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Alignment vs. Agreement

Yasuhiko G. Kimura:

"Alignment is congruence of intention, whereas agreement is congruence of opinion.

Opinion is a supposition elevated to the status of a conclusion held to be right but not substantiated by positive proof—rational or evidential. Because disagreement means difference of opinion, disagreement often escalates into a dispute as to whose opinion is right. When the dispute is not resolved through the logic of argument, the illogic of might tends to enter the realm of right , sometimes resulting in violent conflict.

Alignment does not require agreement as a necessary condition. Alignment as congruence of intention is congruence of resolution for the attainment of a particular aim. An aim being in and of the future, unknown or unpredicted variables inevitably enter the generative equations for its achievement. Inherent in alignment, therefore, is the spirit of quest.

The spirit of quest generates open and evolving dialogue-in-action. Participants of a quest bring in diverse points of view while remaining united in the same quest. When they jointly choose a course of action, they know that the choice is a tentative mutual agreement, to be modified, altered, or even discarded along the way. The question is not “who is right” but “what is best” for the fulfillment of the intention.

Alignment engenders synergy.

Following R. Buckminster Fullerʹs definition, synergy means behaviors of whole systems unpredicted by behaviors of their subsystems taken separately and observed apart from the whole.(1) When individuals are aligned in quest, their collective intelligence often produces results that are beyond the intelligence of any single individual. Although the locus of thinking always remains within the individual, the synergetic impact of the thinking of others takes the individual beyond the normal mode and boundary of his or her thinking.

Intelligence follows intention. Aligned intention creates a synergetic field of spiritual coherence that works as a conduit for enhanced intelligence and empowered action beyond the usual limitation of the individual. This explains in part the occurrence of concentrated upsurges of phenomenally creative geniuses in certain epochs in history, such as the ancient Greek civilization, the Renaissance, and the Enlightenment.

In an alignment-based organization or movement, disagreement among participants does not diminish but rather enhances the power of the alignment and its synergetic impact. Plurality and diversity of ideas and views, united in a shared intention, mutually enrich one another toward the achievement of an end. In an agreement-based organization or movement, on the other hand, disagreement among participants often leads to internal strife, divisive politics, splitting into cliques, or eventual demise.

An agreement-based organization can transform itself to an alignment-based organization by shifting its value focus from agreement to alignment, from opinion to intention. Alignment is not a static state; it is a dynamic process of constant aligning and realigning in the continual movement of time through the timeless commitment to an intention.

People who differ in their opinions can align in their intentions. No more do we need the usual politics of opinion-domination, which is subverting the very integrity of human-unity. What we need instead is a new politics of intention-alignment, which is a cocreative art of peaceful and mutually contributory coexistence of people and nations through alignment beyond agreement or disagreement." (


Alignment Beyond Agreement. Excerpted from The Journal of Integral Thinking for Visionary Action, Vol. One No. Four 2003