Kategoriarkiv: Quotes

Quotes of John Welwood

This is a compilation of my tweets from John Welwood’s book Toward a Psychology of Awakening. Hence all these quotes are the length of tweets.

… how we relate to another inevitably follows from how we relate to ourselves …

… our outer relationships are but an extension of our inner life …

… we can only be as open and present with another as we are with ourselves.

Courage involves facing the world squarely and letting your heart be touched, forever opening to life, come what may.

The core wound … is the disconnection from our own being.

… our lives unfold within … structures … surrounded by vast reaches of open space.

When we laugh, we have just stepped out of a structure.

In any process of growth … we always reach this … point where we must decide whether we really want to move forward …

… who I think I am now is always determined by who I thought I was a moment ago.

At some point in our development, it’s time to let go of the fabricated control structures that once served us so well.

… our larger awareness is the ultimate holding environment that can allow us to embrace all our … feelings & experiences …

Most people in our culture did not receive … unconditional acceptance in … childhood.

The health of living organisms is maintained through the free-flowing circulation of energy.

… the ungraspable, open-ended nature of reality … is what allows life to keep creating and recreating itself anew in each moment

If relationships are to flourish, they need to reflect and promote who we really are …

The less we need to hide, the more we can come forward as we really are.

On one hand, we long to break out of our separateness …Yet at the same time, we also experience trepidation.

If we hold on too tight or let go too much, we lose our balance.

Unconditional love has its reasons, which reason cannot know.

Because we are of this earth, we exist within certain forms and structures (body … beliefs and values) …

The leader in pathological groups is usually a magnetic, charismatic person who exudes … boundless self-confidence.

Corrupt leaders prey deliberately on their followers’ sense of personal inadequacy.

… the more the followers give the leader power … , the more he can … force them to do anything … in order to maintain his approval.

The more that self-trust is broken down, the more the followers try to model themselves on … the leadership.

The more one depends on another for validation, the more one is likely to act in ways that compromise one’s integrity.

… the more one’s integrity becomes compromised, the less one trusts oneself, which increases one’s dependency on the leader.

Failing to recognize important distinctions … only contributes to the confusion …

… identity structures are made of beliefs.

Through learning to speak truthfully and listen respectfully … we start to practice genuine meeting and dialogue …

Community is born in the relationship between I and Thou.

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Stuart Kauffman on emergence and life

Stuart Kauffman (Source: Closer To Truth)

Here is Closer To Truth‘s interview with Stuart Kauffman about ”Is Emergence Fundamental?

Stuart Kauffman says among other things that (my emphasis in bold):

Reason is an insufficient guide for living your life. It means we need reason, emotion, intuition, sensation, metaphor. … Life is much richer than we thought.1

The biosphere is creating its own future possibilities of becoming. … That’s not in Darwin. … It’s a radical emergence. … We couldn’t prestate it. … We don’t know how it happened. … It changed the course of evolution.2

It’s radical emergence. It cannot be deduced.3

1 Stuart Kauffman – Is Emergence Fundamental? (5:23), 2015-11-09 (accessed 2017-06-04).
2 Stuart Kauffman – Is Emergence Fundamental? (6:35), 2015-11-09 (accessed 2017-06-04).
3 Stuart Kauffman – Is Emergence Fundamental? (7:43), 2015-11-09 (accessed 2017-06-04).

Start with why

Inspiring leaders start with what they believe in first, making their worldview and motivation explicit. … The why defines the how in an action-oriented way. … how expresses the values that guide our actions and how we aim to manifest the higher purpose in action; and what refers to the results of those actions.1

1, Daniel Christian Wahl, Designing Regenerative Cultures (Triarchy Press, 2016), p.36.

Bill Plotkin about speaking in our true voice

Source: DartingtonTV, Bill Plotkin – Soulcraft – YouTube.1

Bill Plotkin is a depth psychologist, wilderness guide, and founder of Animas Valley Institute. He is the author of Soulcraft, Nature and the Human soul, and Wild Mind. Bill Plotkin says that:1

When we are young …

Maybe when we are just like three years old,
we make a promise that we forgot,
we don’t remember, that we ever made.

The promise we made was:

I agree not to sing in my true voice,
if I can get psychological and social safety
in exchange for that.

And, it’s exactly the right promise
to make at that tender age.
If we don’t make that promise
we’re not going to survive …
We have to, it’s part of being human.
We have to make that promise,
that I have to fit in culturally first.

I have to fit in into my family.
And if my family is not so healthy,
I’m going to have to put
a bigger lid on more of me.
But even if my family is healthy,
I’m going to have some lid
on embodying my true wild magnificance.

So, we make that promise, and …
at some point, we have to break it:

We have to agree that
we are going to speak in our true voice,
we are going to sing our true song.

And, through that we enter into
a conversation with the world …
where we discover …
(this is another phrase from David Whyte)
the largest conversation that
we can have with the world
in this lifetime.

1 Creative Commons Attribution license (reuse allowed), DartingtonTV, Bill Plotkin – Soulcraft – YouTube (26:45–28:33), Published Oct 3, 2013 (accessed Apr 20, 2017).

Martin Luther King on knowing thyself

Number one in your life’s blueprint
should be
a deep belief in your own dignity,
your own worth,
and your own somebodiness.

Don’t allow anybody to make you feel
that you are nobody.
Always feel that you count.
Always feel that you have worth,
and always feel that your life
has ultimate significance.

– Martin Luther King1

1 Martin Luther King, Know thyself, YouTube (accessed 2017-03-01).

The territory beyond

Source: Rosamund Stone Zander, Pathways to Possibility (Viking, 2016), p. 189.

Chapter Twenti-six, in Pathways to Possibility by Rosamund Stone Zander, is about The Territory Beyond.

Rosamund Stone Zander writes that The Territory Beyond is ”beyond what we know and expect of ourselves as human beings, beyond the norms of achievement …, beyond our ordinary measures …, and beyond what we picture as vitality” (p.189).

In The Territory Beyond ”the distinction between what it is that we want and what life wants fades and ultimately disappears” (p.189). ”We feel whole and in tune …” (p.189).

We can’t get to The Territory Beyond all by ourselves because ”there is no such thing as a human being by herself” (p.189). ”We don’t exist alone” (p.189). Yet, the territory is ”located inside” each one of us ”where all of creation resides” (p.190).

The Territory Beyond ”might be described as a deeper level of reality than we are familiar with” (p.190). It takes an ”open, curious, and creative” mind that is ”willing to have its worldview overthrown” to locate the territory (p.190).

We enter into The Territory Beyond by ”committing to … exploration” (p.190). We simply ”engage without reservation, without knowing the outcome” (p.191). The field of the territory ”highlights experiences” like ”the surprise and pleasure of seeing the world anew” (p.191).

The inquiry into a deeper generative order for organizing, an organizing beyond, requires that we enter into The Territory Beyond. It is a territory beyond the explicate order.

Related posts:
Organizing in between and beyond posts

Diane Musho Hamilton on exploring truth in all points

dianemushohamiltonHere is an article1 by Diane Musho Hamilton where she comments on the US presidential election 2016. Hamilton writes (my emphasis in bold):

… because [truth] … is fragmented, our interiors feel fragmented. When it becomes so difficult to find the truth, we start to allow crude and reductive discourse to limit our own minds. We let our capacity for complexity be reduced. And we start to become adversarial, … refusing to conduct ourselves with compassion.

In the midst of this wild and aggressive discourse, we have to work even harder to see into what other people are wanting and needing. This is essential—because if we don’t understand more deeply, we aren’t going to be able to affect the process positively, let alone, the outcomes.”

Things get even more disorienting when we confuse limits to behavior with limits to our thinking. We do have to draw boundaries around behaviors that threaten our safety and oppress others, but we don’t have to draw limits around our curiosity or willingness to try on another point of view more deeply.

By bringing our curiosity forward we can increase our creative potential for working with others. Instead of letting ourselves become adversaries (because we all know where that goes), we can choose to humble ourselves and lead with a question: How do we promote change in service of growth and higher levels of understanding?

1 Diane Musho Hamilton, The Truth of Trump—Every Perspective is True and Partial, LinkedIn, 2016-03-30, (accessed 2016-09-21).

David Bohm on ecology, organization, thinking, dialogue, and wholeness

David Bohm on ecology, organization, thinking, dialogue, and wholeness:1

… the ecology in itself is not a problem. It works perfectly well by itself. Its due to us, right?

The earth is one household really, but we are not treating it that way …

… the more you made society big and you had organization, and you had to get to the top, and people on the bottom would suffer. … it’s a mistake.

So the first thing we have to do, in the long run, is to look at our way of thinking …

Now, that means that people have to participate, to make a cooperative effort, to have a dialogue, a real dialogue …

… wholeness is a kind of attitude or approach to the whole of life. It’s a way. If we can have a coherent approach to reality then reality will respond coherently to us.

1 Wholeness: A Coherent Approach to Reality – David Bohm | Creative by Nature (2014-10-01) (accessed 2016-08-20).

Holacracy and Arthur Koestler

The organizational structure in Holacracy is a holarchy, a term coined by Arthur Koestler in The Ghost in the Machine. Brian Robertson writes in his book on Holacracy that (his italics):

The type of structure used for organizations in Holacracy is not a traditional hierarchy, but a ”holarchy.” Arthur Koestler coined the term in his 1967 book The Ghost in the Machine. He defined a ”holon” as ”a whole that is a part of a larger whole” and a ”holarchy” as ”the connection between holons.” 1

Arthur Koestler actually defined a holon as a node in a hierarchic tree which behaves partly as wholes or wholly as parts, and a holarchy as a hierarchy of holons. Koestler writes (his italics):

… to talk of sub-wholes (or sub-assemblies, sub-tructures, sub-skills, subsystems) is awkward and tedious. It seems preferable to coin a new term to designate these nodes on the hierarchic tree which behave partly as wholes or wholly as parts, according to the way you look at them. The term I would propose is ‘holon’, from the Greek holos = whole, with the suffix on which, as in proton or neutron, suggests a particle or part. 2
… we may say that the organism in its structural and functional aspects is a hierarchy of self-regulating holons which function (a) as autonomous wholes in supra-ordination to their parts, (b) as dependent parts in sub-ordination to controls on higher levels, (c) in co-ordination with their local environment.
Such a hierarchy of holons should rightly be called a holarchy …3

In Holacracy, people act as sensors for the organization, processing tensions. Brian Robertson writes that (his italics) :

An organization … is equipped with sensors — … the human beings who energize its roles and sense reality on its behalf.4
Organizations running with Holacracy are first and foremost purpose-driven … with all activities ultimately being for the sake of realizing the organization’s broader purpose. Every member then becomes a sensor for that purpose, and the rules of Holacracy’s governance process ensure that no individual interest can dominate.5
The organization is depending on you, as its sensor, to give voice to the tensions you sense so that it can evolve.6
Holacracy is focused on the organization and its purpose — not on the people and their desires and needs …7

What’s interesting is that Arthur Koestler not only coined the word holarchy, but also criticized the mechanistic view of organisms. Koestler called the following doctrine a monumental superstition:

[The doctrine] … that all organisms, including man, are essentially passive automata controlled by the environment, whose sole purpose in life is the reduction of tensions …8

To paraphrase Arthur Koestler, it’s a monumental mistake to view people essentially as sensors controlled by the organization, whose sole purpose is to process tensions.9,10

Update 2016-07-26:
Notes 9 & 10 added.

1 Brian Robertson, Holacracy: The Revolutionary Management System that Abolishes Hierarchy, (Penguin, 2015), p. 38.
2 Arthur Koestler, The Ghost in the Machine, (Last Century Media, 1982, first published 1967), p. 48.
3 Ibid., p. 103.
4 Brian Robertson, Holacracy: The Revolutionary Management System that Abolishes Hierarchy, (Penguin, 2015), p. 4.
5 Ibid., p. 166.
6 Ibid., p. 194.
7 Ibid., p. 198.
8 Arthur Koestler, The Ghost in the Machine, (Last Century Media, 1982, first published 1967), p. 3.
9 People also have the responsibility to act as role fillers in Holacracy. This is a sacred duty. See Brian Robertson, Holacracy: The Revolutionary Management System that Abolishes Hierarchy, (Penguin, 2015), p. 85. Role and soul are separated. Ibid., p. 42–46. People energize the roles and enact its accountabilities. Ibid., pp. 43, 97. And the organization depends on people processing its tensions. Ibid., pp. 7, 113, 125, 194, 200.
10 Arthur Koestler introduced the concepts of holarchy and holon in search for an alternative to the robot image of people. See Arthur Koestler, The Ghost in the Machine, (Last Century Media, 1982, first published 1967), p. 348.

Michelle Holliday on thrivability

Michelle Holliday

I tweet quotes from the books I read from my twitter account @janhoglund. Here is a compilation of the most retweeted and liked quotes from Michelle Holliday’s upcoming book The Age of Thrivability: Vital Perspectives and Practices for a Better World (in italics):

… thrivability – the intention and practice of enabling life to thrive as fully as possible, at every level.

… what if we made it our primary intention and goal to enable life to thrive …?

… our … role is not to tightly control … but to cultivate the necessary fertile conditions for life to self-organize …

… systems thinking remained (and still generally remains) grounded in a mechanistic model …

… the persistence of mechanistic thinking … is valuable to some degree and absurd if taken as the total view.

Even Deming’s forward-looking systems vision was implemented in mechanistic fashion.

… the patterns and larger goal of all life … [is] to connect to itself in ever more complex forms …

… all life is … a single interwoven tapestry of living, evolving, creative organisms.

… engaging … life in our organizations and communities … unleash unprecedented wisdom, collaboration, creativity and impact.

If … divergence is not integrated into the whole, then the living system … is jeopardized.

… the real point of our efforts is to participate in and support life’s ongoing ability to thrive.

… the mechanistic view of organizations as machines prompts us to put people in service of infrastructure and process …

When infrastructure is … in service of the life in an organization, what naturally emerges is what I call Practical Play.

We have mistakenly assumed that play is the opposite of work.

Seeing the organization as one coherent living system … opens up new possibilities.

When we see organizations as living ecosystems, the goal more naturally shifts to enabling life to thrive …

… the most effective solutions will be those generated by the organization itself.

… our opportunity – and pressing need – is to participate consciously, intentionally and in harmony with life’s processes …

… “thrivability” – … can be understood as the intention and practice of crafting an organization as a “space for life.”

… “responsibility” … is most of all “response-ability.”

What is needed in the Age of Thrivability is … integration of … [divergence, relationship, wholeness, self-integration].

For some reason, it’s only MBA students who ask me: how do you measure thrivability?

… fundamentally reconceiving the organization and our role within it is the most powerful “social innovation” possible.

Related post:
Book Review: The Age of Thrivability

Carol Black on the wildness of children

Carol Black writes the following in On the Wildness of Children (my emphasis in bold):

When we first take children from the world and put them in an institution, they cry. … But gradually, over the many years of confinement, they adjust.

The same people who do not see themselves as “above” nature but as within it, tend not to see themselves as “above” children but alongside them. They see no hard line between work and play, between teacher and student, between learning and life. It is a possibility worth considering that this is more than coincidence.

The underlying belief that somebody always has to be in charge is stubbornly persistent, woven into our thinking at a very deep level. There always has to be a subject and an object, a master and a slave. We have forgotten how to live and let live.

Control is always so seductive, at least to the ”developed” (”civilized”) mind. It seems so satisfying, so efficient, so effective, so potent. In the short run, in some ways, it is. But it creates a thousand kinds of blowback, from depressed rebellious children to storms surging over our coastlines to guns and bombs exploding in cities around the world.

— Carol Black1

1 Carol Black, On The Wildness of Children, April 2016. (Accessed 24 April 2016)

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

Ralph Stacey on beliefs

Ralph Stacey writes that if

we believe that nature’s systems function like a clockwork and human systems move to the dictates of designing minds,1


we quite naturally believe that nature can be controlled once the laws governing it have been discovered and human systems can be redesigned from scratch once a new intention has been formed.2

If, on the other hand,

we believe that systems in both nature and human society are creative when they operate in chaos,3


we will see that it is impossible to be ”in control” of the future of such systems or to redesign them from scratch.4

We will understand that people interacting in an organization may produce a pattern in their actions through self-organization, provided that the context in which they work enables them to discover and learn.5

The focus for action will shift from speculation about the future to dealing with current issues that have long-term consequences, from persuasion and propaganda to learning and discovery.6

1 Ralph D. Stacey, Managing the Unknowable: Strategic Boundaries Between Order and Chaos in Organizations, p. 125.
2 Ibid..
3 Ibid..
4 Ibid..
5 Ibid..
6 Ibid..

Related post:
Ralph Stacey on rule-following

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.

People evolve their own responses

A mechanical system simply acts according to its instructions. But a living system, with its internal intelligence and complex feedback organisation, reacts to the meaning it finds in the information. The system selects the messages to which it listens and then evolves its own response.1

Human beings are a prime example of living systems with internal intelligence and complex feedback responses.2

1 John McCrone, Review: Hidden Connections by Fritjof Capra, The Guardian, 2002.
2 Philip Harland, The Power of Six, (Wayfinder Press, 2009), p. 51.

Peter Block on freedom

…perhaps the real task of leadership is to confront people with their freedom.
…freedom is what creates accountability. Freedom is not an escape from accountability…
…our willingness to care for the well-being of the whole occurs when we are confronted with our freedom, and when we choose to accept and act on that freedom.
—Peter Block

1 Peter Block, Community: The Structure of Belonging, (Berrett-Koehler Publishers, 2009), p. 21.

Det är notoriskt svårt att få folk att följa reglerna

Jan-Erik Sebestyén skriver i ett mail till Agile Swedens maillista 2015-10-07 08:54:51 att:

Men som alla som jobbat med scrum, puls och liknande agil ansatser så kan det se bättre ut än hur det fungerar i verkligheten. Även om grundkonceptet är hur enkelt som helst så är det notoriskt svårt få folk följa reglerna.

Exakt! Folk behöver veta varför dom gör något – och vara övertygade om att det är ”rätt”.

Ett exempel: Alla (i stort sett) kör på höger sida. Många bromsar in inför fartkameran.