TPLF confident on strategic alignment, but lacking awareness for paradigm shift
By Muse, Dec 2017
Why should I consciously get engaged in politics even though politics is the essence of my life? I am inspired to contribute to the politics of the country on account of my strong will to liberate myself and the country from the current ego-centric reactive politics where unconscious scarcity, fear and manipulation are dominant. The current reactive politics is a politics where political elites can simply be characterized just as a reflection of the society because of their similar or lower self awareness level that is visible through their inability to lead themselves. Because of this, they are simply projecting their unconscious reactivity to the various issues of the society and keeping the society in vicious circle. This journey that I have set out, therefore, is both an internal and external inquiry and discovery since I am part of the problem and the solution. It is inquiry and self-awareness that can help me transcend these problem-solution dualities. In my view, it is a question, not an answer that is the engine for the transformation of individual and society since a question creates disorder (dissonance) that leads to the next higher order, but answer within the current consciousness stabilizes the status quo. Hence, I am writing articles not to influence others, rather to trigger inquiry in myself and others. In this article, I will give insight on the dynamics of the TPLF evaluative meeting in order to discover more of myself and my fixations.
Are we seeing the reality or our own inner reflection? From the comments and articles that I have gone through so far in the social media that focuses on the recent TPLF’s evaluative meeting, I can see that minds attached to a construct have difficulty to understand the reality and I have come across with different such minds. To start with, there are minds that think the OPDO’s current leadership is against the principles of the EPRDF and is conducting extremely low-level politics; and those that support TPLF’s leadership tried to see the situation with a perspective that sees TPLF against OPDO and in comparison to OPDO. Minds that support the current OPDO leadership tried to see the situation with a perspective that TPLF stands against OPDO and in comparison to OPDO. Minds that support the Ethiopian identity tried to see the situation with a perspective that TPLF cannot change. Minds that support Tigrayean identity but do not support TPLF tried to see with a perspective TPLF is hopeless. Where are all these minds coming from? Are they reality or our inner reflection? How are we analyzing the same event with such diverse polarities? In my view, the issue is how we do analysis. Hence, when we do analysis, it should be inquiry centric where we become aware of and challenge our ability to inquire. The inquiry need to be self-reflective since it can be easily side tracked by the trivial and default state of our mind which is characterized as an automatic, inquisitive, obsessive and lively entity. It is only a trivial stimulus away for this mind to react and externalize to keep us in the trap of different unhealthy psychological states such as narrow mindedness, beliefs, fixations, fallacies and frames. Thus, the analysis we do should transform ourselves and trigger inquiry in others. I will use different perspectives to see the situation.
One perspective is the trends in the world and country. Is TPLF self-reflective enough to understand the world civilization path and deeper national civilization and consciousness patterns? Are we anchoring on something that is is a deeper or artificial construction? The world has been growing through the various civilization phases starting from instinctive civilization and becoming more integrated by going through the civilizations of tribalistic (magical) , egocentric(powerful) , mythical(law and order) and reached the current dominant civilization which is mental and performance based civilization. The current civilization is characterized by logical thinking, competition, science, separation, result orientated, high-level of productivity, materialism, and focus on making the world suitable to human being. Capitalism and democracy have driven the politics of this civilization. At the current time, the world is in transition to the next higher-order civilization which is integrative/aperspectival civilization. Shift of civilization happens when the current order reaches its maturity level and when latent consciousness that aligns to the next higher-order civilization is developed. The transition to integrative/aperspectival civilization is driven by factors such as increasing awareness of society, new science discoveries, and technology development. There is increasing awareness of access to service beyond ownership, sharing beyond ownership, abundance beyond scarcity, lateral power beyond hierarchy, and collaboration beyond competition. The advancement of eastern countries such as China and India is helping the world to synergize eastern and western tradition. This is helping the world to integrate previous civilizations and incorporate inner technologies such as mindfulness, yoga into the materialism dominated civilization pushing it to the next civilization. Science discoveries such as quantum physics, chaos theory and complexity science is creating a paradigm shift in the science going beyond Newtonian deterministic paradigm to complexity and quantum paradigm where dualities are not separate but synergized and transcended. There is a growing trend in using complexity science to understand and solve social problems. Technology development, especially cyber has created complex dynamic system going beyond the previous structured system. Technology is enabling abundant conceptual age where thinking infinite possibilities is possible and implementing such possibilities is easier. The development of technology will enable the world reach the singularity point by 2050 where the artificial intelligence surpasses the intellectual intelligence. First machines will be in a position to take care of jobs, giving human beings space for other life dimensions such as social and inner capital. The basic needs such as food, water and shelter can be solved due to the abundance revolution the technology brings. Health of human beings can be improved in the highest level. This will totally change the life style of human beings. It is a good opportunity for transforming to the integrative civilization. Moreover, the third industrial revolution of the current world will create internet of things in which people will be pro-sumer(Rifkin,2011) engaging as producer and consumers directly. This will create an international lateral power which create an economy with distributed capitalism and sharing economy (Rifkin,2011). It is creating a society that is beyond right and wrong (Rifkin,2011,pp. 139-160). Furthermore, advancement in technology is creating a high level of dynamism and chaos which is pushing human beings to think in different ways. The alarming rate of dynamism is closing the gap between imagination and action, between probability and manifestation. The macroscopic world characteristics are nearing to the characteristics of the subatomic world. This development is pushing human being to develop more higher-order consciousness beyond the intellectual intelligence. Furthermore, there are studies that depict the transition. Based on his study, Sorokin(1985) states that the world civilization is now in the transition between “dying sensate culture of our magnificent yesterday and the coming Ideational or Idealistic culture of the creative tomorrow”(Sorokin,1985,p.625). Related to this argument, Capra and Luisi(2014) argues that the history of the world is the history of two cyclic civilizations , the civilization of holism and the civilization of mechanism. Capra and Luisi(2014) claims that the contemporary world is shifting to the civilization of holism.(Capra & Luisi,2014,pp.5-15). They claim that systems thinking which has the foundation of holism is the optimum perspective to solve the current interconnected problems (Capra & Luisi,2014). Similarly, Eisenstein(2013) claims that the world has been in the age of separation for the last 400 years and now it is in the transition to the age of reunion. Eisentein(2013) states that the pillar of the previous civilization, which is certainty, is crumbling and is paving a way for the transition to the age of reunion. Moreover Eisenstein(2013) underlines that the convergence of multiple crisis in politics , finance , energy , education , health care and the ecosystem is pushing the world to near-certain collapse and the solution is reunion which is based on the principles of abundance , connection and cyclicity. Gebser, Barstad, & Mickunas(1997) also claims the world is in transition from perspectival to a perspectival civilization. This emerging civilization (integrative/a perspectival) is characterized by integration , relationship , transcending dualities , complexity dynamism , meaning and abundance and presentation.
Considering civilization and consciousness issue in our country, there are some issues worth observing. First , there is a diversity and clash of civilizations (magical , egocentric , mythical and mental) . Second, there is huge gap between the civilization we are trying to emulate which is, mental and the current consciousness of people in the country. No government or regime has raised question of the issue of civilization, development and modernization. The modernization agenda has not been inquired and there is no optimum strategy set. There is no modernization movement that connects our inner self and talent; and the current-and-emerging civilization. The constitution which centers on nationalism could have enabled people be aware of and connect to their core self and design or highlight a strategy optimum to the core pattern. The past 25 years have not created national consciousness; rather it created national identification and imprisonment which did not help much in finding our core pattern. The recent national crisis is pushing the young generation to inquiry more into the national consciousness. Focusing on identity which is a psychological form that drives our life as center of gravity for the political-economy can help us solve an inquiry which we have not answered for centuries. This is a time we can be aware of and connect to our civilization DNA and tip to the current mental and emerging integrative civilization. It is a time to get out of our centuries of vicious circle of identity crisis and self loss. It is a time we find our humanity, be free of multiple layers of artificial constructs. It is a time we transcend dualities. It is a time to build a country that centers on a philosophy where its people are connected to the deeper meaning of life. A country without a concept, philosophy and consciousness is just another land. This is the paradigm that can uplift us high into possibility and productivity. A party that wants to govern the country should have this level of awareness and capability. TPLF needs a paradigm shift to inquire to this level , but due to its lack of high level of self-reflective individual and organization consciousness , the recent meeting did not go this far.
Another perspective to use is the current crises that are being manifested in the country. The current political sphere is highly influenced by the historical distortion and the black or white, win-lose mentality of the political elite for centuries. Even though the ego-centric political system is overthrown, consciousness wise there is high level of ego-centricity. For the last 25 years EPRDF has succeeded to establish structured law and order based political system. Federal political system and developmental economic system is being implemented creating space for transformation. The political system centers on national identity. But in the recent years, the party is in disarray since the space has become safe haven for those with dependency or parasitic mentality. The party has become an organization of those who are not connected to the needs of the people. The leadership has been dominated by psychopaths and populists. Since the consciousness of the political elite is dominantly ego-centric and reactive and the national identity issue creates a shell for the weak to hide, there have been serious practices being conducted against the people and the constitution. Even the party engineered or saw the killings of other national groups in their region. The party has reached a level it can die or regain its essence. One of the core gaps for such proliferation is the strategic misalignment of TPLF leadership. Since TPLF has identified strategic misalignment as its core weakness and started tangible action to correct this, it can easily enable EPRDF correct its strategic misalignment. This will hopefully dismantle leadership who are the psychopaths and those with dependency or parasitic mentality. This will hopefully restore the stability, law and order of the country. It will also enable the party to deliver its promises to the people. From this perspective, the evaluation was a huge success. But in order to create sustainable political party and political sphere, it needs to come up with paradigm shift by focusing on human capacity building, integrated self-aware leadership development, transforming the party to a teal organization, allowing the manifestation of complex dynamic political sphere that aligns to the pattern of the constitution, devising a mechanism where national identity cannot be a shell to protect the weak or incapable rather a talent to be exploited.
Another perspective worth observing is the growth of the party. The unit of analysis is the growth of the consciousness (awareness) of the party which can be described in terms of self-reflective awareness, individual-group awareness, organizational awareness, perspective, and way of thinking. Self-reflective awareness is the level of awareness of an organization to challenge the basic assumption, philosophies, worldview and causes the organization is created with. When there is deeper level of such awareness, the dualities between creator and creation is transcended. Learning organizations have high level of self-reflective awareness and continuously be conscious of and challenges its basic premises assuming there is no absolute truth. The awareness levels comprises of external oriented awareness, event and leaders awareness , execution awareness , system awareness , leadership and culture awareness and worldview awareness. External oriented awareness is the lowest one and worldview awareness is the highest level. Individual-group awareness is the consciousness level that focuses on the individual and group selves. At the lowest level, there is no consciousness of individual and group selves. At the next level, individual or group self dominates for the sacrifice of the other. In the upper level, the dualities between individual and group self is transcended, and there is integrated self. It is through the awareness of individual or group self one can transcend the duality. Organizational awareness is the paradigm that drives the life of the organization. It can be impulsive-red where the paradigm is exercise of power and the focus is on division of labor and command authority , conformist-blue where the paradigm is order and the focus is on long-term perspective(stable processes) , formal hierarchies, us-versus-them mentality , and control, orange-achievement organization where the paradigm is achievement and competition and the focus is on innovation , accountability , meritocracy and organizations as machines , pluralistic - Green organization where the paradigm is relationship and the focuses is on empowerment , values-driven and inspirational purpose , and multiple stakeholder perspective ; teal organization where the paradigm is integration and wholeness and the focus is on self-management , wholeness and evolutionary purpose(Laloux,2015) . Every paradigm includes and transcends the previous. Perspective is how we see a situation using a frame. The situation could be framed as deterministic system where cause and effect is linearly connected and structure is the rule of game ; or complex dynamic system where cause and effect are non-linearly connected, integration, interaction and relationship is critical and the rule of game is emergence with a core pattern. Way of thinking can range from singular black- or white constrained thinking to infinite creative thinking, from transactional win-lose debate to transformational synergetic dialogue The growth of the party is highly influenced by the nature of the society dynamics it lived , the dominant worldview during its conception , nature of the struggle , learning culture , leadership and the situation. The society that gives life to TPLF have values such as freedom, justice, respect for others, civilization, wisdom, confidence, determination for a cause. There is reactive maturity level and dominantly mythical consciousness. The nature of the society has enabled TPLF to have solid ground and confidence , strength in conformist-blue organizational model , internal locus of control centric self-reflective awareness , group self dominated consciousness , be highly self-reflective when being challenged from outside. The dominant world view during its conception especially the socialist movement , dialectics and singular thinking has contributed to the party’s higher self-reflective awareness , group self dominated awareness , highly disciplined conformist organization , deterministic system perspective and black- or white thinking. The armed struggle has made the party to have properties of mass movement which focuses on creating a true believer. In order to create a true believer disconnecting from individual self and presence, convincing by focusing on future and hope, focusing on enemy, gaining certainty through doctrine are the strategies used to create a social self that can self-sacrifice and make unified action. This has contributed for the party to build group-self consciousness, conformist organization, deterministic system perspective, black or white thinking and lower level of self-reflective consciousness among the mass. The learning culture and the leadership which was built through continual inquiry, scientific research and continual criticism and self-criticism sessions have enabled the party build self-reflective consciousness, and achievement-orange organization at the core unit. Now let us see if there are any changes in the consciousness of the party due to the recent evaluative meeting. The central committee has succeeded to evaluate from the leadership level. However, the current leadership did not self-reflect deeply on the consciousness of the organization which comprises of perspective, individual-group awareness, organizational awareness and way of thinking. The leadership level of evaluation can enable the party to be strategically aligned to its doctrine, but it cannot enable the party to be transformed. The level of the evaluation is only strategic alignment, not paradigm shift. TPLF reached its high-peak moment in the case of self-reflection in the 1985 and 2002. The current level of self-reflection can help it go deeper for transformation. The party has continued focusing on group-self consciousness which has succeeded in uplifting group awareness but not successful in uplifting self-awareness and creating sustainable organizational change. The culture of the organization(TPLF) 's mass movement which centres on losing individual self for social self to create a true believer that self-sacrifices and works for unified action is being challenged because it has an inherent conflict with the national culture it is trying to build which is capitalist that centers on individual self. Furthermore, the current stage is more open to diverse exposure than the fighting movement. Moreover, the current stage is a complex dynamic situation that demands multi-dimensional thinking. The core leadership needs to develop integrated self. It is a leadership who is liberated and can lead himself/herself is able to lead the party in a complex dynamic situation. Transformation and creativity can only emanate from self-aware meaning not fear. Human capability can only be built by a self-aware leadership. Furthermore, the organization need to be transformed to a teal organization which comprises of pluralistic – green, achievement-orange, conformist-blue units depending on the context of the task. A teal organization can only be created by a leadership that has similar or upper paradigm. The party should develop complex dynamic perspective and creative thinking beyond the deterministic system perspective and black or white thinking.
Since human being lives in the paradox of living in stability and living to adapt to dissonance, there is always change. This paradox creates internal and external condition that pushes human being to change and grow. Change is immanent until the paradox is solved. Even though, there could be temporary ups and downs, change flows towards to more integration, higher order state, expansion of conceptual space, more possibilities, and more freedom. The chaos created between the difference in the current condition and the current mindset of human being results in leaps of consciousness. The previous consciousness creates the potential for the next consciousness. All change moves through the phases of entry, maturity and exit. Those that create change are active during the entry phase, those that adapt join the change during the maturity and those who resist change will die in the exit phase. Is there a condition that pushes TPLF to make a shift in paradigm? Where is TPLF in regards to that type of paradigm shift? There are some factors that indicate the current condition is beyond the condition that shaped the paradigm of TPLF. The TPLF core paradigm comprises of group consciousness, conformist organization, deterministic system perspective, black or white thinking, a true believer mindset in some fixated doctrine, and self-reflective awareness allowed to the top leadership. But the current condition is characterized by factors such as shift from mass movement to national building where group only consciousness , deterministic black or white thinking and true believer mindset is challenged ; transformation to mental capitalist civilization where individual consciousness is dominant ; federal democratic system creating complex dynamic system that requires high level of self-awareness ; national identity centric political system where becoming conscious of identity not becoming identified with it is critical ; a complex dynamic globalized world that requires creative thinking not black or white thinking ; a dynamic environment that requires high level of self-reflective awareness and creativity not high level of fixation ; the world civilization in transition to integrative paradigm where relationship and integration are critical. It is clear that the current paradigm of TPLF is not in line with what the condition demands. It is time TPLF needs paradigm shift. It is reaching the exit phase. From this change dynamics perspective, the recent evaluation did not do well since this requires high level of self-reflection which is not existent in the current leadership. The current leadership is highly fixated in the old paradigm. Such type of paradigm shift can happen when optimum chaos is created by a complex dynamic system that incorporates those that come up with new frames, those that have high level of self-reflective awareness and the old paradigm. I hope that the current leadership will enable the flourishing of such complex dynamics.
When analyzing TPLF one perspective that we need to see things is whether the evaluation process is a structured process where the goals and the output is predicted or it is an emergence. A Structured process is a process where there are key players and they set agenda and know what agenda will prevail and which people will be selected. The input and output is known. There is a creator of the process. The output is predetermined. It is transactional. It is dialectical where one of the fighting groups or concepts wins. It is win lose game. Emergence is beyond this. It is a process where the dynamics of the process is the core attractor pattern that determines the output of the evaluation. It results in unpredictable state. The general goal will be the initial condition for the complex dynamic process. It transforms people and disrupts the social and conceptual dynamics. It goes beyond dialectical process where the two fighting groups and concepts are transcended. It is dialogic process. Dualities are transcended and more integrative concept prevails. Based on the information we have about the meeting, the meeting started with a condition where the complaining group presented a report to attack the status quo group. In the beginning it started from dialectical win lose mentality. But this evolved to emergence where deeper concept emerged which is losing the revolutionary self. It probably disrupted the previous conceptual and social dynamics which enabled people to be critical and become conscious of themselves. In fact, group wise, it is transformational. The core attractor pattern that drives the emergence is the deep pain felt by the leadership due to the current situation at regional and country level. The inclusion of the veteran central committee members also energized the evaluation process. Evaluation process based on criticism and self-criticism if it is done in the current way is capable of emerging conceptual and social dynamics, but unless otherwise it is synergized with psychology and self-awareness, it’s capability to transform individual self is low. Such type of capability building was effective during the armed struggle since collective identity was dominant. But in an environment where individual identity plays a significant role, its significance is low. From the process, we can see that conceptual clarity, new strong group dynamics and group confidence has emerged. The previous networks have been dissolved and a strong new group dynamics has been created. This will have ripple effect inside TPLF , regional government , EPRDF and federal government.
With regards to the uniqueness and reliability of this evaluation, after 2001 congress, the evaluations were focusing on system and execution, but this meeting has deeper awareness which focuses on the strategic leadership identity. And the gap identified, which is losing the revolutionary self and losing the principles, is painful, straight forward and transformational. Besides, this meeting was a group struggle not dominated by a single leader. And the self-criticism and criticism of the leaders (including the veteran members) was deep and painful. The spirit of the meeting has been translated into action by making disruptive leadership reshuffle.
With regards to Meles Legacy, the evaluation has provided a result that fully aligns to the Meles’s legacy, which is the essence, culture and principles of Meles (the hologram of TPLF culture and principles). Even though Meles’s legacy was a dividing issue due to the wrong frames and attachments, this time it was a unifying essence.
Let us see the evaluation from political psychology perspective, using parameters such as group dynamics, self-awareness, integrity, situational awareness, decision making, execution, human capability building, and strategic thinking. Since the previous leadership development was not strategic and effective, the current leadership is not the best Tigray can deliver. Furthermore, these people have not gone through optimal leadership development path which could have enabled them to be more self –aware and tap their talent potential. But within the constraints we have, the group dynamics (executive committee) is strong since they share the current responsibility and have diversity in their psychological structure, intelligence and experience. The self-awareness level of most of them is average. Overall the leadership of TPLF has a solid frame and fixation which enables it to be highly committed, but at the same time to resist change. Its greatest strength which is having solid frame and perspective becomes its worst weakness in a new territory. The group comprises of members who have integrity and moral, security, pleasure, control and success as their core motive. The group has the dynamics of integrity, situational awareness, decision making and execution. The group comprises of analysts and executers. The executive committee is a group that do not have psychopaths and populist that can influence the dynamics. One critical gap of the executive committee in specific and the whole central committee in general is lack of human capability building orientation and capability which highly depends on the self-awareness of leaders. Since most of them have experiences in leading different organizations, there is no exemplary leader that has done some remarkable task related to human capability building. Another critical gap is lack of strategic thinking. Strategic thinking is possible when a leader is capable of transcending the paradoxes of committing to a current doctrine and at the same time challenging the doctrine. In TPLF , currently there is no leadership with such maturity and capability. Not giving focus to human capability building and leadership development and strategic thinking will result in similar serious disaster in the near future.
Overall, the evaluative meeting has brought significant results. It has created a psychological confidence in the party, elite and the people. It has created synergized and deeper political consciousness. It has created a strong group dynamics that can bring strategic alignment in the party, the government of Tigray, and EPRDF. The leadership has set example for the other parties in EPRDF. The current leadership can restore the stability and constitutional system of the country by ripple effecting the political consciousness, culture and group dynamics. The commitment , internal orientation and self-critical culture of TPLF has already started creating dissonance and terror in those who have been the master minds of the illusionary externally oriented euphoric game of psychopaths and populists that resulted in chaos and killings of innocent people. The meeting has created the momentum for strategic alignment. But the party needs more than strategic alignment. It needs paradigm shift. The meeting did not contribute much for the paradigm shift, but the leadership can create an enabling environment for the emergence of the paradigm shift, shifting to a teal or integrative organization and political sphere. As one member of the young generation, I see that the meeting has created a momentum for the young generation challenge itself, build capability and support the paradigm shift of the party and the political sphere of the country.
Fixation I discovered
- TPLF is very important for EPRDF and Ethiopia
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