Wisdom and Laughter: notable quotes from Peter Block

 Peter Block Wisdom and Laughter

This past Saturday (May 31, 2014), we gathered in community for another all-day intensive learning session with Peter Block. A lot of the old regular folks from A Small Group (ASG) showed up, but we were blessed to have folks from Cleveland and St. Louis join us. The purpose of the communal gathering is to practice the 6 conversations that matter. The practice is about powerful conversations that shift from a patriarchal-consumerist mindset toward a community mindset. That’s the context.

This post is a little bit different. For those not able to experience Peter, I wanted to give them a taste of what they are missing. He embodies both a wise elder and a stand up comedian. Here are some choice quotes in random order. Enjoy!

on the Master Narrative.  “Whoever you are …you’re not enough.  Whatever you have…it’s not enough.”

on the Shift.  “The work is about re-credentialing whose voice counts.”

on Architecture.  “Dark rooms that have no windows isolate nature.”

on Dialogue.  “Which conversations have power? Some don’t…”

on People.  “We are not deficiencies walking around waiting to be fixed.”

on Power.  “Speaking truth to power–has no power.  Power doesn’t give a shit.”

on Q and A sessions.  “Q and A sessions are a construct of patriarchy.  Those that ask questions don’t have a microphone.  Those that give answers do have microphones.”

on Possibilities.  “The Possibility conversation opens us up to an alternative future.  We’re naming the future into existence.”

on Role Models.  “Why do we put such an emphasis on role modeling?  Life is not a fashion show.”

 on Mentors.  “You want me to be your mentor?  I raised 6 children, why would I want a 7th?”

on Patriarchy.  “The essence of patriarchy is ‘I know, you don’t.’ “

on Animals.  “I asked my daughter ‘why do you love turtles?’.  She said ‘because they can’t go backwards.’ “

on Conversation.  “I have these conversations to find out what I’m thinking.”

on Scaling Up.  “The way to have scale is to make the small things count.”

on Disturbance.  “Turmoil is an opening to something new.”  

on Questions.  ” ‘Why is it important for you to be here today?’ is a smaller question nested in the larger question of ‘What am I doing on Earth?’ “

on Complaining.  “When we complain, we give up our agency. It implies that ‘Until that changes, I can’t do anything about it.’ “

on Trios.  “I love groups of 3 because it’s so unstable.  2 against 1?  That creates energy.”

on Property.  “Community is reclaiming the commons that’s been privatized.”

on Advice.  “The only injunction to these conversations is don’t be helpful. Being helpful implies that ‘I know and you don’t.’ “

on Commitment.  “A Covenant is a vow; not knowing where it will take you. A Contract is about certainty. A Covenant is an antidote to Contract.”

on Inversion.  “Cooperatives are an antidote to competition. Mystery is the antidote to certainty.”

on Education.  “Our schools have turned learners into performers.”

on Crossroads.  “The crossroads conversation is an antidote to the certainty of what you should be doing.  Life is a choice you keep making.”

on Divergence-Convergence.  “In moving from small groups to re-constituting the large group, a helpful transition is art.”

on Harvesting.  “What struck you?  I love the word strikes because it brings lightning into the room.  Anything less than lightning won’t wake me up.”

Thank you! Good night…we’ll be here all week. Sponsored by:

A Small Group (ASG)–a community of practice around Peter’s work.  CLICK HERE to get resources and information. There are videos, free download to the Civic Engagement Series, and a link to Peter’s popular book Community: structure of belonging