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’ve just read Andreas Weber’s excellent book The Biology of Wonder, which is about aliveness, feeling, and the paradigm shift from Enlightenment to Enlivenment.1 It’s one of the most interesting books I’ve read in the last six years. The book is about moving beyond reason into scientific, economic, and organizational enlivenment. The latter is about the move from mechanistic to more organic forms of societal organization. Andreas Weber writes (my emphasis in bold):
To organize a community (between humans and/ or nonhuman agents) according to the principles of embodied ecology, therefore always means to increase individual freedom by enlarging the community’s freedom …2
Living reality rather depends on a precarious balance between autonomy and relatedness on all its levels. It is a creative process, which produces rules for an increase of the whole through the self-realization of each of its members. These rules are different for each time and each place, but we find them everywhere life is. They are valid for autopoiesis, the autocreation of the organic forms but also for a well-achieved human relationship, for a prospering ecosystem as well as for an economy in harmony with the biospheric household.3
It must be a practice of realizing oneself through connection with others, who are also free to realize themselves. […] If we look to the ways other cultures have tried to become a creative part of ecosystems, […] we can observe that the form they do this is what we would call a commons. The other beings are not an outside nor a resource.4
Historically, we understand by “commons” an economic system in which various participants use the same resource and follow particular rules in order not to overexploit it. If we look deeper into actual commons principles, we can see that the traditional commoners do not distinguish between the resource they protect and themselves, as users of the resource. The members of a commons are not conceptually detached from the space they are acting in. The commons and the commoners are the same. This is basically the situation in an ecosystem.5
The idea of the commons thus provides a unifying principle that dissolves the supposed opposition between nature and society/culture. It cancels the separation of the ecological and the social. In any existence that commits itself to the commons, the task we must face is to realize the well-being of the individual while not risking a decrease of the surrounding and encompassing whole.6
Generative organizing increases individual and organizational freedom, while it balances autonomy and relatedness on all levels. It’s a generative/creative process for well-achieved human relationships, prospering organizations, as well as for an economy in harmony with the biosphere.
1 Heike Löschmann of Heinrich Böll Foundation coined the term “enlivenment“. See Andreas Weber, Enlivenment: Towards a fundamental shift in the concepts of nature, culture, and politics (Heinrich Böll Foundation, 2013), p. 11.
2 Andreas Weber, The Biology of Wonder: Aliveness, Feeling and the Metamorphosis of Science (New Society Publishers, 2016, Kindle Edition), p. 352.
3 Ibid., p. 353.
6 Ibid., p. 353–354.
Organizing in between and beyond posts