Kategoriarkiv: Organizing

Organizing retrospective 107

This is a post in my series on organizing ”between and beyond.” Other posts are here. This is a retrospective of what has happened during the week. The purpose is to reflect on the work itself. Here is my previous retrospective.

What has happened? What needs to be done?
This week, I’ve continued to post daily reflections about generative organizing:

  • MondayGenerative organizing bypass “formal stuff” and happens in the “crunch time” when people “huddle up.”
    Inspiration:  A mail from Harrison Owen to the OSList. A continuation of this and this reflection.
  • TuesdayGenerative organizing calls for a conscious commitment to creating fertile conditions for life to flow and thrive accross our organizational ecosystems and beyond. It’s about reconnecting with what really matters, acknowledging the precious gift of life itself. It’s about finding and staying in the flow.
    Inspiration: This and this article by Michelle Holliday (@thrivability).
  • WednesdayGenerative organizing is to actively participate in exploratory conversations that matter. This leaves people feeling enriched, inspired, and alive.
    Inspiration: This article by Esko Kilpi (@EskoKilpi).
  • ThursdayGenerative organizing calls upon wholeness for guidance and direction. It’s more an undoing than a doing, which we often stumble upon in times of crisis. When we reclaim who we are, we also remember our basic human qualities. We already are the role models we seek. Wholeness is never lost, only forgotten.
    Inspiration: Kitchen Table Wisdom by Rachel Naomi Remen.
  • Friday — The essential aspect of generative organizing is the sensing of the whole organization and the total situation. It’s a felt experiencing which transcends logical analysis.
    Inspiration: Managing as a Performing Art by Peter B. Vaill.
  • SaturdayGenerative organizing involves people getting together to discuss common problems, coming to mutual decisions, and taking action. It requires building trust and relationships. Creativity and experimentation are necessary.
    Inspiration: Abolish Human Rentals posts by David Ellerman. The idea that it’s not ok to rent human beings is profound, and it has revolutionary implications. I need to come back to this.

I’m still reading Rachel Naomi Remen’s two excellent books Kitchen Table Wisdom and My Grandfather’s Blessings. I’m also reading Peter B. Vaill’s Managing as a Performing Art: New Ideas for a World of Chaotic Change.

What was good? What can be improved?
My daily reflections (and weekly retrospectives) are a way to gather input and ideas. They are worthy of continual rereading and reflection.

Related posts:
Organizing in between and beyond posts

Organizing reflection 25

This is a post in my series on organizing ”between and beyond.” Other posts are here. The purpose of this post is to reflect on subjects occupying my mind. I make no claim to fully believe what I write. Neither do I pretend that others have not already thought or written about the same subject. More often than not, I take up, combine, and add to already existing thoughts and ideas.

What is on my mind?
It’s not ok to sell, to buy—or to rent—human beings.

Today’s reflection is based on David Ellerman‘s arguments against the rental of human beings at the Abolish Human Rentals website. (The contents of the website are also available as an ebook., which is compiled by Daniel Trusca.) This site examines the standard employment relationship, the human rental, and seeks to promote an understanding of the problems associated with it. The abolition of human rentals is a profound idea, which has revolutionary implications. David Ellerman writes (my emphasis in bold):

Inalienable rights are based on the already broadly held principle of the non-transferability of responsibility for one’s actions. That principle, taken to its logical conclusion, means the rental of humans have no more legitimacy than their sale. The issue is not one of coercion, willfully choosing to be rented, or the treatment and compensation of workers. Humans cannot choose to be rented for the same reason people cannot choose to sell themselves into slavery or sell their vote, regardless of their consent or how much they are paid.

The alternative to human rentals is universal self employment in democratically managed worker owned businesses, or worker cooperatives. Workplace democracy eliminates the alienation of decision making power, and worker ownership means workers appropriate any resulting profits or losses, thus bearing financial responsibility for their actions.

Human rentals involves two key features.

The first aspect is the agreement to follow orders within terms of the rental. … The rented person must obey, or risk being fired.

The second aspect of a human rental is the transfer of responsibility for the actions of the person while at work. The most obvious is the transfer of responsibility for any profit or loss that results from the worker’s actions.

Since the abolition of slavery, humans ownership has been banned. People are no longer allowed to sell their labor by the lifetime. Instead they must rent themselves temporarily for a salary or wage.

The inalienability of personal responsibility is the foundation of the abolitionist argument from which all else follows. … The legal system clearly recognized this principle in the prosecution of crimes. All participants in a crime are held responsible. The law does not excuse a hired criminal because they were following orders.

The inalienability of responsibility for ones actions does not disappear when a crime is not being committed. It holds in all cases where human action is involved. In particular it applies to productive labor. However, the legal system pretends otherwise… It allows financial responsibility for profits or losses resulting from labor to be contractually transferred violating a principle it readily acknowledges in the commission of a crime.

Isolated individuals can rarely overcome a system, organization is necessary. The employment system has demonstrated a remarkable robustness in insuring human rentals remain the dominant form of labor exchange.

Progressive change is inherently a bottom up activity. It involves people getting together to discuss common problems, coming to mutual decisions, and taking action. It requires building trust and relationships, both time consuming activities. …

It is not rugged individualism which solves problems, but cooperation between people which provides the solution. …

Parallel approaches are essential, because they cater to the different assessments and abilities of individual participants. Organizing efforts can and should take place simultaneously on different fronts.

The point is that the best solution is not known. There are promising directions in the current environment, but circumstances change. History can only provide so much of a guide. Creativity and experimentation in the organizing process is a necessity.

In the end education and awareness are necessary but not sufficient, structural change is also needed. The structure of work and the employment system must be fundamentally changed.

There are many steps that can be taken to abolish human rentals. By analogy one can think of appropriate actions if we were seeking to abolish slavery.

Advocacy on this issue carries significant risk and the need for mutual support is essential. Efforts to provide support and build a viable alternative should not be neglected.

Worker Cooperatives are democratically run, worker-owned businesses. They are the alternative to the … alienating employment system, involving collaborative self-employment by groups of individuals.

While technically trivial to implement, the transaction is simple it is unlikely to happen. The primary reason this won’t spontaneously take place is that equity holders are unlikely to be willing sellers at the net asset value. It would be the equivalent of slave owners spontaneously deciding to free their slaves.1

Generative organizing involves people getting together to discuss common problems, coming to mutual decisions, and taking action. It requires building trust and relationships. Creativity and experimentation are necessary.

Notes:
1 David Ellerman, Abolish Human Rentals | Support Worker Cooperatives (accessed 2018-08-18).

Related posts:
Organizing in between and beyond posts

Organizing reflection 24

This is a post in my series on organizing ”between and beyond.” Other posts are here. The purpose of this post is to reflect on subjects occupying my mind. I make no claim to fully believe what I write. Neither do I pretend that others have not already thought or written about the same subject. More often than not, I take up, combine, and add to already existing thoughts and ideas.

What is on my mind?
I am currently reading Managing as a Performing Art by Peter B. Vaill. Peter writes that he has found the following statement by Chester Barnard to be ”worthy of continual rereading and reflection”.1 He goes so far as to say that ”there is no statement in the entire leadership and management literature that more neatly captures” what he is interested in.2 Chester Barnard writes (my emphasis in bold):

The executive functions … have no separate concrete existence. They are parts or aspects of a process of organization as a whole. …

The means utilized are to a considerable extent concrete acts logically determined; but the essential aspect of the process is the sensing of the organization as a whole and the total situation relevant to it. It transcends the capacity of merely intellectual methods, and the techniques of discriminating the factors of the situation. …

It is a matter of art rather than science, and is aesthetic rather than logical, For this reason it is recognized rather than described and is known by its effects rather than by analysis.3

In the eighty years since Chester Barnard wrote these lines, not much has happened to alter his conclusion: we know it when we see it. It is a felt experience.

The essential aspect of generative organizing is the sensing of the whole organization and the total situation. It’s a felt experiencing which transcends logical analysis.

Notes:
1 Peter B. Vaill, Managing as a Performing Art (Jossey-Bass Publishers, 1991, First published 1989), p.99.
2 Ibid., p.100.
3 Chester Barnard, The Functions of the Executive (Harvard University Press, 1938), p.235

Related posts:
Organizing in between and beyond posts

Organizing reflection 23

This is a post in my series on organizing ”between and beyond.” Other posts are here. The purpose of this post is to reflect on subjects occupying my mind. I make no claim to fully believe what I write. Neither do I pretend that others have not already thought or written about the same subject. More often than not, I take up, combine, and add to already existing thoughts and ideas.

What is on my mind?
Today’s reflection is inspired by Rachel Naomi Remen. Rachel writes about wholeness in her book Kitchen Table Wisdom (my emphasis in bold):

Often in times of crisis when we reach for what we have considered our strength we stumble on our wholeness and our real power. How we were before we fixed ourselves to win approval. What has been fixed is always less strong than what is whole.1

Everyone’s wholeness is unique… Our wholeness will look different… Our wholeness fits us better… Our wholeness is much more attainable for us… We usually look outside of ourselves for heroes and teachers. It has not occurred to most people that they may already be the role model they seek. The wholeness they are looking for may be trapped within themselves by beliefs, attitudes, and self-doubt. But our wholeness exists in us now. Trapped though it may be, it can be called upon for guidance, direction, and … comfort. It can be remembered. Eventually we may come to live by it.2

… most often the experience of wholeness happens in very ordinary times and ways. It is common to not even notice.3

Actually, we are all more than we know. Wholeness is never lost, it is only forgotten. Integrity rarely means that we need to add something to ourselves: it is more an undoing than a doing, a freeing ourselves from beliefs we have about who we are and ways we have been persuaded to ”fix” ourselves to know who we genuinely are.4

Often in reclaiming the freedom to be who we are, we remember some basic human quality, an unsuspected capacity for love or compassion or some other part of our common birthright as human beings.5

Generative organizing calls upon wholeness for guidance and direction. It’s more an undoing than a doing, which we often stumble upon in times of crisis. When we reclaim who we are, we also remember our basic human qualities. We already are the role models we seek. Wholeness is never lost, only forgotten.

Notes:
1 Rachel Naomi Remen, Kitchen Table Wisdom: Stories That Heal (Riverhead Books, 1997, first published 1996), p.105.
2 Ibid., p.106.
3 Ibid..
4 Ibid., p.108.
4 Ibid., p.109.

Related posts:
Organizing in between and beyond posts

Organizing reflection 22

This is a post in my series on organizing ”between and beyond.” Other posts are here. The purpose of this post is to reflect on subjects occupying my mind. I make no claim to fully believe what I write. Neither do I pretend that others have not already thought or written about the same subject. More often than not, I take up, combine, and add to already existing thoughts and ideas.

What is on my mind?
Today’s reflection is inspired by this article by Esko Kilpi (@EskoKilpi).

Esko Kilpi writes:

… the only way to guarantee agility and resilience is to actively and widely participate in the conversations that matter in an enriching way.

Richer connections and more challenging, more exploratory conversations leave people feeling more alive, more inspired and capable of far more.1

Generative organizing is to actively participate in exploratory conversations that matter. This leaves people feeling enriched, inspired, and alive.

Notes:
1 Esko Kilpi, I am not I | Medium, 2018-08-13 (accessed 2018-08-15).

Related posts:
Organizing in between and beyond posts

Organizing reflection 21

This is a post in my series on organizing ”between and beyond.” Other posts are here. The purpose of this post is to reflect on subjects occupying my mind. I make no claim to fully believe what I write. Neither do I pretend that others have not already thought or written about the same subject. More often than not, I take up, combine, and add to already existing thoughts and ideas.

What is on my mind?
Today’s reflection is inspired by this and this post by Michelle Holliday (@thrivability).

Michelle writes (my emphasis in bold):

It usually takes more than action to generate and support change. …

We need to reconnect with what matters. We need to rediscover our place in the whole of life. …

Ultimately, what we need is to find the collective will to cultivate life’s ability to thrive … in every sphere of society. …

The outgoing worldview has been dominated by persuasion and even coercion, “driving” and “incentivizing” change.

Cultivating thrivability is not a discrete item on your to-do list; it’s an ongoing life practice…

Everything comes down to our ability to acknowledge and celebrate the precious gift of aliveness, source of our kinship with all existence.

It is through a sense of place … that we connect with the generative dimension of life most directly.1

Michelle also writes (my emphasis in bold):

Beyond specific techniques or the latest management fads, then, thrivability calls for a conscious commitment to nurturing life. It asks us to recognize the life in our organization—acknowledging that the organization isn’t something we can fully manage and control, but that our role is as stewards and participants, creating fertile conditions for life to flow and thrive across the fullness of the organizational ecosystem and beyond. —

For individual organizations, the lesson seems to be: get on in whatever way you can… Keep moving forward. … Adjust your speed and direction until you find the flow. And you will find it.2

Generative organizing calls for a conscious commitment to creating fertile conditions for life to flow and thrive accross our organizational ecosystems and beyond. It’s about reconnecting with what really matters, acknowledging the precious gift of life itself. It’s about finding and staying in the flow.

Notes:
1 Michelle Holliday, Beyond Best Practices—How to Listen for Generative Threads of Aliveness in Stories of What Works | Medium, 2018-08-13 (accessed 2018-08-14).
2 Michelle Holliday, Lessons from Amsterdam | Medium, 2018-08-14 [first published 2013-10-31] (accessed 2018-08-14).

Related posts:
Organizing in between and beyond posts

Organizing reflection 20

This is a post in my series on organizing ”between and beyond.” Other posts are here. The purpose of this post is to reflect on subjects occupying my mind. I make no claim to fully believe what I write. Neither do I pretend that others have not already thought or written about the same subject. More often than not, I take up, combine, and add to already existing thoughts and ideas.

What is on my mind?
Today’s reflection is a continuation of this and this reflection.

The discussion about Open Space Organizations continues in the World wide Open Space Technology email list (OSList). I find it most interesting.

Harrison Owen wrote August 11, 2018 (my emphasis in bold):

I think we save lots of time and energy when we are sensitive to what is already present and try to enhance or enable it… as opposed to starting from scratch. … Certainly they [clients] might have formal meetings, issue memos, emails etc – but in the “crunch time” (American for serious talk) they would “huddle up.” Which is just another word for forming a circle. Really effective organizations (High Performing Systems) simply bypass the formal stuff and get right to the circle. We can help them do that.1

Generative organizing bypass “formal stuff” and happens in the “crunch time” when people “huddle up.”

Notes:
1 This is from Harrison Owen’s mail 2018-08-11 21:27 UTC to the World wide Open Space Technology email list (OSList).

Related posts:
Organizing in between and beyond posts

Organizing reflection 19

This is a post in my series on organizing ”between and beyond.” Other posts are here. The purpose of this post is to reflect on subjects occupying my mind. I make no claim to fully believe what I write. Neither do I pretend that others have not already thought or written about the same subject. More often than not, I take up, combine, and add to already existing thoughts and ideas.

What is on my mind?
In today’s reflection, I combine thoughts and ideas from Harrison Owen and Rachel Naomi Remen. Rachel’s two books—Kitchen Table Wisdom and My Grandfather’s Blessings—are about opening space in our lives. I’m currently reading both of Rachel’s books.

This is also a continuation of this reflection. There’s an ongoing discussion about Open Space Organizations in the World wide Open Space Technology email list (OSList) which I find interesting.

Harrison Owen wrote August 10, 2018 (my emphasis in bold):

By my reckoning – All organizations are (already) Open Space organizations… they are just doing it very badly. Premise is that self organization has been the operative force with ALL systems for roughly 13.7 billion years. … And to play an old song: Open Space is not a method, technique, procedure – it is simply a remembrance of who and what we really are.1

Rachel Naomi Remen speaks to who and what we already are (my emphasis in bold):

The power to repair the world is already in you.2

Often … we may have ideas about life that keep us from experiencing what we already have.3

In befriending life, we do not make things happen according to our own design. We uncover something that is already happening in us and around us and create conditions that enable it.4

Everything is moving toward its place of wholeness. Befriending life requires that we listen for that potential which is trying to actualize itself over time.5

It is not about mastering life, controlling it or exerting our will over it, no matter how well intentioned our will may be.6

It means listening to life from the place in us that is connected to the wholeness around us. The place in us that is also whole.7

Generative organizing is about uncovering what is already happening in and around us, creating conditions that enable it. It requires listening for the potential which is trying to actualize itself. It means listening to life from the place in us that is whole and connected to the wholeness around us.

Notes:
1 This is from Harrison Owen’s mail 2018-08-10 20:38 UTC to the World wide Open Space Technology email list (OSList).
2 Rachel Naomi Remen, My Grandfather’s Blessings: Stories of Strength, Refuge, and Belonging (Riverhead Books, 2001, Kindle Edition), Loc 323.
3 Ibid., Loc 349.
4 Ibid., Loc 2759.
5 Ibid., Loc 2760.
6 Ibid., Loc 2763.
7 Ibid., Loc 2765.

Related posts:
Organizing in between and beyond posts

Organizing reflection 17

This is a post in my series on organizing ”between and beyond.” Other posts are here. The purpose of this post is to reflect on subjects occupying my mind. I make no claim to fully believe what I write. Neither do I pretend that others have not already thought or written about the same subject. More often than not, I take up, combine, and add to already existing thoughts and ideas.

What is on my mind?
In today’s reflection, I combine Petra Kuenkel‘s (@PetraKuenkel) thoughts about co-creation and collaborative spaces with Christopher Alexander’s insights into how to create built environments that have life, well-being, beauty. Actually, Petra Kuenkel refers to Christopher Alexander herself. I simply add to it. (Here and here are my reviews of Petra Kuenkel’s two books Mind and Heart and The Art of Leading Collectively. And here is my review of Christopher Alexander’s book The Battle for the Life and Beauty of the Earth.)

Petra Kuenkel writes in this post on Co-creation, collaborative spaces and aliveness (my emphasis in bold):

Over my years of working in complex collaboration projects and institutional change management I noticed that certain elements consistently shift actors into more collaborative spaces. …

When I looked behind the scenes of collaboration initiatives … one insight emerged. It was simple and at the same time complex.

It reminded me of the writings of the American architect Christopher Alexander. … Christopher Alexander concluded that … [the] perception of a degree of “life” in an external structure … was not arbitrary. Nor was it simply a matter of taste.

So my (rather simple) conclusions is the following:

Co-creation works best in a collaborative space where there is “life”, a sense of vitality rather than superficial harmony. … There is usually a strong feeling of igniting each other’s vitality. You have fun. You feel alive. Your energy is boosted.1

Christopher Alexander says in this interview from 2011 that (my emphasis in bold):

Make sure, whatever you are deciding, or whatever you are doing, or whatever you are making—any action you are taking—make sure that it has inner beauty.

If you take that seriously, it will change everything. … 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.2

And, in this interview from 1994 Christopher Alexander says:

What you are looking for is the presence or absence of life. … It doesn’t imply that it’s lively, it could be very quiet. … But anyway, that it has its life. …

You can’t do this … without being willing, in effect, to make that judgment. …

Can one make such a judgment? Is it reasonably objective? Is there really such a thing? … Technocrats will not admit that there’s such a thing. So if you have a technically organized bureaucracy, they will either refuse to perform it, or perform it quite wrong by assigning arbitrary technical criteria. …

It wasn’t esoteric at all … to perform this thing. … The kinds of questions that people were asked to report on were very straightforward. … The only operative thing … necessary is people had to be willing to record their feelings. …

So much of rule bound society, in effect, makes it not okay to do that. Of course, people have feelings, but the question is: Is it alright to use it? … The general rule of thumb has been: No, it’s not okay to do that. …

They tend to twist it into bureaucratic forms. … Things that can be quantified very easily appear, therefore, to have some legitimacy that are actually no where as near as telling these larger, more global feelings.3

So, in other words, does it feel right?

Generative organizing looks for the presence of life/well-being/beauty, rather than superficial bureaucratized order. This requires a willingness to observe and feel.

Notes:
1 Petra Kuenkel, Co-creation, collaborative spaces and aliveness | Petra Kuenkel—The Future of Leadership is Collective, 2017-09-08 (accessed 2018-08-09).
2 Interview with Christopher Alexander by Hiro Nakano | YouTube,  2011-09-05 (accessed 2018-08-09).
3 Interview with Christopher Alexander by Greg Bryant | YouTube, 1994-01-06 (accessed 2018-08-09).

Related posts:
Organizing in between and beyond posts

Organizing reflection 16

This is a post in my series on organizing ”between and beyond.” Other posts are here. The purpose of this post is to reflect on subjects occupying my mind. I make no claim to fully believe what I write. Neither do I pretend that others have not already thought or written about the same subject. More often than not, I take up, combine, and add to already existing thoughts and ideas.

What is on my mind?
Today’s reflection is based on Harrison Owen’s mail to the World wide Open Space Technology email list (OSList) yesterday.

Harrison Owen is one of my favorite authors. (Here is my review of his book The Spirit of Leadership. I also write about his book Wave Rider in this retrospective.)

The following is an excerpt from Tales from Open Space. The text is written by Loyd Kepferle and Karen Main. They write (my formatting and emphasis in bold):

One might assume that an organization doing business in an open space mode would accomplish little. That does not seem to be the reality, for Open Space frames the total operation, and internally there is an appropriate alternation between open exploration of new opportunities and pre-determined, structured responses to known situations.  …

The main idea … is that ”People who care most passionately about a problem or opportunity have the RIGHT and the RESPONSIBILITY to do something about it”. This basic idea supersedes all notions of a hierarchical organizational structure …

There are only five constraints on this model of personal empowerment:
1. When a problem or opportunity is to be discussed, there must be wide notification of the meeting time and place so anyone who is interested can attend.
2. Proposed solutions/ideas must be broadcast widely …
3. Proposed solutions cannot be hurtful to anyone else.
4. Proposed solutions should channel our limited resources in such a way as to have maximum impact on achieving our goal.
5. Accomplishing the work for which we were hired takes precedence over our group work. However, if the RIGHT people (those who really care) are involved in any topic, they will find a way to make sure their work is completed and the work of the group is brought to a successful conclusion.

There are NO CONSTRAINTS on the following:
1. Who can call a meeting.
2. The type of problem or opportunity that is being addressed.
3. The availability of time to have a meeting.
4. Who may attend a meeting.
5. The availability of information necessary for a group to work.

Open Space assumes a consensual process will be observed by the ad hoc groups that form and that all ideas will be considered respectfully by the people in the group.  … The ad hoc group may choose to modify its plans based on feedback.

While we believe this is a good way to develop a truly successful organization, it is an approach to organizational behavior which is fraught with insecurity which, in the short run, may produce fear, anger and frustration. It will take a long time for those of us who have lived in hierarchical and paternalistic organizations to believe we are really empowered.

We … recognize this philosophy is somewhat revolutionary and will be uncomfortable for all of us some of the time. But we also believe people do their best when they are empowered to control the conditions that affect them. We also think that solutions which are imposed on people rather than generated by the people who are affected are doomed to failure.1

In short, open space enables generative organizing. Generative organizing requires open space. The generative organizing ceases as soon as the space closes.

Notes:
1 This is a story about the use of Open Space at The University of Kentucky Center for Rural Health by Loyd Kepferle and Karen Main. See Harrison Owen (Editor), Tales from Open Space (Abbott Publishing, 1995), Chapter VI, pp.39–43. This book (and many other publications) can be downloaded for free from openspaceworld.com.

Related posts:
Organizing in between and beyond posts

Organizing reflection 15

This is a post in my series on organizing ”between and beyond.” Other posts are here. The purpose of this post is to reflect on subjects occupying my mind. I make no claim to fully believe what I write. Neither do I pretend that others have not already thought or written about the same subject. More often than not, I take up, combine, and add to already existing thoughts and ideas.

What is on my mind?
In today’s reflection, I’m combining Joseph Campbell (a mythodological story) with Robert S. Hartman (intrinsic/systemic) and David Bohm (order).

I stumbled upon the following quote by Joseph Campbell this morning (my emphasis in bold):

… the old Sufis … spoke of wearing the outer garment of the law, that is to say the order of the society in which one is living …

Now, in order to find the inner garment, you have to take off the outer garment and let it go. … But unless you can put the other garment back on again, you haven’t really come to the sophistication that let’s you know that this is that, and that is this—that this outer garment is the outer reflection of the same laws and principles that you’re finding within so that you should be at ease somehow in the two worlds.1

This can be paraphrazed as follows (my emphasis in bold):

Now, in order to find authentic organizing, you have to take off the systemic and let it go. … But unless you can put the systemic back on again, you haven’t really come to the sophistication that let’s you know that this is that, and that is this—that the systemic is the outer reflection of the same laws and principles that you’re finding intrinsically within so that you should be at ease somehow in the organization.2

The paradox of authentic organizing, is that you have to take off the systemic order and then put it back, such that the systemic order is a reflection of the organization’s intrinsic order.3

Notes:
1 Joseph Campbell, The Vitality of Myth.
2 In paraphrazing Joseph Campbell, I’m using Rober S. Hartman’s distinction between intrinsic and systemic value dimensions. See Robert S. Hartman, The Structure of Value: Foundations of Scientific Axiology, pp.112–14.
3 The notion of order is from David Bohm and F. David Peat. See David Bohm and F. David Peat, Science, Order, and Creativity (Routledge, 2010, first published 1987), pp. 97–146.

Related posts:
Organizing in between and beyond posts

Organizing retrospective 105

This is a post in my series on organizing ”between and beyond.” Other posts are here. This is a retrospective of what has happened during the week. The purpose is to reflect on the work itself. Here is my previous retrospective.

What has happened? What needs to be done?
This week I published the following (almost) daily reflections:

  • WednesdayThere are no formulas—except that this is a formula! I attribute this idea to Skye Hirst (@autognomics). There’s a focus on formulas, methods, and techniques, literally, everywhere. It’s easier because it’s tangible (explicate), but I’m more interested in what’s intangible (implicate). I wrote in this post that order arises from flow, but flow arises from a deeper order. I need to come back to this!
  • Thursday —  The dimension of ‘coming into being’ is essential to generative organizing. What’s generative/genuine/authentic requires ‘coming into being’. It’s Simon Robinson (@srerobinson) who has introduced the concept of ‘coming to being’ to me. This is a profound concept. Simon and Maria Moraes Robinson (@DoraMoraesR) discuss ‘coming into being’ throughout their book Customer Experiences with Soul, which I’m currently reading. Here is a succinct review of their previous book Holonomics: Business Where People and Planet matter. I need to review Simon and Maria’s new book too.
  • Friday  — We need to see life’s intrinsic value, and act accordingly! This includes honoring intrinsic human values—not least at our workplaces. I share Emma Taylor’s (@generativeOD) interest in actively cultivating more generative ways of working together. Emma has started this project On Feeling and Knowing: Authenticity, Creativity and Love which I find inspiring. I will keep an eye on Emma’s work.
  • SaturdaySeeing differently seems, to me, to be key for regenerative living—and working. This is a line of thought which is inspired by Michelle Holliday (@thrivability). Michelle invites us to see differently in this article. Here is my review of her book The Age of Thrivability: Vital Perspectives and Practices for a Better World.
  • SundayGenerative organizing requires a community of people who are engaged in each other’s movement towards wholeness. An example of this is Rachel Naomi Remen’s (@RachelRemen) healing communities. I’ve added Rachel’s books Kitchen Table Wisdom and My Grandfather’s Blessings to my reading list.

What was good? What can be improved?
I’m very pleased with that I’ve got started with my blogging again after a break of two months. My intention going forward is to establish a practice of posting daily reflections.

Related posts:
Organizing in between and beyond posts

Organizing reflection 13

This is a post in my series on organizing ”between and beyond.” Other posts are here. The purpose of this post is to reflect on subjects occupying my mind. I make no claim to fully believe what I write. Neither do I pretend that others have not already thought or written about the same subject. More often than not, I take up, combine, and add to already existing thoughts and ideas.

What is on my mind?
Here is an excerpt of an interview with Rachel Naomi Remen by Jeffrey Mishlove. Rachel emphasizes that we cut ourselves off from the life force when we edit ourselves in accordance with the approval and disapproval of others. Her distinction between teams and communities also caught my attention.

Rachel Naomi Remen says:1

My experience of anger … is that the anger is often the first way we encounter the life force. It’s the part in us that wants to resist distortion, that wants to preserve our integrity, that wants to say no to the idea that we are broken. . . . In the form of anger, it is often not very useful. It can help us preserve our integrity. But often we have to connect to that kind of an energy directly as the life force, in order to live a life.2

I think often we have edited ourselves. We have fixed ourselves to win the approval of others. And certain of our human dimensions are birthrights we have repressed, disavowed, or disconnected ourselves from. In our particular culture, anything that is intangible—the soul, the intuition, the heart—are repressed.3

When a person becomes ill often they need their wholeness in order to recover, and they may need to reclaim for themselves the things they have been taught are not valuable, because these things may be the very thing they need for their healing.4

I think it’s a very human thing to trade wholeness for approval. And anything that has been fixed like that isn’t as strong as something that is whole … as a human being. It’s very difficult. The whole culture denies certain things. We are a very lonely people. We take pride in our loneliness. . . . Independence is not as strong a position as being able to receive and give in community, and to know oneself connected to larger realities through communion.5

The interesting thing about the medical system is that it is a reflection of the culture that is around it. All of the strengths of our culture, all of its dreams, all of its power is reflected in its medical system. And all of its illusions, all of its flaws, all of its woundedness, is also reflected in the medical system. So, the loneliness of the people in the culture, that loneliness is amplified between people in the medical system.6

A healing community are people who are engaged in each other’s movement towards wholeness, as much as they are engaged in the patients recovery of their integrity and wholeness. It isn’t focused on the patient. It is a relationship among professionals, which the patient is included into—a healing community. As the work gets harder and harder health teams burn out. Healing communities become inspired by the work, and are actually fed and nurtured by it.7

Generative organizing requires a community of people who are engaged in each other’s movement towards wholeness, as much as they are engaged in the integrity and wholeness of their work.

Notes:
1 Rachel Naomi Remen: The Life Force (excerpt) — Thinking Allowed with Jeffrey Mishlove, published 2010-08-28 (accessed 2018-08-05).
2 Ibid., at 0:10.
3 Ibid., at 2:05.
4 Ibid., at 2:35.
5 Ibid., at 3:20.
6 Ibid., at 4:44.
7 Ibid., at 8:42.

Related posts:
Organizing in between and beyond posts

Organizing reflection 10

This is a post in my series on organizing ”between and beyond.” Other posts are here. The purpose of this post is to reflect on subjects occupying my mind. I make no claim to fully believe what I write. Neither do I pretend that others have not already thought or written about the same subject. More often than not, I take up, combine, and add to already existing thoughts and ideas.

What is on my mind?
I’m currently reading Simon Robinson and Maria Moraes Robinson’s book Customer Experiences with Soul. Simon and James Souttar, a designer and communication consultant, both studied with Henri Bortoft. Simon and Maria have had many conversations with James in relation to Henri’s philosophy and how it relates to design of customer experiences.1 James says the following, which I find interesting:

The fundamental flaw with ‘design thinking’ is that it prioritises a perfected outcome over a fulfilling journey. This is giving us a world of constantly improved things which are yet strangely unsatisfying and increasingly inhuman in their perfection. … It is a paradigmatic example of what Henri Bortoft called ‘finished product thinking’, missing completely the dimension of ‘coming into being’.2

I think this applies, as well, to leadership, to organizational design, garden desing, and even to architecture.

  • Here is my review of Harrison Owen’s book The Spirit of Leadership, which, one might say, is about leading with soul.
  • Here is my review of Mary Reynolds’ book The Gardening Awakening, which is about designing with soul—in this case, gardens radiant with life, bursting with energy.3
  • And here is my review of Christopher Alexander’s book The Battle for the Life and Beauty of the Earch, which is about building with soul. The purpose of architecture, according to Christopher, is to provide opportunities and contexts which support and enhance life-giving human situations.4

The dimension of ‘coming into being’ is essential to generative organizing.
What’s generative/genuine/authentic requires ‘coming into being’.

Notes:
1 Simon Robinson and Maria Moraes Robinson, Customer Experiences with Soul (Holonomics Publishing, 2017), pp.67.
2 Ibid., pp.68-69.
3 Mary Reynolds, The Garden Awakening: Designs to Nurture Our Land and Ourselves (Green Books, 2016), p.42.
4 Christopher Alexander with HansJoachim Neis and Maggie Moore Alexander, The Battle for the Life and Beauty of the Earth: A Struggle Between Two World-Systems (Oxford University Press, 2012), p.7.

Related posts:
Organizing in between and beyond posts

Organizing retrospective 97-104

This is a post in my series on organizing ”between and beyond.” Other posts are here. This is a retrospective of what has happened during the week. The purpose is to reflect on the work itself. Here is my previous retrospective. Here is my next retrospective.

What has happened? What needs to be done?
This is a retrospective of the last two months.

Here are highlights from the books I’ve read during the last two months:

  • A Gymnasium Of Beliefs In Higher Intelligence by Anthony Blake.

    Many books claim all kinds of truths. This is not one of them. One theme throughout the book is that of illusion. Anthony Blake adopts the position that some things are not what they seem to be. He has studied physics and the philosophy of science, and had many conversations with David Bohm. Bohm influenced Blake a lot, especially with the idea that there’s no one true theory.
    .
    The word gymnasium means a place of nakedness. Anthony Blake recommends that whenever a view is put forward—think of its contrary! A belief cannot include all possibilities, so at best is partial and provisional. Emotions reveal what bind us into a view of reality. Listen to all voices, especially when they contradict each other.
    .
    Understanding means enabling one’s own mind to change. It comes out of the body and what we do. Intelligence is engaged in fact, while illumination comes from beyond fact and subsists in value. Anthony Blake proposes that when people coalesce their individual intelligences a higher order can emerge. One approach is through dialogue.
    .
    Listening is an action of tremendous depth. It requires an act of receptivity. Such an act is much rarer than any act of assertion. Seriously listening to other people is next to impossible for many because even just allowing different views to pay a visit is felt to be akin to annihilation.
    .
    Most attempts to bring people together for mutual enhancement of intelligence fail. Yet there’s evidence of such groups coming about of their own accord. Such groups are characterized by the following:
    .
    1. All members are equal in status.
    2. There is no limit on what is spoken about.
    3. The group operates from the content of the present moment. This requires a sensitivity to what is happening now.
    .
    I find it most interesting, in terms of generative organizing, that there’s no presupposition of solutions in dialogue. This is very different from the approach of imposing a system. Dialogue is more than just clever conversation. In dialogue, there is no leader, no agenda, and no set procedure. Dialogue is making one’s way through meaning as it unfolds without prejudgment. The direction emerges from the group. Needless to say, members of the group can easily inhibit or distort the process.
    .
    This is a thought-provoking book!
    .
  • Man or Matter: An Introduction to a Spiritual Understanding of Nature on the Basis of Goethe’s Method of Training Observation and Thought by Ernst Lehrs.
    Johann Wolfgang von Goethe published his Metamorphosis of Plants in 1790. A mechanism can be taken to bits and re-assembled. An organism does not permit this. Goethe developed a clear distinction between two ways of observing the world, ascribing one to verstand (intellect), the other to vernuft (reason). Goethe discards the idea that measurement is absolutely superior to sense-perception.
    .
    One of the first systematic pieces of work which Goethe undertook was to go through Newton’s Opticks: or, A Treatise of the Reflexions, Refractions, Inflexions and Colours of Light, sentence by sentence, recapitulating Newton’s experiments. Goethe’s examination of the Newtonian procedure showed him that to gain an explanation of natural physical phenomena, we must approach them through the way nature brings them into being.
    .
    A source of illusion lies in the fact the onlooker consciousness accepts itself as a self-contained ready-made entity. The feeling of certainty and security arises from the exactness in mathematics. The price paid is that the scope of the enquiry into nature is narrowed. Goethe found access not only to nature’s quantitative secrets—but also to nature’s qualitative secrets.
    .
    The book is interesting, but the translation into English is awkward!
    .
  • Small Arcs of Larger Circles: Framing Through Other Patterns by Nora Bateson.
    Nora Bateson suggests that we ”see our world differently—as a living process, not as a mechanism” (Bateson, Small Arcs of Larger Circles, p.186).

    ”There is an alive order that we are within and that is within us.”
    —Nora Bateson, Small Arcs of Larger Circles, p.17

    ”The idea of systems” is from ”the ’50s when cybernetics emerged” (p.95). ”Cybernetics … found purchase in the larger culture’s … industrial and mechanistic thinking” (p.95). The ”habit of applying the problem-solving methods of the engineer” is so pervasive that ”the language of the entire body of systems and complexity theory has become a container for slightly higher order reductionist thinking” (p.188).
    .
    The ”traps of linear and causal thinking, the notions of control, and the mechanistic approach to life … is repeatedly evident in all aspect of our culture” (p.96). The ”underlying metaphors” are based on ”the logic of industrial causation and mechanized interaction” (p.31). ”Life is not like that” (p.31). The ”actions and decisions … we make … based on this limited view … of course lead to trouble” (p.31). Organisms lives within ”the totality of patterns and relationships” (p.40). Complexity ”demands a more engaged inquiry” (p.41).
    .
    Nora Bateson often receives ”a plea for a map, a method, and a technique” (p.77). But, ”attempting to solve a problem by going at it directly is only occasionally effective” (p.77). ”The problems we see are nested in contexts” (p.77). Strategizing ”our way through becomes short-circuiting which is often destructive” (p.77). The ”options that surface when viewed from a wider angle,” a broader context, ”are entirely unplannable” (p.77).
    .
    ”Living systems … require more than one context of study if we’re to get a grasp of their vitality” (p.79). The ”subjectivity of our perspective is what gives depth and in-form-ation to everything we see” (p.101). ”Working and playing with the complex living world requires multiple languages, multiple ways of knowing” (p.205).
    .
    There are ”countless variables moving and changing in countless ways” in any ”living system” (p.133). The ”messy interaction with life” is not just ”a method of making decisions—it is an aesthetic” (p.139). Nothing can be ”more practical than to become more familiar with the patterns of movement that life requires” (p.140).
    .
    I agree with Nora Bateson that the ”lens through which we see systems theory or cybernetics or complexity will influence what we do with it” (p.95). The lens may still be an old one even though the language is new.
    .
    This is a personal and beautiful book! Enjoyed reading it.

  • The Passion of the Western Mind: Understanding the Ideas that Have Shaped Our World View by Richard Tarnas.

    Richard Tarnas believes that ”only by recalling the deeper sources of our present world and world view can we hope to gain the self-understanding necessary for dealing with our current dilemmas” (Tarnas, The Passion of the Western Mind, p.xi). Every generation must, furthermore, ”examine and think through again, from its own distinctive vantage point, the ideas that have shaped its understanding of the world” (p.xii).
    .
    Between ”the mid-fifteenth and early seventeenth centuries, an unmistakable quantum leap was made in the cultural evolution of the West” (p.247). The ”basic conception of the physical universe as an atomistic system ruled by a few mechanistic laws became the guiding model for the seventeenth-century scientists” (p.268).
    .
    Although Newton’s ”concept of gravity as a force acting at a distance” seemed ”insufficiently mechanical … the mathematical derivations were too spectacularly comprehensive not to be compelling” (p.270). The ”Newtonian-Cartesian cosmology was now established as the foundation for a new world view” (p.270).
    .
    ”Descartes used Galileo’s distinction between primary, measurable properties of objects and secondary, more subjective properties” (p.278). ”In Descartes’s vision, science, progress, reason, epistemological certainty, and human identity were are inextricably connected with each other and with the conception of an objective, mechanistic universe” (p.280).
    .
    As the ”Cartesian-Newtonian framework was drawn out to its logical conclusions, the implications … were gradually made explicit” (p.285). The ”universe was an impersonal phenomenon, governed by regular natural laws, and understandable in exclusively physical and mathematical terms” (p.285). ”The structure and movement of nature was the result of … an amoral, random, and brutal struggle for survival” (p.285). The ”purpose of knowledge … was to better align nature to man’s will” (p.295).
    .
    The ”Scientific Revolution and the Enlightenment brought Western man unprecedented freedom, power, expansion, breadth of knowledge, depth of insight, and concrete success” (p.325). And yet ”simultaneously served … to undermine the human being’s existential situation on virtually every front: metaphysical and cosmological, epistemological, psychological, and finally even biological” (p.325).
    .
    With ”Galileo, Descartes, and Newton, the new science was forged” (p.236). And yet ”simultaneously, the new world was disenchanted” (p.236). ”The new universe was a machine, a self-contained mechanism of force and matter” (p.236). Science’s ”quantitative analysis of the world … was accompanied by the … diminuation of all those qualities … constitutive of human experience” (p.236).

    ”Reality may not be structured in any way the human mind can objectively discern.”—Richard Tarnas, The Passion of the Western Mind, p.359.

    ”In contrast with … the Enlightenment, the Romantic vision perceived the world as a unitary organism rather than an atomistic machine” (pp.366–7). ”In a world made mechanical and soulless by science, the pursuit of beauty for its own sake assumed extraordinary psychological importance” (p.373).
    .
    Goethe ”strove to unite … observation and … intuition into … a science capable of grasping nature’s organic archetypal forms” (p.378). ”The scientist could not, in Goethe’s view, arrive at nature’s deeper truths by detaching himself from nature and employing … abstractions to understand it, registering the external world as a machine” (p.378).
    .
    ”Bohm’s theory of the implicate order” and ”Bell’s theorem of nonlocality” point to new possibilities for a ”less reductionist scientific world conception” (p.405). ”Evelyn Fox Keller’s … recommendation … of empathic identification with the object … reflects a similar reorientation of the scientific mind” (p.405).
    .
    The challenge is to engage the ”set of perspectives which brings forth the most valuable, life-enhancing consequences” (p.406). The ”great irony” is that when we ”actively construes the world as unconscious, mechanistic, and impersonal, it is just then that the world is completely a selective construct of the human mind” (p.432).
    .
    This is a very well-written book, which took ten years to write!

  • Wave Rider: Leadership for High Performance in a Self-Organizing World by Harrison Owen.

    Harrison Owen’s ”operating hypothesis” is that ”self-organizing systems are naturally productive … of superior performance” (Owen, Wave Rider, p.xvi). The argument of the book is that ”our organizations, as indeed the entire cosmos—are all self-organizing systems” (p.6). ”Not just a little bit, … but from beginning to end, top to bottom” (p.6).
    .
    This means that ”a large part of what we currently devote a good deal of time and energy to—organizing things—is wasted effort” (p.6). By ”imposing our view of organization on a self-organizing system we essentially throw a spanner in the works” (p.7). Organizations work despite our organizing efforts.
    .
    ”The image of the Wave Rider comes from the world of surfing” (p.7). The objective is ”to ride the wave … until you reach the beach” (p.8). For ”every beginning there is an end” (p.34). ”The simple truth of the matter is that as chaos, confusion, and conflict do their work, things come and go” (p.34). All three ”seem to be essential to living, and therefore their elimination would do substantial damage to life” (p.31).
    .
    Difficulty arises when ”life is downsized (at least in our thinking) to that which is observable and under our control” (p.40). ”Not only is everything radically connected, but it is all moving, and with every move the nature and impact of the interrelationships can change” (p.49). ”We are dealing with something of such magnitude, complexity, and changeability that even thinking about it creates massive overload” (p.52).
    .
    ”The conventional practice and theory of organization … find it difficult to understand how a group … might move from … confusion to active and productive engagement, without the benefit of an agenda, prior training, and intense facilitation” (p.63). ”Conditions” for making it happen are (pp.69-70):
    .
    1. A ”real” business issue
    2. Voluntary self-selection
    3. High levels of complexity
    4. High levels of diversity
    5. Presence of passion and conflict
    6. A decision time of yesterday
    .
    The ”significant difference” here is that ”structure and controls … are emergent, which is to say that they emanate from the group as a whole and therefore are appropriate to the people…, the task…, and the environment” (pp.75–6). ”When caring people gather around something they care about, there is a high likelihood that useful things will happen” (p.79).
    .
    In short, everything is self-organizing, ”even and perhaps most especially, all those things we thought we organized and must control” (p.233). Effective work ”emerge naturally from the people themselves, all in tune with the task undertaken and the environment” (p.132). Authentic leadership ”emerges from the passion and responsibility of those who care…, creating focus and direction for the emergent organization, and a nutrient space in which that organization may grow” (p.132).
    .
    This is a great book! Harrison Owen is one of my favorite authors. Here is my review of The Spirit of Leadership: Liberating the Leader in Each of Us, which is another of Harrison Owen’s books.
    .
  • Gaia’s Dance: The Story of Earth & Us by Elisabet Sahtouris.

    Elisabeth Sahtouris is among the scientists changing their views from a non-living to a living universe. Gaia’s dance is what we have come to know as Earth’s evolution. We are all part of Gaia’s dance, so the more we learn about it, the more we learn about ourselves as people of Earth.
    .
    A machine is created from the outside by someone who puts its pieces together in just the right way to make ti do what is wanted. A living being creates and continually keeps renewing itself. When something goes wrong with a machine, it must be repaired, while a living being often can repair itself.
    .
    Co-evolution happens as organisms try out all ways of life in Gaia’s dance. The knowledge how to co-operate is there in both bees and flowers, as in the rest of nature. Life organizes itself in intelligent and mostly co-operative ways. Ecosystems are made of countless different kinds of organisms all working together with no one of them in charge.
    .
    The old, mechanical way, of looking at the world, with organisms simply evolving by accidents which fit or didn’t fit them into their contexts, is just too simple a view. Organisms improvise and make it up as they go, using their intelligence to work out whatever problems come in their way, correcting imbalances so that all can dance together.

    ”Organization works best when it is cooperative and flexible. If it gets too rigid or too competitive, it does not work very well for long. We easily see this in the discontent people are now feeling about the old mechanical ways of organizing our schools, our work places and even our governments—as if they were supposed to work like well-oiled machines in which we were the parts! People now want to be treated like intelligent beings who can be improv dancers helping to reorganize such systems so they work better for us all.”
    —Elisabet Sahtouris, Gaia’s dance: The Story of Earth & Us (Kindle version)

    The human history is a story of competition and cooperation. Learning to co-operate well has been most important from the very beginning. Human society was, and still is, in a competitive expansion phase with corporate empires now larger than most nations. The problem is that we have left out some of the most important things in a co-operative society: the equal role of women, the concern for future generations, and the need to give back to nature for everything taken from it.
    .
    Human co-operation is necessary now for our survival. Being creative, greedy, and mean to each other worked to get us to where we are, but are now out of step with Gaia’s dance. Just how we work things out is not so important. What matters is that we do it in a way that works for everyone. Instead of hating each other, we can help and learn from each other. It seems as we need the challenge of immense disasters to get creative enough to wake up and act.
    .
    This is a thoughtful book!

  • The Way of Aikido: Life Lessons from an American Sensei by George Leonard.

    ”When confronted by any attack…, the aikidoist … enters and blends. That is, he or she moves toward the incoming energy and then, at the last instant, slightly off the line of attack, turning so as to look momentarily at the situation from the attacker’s viewpoint. From this position, many possibilities exist, including a good chance of reconciliation.”
    —George Leonard, The Way of Aikido (Kindle version)

    The very essence of aikido is contained in the blending move. The aikidoist moves toward the attacker. In this position, he or she is looking from the attacker’s viewpoint—without giving up his or her own viewpoint. This blending move multiplies your options. Blending isn’t the answer for every situation, but it can multiply your options.
    .
    It’s important that you are firmly connected to the earth, with your energy concentrated in your hara (center), as you blend. To blend consistently under pressure requires practice. Blending is an expression of the willingness to embrace even the strongest attack, and to bring it into concord with the unity of the universe.
    .
    The physical techniques in aikido are only the surface manifestations of a more profound reality. Each of as can be viewed as a context of the universe from a particular point of view. Each of us can act as if we are at the center of existence—allowing others the same privilege. To do so we must get in touch with our own center. The impetus of our actions must arise in our center.
    .
    All you have to do is put you attention on the hara, but the ramifications of centering can take a lifetime to play out. While physical centering is always a pre-requisite, there’s also centering in non-physical activities. To see, breathe, and move from the center can change our lives. Physically, as well as symbolically, the hara can be treated as the center of power.
    .
    Centering affects the outcome of our actions in many ways. And as the pressure increases, the difference between the centered and uncentered states becomes more apparent. To be centered is to say yes to life. Being willing to own your life creates a context that is almost sure to enhance it.
    .
    A context isn’t just a passive container for our experience. It impels and directs our thoughts, emotions, and actions. It deals with how we weave our experience together to give it meaning. Context can limit and it can liberate. Changing context opens up new possibilities. It is ours to change.
    .
    Executing techniques is not the end of the process. It is the beginning of the next action. When we become aware between techniques, techniques improve. When we approach an activity in the spirit of play—joyfully, for its own sake—we are likely to achieve the best results.
    .
    This is a great book! The aikido philosophy translates surprisingly well into guidelines for living.

  • The Silent Pulse: A Search for the Perfect Rhythm that Exists in Each of Us by George Leonard.

    This book is about the underlying rhythm that sustains life and underlies all of existence. There exists a silent pulse of perfect rhythm at the center of our lives. Getting in touch with this rhythm can transform our personal experience and alter the world around us.
    .
    Rhythm is a fundamental aspect of organization. The process of entrainment is the essence of human communication. A variety of bodily processes become synchronized through close interaction. The more you move in rhythm with someone, the close you become with that person. This is true not only with human beings but with all living organisms.
    .
    Entrainment is made explicit in music. The performer’s movements must be perfectly entrained with the pulse of the music, or else the performance falls apart. Human beings have an ability to sense, feel, and move as one. Watch the members of a chamber group—how they become as one.
    .
    Every creative act, every act of interaction, has its own movements, which can be suppressed only at the expense of what is spontaneous, and ultimately nourishing. At the heart of life, there is this silent pulse of perfect rhythm. It is our most accessible entry into the dance of Gaia, the dance of the universe. This subtle dance joins us to the world. At the heart of the world, there is only the dance.
    .
    How arrogant it is to think that we can stand alone apart, against the world. We are part of all that we perceive. It appears that objects are to be known by their relationships rather than by any independent, fixed character. The idea of an individual human identity can be expressed through a distinctive inner pulse.
    .
    The senses are means of connecting the organized rhythmic fields that we call the self with all the rhythms of the world. But our connectedness with the world goes beyond the sensory. It is built into our very structure. Mind and matter do influence each other. Everything that happens everywhere is somehow connected.
    .
    Every part of the universe in some sense contains the whole. You might think of yourself, not only as a series of rhythmic fields within fields, but also as a series of holoids within holoids. Just as you have identity, you also have holonomy. The very structure of your body and being may be said to reflect the ongoing structure of the universe.
    .
    The physically expanding universe is also a universe of evolution, transformation, and expanding possibilities. And the predominant direction of this evolution is toward increasing complexity and order, with new information, new options manifesting themselves at every point.
    .
    The relationship between identity and holonomy is always going on, a silent pulse at the heart of our experience. We are continually influencing our universe through our own intentionality. The present moment always contains an element of genuine novelty. The universe is continually at work of restructuring itself.
    .
    Our key choice is whether to become aware of and take responsibility for the power of our intentionality. A truly centered person feel no need to exploit others for selfish purposes. Each of us is a context, a weaving together of universal information from a particular point of view. We are not mere observers, but are always active participants at the feast of life. .
    .
    Each of us is in the universe, the universe is in each of us.
    .
    I really liked this book!
  • Mastery: The Keys to Success and Long-Term Fulfillment by George Leonard.

    George Leonard writes that mastery ”resists definition yet can be instantly recognized” (Leonard, Mastery, p.5).  Mastery ”comes in many comes in many varieties, yet follows certain unchanging laws” (p.5). ”It brings rich rewards, yet is not really a goal … but rather a journey” (p.5).
    .
    The quick-fix mentality that pervades our society ”not only prevents us from developing our potential skills but threatens our health, education, [and] relationships” (p.6). ”Again and again we are told to do one thing only so that we can get something else” (p.39). ”We spend our lives stretched on an iron rack of contingencies” (p.39).
    .
    ”The achievement of goals is important” (p.39). But the juice of life ”is to be found not nearly so much in the products of our efforts as in the process of living itself, in how it feels to be alive” (p.39). Goals and contingencies ”exist in the future and the past” (p.48). ”Practice, the path to mastery, exists only in the present” (p.48).
    .
    The ”Five Master Keys” are (p.vii):
    1. Instruction
    2. Practice
    3. Surrender
    4. Intentionality
    5. The Edge
    .
    ”Our preoccupation with goals, results, and the quick fix has separated us from our own experiences” (p.141). To put it more starkly, ”it has robbed us of countless hours of the time of our lives” (p.141). Excessive use of external motivation can ”slow and even stop” our ”journey to mastery” (p.137). ”The ultimate reward is not a gold medal but the path itself” (p.138).
    .
    This book is okay, but I think George Leonard’s books on The Way of Aikido and, especially, The Silent Pulse are better (see above).

I’ve started reading:

What was good? What can be improved?
I am a very active reader. I need to become more active with my own writing.

Notes to myself:

  • There’s as big difference between intrinsic vs. extrinsic organization/structure/order as there is between intrinsic vs. extrinsic motivation.
  • There’s also a difference between authentic vs. counterfeit organization/structure/order. (See this post on how authentic vs. counterfeit are connected to the phenomenological idea of belonging together vs. belonging together.)
  • An example of belonging together (Henry Bortoft, Taking Appearance Seriously, p. 21) is Harrison Owen’s genuine community (Owen, Wave Rider, pp. 76, 132).
  • An aikidoist (George Leonard, The Way of Aikido) is a wave rider (Harrison Owen, Wave Rider).
  • Dialogue (Anthony Blake) is a way to open space (Harrison Owen).

Related posts:
Organizing in between and beyond posts

Organizing retrospective 91

This is a post in my series on organizing ”between and beyond.” Other posts are here. This is a retrospective of what has happened during the week. The purpose is to reflect on the work itself. Here is my previous retrospective. Here is my next retrospective.

What has happened? What needs to be done?
Finally, here is my review of Experiencing and the Creation of Meaning: A Philosophical and Psychological Approach to the Subjective by Eugene Gendlin. This is a most interesting book, but it’s also a very difficult book to read. It has taken me several weeks to finalize the review. Eugene Gendlin considers felt experiencing in its own right:

  • We can think everything more truly if we think with attention to how we think.
  • Symbols and felt meanings function together in different ways.
  • Experiencing underlies every moment of living.
  • Experiencing is the total of experienced meaning.
  • It is vitally important to refer directly to experiencing.

What was good? What can be improved?
I am glad that I finally managed to finish my review of Eugene Gendlin’s book. I mentioned the book the first time in this retrospective almost a year ago. I think Gendlin’s work is groundbreaking. Felt experiencing is how we tap into deeper generative order. Here is also my review of another of Gendlin’s books. It’s a book on Focusing: How to Gain Direct Access to Your Body’s Knowledge.
Related posts:
Organizing in between and beyond posts

Organizing retrospective 90

This is a post in my series on organizing ”between and beyond.” Other posts are here. This is a retrospective of what has happened during the week. The purpose is to reflect on the work itself. Here is my previous retrospective. Here is my next retrospective.

What has happened? What needs to be done?
I finished reading the following books this week:

  • Mind and Nature by Gregory Bateson. Bateson believes that mental process always is a sequence of interactions between parts. He doesn’t believe that elementary particles are minds in themselves. Contrary to Bateson I do believe that elementary particles have proto-minds. Here is my review.
  • The Myths We Live By by Mary Midgley. Myths are are imaginative patterns, networks of symbols. The way we imagine the world determines what we think important in it, what we select for our attention. That is why we need to become aware of these symbols. Here is my review.
  • The Garden Awakening by Mary Reynolds. This is a book about designing gardens that are radiant with life, bursting with energy. I think that Mary Reynolds’ approach to garden design is as applicable to organizational design. If we are to treat the organization as a living system, we must think in those terms. Here is my review.

What was good? What can be improved?
I’m really glad that I was able to publish three book reviews this week. Hopefully, I’ll be able to publish my ongoing review of Eugene Gendlin’s Experiencing and the Creation of Meaning next week. Gendlin’s book is a groundbreaking philosophical work. He considers felt experiencing in its own right, and explores how logical order can relate concretely to felt experience.

Organizing in between and beyond posts

Organizing retrospective 89

This is a post in my series on organizing ”between and beyond.” Other posts are here. This is a retrospective of what has happened during the week. The purpose is to reflect on the work itself. Here is my previous retrospective. Here is my next retrospective.

What has happened? What needs to be done?
I am still working on my review of Eugene Gendlin’s Experiencing and the Creation of Meaning: A Philosophical and Psychological Approach to the Subjective. This is a philosophical work where Gendlin examines the edge of awareness, where language emerges from non-language. This is a groundbreaking book which addresses pre-conceptual and supra-logical aspects of experiencing and meaning-making.

Gendlin, Experiencing and the Creation of Meaning.

Gregory Bateson’s Mind and Nature: A Necessary Unity arrived this week. Bateson offers the phrase the pattern which connects as another possible title for the book.1 The book is built on the opinion that we are parts of a living world.2 We have been trained to think of patterns as something fixed. It is easier and lazier that way, but it is all nonsense. The right way to think about the pattern which connects is to think of it as primarily a dance of interacting parts.3 Logic and quantity turn out to be inappropriate for describing organisms, their interactions, and internal organization. There is no conventional way of explaining or even describing the phenomena of biological organization.4

Bateson, Mind and Nature.

I have started reading Gregory Bateson’s book and Mary Midgley’s The Myths We Live By. Myths are everywhere. In political thought (theories of human nature and the social contract), in economics (the pursuit of self interest), and in science (the idea of human beings as machines). The great thinkers of the 17th century were obsessed by the ambition to drill all thought into a single formal system. Descartes, Spinoza, and Leibniz, tried to mend the mind/body gap by building abstract systems powered by their models of thought, logic, and mathematics.5 However, conceptual mono-culture cannot work because, in almost all our thought, we are dealing with subject-matters that we need to consider from more than one aspect.6

Midgley, The Myths We Live By.

What was good? What can be improved?
It’s good that I’ve got started with my review of Gendlin’s book, but it’s very difficult to create a concise summary of the book. Gendlin examines a new kind of thinking, which begins in the intricacy of felt meaning. The book is highly relevant to my interest in deeper generative orders for organizing.

Notes:
1 Gregory Bateson, Mind and Nature: A Necessary Unity (Hampton Press, 2002), p.7.
2 Ibid., p.16.
3 Ibid., p.12.
4 Ibid., p.19.
5 Mary Midgley, The Myths We Live By (Routledge, 2011, first published 2004), p.88.
6 Ibid., p.68.

Related posts:
Organizing in between and beyond posts

Organizing retrospective 88

This is a post in my series on organizing ”between and beyond.” Other posts are here. This is a retrospective of what has happened during the week. The purpose is to reflect on the work itself. Here is my previous retrospective. Here is my next retrospective.

What has happened? What needs to be done?
Three new books arrived this week:

  • The Lost Language of Plants by Stephen Buhner.
    This book explores the complex, multidimensional, intricately connected, living organism that we call Earth. Stephen Buhner has become one of my favorite authors. This is the fourth book of Buhner which I am reading.
  • The Myths We Live By by Mary Midgley.
    Myths are everywhere. In political thought they sit at the heart of theories of human nature and the social contract; in economics in the pursuit of self interest; and in science in the idea of human beings as machines.
  • Beyond the Limits of Thought by Graham Priest.
    This book investigates the nature and the limits of thought. The book is a blend of logic and the history of philosophy.

Last month, I read Masanobu Fukuoka’s first and last major works, The One-Straw Revolution and Sowing Seeds in the Desert. Masanobu Fukuoka criticizes our willingness to reduce life to what is know about it, and to act on the assumption that what we don’t know can safely be ignored. One principle that Masanobu Fukuoka followed was to consider how one could do as little as possible. This was not because he was lazy, but because of his belief that if nature were given the opportunity it would do everything on its own. Here is a compilation of my tweets from my reading Fukuoka’s books.

Fukuoka’s first and last major works (from left to right).

I am currently reviewing Eugene Gendlin’s book Experiencing and the Creation of Meaning. It’s a most interesting book which I mentioned in this retrospective last year. Experiencing, as defined by Eugene Gendlin, is directly related to the deeper generative order for organizing which I’m so interested in. I will post a review of Gendlin’s book next week.

Gendlin, Experiencing and the Creation of Meaning.

What was good? What can be improved?
I am glad that I finally got started with my review of Gendlin’s book. David Bohm and Eugene Gendlin’s thinking are cornerstones in this work. There are interesting parallels between Gendlin and Bohm:

  • Bohm talks about the implicate and explicate, while Gendlin talks about the implicit and explicit.1
  • Bohm explores the nature of consciousness, with particular attention to thought. Gendlin explores experiencing, with an emphasis on the ability to think with the intricacy of the situation.2
  • Bohm proposes that there is order in all aspects of life.3 So does Gendlin, who describes nature as a responsive order.4
  • Bohm thinks that all action, including inaction, takes place immediately according to the meaning of the total situation at the moment.5 Gendlin thinks that we orient ourselves in situations, and make appropriate responses, all on the basis of felt meaning,6 which is present whenever actions and situations occur that have meaning to a person.7

I think that Gendlin’s experiencing and creation of meaning is a Bohmian soma-significant activity, which gives rise to further signa-somatic activity.8

Notes:
1 Eugene Gendlin, Experiencing and the Creation of Meaning: A Philosophical and Psychological Approach to the Subjective (Northwestern University Press, 1997, first published 1962), p.xiii.
2 Ibid., p.xii.
3 David Bohm and F. David Peat, Science, Order, and Creativity (Routledge, 2010-09-01, first published 1987-10-01), p.146.
4 Eugene Gendlin, Experiencing and the Creation of Meaning: A Philosophical and Psychological Approach to the Subjective (Northwestern University Press, 1997, first published 1962), p.xix.
5 Paavo Pylkkänen (editor), The Search for Meaning: The New Spirit in Science and Philosophy, (Crucible, 1989), p.57.
6 Eugene Gendlin, Experiencing and the Creation of Meaning: A Philosophical and Psychological Approach to the Subjective (Northwestern University Press, 1997, first published 1962), p.68.
7 Ibid., p.70.
8 Paavo Pylkkänen (editor), The Search for Meaning: The New Spirit in Science and Philosophy, (Crucible, 1989), p.46.

Related posts:
Organizing in between and beyond posts

Organizing retrospective 84-87

This is a post in my series on organizing ”between and beyond.” Other posts are here. This is a retrospective of what has happened during the week. The purpose is to reflect on the work itself. Here is my previous retrospective. Here is my next retrospective.

What has happened? What needs to be done?
This is a retrospective, not of the last week, but of the last month.

The following books arrived this month:

  • Kidnapped in The Amazon Jungle by F. Bruce Lamb.
    This is the true story of Manuel Córdova-Rios and his life among the Huni Kui, an isolated tribe possessing sophisticated knowledge of the curative powers of jungle plants and the habits of the many animals that lived with them in the Amazon jungle.
  • Rio Tigre & Beyond: The Amazon Jungle Medicine of Manuel Córdova-Rios by F. Bruce Lamb.
    This is a continuation of the story in the previous book. The word psychosomatic hardly scratches the surface when it comes to a master like Manuel Córdova-Rios in the use of jungle plants as medicines.1 Interestingly, Córdova-Rios felt that his part in the healing process was not to eliminate or directly counteract the trouble, but rather to create a condition of harmony and stability that would allow the body to heal itself.2 Similarly, I think deeper generative organizing is about creating conditions that allow people to organize themselves. The follow-up question then is, what are these conditions?
  • Many Voices One Song: Shared Power with Sociocracy by Jennifer Rau and Jerry Koch-Gonzalez.
    This is a new book which probably will be out in June. Jennifer Rau asked me in February whether I was interested in reviewing the book and I answered yes! The book is a collection of tools, methods, formats that support acting as one while celebrating our many voices. I share Jennifer and Jerry’s view that organizations need be life-serving and all-embracing, that is—they need to work for everyone and hold care for everyone affected by the organization. Here is my book review.

This month, I also published this review of Kelvy Bird’s book on Generative Scribing: A Social Art of the 21st Century. Kelvy’s writing and drawing resonates deeply with me. Kelvy’s approach can, furthermore, be applied to other arts, crafts, and practices as well. I love the book!

Kelvy Bird, Generative Scribing.

What was good? What can be improved?
I’d really like to immerse myself fully in this work, but I’m working full time with other things. I need to find a solution to this!

Notes:
1 F. Bruce Lamb, Rio Tigre & Beyond: The Amazon Jungle Medicine of Manuel Córdova-Rios (North Atlantic Books, 1985),
1980), p. 158.
2 Ibid., p. 160.

Related posts:
Organizing in between and beyond posts