The Philosopher’s Stone Collective is being launched as a community of practice because I feel that there is a deep need and yearning for safe spaces to connect and collaborate with others over our shared concern for the future of humanity on this planet. As founder I reach out to those who, like me, work in the helping professions. Professions where working practices are often being imposed that are oppressive and inhumane.
In my own work, for example, coaching in the education sector, I have long felt required to patch people up and send them back to the front line of a largely toxic system. Instead of this I want to challenge the assumptions and practices that support this uncritical use of coaching. I am seeking to bring my practice more into the sphere of resistance and emancipation. Does this resonate with you?
I started a PhD in October 2019 as part of this journey and this research brought me into contact with powerful emancipatory ideas that foster critical consciousness. A critical consciousness and awareness that has the power to liberate us from becoming unconscious agents of ideologies that are invisible, accepted as common sense, taken for granted by their presentation as custom and practice. Practices which we feel in our guts force us into a self-destructive conflict between what is required of us and what we feel to be right testing our ethical framework.
My reading and thinking in turn inspired the podcast Speak Up. Speak Out. Ethics Matter, launched in April 2020. A podcast which brings together diverse voices from the world of coaching and beyond, pushing the boundaries of thinking and practice. The podcast will be rebranded in January 2021 to become the voice of the Philosopher’s Stone Collective.
The Philosopher’s Stone – A good metaphor
The Philosopher’s Stone, mythology has it, was a substance sought by alchemists for its supposed ability to transform base metals into precious ones such as silver or gold. It was also believed to be to be the source of the elixir of life.
I am not a mystic, but I do love a good metaphor. Alchemy is a transformatory process and that is my aspiration for this community, that it will create collaborations that are transformatory. Not only for individuals but also on a social level. I want it to serve as the elixir of life for its members, that it will be the thing which helps them to remain sane and connected to humane values in challenging and difficult times. Hence of the choice of name.
The Philosopher’s stone is also linked in mythology to the four basic elements of the natural world; Earth, Water, Wind and Fire. So, these four elements are the cornerstones of our community. The diamond shaped logo was created by a creative merging of the four elemental triangles representative of the four elements earth, water, fire and air. Care, Challenge, Collaboration, and creative Change, is the spirit that will live through us.
Our four elements connect natural and social systems together around core values.
I am happy to announce that the community will be supported, from its inception by founding members and community hosts, Neil Lawrence, Nafisa Shehu and Jennifer Weinman, of Life Coaching London, and Naomi Ward, of Purposeful Educators. Together we aim to build a supportive, diverse, inclusive and thriving community.
Philosopher’s Stone Collective – Aims
The Philosopher’s Stone Collective exists to support and encourage freedom of thought, expression and action for those in education, the helping professions, academic fields, consultancy and coaching who feel the need for a safe space in which to explore dominant practices that have oppressive impacts and the ideologies that drive them.
Philosopher’s Stone Collective – Values
Compassion, critical thinking, equity, inclusive practices and a diversity of thought and community engagement will always be sought and encouraged.
It will have a global, inter-cultural outlook that seeks divergent views.
PCS will exist as a community of practice that encourages inquiry, collaboration, debate, and artistic expression.
As the community grows and starts to show its potential we may take on a more formal structure, for now lets just mix those elements and see what rises out of the ether.
Our first Event
The audience for Speak Up Speak Out has been growing steadily since its launch. It would be great to meet some of you. Podcast guests and listeners will be brought together for some lively debate and Q&A at Face To Face with Speak Up Speak Out Podcast Host Charmaine Roche and Guests 7pm of November 11th, 2020.
Information about how to join will be shared at the event.