I’m going to call this: A reflection on a reflection; why full low fat custard isn’t really custard.
When I first read The Common Cause Handbook I thought that it was a great resource, easy to read, well designed and laid out. However, after reading it thoroughly, and then reflecting on it with the group I just found that it was really lacking. I think that values and frames are so complex and so complicated that simplifying them so much just left the resource lacking in detail. It is clearly well researched and referenced but it talks about something so fundamental to human beings in such a light way that it really just doesn’t do itself service. Human beings are so complex that as soon as we try and lay out or anticipate what human beings are like, or will be like, we will find that there are always exceptions.
I thought this resource was a a bit like eating 99% fat free custard, when all you really want is that amazing thick custard that goes with Christmas pudding. Low calorie, no fun, custard that wants to be like the full fat custard just isn’t custard. It’s a bit like how McCafe isn’t a Café. It’s tasty enough, and it’ll get you through- but you know there should be more.
It’s not completely useless though, quite the opposite, I think it’s a really good introduction to values and frames not only because it’s easy to read but it manages to synthesise some really fundamental concepts in an easy to understand way. I do think that the one element from this resource I’m going to use in my work in the future is the idea that you can leverage values. This resonated with me a lot, I actually wrote down in the margins of the reading that values could be a bit like a keyboard. In fact, they were organised on the graph in the handbook in a way that reminded me of keys on a keyboard; particularly as it stated that you could leverage some values by appealing to other similar values. So effectively what is possible then is that you can try and strike the values keys you want to create the harmony you want to hear.
There was a bit of discussion in the group about the fact that appealing to values or leveraging values could be a bit deceptive or maybe even immoral. I don’t think that’s true, it’s just reality. People are guided by their values and what they value and ultimately we are trying to reach them where they are, not where we would like them to be. Because if they were already where we wanted them to be, then we wouldn’t need to reach out and engage them!