Klaas van Egmond’s quick review of the past 2,000 years, the catastrophes we’ve brought on ourselves as humanity and what’s needed to avoid a final calamity ended with a standing ovation at the fifth annual World Appreciative Inquiry Conference Friday.
The Dutch professor’s central point? That it is at the centre of four ways of being, individualism and diversity, idealism and materialism, we will find the freedom we most desperately need.Klaas told the story of the knight Percival meeting the ailing fisher king and not asking a core question, so being thrown out into the darkness where he journeyed through various extremes of the above ways of being.
It was only when he could bridge these opposites that he could return the king and finally ask the critical question — What is it that bothers you? — that he could step in as new leader of the kingdom.
Conference co-organizer and participant Luc Verheijen reflects the passion the audience obviously felt about the place of core values in our world today as the starting point for generating the kind of society we want to live into.
Highlighting how we all seem guided by a common set of ways of being, Luc tells of talking to his children during the last Belgian elections about what they thought should be top of mind for the new ministers. Both responded in the same way, showing, says Luc, when you ask a child what matters, they think first of others and the environment.
Luc suggests this current gathering and Appreciative Inquiry (AI) in general are important for sparking the innovations and breakthroughs we need because AI connects people, first around strengths and aspirations, but also, deep beneath that, values.
“When we succeed in creating a collective connection and awareness of what we all value the most, this will be the most generative and fertile soil for creating new stories about our world,” says Luc.