Une invitation au rêve

…et à l’action!

Êtes-vous indignés de voir notre monde transformé en un gigantesque supermarché ? Voulez-vous remettre la technologie, l’information et l’argent au service de l’humain ? Quel que soit votre engagement au sein de votre quartier, de votre association, de votre milieu de travail, que vous soyez riche ou pauvre, vous n’êtes pas seuls!
Lisez le livre de Jean-Louis : Qu’est-ce qui nous rend humains ?

Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing
and rightdoing there is a field.
I’ll meet you there.

When the soul lies down in that grass
the world is too full to talk about.”
― Rumi

I.             Meeting with the Lion

Aged 36 years, my meeting with Dr. Jean-Louis Lamboray in autumn 2004 was a revelation to me.

His book : “AIDS, the battle can be won

[1] delighted me as much as when I read the novel “the Lion” of Joseph Kessel[2] 20 years earlier. Both books shared the exotic land of Africa as a theater of human discoveries and wonderful encounters.

The founding belief of this visionary and deeply human physician, which was later included in the articles of association, is that each community has the ability to meet life’s challenges, build a common vision, act and adapt.

His association, the “Constellation” reveals and nourishes this ability during meetings where the appreciation of the strengths and successes follows dreams and self-assessments.
His SALT method[3] is summarized as follows:
• S: stands for Stimulate, Support

• A: stands for Appreciate

• L: stands for Listen, Learn and Link

• T: stands for Transfer, Team.
This first meeting will make me travel to Thailand to assess the results of this positive approach based on successes rather than weaknesses, the exchange of best practices and ownership by a community of his life challenges.

This was another way to approach human issues rather than treating  diseases, healing patients and assisting poor people in underdeveloped nations.

Jean-Louis will later conduct workshops in our law firm, allowing us to dream and to allow everyone to co-build our dream firm.

I did not read his book in one time so that I marked each page by gently folding its upright corner.

While commenting on the book, I now come back on what now appear as journeys into Jean-Louis’s life, community, the world and humanity… Or should I say : the common souls of 7 billions experts ?

II.          7 billions experts

Here is my first discovery while reading Jean-Louis’latest book : “our world now counts 7.081 billion[4] experts!”.

None of those high level scholars is truly more gifted than another but rather is an expert in particular aspects of human’s life.

Each is an expert here and now, in his particular community and is or can easily be acknowledged as such by this community and the other experts in the world.

Each is driven by an unconditional faith in his ability to contribute, in any small ways one can think of, to the development of his community and the human race.

Each one may one day have the idea that will save his own life and the ones of billions of others.

Here is how Charlie Chaplin sees the people, our 7 billion experts : 

« I’m sorry, but I don’t want to be an Emperor, that’s not my business. I don’t want to rule or conquer anyone. I should like to help everyone if possible, Jew, gentile, black man, white. We all want to help one another, human beings are like that. We all want to live by each other’s happiness, not by each other’s misery. We don’t want to hate and despise one another. In this world there is room for everyone and the good earth is rich and can provide for everyone.

The way of life can be free and beautiful. But we have lost the way.

Greed has poisoned men’s souls, has barricaded the world with hate; has goose-stepped us into misery and bloodshed.

We have developed speed, but we have shut ourselves in;

machinery that gives abundance has left us in want.

Our knowledge has made us cynical,

our cleverness hard and unkind.

We think too much and feel too little.

More than machinery we need humanity,

more than cleverness we need kindness and gentleness.

 Without these qualities life will be violent and all will be lost.

The aeroplane and the radio have brought us closer together. The very nature of these inventions cries out for the goodness in men, cries out for universal brotherhood for the unity of us all. Even now my voice is reaching millions throughout the world, millions of despairing men, women and little children, victims of a system that makes men torture and imprison innocent people. To those who can hear me I say: do not despair.

The misery that is now upon us is but the passing of greed, the bitterness of men who fear the way of human progress. The hate of men will pass and dictators will die, and the power they took from the people will return to the people and so long as men die liberty will never perish.

 Soldiers: don’t give yourselves to brutes, men who despise you and enslave you, who regiment your lives, tell you what to do, what to think and what to feel, who drill you, diet you, treat you as cattle, as cannon fodder!

Don’t give yourselves to these unnatural men,

machine men, with machine minds and machine hearts.

You are not machines!

You are not cattle!

You are men!!

You have the love of humanity in your hearts.

You don’t hate, only the unloved hate.

The unloved and the unnatural.

Soldiers: don’t fight for slavery, fight for liberty!

 In the seventeenth chapter of Saint Luke it is written:

– “The kingdom of God is within man.”

Not one man, nor a group of men, but in all men: in you!

You the people have the power, the power to create machines, the power to create happiness. You the people have the power to make this life free and beautiful, to make this life a wonderful adventure.

Then, in the name of democracy, let us use that power, let us all unite!

Let us fight for a new world, a decent world that will give men a chance to work, that will give you the future and old age and security.

By the promise of these things, brutes have risen to power, but they lie. They do not fulfil their promise, they never will. Dictators free themselves but they enslave the people.

Now let us fight to fulfil that promise. Let us fight to free the world, to do away with national barriers, to do away with greed, with hate and intolerance. Let us fight for a world of reason, a world where science and progress will lead to all men’s happiness.

Soldiers! In the name of democracy: let us all unite!»

–Charlie Chaplin, excerpted from The Great Dictator (1940) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9dGPo9XBIPA

 « Let us fight for a world of reason, a world where science and progress will lead to all men’s happiness.  Let us all unite! » is another acceptable tentative summary of Jean-Louis vision : « all equal but different in our strenghts and talents, we all unite as parts of one human beings ».

Jean-Louis is an enthusiastic includer, someone who gathers people : he wants to include people and make them feel part of the group. He is an instinctively accepting person and he makes every small group he can put his hands on… expand!

Would he be the chief of an African tribe, he would have hundreds of wives and thousands of children. Would he be a building, he would be a hotel. Would he be a plant, he would be one of the millions seeds of a sunflower. Would he be a planet… he would be part of a constellation!

There are two extremes on the one axis of what we speak about in this book : professional and personal development.

On one end of this axis, you have LONELINESS, the secluded expertise and science of those “who know”, in their far-far-away ivory dome and strangely enough, are mostly males of the northern/western hemisphere. As are the bishops and priests in Rome of a religion initiated by a world leader that never wanted to set up a “system”.

On the other end of this axis, you would simply have 7 BILLIONS OF LEARNED INDIVIDUALS.

III.       Enough with the establishment

Et si j’étais né en 17 à Leidenstadt
Sur les ruines d’un champ de bataille
Aurais-je été meilleur ou pire que ces gens
Si j’avais été allemand ?

Jean-Jacques Goldman, “Né En 17 à Leidenstadt”.

A teenager in the mid 70’s, Jean-louis would not only have attended Woodstock or Beatle’s or even Rolling stone’s concerts : he would have become a punk!

As STING, the singer who also started as a punk, he now does not need to dye his hair to look different and has evolved in a more sophisticated, articulated and popular opponent of the established ways and people that want to stick to their privileges and traditional ways of thinking.

I share at least one common flaw with Jean-Louis : we could lose our temper when faced with stupidity.

I do not know why silliness can make me erupt, maybe because it has always be the plague of humanity and caused wars, discrimination and the indiscriminate killing or simple abandon of billions of beings in poverty, either human or not…

The root cause of the exploitation of men by men, of animals by men, of nature by the machines and of happiness and wealth by the banking and finance sector.

Jesus-Christ said “Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”

Jean-Louis’s flaw deemed his departure from such monolithic and in many ways, absurd, self-centered and arrogant organizations as the ones revolving around the IMF and WB.

How can the subtle tunes of the songbird be heard if covered by the moos of cows, each one pushing the other to get their first bite of the straw in the cowshed ?

Here is maybe what I call appreciating, as the A in SALT : “Try your hardest to hear the subtle tune of the songbird whatever noise surround it. With focused and dedicated attention, the true music lover will then develop skills to listen and discover the nuances of the musical journey offered. The noisier the environment, the greater the challenge and the greatest rewards!

A punk in the 70’s, a democrat in the 40’s, a true believer during the 12th century inquisition all had a duty : to fight stupidity and fight to « free the world, to do away with national barriers, do away with greed, with hate and intolerance ».

Jean-Louis met with all kinds of people that are usually left outside alone : prostitutes, AIDS victims, drug dealers,…

But I would  not consider connecting to those ‘rejected’ people the only basis or even greater achievement of his revolution.

He actually simply met, listened and gave importance to ordinary people, the ones no institutions, high level executive or governments would ever ever think of asking for their opinion.

Listening to the propagator of AIDS was obvious in many ways, including them into groups in which they would meet with official, religious leaders and health officers represented a new and value generating approach in a new problem solving process.

But was is really mind-boggling is that Jean-Louis would consider the toilet attendant (‘Dame-pipi’)’s views on a major society issue as important as the one of the Presidents of the greatest nations (les ‘gens importants’).  In particular, if we are truly searching and fighting for a change…

I strongly believe that personal and professional development, say people’s happiness, is by far too important a thing that we should not leave it to the politicians and the experts they appoint. Following Charlie Chaplin’s visionary view of what was his future and that is now our present : “ The aeroplane and the radio have brought us closer together.

The social media, and the internet in general, bring us together in this fight for freedom and justice, adequate and respectful use of our natural resources as all sharing the same humanity.

I am now facing growing racism in our small country Belgium. I do think that our government did not properly address the necessary and unconditional obligation to respect one’s obligations of non-violence and respect of the other’s interests, lives and belongings. Another obligation is for everyone to contribute to its family, community, country and the rest of the world by simply making full use of her skills and talents in finding or creating a useful job. Anyhow, we may now all engage in fighting stupidity, the establishment and, positively framed, change our views on people and have our views on ourserlves also changed.

This fight has always been going on and we all are actors, in our ordinary existence with our fellow ordinary human beings, fighters for freedom, intelligence, understanding, help, personal and professional development.

IV.        Hints on what this new path is

Jean-Louis has obviously embarked on a journey. If the goals are common to most human adventures and organizations (the end of diseases or even harmony in one’s community or country), the paths that the constellation members follow appear different.

Not surprisingly, the Constellation’s message started stating what they are NOT and in what they do NOT believe : that machines or technology and medicine only can cure AIDS (page 15).

It is not because we live a opulent societies that we are developed or rather that we should now assist the rest of mankind with money, medicine and machines.

Learning is not a one way street and Constellation members get as much information as they give.

Because of this exchange of information and energy, there is no more gap between private and professional life.

The Constellation process appears to me to strongly believe that :

1) the best person to identify her PROBLEMS and STRENGTHS; and

2) best able to enumerate and evaluate the different OPTIONS that may solve those problems or develop these strengths; and

3) best positioned to find and allocate the appropriate RESOURCES to this problem solving /talent development process…

Is the person in front of you, not the expert!

In other words, the people the Constellation meet do not acquire a better understanding of the situations they are facing, their facts and actors involved, their beliefs and emotions related to those situations, facts and actors from OUTSIDE or FROM the EXPERT but WITHIN THEMSELVES and their COMMUNITIES, stimulated by the Constellation members.

They ask the questions, the people they meet have the answers, and this is a two-way street!

Constellation members will never either instruct someone on what he should do, or denigrate or ignore the actions he adopted in his private and/or professional life.

Simply put: one is solely and only responsible for the world in which we appear to be living : we build our world !

This assumption comprises both :

1) a liability, as we have no one else to blame for our misery, sadness and perceived weaknesses;

2) and a promise, an incredible chance that even our deepest fears, threats and other unhappy moments may simply disappear.

If improving our abilities to face major challenges or simply live in harmony is a key objective in our lives, then the Constellation’s methodology totally relies on the confidence that people have capacities, strengths and talents, say a potential for successes and achievements, that needs to be discovered, revealed, exploited, managed and developed to its highest extent.

When results are achieved and successes obtained, that’s the people that get recognition and congratulations.

It is only due to their own efforts, the strong believe that they will reach their goals and support from various resources including themselves, that they made it.

Constellation members definitely and unconditionally opt for an optimistic and humanistic view that most information, capabilities, strengths and resources are dormant but available in the people they meet.

I perceived many common grounds with the Maieutics or the Socratic method :

A pedagogical method based on the idea that the truth is latent in the mind of every human being due to innate reason but has to be “given birth” by answering intelligently proposed questions (or problems) ”.

One could therefore also present the Constellation’s approach as “The art of giving birth to ideas, groups of common interest, decisions and actions plans (including periodical reviews)”.

As Jean-Louis summarizes it in his last book, by discovering and appreciating all those strengths in the people they meet, Constellation members also learn, evolve, change their views on the people they meet and get… knowledge and a better understanding of the issues. We are no more the arrogant representatives of a successful civilization that regards the others with condescendence but all human beings sharing a common search for development, both private and professional, and harmony in our lives and relationships.

Thank you Jean-Louis and the Constellation members for bringing lights on what makes us human.”

Christophe Boeraeve