The problem with today’s world is that everyone thinks everyone else is to blame. But if we’re talking about a closed, integral system, there are no right or wrong. Everyone is responsible for the world. There are no criminals, no victims, everyone is absolutely equally responsible for the bad and the good. Because we live in an integral world, and the property of an integral world is a circle, the absence of beginning and end. Therefore, there is no one to blame; all phenomena in society are provoked by a common mechanism of interaction.
If all the gears are meshed together by cogs, then the whole mechanism has a common fate. You can’t say that someone is forced to rotate because of others or makes others rotate – everyone moves at the same time. Therefore, the correction of the mechanism must also be integral. This means that everyone must simultaneously decide to stop moving against each other and start moving differently, one for the sake of the other.
We must grasp the nature of a whole integral system and begin to relate to one another differently.
General rules of interaction
The circle type of interaction aims to lift a person above his selfishness in order to draw him closer to others. In this interaction, people do not simply adopt from each other some information or impressions, but cooperate with each other in understanding the task and its solution. It’s a whole set of cooperative actions.
To begin with, we must convince people that they can only solve the problem by being integrally united with one another, by rising above their selfishness. The main thing is the task itself, not who solves it, because everyone is involved in the process. Participants need to reach a joint decision, because it is the right one, not someone else’s decision, no matter how ingenious it may seem. In other words, it is important to connect sensually before making any decisions.
The second stage: each participant of the circle conducts a self-analysis of how ready he or she is to participate in strengthening the connection of the whole group.
The third stage: this sense of community and connection between the participants. Even if someone hasn’t achieved it yet, he’s playing in a better state, artificially showing it to everyone else. They don’t know he’s playing.
The fourth stage: Everyone, to the best of his ability, tries to talk about the benefits and benefits of unity, interconnectedness, because. each individually would not have been able to achieve the results and solve the tasks set.
And the fifth stage: in a state of fullness of feeling, begin direct discussion of the topic and problem solving according to the methodology of the round table. This is the difference between the integral methodology and the others, because there they immediately start to solve some issue without first establishing communication. And it’s impossible without it. The most important thing is for everyone to agree that it is the joint decision that will be the only right one.
The roundtable is a an instrument of interaction
There are clear rules and principles of the round table in which a positive result can be achieved.
First: external conditions. Participants turn off their cell phones, make sure nothing disturbs them or distracts them. Do not leave their seats during the discussion, only when necessary. It is very important that unprepared people not join them.
Second, everyone discusses a common topic chosen in advance and listens carefully to the presenter’s questions without deviating from the topic of discussion.
Third: each participant expresses his opinion, and in this way contributes to the overall decision.
Everyone is given time to adapt, to mutually incorporate, to understand the problem, to properly express their opinions, etc. These are problems of internal and external organization of each and all together. But, in general, a person must understand that he has an obligation to participate in this experiment, and we need to bring him up to it in all seriousness.
Attributes such as a clock for regulating time and an object that gives one the right to speak are important in the circle. The outward signs remind everyone of the format of the meeting. For example, a microphone that is passed around the circle, symbolizing that the person now has the right to vote and can speak.
It is also important to introduce a time limit, because there are people who can talk without end, and there are those who are mostly silent. Therefore, it is desirable that there was an hourglass, and everyone was given, say, a minute to express their opinion.
An important point in the roundtable methodology is the obligation to listen to others.
It is very difficult to listen carefully to the other person. But this does not mean that all the time you have to take it critically and try to check what it suits you and what it does not.
To listen means to disconnect from oneself, to make a copy of oneself today, and to begin to perceive the other within oneself, as if to live in him, and then to compare. When listening to another person, it is important to try to “enter” him or her, to get into him or her. It is important to feel what the other feels, why he thinks this way, why he solves this problem in his own way and not the way I do.
Roundtables do not allow for arguments and criticism, but rather for clarification of the opponent’s point of view, and meticulous clarification as to why he thinks this way and not that way. If after such clarifications two or three opinions are formed, it is necessary to continue to clarify until the interlocutors find something in common. Or you can come to several conclusions, but they must express the common opinion of all, which led to two or three decisions. The round table must end with a clear overall resolution; it cannot end with just one opinion.
The Rise Above the Opposite of Opinion
When talking in circles, there is very often rejection, especially if one says things that are contrary to the other’s opinion. It should be explained that we should rejoice in the discovery of opposing views, because by rising above them, we can reach the next level of problem solving.
To the extent that the problem seems insoluble, to the extent that it feels hard to rise above it because of the enormous contradictions, to the extent that one must understand that there is a special mission, a special value in the problem.
If it’s impossible to come to a common agreement, you have to keep working on it with respect for the problem, because in the end it can take the group to the next level of completely different solutions, different states.
Preparing to participate in the circle
One of the rules of the circle is to avoid templates and clichés and to try to speak honestly. The circle only works when the participants are as open as possible to each other.
Therefore, before participating in circles, people should have the right idea about the methodology of roundtables, because only by following all the rules can they come to the right decision, which is so important for everyone. And even after serious preparation, every time they start some discussion to find solutions to problems and conflicts, they still have to hold a seminar first.
Equality in Circles
Initially, the concept of the circle includes equality: there is no beginning and no end, no older and younger, no smart and stupid – everyone is absolutely equal. Hence there are many conditions as to how we must observe this equality.
In the circle, everyone participates in the task, so everyone is accepted on equal terms. That is, you can not be guided by the rule “I’m the boss, you’re a fool,” and all of you are absolutely equal. It doesn’t matter who knows how much. Otherwise there will be no circle.
Everyone who is in this circle is equal to everyone else in power, in authority. So it doesn’t matter which of us expresses which opinion. He is considered an equal unit.
So, according to the rules of the round table, everyone in the circle must be equal and make a common decision together.
At the head of all the priorities of the roundtable should be a warm atmosphere of unity created by the participants. It is the only way to come to a unanimous, correct decision.
A roundtable can be moderated not by one person, but by an entire committee. It’s very important how they prepare the round tables. They have to send out materials, hold pre-meetings, meetings, give explanations, find out when people are ready to have a roundtable meeting. After all, the term “round” means not the beginning, but the end of an action that issues a decision that is unquestioningly accepted by all.
The round table is a kind of laboratory, a mini-model of humanity, where we try to figure out our attitudes toward other people, and then with a template of these attitudes we go out into broader society and begin to treat other people in the same way in all areas of activity.
In the practice of round tables are used different games: for warming up, for acquaintance, uniting, role-playing, etc.
The game makes it easy to tune in to a piece of communication. It doesn’t commit to anything, it comes and goes easily, it relaxes you, it brings you closer. The game is used for warming up, not for making decisions.
Usually the basis of all games is competition. However, in a circle, you have to compete first of all with yourself, and then with others. In order to give out a personal but objective opinion as much as possible.
During the game the energy is directed only for the common good, otherwise it is not a round table.
The game – a model of the future state
The circle manifests the overall strength of the circle itself, that is, the integral strength of its participants.
If you play correctly and strive to come to the only right solution, it causes a balance, an equilibrium of power. It turns out that people are playing in their more perfect state. Nature has everything in it, all of our future states. That’s what we call them through the game.
It doesn’t matter how people play, as long as they play. As children, playing, develop, and so we develop, just do not realize it. All life is a game.
Exchange of impressions
The final stage of the roundtables is an exchange of impressions. The main task is to analyze, summarize the activities of the circle and discuss the degree of unity.
It’s important to reflect on the process you’ve gone through. One must feel what has been passed in one’s heart and think it through in one’s mind. And then put together your mental and sensual impressions and try to express them in some way.
Passing the stages
Any human condition consists of several, even if we cannot differentiate between them. So don’t limit yourself rigidly in advance: today we’re talking about just that and nothing else. A person may not understand, shut down, if he is not given the opportunity to maneuver, to determine where he is. The human soul cannot be programmed, organized, described, or framed in any way.
However, the moderator must plan these meetings, select materials, and prepare people for the states to come. After all, the purpose of the seminars is to unite. Nevertheless, during the seminar each individual will feel some kind of state.
Circle interaction has proven to be an effective tool for solving a variety of problems. Between complete strangers appear the kind of relationship that only the closest people have.
The round table is one of the tools of integral psychology. With the help of this tool it is possible to improve relationships in the family, to resolve conflict situations at work, to get rid of problems at the state level. It is no secret that the root of all problems, from traffic jams to armed clashes, ultimately lies in the relationship between people.
It is important to note that the round table is held according to certain principles. Its participants must make efforts in order to add their individuality, uniqueness to the common piggy bank. Efforts should be made to minimize interference and friction, on the one hand, and to enhance everyone’s contribution, on the other.
The methodology allows us to overcome any barriers to our mutual understanding: mentality, origin, age, political views, etc. At the same time, a specific solution to a particular problem is not the goal. This is a natural consequence of the unity achieved in the circle.
Reaching a new level of harmonious, integral relationships, similar to the perfection of nature itself, is the goal of the circle.
This material is part of the Integral Psychology course being developed at the Integral World Research Institute(IWRI). Sci. course editor: prof. Eliab. General Course Editor: T. Asher. Course Secretary: V. Shaposhnikova. Lit-editor: A. Aleksandrova.