How to find values

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We sat down together to explore how we went from initial urge to formalising the values and why we needed values.

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M: So we’re here to talk about our journey to finding a set of values, the path we’ve been on and how they resonate with us. I guess where would be a good place to start, might be to talk a little bit about the journey of how we came together and then how we started to establish a certain set of values, how they emerged,

N: Why were they important?

J: Well, so when did we start looking at the values? It was like after we framed up our purpose, wasn’t it? So we started with basically that sort of grand vision – that just cause, that was calling us and then it was a good idea for us before that it would be a good idea to actually find some kind of guiding principles or values to help us go on that journey or towards it.

N: So I think we actually started off with principles first, and even though we didn’t really know what we were doing, the principles might have helped us because they were reminding us, for example, to turn up and to keep going, you know, that kind of thing, and then, I think the values, at least for me, what the values were important for, I didn’t quite know, and so, It was important to have that starting energy to get going, to have that direction, and maybe we can talk about that vision and then how it then connected and how it was important to link it and have that coherence with everything.

J: That was so long ago. That’s a point.

N: So we had the principles and then we went to the forest, we did the initiation, we did the relaxing the boundaries, that was in Wales, and then we brought together a lot of the adjectives that we had already chosen beforehand because we did the those workshops where we chose those six adjectives or verbs, no visceral word.

J: No verbs, visceral verbs, yeah.

N: So maybe tell us a bit about the visceral verbs, that starting point, because then that connects us with everything else. Why do we connect with the visceral?

J: I think if I remember: things that make up values are not on the propositional neocortex side of of our brain, basically, something that is very limbic, it’s very like, you know, guts-felt almost. I think that was the reason why we started with first, verbs because verbs put things into action and that’s what we wanted out of values, right, something that guideout behavior, guide our actions. We have like a list that I managed to find the list of what is called visceral verbs and we started basically looking through which one resonated the most with us, and we started basically zeroing-in on the most common sets of verbs, visceral verbs that we all shared between all three of us.

N: Yeah and I remember that exercise because I think there’s a list of maybe 200 verbs. And why was that important? Because we were moved by this urge, this shared urge, and it was really trying to understand what was there, and I think one of the criteria for these visceral verbs was if it doesn’t actually move something in you, it’s not visceral.

J: That’s it, yeah, it has to connect it with something

N: It had to shift something. It had to unlock something otherwise, it just didn’t cut the mustard. It wasn’t deep enough. It you weren’t going deep enough. And that was that was part of the journey. But then it was also part of that argument – not argument probably the right word – of the hundreds of verbs, hundreds of urges, hundreds of actions that we could choose, which ones were the shared ones to constrain that energy into a force going towards the edge of it anyway. Constraint the edge of it, of the millions of possibilities that can come out of this endeavour which are the ones that we actually want to seek – and seek out?

M: So then we listed them and them. Am I right in saying I don’t know if it was the same exercise when we had the task to create a scape, a landscape, a kind of visual collage of our…

J: Oh that was form our vision exercise.

M: So that was taking from some of the visceral stuff anyway.

J: And then we went on finding like all values and from this values to like a set of, I think it was six at the beginning. We extracted some of them aside, right? to create a purpose which is to challenge and support people. So we’re like challenge and support. These verbs that we felt were actually more leading and the other is were more like supporting.

N: But I think just to pause there, because it was still very nebulous at that point. We had the verbs, we had the ideas, we had the urges, and then that was the point in which we went into the forest. And because our intention was: We’ve done the hard work for figuring out what are the constraints, and now it was putting the meaning onto those feelings, those visceral verbs, and somehow trying to find a way to connect them together into something that was actionable. something that was coherent and I think I keep using that word coherent deliberately because I think there was a lot about coherence building that coherence so that everything is linked. That’s relevant.

J: Because they don’t work like in isolation from one another, they need to work together those values, they need to be held together at every moment, and sometimes some of them will express more, and all there will be more in the background. So yeah, that forest trip, man, was very valuable, I think, for that, because that’s when we came out, that we started really sitting down and looking at this and doing the work.

N: and there’s a whole journey there as well because I think if you consider the fact that we thought about all of those verbs and then there was this process and, again, we didn’t really know what we were doing we would just follow in our instincts where we did the initiation and that was really a a matter of just shaking off any sort of fears, any frustrations, and at that time we were all going through a lot of frustration actually at that period of time, just shaking that off so that there’s nothing there holding us back, and then going into that psychedelic trip, opening up fully, because if we’d opened up that vessel of whatever we could actually hold within that space, we wanted to make sure it was a good stuff. We had to get rid of the bad, the gunk. And so then we, we went into that moment, opened up, what’s the good stuff that we actually want to encounter, welcome in. and hold that. That was really that moment of holding that shared moment, and then to crystallize it, to define it in these words, in these statements, and so the next stage was actually sitting down with post-its once we got through that journey.

J: Yeah, to come down. But yeah, at the first stage of every moment. you were like in the rain, just letting yourself get soaked.

N: Yeah, so we had the values and then I think at that point we more or less defined the vision, didn’t we? And I think the values were still coming together, but the sentences hadn’t yet been phrased. They were still nebulous.

J: I’m pretty sure it was the purpose before the vision. And we actually worked from the bottom up. But it’s not like we didn’t start it with the vision, we started with the feeling. We just want to be right, and then first came the principles of the theme that were very like raw. Then we started like bringing that a little bit more into the limbic world. Right? trying to like basically bring that from the back of your brain to the front of your brain right it’s like this movement like from your guts from your feet to your guts to you look like something more formulated to like something that is outside of you which is the vision which is like something completely outside of us it’s something that we we formulated that was that is out there

M: Do you think that it’s something unique about that, do you think when people try and consolidate or come up with a vision that people usually do at the top-down way, it’s just an interesting reflection. Was there anything unique in our process of doing that? because it makes intuitive sense in a way that it’s something that drives you from beneath, you’re trying to feel that first because, as Neal said: we came together, there was some disillusionment some frustration and why is that? Let’s try and play that and see what we really want, where we’re really angling towards, and then almost, yeah, I like that way you kind of discovered sort of like upwards, pushing towards something that you can then see, and then you can share beyond which brings us to some of these values as well. But is there something unique about that? I would just wander like… how people usually care about forming visions.

J: Yeah, I mean, it’s unique in the sense that it’s not the most widespread way after you do this. Like in the corporate world, a vision is mainly there to support like a goal. Right? And the goal is like anchored into some KPIs and you need to like, you know, it’s like something measurable. We want to achieve this, by then and then they form vision to help them get to that stuff. In the creative world it’s different. It’s like a vision is not fully fleshed out. It’s more like of a calling, it’s more of a I think you get a unformed shade in your mind but you roughly know you can sense roughly if you’re going the right direction or not as basically like when you build a piece of music you start with just like a few melodies you start with just a riff and then you say all right there’s something in there there’s something in this and then you start developing it into like phrase like musical phrase and then you start like accompanying this like you know other instruments that supports that phrase etc and then the whole piece become that vision so it’s not through it,

M: Soit’s not by a vision it’s driven by some intuition.

J: I think so yeah it was like the more I came to real creative process rather than like a strategic

M: that’s interesting in itself isn’t it and I think that probably is a reflection on fact that we’ve come together as three individuals who had jobs with being in company perhaps where there were these you know certain visions that articulated that perhaps didn’t resonate that might have been yeah I’ve been intrinsically linked to structural things within the company to do it for form or whatever or had resurfaced once they got to a certain scale in order to mobilise them. Still want to be based on some feelings of the good that that company feels that they’re doing and so on but I think it’s interesting how we kind of – whilst operating in that sphere we took ourselves out and said we need to start from the beginning like how do we how do we feel? I think it’s quite empowering

N: so just something that’s come to me whilst to me, is the fact there’s that, I say that raw, visceral emotion, but when you think about a vision, that’s actually something cognitive, that’s something that you see in the future, that projection out into the future, that’s something you want to achieve. I mean, still, it seemed in our journey, there’s that, and I go back to the gadfly, you know, being and the socrates is being, you know, the gadfly being, gadfly that bites the horse to sort of like wake it from its slumber and something that bitten us and then I think, in a sense, you know, it was like once we’ve been awoken and from that slumber, it was then at that moment being able to sort of look up and see the horizon and be able to, so, think about what was that future state that we wanted to achieve, and then in a kind of fractal way, it’s doing the same thing. It’s being a gadfly for others, and then also projecting out what is that future. So it’s kind of reciprocal, and that was kind of, that was just simply the journey we went on. Again, we didn’t Really actively know what we were doing we all we could do was just follow what made sense at that moment in time and It wasn’t an easy process either I mean, let’s not sugarcoat it,

J: Because then it was just a first step of like zeroing into the those visceral variables and then: What do they mean? Then you need to then bring that into something that could be more propositional, like it’d be more tangible, right? Because you want these values to communicate something, and so unfortunately, you need to pass them, like, gut-felt visceral verbs into… paragraphs, like written text that can communicate something that is hard to communicate, and this is when we started to throw basically and discuss them, like we have long chats, sometimes in real life, sometimes on our chat, long chats about what they means and we started collaborating on documents, writing those, and it was a combination of our shared knowledge, right? Listening to podcasts, watching interesting stuff, etc, and then we started to basically stitch those things together.

N: Yeah, also smashed them together. You know, almost like atoms.

J: Yeah, yeah, it’s like, yeah, exactly. We had to roll like, yeah, we had the atoms and then we needed to bind those atoms into coherent molecules. Something that started to flesh … From the quantum world, from something that is like all possibility, like just like a liquid stuff, stainless, yeah, and then bring that back into like a material thing, it’s like this duality exists physically in the,

N: but they have to connect if it didn’t connect it, it would repel, wouldn’t it? That’s the thing.

J: Yeah, and we went through like a a trial and error process, like probably I don’t know, I can’t remember the number of versions we had, but we went through that and so sometimes we started to stitch but it didn’t quite belong there and maybe still not right as well, right? We’ll keep on leaving and we probably will go back and tinker again later because we realized that this thing is not quite right, etc. because language is clumsy as well and those values they encapsulate a lot more than what we were able to actually express that what we actually know as well about them because they really like gut felt. so you’re right

N: I think this is maybe the value of the values: it is a language and also that language being the way we perceive the world. We’re choosing things to help us as a triad, to perceive the world in a particular way for a particular purpose, and I think that’s where we’re getting to with the values, because the question was, If we’re on this journey towards that vision, how do we get there?

J: I’ll how do we know that the next step is worth taking, that we’re walking down the right path,

N: and how do we know what’s relevant? And I think this is maybe something where we get into the the relevance realization which is as a shared … because you know I go through my my life and I notice the things that are relevant to me on this journey, you two go on through your lives but then as trio on this journey, how do we make sure all three of us actually know the same sort of things that are important for us. How do you do that? I think maybe that’s part of the question. What did we do?

M: I think it’s probably the interesting point. There’s a couple of other concepts and considerations that we’re working through as well, one the idea of patterns. I’ve been a lot of this in talking about it. In values is a kind of language pattern, right, that encodes these feelings in a way that we can sit them in, it’s like Jeremy’s saying a bit of a grid or a matrix that’s kind of lived in and embodied, you know these values, you’re kind of swimming in them. So there’s that, so there’s something about patterns and then heuristics, like you said, in a sense when we’re thinking about how we interpret the world, when we look at the world, and we try, through our sense and for our consciousness, this is just an unreal level of complexity at least. One level is the combinatorial explosion that we’ve talked about before, and then you’re having these helped us for those heuristics for which we could recognize relevance, recognize value and then I think another way that we try to come in with embodying and having to try and live through those principles because they’re not just words, they are things through which action takes place through it’s all like a prism for which you act and embed in the world. So then the practices came in and ritual, which is another key thing to this as well. So I think it’s interesting in discussing this, we’re kind of talking about how all of these different elements came together and we got to a stage where they feel a bit more coherent.

N: I think maybe even just trying to put some imagery onto what you’ve been saying, just to almost imagine this thick forest or this labyrinth and there’s millions of different routes and only a very few of them actually get you to the destination and you’ve got to tell these people before they set off on this journey: These are the things you’ve got to look out for. When you see this, when you see that, that’s good because that will get you in the right direction. What are those things? And we needed to figure that out and I think that’s part of it.

J: I think even more than just looking for things it’s more like it’s about process – how do you go about finding it, and then once you find them what do you do. We did that work with a about the values, but that actually helped us shape or like find. I wouldn’t say shape or vision because I don’t think it actually something that came from us. I think it is something we discovered that was out there. That vision, somewhat like something we discovered, and so I think that set of values helped us and guided us basically through that journey to find out that vision and still guiding us in trying to like enact basically that vision as well in the world. So yeah, I think values are weird, man. It’s like because ultimately some of our values they can resonate a lot with other values that people have and some time that you find in some religious text and things like this, they just expressed differently, they’re like phrased differently, they use different language, tones and stories, some time they use mythology, some time they use stories to basically share those values but I think there is like some kind of a ground of shared values that exists out there. That’s weird felt like that. It felt that even though we’ve created those, they actually were birthed out of us, and since we’re a part of the world, since we’re a part of the universe, we’re born into this world, or out of this world more. It feels like this is like a Gaia pushing this stuff through our consciousness, through from the unconscious layer of all living things to our conscious mind, formulated that into like this more tangible language,

N: Probably getting into the Timeless Way of Building here, a bit where someone’s having to a pregnancy, nature wants you to be successful. And I think maybe there’s an element of nature wants you to be successful on quest like this. What do you need to do? You just need to allow it. To allow the wisdom to come through.

M: I’ve been up years through closing out some of the noise as well

N: because if you think about the opposite, which is, it’s easier to do nothing, it’s much easier to have done nothing, we could have done nothing. We could have had an experience and taken some psychedelics and that was it. That’s the easier thing to do but we didn’t do that. We did continue. We are here now recording this, and the reason we’re here still now discussing these things is because of the values that we’ve defined, the commitment that we’ve made to the values and the principles and the vision that we’ve had and those values have got us to here, they didn’t guide us to somewhere else.

J: It’s like you mean as if they’re like finding those values also influenced or drive to – there’s like a journey where it’s like we have pushed forward but this thing is pulling us as well.

N: It’s the activation of a natural dynamo and sort of continues on its own accord.

M: Interesting idea. Yeah it reminds me of the idea of the energy landscape with the attractors in the basin as well. I think it’s from some kind of thermodynamic theory and physics that they’re applying it to neuroscience as well. The idea that it can be these, you sort of have this sort of flat or you know, three-dimensional landscape, whatever it is, but then certain things can pull within that. So if we’ve taken something from ourselves, we’ve taken it into those parts of the mind would be discussed, consolidated, actually put them out to the world, then it’s almost like they guide the path because they correct their own pool, through which then if you’re navigating through this complex, entropic landscape, you’re then moving slowly because you’ve left these imprints in a way, and value is almost an imprint on the psyche that guides us towards the vision in some way, but also helps us just navigate the plane of existence.

N: Yeah, it’s almost getting into every other done like surfing or but even body surfing when you get into a wave and then suddenly you just, you get almost get pulled and sucked along in that wave and I think that’s that’s part of it maybe the values is the wave. You create the wave …