and human love will be seen at its highest. Live in fragments no longer"
E.M. Forster, Howards End
This is the last of the ten blogs exploring the basic component parts of the Butterfly Model. I hope you’ve gained something from them.
You have no doubt heard the first two words from the above guidance from E.M. Forster oft quoted by Nigel Richardson over the past few years: “Only Connect”. There is much in the rest of this advice from Forster that demands a final reflection as you complete this stage of your individual and collective journey.
Seeking to connect with others to the degree that we can engage professionally and effectively with them, and they with us, is the beginning of any venture or challenge. Unless we can find some shared point of contact, some foothold for moving from where we are to where we need to be then there will be no real advancement. There may be a lot of movement and the impression of growth but, over time, it will be seen for what it is: an illusion of activity clouding a pathway to genuine success and achievement.
If, for example you work in education, of course it’s simple enough to grasp intellectually the importance of supporting the complex needs of children and families. But the application of this knowledge requires us to use our applied creative and emotional skills. To model the humane and mature behaviours that we seek to develop in others. This is a personal quest as well as a professional and moral requirement. We need to be the change.
What is often overlooked from the perspective of the social worker, career, manager, teacher or leader is to reconnect with themselves. To honour and develop the four human drives in ourselves that we are endeavouring to develop in others. Creating space and time to manage our own needs is vital if we are to be able to truly and effectively connect with and develop the competences of others.
The four human drives are what connect us with each other but also connects us with our whole selves. One of the benefits of the Butterfly Model process is that as we help develop the values and skills of others we further refine these exact same competences in ourselves. When we and others around us are honestly and courageously engaged in this shared process then our systems and organisations are also transformed.
This interactivity with ourselves, others and the environment is a dynamic synergy that is being impacted and shaped second by second. At every moment we are either creating value or anti-value, energy or anti-energy. The evolving individual not only knows this but they do it. It is through this simple process of ‘knowing’ and ‘doing’ that we ‘become’. Simple, but not easy.
The plea to ‘only connect’ is aspirational. We need the practical means to do so. Forster gives us clear instructions on how to achieve this: feed both the prose and the passion. The prose: the logic, the structure, the order. The rational. Get a framework for engagement and agree simple systems and shared objectives or obsessions (there are a whole set of blogs here on the theme of ‘Be Consistent’). The passion: creativity, experimentation, imagination, spirituality. The intuitive.
In the first blog in this series we looked at the five value creation principles of The Butterfly Model.
In the second and final blog we moved from the simple framework of The Butterfly Model and explored the more complicated neuropsychological levels of child development and emerging levels of maturity that was first explained by Dr Clare W Graves and further explored through the Hero’s Journey.
This more complicated Butterfly Model Matrix provides us with a means of checking at every level if we are open or closed; consistent or inconsistent; basing our actions on complete or partial truths; dealing with people with kindness and cruelty. Are living the values we espouse or merely paying lip-service to high ideals whilst acting at a lower level than we could, or should be?
Once people connect around this simple system then things can begin to grow. When we discover our shared passion, a mutual and collective goal worth fighting for, we will engage in the plan and process with greater passion. When something intuitively stirs the heart and ignites the spirit then the framework, like two banks of a river, will contain the creative flow.
Without a framework of rational process then we drown in the flood of dissipated and misdirected creativity and well meaning, but ultimately confusing, enthusiasm. With an inflexible framework that controls every drop of passion, intuition and risk we become, in every senses of the word, damned. Blocked to our own potential and infinite possible solutions to the endless challenges we face.
It is the marrying of these two apparent contradictions of rationality: intellect (I.Q.)/process (P.Q.) and intuition (S.Q.)/creativity (E.Q.) that reconnects us to our shared humanity, each other and ourselves. Not a stifling, suppressing and controlling connectivity but a freeing, adaptive and enabling bond. Liberating and no longer living in fragments.
When we apply, consistently and courageously, the five simple principles of values based living and learning we will develop compassion, wisdom, energy and courage. These values manifest themselves as the four virtues of goodness, gain, beauty and truth.
The manifestation of these four human virtues is also known by another name: love. Not the love that is overly romantic or delusional, rapturous and overwhelming, sexual or dependent. The love we are talking about here is the ‘human love’ shared between all people who can look beyond their own closed selfish needs and values and just ‘connect’ with the needs and values of others.
This love is just another word for mutual respect.
If you keep a journal read that. Discuss any insights or and observations with others and then take some action based on them. Make one call. Send one email. Do whatever you need to do today, this moment, to just connect with others, the world and yourself.
All the fragments that we explore through the Butterfly Model are all contained in this moment. Do whatever you need to do to positively disrupt the system today. This moment. See what happens and respond to that. Take some action. Adapt to the subsequent reaction. Repeat the process. Live in fragments no longer.