Novotel will have to wait.
I may have a political science background and live a stone throw away from Parliament, but I do not profess to understand the Italian economy or its politics, and I don’t think it is entirely due to my grasp of the language. I'm also pretty sure I am not the only one in a fog.
Where do I start? I could muse on something a previous boss was always fond of making her point with, namely “a fish rots from the head”; or I could reflect on the idea that “[in a democracy] people get the government they deserve” or perhaps the conversation I had with a friend who opinioned that “it is a love-hate relationship with Berlusconi..most Italians wish they were him – he’s rich, powerful, successful..."
All and more could potentially create good fodder for a blog.
However for me what is most interesting and relevant, is what happens now and beyond.
At the risk of quoting the great man twice in a row, I go to Einstein’s words being...
President Napolitano was in a rush to make a decision on an interim government in time to provide some certainty to the markets when they opened this morning. He reportedly had 17 meetings yesterday and as a result Monti has been appointed PM-designate. I can only speculate that there was lots of talking where egos were played out, positions were entrenched, bargaining and negotiating done at a frenetic rate, and promises and deals made.
The thinking that will get Italy out of this crisis will not be solved by the same thinking that got it into the crisis.
So I wonder what would happen instead of more rushing, more of the same, if different approaches were taken.
What if they stopped talking...and sat in silence ...to create some space for stillness? As Lao-Tzu wrote...
Do you have the patience to wait
Till your mud settles and the water is clear?
Can you remain unmoving
Till the right action arises by itself?
Or what if they committed to adopt a “beginners mind”? – the Zen Buddhism concept of seeing something as if for the first time, to embrace an attitude of openness and be without preconception or judgement.
Or even, what if they followed Argyris and Shön’s (1974) suggestion of double loop learning? Rather than repeated attempts to solve the same problem with no variation of method or questioning of the variables such as goals and values, to scrutinise those variables themselves?
Challenging the way in which we approach matters and challenging how we think can open us up to real growth and development.
- Lao-Tzu, Tao-te-Ching, quoted in Kabat-Zinn, J. (1994) Wherever you go there you are: Mindfulness meditation in everyday life. New York: Hyperion, p . 51
- Argyris, C. and Schön, D. (1974) Theory in practice: Increasing professional effectiveness, San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.