To have a successful movement in motion (as opposed to - at rest) there must be players filling certain interdependent, interlocking roles. Missing any layer of these roles leaves something undone. Some roles can be filled temporarily. Some can only be filled by specific people. Sometimes people in the wrong role cause all kinds of problems both inside and outside of the movement. The people who fill their proper role are inspired, called; it is a vocation. Each of them is a changemaker with talents, history, definition and, as a Buddhist I believe, past life profiles.
Visionary These are the artists who see what could be. They are not referencing what is but see possibility within what is. They take into consideration where things are now, the tools of change and the steps that are unfolding before their feet. They are labeled idealists though they are not reaching for the ideal but for the best humanity could actually be if given the chance. They may be writers, painters, preachers, teachers, poets. They draw from the heavens to weave a new vision for earth.
Activists These are the rascals, the ice-cutters, the ones who don’t care how entrenched “what is” is. They identify the right place at the right time and move the status quo; maybe break the status quo. They stand in defiance, demand attention, identify the keepers of convention and name the mission: change. They ask for what is denied, they stand where they are not allowed, they face consequences while inviting both attention and scrutiny.
Organizers These are the ones in the halls of humanity who know what the activists want to convey. These hold meetings, use social media, and talk with those who are the controlled, the oppressed, the captured ~ to say ~ you deserve better, things could be better, everything should be better AND you have the power to change your circumstances. They work within the oppressed, inviting them to unite, build their numbers and make their case.
Bureaucrats These hold meetings, create systems and hierarchies, are often elected. They are structured and require that outcomes flow through a certain process. From the PTA to the ALCU, bureaucrats sit and listen and process and make decisions. They take on a cause, expand the audience, examine the outcomes. From NGO to grassroots, you can hear them open the meeting, watch the clock, close the meeting. More to the point, they decide what is important, what should have legs and what is trivial.
Legislators Decisions, rules, bills, resolutions, laws are created here. They are debated, earmarked, sponsored, compromised, attached, amended, bogged down in politics, traded for favors, get shelved permanently or signed. Legislators are the final stamp of approval.
Enforcers Here are the police, the courts and, oddly, the press. They hold tightly to the outcomes as if they are what is supposed to happen. They set the bar, identify the threats, defend the agreements.
In the greater picture there are educators, academics, theorists, historians who are also fundamental to humanity’s ability to advance. This is not a comprehensive list, not a long and scientific study. I offer it to as a vehicle to highlight some things which are both missing and needed in the 2012 architecture of change.
ONE What happened from inspiration to enforcement? With each segment wrapping their minds and hands around the idea, it is diminished, manipulated, altered and loses some of the original intention, value, spirit. Each segment of changemaking is further and further away from the point of insight, the lightening of possibility. The legislators and enforcers are so far from the point of origination, that they may have lost the thread entirely.
TWO One way for the bureaucrats, legislators and enforcers to control information and change is to work to stop the activists and organizers. They do this through rules and laws but mostly by ignoring them, arresting them, devaluating them; eviscerating their passion. You can hear them mocking activists and trivializing organizers.
THREE A terrible things can happen when people attempt to perform actions which are not their organic calling. Bureaucrats and legislators can loan importance to an action but they are not activists. Activists need to move like quicksilver and cannot be accountable to a voting / ruling body like Congress, Assembly, Council, management. If each role is respected, there is a better chance for people to openly identify their natural fit.
FOUR Here’s the thing: Every segment is integral to the whole. Every segment is fundamental. Change needs each and every person to do what they are born to do. So we are left with this – How can each segment say YES? How can a layer get out of the way for each to do what needs to be done? In particular, how can the bureaucrats stop trying to control the activists? Activists stop railing against their own bureaucrats? Visionaries be recognized for what they are doing?
How can we interact with a commitment to say YES. Yes to CHANGE on all levels, in all segments, from inspiration to legislation ~ yes to all.