There is one final place in this array of principles. This central nexus in these continuums is an archetype represented by the Meerkat, which is the nonviolent, threshold crossing, and creative strategy. The Meerkat is a social animal that lives in tight knit groups and individuals share defined roles in the group, which they rotate. While Meerkats are hunters, they are also hunted. Meerkats have developed immunity to some poisons and venoms. Most importantly, these social animals use teamwork to survive in a dangerous environment.

The Meerkat is the threshold crossing archetype that dynamically chooses appropriate group roles, and encourages others to replicate this behavior. The Meerkat appears in the center of the archetypal diagram:

Figure 10. Adding the principle of balance

Figure 10. Adding the principle of balance

This is the inner circle of what Senge calls alignment (1994). This is the collaboration style in Thomas-Killman (DRC, 2004). This is Starhawk’s spider (1990). This is the cultivation in Isaacs (1999a). And, this is the place of dialogic leadership (Isaacs, 1999b).

This role, in the center, is also its own circle of engagement, the innermost circle of alignment. If the willing circle of engagement is also the boundary of the enabling dialogical space, then the innermost circle of alignment is that space in which the dialogic process occurs.

Figure 11. The Circles of Engagement, with central Alignment

Figure 11. The Circles of Engagement, with central Alignment

Figure 12. The complete archetypal model

Figure 12. The complete archetypal model

Posted by John Bell on December 10, 2006
Tags: The Fifth Principle of Dialogue

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