Ch20 August 2031 — “Calming the Safety Brain”

Chapter 20 serializing Insight Colleges, how Women In Congress re-invented liberal arts college curriculum and teaching methods to produce graduates capable of redeeming-restoring SpaceShip Earth

dg-freedom responsibility “pumpkin pie” slice

“We were making the future, he said, and hardly any of us troubled to imagine what future we were making” ~ H.G. Wells, “When The Sleeper Wakes” (1899)

After publicly agreeing to “do something” called New Colleges, many WinC felt anxious. It felt like they were being asked to step forward into empty space. Given the first four initial groups impaneled by Women in Congress to run and manage New Colleges quit, the lesson was, “We don’t know as much about effective delegating of mandates as we thought we did!”

The list of practical To Do items was overwhelming — and growing. Each time a new group dove into it together, trying to identify the top three things to do, it wasn’t long before they were mired in details and lost clarity on their vision-intention for the whole project such that work slowed and suffered.

They also recalled to mind how BluePrint of We encourages work partners spell out:

- The behavioral signposts for how each team member behaves when stressed,

- How each team member prefers to be treated when they appear stressed.

These anticipate conflict and support our Safety Brain feeling it can handle conflict when it arises.

One aide to WinC knew about Sarah Peyton, a well-known Compassionate (non-violent) Communication leader — https://SarahPeyton.com/ Sarah was booked for a one day 7 hour live seminar with all New College staff and support people.

dg-sarah

After listening to what WinC wanted and needed, Sarah modified her live seminar, “Make Your Brain a Kinder Place to Live,” this way. She honored the great deal of confusion women had about stepping forward so publicly to re-make colleges. She suggested instead of stressing about what New Colleges could be, how they could fail, etc. — why not simply start with what staff and supporters did NOT want New colleges to be?

For the seminar sit-down music, she used “Bride Over Troubled Waters.” First she talked about her own anxieties as a lonely researcher stepping out more publicly as a group facilitator. This led into a triad exercise where attendees recalled for each other their own prior experiences with “stepping out into empty space.”

Next she showed a film clip from “Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade” (1989)

Indy steps out into empty space

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sBBbq2g7yf8

dg-Indy leap of faith

The fable goes like this: The Path of God — “Only in a leap from the lion’s head will he prove his worth.” In the last of the challenges, the person must take a “leap of faith,” from a sculpture of a lion’s head, across, between two steep canyon walls. Nothing but empty space exists between the two walls. It’s a long way down between them. The solution? A hidden path has been painted to look like the opposite canyon wall. From the narrow view of a person considering the leap, it appears no way exists to get across. A bridge exists, yet only a wider vantage point reveals its presence. Can you take your next step based on faith and trust in a higher power — or not?

Taking a leap of faith, is a choice to overcome our fear and doubt. This can be a difficult and often defining moment in our lives.

Then in a dyad process, women shared difficult moment from their past which were defining moment for their future.

Sarah then spoke about “Two things block us and keep us anxious. One is anxiety. For that, we use methods to calm the ‘Safety Brain.’ The other thing blocking women especially, is they may first need to vent, to “blow off steam,” to voice what they DO NOT WANT, before they can voice what they DO WANT.”

The audience clapped and was enthusiastic to try this. Sarah first demonstrated this with a volunteer. First an agreement for physical safety was established. Sarah was the first mentor. She modeled doing this standing up, so arms and legs can move. Sarah LOUDLY vented her frustrated feelings about colleges, about male-run colleges, about toxic male leadership, weak male leadership, valueless-atheistic male leadership.

Next she vented about all the consequences of graduates of toxic-colleges loosed on the world, inflating Wall Street gambling casino behavior; and, technically-trained grads increasing the number of Frankenstein monsters loosed on humanity. She used her arms, legs and gestures to underline her feelings on these topics.

When she was done venting, Sarah received a standing ovation. She smiled. Her purpose was accomplished. She created social permission for these attendees to do their venting expressively, not timidly.

Then this was done as a partner exercise

In this way, Women learned the importance of clearing themselves of all the unspoken pain, hurt and unfairness of all levels of the college crisis. This exercise was later incorporated into trainings for new staff and interns to the New Colleges project.

After several vociferous rounds of venting with a partner, women were somewhat exhausted, ready to to do some synthesis and integration. Sarah pulled things together by asking a volunteer to be a scribe. She asked the scribe to title the giant PostIt page, “What we DO NOT WANT in liberal arts colleges.” Then she asked for contributions from the audience. This list filled 15 giant PostIt sheets.

The following is the written list-summary circulated later to all New Colleges Project staff, interns and new hires:

From zombie apocalypse back to the romance of learning

- Higher education had been hijacked by corporations. They wanted colleges to train workers so corporations could pay less for new employee training.

- In the corporate agenda, imagination was only measured by profitability. Profit was the real measure.

- Colleges were used to widen the wealth inequality gap, not narrow it.

- The LACK of truly human, deep-innermost human values is hurtful to all women.

- “Americans [males] will always do the right thing — only after exhausting every alternative possibility” ~ Churchill

- No more “American Fascism” The four-page doc, “The Danger of American Fascism,” by Henry Wallace (1944), was required reading for all staff, interns and new hires.

- No more colleges training students to believe Feeling must be subordinate to Thinking. No more one-sided emphasis on male-intellectual Thinking. No more innuendo how Feeling must be, can only be, Thinking’s weaker partner, weaker sister.

- No more brainwashing students into being “competitors.” Life is just as much about cooperation and collaboration as competition.

- No more death-oriented college curriculum; and, talking-heads teaching methods. No more 1800s hierarchical, linear-sequential male-thinking — isolated from the complementary intelligences of cooperation, collaboration and win-win negotiation.

- No more colleges as baby-sitting for rich kids. No more colleges as a free pass into elite society. This is how and why College-Gate happened in 2019, rich parents caught paying money to smuggle their low-performing kids into elite colleges for the “social passport” of graduating from an elite college.

- No more college group process rot and corruption fueling the rot and corruption within the USA political system.

- No more downgrading and lip-service-only to international diplomacy; no more elevating of international competition as state religion.

Other painful aspects of college needed more explication:

After World War II, 1945–1985, it was thought the door was closed on dictators, genocide, racism and segregation. Wasn’t WW II the war to end fascism, colluding between national government and corporations, to exploit labor and natural resources, accumulate wealth for Oligarchs?

Apparently not. After WW II the idealistic rhetoric of victorious USA culture was embedded in K-college textbooks and culture — yet no deeper. Best Practices in healthy group process and how to facilitate it, did not even “become a thing” for Cultural Creatives until the 1970s.

The Colleges Crisis of 1929 created an opening to bring this into corporate and mainstream culture. Women came at founding colleges 90 degrees different. Women asked these questions, “What kind of a world is workable-sustainable; and, how will it be workable-sustainable, for the next seven generations?”

Where males started colleges as theocratic exercises, WinC started New Colleges Project like a humanities project, a service project — which had to stand on its own feet economically. New Colleges Project began in a similar mindset as Habitat for Humanity.

An elderly Chris Hedges spoke at Monday Lunch With Experts. He told women, “The meaning of the term “humanism” fluctuates according to successive intellectual movements. Each defines “humanism” for their own purposes.

To rectify “humanism” for New Colleges, the vague philosophical lip-service has to go. Male-mental masturbation over concepts of humanism has to go.

The teeter-totter, the see-saw, between two cultural forces will have to be made much more central and apparent to students, faculty and administration:

“On one hand, the values and needs of unique individuals, emphasizing the healthy agency of individual human beings, and

“On the other hand, the values and needs of the group, the collective, the family, the neighborhood, the city, the state, the country.

“Since the Western “Enlightenment,” these two forces have been in conflict. Who won? As monied elites used their excess wealth to influence state and national politics more and more, they wished to downplay and obfuscate the contrast between these two sets of values. Their aim? To placate the masses. To persuade the masses how elites really have the values and needs of the 99% closest to their hearts. To convince the public, elites are “doing everything they can” to meet the needs of the 99% and the planet. Elites talked like this, ‘We affirm human freedom and progress, across all classes. We view our banks and foundations as responsible for the promotion and development of solutions for human needs worldwide.’ Yet — in their policies and behavior — it served to obscure the consequences of their policies and behavior. It was PR for Sheeple, feeling helpless, uninterested in learning how elite actions met their words not at all.

Like the Wizard in the Wizard of Oz, liberal humanism was too often used as a curtain between elites and the public, so the public could not see how elites were robbing the populace and the planet with every new crisis.

“In this way, “liberal humanism” as it was known in the Liberal Era (1947–2016) was dead as a doornail. Trump showed just how naked the Liberal Humanist Emperor was.”

Women did NOT want atheism. Proponents of New Atheism included Sam Harris, Richard Dawkins and journalist Christopher Hitchens. They assumed science-technology has intrinsic morality. These outspoken secularists and pro-Darwin evolution believers, depicted myth in any form, any belief in God, as backward and anti-democratic.

Women considered atheism a form of fundamentalism. They heard students of Karen Armstrong at Monday Lunch and embraced Karen’s position:

Atheism is a viewpoint on morality. Impossible to paint all atheists with the same brush; still, each of them uses atheism to support their own somewhat unique moral viewpoint. There is nothing wrong with taking a moral stand. However when we take a moral stand and use it to elevate ourselves to a higher moral plane, above other human beings, then it becomes, in biblical terms, a form of self-worship. Unfortunately this is how New Atheists behave; this is how Christian fundamentalists behave.

Chris Hedges writes in his book, I Don’t Believe in Atheists (2008), “Not believing in God is not dangerous. What is very dangerous, is not believing in any sins at all. If you have no moral compass, you fall into vices and don’t even know it.” Both the Christian right and the New Atheists disregard their own sin. Why? How? Because they externalize evil. Evil is always something out there to be eradicated.

Women came to believe as Chris Hedges said, “People who start dividing the world into us and them, fail to have empathy.”

Q: Why wasn’t climate change explicitly included somewhere in the Project Mandate?

A: By 2026 several large Green New Deal projects to address climate change and create Green Stewardship jobs were already well under weigh. Wealth inequality was deemed a larger issue within which climate inequality mostly nested. Taxing un-earned income was the most useful tool here.

Another theme which did not make it into New Colleges Mandate which many Women hoped could be in it, was to correct gender imbalance between men and women. This had existed worldwide for 5,000 years at least. Re-making mainstream culture to give male and female voices and issues equal “weight” became a sub-text or sub-theme of New Colleges.

Once Women achieved a strong consensus on their Vision, Mission, Product and Values statements for Experiential Colleges — it began to take shape in the minds of many elected officials and their constituents. Agreement was growing, “Let’s give it a try.”

What is incrementalism? It’s a belief in the ultimate value of change by degrees; gradualism.

The good news? on the two scales of evolution and within individual lives, patience and gradualness seem to be spiritual laws.

The bad news? People in power were unprepared to think any other way about change. Anything faster than “incremental change” was labeled and dismissed as “revolution.” Elites dislike revolutions; they are the ones revolted against, talk of wealth and property re-distribution scares them.

However, in marriages, work groups, the workplace; and, groups of any size, with a clear purpose, attempts to solve problems with small, systematic steps provoking change over time is often a sign of unwillingness to change at all. Where big change is timely and appropriate, change rhetoric often becomes ossified, rigid and useless.

Women said, “This doesn’t work for us.” They understood politics had to be practiced as an extension of the arts of diplomacy and win-win negotiation.

In a crisis, incrementalism over-promises and under-delivers. In a crisis , the “big road blocks” need to be addressed energetically, with full awareness. When re-ordering your jar of rocks, pebbles and sand, everything has to be taken out. The “big rocks,” or new big rocks have to go in first, the really important things, before the rest of the space is filled with pebbles and sand.

“Incremental change” was in most ways the opposite of a healthy rocks, pebbles and sand prioritizing process. This was a big reason college reforms were seldom attempted and seldom succeeded. For generations male academics could not see the old rocks in their own heads. They could only talk “incrementalism.”

To women this was the same old male foolishness about a crisis. Anyone who ever had a natural, vaginal birth of a child, knows change can be sudden, involve pain. Only after the change is made does the peace and joy come.

Discussion began occurring everywhere about what and how to change colleges. People asked each other, “What needs to change to support the next seven generation of learners and workers on SpaceShip Earth?”

Numerous national groups petitioned WinC to volunteer to be part of doing something to remake colleges. The urgency was apparent. The college crisis was big news. Ivy League Colleges and Wall Street firms offered to join the discussion.

After only one joint session, all Wall Street firms were dis-invited from all New College activity; all Wall Street investment was rejected. Women bristled at men still trying to tell women what to do; when, males had created the problem. Women had to face these questions themselves. Women knew this included asking for support and expertise at every baby step.

Finally, WinC had been warned by experts to monitor and quell excessive academic and internal jargon. A large enterprise was under weigh; clear common language for all stakeholders, new hires; and, the public was crucial; still, unnecessary jargon creates separation.

After defining what women did NOT want, it was easier for women to now step up to a microphone and voice what WE DO WANT New Colleges to be.

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Health Intuitive, author in Los Angeles, CA

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