Kategoriarkiv: Life

There is another way

Here’s an excerpt (my emphasis in bold) from Russel Means’s most famous speech in 1980.1 There’s something deeper than just a rejection of Marxism from this radical. He has an entirely different worldview compared to all ”isms”:

“… Newton … “revolutionized” physics and the so-called natural sciences Descartes did the same thing with culture. John Locke did it with politics, and Adam Smith did it with economics. Each one of these “thinkers” took a piece of the spirituality of human existence and converted it into code, an abstraction. … Each of these intellectual revolutions served to abstract the European mentality even further, to remove the wonderful complexity and spirituality from the universe and replace it with a logical sequence: one, two, three. Answer!

The European materialist tradition of despiritualizing the universe is very similar to the mental process which goes into dehumanizing another person. … it makes it all right to kill and otherwise destroy other people. … In terms of the despiritualization of the universe, the mental process works so that it becomes virtuous to destroy the planet. …

There is another way.It is the way that knows that humans do not have the right to degrade Mother Earth, that there are forces beyond anything the European mind has conceived, that humans must be in harmony with all relations or the relations will eventually eliminate the disharmony. … There is no need for a revolutionary theory to bring this about; it’s beyond human control.

All European tradition, Marxism included, has conspired to defy the natural order of all things. Mother Earth has been abused, the powers have been abused, and this cannot go on forever. No theory can alter that simple fact. Mother Earth will retaliate, the whole environment will retaliate, … That’s revolution. …

What I’m putting out here is … a cultural proposition. … To cling to capitalism and Marxism and all other “isms” is simply to remain within European culture. … As a fact, this constitutes a choice. … retain your sense of reality.

1 Revolution and Amrican Indians: “Marxism is as Alien to My Clture as Capitalism”, 17 October 2010. (Accessed 5 April 2016)

Life-nurturing vs. life-depleting behaviors

The environment within which people work is key to the organization’s success. Life-nurturing conditions contribute to high creativity and productivity, while life-depleting conditions contribute to apathy and low productivity.

Life-nurturing behaviors 1 Life-depleting behaviors 2
Listening Controlling
Understanding Punishing
Trusting Regulating
Sharing Telling
Clarifying Shaming

1 These are some of the behaviors listed in Birgitt Williams, The Genuine Contact Way: Nourishing a Culture of Leadership, (DALAR, 2014), p. 221.
2 Ibid..

The dancing rainbow within

Mae-Wan Ho’s new book Living Rainbow H2O is dedicated to the dancing rainbow within, which is made possible by the water that makes up all organisms. 1 Mae-Wan Ho writes (my emphasis in bold):

The organism is thick with coherent activities on every scale, from the macroscopic down to the molecular and below. I call the totality of these activities ”quantum jazz” to highlight the Immense diversity and multiplicity of players, the complexity and coherence of the performance, and above all, the freedom and spontaneity. The quantum coherence of organisms is the biology of free will. 2

The quantum coherent organism plays quantum jazz to create and recreate herself from moment to moment. Quantum jazz is the music of the organism dancing life into being. It is played out by the whole organism, in every nerve and sinew, every muscle, every single cell, molecule, atom, and elementary particle, a light and sound show that spans 70 octaves in all the colours of the rainbow. 3

There is no conductor or choreographer. Quantum jazz is written as it is performed; each gesture, each phrase is new, shaped by what has gone before, though not quite. The organism never ceases to experience her environment, taking it in (entangling it) for future reference …” 4

The quantum jazz dancer lives strictly in the now, the ever-present overarching the future and the past, composing and rewriting her life history as she goes along, never quite finishing until she dies.” 5

Intercommunication is the key to quantum jazz. It is done to such sublime perfection that each molecule is effectively intercommunicating with every other, so each is as much in control as it is sensitive and responsive. 6

The coherent organism is a unity of brain and body, heart and mind, an undivided bundle of intellect and passion, flesh, blood, and sinew that lives life to the full, freely and spontaneously, attuned not just to the immediate environment, but the universe at large. 7

Quantum coherence and quantum jazz are possible because of the 70% by weight of liquid crystalline water that makes up the organism. Quantum jazz is diverse multiplicities of molecules dancing to the tunes of liquid crystalline water. Water is the means, medium, and message of life. It is the dancing rainbow within, to which this book is dedicated. 8

1 Mae-Wan Ho, Living Rainbow H2O, (World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd., 2012), p. 5.
2 Ibid., p. 4.
3 Ibid..
4 Ibid..
5 Ibid..
6 Ibid..
7 Ibid., p. 5.
8 Ibid..

Related posts:
Quantum Jazz
Mae-wan Ho on the autonomy of organisms
The organism is wildly uncontrollable and unpredictable from the outside

The organism is wildly uncontrollable and unpredictable from the outside

The organism is wildly uncontrollable and unpredictable from the outside. From the inside, of course, you know what you are doing. You know that your actions are not random or arbitrary. And … if you are a perfectly happy human being, you would feel absolutely spontaneous and free.
— Mae-Wan Ho 1

1 Quote at (22:14), William Stranger interview Dr. Mae-Wan Ho in London, YouTube, published 12 May 2013. (Accessed 21 March 2016)

Victoria Safford on freedom

You know, we do it every day. Every morning we go out blinking into the glare of our freedom, into the wilderness of work and the world, making maps as we go, looking for signs that we’re on the right path. And on some good days we walk right out of our oppressions, those things that press us down from the outside or (as often) from the inside; we shake off the shackles of fear, prejudice, timidity, closed-mindedness, selfishness, self-righteousness, and claim our freedom outright, terrifying as it is—our freedom to be human, and humane.
— Victoria Safford 1

1 Victoria Safford, Walking Toward Morning, p. 1.

Mae-Wan Ho on the autonomy of organisms

Mae-Wan Ho, is best known for her pioneering work on the physics of organisms and sustainable systems. Here’s what she writes on the autonomy of organisms in her book The Rainbow and the Worm: The Physics of Organisms (in italics, my emphasis in bold):

Organisms are never simply at the mercy of their environments on account of the coherent energy stored. More to the point, we don’t have to eat constantly, leaving plenty of time for other useful, pleasurable activities. The other consequences are that, the organism is exquisitely sensitive and free from mechanical constraints; and satisfies, at least, some of the basic conditions for quantum coherence. 1

Do take note of the radically anti-mechanistic nature of organisms. Mechanical systems work by a hierarchy of controllers and the controlled that returns the systems to set points. One can recognize such mechanistic systems in the predominant institutions of our society. They are undemocratic and non-participatory. Bosses make decisions and workers work, and in between the top and the bottom are “line-managers’’ relaying the unidirectional “chain of command”. Organic systems, by contrast, are truly democratic, they work by intercommunication and total participation. Everyone works and pays attention to everyone else. Everyone is simultaneously boss and worker, choreography and dancer. Each is ultimately in control to the extent that she is sensitive and responsive. There are no predetermined set points to which the systems have to return. Instead, organisms live and develop from moment to moment, freely and spontaneously. 2

It must be stressed that the ‘single degree of freedom’ of organisms is a very special one due to quantum coherence which maximizes both local autonomy and global correlation 3

1 Mae-Wan Ho, The Rainbow and the Worm: The Physics of Organisms, 2nd Edition, p. 91.
2 Ibid., p. 92.
3 Ibid., p. 152.

Norm Hirst on a life-itself science

Prologomena of Life-itself Science by Norm Hirst at The Autognomics Institute is an introduction (or prologue) to a life-itself science. Below are some axioms from the paper:

  • All life is connected
  • All living entities are autonomous
  • All living entities are complex
  • All living entities are self-referential
  • Self-referential implies self-observation and awareness
  • Living entities survive by learning effective acts
  • Living entities exhibit invariant organization and structural plasticity
  • Living process is social
  • At all levels from atoms to the universe life forms societies

Related posts:
Autognomics: Radical self-knowing
Organisms are self-creating, not just self-organizing
Machines are allonomic, living organisms are autonomic

Book Review: Sky Above, Earth Below

John Milton wrote Sky Above, Earth Below: Spiritual Practice in Nature in the hope that the practices and principles he shares will “greatly enrich your life” (p.229). Over the years he has identified the following principles for natural liberation (pp.8—15):

  1. The fundamental truth: All forms are interconnected, constantly change, and continuously arise from and return to primordial Source.
  2. Commit yourself completely to liberation in this lifetime
  3. Relax and surrender to life.
  4. Remain in now.
  5. Cultivate union with universal energy
  6. Go with the universal flow.
  7. Rest in the radiance of your open heart.
  8. Active compassion arises naturally out of unconditional love.
  9. Cut through to clarity.
  10. Return to Source.
  11. Pure Source awareness is—remain in recognition.
  12. Serve as a warrior of the open heart and liberated spirit.
  13. Don’t take all these twelve principles too seriously.

From these twelve principles John Milton has essentialized six core principles (p.16):

  1. Relaxation
  2. Presence
  3. Cultivating universal energy
  4. Opening the heart of unconditional love
  5. Cutting through to clarity, luminosity, and spaciousness
  6. Returning to Source

Each one of these six core principles are introduced in the book. John Milton emphasizes that: “The key is to bring each of these principles into creative interaction with the challenges of everyday life” (p.14). Each principle has a variety of practices to help support the realization of its essence. And every practice “serves to cultivate the truth of each principle within” (p.6). Over time, our “old habitual patterns of fear and automatic contraction to life” will be replaced with “new, helpful habits of meeting life with openness and letting go” (p.9).

The union of (1) relaxation and (2) presence, combined with (3) the cultivation of universal energy, is the key to opening greater vitality. The main thing is this: “With whatever time you have available, go into Nature and start cultivating relaxation there” (p.30). It’s also important to remember that “you cannot force relaxation” (p.46). “The attempt to force relaxation just creates more contraction” (p.46). And contractions “usually arise from strong emotions such as fear, anger, sadness, anxiety, and worry” (p.49).

The cure for much worry and anxiety is the cultivation of presence” (p.57). The main secret for transforming blocked emotions is to “breathe deeply and gently into them while applying … relaxation and presence” (p.43). The practice to start move emotional blockage is “to simply stay clearly present with the feeling it, while at the same time relaxing into its core” (p.43). If the mind wanders, “gently bring it back to the intention of relaxing all the constricted, tight, or stiff blockages” (p.46). Becoming “pristinely present while in a state of deep relaxation, totally surrendered to the moment, is the heart of spiritual practice in Nature” (p.52).

By immersing ourselves in Nature – “Nature that has not been heavily disturbed and damaged” – we begin to tap into “the primal natural harmony” that is our “genetic inheritance” (p.37). Our “whole bodies, our energy, our diverse emotions, and our mind” have all coevolved with Nature (p.28). “All … ecosystems, and the beings within them, have coevolved in a way that has produced extraordinary symbiosis, balance, integration, and harmony” (p.36). “Integration is characteristic of virtually everything in Nature” (p.37). This is why “Nature is a very powerful healer” (p.28). Nature provides a “natural vitality and harmony” that is “not accessible in our urban centers” (p.37).
One of John Milton’s favorite things to do is to “go into a forest, to a mountain, or by a river or wild coast and spend an hour or two each day” (p.55). John Milton says that: “All of Nature supports your being in the present moment. You do not even have to meditate. You can simply enjoy Nature” (p.55). The key is to find a place that inspires you – “a place that gives you a sense of harmony, peace, and tranquility” (p.74). And then, with practice, you can bring this “present-centered awareness back into your ordinary life, and you will find that the flow of your normal day will gradually become transformed” (pp.57—58).

John Milton has convinced me that natural vitality and energy are released when relaxation and presence are cultivated. The challenge is to gently bring this awareness and relaxation back into the flow of the normal daily life. It’s all about practice, and there are many practices in the book. In a way, it can feel a bit overwhelming, but it’s also important to remember that “every journey begins with a first step” (p.91). What’s so nice is that “just regularly being in Nature brings joy and happiness” (p.229). It’s a great book, and I’m now taking the first steps on my own journey!

Preservation of the soul

Here is Jeffrey Mishlove’s interview with David Whyte
on the preservation of the soul, waking up, and saving our lives.

Stand still. The trees ahead and bushed beside you
Are not lost. Wherever you are is called Here.
And you must treat it as a powerful stranger,
Must ask permission to know it and be known.
The forest breathes. Listen It answers,
I have made this place around you,
If you leave it you may come back again, saying Here.
No two trees are the same to Raven.
No two branches are the same to Wren.
If what a tree or a bush does is lost on you,
You are truly lost. Stand still. The forest knows
Where you are. You must let it find you.
—Native American elder
(Poem rendered into modern English by David Wagoner)

Keeping your heart alive

When we are present in our work as human beings, when we are connected to the lives around us, and the stories around us, the work itself will sustain you, and inspire you, and even heal you.
— Rachel Naomi Remen

Keeping Your Heart Alive: Rachel Naomi Remen talks about the importance of connecting to your heart in healthcare.

Christopher Alexander on real beauty

When you come face-to-face with real beauty it changes you, and it changes the other people who are witnessing it, or who are thinking it, and they will take a different road. … Although this is so simple, it’s extremely powerful, because it only comes from the heart. … If you take this advice … it will change your own life.1

1 Interview with Christopher Alexander by Hiro Nakano on September 5, 2011.

Dee Hock on control

Life is not about control. It’s not about getting. It’s not about having. It’s not about knowing. It’s not even about being. Life is eternal, perpetual becoming, or it is nothing. Becoming is not a thing to be known, commanded, or controlled. It is a magnificent, mysterious odyssey to be experienced.1

… I have long puzzled where mechanistic organizational concepts originated, and why we are so blind to their reality. Their genesis reaches back to Aristotle, Plato, and even beyond. However, it was primarily Newtonian science and Cartesian philosophy that fathered those concepts, giving rise to the machine metaphor. That metaphor has since dominated our thinking, the nature of our organizations, and the structure of industrial society to a degree few fully realize.2

For nearly three centuries we have worked diligently to structure society in accordance with that concept, believing that with ever more reductionist scientific knowledge, ever more specialization, ever more technology, ever more efficiency, ever more linear education, ever more rules and regulations, ever more hierarchal command and control, we could learn to engineer organizations in which we could pull a lever at one place, get a precise result at another, and know with certainty which lever to pull or for which result. Never mind that human beings must be made to behave as cogs and wheels in the process.3

The first and paramount responsibility of anyone who purports to manage is to manage self—one’s own integrity, character, ethics, knowledge, wisdom, temperament, words, and acts. It is a never-ending, difficult, oft-shunned task. The reason is not complicated. It is ignored precisely because it is incredibly more difficult than prescribing and controlling the behavior of others.4

Everyone is a born leader. Who can deny that from the moment of birth they were leading parents, siblings, and companions? Watch a baby cry and the parents jump. We were all leaders until we were sent to school to be commanded, controlled, and taught to do likewise.5

People are not “things” to be manipulated, labeled, boxed, bought and sold. Above all else, they are not “human resources.” We are entire human beings, containing the whole of the evolving universe. We must examine the concept of superior and subordinate with increasing skepticism. We must examine the concept of management and labor with new beliefs. We must examine the concept of leader and follower with new perspectives. Above all else, we must examine the nature of organizations that demand such distinctions with new consciousness.6

Only in a harmonious, oscillating dance of both competition and cooperation can the extremes of control and chaos be avoided and peaceful, constructive societal order be found.7

In organizations of the future, it will be much more important to have a clear sense of purpose and sound principles within which many specific, short-term objectives can be quickly achieved, than a long-range plan with fixed, measurable objectives. Such plans often lead to futile attempts to control events to make them fit the plan, rather than understanding events so as to advance by all means in the desired direction.8

In organizations of the future the centuries-old effort to eliminate judgment and intuition, art if you will, from the conduct of institutions will change. Organizations have too long aped the traditional mechanistic, military model wherein obedience to orders is paramount and individual behavior or independent thinking frowned upon, if not altogether forbidden. In organizations of the future it will be necessary to have people in every position capable of discernment, of making fine judgments and acting sensibly upon them. The industrial age trend toward stultifying, degrading, rote work that gradually reduces people to the compliant, subordinate behavior one expects from a well-trained horse will not continue.9

It extends far beyond a factory worker on an assembly line. Vast white-collar bureaucracies exist everywhere, with mountains of procedures manuals depressing minds, avalanches of directives burying judgment, forests of reports obscuring perception, floods of studies inundating initiative, oceans of committees submerging responsibility and drowning decisions. You know what I mean. You have endlessly suffered through it and, worse yet, may be inflicting it on others. It has created a society of people alienated from their work and from the organizations in which they are enmeshed. Far too much ingenuity, effort, and intelligence go into circumventing the mindless, sticky web of rules and regulations by which people are needlessly bound.10

1 Dee Hock, One From Many: VISA and the Rise of Chaordic Organization, (Berrett-Koehler, 2005), p. 7.
2 Ibid., p. 37.
3 Ibid.
4 Ibid., p. 48.
5 Ibid., p. 55.
6 Ibid.
7 Ibid., p. 226.
8 Ibid.
9 Ibid., p. 227.
10 Ibid.

Related posts:
Dee Hock in his own words
Dee Hock on rules
Agile software development in the 1970s

Organisms are self-creating, not just self-organizing

Organisms are born to create and maintain their own life. They are self-creating, i.e., autopoietic; they are not just self-organizing. They maintain their own life by constantly recreating it. Their purpose is not to become machines fulfilling some external task. Thus they are autonomic, i.e., obeying self-law. They are autonomous. An organism’s purpose is to develop its own life.1

1 Norm Hirst, Towards a Science of Life as Creative Organisms, (Cosmos and History: The Journal of Natural and Social Philosophy, vol. 4, nos. 1-2, 2008), p. 95.

Related post:
Machines are allonomic, living organisms are autonomic


#jagdelar är Dagens Nyheters manifestation för allas lika värde.

Uppropet får mig att tänka på Robert Hartman, som flydde Nazi-Tyskland i sin opposition mot Hitler. Hartman ägnade sitt liv åt frågorna ”vad är gott?” och ”hur organisera det goda?”. Han kom fram till att det är allas problem att organisera det goda. Hans slutsats är att vår vackra värld bara kan bestå om vi ser livets inneboende värde och handlar därefter. #jagdelar därför dessa värderingar.

Relaterat inlägg (på engelska):
Book Review: Freedom to Live

Book Review: First Steps to Seeing

First Steps to Seeing: A Path Towards Living Attentively is Emma Kidd’s first book. Emma Kidd “left the fashion industry to investigate alternative ways of thinking about and doing business” (p. 11). What she didn’t expect was that her explorations would take her right back to the very foundation for her previous work as designer – the “way of seeing” (p. 11). The book has two parts: Developing a Dynamic Way of Seeing, and Giving Life Our Full Attention, and is designed to take the reader on a journey “that encourages us to fully notice life by paying acute attention to the ways in which we see, think and act, every day” (p. 14).

A Dynamic Way of Seeing (and Being)
The book also serves as an introduction and guide to Henri Bortoft’s work. Henri Bortoft called the switch of attention from ‘what we see’, to ‘the way in which we are seeing’ a “dynamic way of seeing” (p. 32). A dynamic way of seeing involves “noticing our experience of life as we are experiencing it, rather than analyzing it” (p. 15). It “enables us to transform the way in which we relate to ourselves, to other people, to our work and to life in general” (p. 16), and “ask[s] us to become more gentle, vulnerable, open and intimate in our encounters with the world” (p. 17). Fundamentally, it is “a way of being in, and relating to, life” (p. 109). Living attentively “allows life to thrive, both inside and outside of us” (p. 109).

Focused Sensory Experience
Developing a dynamic way of seeing involves “pausing any internal dialogue that is occurring in our mind and opening our awareness to notice the way in which our senses can perceive the world” (p. 40). By shifting our attention “from our thoughts and towards our senses we can move beyond our habits of perception and begin to rediscover our own experience of life” (p. 41). When we “become aware of the way in which our thoughts divert our attention away from our experience of the world, we can make an effort to redirect our attention and attempt to more fully experience life” (p. 47). Although our “thoughts are an intrinsic … part of our experience, they are often part of a secondary ‘meaning-making’ process that attempts to re-present the life that our sensory experience first presences” (p. 47). The “awareness that exists prior to our thoughts”, in the form of words, “has a clarity and freshness to it that brings our experience of the world directly to the forefront of our perception” (p. 47). “Lived experience is our capacity to experience life, as it is being lived, in the present moment” (p. 51). Henri Bortoft believed that “perception can only truly begin when we slow down” (p. 51). Our minds often work incredibly fast, jumping “from one thought to the next” (p. 51). By slowing down, “changing the way we see, and the way in which we notice the world around us, we are literally changing the way we use our mind” (p. 60). This makes it possible “to experience a new richness, depth, and diversity in the life around us” (p. 63).

Sensorial imagination
We can also “use our imagination as a mirror to reflect on our experience and to bring it to life again in our mind” (p. 63). When we “use our imagination to re-member (put back together) a particular experience, as exactly as possible, in all its sensory and felt detail,” we can review the experience “without the distractions of personal opinions, analysis, preconceive ideas or definitions” (p. 64). Since we are all different, “there are no fixed instructions for the exercise of exact sensorial imagination” (p. 65). “We just need to pay full attention to our sensory experience of life and then try to accurately bring that experience back to life in our imagination” (p. 65). When we let “our intellectual analysis dominate our investigations, our living experience of the world tends to be overlooked” (p. 73). “This leaves us blind to the life of the world around us” (p. 73).

Intuitive Perception
The action of “fully focusing on our experience, rather than our thoughts, has the effect of … connecting us directly to the world” (p. 82). We can then “release the specific focus of our attention and open our awareness, so that we remain present to our experience yet not fixated on it” (p. 82). This “frees up our intuition to sense life in its own unique way” (p. 82). Intuition is also “called non-inferential perception” (p. 81). With “focused sensory perception” we narrow our gaze, whereas with “intuitive perception” we loose gaze and open our attention (p. 84). Putting “intuitive perception” into practice is not as straightforward as the “ways by which we can put our thoughts and senses into immediate action” (p. 84). Again, there are no fixed instructions “that will guarantee successful results” (p. 85). “All we can do is try to create conditions within ourselves for intuitive understanding to emerge” (p. 85). The validity of our intuition can be strengthened by “most crucially coming to know ourselves, ever further and deeper” (p. 86).

Authentic vs. Counterfeit Wholes
Wholeness is “intrinsically embedded in all parts of nature” and “expresses itself through the parts that make up whole forms” (p. 87). Henri Bortoft distinguished between ‘authentic’ and ‘counterfeit’ wholes. An ‘authentic’ whole ”reflects the type of wholes that nature creates, where the whole is always present in the parts” (p. 90). This type of whole “cannot be reduced by simply removing ‘parts’ of it” (p. 90). The authentic whole “is created by an ongoing, interactive ‘dialogue’ between the parts and the whole(s) of which they are a part” (p. 92). “An authentic whole is … a coherent integrity which becomes expressed through the parts that make up its form” (p. 92). The parts rely on “the coherent integrity of the whole to guide their development, but they are not slaves to the whole” (p. 92). The parts are “a place for ‘presencing’ of the whole” (p. 92). “In an authentic whole there is an intrinsic relationship between the parts and the whole but neither the part nor the whole is dominant; they are not separate entities and cannot be separated” (p. 93). A ‘counterfeit’ whole, on the other hand, is “a kind of ‘super part’ which domiciliates the parts that it creates by sitting over and above them, assuming significance, supremacy, and superiority” (pp. 91—92). This type of whole consists of “a collection of separate parts that have been assembled … in order to create the ‘whole’” (p. 92). Counterfeit wholes “operates as separate entities” (p. 92). They have “just been put together” (p. 92). “Our ability … to distinguish between authentic and counterfeit wholes … can help us to recognize what is genuine, and most satisfying, in our everyday lives” (p. 93). “In nature, in order for a whole to thrive, its parts must thrive also” (p. 95). “The same goes for societies, neither the part nor the whole can dominate, they need to authentically work together” (p. 95).

Living inquiry
Paying full attention “to noticing what brings us alive and intentionally expressing that vitality draws out the same potential in others also” (p. 124). If we want “to create livelier … societies we each need to find our own ways to come more alive and to be more fully human” (p. 124). “Paying attention to experiencing ourselves and presencing our own life … enables us to become more present, vulnerable and authentic” (p. 125). This creates “new space for life to flourish and flow within us” (p. 125). “A living inquiry is a dynamic way of seeing in action” (p. 130).

A Dynamic Way of Seeing (and Being) At Work
Emma Kidd cites several authors and researchers in the book to “demonstrate a form of living inquiry that allows the part of life being studied to become its own theory and to show itself, on its own terms” (p. 130). The case studies are very interesting and “illustrate the way in which systemic change can begin with an individual” (p. 143). “By using living knowledge to put the needs of life itself at the very centre of professional practice,” each case study shows “ways in which life can, and does, thrive” (p. 143). The projects and people in the book provide examples “of a truly revolutionary way of working” (p. 143), but to truly change the way of being at work is difficult. Emma Kidd has “come across many businesses and individuals all over the world who are really trying to make a difference but many only manage it in a partial way” (p. 168). They might, for example, “still end up controlling their employees rather than finding ways that allow them to genuinely thrive” (p. 168). Emma Kidd noticed, on reflection, “that these contrasting ways of working form two very different approaches to life and to business – one in which life generally suffers and in the other life quite obviously thrives” (p. 170). The case studies in the book display “a radical form of honesty and openness” (p. 174). They provide “a kind of … open-source project design and development, offering … a starting point from which to provide the best possible conditions for life to thrive in our own communities, schools, offices and businesses” (p. 174). The projects are very important “examples of the way in which parts of life can thrive when whole systems intentionally give their parts the freedom to do so” (p. 174).

From Surviving to Thriving
“At the root of everything we create is the mind that created it, including the organisations in which we work and the societies in which we live” (p. 176). A dynamic way of seeing “shines a light on the conditions within which life is most likely to flourish and therefore makes it possible for us to replicate these conditions” (p. 176). This is why a dynamic way of seeing and being is so important!

I highly recommend the book! It’s a great guide towards living and working more attentively, so that we can create conditions for life to thrive. The book is an important signpost in my own search for life-giving ways of working.

Related post:
Seeing Life in Work

Preview: The Age of Thrivability

Here is a preview of Michelle Holliday’s forthcoming book The Age of Thrivability. Michelle Holliday’s work centers around ”thrivability” and a view of organizations as living systems. She brings people together and helps them discover ways they can serve life more powerfully through their work. What if we made it our primary intention to enable life to thrive?

Book Review: Freedom to Live

Freedom to Live: The Robert Hartman Story is an autobiography which was originally written for a series of seminars given by Robert Hartman to top executives who wanted to develop more sensitivity to human values. Hartman’s writing and life experiences are very interesting and engaging. He was born in Germany in 1910. Seeing the Nazis ”organize evil” (p. 29), he fled Nazi Germany for his opposition to Hitler. Hartman devoted the rest of his life to ”organize good” (p. 22). This led him to a life-long quest to define ”what is good?” (p. 22) and how to apply goodness both in our individual lives and on a broader scale.

Robert Hartman developed a value theory where value is measured ”systemically, extrinsically, and intrinsically” (p. 57), and where ”meaning” is the ”measure of value” (p. 60). The value theory is ”strictly logical”, the measure of value is ”objective”, but the application is ”subjective” (p. 60). The value is calculated by combining ”the three value dimensions – systemic, extrinsic, intrinsic – and their respective value measurements” (p. 64). For example, systemically ”a worker is a production unit”, extrinsically ”one of several workers”, and intrinsically ”a human being” (p. 67). Hartman’s value theory makes intrinsic values explicit in relation to extrinsic and systemic goods. He thinks that we need to ”learn how to apply the yardstick of intrinsic value to life around us and within us” (p. 69). This can be done ”without calculus, and … complicated formulae” (p. 69).

So, we have now found that we can know and measure value in systemic, extrinsic, and intrinsic dimensions. How do we organize goodness? Robert Hartman’s answer is that ”this is everyone’s problem” (p. 76). He challenges the reader with four questions for reflection on the meaning of one’s life and work: ”1. What am I here for in the world? 2. Why do I work for this organization? 3. What can this organization do to help me fulfill my meaning in the world? 4. How can I help this organization help me fulfill my meaning in the world?” (pp. 85—88). It’s up to us to come up with our own answers, and act.

Here’s the rub, according to Robert Hartman. ”The paradox of human existence and the sickness which we have suffered throughout history can be clearly attributed to our callousness to the intrinsic value of life coupled with our sensitivity to the systemic value of thought” (p. 114). It’s a trilogy of tragedies: ”The first was the Tragedy of Rome – military despotism; the second, the Tragedy of Feudalism – military absolutism; the third, the Tragedy of Democracy – military giantism” (p. 115). The ”danger that threatens life” is the ”tremendous gap between those who think in terms of human values and those who think in the collective terms of non-human systems” (p. 124). Hartman ends the book with the wish that ”this beautiful world must go on” (p. 128). It’s possible if we see life’s intrinsic value, and act accordingly.

Related book review:
The Structure of Value

Quantum Jazz

Mae-Wan Ho writes in her article Quantum Jazz, The Tao of Biology that we are all quantum jazz players, dancing life into being. We are creating and recreating ourselves afresh with each passing moment. There is an incredible hive of activities from the very fast to the very slow, the local to global, all perfectly coupled together, so perfect that each activity appears to be operating as freely and spontaneously as the whole.