Organizing reflection 29

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 just finished reading Tao: The Watercourse Way by Alan Watts with the collaboration of Al Chung-liang Huang. They describe what happened in China when the Ch’in Dynasty came to power in —221.1

To enforce the new laws, the population was organized into small groups of five or ten families each, and members of each group were required to watch over and report on each other. Successful exposure of crime through such spying and reporting was to be rewarded on the same scale as killing an enemy on the battlefield. Shielding a criminal would be punished with the same penalty as surrendering to the enemy in war.1

When the Emperor Ch’in Shih Huang Ti died in —210 the people rebelled under the leadership of Liu Pang, who became the Emperor Han Kao Tsu, founder of the Han Dynasty. In —201, General Ts’ao, one of the generals from the revolution, was made governor. And he did something interesting (my emphasis in bold).

He selected an old philosopher to be his chief adviser. This old man was a follower of Lao-tzu [Taoism] and told the Governor that the best way to govern his great state comprising seventy cities was to do nothing and give the people a rest. The Governor religiously carried out his advice throughout his nine years of governorship. The people became prosperous, and his administration was rated the best in the empire. When he was appointed prime minister of the empire in —193, he again practiced his philosophy on a national scale.2

To enable generative organizing, do nothing and give people rest.

1 Alan Watts with Al Chung-liang Huang, Tao: The Watercourse Way (Souvernir Press, Kindle edition 2010, first published 1975), Loc.1388–1398.
2 Ibid., Loc.1412–1416.

Related posts:
Organizing in between and beyond posts

Published by Jan Höglund

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

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