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Apr 07, 2014



As usual, a provocative and extremely useful post.

It is about the sequence and where the pain is -- which is at the conscious incompetence level -- at least for me. There I know that I don't know, and the feelings can be more than awkwardness or embarrassment.

Some years ago, for example, I found myself working with a very intensive leadership program at a university on diversity. It was clear that I knew much less about how I was viewed as a white male than I thought I did. The feedback was not just uncomfortable; it hurt, deeply. Looking at hurt as a meta-emotion was particularly difficult. I felt very much alone. I had to take the time to repair, self-console, learn and regenerate in whatever imperfect way I could. There was no way to distance -- my circuits were more than blown.

And yet, of course, that was exactly what was called for. I am not and maybe never will be as consciously competent in understanding the true extent of white privilege and discrimination as I want to be. It isn't that clear cut a thing. There is no place where I can fully "know." It's an adaptive challenge much more than a technical one. The issue with the formula is that there are human realities that go far beyond our capacities -- and there, I think, we can just hold on to the intention and keep going.

I add this not as critique. It's amplification. It's just that some projects are life projects.

Thank you, Ed, and all the best!

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