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.
I’ve just started reading Andreas Weber’s The Biology of Wonder: Aliveness, Feeling and the Metamorphosis of Science. The following caught my attention. Andreas Weber writes (my emphasis in bold):
In this book I describe a biology of the feeling self — a biology that has discovered subjective feeling as the fundamental moving force in all life, from the cellular level up to the complexity of the human organism. I also describe how this discovery turns our image of ourselves upside down. We have understood human beings as biological machines that somehow and rather inexplicably entail some subjective “x factor” variously known as mind, spirit or soul. But now biology is discovering subjectivity as a fundamental principle throughout nature. It finds that even the most simple living things — bacterial cells, fertilized eggs, nematodes in tidal flats — act according to values. Organisms value everything they encounter according to its meaning for the further coherence of their embodied self. Even the cell’s self-production, the continuous maintenance of a highly structured order, can only be understood if we perceive the cell as an actor that persistently follows a goal.1
I call this new viewpoint a “poetic ecology.” It is “poetic” because it regards feeling and expression as necessary dimensions of the existential reality of organisms — not as epiphenomena, or as bias of the human observer, or as the ghost in the machine, but as aspects of the reality of living beings we cannot do without. I call it an “ecology” because all life builds on relations and unfolds through mutual transformations. Poetic ecology restores the human to its rightful place within “nature” — without sacrificing the otherness, the strangeness and the nobility of other beings. It can be read as a scientific argument that explains why the deep wonder, the romantic connection and the feeling of being at home in nature are legitimate — and how these experiences help us to develop a new view of life as a creative reality that is based on our profound, first-person observations of ecological relations. Poetic ecology allows us to find our place in the grand whole again.2
Subjectivity is a fundamental principle in generative organizing. We act according to our values. We value everything we encounter according to its meaning. The felt experiencing of the moment enables us to do this.3 All generative organizing builds on relations and unfolds through mutual transformations.
1 Andreas Weber, The Biology of Wonder: Aliveness, Feeling and the Metamorphosis of Science (New Society Publishers, 2016), pp. 2–3.
2 Ibid., p. 3.
3 Meaning involves felt experiencing. See Eugene Gendlin, Experiencing and the Creation of Meaning: A Philosophical and Psychological Approach to the Subjective (Northwestern University Press, 1997, first published 1962), pp. 1, 14.
Organizing in between and beyond posts