|by Flemming Funch|
When we interact with other people, or we form groups with them, we might often not realize at first how we have different ways of doing things. If we notice and appreciate how our different ways are complementing and supporting each other - that can be a great thing. If we don't, we might speak past each other, and misunderstand each other's intentions.
I originally set up NCN as a gathering space and a set of tools for people who're out there working on building a better world. Not any end in itself, and no agenda, but a bit of infrastructure that might help people do what they do, or that might help them find what to do if they don't know.
The way I personally use NCN features, such as this NewsLog program here, is as a way of addressing the world, a way of working with the people I work with, and a place to get inspiration or feedback when I need it. But my attention is mostly outwards, towards what might be needed in the world, or what might need to be said, or who else I ought to work with.
I suppose that the people I most enjoy working with are those that I can comfortably work back-to-back with. You know, I work on this piece, and you work on that piece, and we don't have to talk a whole lot about it, other than when our pieces overlap. But I trust that our pieces will probably fit together eventually. And we're somehow in sync.
It is my own fault, I'm sure, but I often forget that other people work quite differently. Of course we need all sorts of ways of doing things. If some people have their attention out on the big world, others will have to pay attention to keeping the house in order. But what I still don't get is why some people sort of get stuck in the middle.
It is like if I put up a big notice board, and I say: "Here you can post notices for your friends to find them and read them". Some people will go off and do things, and will use the notice board to stay in touch with some of their friends and will be quite happy with it. A few people might volunteer to keep the notice board in good shape, removing notices that are too old and forgotten, and emptying the trash can. But some people will also just keep standing in front of the notice board. For some, that's because it is fun, and there's a lot of activity, and they can read all the notices, and create inventive notices themselves, and they thrive in that, and that's cool. But other people somehow think they're actually supposed to be standing there, and that something will happen. And after a few months they say: "Hey, I've been standing here for several months, and nothing is happening. This sucks. Screw your notice board. I'm gonna go out and do some real things."
And that makes me sad. By all means, go out and do the things you see need doing. Do them sooner rather than later. If you need a notice board or a meeting room or a megaphone or a newspaper, it is here, you can come and get it at any time, and its free. And please share the stories of your successes and failures when you have time. But first of all, do your thing. And I'll do mine. If necessary, we'll talk. Cover my back and I'll cover yours.