The Alchemy of Inclusion
“We are all bundles of potential,” says the organizational theorist Margaret Wheatley. “Relationships evoke those potentials.” When we have relationships only with people like ourselves, we tend to get more of the same. But when we add diversity to our surroundings, when we began to develop relationships with people who experience the world differently than we do, new qualities are evoked that would never have been realized in any other way.
We see the same effect very powerfully in the natural world around us. The noted ecologist Joanna Macy points to the magic of ordinary water. “From the respective qualities of oxygen and hydrogen,” she writes, “one could never have anticipated the properties that emerge when these elements interact and make water.” How is it that our thinking as a society has led us to segregation when the very world around us is built on the principles of diversity and the power of inclusion to evoke essential qualities greater than the sum of their parts?
That inclusion is so fundamental to the world around us may help explain the extraordinary “aha” stories we hear from people who experience this natural alchemy for themselves.