We believe that an initiative to propose an update from NVC 1.0 to 2.0 can make a difference in the NVC community. It’s all about a shift in the way we personally or in our communities actually understand and live NVC. We believe that the radical vision of Nonviolent Communication (and Marshall) could gain momentum when we shift more attention towards some critical issues.
We hope our thoughts on NVC 2.0 stimulate discussions and also put the following limitations more centre stage:
2) Egalitarian values
3) Politically correct newspeak
Non-judgementalism as new niceness
Within the last year our experiences in the German speaking NVC community and our exchange with CNVC members let us reflect more upon the controversial topic of judgements. We learned a lot about the culture that our NVC community has in this respect and the consequences following from this.
We encountered many people who wanted “not to judge anymore”. But such non-judgementalism is either characterized by kindness (in the sense of being strong, loving and caring) or by niceness (in the sense of being wishy-washy and uncertain). We encountered more of the latter: people who did not want to offend others, did not speak their truth and better did not address critical points – and didn’t want to be judged themselves. At the same time some of them react suddenly very offended and judgemental the moment someone deviates from the dominant culture of niceness (as we did), is confronting people and offers critical feedback.
Thus it is our impression that within the NVC community a new niceness creeps in through the backdoor by this kind of non-judgementalism. And such a refraining from judgements has incredibly far-reaching consequences on how a community understands and deals with power, authorities, responsibility, hierarchies, and organisations. All of these need clear judgements (based on values and needs of course) to function in effective ways in order to support the vision of NVC.
Egalitarian values holding sway
We consider the NVC community as having tragically fallen short of realising its full potential so far. We do not see the substantial change happening which NVC promises – and we guess there are cultural and systemic reasons for this to be found. When we e.g. take the map of spiral dynamics to inform us, we see egalitarian values of the „green meme“ holding sway within the NVC community that limit NVC’s social impact at this given moment considerably. In this state of development people oppose any hierarchies, they are relativistic and in favour of non-judgementalism.
NVC as politically correct newspeak
Furthermore it is our impression that within NVC circles a kind of newspeak has developed. In his „1984“ Orwell used this word to describe new rules of speech which got introduced in order to control and manipulate people’s thinking. Sometimes we also encounter new rules of speech in NVC circles as well. Of course people create and stick to these rules with completely different intentions, e.g. in the name of „connection“ and the vision of NCV.
In some communities NVC has become some new language of political correctness where I have to avoid words like „right“ and „wrong“, and „good“ and „bad“ should be better eliminated from my vocabulary altogether (if I want to belong to the community). But in our understanding NVC is not about words and these cannot be judged as being nonviolent or not. I might even call something „wrong“ or „bad“ (especially when talking to someone I assume to have „giraffe ears“) as my vivid expression of a value judgement based on observations and needs (which I am prepared to deliver when asked for).
Now we hope you can – beyond initial judgements you might possibly have had about calling our contribution „NVC 2.0“ – connect to our needs underlying our strategy in doing so while reading this post.
Nonviolent Communication 2.0
What then is this update all about? Which „bugs“ could be fixed by this „system change“, what is changing when the NVC community is migrating from NVC 1.0 to 2.0?
1. In NVC 2.0 we dare to walk our talk of being „not nice but real“.
2. NVC is understood and taught as a model for self-reflection, as an everyday practice for personal development, and not as a communication method. Integrating NVC 2.0 means taking full personal responsibility for our thoughts, feelings and actions by shifting our attention from „speaking NVC“ to living responsibly.
3. The essential importance of (life enriching) judgements and differences (e.g. in skills, knowledge, potential) are acknowledged and we strengthen a culture of more transparent communication, responsibility, accountability and honest feedback.
4. Misunderstandings, pitfalls and blind spots on the topics of judgments, equality and power are illuminated and transformed. We become sensitive for the significant impact this has on all our relationships, especially towards authorities, and also on the structures and the spirit of hierarchies, communities and organizations.
5. We develop more positive examples of cooperation and transparent structures of power, in which those with responsibility serve others and „power with“ becomes reality.
6. We trust and build growth hierarchies (within NVC communities and beyond) instead of opposing hierarchies, so everybody can fall into his/her place. Consequently violence in communities and organization will decrease. Because: „Dominator hierarchies lead to suppression, growth hierarchies put an end to it.“ Ken Wilber wrote in „Integral Vision“ (translated from German).
7. We are moving towards a new WE and build healthy communities and organizations in which people love to contribute autonomously, connected and creatively.
8. The learning process and developmental stages of Nonviolent Communication become clearer through research. We stay particularly sensitive to pre-/post-fallicies, we e.g. do not idealize children: moral development of children is pre-conventional and not post-conventional, although on the surface they appear alike – being both non-conventional. (We also clarify what that means for NVC 2.0, if its not as easy like this anymore: pre-conventional=normal/jackal; conventional: NVC language/baby giraffe; post-conventional: normal but with NVC consciousness/giraffe.)
9. The NVC community gets informed and is (informing and) networking more with other movements and ideas (such as Integral theory / Ken Wilber, Theory U / Otto Scharmer, Transparent communication / Thomas Hübl) who are also interested in communication and global social change.
We are looking forward to any response and feedback. Indeed we would be happy to receive a response especially from you, when you do not see the need for such an initiative within the NVC community, or from you, when you welcome it and might like to engage in more exchange.
post to CNVC trainerlist 5th july 2012