Wisit Wangwinyoo and Nuttarote Wangwinyoo (Kwanmuang Institute) Thailand

Dialogue … a meaningful cultivation for social evolution

 

Our group is comprised of activists in a sense of being Buddhists who commit non-violent living and action which in Thailand promoted widely by Sulak Sivaraksa. In our work we try to integrate into our action for change the traditional heritage, cultural root, ancient wisdom, Buddhism, in contrast to leftist activism who might consider spirituality as second priority.

 

During 1970s, leftist communist movement integrated with Communist movement of Thailand in the hope that it would bring desirable change for the country. After their attempt, many of them joined the mainstream Capitalism development of Thai society and try to influence the Thai politics from the policy and structural level. However, transformation needs to take root at the base where belief and paradigm lie. This challenge has put such a way of activism to its dead end.

 

As a part of Kwanmuang community, have moved from the capital city Bangkok to live here in a small bordering province of Thailand, Chiengrai and lived here for 8 years, during which many projects were created and learned.

 

First, social transformation for social justice will be sustainable only if social paradigm is transformed and we have found that the new science can contribute a great deal of confidence. Our understanding is that the world’s problems still exist not because of differences but our ability to deal with different perceptions of reality. We need to hear each other.

 

Second, social change can fundamentally actualize only when actually embodied in our way of living and our community.

 

Third, this is the reason we establish an institute which can empower and support its members to be able to live and do what they love, and Homeschool our own children, refuse to conform to whatever told in mainstream media, including schooling system, as well as messages sent through public television program representing mainstream culture.

 

Fourth, we are grateful and thankful for our teachers and elders such as Sulak Sivaraksa and Praves Wasi. While we respect them dearly and gain benefit from their wisdom and leadership, we see their limitations as individual leaders who work and live disconnected to one another. In our community, we believe that organizational management and administration has to be in congruent with what the new science has to offer. We have applied dialogue to promote participation, self-organization, and collective leadership at all levels so that new solutions for the changing social environment can be communally discovered and learned.

 

We feel that our work reflect and resonate very well in Magaret Weatly’s article about the emergence published by Berkana Institute for the new year.

 

Fifth, we have conducted workshop all over Thailand and have trained many interested trainers to be able to hold space for social dialogue in their life and work in local communities. By the end of the year 2006, there are at least 2,000 people attended our 3-day workshop. Usually after each workshop has ended, we could sense the emergence of community of practice (COP) which then can interact and interconnect among themselves cross-organizationally as a living network system.

 

Sixth, within the year 2007 the 6 facilitators of Kwanmuang Institute have agreed that one of the main missions of this year is to create and foster dialogue facilitator/coach in each province who will be able to facilitate the formation of COP, and grow into another social organizing level which may be called systemic organization. We call this training “From Jedi to Yoda.”  Our question then is that how do we train enough Jedi to help people in each organization or social units to transform themselves at the paradigm level or at the base.

 

We work with people or social agendas. We may be different from other organizations, because our working agenda is not fixed but tends to be more flexible with whatever emerges in relationship with the organizations or each group of participants we are working with. We don’t set our own working agenda. Professionals. who tend to impose their own preconception and knowledge onto the real current context, may see this as unprofessional. We work with the unknown mind/space. Our working agenda is to listen, to be with others long enough to hear what needed to be done. Only when we can be one with those we work with, then we see the real agenda emerging, which sometime may not be what they think as their agenda. But it emerges out of the deeply listened space. Once people can feel that own agenda or needs are fulfilled, they will normally take care of others agenda on the same fashion.

 

Collective leadership, social differences and diversity.

A relaxed strategy. Relaxation can change quality of perception and action. Normal mode of living. Relaxation creates space for self-organization of individual and collectives to see behavioral patterns in body/mind actions and to deconstruct a certain mindsets learned from schooling experiences or any other form of socialization. When fear of right or wrong dissolved in dialogue space, people start to hear their real internal voice, and authentic companionship can take place which in return heighten the level of dialogue development. People are willing to express their feelings and ideas. This also helps ignite personal will and inspiration to change. Out of this dialogue space, social innovation and transformation can be endlessly co-created.