As I head back to Londres, I think about how I’ve been getting involved in new collective projects recently, or trying to. This involves a lot of negotiation with others, even a process of questioning oneself, if you value success over ego.
I’ve thought about the problems of collective organising a lot over the years, including about what repels many participants in collective projects. It isn’t only ego, but also insecurity, impatience, over-idealisation, fear of defeat. Nobody, to my knowledge, has written a guide to getting involved in collaborative working where you are an equal rather than an employee. It is assumed you will work out how to do it as you go along, will feel the right things naturally. This is perhaps a shame, because many people don’t.
This links to the writing I have been doing recently about owning, and what it means to be an owner together with others. I long since realised that many people are scared of working with others in the absence of a boss – it raises too many problems, the solutions to which they are unsure of because they don’t fit within the narrative of their lives. The truth is, most people will need a major shift in how they see others and themselves in order for it to work.
A tree is not what you think it is. That structure of wood and leaves is only the shell of a tree. The tree is also the endophytes growing on its leaves, the insects that inhabit it, the nematodes and worms that turn the soil, and above all the mycorrhizal associations that anchor it in the earth, that feed it, connect it to every other tree.
The analogy makes itself, I hope. It’s easy to say, but the implications of it run deep.