“…the essence of human life is abundance, a surplus of energy working itself out in time. This means that the fundamental human problem is not how to make a living, but how to spend our lives.”
Karim Benammar is a philosopher specialized in Thinking Techniques and the Philosophy of Abundance. He lectures and gives workshops in thinking techniques for companies and organisations across Europe. He is curator at THNK, the Amsterdam School of Creative Leadership and a senior associate with the Centre for Team Excellence in the United Kingdom. Dreamcatchers has adopted 2 of Karim’s Thinking Techniques and synthesised it into its programs. These are Abundance Thinking and Reframing.
Karim’s questions the fundamental place of scarcity that we have been operating from for thousands of years, and invites us to imagine a perspective of abundance and surplus, of expenditure instead of hoarding. According to him, the needs that arise from scarcity are endless, and whatever resources we achieve through production will always be outstripped by them. However in feeling abundance, we experience life as an overflowing bounty, and our needs are always smaller than the vast resources we can call upon. Belief in abundance is the sense that our psychological needs can be fulfilled.
At Dreamcatchers we focus on awakening the experience of Abundance in young people who see themselves and their choices as limited or pre-determined. The self awareness of oneself as limitless with infinite possibilities serves as the turnaround point from acting out of scarcity to living in abundance.
The storyline transforms- a young person seeking to affirm life through positive actions and behaviours and looking to create a life of love, beauty and fulfilment emerges and takes a stand.
Reframing is a simple but powerful technique to think differently. Reframing helps us to innovate, to approach the world from a fresh perspective and to overcome engrained patterns. Reframing allows us to develop strategies for dealing with our current challenges instead trying to solve problems which no longer exist. This innovative thinking technique asks two simple questions:
- Why do we do the things that we do?
- How can we do things differently?
The trick lies in forcing ourselves to question our most fundamental presuppositions and beliefs. We shift from our current, comfortable frame to a new frame from which the world looks radically new and surprising. This shift is brought by the ability of reframe beliefs and patterns.
At Dreamcatchers we have seen that Reframing core beliefs that are founded in a worldview of scarcity offer young people new ground to explore and build their lives.
More on Karim Bennamer? click here
Theory U proposes that the quality of the results that we create in any kind of social system is a function of the quality of awareness, attention, or consciousness that the participants in the system operate from. Since it emerged around 2006, Theory U has come to be understood in three primary ways: first as a framework; second, as a method for leading profound change; and third, as a way of being – connecting to the more authentic of higher aspects of our self.
Otto Scharmer is a senior lecturer at Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Sloan School of Management. He is founding chair of the Presencing Institute, a research community dedicated to social innovation.
The Dreamatching Model is adapted from the Theory U. To read more about the Dreamcatching Model, click here
Paula Freire – Pedagogy of the Oppressed
Paulo Freire notes, “No one is born fully-formed: it is through self-experience in the world that we become what we are.” He further adds, “Looking at the past must only be a means of understanding more clearly what and who they are so that they can more wisely build the future.”
Paulo Freire, a Brazilian educator developed an approach to adult literacy that looked
at education as a vehicle for transforming society by offering the tools to the oppressed through the development of critical consciousness.
What enables critical consciousness to develop?
In order to develop critical consciousness, Freire notes, “Education must begin with the solution of the teacher-student contradiction, by reconciling the poles of the contradiction so that both are simultaneously teachers and students.” Thus, Freire implies a dialogic exchange between teachers and students, where both learn, both question, both reflect and both participate in meaning-making.”
What is the tool to facilitate the dialogue between teachers and students?
Friere used the Culture Circle, as “A discussion group in which educators use representations and themes from learners’ everyday lives’ to initiate critical dialogue regarding the various factors that contribute to the real material, social, and political contexts in which the learners are embedded. Through dialogue and collective reflection, the group of learners transforms their various observations and opinions into critical knowledge.”
At Dreamcatchers, we adapt the principles of the culture circle by offering children the opportunity to:
- give meaning to their experiences based on their own vocabulary
- discuss themes that have significance within the context of the child’s life. These would include culture, relationships, nature etc.
- state the contradictions they experience without fear of judgment or retaliatory action
- express using the visual medium
- participate at a pace that is comfortable to them
At the heart of the Dreamcatchers work of helping children make sense of their emotional world and the journey of life; lies the awakening of one’s power to release oneself from a situation which limits freedom of thought or behavior. This sense of being weighed down heavily in mind or spirit, is a recurring roadblock that children experience as they make sense of their world. The Dreamcatchers work focuses on the development of critical reflection geared towards changing all that inhibits the power of self-determination over one’s life.
THNK School of Creative Leadership School of Amsterdam
THNK is a school with a mission to develop the next generation of creative leaders that will have societal impact on the world.
Started as an initiative between the City of Amsterdam and a group including creative minds and business leaders, THNK is a dream school of creative leadership, real impact that inspires, personally and in business and ultimately function as an innovation catalyst for societal challenges.
Several classes of 40 participants from all over the world convene every year to learn how they can turn the world’s challenges and crisis into opportunities, creating a more meaningful way of life. THNK aims to accelerate the development of creative leaders, so they can disrupt the world’s status quo and discover new opportunities.
For us at Dreamcatchers THNK has been a powerful demonstration of how to create an educational program that lies at the intersection of diverse disciplines in this instance leadership, design thinking and creativity.
THNK’s focus on introducing design thinking as a means to solve challenges has deepened our practise of using design thinking more effectively in our work with helping children re-imagine life.