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Podcast    H4'ed 1/5/17

Linda Kohanov; Learning From Horses and Master Herders

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Broadcast 1/5/2017 at 04:38:00 (36 Listens, 6 Downloads, 1019 Itunes)
The Rob Kall Bottom Up Radio Show Podcast

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Linda Kohanov author of Tao of Equus, Power of the Herd and her newest book is Five Roles of the Master Herder. She's a master at understanding and working with horses and teaches us lessons to be learned from Horse behavior and human equine relationships.

Very Very rough interview notes-- mainly to inspire you to listen to the interview

What ideas that are bottom up do you get from horses.

Horses are the ultimate non-predatory power animals.

So many metaphors taken from nature that see power as predatory.

Horses are herbivores but incredibly powerful animals. Examples of large herbivores like zebras, wildebeests, horses, that stand off carnivores. Carnivores are not successful at taking down large herbivores like horses.

When you are with horses, you have to be empowered but not in predatory ways.

Horses know that their power in living among carnivores, they value cooperation over competition.

Question about relationship of hard and soft power.

With horses you need to be powerful and compassionate at the same time.

You need to create relationship and trust with them. I f you don't have that relationship and trust, if you only use hard power and intimidation, that horse is going to be looking for an opportunity to kick you".

I'm not sure that hard power even really works, with horses. And horses don't care how much money you have.

Rob: But they might care about the carrots you have.

There dominant and leader roles in a herd are often represented by different horses.

Horses may use dominance, but not in a predatory way.

One of the things you learn from horses in how to be powerful in a non-predatory way.

All of a sudden hierarchies aren't working anymore.

Far too many people experience power and collaboration as opposites, as if one must be sacrificed in favor of the other.

Rob: In your chapter on the evolution of power, you refer to Kropotkin and Darwin's book Descent of man, and how Darwin's ideas were abused by dictators, robber baron capitalists and other human predators

Kropotkin got really excited with Darwin's theory of natural selection. he headed out along the Siberian outback to observe natures. He realized that survival of the fittest was a misreading of Darwin's survival of the fittest. It did not mean the survival of the fiercest and most opportunist animals, but that mutual aid led to more success.

He wrote a book Mutual Aid, a factor of Evolution--

said that Darwin's idea of natural selection

the idea of mutual aid has been repressed in multiple cultures-- because it doesn't server those who want to take advantage of others.

Rob: In your book you Talk about the biology of power and connection

Power is the ability to influence-- to speak up, share your ideas and be heard. It's also the ability to motivate large groups of people or animals to move in a specific direction. We've seen misuse in a top down, hierarchical system using disinformation,

If you have a power system based on mutual aid" it's about everyone using the information.

Mutual is making sure everyone in the system is empowered to influence and motivate the group, to break up fights, to have a vision and lead and draw people to it.

The only way it has bottom up is when everyboty has these skills and

Rob: Early history of human domestication of Animals-- I've come to conclude that domestication led to domination within hierarchical civilization-- first of land and animals, then people.

I started studying early history of animal domestication.

domesticated animals, then settled down and started to grow crops.

How did the animals draw the humans into a nomadic lifestyle?

certain kinds of animals are curious and gregarious. So large herbivores like horses live among predators-- certain members of her act as sentinels and keep an eye on predators. They had the ability to tell when early farmers were working on their fields or looking to add a little meat to their diets.

Large herbivores are very confident and gregarious.

In early agricultural communities you would not have had ability to keep large herbivores out. They were probably chasing off more animals than they were killing for meet. Some of these people probably were more early naturalists than hunters, so they spent time watching these herbivores and built relationships with them and began to care about them.

So some of the people would have gone on seasonal migration with them.

That is the history of domestication.

Does that still happen now?

Mongolian nomadic tribes, Fulani tribes in Africa, on the ground with large cattle with massive horns.

They have this mutually supportive relationship. The animals are part of another species' tribe.

Several thousand years after the mutual domestication process-- it's really a factor of sedentary cultures.

The top down mentality comes from extreme sedentary cultures. The Bottom Up mentality.

Rob: talk about mutual domestication:

There is increasing documentation in scientific studies


Made for each other by Olmert Hormone oxytocin helped domestication between humans and animals.

biology of connection created by this hormone

engage in caring behavior, including when spending time, petting, watching animals wi th a sense of appreciation. Oxytocin is released-- causes a tendency to want to connect and bond rather than control and use for own purposes.

Calm and connect response-- causes more mutually supported social behavior, decreases healing time, increasing learning capacity.

Mention Adam Kahane-- says you need power and love.

Your book

You need power to stand up, power to protect those you care about.

IN traditional pastoral cultures like the Fulani or Mongolian herders people perform five roles as needed.

Dominant, in non predatory way, but need

Dominant role and leader role are two different roles

Dominant has protective aspect.

Leader role, you draw and entice o there to follow you because they trust that you know where the good food and water is.

A master of how to use power effectively, not associated with master slave.

Herders spend most of day in nurturing, companionship and sentinel activity.

The nurturer companion way is the one that produces oxytocin.

Master herders spend a large amount of time standing with animals, petting them, developing a sense of connection, which produces oxytocin--

The sentinel role-- certain spend time watching the herd in terms of threats to the herd in the evironment. A lot of law enforcement are in sentinel role. Neighborhood watch is sentinel.

Master herders keep predatory role apart except for keeping life in balance, and for euthanasia.

Herders mostly deal with milk related products. Some, like the Masai, blood related. When you milk an animal or drink milk, Oxytocin is released.

Rob: You're doing training and seminars with corporations.

Missile builders. send engineers to us to work with h horses when they are being promoted into leadership.

Rob: Why?

only ten percent of communication is verbal and people promoted to leadership need to learn non-verbal skills, like leadership presence.

You have to teach people how to connect w it others in o order to draw them to the vision you want to created.

Rob: What is leadership presence:

presence to both connect with and motivate others-- to have a feeling that they are a solid, powerful presence in the organization who can lead o r direct others while staying connected"

In most businesses, if you drive them too hard, if you don't connect with and support them, they leave and become your competitors.

Rob: Soft power

I had to work with several very dominant horses.

Rob: you talk about how the five roles of a master herder have a positive and shadow way of functioning. Can you talk about that for dominance and predatory

Immature dominance: characteristics use intimidation as a management tool. Will attack others throughout the day for no apparent reason. A dominant member of the herd will attack members and try to scatter them.

A lot of people operate in this immature dominant state. We just elected one for president. Donald Trump has all the characteristics of an immature dominant.

Rob: Tell us more about Donald Trump

Donald's father Fred increased this ability in his son.

Donald had a natural ability to be dominant

Father pushed him to prevail in every arena to be a killer and a king.

Donald Trump is a predatory dominant. he's been taught and rewarded to be this way-- a king a a killer.

That is characteristic of many dictators throughout history. They see those two forms of power as the only ones.

They have instinctual characteristics. I have a number of horses that act this way. But you can socialize them to be mature dominants.

People want to follow people or horse

Mature has a direct and protect orientation. They break up fights, keep other members out of trouble, get lazy members back on track and they are good at protecting from predators.

But we get these shadow sides

Rob: Can you talk about predatory vs non-predatory power--

non-predatory looks like bottom up leadership.

We need the non-predatory power the norm and the predatory only for specific purposes.

Lao Tse wrote know the yang but stay with the yin.

Predators are highly territorial-- value territory over relationship.

Non-predatory animals are nomadic, don't care about territory. Relationship is everything to them.

Predatory power values goal over process.

Non-predatory power values process over goal.

Rob: Like systems theory looks at patterns and relationships.

there are far more herbivores in the world than carnivores, so nature shows

You have the conquest, kill or be killed mentality in predatory power.

Cooperation, live and let orientation among herds of herbivores.

If you are in a predatory power system, whether pride of lions, pack of dogs or very predatory, aggressive human power system-- you have to hide vulnerability.

In non-predatory power systems, vulnerable individuals can depend on others.

Rob: this ties in so much with politics.

You say that Dems tend to overemphasize Visionary leader and nurturing leader roles and Republicans overemphasize the dominant role and predator role

According to the five roles model, no leader is optimally effective unless they use all five roles.

Democrats often downplay dominant or predator mature roles. They can be weak at that.

If you just look at the platform of the Republicans it's oriented to the dominant and predator roles.

Making cuts, culling, expelling people, cutting things, putting up a wall-- It's a really dominant thing to do to create a strict boundary.

We can't wait around anymore for a leader to come along with all five roles. We need every adult to develop all five roles and to identify leaders who are balanced.

Rob: How do people develop all

Nurturer companion has a very nasty shadow side-- they become passive aggressive, engage in passive aggressive dramas that create a very toxic work environment.

Sentinel role, if you ignore the info they offer on current situation-- you can get to the point where they withhold information from leaders, they you swoop in to benefit from the opportunity.

Rob: We're going to need to wrap this up , so is there anything you want to finish up with.

All of the old fences have fallen down and it is time for us to learn from our nomadic cousins.

if we can take that nomadic socially intelligent form of leadership and taking into the modern world then we'll have the best of both worlds and find balance

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Rob Kall Social Media Pages: Facebook page url on login Profile not filled in       Twitter page url on login Profile not filled in       Linkedin page url on login Profile not filled in       Instagram page url on login Profile not filled in

Rob Kall is an award winning journalist, inventor, software architect, connector and visionary. His work and his writing have been featured in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, CNN, ABC, the HuffingtonPost, Success, Discover and other media. 

Check out his platform at

He is the author of The Bottom-up Revolution; Mastering the Emerging World of Connectivity  

He's given talks and workshops to Fortune 500 execs and national medical and psychological organizations, and pioneered first-of-their-kind conferences in Positive Psychology, Brain Science and Story. He hosts some of the world's smartest, most interesting and powerful people on his Bottom Up Radio Show, and founded and publishes one of the top Google- ranked progressive news and opinion sites,

more detailed bio: 

Rob Kall has spent his adult life as an awakener and empowerer-- first in the field of biofeedback, inventing products, developing software and a music recording label, MuPsych, within the company he founded in 1978-- Futurehealth, and founding, organizing and running 3 conferences: Winter Brain, on Neurofeedback and consciousness, Optimal Functioning and Positive Psychology (a pioneer in the field of Positive Psychology, first presenting workshops on it in 1985) and Storycon Summit Meeting on the Art Science and Application of Story-- each the first of their kind.  Then, when he found the process of raising people's consciousness and empowering them to take more control of their lives  one person at a time was too slow, he founded which has been the top search result on Google for the terms liberal news and progressive opinion for several years. Rob began his Bottom-up Radio show, broadcast on WNJC 1360 AM to Metro Philly, also available on iTunes, covering the transition of our culture, business and world from predominantly Top-down (hierarchical, centralized, authoritarian, patriarchal, big)  to bottom-up (egalitarian, local, interdependent, grassroots, archetypal feminine and small.) Recent long-term projects include a book, Bottom-up-- The Connection Revolution, debillionairizing the planet and the Psychopathy Defense and Optimization (more...)

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