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David Berlin (far left) in a recent conversation at the Resonance Centre for Social Evolution.

Curator's Note: David Berlin has been a tireless thought-leader his whole life, focusing on politics with The Bridge Party, co-founder of The Walrus Magazine, publishing many books, and now working to reimagine community life through collective-decision making and facilitation. In the following text, David reflects on what excites him about the up-coming Resonate!2017 event put on by The Resonance Centre for Social Evolution.

Sex is great. Especially when you are young… All the hugging and kissing and stuff that young people do… keep doing when they get older, except that now… sometimes… by a process that remains quite a mystery to me, they also get pregnant… It is a mystery how that happens.

I recall, it was actually not that long ago, that I tried to explain to my rather precocious 2 ½-year-old granddaughter where babies come from. I said “you know, usually a woman and a man...” and then, remembering I was living in the 21st century, quickly switched to PC: “usually but hardly always, two people kiss and hug and then they have a baby.” Julia looked at me as if I had fallen off La Lune. “Mama kisses and hugs me,” she said. “Are we gonna have a baby?” I said, “maybe.” Julia said “NOOO WAAY!” and left me for a popcicle which my smiling wife, Deborah, thankfully held out. “Grandpa, was joking right?” Deborah said. “He is a jow-ker,” Julia said and traipsed out to our backyard. I may be a joker, but to perfectly honest, that is the way I remember sex. You kiss and hug and then, voila! Three kids, or maybe four, can’t remember. Maybe there’s more to it… can’t remember.

But even if I could, I wouldn’t, ‘cause I am not here to praise sex but to bury it, not for everybody, and not forever but for now and for here. And though I suspect that many of the younger crowd won’t believe me, may even begin looking around for a popcicle of their own, still, I want and intend to talk a little, say a little about something better than sex — namely “Platonic Love.”  

  For the length of the conversation, all that exists is the opportunities that this conversation creates.
   

This and not eros, is the kind of love that makes resonance possible. I should put it more firmly; this and only this kind love is what makes resonance possible. To be sure, a little sex on the side never hurt, but hey. Don’t let Jocasta or Peter or Chuck or any other of our illustrious Resonate!2017 hosts tell you different. Resonance; the idea that one head should suddenly consist of at least two participants, the possibility of producing the music of the spheres; this depends on chemistry and chemistry is magic and magic happens randomly and by accident except when it doesn’t.

When does resonance occur necessarily and not randomly? When it begins in love, when at least two interlocutors, listen not literally as children listen; listen not for what the other is not saying, as critics listen; listen not for a point of agreement as collaborators listen; listen not for the evanescent point of consensus as the starry eyed Occupiers listened; but as women and men committed to creating a common identity listen.

Resonance depends on the kind of love that commits to, and goes about creating, a common identity that is able to embrace all those whose input constituted this identity. It depends on the interlocutor’s power and desire to to bracket off the identity each brings to the table; our baggage, our own, often very legitimate concerns need to be left outside of the circle. For the length of the interaction we need to forget that they exist, dare I say, forget that we exist? For the length of the conversation, all that exists is the opportunities that this conversation creates. Everything we bring to the table except all our desire and all our power to listen to one another, except for that, everybody weakens the resonance. For the moment and in the moment, one must submit entirely to the need and to the desire to create an all embracing identity — a winged one, capable of independence, able to take flight, a dove and an eagle — a ‘deagle’ or something even more mythic.

Successful resonance requires that all participants in a conversation, for the length of the conversation, treat one another and themselves as well, as if they were usage, grist, stem cells all the way down. It requires that we forget we were created in order to create not an amalgam, a chimera of welds, a relation of unlike to unlike, but an identity constituted of vastly different material melted down and reconstituted like a phoenix of fire and water.

Over time, such a process does take more than a long weekend worth of work. Over time, we will perhaps find ourselves able to do that much and if we succeed, perhaps we will even discover an opportunity to press our efforts with the stamp of eternity. Then we who began as strangers, will have become a community, not neighbours, or folk who happen to share a purse filled with copper values; but something gold, something proper, an exemplary community; one which will become capable of reaching out to other communities struggling to become just as exemplary. And then. There is more. Then together we could build a new nation and a new world.

I am here to hear and to be heard. I am here to resonate. I am here to learn. Most of all I am here. 

Visit Resonate!2107 to learn more about the event or to register. Also visit www.ResonanceCentre.com.

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David
Berlin

David Berlin is 66 years old. He has three children and one amazing grand-daughter (you should see her). He is a graduate of The University of Chicago, has taught in various institutions, was CEO of an engineering firm, editor of the Literary Review of Canada, co-founder of The Walrus Magazine. He has published and edited several books including “ What’s Left: The New Democratic Party in Renewal (2001)” and over a hundred essays and articles.

Enraged by former PM Harper’s transgressions and wishing to incubate and test several strategies, David founded the short-lived “Bridge Party of Canada”. Inspired by Naomi Klein’s NO LOGO, the Bridge Party developed a signage campaign with no branding (see our Facebook Page, link below). Together with Vancouver based ethelo.org, the Bridge Party experimented with a variety of collective decision-making platforms. The Bridge Party developed a relation with The Resonance Centre, Peterborough ON, an organization which has integrated facilitation and democracy talks.

As a very young man, David worked for the David Lewis campaign in York South. Together with several pre-teens David Berlin distributed  elections signs. Unbeknownst to Mr Lewis, David and his co-workers sometimes helped topple the opposition’s always toppling signage.

In the federal election 2000, David ran as an NDP candidate in the riding of Toronto Centre, Rosedale. He was beaten by then acting PM Bill Graham in a battle which was not particularly close but was entirely unfair. David lives in Toronto with his wife Deborah; a violinist, writer and fantastic cook.