements in an Agreements Field are always active.  Always.  This is the picture of Homo lumens interacting with the self, other, group, nature, and spirit.  All five relationships are always there, whether consciously included or not.  The three levels of perceived reality are always there, whether they are perceived or not.  People are having an experience of less or greater vibrancy.  The interactions are resulting in outcomes, of lesser or greater impact and resilience.  The agreements, whether consciously chosen or unconsciously accepted, are there.

Agreements Field Mapping 071916a

This means that the whole experience of Homo lumens is always present.  The whole agreements map is active.  That only part of it is seen by the people interacting means that the other part is active and not seen.

AEMap 072516a

In their latest book, An Everyone CultureHarvard professors Robert Kegan and Lisa Laskow Lahey, suggest that most people are actually engaged in two jobs at work: (1) the contribution they are hired to make; and (2) protecting themselves.  “Imagine you’re paying a full-time wage for part-time work to every employee, every day” (p.2).

“In businesses large and small; in government agencies, schools, and hospitals; in for-profits and nonprofits, and in any country in the world, most people are spending time and energy covering up their weaknesses, managing other people’s impressions of them, showing themselves to their best advantage, playing politics, hiding their inadequacies, hiding their uncertainties, hiding their limitations.  Hiding.

We regard this as the single biggest loss of resources that organizations suffer every day” (p.1).

In measuring the impact resilience of a set of agreements, we have identified the “costs of scarcity,” the costs of not engaging the full human being.  The costs of Kegan and Lahey’s “second job” are just the start.

Another way of understanding this is to realize that the agreements that are seen and in the group’s awareness might be aligned with the group’s deeper purpose.  Often they are not, but they might be.  Our recent research suggests that those agreements that remain unseen, that are not part of the group’s awareness, where Homo lumens is not fully engaged, are usually not aligned with the group’s deeper purpose.  While unconscious competence might generate temporary alignment sometimes, it is not resilient to perturbations in the system, which always appear.  This lack of alignment has huge costs, much greater than the costs of the second job Kegan and Lahey highlight.  People are expending energy towards a purpose other than the group’s–vast amounts of energy.

If all elements of the agreements field are always active, they are doing something.  The question is whether this activity is aligned with the intended purpose or not.  Whether it is moving the group towards the purpose or away from it.  Most, if not all, of the elements that are not consciously part of the agreements exact a huge cost.

This changes the question, from whether it would be nice to incorporate more of the learning and possibility experiences, to whether it is highly ineffective and inefficient, when interacting with human beings, to not consciously choose to incorporate all three levels of perceived reality.  The first assumes an outcomes-only reality is more real and the development and potential levels of perceived reality are nice add ons.  The second assumes that humans are always in the process of being in potential and development and tangibilization.  For the first, engaging people requires a huge investment.  For the second, not engaging people has a huge cost.  Our recent research, and that of Kegan and Lahey, suggests that the second better explains why some groups have much better experiences and impact resilience than most.  Which do you choose?

Agreements Field Mapping

You interact to have experiences and to get results. That is why you do what you do. The agreements you consciously choose or unconsciously accept define how you interact. Those agreements are based on embedded, interwoven assumptions.

Our experiences, outcomes, agreements, and assumptions form an “agreements field.”  A field is the environment in which individuals or groups interact.  This concept is widely applied in physics, and less so in the social sciences.  By an agreements field, I suggest that in looking at our experiences, outcomes, agreements, and assumptions, we are describing one entity, from multiple perspectives–one field where we can perceive the outcomes and the experience of people interacting based on conscious or unconscious agreements founded on underlying assumptions.  One field.  One agreements field.

To describe the different perspectives within the agreements field, to map the social topography of agreements fields, we have developed and globally tested a set of mapping tools.

Together these four mapping tools describe four key perspectives of an agreements field.

Our work at the Institute for Strategic Clarity now focuses on further developing and applying agreements field mapping to map the global social topography of human agreements, through the Global Initiative to Map Ecosynomic Deviance and Impact Resilience (MEDIR).  With our colleagues around the world, we are beginning to see that the social topography of human agreements is as varied as our earths’s geological topography. Peaks and valleys in many forms. Treasures abound. Things we have never imagined around every corner. The flatearthers of human agreements are missing out–there is a lot of treasure out there, ready for all of us to discover, marvel at, and learn from. It only takes the quest(ion) to find it.  If you are interested in contributing to this global initiative, please contact us.