Wednesday, February 29, 2012

SWALK: a conversation with JULIA COLE MARCH 3rd, 11 am at High Seas, Low Planes @la Esquina KCMO

Maurizio Cattelan, A Perfect Day, 1999 SWALK ( was created to facilitate deep, intelligent, public conversations in and around Kansas City. The premise of SWALK is that engaging with others in continuing conversation is the foundation of a civil society, because this commitment demonstrates the most caring, co-creative capacities of humankind. Talking together, sharing opinions, listening, and discussing provocative, sometimes difficult ideas, are all ways to constantly grow as an individual – but they seem also to be essential practices for shaping a sustainable common future, in which our public relationships reflect the love we more easily feel for family and friends. The proposed topic for this discussion is “agency or being?”. This gathering will take advantage of the welcoming space created in High Seas Low Planes to think about ways of responding to and initiating change. Please connect with this invitation via the SWALK blog, and if you have suggestions for short readings on either of these “positions” please submit them there. The final reading choices, if any, will be sent out to all participants in mid February, to leave time for completing the reading before the gathering on March 3. There are strong arguments to be made for actively engaging in creative change, for imagining new futures and then leading or participating in large-scale actions to make these ideas take form as quickly and gracefully as possible. Does this commitment include resisting change as well, if this runs counter to one’s vision? How do we derive the moral certainty required to persist in the face of resistance? Is the passion of an “opponent” in a struggle for change of any value? Does the struggle itself engender more resistance and slow the process of change? In contrast, might there be persuasive value in a more responsive, local pattern of life, that relies on setting an example, modeling magnetic alternatives, practicing a peaceful attention to changing conditions and adopting adaptive personal strategies? Is resisting change futile? Is it better to deflect force or resistance by yielding to it and transforming the energy into something new? Is this a practical strategy for a contemporary world deep in many troubles? Is there time for depth any more? Might these ways of being interact, and provide a vital alternative to apathy or obedience? If so, what might such a hybrid look like in a model of personal and collective decision-making or governance? Please bring your thoughts and experiences, and let’s talk together!

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