The Proteus Initiative

approaching an ecology of consciousness

We work with all aspects of social change – consulting, facilitating, writing, teaching. We strive to bring together a sensibility for, understanding of, and practice towards the relationship between ecological wholeness and social coherence and healing. Enabling people to stretch their processes of inner and outer development to greater edges and depths; this is the foundation for socially responsive and life-supporting practices.

This innovative approach to Reflective Social Practice can be taken further by undertaking a postgraduate training up to and including Masters level, to see more about this go to proteusschool.org.uk.

New Exciting Project!
The Proteus Initiative and Friends is currently working on a new venture - a website called The School for Reflective Social Practice. This site is being designed in order to be an interactive learning and meeting space for all those interested in a Goethean Reflective Social Practice. We look forward to unveiling this site soon!

Have a look...

  • Living With and Beyond Fear - a workshop for women - Cape Town, October 2017
    "When the root is deep there is no reason to fear the wind" - African Proverb
    We are living in the darkest of times. For the first time in the history of our world, a future – for all life on this planet, and for our beloved Earth itself – is no longer a given. Fear, rage and rising hopelessness are rife. How do we navigate our way in a time that has no precedent? How do we face this collective ‘dark night of the soul’? How, in the face of crushing fear and anguish, can we find a way, not to close down, but to open to our deepest humanity? Read full brochure here.
  • Integrating Goethe - professional development for social practitioners - an invitation to join a group in Cape Town
    Those of us who have been exposed to − and by? - the ‘Goethean Glance’ know that it renders the world a World once more, with all the promise that it contained in childhood, deepened and strengthened by our experiences of coming up against it. We know that it leaves us able to see further − though such seeing can also be painful. We know that seeing further ‘out’ can only be achieved simultaneously with seeing further ‘in’ − and we know what that entails. Read full brochure HERE.
  • The Wholeness of Life - Towards a New Practice of Change - New Zealand 2017: An Introductory Residential Workshop with Sue Davidoff and Allan Kaplan. We live in a complex world; a world of ambiguity and uncertainty. Every time we act within a social context, we are confronted with this unpredictability, ambiguity and uncertainty. A conventional response to this is to try to simplify it. We strive to reduce complexity, in order to better manage our world. Such a response seeks to control life, not to enhance it. But our very attempts to ‘manage’ in these ways create the ‘problems’ which then appear to overwhelm us. Read full brochure HERE.

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A Delicate Activism

on
Turning and turning in the widening gyre
   
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
   
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
   
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
 
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
   
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
   
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
   
Are full of passionate intensity.

                                                                            The Second Coming
                                                                             William Butler Yeats
                                                                   (1865-1939)


It is not difficult to feel deep despair as we gaze upon the world we currently inhabit. Failure is all around us – nationally and globally. Institutions, governments, international bodies are somehow failing to meet the growing world crisis at social, political, economic and environmental levels. It’s as if the unprecedented unravelling of our humanity is neither seen nor acknowledged in its enormity. Monstrous impositions of dehumanising and devivifying policies and practices rage throughout the world, and what we witness is extraordinary pictures of human suffering and growing uncertainty, where Yeats’ words take on a particular power and energy; more pertinent to these times than he ever might have imagined!
To offer examples of this massive disintegration risks the irony of numbing and trivialising the pain of this time; when we can see the problems ‘out there’, we are protected from feeling the reality ‘inside here’.  It is – perhaps – our inability to feel inside what is happening outside: the suffering of the earth and all its peoples; the suffering of the earth and all its inhabitants. An eerie coldness is descending, and beneath the clutter of (self)-destruction there is a silence which is foreboding. We are in serious trouble.

Which is not to say that no one sees, and that no one is acting. There are many movements, many voices, many actors, much expression of deep concern. Yet the hegemonic forces – of increasing coldness, of immediatism, of excessive busy-ness, of a distancing corporatisation and professionalisation, of a technological dominance – hold many of our efforts at bay; serve to fragment them, to subtly disempower them so that they become part of the problem and no longer a still and deep call for clarity of insight and understanding.

Without this, we risk contributing towards the increasing coldness, alienation and violence, inadvertently amplifying the problems we set out to address. For our efforts to counter these militant forces need to come out of a place where we can see, feel, and understand differently.  Acting and responding to the situation needs to come out of a noticing – that the seeming disparateness of these world events are seamlessly interconnected. If we can find a way to live intensely (and intensively) with the question: ‘what’s really going on here?’, we might begin to see the patterns, the forms, the movements and processes that are holding us captive in our own contribution towards increasing dysfunctionality. Can we constantly pause to consider, enlarge the picture, and expand our understanding? Can we find a way back to ourselves and build an understanding out of that sense of connectedness?

Perhaps an activist’s path is the path of developing the faculties needed to see, to experience, to understand the living, interconnected nature of all things (including social institutions), and ourselves as an inextricable part of this world order. Perhaps, if we can begin to experience ourselves as participant in this world order in everything we do, our actions and practices can begin to shape the world differently.

So at this time of world ‘turning and turning’: where solutions turn into problems, right turns into wrong and victims into perpetrators, where the world seems to be turning in on itself, is it possible for us to find the turning within ourselves – the turning that turns into real seeing, into a seeing that can transform coldness into warmth, fragmentation into wholeness, and indifference into love?

Perhaps the delicate activism we seek is simply this: finding the openness to rediscover ourselves as part of a complex and interconnected world; realising, therefore, that everything we do matters, and that the interest and warmth that we radiate and breathe into the world is mighty. That it is we who have to change: warming the coldness, countering the fragmentation through understanding and experiencing the interconnections, and waking up to each moment as a moment to act with integrity and intentionality towards wholeness and aliveness.


A SLEEP OF PRISONERS

The human heart can go the lengths of God...
Dark and cold we may be, but this 

Is no winter now. The frozen misery 

Of centuries breaks, cracks, begins to move; 

The thunder is the thunder of the floes, 

The thaw, the flood, the upstart Spring.
Thank God our time is now when wrong 

Comes up to face us everywhere, 

Never to leave us till we take 

The longest stride of soul men ever took.
Affairs are now soul size.
The enterprise is exploration into God.
Where are you making for?
It takes 

So many thousand years to wake...
But will you wake, for pity's sake?

                                                            Christopher Fry

Comments

  • Chris Seeley Friday, 11 July 2014

    I appreciate the soft persuasion of that final paragraph particularly:

    Perhaps the delicate activism we seek is simply this: finding the openness to rediscover ourselves as part of a complex and interconnected world; realising, therefore, that everything we do matters, and that the interest and warmth that we radiate and breathe into the world is mighty. That it is we who have to change: warming the coldness, countering the fragmentation through understanding and experiencing the interconnections, and waking up to each moment as a moment to act with integrity and intentionality towards wholeness and aliveness.

  • elaine dyer Friday, 11 July 2014

    love the reflections, and totally agree with your words, as well as the poems.. each has been fuel to my exploring as well. seeing our own wholeness as we seek to see it around us... a complex dance of discovering, forgiveness and regeneration... despite the apparent set-backs. Blessings Alan and Sue, you smile at me through your words xxx

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