Warriors Without Weapons: How Learning Moves Trans-locally

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Insights on Trans-local Learning

So what does this story tell us about how learning moves trans-locally?

Cultivating a “learning stance” is essential. Instead of asking what’s “right” or “wrong,” inquire into what might be learned each step of the way. In a trans-local community, that learning is of enormous benefit to people. An experiment of this nature is a collaborative, “open source” endeavor in which everyone is invited to contribute and to build on the creations of others. The important part is that everyone involved—individuals, organizations, innovators and early adapters alike—remain open to receiving and integrating new information, even if it disrupts or challenges business-as-usual way of thinking and working.

Those who wish to learn and grow in this way are invited to offer their gifts freely. There can be no patents, no copyrights. Without freedom and trust, trans-local learning is impossible. It can be challenging to release openly into the world something that you have invested so much time and energy into creating, refining and applying. Elos compared Warriors Without Weapons to a child, their child. And they were somewhat concerned when the time came for the baby to grow up and leave home.

People have very real fears that their program or idea will be misused or changed too radically. This is why the work of getting clear on essence is so important. We need to feel confident that the gifts we offer will come back to us in greater abundance. We need to trust that when we send our knowledge out into the world, it will grow much more than if we had held onto it tightly and continued applying it in the same way day after day. In a trans-local community based on friendship, rich learning always comes back to its source.

This way of working creates space for, even welcomes, so-called failures. We recognize that finding success stories of trans-local learning are not necessarily our only goal. Eventually, we will face immense challenges and conflicts as we step into this new way of engaging. It is critical that we avoid sweeping these difficult, complex situations under the rug of tidy, inspiring successes.

This kind of learning may be messy, organic and emergent. It doesn’t fit neatly into the mechanistic, causal mindset of efficiency and verifiable results. Planning or strategizing with traditional methods doesn’t produce the same outcomes. It is impossible to understand all of the factors that make a community or individual “ready” to engage in a process of this nature. The best we can do is create the conditions for knowledge to move from place to place in this way. We reflect on what has worked, where there has been energy and flow, what obstacles we have encountered and how we have dealt with them. And we continue experimenting, sharing ideas, prototyping, facilitating and coming together to reflect again.

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