#WorkingOutLoud on ‘Togetherness – Otherness’

One of my writing projects this year concerns ‘togetherness and otherness’. In the spirit of ‘The Humble Leader’, this will be a guided reflection, but different from that previous work in that i intend to bring in different voices: people with experience of being together, and of being made ‘other’. People included, and excluded.

This work sits within the practice of Social Leadership, considering as it does the ways that we lead at the intersection of systems. Inevitably, as people come together, or fall apart, they will cross boundaries, and it is across boundaries that we are separated.

The writing is tentative at best. I am giving myself a few hours a week, sat here as now with a coffee and some space, to let ideas flow. This lets me find language and ideas. But it’s not finished writing. Indeed, the whole project is speculative, although also serious.

In the research on kindness, for the Quiet Leadership book, we saw that kindness is a currency we are most likely to spend on those we know and like: on those we are together with.

The work on Community for the Community Builder Guidebook illustrated our underlying social and tribal structures, and the ways that they are spaces within which we belong (and outside of which we are apart).

I hope that this work will bring both a gentle language, as well as a lived experience, into these areas. So it is intended as a reflection, but a grounded one.

To consider how we are together (and what it gives us), and how we are apart (and what we lose).

Some first words below:

Where there is light, there will be shadow.

When there is ‘us’, there will be ‘them’.

When we are together, there will be other.

Togetherness is a feeling, a belief, a bond.

Otherness is the strange, the different, the unknown.

Togetherness is about belonging, connection, and purpose.

Otherness is about separation, silence, and apart.

When we are together, there will be other: where there are others, we will come together.

This book explores these feelings: it does so through reflection, through story, and with space.

We will hear the voices of those who found comfort, and those who were found out. Those who were welcomed, and those who were dismissed.

Those who were made ‘one of us’, and those who were held away from us.

About julianstodd

Author, Artist, Researcher, and Founder of Sea Salt Learning. My work explores the context of the Social Age and the intersection of formal and social systems.
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2 Responses to #WorkingOutLoud on ‘Togetherness – Otherness’

  1. David L Wright says:

    Dear Julian,

    I was wondering if Otherness, is the quality of Othering, ness = the quality of.

    If, Togetherness is about (the quality of ) belonging, connection, and purpose – was at one end of a spectrum and Otherness at the opposite end, then could we consider that Otherness may have some harsher qualities.
    Otherness is about (the quality of) alienating, separation, and aversion.

    Silence may be an attribute across the whole spectrum. Silencing may not.

    I hope that my words are taken well and benefit your work better than silence.

    Kind regards

    David

  2. julianstodd says:

    I think you are right David: the process of ‘othering’ is something i will explore in this work. How people are made ‘other’, sometimes as a consequence of a different group feeling (or constructing) ‘together’. This work will explore the ebbs and flows of our social connections, thanks for your interest in this new work, and your broader support, with best wishes Julian

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