The quotation that accompanied this graphic is from Joseph Campbell: “If you want to change the world, you have to change the metaphor.”

When the peaceCENTER — the catalyst for Compassionate San Antonio — was founded almost 20 years ago, we used the work of management theorist Margaret Wheatley, especially her book “A Simpler Way” to organize ourselves. Here’s how she describes it on her Web site:

For many years, I’ve been interested in seeing the world differently. I’ve wanted to see beyond the Western, mechanical view of the world and see what else might appear when the lens was changed. I’ve learned, just as Joel Barker predicted when he introduced us to paradigms years ago, that “problems that are impossible to solve with one paradigm may be easily solved with a different one.”

I’ve been applying the lens of living systems theory to organizations and communities. With wonderful colleagues, I’ve been exploring the question: “How might we organize differently if we understood how Life organizes?” It’s been an exploration that has helped me look into old patterns and problems and develop new and hopeful insights and practices. It has also increased my sense of wonder for life, and for the great capacity of the human spirit.

In other words, change the metaphor. One city desperately in need of a metaphor change and a paradigm shift is Detroit: bankrupt, dangerous, miserable. Hopeless? Maybe not. In this video, Detroit activist Grace Lee Boggs describes a different way of changing Detroit. Can we apply this to Compassionate San Antonio?

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