Autonomic vs. allonomic orders

This is a post in my series on organizing “between and beyond.” The post is part of my exploration of deeper generative orders for organizing. Other posts are here.

Norm Hirst spent fifty years to understand life itself. Hirst distinguishes between being autonomic and allonomic:

  • Living entities are autonomic. Machines are allonomic, they obey the laws built in by external agencies. Living entities are autonomic, which means there is no way for any other to build in the internal laws of a living entity.1
  • Living entities are creative. All living entities create new forms of order. Thus living entities do not approach reality in a machine-like fashion that is always limited to the current context of order. Living entities must change and adapt constantly to evolving forms of order and this requires values as opposed to cause and effect as guiding force.2
  • Living actions are chosen based on values. They are never the result of cause and effect. For the simplest living entities the only choice may be to act or not act. For people the choices may be very complex.3
  • Values are internal experiences. Experiences are intrinsic (aesthetic), extrinsic (practical), and systemic (correct). Intrinsic values are more important than extrinsic values, which are more important systemic values.4

In other words, autonomic orders are generative, allonomic orders are not.

1 Norm Hirst, Research findings to date, Autognomics Institute (accessed 10 August 2016)
2 Ibid..
3 Ibid..
5 Ibid..

Related posts:
Organizing in between and beyond posts

Published by Jan Höglund

Jan Höglund has over 35 years of experience in different roles as software developer, project manager, line manager, consultant, and researcher. This is his personal blog where he shares his reading, book reviews, and learning.

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